California’s Bad Bet on School Finance Leaves Too Much to Chance

It’s the Already-Fortunate Who Are Most Likely to Luck Out in the State’s Public Education System

Californians may think we have a system of public education. But what we really have is a state system for rationing public education.

I got a personal taste of this in the spring, when I took my five-year-old son to our local school district offices to determine his educational future. This being California, the determination was made not by a test of his abilities or an assessment of his educational needs. Instead, it was a lottery. A school administrator pulled names out of the hat to determine whether he would …

In the Segregated 20th Century, Schoolchildren Embodied Black Uplift

How a Leading Portraitist Captured Their Refinement and Restlessness

For much of the 20th century, the Scurlock family of portrait photographers—first Addison Scurlock and his wife Mamie and then their sons Robert and George—were the premiere chroniclers of the …

A South L.A. Novelist on Why He Teaches Kids It’s OK to Be Weird

Jervey Tervalon’s Inner City Education Made Him a Passionate Reader and Respected Writer

As a teenager in South Los Angeles, I worked for Anti-Self Destruction, a government-funded neighborhood advocacy nonprofit. There I met Ollie, a handsome, slender supervisor who rocked lime green jumpsuits …

For College Prep Charter Schools Serving Underprivileged Communities, High School Graduation Is Just the Beginning

With a Majority of Students From South L.A., USC Hybrid High School Rejected Teaching to the Test to Focus on Getting 90 Percent of Graduates Through College

In 2012, USC’s Rossier School of Education, where I am the dean, began working in South L.A. to improve high school education. Our goals were to help disadvantaged students find …

Why California Keeps Failing to Grade Its Schools

The State Is Inexcusably Late in Delivering a Revamped Public School Index

It’s a California educational reality worthy of Kafka. Our state’s leaders keep asking parents and communities to take bigger roles in making local schools better—even as those same leaders keep …