California’s Idea of a Full School Day Doesn’t Make the Grade

By Skimping on Class Time We’re Failing Our Kids

On many mornings, I think my state senator has the best policy idea in California.

The rest of the time, I think he’s missing the point.

The idea involves the sleep of schoolkids, and the state senator is Anthony Portantino, who represents me and nearly one million other residents of one of California’s nerdiest regions, the San Gabriel Valley.

Portantino has won plaudits for a bill that would require middle and high schools to start the school day later—no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The bill is grounded in research showing that additional …

Where’s the Laid-Back Fun in Kids’ Summer Vacations?

Pricey Camps and Erratic School Calendars Are Spoiling Our Seasonal Break

My grade school summer vacations seemed to last forever, pairing well with the Beach Boys’ Endless Summer double album I wore out on the record changer.

During those hot and humid …

PTAs Are the Opposite of Community

How the Former Champions for All Kids Devolved Into Self-Serving Fundraising Machines

Here’s a quick quiz for anyone who has ever had kids or grandkids or nieces and nephews in school: Can you name all of the fundraising items you’ve purchased from …

Cruising South Central Avenue

Photographs Capture the Beauty and Change of One of L.A.'s Most Dynamic Corridors

South Los Angeles, a big and diverse place of 30-some neighborhoods, used to be known as South Central. And South Central’s name, while reflecting the geography of South L.A. as …

The Game of Non Existence

Did you ever play at non-existence?

My brother and I taught ourselves to play the game
no one else would’ve shown two kids:

how to lean forward under the counter,
under our …

In South L.A., a Growing Interest in Urban Gardening

A Place Called Home Offers Local Youth a Chance to Farm in the Middle of South Central Avenue

A Place Called Home is one of the treasures of the South Central Avenue corridor. It’s been so successful at serving young people ages 8 to 21 (they’re called members)—providing …