Fewer School Days Means Calif. Savings, Family Spending

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing shortening the school year in California's public schools by five days.  If passed, it would save the state $1.1 billion.

State Superintendent Jack O'Connell called the proposal a "direct frontal attack on our children's educational opportunities."  The State Department of Education has already proposed alternatives to "eliminating the classroom," O'Connell said.

"We've told the governor that there are other ideas in terms of deferred maintenance, in terms of postponing the purchase of much-needed text books and computer equipment, technology professional development for many of our professional educations," O'Connell said.

Working parents are concerned as well, since it means an extra week of childcare for their children.

Others worry it will widen the achievement gap between students in public school and those in private school who can afford to pay for the full 180 days, while public school students would only be in the classroom 175 days.

Southland Educator Works on Quality of Early Education Programs

Schwarzenegger appointed a veteran Southland educator to an advisory panel to improve the quality of early education programs throughout the state, it was announced Thursday.


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The appointment of Celia Ayala, 54, of Whittier, to the California Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee does not require Senate confirmation.

She will not receive a salary for serving on the committee, which is tasked with assessing the state's early care and education infrastructure and developing a rating system to measure quality and help parents make informed decisions about preschool programs for their children.

The committee is to provide an interim report to the Legislature and governor by the end of the year, and a final report a year later.

"The Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee holds tremendous potential," said Ayala, chief operating officer of Los Angeles Universal Preschool.

"Every preschool classroom funded by the state of California should be offering high-quality services to the children and families in its community," she said.

Ayala has been a teacher, administrator and advocate for the children of Southern California for more than 30 years.

Since 2007, she has served as the COO of LAUP. Previously, Ayala served as assistant superintendent for the Division of Children and Family Services at the Riverside County Office of Education.

Prior to that, she was the director of Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Technologies  for the Pasadena Unified School District. She also served as the principal at James Madison Elementary School, and worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, where she served as director and senior project manager of Migrant Education.

LAUP is an independent, public benefit corporation dedicated to making voluntary, high-quality preschool available to every 4-year old in Los Angeles County. Created in 2004 and funded predominantly by First 5 L.A., LAUP is supporting the development of preschool classrooms that will bring the total number of children served by LAUP to 10,500 annually.

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