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Thanks to One Los Angeles Nonprofit, Budget Cuts Haven't Killed Off Art Class

At Los Angeles' Inner-City Arts, students get the kind of arts education that enhances their creativity, imagination, and entrepreneurial spirit.


In a survey conducted by IBM last year, 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one competitive edge" of the future. And Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently wrote that dance, music, theater, and visual arts "are essential to preparing our nation's young people for a global economy fueled by innovation and creativity."

Yet despite the need for employees and entrepreneurs with well-developed right-brain "soft skills" and the wealth of research indicating that students at schools with robust arts programs are more likely to go to college, school art programs nationwide are being decimated by budget cuts. In Los Angeles, elementary school art programs may soon disappear altogether. The result is that students are missing out on the opportunity to, in Duncan's words, "experience the arts in deep and meaningful ways and to make curricular connections with math, science, and the humanities."

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Why #Pencilchat May Be the Most Clever Edcuation Allegory Ever

Want some insight into teacher frustrations? Just follow #pencilchat on Twitter


A decidedly low tech device, the humble pencil, is providing some tongue-in-cheek insight into current education debates via Twitter. In the past 24 hours, educators have tweeted the hashtag #pencilchat thousands of times. The tweets are undeniably witty, but they also reflect the frustration teachers feel over everything from schools' technophobia to budget cuts, which may make #pencilchat the best—and most clever—education allegory ever.

Phoenix middle school teacher John Spencer used to write a blog called Adventures in Pencil Integration, and a couple of years ago, he turned it into a book called Pencil Me In. The book substitutes a modern-day teacher trying to use technology like laptops, iPads, and smartphones for an early 1900s teacher trying to figure out how to meaningfully use pencils in a classroom. Someone recently tweeted Spencer about reading the book, he dashed off a few tweets with the hashtag in response and "it took off."

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Adults Who Participated in High School Extracurricular Activities Earn More Money

Don't be embarrassed if you went to band camp. It turns out being in clubs raises future earnings by almost 12 percent.

Were you one of those students who signed up for every high school club under the sun? A proud attendee of band camp? If so, chances are you're making more money than your peers who skated through school without participating in extracurricular activities. Recent research by Cleveland State University economics professor Vasilios D. Kosteas shows that participation in clubs correlates with higher future earnings, and might increase the likelihood that a student will end up becoming a supervisor.

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Why Isaac Asimov Would Be Ashamed of Los Angeles' Schools

The brilliant writer and scientist was a champion of libraries. He might have a few choice words for LAUSD's decision to get rid of its librarians.

Brilliant science fiction writer and biochemist Isaac Asimov was a firm believer in lifelong learning and self education—and he believed in getting much of that education in libraries. He grew up in a poor family that could not afford to buy many books, so he truly treasured the time he spent in libraries as a youth. He even wrote the note above back in 1971 in honor of a library opening. So, I can't help but wonder what Asimov would say to Los Angeles schools chief Dr. John Deasy over the district's recent decision to lay off teacher librarians at more than 80 schools.

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Should College Students to Be Able to Pay Their Way Off Wait Lists?

With wait lists thousands of students deep, California's community colleges say they'll add more class sections if students pay full price.

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What Teachers Want to Know: When Will Testing Company Employees Get Laid Off?

Everyone has to feel the pain of budget cuts—except the companies being paid millions to make standardized tests.


This spring, school districts across the nation sent record numbers of layoff notices to teachers, all in the name of balancing education budgets. But, there's one area that most states and districts aren't cutting—the cost of standardized tests. States and local school districts pay testing companies millions of dollars annually, and with calls to evaluate teachers according to tests results and expand the number of subjects tested coming from the White House and Department of Education, the amount of cash being shelled out to testing companies is sure to skyrocket.

Here's how it works: In order to be compliant with the federal No Child Left Behind Act—which requires student testing—states first pay consultants and testing companies to write multiple choice tests aligned with individual state standards. Once kids take the tests, the states then pay those same companies to score them. The federal government does kicks in some cash to help cover the costs, but thanks to cutbacks, that money doesn't defray the whole expense or pay for the people districts and states hire to manage the entire process.

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