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California education news: What’s the latest?

Monday, August 15, 2022, 10:00 am

Link copied.More than 100 Bay Area school board candidates — including some with extreme views — running unopposed

At least 100 school board elections in the Bay Area have only one candidate, meaning the race will not appear on voters’ ballots due to cost-cutting measures, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The state policy of not including unopposed candidates on school board and special district ballots means that some candidates will win election without voters knowing who’s being elected. This potentially paves the way for candidates with extreme positions gaining seats on school boards without voters’ knowledge, the newspaper reported.

Among the candidates running unopposed in the Bay Area is Dennis Delisle, an accountant and business owner who opposes homosexuality, wrote that descendants of slaves “are so much better off” than if their ancestors had been left in Africa, and has said he believes the role of public schools is to teach young people about God.

Troy Flint, the spokesperson for the California School Boards Association, said it’s not a surprise that some candidates can get elected to school boards with little scrutiny.

“Given the huge time commitment if you do it well, given the amount of work involved, the amount of scrutiny and sometimes hostility school boards are experiencing, it’s not exactly an enticing position,” Flint told the Chronicle. “My fear is that if the position becomes less appealing, the only people who will run will have self-interested reasons for doing so.”

Carolyn Jones

Monday, August 15, 2022, 9:59 am

Link copied.Six fraternities split from USC after party crackdown

Six fraternities separated from University of Southern California on Friday, after the university imposed strict safety rules intended to make parties safer for students, especially women, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Order and Zeta Beta Tau are disaffiliating with the university, following a similar move by fraternities at the University of Michigan, Duke University and the University of Colorado Boulder.

The new rules, which the university drew up last year following a flurry of reports of sexual assaults and drugging at fraternity houses, include requiring security guards at parties, banning kegs, using scanners to check for fake IDs and requiring wrist bands for partygoers over age 21.

“We are disappointed that some USC fraternities are following an unfortunate national trend by disaffiliating from the university — against our strong recommendations,” USC said in an Instagram statement Friday night, the newspaper reported. “This decision seems to be driven by the desire to eliminate university oversight of their operations … and goes against 130 years of tradition.”

The fraternities did not respond to the Times’ request for a comment.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, August 12, 2022, 4:58 pm

Link copied.$50 million fund will help Oakland students pay for college

A day after California launched college savings accounts for all low-income students, Oakland unveiled a $50 million boost for its own college savings account program.

Mayor Libby Schaaf and Vice President Kamala Harris, the latter while visiting Oakland on Friday, announced the gift to Oakland Promise, which provides college savings seed money and other opportunities for low-income students in Oakland who aspire to go to college or trade school.

The $50 million, which Schaaf raised through corporate and individual donations, will provide up to $1,000 a year for all low-income public school students. It will also fund new college savings accounts for all low-income newborns in the city, with $500 to start. More than 30,000 young people are expected to benefit.

“Our city believes so much in the brilliance and talent of our children that we have raised a $50 million fund to invest in their futures,” Schaaf told a crowd Friday, according to Oaklandside. “We, your city, your community, believe in your talent, your grit, and your success, so much. We know that these last years have been so hard.”

The money should help relieve some of the achievement gaps in Oakland, Harris said.

“We all know — in communities across our nation — deep disparities hold back so many of our children from that promise of equal opportunity,” Harris said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Disparities that have existed and persisted for generations, and disparities that the leaders here in Oakland are fighting to address. … From birth, thousands of children in this city will be given a nest egg, and as they grow, so will that investment. When they turn 18, this will help them as a downpayment on their education and on their future, which, by the way, is our future.”

 

 

Carolyn Jones

Friday, August 12, 2022, 3:24 pm

Link copied.Family issues often come last in national policy, analysis shows

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act may have been a win for Democrats and President Joe Biden on climate, the U.S. economy and prescription drug prices, but for women it falls short of its potential on key policies, as CNN reports. 

The Democrats’ ambitious plans at points included universal pre-kindergarten, lower child care costs, paid family leave and the enhanced child tax credit, among other provisions, but those were ultimately eliminated during negotiations. Those cuts mark the ninth time in just two and a half years that proposed legislation aimed at helping women and families has been removed, according to a CNN analysis of data from the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Reports.

And although universal pre-kindergarten was only rejected once in the last two years, the idea is far from new to the United States: The Lanham Act provided universal child care to nearly 130,000 children at its peak during World War II, and bills for universal pre-K were introduced by Democrats in Congress nearly every year from 1999 to 2019 that never advanced, the analysis showed. The frustration among lawmakers working to include these provisions runs deep.

“We’re not going to let one man tell all the women in this country that they can’t have paid leave,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.) after negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) seemed to eliminate the provision from the Build Back Better Act in 2021, as CNN reports.

Despite polling from January that showed more than half of Americans believe universal pre-K and paid family leave would help the country, these provisions keep facing the combined headwinds of a 50-50 Senate and the economic impact of the Covid pandemic.

Karen D'Souza

Friday, August 12, 2022, 8:23 am

Link copied.Youth sports coach arrested amid allegations of assaulting a minor

A Southern California sports coach was arrested in Bakersfield on Thursday after a 14-year-old from Riverside alleged that he sexually assaulted her. He was arrested on multiple accounts of sexual assault of a minor, according to the Orange County Register, and booked in an Orange County jail. 

Training programs STARS SOCAL and STARS Preparatory Academy said they are cooperating with the Santa Ana Police Department because of their ties with Chris Flores, 37.

The Santa Ana police investigation found that some of the alleged assaults may have occurred at Calvary Chapel High School, which hosts a STARS Preparatory Academy training program. According to the Orange County Register, the girl was involved in the program and coached by Flores.

A 15-year-old girl from Irvine has made similar allegations. Flores was also arrested while coaching at Los Angeles’ Cathedral High School in 2009 but was found not guilty following a trial.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, August 12, 2022, 8:23 am

Link copied.Four East Bay colleges offering extra financial support for school year

Four East Bay community colleges are offering extra financial support to students amid rising inflation and the pandemic recovery, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Peralta Community College District is funding the additional support with federal CARES Act Covid relief funds, of which the district received $65 million.

Berkeley City College and Laney College are offering free tuition, while Merritt College and College of Alameda are providing $500 grants for the semester.

This move comes as Peralta Community College District continues to navigate declining enrollment and after fiscal and management issues placed the district on accreditation probation in 2020. Now, the community college district has moved up to a “warning” status from probation and could return to full accreditation by January.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 3:29 pm

Link copied.New CDC guidelines don’t recommend testing, quarantine for students without symptoms

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  no longer recommends that schools test students without symptoms to screen for Covid, nor quarantine students who have been exposed to the virus but have no symptoms.

It isn’t clear whether the California Department of Public Health will change its guidelines, which recommend that schools require students with known exposure to Covid to wear a tight-fitting mask for 10 days and be tested three to five days after exposure in order to stay in school.

In most cases, California school districts and county departments of public health have the last say when it comes to Covid protocols, but most follow California Department of Public Health recommendations.

The new CDC guidelines recommend that Covid testing only be required before high-risk activities like close contact sports or musical performances, or before proms, graduations, tournaments or group travel. It also recommends testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated people before the return to school or after school breaks.

The new federal guidelines say districts should establish strategies to prevent Covid and other respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, including requiring students who contract infections to stay home. The guidance still recommends schools require students with symptoms to test and isolate or mask if they test positive.

The new guidance focuses on community levels of infection to help schools and individuals make decisions about Covid precautions. The CDC recommends that schools add layers of protection as rates increase and remove them when levels go down.

“This guidance provides flexibility so schools and ECE (early childhood education) programs can adapt to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from Covid-19,” stated the guidance.

Instead of focusing on testing and quarantines, the new guidance recommends that schools improve ventilation and cleaning at schools and promote vaccinations and respiratory etiquette.

Diana Lambert

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 10:09 am

Link copied.Novato school district in Marin County sees significant enrollment jump

In a significant turnaround, the Novato Unified School District in Marin County has nearly reversed its earlier looming enrollment decline, increasing this year by almost 300 students, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

“Our enrollment has gone up from 7,168 students last year to 7,439 now,” Jan La Torre-Derby, the district superintendent, told district trustees during a meeting Tuesday.

Only eight months ago, the district was forced to cut $4 million from its budget to offset future deficit spending or insolvency because of falling enrollment.

The cuts in January also led to layoffs for about 30 teachers — a move that the district might want to take back because of teacher shortages in Marin and elsewhere, the newspaper reported.

“We have so far hired 42 people,” La Torre-Derby told the trustees. “Our human resources department is working day and night.”

EdSource staff

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 9:45 am

Link copied.Paso Robles school trustees delay rollback of LBGTQ student protections after objections are raised

Trustees of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District on the Central Coast postponed discussions this week centered on removing specific protections for LGBTQ students from the district’s discrimination and harassment policy after hearing objections, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.

The board is considering replacing specific protections with a general policy covering all students but tabled a resolution to make the change.

“I think this is an issue that has to simmer a little while in the community,” board President Chris Arend said at the meeting.

Several community members, including teachers and LGBTQ advocates, spoke at the board’s Tuesday meeting, voicing their concerns about the proposed revisions to the policy, the newspaper reported. “Who does it hurt to have these protections in place?” asked Marcy Goodnow, Paso Robles High School director of theater arts. “Why is this the conversation that we’re having instead of, ‘What can we do to protect our students?’

“It is clear that this board is willing to put the safety of our LGBTQI+ students at risk by taking away protections set into place with a 2020 nondiscrimination and harassment board policy,” Goodnow continued. “I want you all to know that I will continue protecting our students, even if you choose not to.”

Other community members spoke at the meeting about concerns over transgender students using sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms, even though such district policies were not up for revision during Tuesday’s meeting, according to the Tribune. The newspaper did not identify those speakers.

State Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, issued a statement Wednesday expressing his distress about the possible policy revisions up for consideration during the meeting.

“It is deeply troubling in the light of numerous instances of disrespect and bullying toward LGBTQ+ students that the school board would consider rolling back protections,” he said. “I want students to know that their openly gay state senator stands strongly with them. I would be happy to discuss with school administrators and board members how, as a society, that in the over 40 years since I came out of the closet publicly (and received many death threats) we can in fact do better and honor diversity.”

Thomas Peele

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 9:18 am

Link copied.Science instruction declined in California during pandemic, survey finds

The pandemic set back the momentum to implement the state’s Next Generation Science Standards, and only about 1 in 4 districts are making science a high recovery priority, the Public Policy Institute of California revealed in a new report. 

In a survey of 213 school districts, 62% reported that science became a lower priority in 2020-21, citing staff shortages, teacher burnout, a lack of dedicated funding and an emphasis on math and English language arts; 43% provided summer science programs.

Only a quarter of the districts surveyed made science a priority in their recovery plans, although nearly half included plans to adopt, develop or buy new science materials, and 38% included teacher training in science in their Local Control and Accountability Plans.

Among its recommendations to promote equitable investments in science education, PPIC suggests adding data on student performance on science assessments and on science course taking and completion to the California School Dashboard.  It also recommends compiling evidence-based strategies for science recovery so that districts can include them when using federal Covid relief funding. 

PPIC will hold a webinar on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. on the report and future strategies for science education. Go here to read the report and here to register. 

John Fensterwald

Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:25 pm

Link copied.State launches college savings accounts for low-income children

Low-income families will receive college savings accounts for their children beginning this week, with the state providing seed deposits of up to $1,500 per child, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced.

The CalKIDS program, administered by the state’s ScholarShare Investment Board, provides college savings accounts for all low-income children in first through 12th grade. Enrollment is automatic, with eligibility based on the Local Control Funding Formula.

In addition, CalKIDS provides college accounts for all California newborns, regardless of the family’s income. The state will contribute up to $100 for each account. For both programs, families can contribute their own money and merge the account with an existing 529 account.

In all, California will contribute more than $1.9 billion toward the accounts.

The goal is to encourage children and families to begin thinking about college from a young age. Children with college savings accounts are more likely to finish school and attend college, according to research. Several other states offer similar programs for young people.

“California is telling our students that we believe they’re college material — not only do we believe it, we’ll invest in them directly,” Newsom said. “With up to $1,500, we’re transforming lives, generating college-going mindsets and creating generational wealth for millions of Californians.”

Read more:

Carolyn Jones

Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 9:59 am

Link copied.Formerly imprisoned students to get home near Sacramento State

Sacramento State students who were formerly incarcerated will soon have a home near the campus because of a $550,000 grant from the Project Rebound Consortium and $275,000 from both University Enterprises, a Sacramento State auxiliary, and the office of President Robert S. Nelsen.

Project Rebound, launched in 1967, is a statewide program that supports formerly imprisoned students who want to reintegrate into society and earn a college degree, according to Sacramento State communications staff.

The Sacramento State housing program will be the first in Northern California and the second in the state. The first project was at Cal State Fullerton.

EdSource staff

Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 9:38 am

Link copied.Fresno Unified program allows Black students to earn college credits in high school

Fresno Unified is launching the HBCU Step UP Pathways program to allow Black students to earn college credits while attending high school, according to a news release from the district.

The program is a partnership with Benedict College in South Carolina, a historically Black college, and three of the district’s high schools — Bullard, Edison and Sunnyside.

Students who are accepted into the program can earn up to 12 college units through live virtual classes from the university. They are also guaranteed admission to Benedict College, located in Columbia, South Carolina.

“We are excited to offer this first of its kind program to our African American students,” Superintendent Bob Nelson said. “This is another way to encourage our students to not only prepare for and pursue college, but to learn more about the life-changing experience of attending a HBCU.”

The district will hold an informational meeting about the program at 6:30 p.m., Thursday at Fresno City College Old Administrative Building, 1101 E. University Ave.

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 10:27 am

Link copied.UTLA files complaint against LAUSD over extra school days

United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing teachers in Los Angeles Unified, has filed an unfair practice charge over the district’s decision to add four optional days to the school year.

The union filed the charge Monday and said in a statement that LAUSD announced the additional days without notifying the union or giving the union a chance to bargain. The union alleges that’s a violation of the Educational Employment Relations Act.

In April, the district first announced the extra days, which were approved by its board.

“Educators are the ones in the classroom day to day, not Superintendent Carvalho, yet they are being left out of conversations on how to most effectively invest in student learning. … We strongly urge LAUSD to rectify this situation by withdrawing the additional days and bargaining in good faith, so that we can prioritize funding for the programs and initiatives proven to ensure student success,” Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of the union, said in a statement.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 10:01 am

Link copied.Santa Ana Unified drops mandatory Covid testing

Santa Ana Unified, which was Orange County’s only school district to mandate Covid-19 testing for all students and staff last year, is ending the requirement this year, the Orange County Register reported.

Last year, the district’s 40,000 students and 5,000 staff members were tested weekly at school sites.

“Vendors don’t get reimbursed by Covid funds. The demand is not as high as it was back then,” district spokesman Fermin Leal said.

In lieu of mandatory testing, the district plans to offer voluntary testing for students and their families, according to the Register.

Michael Burke

Monday, August 8, 2022, 10:34 am

Link copied.25% of students in S.F. Unified chronically absent in 2021-22

Almost a quarter of students in San Francisco Unified missed 18 or more school days in 2021-22, far higher than the national average for chronic absence, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Pacific Islander and Black students had the highest rates of absence. More than 60% of students in each group were chronically absent last year, underscoring the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on different student groups, according to the newspaper. Only 8% of Asian students and 13% of white students were chronically absent.

District-wide, chronic absenteeism nearly doubled from 2019-20, before the pandemic forced school campuses to close. The national average last year was 17%.

“We know the past few years navigating the impacts of the pandemic have been incredibly difficult for students and families,” Jenny Lam, president of the San Francisco Board of Education, told the Examiner. “Students missing significant time from school is an alarm — we need to understand the factors and how to provide students with supports and receive the care they need to learn and succeed.”

Carolyn Jones

Monday, August 8, 2022, 10:34 am

Link copied.High school in Fresno to ban cellphones

In an effort to reduce distractions on campus, Bullard High School in Fresno will ban students from bringing cellphones to school, according to the Fresno Bee.

Students will be allowed to bring their phones on the first day of school, which is next week, but the ban will probably take effect shortly thereafter, the Bee reported. The school administration will roll out a timeline soon.

Not all teachers and families are in favor of the ban. Some expressed concern that phones can be a lifeline during emergencies such as school shootings, and that technology is an important part of education.

The school plans to use phone pouches made by Yondr to collect and keep students’ phones during the school day.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, August 5, 2022, 11:16 am

Link copied.Oakland Unified security clashes with protesters at occupied school site

Videos circulating on social media show Oakland Unified security guards grabbing and shoving protesters at Parker Elementary School, which parents and students have occupied over the summer in protest of its closure.

Parker was one of 11 schools that Oakland Unified’s school board voted in February to either close, merge with another school or reduce the number of grades. Students, educators and families have pushed back against the board’s decision, saying the little if any savings Oakland Unified will see doesn’t outweigh the impact the closures will have on the community.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that two protesters were at the school late afternoon Thursday when security showed up to remove them. They posted on social media what was going on, prompting supporters to show up to the school as well.

Earlier that day, Oakland Unified staff had gone to the school and found that no one was inside the building, district spokesman John Sasaki said, so staff changed the locks and set the alarm. Sasaki said someone “picked, cut, or otherwise broke through a lock to get back inside the building.”

There was then a struggle between security and protesters, during which some of the protesters were injured, the Chronicle reported. One of the protesters was detained by security inside of the building while the others were shut out. Later on, security opened the doors to allow a police officer inside,  and the protesters rushed the door to regain access to the building. Eventually, the security guards left.

Sasaki said the district is concerned about the protesters running an unlicensed child care program at the site, in possibly unsafe conditions. The district urges protesters to “find other ways to safely and peaceably express their concerns.”

 

Ali Tadayon

Friday, August 5, 2022, 9:48 am

Link copied.Covid-19 guidance for schools expected to be relaxed as CDC prepares new recommendations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon update its Covid-19 guidance for schools and beyond, CNN reported. According to CNN, plans include lessening the emphasis on regular screenings at schools as well as relaxing quarantine protocols and focusing less on social distancing.

The plan obtained by CNN, also includes changes to the steps taken when students are exposed to Covid-19. It would remove the recommendation for students to test regularly to remain in the classroom, a recommendation made in December as Omicron case rates were increasing. Rather than continuing to recommend social distancing, the CDC will instead break down what types of areas are considered riskier settings and encourage more ventilation in buildings.

Though the details are not yet final, the plans have already been shown to educators and public health officials and could be publicly released this week.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, August 5, 2022, 9:48 am

Link copied.City of Los Angeles moves toward banning homeless encampments near schools

The City of Los Angeles may no longer allow homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers after a city council vote Tuesday marked by protest on both sides. The 11-3 vote expands the previous ban, which only applied to schools and daycare centers it specified.

The Los Angeles Times reported that there are 750 Los Angeles Unified schools within the limits of the City of Los Angeles, according to LAUSD, and nearly 1,000 commercial day care centers registered with the city.

Another vote will still be needed next week to finalize the ban.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, August 4, 2022, 3:46 pm

Link copied.With financial aid as an incentive, state to begin recruiting 10,000 more school counselors

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced Thursday the state will begin recruiting candidates for 10,000 new school counselors who would nearly double the number in California’s schools in coming years.

The 2022-23 state budget broadened the financial incentives for potential candidates to pursue a master’s degree in counseling and for aspiring counselors to work with an experienced counselor, through a residency program, while pursuing a credential.

Even before the Covid pandemic, there was a shortage of counselors, especially in rural schools and those serving Latino and Black students, Thurmond said. Now, he said, “there’s been a rise in depression, an increase in anxiety, an increase in visits to emergency rooms and hospitals among students. We are setting out to find ways to meet the social and emotional needs of our students so that we can continue to support their learning.”

In the early 2000s, California had the highest student-to-counselor ratio in the nation, about 1,000-to-1. With increased state funding, many districts made counseling a priority, and the ratio declined to 572 students per counselor in 2020-21, according to the American High School Counselor Association. That’s still fifth-highest in the nation and a third higher than the national average of 415-to-1. The association recommends 215 students per counselor, a ratio only Vermont and New Hampshire have attained.

Thurmond acknowledged that doubling the number of counselors is a long-term goal, and higher education programs currently may not be able to meet the demand. But he said he is working with California State University, the University of California and private colleges and universities to expand opportunities for internships and degrees over the next several years.

Thurmond is hoping more financial aid will expand the number of candidates. The Golden State Teacher Grant Program, which provides $20,000 in tuition and expenses, will now be available to those pursuing a master’s in counseling, with the requirement that recipients agree to work at least two years in California public schools. The Legislature this year appropriated $184 million for counselor residencies, to partially cover the salary of an aspiring counselor who is being mentored for a year while pursuing a credential.

Applications for the programs, administered by the California Student Aid Commission, will be available soon. Meanwhile, those interested can find out more by writing the California Department of Education at MHCounselors@cde.ca.gov 

John Fensterwald

Thursday, August 4, 2022, 10:14 am

Link copied.Daisy Gonzales named interim chancellor of California Community Colleges

Daisy Gonzales has been named the interim chancellor of California’s 116-community college system.

Gonzales, the deputy chancellor of the system, will serve in the role while the system’s Board of Governors conducts a search for a permanent chancellor. Eloy Ortiz Oakley vacated the position last week after serving in the role since 2016.

Gonzales previously filled in as acting chancellor last year while Oakley took a sabbatical to work in the Biden administration. Her term as interim chancellor will last up to 12 months while the board conducts its search.

“California’s 116 colleges are the entryway to higher education for the majority of Californians. I am grateful and humbled by the Board of Governors’ support and confidence to continue to serve our students,” Gonzales said in a statement Thursday.

Michael Burke

Thursday, August 4, 2022, 10:13 am

Link copied.Protesters force stop to UC Berkeley construction of student housing at People’s Park

Protesters cut through a fence and overran construction on the site of People’s Park on Wednesday, forcing UC Berkeley to halt work on a student-housing project, the news site  Berkeleyside reported.

Brandon Mendoza, an activist with a group called Defend People’s Park who has been protesting at the location since early Wednesday, said activists are prepared to occupy the park for as long as it takes to end UC Berkeley development on the site.

University officials announced they were pausing work on the long-awaited project that would provide housing to 1,100 students. It was not immediately clear Thursday morning when work would resume.

The site of numerous protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, the park, which the university owns, is considered historic by protesters.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof told Berkeleyside that the university would prioritize safety with all ongoing construction.

EdSource staff

Thursday, August 4, 2022, 9:55 am

Link copied.Security gate at Stockton high school was unmanned when student was slain, newspaper reports

A security checkpoint at Stockton’s Stagg High School was unmanned on April 18 when a man entered the school grounds and allegedly stabbed a student to death, the Stockton Record reported Thursday.

Two Stockton Unified School District police officers were working at the school that day, according to the newspaper, but four of seven security guards were off for various reasons. The Record’s report was based on a review of public records.

A recently hired consultant told Stockton Unified board members last month that their school site safety plans are outdated or out of compliance with state law, the Record reported.

Parents of the child who was killed, 15-year-old Alycia Reynaga, are planning to sue the district.

Her alleged killer, Anthony Gray, is facing charges of murder, injuring a child and possessing a weapon on school grounds. He is scheduled for trial in October.

EdSource staff

Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 7:08 pm

Link copied.Best and brightest in STEM under 16 include 3 California students

Through a nationwide search, The 74, an education news site, has named this year’s 16 students under 16 who excel in science, technology, engineering and math. Three of those brilliant STEM students live in California.

The independent panel of judges used three criteria: creativity — “the ability to design something new and disruptive”; change-making — “the capacity to inspire change in others and within their community”’; and resilience – “the ability to persevere by using challenges as opportunities for growth and move forward despite difficulties along the way.”

You can read about all 16 here. Here’s a quick look at the three Californians.

Helena Donato-Sapp, 12, who attends the Westerly School of Long Beach, has published scholarly pieces in peer-reviewed journals and is a regular speaker in college teacher credentialing programs where she talks about the importance of young people tackling tough topics. Born at 27 weeks, she had heart surgery at 10 days old and medical issues early in life. Her current research topics include reflections and research on Black girlhood and disability justice. Because of her own learning disabilities, she has leaned toward technology and her love of film to show her teachers deeper comprehension of her content.

After recovering from being hospitalized twice for exposure to life-threatening food allergies to eggs, nuts and seafood, Zidaan Kapoor, 15, of Redwood City, researched food allergy anxiety and spent the bulk of this year developing an app, Fight Fears, to address mental health issues around food allergies and intolerances. Fight Fears aims to help young people tackle their food anxieties with visual animations, interactive games and progress checks to tackle the stress of eating out. Zidaan, who is home-schooled,  funded the app with income he generated from a math and chess tutoring business that he started in the seventh grade for students ranging in age from 3 to 18.

In 2020, Cloris Shi, 15, who attends Troy High School in Fullerton, used machine learning methods to analyze the mutations of the receptor-binding domain of six different coronaviruses. For her project, in which she created an algorithm able to predict genetic linkages between species of coronavirus as well as variants within a species, she was awarded a scholarship by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Cloris also founded her school’s chapter of STEAM for All, which fosters interest in STEAM among elementary and middle school students. Cloris’s club has more than 200 fully trained volunteers engaging 3,000 student participants.

John Fensterwald

Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 9:26 am

Link copied.Long Beach child likely to be fifth in U.S. to contract monkeypox

Preliminary tests show that a Long Beach child has contracted monkeypox, announced the City of Long Beach Department in a press release Tuesday.

Tests indicated that the child tested positive for orthopoxvirus, associated with smallpox, monkeypox, cowpox and vaccinia virus. The Centers for Disease Control are conducting additional tests to confirm the monkeypox diagnosis.

The monkeypox outbreak has spread across several countries, including the United States. The viral disease usually last two to four weeks and is seldom fatal.

The child was symptomatic, but has recovered, according to the city.

“This is a reminder that everyone, regardless of age or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox if they come into contact with the virus,” stated the announcement.

The virus is spread through close or prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including hugging and kissing. It can also spread through contaminated materials such as cups, utensils, bedding, clothing and towels, according to the city’s health department.

People with monkeypox should follow the CDC’s guidance for limiting transmission in the home.

Symptoms of monkeypox typically include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.
Diana Lambert

Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 7:33 am

Link copied.Database will track efforts to ban teaching about racism in schools

UCLA School of law has launched a new database to track and analyze legislation, regulations and administrative efforts to undermine the teaching of race and racism in schools.

Local school boards, state legislatures and federal officials have discussed or adopted measures banning the teaching of critical race theory, the study of systemic racism in law, policy and society.

The term has been used incorrectly in some cases to affect plans to teach ethnic studies, according to a news release from UCLA Law.

“The project was created to help people understand the breadth of the attacks on the ability to speak truthfully about race and racism through the campaigns against CRT,” said Taifha Natalee Alexander, project director of CRT Forward.

The Critical Race Forward Tracking Project is the first in the United States to identify and analyze these efforts.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 12:02 am

Link copied.Report looks at LAUSD’s last 16 years of school board resolutions

A new report from GPSN brings insight into the voting and passage of Los Angeles Unified school board resolutions over the last 16 years. The report, which covers the complete terms of all sitting board members, recommends advocates take a deeper look back at the efforts they have pushed forward to ensure the district follows through on implementation and suggests the school board create a more transparent process for that implementation. The report comes as the district embarks on a new strategic plan outlining its goals for the next four years.

“Policy passage doesn’t lead to implementation,” GPSN managing director Ana Teresa Dahan said. “A lot of the resolutions really didn’t focus on implementation. They were really focused on saying, here is a problem. Let’s go study it.”

Resolutions, meant to guide district priorities and decide angles of approach, have varied in use from year to year. Annually, the number has ranged from 31 to 118, totaling 1,151 since 2006 with 83% passed. The report recommends that the board use resolutions more sparingly to turn the focus toward accountability and implementation through stakeholder engagement and new reporting mechanisms.

Many of the board’s resolutions have been celebratory, according to the report, followed in number by those related to health, and appointments and reappointments. Across the last 16 years, board members have typically voted as a uniform block, something GPSN has found to have increased as time has passed. Just over two-thirds of the policies in that time span received unanimous support from the board members.

“The challenge board members have is, because they’re elected they have to show some wins for their constituents too. I think resolutions provide them that opportunity,” Dahan said. “It’s a balancing act.”

Under LAUSD’s approach to equity, the school board has passed resolutions focused on targeting specific subgroups to close achievement gaps and allocating funding equitably based on student need, according to the report. Resolutions have largely involved expanding access to resources, outlining goals and increasing teacher support. Recent resolutions have largely focused on the district’s Black student population, providing new support through efforts such as the Black Student Achievement plan, which used funding pulled from the Los Angeles School Police.

Funding for the board’s efforts has largely been approached based on school sites or on student populations. LAUSD experienced its most significant shift in funding strategy in 2014, following the creation of the Student Equity Needs Index, meant to inform funding by categorizing schools based on student need. That change led to a shift toward distributing funding by school site rather than by student population, according to the report. As the board passes resolutions involving funding, it has also largely focused on allocating supplemental funding rather than replacing or redirecting funding streams that already exist.

With regard to staffing, many of the board’s resolutions focused largely on recruitment, 92% of which led to substantive changes around staffing as a result of shortages the district has faced. More than half were passed to authorize emergency credentialed teachers. Those addressing retention focused largely on incentivizing teachers and administrators to stay in the district.

Though the report does not analyze the effectiveness of implementation of the resolutions, it provides a database of resolutions made across the last 16 years, which Dahan said GPSN hopes community members will use to hold the district accountable for matters that are important to them.

Kate Sequeira

Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 3:46 pm

Link copied.LAUSD students to start school year without mask mandate

Los Angeles Unified announced it will not require students to wear masks this school year but maintains that they are strongly recommended. The decision follows Los Angeles County Public Health’s decision to delay its indoor mask mandate as Covid-19 case rates and hospitalizations began to slow. 

“We’re very happy over the fact that after a significant increase in Covid cases in our community, there has been a plateau and now a significant decrease in the cases in our community,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a news conference last week. “That bodes well for a smooth reopening of schools on Aug. 15.”

This comes as the district is relaxing its Covid-19 protocols for the upcoming school year. Students will no longer be required to test weekly. Rather, only those exhibiting symptoms and those who are in close contact with someone who tests positive will be required to test using an at-home antigen test. The district is, however, distributing at-home antigen tests to students and staff to use within 48 hours of the first day of school and will distribute another batch to students to test again before the second week.

Students will also no longer be required to use the QR code generated by the Daily Pass system each day to enter school sites. However, the Daily Pass system will still be used for health screening questions, to keep track of positive tests, to notify close contacts and to upload vaccination records. 

As LAUSD rolls back Covid-19 requirements, it is also investing more in sanitation and ventilation efforts. The district is planning to disinfect high-touch surfaces twice a day and have HVAC systems operating 24/7. It is also investing in additional custodial support, tools and supplies to ensure Covid-19 safety, including an annual investment of $20 million to maintain upgraded air filtration systems.

According to Carvalho, the district has an excess of 2 million antigen tests that will be available throughout the year for those who request them, along with surgical masks. Students who do not exhibit Covid-19 symptoms will not be required to quarantine, despite being in close contact with someone who tests positive. Those who do test positive may return to school on day five if they are asymptomatic and are encouraged to continue wearing a mask for 10 days following exhibition of symptoms or a positive test.

Kate Sequeira

Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 10:08 am

Link copied.Average first-year college students not on track to graduate in five years

The average full-time college first-year student is not on track to complete a bachelor’s degree in five years, according to a new report released yesterday by the National Student Research Clearinghouse.

Only 51% of full-time students earned 24 or more credits in their first year nationally, while only 28% earned 30 or more credits. The clearinghouse also found that, on average, students earn nine credits for every 12 credits they attempt.

Although, for the purposes of financial aid, the federal government determines full-time status as 12 credits per semester, students typically must take at least 15 credits a semester or 30 credits a year to earn a bachelor’s degree within four years.

The report found that the “average full-time student does not even attempt enough credits to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years.” Students typically attempted fewer than 27 credits and earned fewer than 22.

EdSource staff

Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 10:07 am

Link copied.First Latino LAUSD board member Julian Nava dies at 95

Julian Nava, the first Latino school board member for the Los Angeles Unified school district who later went on to become the first Mexican-American U.S. ambassador to Mexico under President Jimmy Carter, died last week at age 95.

Current Los Angeles Unified leaders and school board members honored Nava as a trailblazer, and champion for the Latino community. Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano wrote that Nava “paved paths for the waves of Latino politicians across Southern California that followed him in education, elected office, diplomacy and beyond by working within systems that had long excluded people like them.”

“The life and legacy of Dr. Julian Nava will continue through the lives of our students,” Local District Central Superintendent Frances Baez said in a news release from LAUSD. “Due to his accomplishments, generations of students have walked through the doors he fearlessly broke through.”

Ali Tadayon

Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 9:37 am

Link copied.Research shows college vaccine mandates helped reduce deaths

Vaccine mandates at colleges and universities in the U.S. resulted in fewer Covid-19 cases and deaths in 2021 fall semester, according to a new working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, an economist group which decides whether or not the country is in a recession, analyzed data from colleges and universities that required their students and staff get vaccinated for Covid as well as colleges and universities that didn’t have vaccine mandates.

The group found that college vaccine mandates reduced new COVID-19 cases by 339 per 100,000 residents in the counties they were located in. New deaths dropped by 5.4 per 100,000 residents in those counties.

The NBER estimates that college vaccine mandates reduced total US Covid-19 deaths in autumn 2021 by about 5%.

Ali Tadayon

Monday, August 1, 2022, 10:34 am

Link copied.Thousands of students missing from LAUSD as new school year approaches

Between 10,000 and 20,000 students are missing from Los Angeles Unified as the first day of school nears. The district is navigating the issue as it also grapples with declining enrollment made worse by the pandemic. LAUSD expects enrollment to decline by another 28% by 2030.

Officials are working on connecting with those students to bring them back to the classroom. Most are among the early grade levels, according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

“We have new strategies to bring kids back into our school system,” he said at a news conference Friday. “Those include new innovative programs, new technologies, better transportation, reduced class sizes. We are making a strong case appealing to parents across LAUSD.”

Carvalho and 25 members of his staff have reached out to chronically absent students and their families in an attempt to address the problem, according to the L.A. Times. The district is dealing with it as LAUSD continues to grapple with worsening daily attendance, in part due to Covid-19 quarantines.

LAUSD is entering the school year with fewer pandemic restrictions this year. Students will not be required to quarantine if they do not show symptoms and will no longer be tested on a weekly basis.

Kate Sequeira

Monday, August 1, 2022, 10:28 am

Link copied.More teachers across U.S. expected to carry gun when schools open

As schools prepare to open across the country, more teachers will be carrying handguns when they head into classrooms in the wake of the massacre at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, the New York Times reported Sunday.

A decade ago, it was extremely rare for everyday school employees to carry guns. Today, after a seemingly endless series of mass shootings, the strategy has become a leading solution promoted by Republicans and gun rights advocates, who say that allowing teachers, principals and superintendents to be armed gives schools a fighting chance in case of attack, the Times reported.

One teacher in Ohio decided the can of wasp spray she kept in her desk to counter an attacker wasn’t enough and bought a 9-mm handgun, the Times reported.

At least 29 states allow individuals other than police or security officials to carry guns on school grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As of 2018, the last year for which statistics were available, federal survey data estimated that 2.6% of public schools had armed faculty.

The count has likely grown, the Times reported. California does not allow school personnel other than police officers to carry guns in schools.

EdSource staff

Monday, August 1, 2022, 9:52 am

Link copied.Judge throws out S.F. law allowing non-citizens to vote in school board elections

A judge has thrown out San Francisco’s practice of allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in school board elections.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer, in a decision released Friday, found that noncitizen voting violated the state constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. He struck down a city ordinance that allowed it.

“Transcendent law of California, the Constitution … reserves the right to vote to a United States citizen, contrary to (the) San Francisco ordinance,” Ulmer said in a ruling that prohibits the city from enforcing the ordinance or counting noncitizens’ votes, the Chronicle reported.

The ordinance, the first of its kind in the state, was approved by city voters as Proposition N in 2016 and took effect in 2018.  The Board of Supervisors extended it indefinitely in 2021. It allows noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants and legal residents, to vote for school board candidates if they are a parent or guardian of a school-age child and are not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

The ordinance was challenged by conservative groups.  There was no immediate word on whether the city would appeal.

EdSource staff

Friday, July 29, 2022, 8:21 am

Link copied.Inflation Reduction Act falls short on child care crisis, some say

The energy, tax and health care bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 extends Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidies that were set to expire this year. The bill reduces prescription drug costs, continues premium subsidies for three more years, makes the tax code fairer and takes steps to address the climate emergency, as Forbes reported.

However, it’s also a stripped-down version of the Build Back Better bill that Democrats proposed last year, and the revisions are disappointing to many who had hoped for a potential solution to the child care crisis.

“It’s been a long, arduous journey to the budget reconciliation bill announced late yesterday, but one thing has been constant throughout many months of this debate,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of the advocacy group MomsRising, as Forbes reported. “Despite some important advances, lawmakers have a lot of work still to do for our country’s women and families.”

Rowe-Finkbeiner believes a stronger child care infrastructure, including monthly child tax credit payments, is the key to helping families make ends meet amid inflation, supply chain shortages and fears of recession.

Karen D'Souza

Friday, July 29, 2022, 8:20 am

Link copied.Education is worth getting into debt for most parents, survey shows

Roughly 7 in 10 parents say their child’s education is worth going into debt for, according to the latest survey from the personal finance website WalletHub.

Despite the sharp pressures of rising inflation and tight budgets, families are willing to shell out for the things that matter, like education.

“Parents want to help their kids as much as possible and a good education is a dependable road to a solid career,” said Delaney Simchuk, a WalletHub analyst. “Parents should simply not forget that they are financial role models, and putting themselves in a precarious position could actually jeopardize their kids’ future.”

Indeed, almost 66% of parents say the pandemic has changed the way they plan to spend money on education. Equity is also a key concern as roughly 8 in 10 parents think all school districts should get equal funding per student.

Families also think that financial savvy should be taught in schools. About 86% of parents think financial literacy should be part of the core curriculum, right alongside math and reading.

Money is top of mind for many families, who are most concerned about graduation rates and the state of the job market upon graduation.

 

Karen D'Souza

Thursday, July 28, 2022, 10:29 am

Link copied.Staff at Bay Area charter school network joins IWW union

Caliber Public Schools, with 1,700 students at campuses in Richmond and Vallejo, recently recognized a new union formed by its teachers and staff, according to the Vallejo Sun.

The union is part of the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies. According to the Sun, workers at Caliber are the first in the U.S. to join the IWW.

The Caliber charter school network includes two TK-8 campuses and is expanding. Teachers said they wanted to unionize to have more input in how the schools are run, to reduce class sizes and otherwise improve working conditions.

Carolyn Jones

Thursday, July 28, 2022, 9:58 am

Link copied.Former teacher in San Gabriel Valley awarded $25 million in retaliation suit

A former teacher in Bassett Unified in Los Angeles County was awarded nearly $25 million in a lawsuit claiming the district wrongfully terminated him in 2019, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The teacher, who is Black, claimed the district fired him in retaliation for a previous suit he brought related to racial discrimination, as well as for an incident in 2017 when he spoke out about a district custodian who had been charged with sexual misconduct involving students at a middle school, the newspaper reported.

In the first lawsuit, which settled in 2017, the teacher claimed that the district failed to take action after students who called him the “N-word” and other racial slurs, and wrongfully disciplined him for calling the sheriff — instead of district security — when a student threatened violence.

The district claimed that the teacher was terminated for leaving school early on the last day of summer school in 2017, according to the newspaper.

Carolyn Jones

Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 8:52 am

Link copied.Cal State San Marcos hid professors’ sexual harassment

A new L.A. Times investigation found that Cal State San Marcos agreed to keep findings of sexual harassment by two professors private.

One professor allegedly “insinuated to a female student that he was turned on and started kissing her neck,” according to the paper. Another professor “pinned a female student’s arms to her side, lowered his hands to her back and pressed his groin against her hips.”

Although the professors denied the claims, the campus Title IX office concluded that their accounts were not credible. But instead of disciplining the professors, Cal State San Marcos allowed them to resign voluntarily with paid administrative leave and agreed not to volunteer the information to prospective employers.

The university also expunged records of disciplinary action from one professor’s file, according to the paper.

EdSource staff

Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 8:52 am

Link copied.Fresno school district removes name of former president Polk from school

The school board of Central Unified School District in Fresno voted 4-2 Tuesday to rename former James K. Polk Elementary School, now called Central Elementary School.

The decision came after a tense debate, according to the Fresno Bee.

One year ago, student Malachi Suarez, 11, led a movement to rename Polk Elementary because the former president owned slaves and authorized the Mexican-American War. Malachi gathered 1,500 signatures in favor and made a poster that said “James K. Polk was racist,” which was torn down by a parent, according to the Bee.

 

EdSource staff

Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 10:39 am

Link copied.Student loan servicers told not to contact borrowers ahead of payment pause deadline

About a month ahead of the scheduled end to the moratorium on student loan repayment that’s been in place since March 2020, loan servicers have been instructed by the federal government in recent weeks to not contact borrowers about resuming payments, a trade group official told NBC News on Monday.

President Joe Biden has been considering whether to extend the moratorium again after the Aug. 31 deadline, while at the same time teasing the announcement of a student loan forgiveness plan. The Washington Post, in May, reported that Biden plans to cancel $10,000 in student debt for people who earned less than $150,000 the previous year, citing anonymous White House insiders. On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to cancel a minimum of $10,000 of student debt per person.

A White House official told NBC News that “no decision has been made” about whether to extend the deadline, but some speculate that the Department of Education’s instruction to loan servicers is a sign that the deadline will be extended past Aug. 31.

 

Ali Tadayon

Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 10:38 am

Link copied.Fontana Unified superintendent resigns amid investigation into school police detective

Five-year Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett resigned abruptly last week amid an administrative investigation into allegations that Fontana School Police Det. David Wibert acted violently and inappropriately with students, the Daily Bulletin reported.

The Fontana Unified Board of Education voted July 20 to approve Bassett’s resignation agreement “for the purpose of retirement,” according to the Daily Bulletin. His retirement package includes 11 months of salary and benefits, plus medical benefits for eight years; he was making $250,000 a year in base pay and $328,231 in total compensation as of 2020, according to Transparent California.

Wibert was up for a promotion in April when his fellow school police officers sent a letter to Bassett accusing Wibert of threatening students, carrying brass knuckles while on duty, slashing students’ bicycle tires and hitting students over the span of 10 years. The letter also alleged that the incidents were reported to superiors by other officers, but in each case, the complaints were either ignored or determined to be unfounded, the Daily Bulletin reported. Complaining officers believe the conduct was swept under the rug because of Wibert’s and his family’s influence on Fontana Unified’s administration.

Wibert has been on paid leave since early April.

Ali Tadayon

Monday, July 25, 2022, 10:48 am

Link copied.Oakley bids farewell to California Community Colleges in final board meeting

Eloy Ortiz Oakley bade farewell Monday to California’s community colleges during his final board of governors meeting as chancellor of the 116-college system.

“It’s sort of weird to say that this is my last board meeting in the California Community Colleges because I’ve been to a lot of board meetings. As many of you know, I’m a product of the California Community Colleges,” Oakley said as he addressed the board for the final time.

Oakley’s journey at the college system began more than 30 years ago when he enrolled at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. He said he was lucky enough to walk onto the campus, pick up a class schedule and “run into the right people.”

“Thirty some-odd years later, here I am. It’s been an amazing journey,” he said.

Oakley officially plans to step down from the college system on Aug. 1, when he will become president of the College Futures Foundation.

Oakley was named chancellor of the community college system in 2016, and he said Monday that “a lot has changed” since then. He said he never expected a global pandemic that would disrupt higher education. He also did not anticipate “a secretary of education who was hellbent on destroying public education,” seemingly referring to Betsy DeVos, the former U.S. secretary of education who was confirmed to the position in 2017 after being nominated by then-President Donald Trump.

“But what kept me coming to work was the amazing resilience that I saw on the faces of our students,” he added. “Every time one of these challenges came up, it was the students who kept me coming back to work because their resiliency, their determination is what this is all about. It’s what this work is all about.”

Michael Burke

Monday, July 25, 2022, 10:46 am

Link copied.New chair of UC Board of Regents talks about creating ‘satellite campuses’

The new chair of the University of California Board of Regents, Rich Leib, spoke favorably recently of expanding UC San Diego further south into Chula Vista.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune,  Lieb suggested the idea of “satellite campuses” to allow for existing UC campuses to “expand beyond their current physical campuses.” Such expansions could offer a potential solution to the issue of capacity, he said in the interview.

Lieb also suggested collaborating with the California State University and California Community College systems, offering Sacramento City College’s branch of UC Davis as an example.

Lieb was appointed as a regent by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018 and will serve until 2026. He is one of 26 members who are part of the UC Board of Regents.

Betty Márquez Rosales

Monday, July 25, 2022, 10:24 am

Link copied.L.A. school enjoys first summer with cooler, green spaces

In the San Fernando Valley city of Pacoima, a Los Angeles Unified school is enjoying its first summer with cooler, green spaces that have replaced their “heat-radiating” asphalt playground, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The Vaughn Early Education Center in the working-class city is part of a school district initiative to create more green spaces that will provide nature-based learning opportunities while helping to lower temperatures.

Students attending the school are currently part of a six-week gardening curriculum and will soon begin learning about recycling.

According to the news article by the Los Angeles Daily News, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho “said the fact that some students – and staff – are relegated indoors due to extreme heat makes it paramount to address the inequities between neighborhoods and schools.”

Betty Márquez Rosales

Friday, July 22, 2022, 7:33 am

Link copied.Grand jury indicts school and staffers in death of boy with autism

A criminal grand jury in El Dorado County indicted a former special-needs school and three of its staffers, in the 2018 death of a 13-year-old boy with autism.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the former site administrator, the principal and a teacher are accused of holding a student, Max Benson, face-down for almost two hours. Max suffered fatal brain damage during the incident.

Each of the three staffers was charged with involuntary manslaughter. They are due back in court for a trial-setting conference in September.

The El Dorado Hills school, Guiding Hands, closed after the incident, and a new special-needs school opened on the site.

EdSource staff

Friday, July 22, 2022, 7:32 am

Link copied.Sacramento to put youth funding measure back on the ballot

Sacramento voters will see a familiar measure on their ballots in November — to require the city to fund more youth programs.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, similar measures were on the ballot — and lost — in Sacramento in 2016 and in 2020, but this time, instead of using money from the city’s general fund, the measure would use 40% of cannabis tax revenue.

Another big difference this time:— SacramentoMmayor Darrell Steinberg supports this measure, whereas he opposed the last one.

Several cities and counties in California have attempted to pass measures to put aside a portion of tax revenue for children or youth, with uneven results.

 

EdSource staff

Thursday, July 21, 2022, 11:32 am

Link copied.San Francisco leaders call for new school board member to resign after racist remark

San Francisco officials are calling for the resignation of a school board member who made a racist comment, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton called for Ann Hsu to step down immediately, despite an apology for claiming Black and brown parents do not encourage their children to focus on or value learning.

“Yeah sure, thank you for the apology, but at the end of the day this is probably reflective of how a person really feels,” Walton said. “It’s disheartening that someone like that is in a position to make decisions for our children.”

Hsu was appointed by Mayor London Breed in March after the successful recall of three school board members. Breed commented on the controversy Wednesday, saying Hsu’s words were “wrong and hurtful,” but did not call for her resignation.

Hsu apologized on social media Tuesday, admitting the comments were “inherently biased” and perpetuated biases.

She said she was “committed to listening, learning and growing as a person.”

EdSource staff

Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 11:05 am

Link copied.Students regained lost ground last year, but disparities widened

New research shows that students have regained the ground they lost over the pandemic over the last year, but achievement gaps have widened, and the progress students made was lower than it would have been in a typical year.

The Northwest Evaluation Association compared data from 8.3 million students nationwide on MAP Growth assessments in reading and math between the 2018-19 and 2021-22 school years, and the 2015-16 and 2018-19.

Some of the findings were encouraging. NWEA found strong evidence of rebounding, particularly in math and among younger students. There was a sign of recovery among all poverty levels.

Those findings were tempered by research showing that student achievement at the end of the 2021-22 school year was still below a typical year. Students had declined 5 to 10 percentile points in math and 2-4 points in reading. Low-poverty schools will have less ground to make up and will likely recover faster.

Those hardest hit by the impacts of the pandemic have made gains, but the achievement disparities affecting Latino, Black and American Indian or Native Alaskan students have only widened since the pandemic began.

The report finds that repeated surges of COVID stressed school systems — creating staff shortages, high rates of absenteeism and school closures — thwarting hopes of a stronger year of recovery.

Emma Gallegos