Topic: Education
Oct. 16, 2017

Employers that use apprentices like the programs because they train future workers for specific, in-demand jobs. Apprentices earn a paycheck while they train, often eliminating the need to take on debt to fund their education. Upon completion of a training program, 90% of apprentices are offered jobs and earn a starting salary of about $60,000 a year, according to the Labor Department. Yet undergraduate students at colleges outnumber apprentices in the U.S. 26 to 1.

Apprenticeships have struggled to take hold in the U.S. in part because the education system is geared more toward college preparation, than, for example, in Germany, where teens are more frequently steered toward a vocation. And American students and families are often reluctant to pursue careers in fields such as plumbing or manufacturing, even if those jobs pay good wages.

Oct. 8, 2017

The job market in Southern California could look very different by 2021 and beyond. Here’s where the jobs will and  won’t be.


The Center for a Competitive Workforce has produced a report analyzing 20 middle-skills occupations for which community colleges offer degree and certificate programs. The occupations are employed by six key industries with a competitive advantage in the greater Los Angeles region. Read highlights of the report below, or download the full report PDF.

Oct. 1, 2017

The more important data point is that with essentially no gains in 2017, fewer than half of California’s children are meeting English standards and fewer than 38 percent in math.

That should be seen as a major crisis, but when one looks at the numbers for black and Latino kids, and those classified as poor or “English learners,” they even more shameful.

While three-quarters of Asian students and two-thirds of whites hit the competency mark in English, fewer than a third of black students and just over a third of Latinos did. For poor kids, it was 35.5 percent and for English learners, a minuscule 12.1 percent.

The scores on mathematics were even worse, just 37.6 percent overall, 19 percent for blacks and 25.2 percent for Latinos. The best spin state schools Supt. Tom Torlakson could muster was

The best spin state schools Supt. Tom Torlakson could muster was a weak “I’m pleased we retained our gains,” followed by a rationalization that “these tests are far more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper and pencil tests.”

The low achievement of disadvantaged children is obviously important for their individual futures, but what makes it critical to the state as a whole is that they are about 60 percent of the state’s K-12 students.

Sept. 27, 2017

When California rolled out new standardized tests, experts said scores would improve when students got used to them. But three tests in, rather than showing strides from familiarity, their scores have stagnated in English and math.

About 3.2 million students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress in the spring. The tests are aligned to the Common Core standards, and demand mastery — which means they’re harder than California’s old standardized tests.

This year, 49% of students passed the English exam, compared with 48% in 2016. In math, 38% of students met or exceeded the state’s standard, compared with 37% last year. Fifth-graders’ scores dropped slightly in English.

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