Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Must Read: Oakland Students Show Big Test Score Gains: Court Puts Gay Marriages on Hold

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In more good academic news for Oakland Unified, district schoolchildren doubled the average test score gains made in California last year at a time when kids throughout the state showed significant academic improvement, the Trib reports. Oakland’s test score gains have been on an upward trend over the past several years, and the district has shown the most improvement by any large urban school district in the state. However, even with the recent big gains, Oakland student test scores still trail the statewide average, and are particularly disappointing at the high school level.

2. Gay marriages in California were put on hold until at least December by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court did not provide a reason for staying the ruling earlier this month by federal Judge Vaughn Walker that overturned Proposition 8. But the court decided to put the appeals case on a fast track. The court also asked Prop 8 backers to show how they would be harmed if same-sex couples get married in California.

3. UC Berkeley is once again the top-rated public university in the nation, according to the newest rankings by US News and World Report, AP reports. Overall, Cal ranked 22nd on the list. The top-rated university, public or private, was Harvard. Stanford tied for fifth.

4. A right-wing group with ties to the Birther Movement is being funded in part by Meg Whitman to attack Jerry Brown, the Chron reports. The group, Small Business Action Committee, has received at least $10,000 from Whitman and its director is James Lacey, a SoCal attorney who was a founder of the United States Justice Foundation, an organization that has filed lawsuits challenging President Obama’s citizenship.

5. More homeowners in the Bay Area are delinquent on their mortgages than the national average, but they’re doing better than the rest of the state, the Chron reports, citing a new report by TransUnion, one of the nation’s largest credit rating firms. In the Bay Area, 7.97 percent of homes with mortgages are at least 60 days delinquent on their payments, compared to 6.67 percent nationally. However, the statewide average is 10.45 percent.

6. And sea otters in California are on the decline again after coming back from near extinction — although experts don’t know why, the Chron reports.

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