The California student killed in Paris saw herself as a driven, independent Mexican American LA Times: Gonzalez, a 23-year-old design student at Cal State Long Beach, had arrived in the city in September. She had never been out of the country and was looking forward to the semester abroad. See also TODAY and Joshua Starr tweet reminding educators to be aware of issues that may come up in American classrooms this week.

Paris Teachers Prepare To Discuss Attacks With Worried Students HuffPost: On Jan. 7, 2015, there was suffocating alarm, horror and fear in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The next day, wounds still fresh, it was necessary to keep going. It was a difficult day for schoolteachers in France, faced with students and their questions, and at times their anger.

Lawmakers Announce Preliminary Agreement On ESEA Rewrite PK12: Congressional negotiators announced they have a way forward to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with a conference committee to start working on a compromise soon. See also Washington Post.

Pell Grants, Sandy Hook Highlight Brief Nods to Education in Democratic Debate PK12: In keeping with the previous Republican and Democratic debates, there weren’t any direct questions on K-12.

More than 11,000 school staff members are ‘missing’ from Virginia schools Washington Post: Study says that during the recession, school enrollment boomed but school districts didn’t hire teachers and staff to keep up.

Laurene Powell Jobs launches college-support program in Watts LA Times: Her organization, College Track, announced last week it will support dozens of students attending Jordan High School in Watts through a program designed to help them prepare for college and then earn a degree. College Track has established a similar program at Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights.

PTA survey finds parents still in the dark on new testing SI&A Cabinet Report: Despite a multi-year effort by the state to prepare for new testing aligned to the Common Core, a survey of parents reasonably engaged in their children’s schooling found a majority still had little or no understanding of the new assessment system.

A Daunting Trip to School for Some Homeless Children NYT: With its shelter system overburdened, the city has resorted to placing some families in hotels on Staten Island, far from the schools they had been attending.

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Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at