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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 which 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 protestors 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

Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 9:59 am

Link copied.New federal guidance warns punishing students with disabilities could be discriminatory

New federal guidance warns schools that certain disciplinary measures taken against students with disabilities could violate their right to a free, appropriate education.

The guidance released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights states says “many students with disabilities face discipline because they are not receiving the support, services, interventions, strategies, and modifications to school or district policies that they need to manage their disability-based behavior.”

The guidance adds that students with disabilities are “unnecessarily disciplined more severely than students without disabilities for the same or similar behavior.”

The sweeping guidance took aim at disciplinary practices, such as the use of restraints or seclusion, and other exclusionary practices, such as barring a student from a field trip. It also warns that disciplinary policies that may appear neutral may have the effect of discrimination. A policy requiring students not to interrupt others speaking may, for example, not be applied the same way to a student with ADHD.

The U.S. Education Department also warned against practices that shorten the length of a student’s day, such as removing a student from a classroom, sending the student home early or expelling them. The office writes that removing a student from the classroom more than 10 school days constitutes a “significant change in placement” and a “pattern of removal.” The department writes that it is necessary to convene a Section 504 team to determine if a student with disabilities needs additional services or an evaluation.

The guidance states that “many students with disabilities are subjected to discrimination based on their disability when being disciplined, such as when students with disabilities are unnecessarily disciplined more severely than students without disabilities for the same or similar behavior.”

Emma Gallegos

Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 11:43 am

Link copied.UC Berkeley to introduce four-year undergraduate business program

UC Berkeley will begin enrolling for its first four-year undergraduate business program starting 2024, the university announced Tuesday.

The four-year program will replace the existing two-year program through the Haas School of Business, and was made possible by a $30 million donation from Haas alumnus Warren “Ned” Spieker and his wife, Carol Spieker. Ned Spieker is the founder and former CEO of Spieker Properties, one of the largest commercial property owners in the U.S.

In honor of Spieker, the university is naming the four-year program the Spieker Undergraduate Business Program.

In the past, undergraduates would enroll in the business program as sophomores. Starting in 2024, students can enroll directly in the Haas Business School as freshmen, which university officials said will “give them an additional two years for deeper learning, including career development, study abroad opportunities, entrepreneurship programs, capstone projects, mentorship engagements and internships.”

Ali Tadayon

Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 10:49 am

Link copied.New San Francisco Unified board members pledge focus on academic performance

After three of San Francisco Unified’s seven school board members were ousted in a recall election last month and three new ones were appointed by Mayor London Breed, the district’s new board pledges to spend 50% of board meetings on topics related to student outcomes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The board and the district’s new superintendent also promised to set specific academic performance goals by October. They have already begun working on the goals and plan to share a draft document with the public in the coming weeks, according to the Chronicle. The district anticipates the goals will be up for final approval by the school board on Oct. 25.

Ali Tadayon

Monday, July 18, 2022, 11:22 am

Link copied.Some college, K-12 campuses reinstating mask mandates

Some California universities and school districts are reinstating mask mandates because of the recent surge of Covid-19 cases, according to the Los Angeles Times.

UC Irvine made wearing masks on campus mandatory beginning today because Orange County moved into the “high community transmission” level, according to the school’s website, Everyone on the campus will be required to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. UCLA reinstated its mask mandate during the summer and extended it indefinitely, according to the Los Angeles Times.

University campuses aren’t the only ones to reinstate mask mandates. San Diego Unified students will be required to wear masks again beginning today. District officials announced in May that masking would return if the county once again had a “high level” of Covid infections.

EdSource staff

Monday, July 18, 2022, 11:19 am

Link copied.National financial aid applications from high schoolers increase

As of July 1, national high school financial aid application completions are up 4.6% from last year, representing about 92,000 additional applications according to a report released earlier this month by the National College Attainment Network, or NCAN.

The nonprofit research organization found only 11 states had fewer completions of the Federal Application for Free Student Aid, or FAFSA this year. Other states like New Mexico and Mississippi saw gains, including California with a 6.6% increase this year compared with last year. However, Texas and Alabama saw significant increases in application completions after those states started universal FAFSA policies for the first time this academic year. The Texas completion rate increased by nearly 26%, and Alabama by about 25%.

The coronavirus pandemic caused FAFSA application completion rates to drop over the past two years, but FAFSA estimates that about 52.1% of the Class of 2022 completed the application, short of the Class of 2019 by only 1.7%.

The data is from NCAN’s Form Your Future FAFSA Tracker, which tracks competition data and is updated weekly with national, state, city, district and school level information.

Ashley A. Smith

Monday, July 18, 2022, 10:41 am

Link copied.Judge temporarily blocks Title IX protections for transgender students

A federal judge in Tennessee on Friday issued a temporary injunction stopping the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing Title IX guidance that protects transgender students from discrimination, according to Politico.

Judge Charles Atchley, a Trump appointee, sided with a coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general who had sued the Department of Education, claiming that the guidance conflicts with state and local laws that restrict transgender students from using bathrooms, participating on athletic teams or engaging in other activities that match their gender identity. They also argued that the Department of Education cannot force schools to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns.

“As it currently stands, plaintiffs must choose between the threat of legal consequences — enforcement action, civil penalties, and the withholding of federal funding — or altering their state laws to ensure compliance with the guidance and avoid such adverse action,” Atchley wrote.

The Department of Education issued its new guidance on transgender students in June.

Advocates for LGBTQ youth blasted the ruling, saying it endangers students who are already vulnerable. Suicide attempts among LGBTQ people who’ve been harassed, threatened or discriminated against were twice that of LGBTQ people who hadn’t experienced that level of harm, according to research by the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth advocacy group.

“This ruling will leave marginalized youth, particularly transgender youth, open to discrimination in the places they spend most of their waking hours,” said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project. “Nondiscrimination protections save lives. This ruling will not stand, and we will continue our work to ensure young LGBTQ people are protected in every way, in every community.”

 

Carolyn Jones

Monday, July 18, 2022, 9:58 am

Link copied.S.F. Art Institute to close after merger falls through

San Francisco Art Institute, a prestigious 151-year-old fine arts college whose alumni include Annie Leibovitz, Mark Rothko and director Kathryn Bigelow, announced it would close after a proposed merger with University of San Francisco fell through.

The college, a picturesque, historic campus on Russian Hill, graduated its last class on Tuesday. It will not offer any further courses, and faculty have been dismissed. The college will continue as a nonprofit organization to maintain the school’s archives and campus, which includes a famed mural by Diego Rivera.

University of San Francisco, a Jesuit college, said the proposed merger was not financially feasible, and instead it would expand its own fine arts department, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Art Institute was a mainstay of California’s robust art and film scene. In 1880, the school screened one of the world’s first moving pictures, and in 1945, faculty member Ansel Adams created a fine arts photography department, one of the world’s first, according to the college.

“After years of planning and immeasurable sacrifice by our students, faculty, and staff, it is profoundly lamentable that we are faced now with this present outcome,” said board chair Lonnie Graham. “The board’s goal was to preserve the legacy of one of the last remaining fine arts-only institutions while advancing the course of innovative educational practices that occurs through reciprocity between the students and faculty. … (We) encourage community members to stay connected through SF Artists Alumni, an independent global SFAI art community, and is eternally grateful for our hardworking, dedicated, and exceptionally talented students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

Carolyn Jones

Friday, July 15, 2022, 9:57 am

Link copied.Laney College to offer free fall semester

A community college in Oakland, Laney College, is offering free tuition, books, bus passes and more for the fall semester.

The college announced this week that students who complete either the FAFSA or the California Dream Act applications will have free tuition, free textbooks, free health fees, bus passes, lunch on campus, weekly boxes of produce, and will be able to check out free Chromebook and Wi-Fi hotspots from the library.

“Now more than ever, we must recognize that college costs that go beyond tuition represent barriers to success for so many students, whether they are working adults attending part-time or high school graduates. This Fall is about not only opportunity, but putting students in the best position possible to reach their goals with our support,” said Rudy Besikof, president of Laney College, in a news release.

Zaidee Stavely

Friday, July 15, 2022, 9:36 am

Link copied.U.S. schools highly segregated, despite more diversity

Schools remain highly segregated by race, ethnicity and socioeconomics, a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds.

According to the report, more than a third of students attended a school with a population that was predominantly of the same race or ethnicity, during the 2020-21 school year.

“You have large portions of minority children not only attending essentially segregated schools, but schools that have less resources available to them,” Jackie Nowicki, the director of K-12 education at the GAO and lead author of the report, told NPR.

In addition to neighborhood segregation, the report cites “district secession,” where some schools break away from an existing district to form a new district, as one cause of school segregation.

Zaidee Stavely

Thursday, July 14, 2022, 10:34 am

Link copied.State rejects effort in Walnut Creek to form breakaway school district

An affluent neighborhood in Walnut Creek will not be allowed to secede from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and form its own school district in Contra Costa County, the California State Board of Education decided, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

Residents of the Northgate area of Mt. Diablo district had sought to break away, submitting 6,700 signatures from residents who wanted to vote on the issue in an election, which would have been the final step had the state board decided to uphold the petition. In rejecting it, the state board unanimously affirmed an earlier decision by the Contra Costa County Committee on School District Organization, the Chronicle reported.

The state went along with the county decision largely because the proposal would carve out the highest performing and least diverse schools in Mt. Diablo Unified and adversely affect the remainder of the district. The proposal was also determined to be exclusionary and to promote racial segregation. The proposed Northgate Unified School District would have been 50% white, while the remaining schools in the district would be 25% white, according to the Chronicle.

The report said that the new district would have 9% non-English speakers as opposed to 26% in the remainder of the district. It also said that the creation of a new district was an attempt to isolate Northgate High, which is both the newest and highest-performing high school in the district, from the lesser-performing high schools in Mt. Diablo Unified.

Thomas Peele

Thursday, July 14, 2022, 10:10 am

Link copied.UC Santa Barbara chancellor won’t face charges in alleged campus hit-and-run accident

The California Highway Patrol has recommended UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang not face charges stemming from allegations that Yang drove a car that hit a student skateboarding on the campus and failed to stop, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The student, who suffered minor injuries, identified the chancellor as the driver. But UC Santa Barbara denied this week that Yang’s car hit the student, The Times reported Wednesday. In a statement, the university cited the CHP report saying the investigating officer found no physical evidence on the chancellor’s car of damage or contact that would indicate a collision had occurred. The CHP could not substantiate the hit-and-run allegations or the cause of the collision, citing the lack of independent witnesses, physical evidence on the car, video surveillance and some inconsistencies in statements by the student, the report said.

Yang, 81, has led UC Santa Barbara since 1994, the second longest-serving chancellor in UC history. He had refused to directly speak to investigators about the May 16 incident in which a student alleged that he was struck by the front of the car and rolled across the hood, injuring his right hip and left foot, the CHP report said, according to the Times.

EdSource staff

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 5:34 pm

Link copied.CSU formalizes faculty retreat and closes employment loopholes

The California State University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to create a systemwide policy that gives administrators the opportunity to retreat to a faculty position after they resign or retire.

The policy also allows campuses to revoke retreat rights if an administrator is under investigation for misconduct or there is a finding of misconduct against them.

The new policy also will not allow CSU to provide positive letters of reference, either verbal or written, for any current or former employee who engaged in misconduct that resulted in their firing or if they’re under investigation for misconduct.

“These new policies are important steps that will allow us to better focus on our core mission of improving the lives of Californians through the transformative power of higher education,” interim Chancellor Jolene Koester said.

Faculty retreat has traditionally been used to provide a safety net for professors who leave a tenured position to work in a campus’ senior administration. However, the perk has also been used to hire qualified candidates for positions even if they don’t come from faculty and is typically part of presidential compensation packages.

An EdSource investigation found the use of administrative faculty retreat varies by campus, and in some cases, has allowed administrators to retreat to the faculty despite investigations, allegations of misconduct or disciplinary actions made against them.

Ashley A. Smith

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 2:38 pm

Link copied.CSU trustees vote to remove Nazi sympathizer’s name from Fresno State library

The California State University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to remove the name of a Nazi sympathizer from the Fresno State campus library after a monthslong process of formal requests, investigations and open forums.

The library will be referred to as the Fresno State Library or the Library and the removal of Henry Madden’s name from signage, websites and other locations will begin immediately, according to Fresno State spokesperson Lisa Bell.

A library naming task force will review the CSU naming policy, and the trustees will have to approve any name change. That could take a year or more, according to Bell.

The library was named in 1980 after Madden, the university librarian from 1949 to 1979. When he died in 1982, more than 50 boxes of his papers were sealed for 25 years as a condition of the gift, according to a task force formed to investigate Madden’s anti-Semitic views. It wasn’t until a Fresno State professor’s 2018 book, “Hitler’s American Friends,” was discussed in a history class in 2021 that the views came to light, according to the task force’s findings.

Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval formed a committee made up of professors, students and Jewish community leaders to sift through 100,000 documents and letters from Madden, and they compiled a report after five months recommending the removal of the name.

Madden wrote of a “violent” and “uncontrollable” phobia against Jewish people, and the task force did not find an instance of regret or sympathy as he grew older.

“Since Dr. Madden personally curated the materials before turning them over to the library, he was fully aware of their contents and knowingly included the disturbing letters and documents in the collection,” Jiménez-Sandoval said in a news release from Fresno State on Wednesday.

“While Dr. Madden had the opportunity later in life to reflect on those views, there is no evidence that he renounced those views. It is unfortunate that the undercurrents of his racist views remained palpable throughout his life.”

Ashleigh Panoo

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 11:26 am

Link copied.Sacramento teachers union alleges district engaged in bad-faith bargaining

Sacramento City Unified teachers who went on strike for eight days this spring could get back pay if California’s state labor agency agrees the district engaged in bad-faith bargaining practices, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association filed a charge against the district with the California Public Employment Relations Board in May, and PERB took up the complaint on July 6.

The complaint alleges the district informed teachers that schools would be closed during the strike, but also that they would be required to report to their regular assignments. Employees who went into work from March 23 to April 3, the duration of the strike, were paid, according to the complaint.

After a one-day teacher walkout in 2019, “PERB ultimately found that the district engaged in bad-faith bargaining by giving incentives to substitute teachers to step in during the strike, and ordered the district to pay all teachers who took part in the strike at the rate the substitute teachers were paid,” according to the Bee. This precedent could lead to a teacher payout if PERB finds the district in the wrong.

The complaint also alleges the district engaged in “surface bargaining,” a strategy where one party goes through the motions of bargaining, but has no intention of coming to an agreement.

The district and union could not come to an agreement on how to add back in days that were missed during the strike, and the district is now facing a penalty of up to $47 million for falling short of the minimum number of teaching days in the state, the Bee reported.

Ashleigh Panoo

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 11:25 am

Link copied.GreatSchools won’t be using 2020 or 2021 testing data in its ratings

GreatSchools, the Oakland-based website that rates K-12 public schools nationally, announced that it will not be using testing data from 2020 or 2021.

“The cancellation of standardized testing in 2020 and the partial resumption in 2021 has produced two years of nonexistent or, at best, incomplete data,” wrote Orville Jackson, vice president of data strategy at GreatSchools, in a piece for The 74.

Student participation in testing varied widely from state to state from 97% in Mississippi to 23% in California, Jackson noted. Even in states where there was high participation in testing, it has not been clear which groups are represented. GreatSchools was concerned that highest-need students, who suffered most from pandemic learning disruptions, may not be represented well or at all in the data.

2019 testing data is the most recent available on its popular if controversial school profiles for now, but the company says it plans to use 2022 testing data when it arrives. Jackson notes that GreatSchools has been incorporating more recent school data in its profiles on subjects such as school climate.

GreatSchools said it is calling on state education agencies to prioritize school climate data and also to disaggregate testing data as it arrives.

“Combining reliable and valid outcomes data — particularly data rooted in equity — and new information about climate, school practices and parent perspectives will give parents more of what they need to obtain a better picture of school quality today,” Jackson wrote.

Emma Gallegos

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 9:24 am

Link copied.New president appointed to CSU Monterey Bay

The California State University Board of Trustees announced Wednesday that Vanya Quiñones would become the fourth president of the CSU Monterey Bay campus.

Quiñones is currently a provost and executive vice president for academic affairs a Pace University in New York. Her presidency will begin Aug. 15.

“Earning a degree from CSUMB is a transformative experience that leads to life-changing opportunities for students and their families,” Quiñones said. “I am honored by this opportunity and eager to collaborate with the talented faculty, staff, administrators, students and all members of the CSUMB community as we collectively work to provide even greater access to a high-quality education and improve the achievement of our talented and diverse students.”

Quiñones is a neurobiologist and biopsychologist. She’s spent more than 20 years teaching in the City University of New York, Hunter College. Quiñones has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in cell biology from the Univerity of Puerto Rico, and a Ph.D. in neurobiology and physiology from Rutgers University.

Quiñones will receive an annual salary of $370,000 and will be required to live in the university’s presidential residence located in Marina. She’ll also receive a $ 1,000-a-month auto allowance. Her contract also includes the ability to retreat to the faculty following her presidency with tenure in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Monterey Bay.

Ashley A. Smith

Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 9:22 am

Link copied.UC Santa Barbara chancellor denies involvement during hit-and-run investigation

UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang was the subject of a California Highway Patrol investigation into a hit-and-run that took place in a campus crosswalk and left a student with minor injuries. Citing a lack of evidence, the CHP did not recommend charges.

The CHP redacted Yang’s name from its report on the hit-and-run, but the Los Angeles Times confirmed the chancellor was the target of the investigation. Yang refused to speak with CHP during their investigation, but through his counsel, he denied ever hitting anyone with his car.

University of California Santa Barbara student Madden Cade Westland, 19, identified the chancellor as the driver and Yang’s wife as a passenger in a car that hit him while he was skateboarding through a crosswalk on May 16. Westland said he motioned to him after he fell to the ground and stood up, but the car did not stop.

CHP investigators stated in their report that they were unable to find any scuffs, dents or other physical evidence of a collision when they investigated two cars parked in Yang’s driveway. Yang’s wife stated that the chancellor had been driving to different events the day of the incident. When investigators told her that she was named as the passenger, she declined to answer any more questions.

“This was not a hit-and-run,” the university said in a statement to the Times. “The Chancellor and his wife were surprised to learn of the allegations and they have always maintained that their vehicle did not collide with anyone.”

Yang, 81, has served as chancellor since 1994, making him the second-longest serving chancellor in UC history.

Emma Gallegos