If you’ve been on the internet at all the past two days you’ve heard the news that Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) plans to spend $30 million to buy 30,000 iPads for its students. This is a huge win for Apple of course, but an even greater victory for LAUSD students and teachers who will reap the benefits of technology within the school day. This is just one part of an ambitious plan to equip LAUSD students with the highest quality education.
It’s tough to compete with iPads but another part of this ambitious plan is to move LAUSD students beyond the traditional 180 day school year. Last November, you may recall, California voters passed Proposition 30 which increased the state sales tax as well as the income tax on the state’s highest earners in order to prevent a $6 billion budget loss for California schools. This meant that districts like LAUSD were able to hold on to 15 instructional days that would have otherwise been cut. Now, LAUSD expects to see an increase in funding in the 2014-15 school year to increase educational equity in their schools.
The LAUSD Board of Education is requesting Superintendent John Deasy propose a strategy to implement expanded learning time across the district. In their resolution, the Board specifically directs the Superintendent to examine the feasibility of increasing the academic calendar beyond 180 days, including but not limited to options such as 1) extending the 2014-15 academic calendar by at least 5% and 2) a 200 day academic calendar year. Even better news is that Superintendent Deasy is a longtime supporter of ELT and is a TSC Signatory.
Apple’s taking the spotlight for now but stay tuned for plans from LAUSD to move beyond the outdated 180 day school year. Through this resolution, Board President Garcìa and the Board recognize that this is a critical and necessary step forward for Los Angeles’s schools to ensure their students receive an education that prepares them for success in college, the workplace, and our complex global economy.