December 20, 2019
Teacher strikes, wildfires and a college admissions scandal made for a tumultuous year for California education. And new legislation in Sacramento had a big impact on charter schools and early childhood education. The EdSource staff picked the most important stories of 2019, with an eye toward how these issues affected teaching and learning across the state. We also included deeper stories about urgent topics in California, such as housing affordability for teachers and the unique challenges faced by rural schools.
Stay tuned for our predictions for 2020.
Trauma in Paradise: A California school system focuses on mental health after devastating fire
January 15, 2019
Students in Paradise started the new year struggling with anxiety after the devastating Camp Fire. Toward the year’s end, a series of wildfires swept through the state, again traumatizing students and their families. Multiple years of destructive wildfires and planned power outages have closed California schools for an unprecedented number of days.
Lessons from the Los Angeles and Oakland teachers' strikes
March 3, 2019
In early 2019 teachers went on strike for about a week in both Oakland and Los Angeles. In each case teachers won salary increases, but the issues went beyond pay and benefits. Teacher demands included smaller class sizes, more support staff and limits on the growth of charter schools.
College admissions scandal upsetting to California's low-income students
March 28, 2019
A national college admissions scandal, including parents who bribed their children’s way into USC, added another layer of uncertainty and worry for low-income high school seniors in Los Angeles. As they awaited college acceptance letters, at least one said the scandal “opened my mind about how the world really is about money and about how money controls everything.”
Rising rents in coastal California outpace teacher pay
April 17, 2019
California teachers at the bottom of the salary scale working in coastal or metro areas of the state are being shut out of affordable housing. An EdSource analysis details how dire the situation is, especially in the Bay Area. The analysis includes a searchable database that shows teachers how much they can expect to pay in rent and a map that shows affordable housing by teacher salary.
Diana Lambert And Daniel J. Willis
Lost days: Poverty, isolation drive students away from school in California's rural districts
May 30, 2019
School districts in California’s rural communities have the highest concentrations of chronic absenteeism in the state, an EdSource analysis found. The in-depth reporting package highlighted what one district is doing to combat chronic absenteeism, a map detailing rates by district, and a video depicting the struggles of students, teachers and others in these communities.
California’s big spending push for children could have national impact
August 8, 2019
The rest of the nation looks to California as Gov. Gavin Newsom approved an unprecedented investment in young children and their families: about $5.5 billion in total spending for child care and preschool, plus additional funding for paid leave and a host of related measures. He also expanded access to state-subsidized preschool, regardless of family income.
California’s new online community college to open after months of planning
September 29, 2019
The state’s long-anticipated online community college, CalBright, began accepting its first students in September. The virtual college is intended to serve “stranded” Californians, defined as those who are working part-time jobs or stuck in positions that don’t pay a living wage, who can’t otherwise access higher education.
Ashley A. Smith
New era for charter schools: Newsom signs bill after intensive negotiations
October 3, 2019
After months of intense negotiations, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that tightens the approval process for new charter schools. In the end, both the California Charter Schools Association and the California Teachers Association applauded the bill.
Debate underway whether University of California should require SAT and ACT for admissions
October 7, 2019
As debate whirls nationally about the value of the SAT and ACT in college admissions, the University of California convened a special task force to look at the tests’ pros and cons in determining who’s accepted to the university.
Frustration surfaces over redesign at East Bay school
October 17, 2019
EdSource is closely following the challenges and triumphs of Stege Elementary School in Richmond, one of the lowest-performing schools in the state, as educators, parents and the community seek to save the struggling school.
Ashley A. Smith
Schools keep hiring counselors, but students’ stress levels are only growing
November 20, 2019
Gun violence, poverty and toxic social media have left thousands of children traumatized in California schools. Districts are hiring more counselors, but it’s hard to keep up.
Disconnected: Internet stops once school ends for many rural California students
December 6, 2019
Only a third of rural households in California subscribe to internet service. EdSource looked at how the digital divide affects student achievement, and what’s being done to help.
UC president Janet Napolitano stepping down
September 18, 2019
University of California President Janet Napolitano announced she is stepping down in 2020. She is the first woman to lead the 10-campus system after previously serving as the Secretary of Homeland Security. California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White also announced that he will retire next year. His tenure included efforts to improve the 23-campus system’s graduation rates and end non-credit remedial education.
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