California education news: What’s the latest?

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 11:01 am

Link copied.Poll finds most Californians support mandatory kindergarten

Most Californians favor mandatory kindergarten, a new Los Angeles Times poll found, showing a split with Gov. Gavin Newsom who recently vetoed legislation that would have required it.

The poll found that 57% of likely voters favored making kindergarten a requirement while 33% opposed it. Support was divided along partisan lines, however, with 70% of Democrats backing the proposed law and 58% of Republicans opposing it. No party preference voters supported mandatory kindergarten by a 56% to 33% margin, according to the newspaper.

Newsom vetoed the bill, citing the estimated $268 million annual cost, despite his strong advocacy for early education programs during his time as governor.

“The Democrats and the liberals were strongly behind that idea,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, which conducted the poll with the newspaper. “It’s kind of counterintuitive for Newsom to have vetoed it. I don’t really get it because he’s been in favor of early childhood education.”

EdSource staff

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 10:26 am

Link copied.$1.7 billion for a name change? Lawsuit claims hefty pricetag to rename U.C. Hastings law school

Shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the renaming of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, the descendants of its namesake have sued the school — and the potential payout is a whopper, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

That’s because the family of Serranus Hastings, California’s first chief justice, claims in the suit that his original 1878 agreement to create and fund the school promised him $100,000, plus interest, if his name was ever stripped from it and that 144 years later, the bill is $1.7 billion, the Chronicle reported.

Hastings’ trustees voted last year to change the name because of Serranus Hastings’ role in the slaughter of Native Americans in efforts to expand his cattle empire.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, co-authored Assembly Bill 1936, which changes the school’s name to UC College of the Law, San Francisco next year. Newsom signed it into law on Sept. 23. Ting told the newspaper the suit shocked him.

His bill also requires that the school formally apologize to tribes, provide academic support for indigenous students who want to study law, and fund dozens of restorative justice programs.

In a statement, school officials said they intend to go ahead with the change.

The bill’s “passage was the result of a lengthy, deliberate and transparent process at the college that included years of research, several public hearings and input from a wide range of community stakeholders,” the statement said.

 

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 11:02 am

Link copied.ASU celebrates California expansion at Los Angeles center

Arizona State University is celebrating the opening of the its ASU California Center in the historic Herald Examiner building in Los Angeles with a series of events this week, including panels on diversity in media, opportunities in space commerce and the future of film education.

The center, which opened last fall, expands access to undergraduate and graduate degrees, executive education, workshops and seminars, according to the Arizona State University website.

“Through academic, research and public programs, ASU will collaborate with the City of Los Angeles, local institutions and area business to address educational and societal issues,” states the website.

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Thunderbird School of Global Management have space in the building, according to the State Press.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 9:24 am

Link copied.Dolly Parton teams up with California lawmakers to offer kids free books

California’s youngest children will be able to sign up to receive a free book in their mailbox every month beginning next June.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1183 last week, expanding Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program to California children. The initiative, which offers books to children ages 5 and younger, was launched by the country music artist to inspire a love of reading at an early age, according to a news release from Newsom’s office.

“We know the most significant brain growth occurs from birth to five years old, and that exposing children to reading early in life can boost brain development and improve their overall health and well-being, all while cultivating a love of learning, reading and literature,” said first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom in an Instagram post about the program.

Siebel Newsom said that 2.14 million children will be eligible for free books.

 

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 10:28 am

Link copied.Biden to issue new guidance to colleges to protect abortion access

President Joe Biden plans to unveil new U.S. Department of Education guidance that will require universities to protect students who have abortions from discrimination, according to Bloomberg.

Biden will announce the new guidance during a meeting of a task force he launched after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed pregnant people the right to an abortion, Bloomberg reported.

“Extreme abortion bans are having consequences that extend beyond abortion, including reports of women being denied access to necessary prescriptions and contraception at pharmacies and on college campuses,” said Jennifer Klein, co-chair of the White House Gender Policy Council, in a memo.

In prepared remarks shared with The 19th, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona added that the Supreme Court ruling “has sown fear, confusion and distrust on our college campuses.”I think about the 1-in-4 women who experience sexual assault in college, and what this means for their safety and well-being. I think about the community college student I met earlier this month, who was unable to enroll until she escaped a violent abuser. Access to reproductive health care is vital to student success in college and beyond,” Cardona added.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 10:11 am

Link copied.‘No evidence of widespread impact’ in Los Angeles Unified cyberattack, superintendent says

In a cyberattack of Los Angeles Unified, hackers mostly failed to obtain and release sensitive data about students, parents and staff in the district, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Monday.

“Based on what we have seen, there is at this point no evidence of widespread impact as far as truly sensitive, confidential information,” Carvalho said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The release was actually more limited than what we had originally anticipated.”

Hackers released the data Monday after LAUSD officials refused to comply with their ransom demand.

Carvalho said Monday that the district had reviewed about two-thirds of the information published by the hackers. Even though most of the information was not sensitive data, Carvalho added Monday that there are some “outlier” cases of sensitive disclosures, according to the Times.

Michael Burke

Monday, October 3, 2022, 1:01 pm

Link copied.Governor gives California students a seat at the table

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation last week that will give student representatives seats on the new state Advisory Commission on Special Education, as well on an advisory board for each school district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan. He also signed Senate Bill 955, which will give middle and high school students one excused absence to take part in civic activities like candidate forums and town halls.

“California is putting our values into action by providing meaningful avenues for students to participate in local decision-making,” Newsom said. “Thanks to these new laws, students across California will now be more empowered to actively participate in decisions that impact their educational outcomes and communities.”

Only 37% of eligible Californians age 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to data from Tufts University. This number increased to 54% in 2020.

“As the future of our state will be largely guided by young people still in school today, it is vital that we get California students more civically involved in government and their community,” state Sen. Connie Leyva, who authored the bill, said in a statement.  “SB 955 prioritizes student opportunities for civic learning and engagement and will help them gain a better understanding of how their involvement can help to change and improve the world around them.  I thank the Governor for signing SB 955 and look forward to our future leaders stepping up in the years and decades ahead so we can continue to move California in a positive direction.”

 

Diana Lambert

Monday, October 3, 2022, 1:01 pm

Link copied.Newsom vetoes bill to expand school health clinics

A bill that would have doubled the number of health clinics at California schools died Friday when Gov. Newsom vetoed it.

AB 1940 would have set aside $100 million to create or expand health clinics on school campuses, offering free medical and dental care, reproductive health care and mental health services to students and in some cases, the local community.

Foes of abortion rights fought the bill, saying that students would have been able to obtain medical abortions or referrals to outside clinics that offer surgical abortions, without the school notifying parents.

School health care and on-campus clinics are already a key part of Newsom’s community schools initiative. The Community Schools Partnership Program allots $3 billion to create hundreds, even thousands, of community schools in California over the next seven years.

Carolyn Jones

Monday, October 3, 2022, 10:37 am

Link copied.Newsom vetoes CSU staff salary hike bill

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required the California State University system to give staff increases over the next 10 years that would have cost $878 million.

Senate Bill 410 passed the Legislature in August and would have forced the CSU to create a nine-step merit salary system for all non-faculty employees. It included annual salary increases of 5% for the first five years, three separate 5% increases every two years, and a final increase three years later for a total of 15 years.

CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester had warned that the 23-campus system could not afford the full cost of increasing salaries at those rates, which were determined by a staff salary study released earlier this year. That study confirmed that CSU staff employees were underfunded.

Ashley A. Smith

Monday, October 3, 2022, 10:37 am

Link copied.Ex-CSU Chancellor to teach at Cal Poly

Former CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro will become a tenured professor at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus in February, according to media reports.

A Cal Poly spokesman confirmed the news with student media and said the university is mandated to grant the faculty position. Castro will officially start Feb. 18. He will be teaching leadership and public policy in the management, human resources and information systems concentration of the business college.

Castro was granted retreat rights, or the ability for a university administrator to “retreat” to a faculty position, in September 2020 shortly after he became chancellor. Multiple CSU faculty groups have criticized Castro’s settlement for giving him a teaching position.

Castro resigned as chancellor in February amid an outcry from students and faculty over how he handled sexual harassment complaints while president of  Fresno State University from 2013 to 2020. An external investigative report released last week found Castro displayed a “blind spot” to the complaints and should have done more to discipline the administrator accused of the harassment.

Last week, Castro told EdSource that he learned “many lessons” from how he handled the sexual harassment complaints at Fresno State. He also said he looked forward to sharing those lessons publicly to “assist higher education leaders and governing board members across the nation who face similar personnel matters.”

 

Ashley A. Smith

Monday, October 3, 2022, 10:37 am

Link copied.California will now break down data by English learner subgroup

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law, that will break down academic achievement data for subgroups of English learners.

Assembly Bill 1868 requires the California Department of Education to report standardized test scores in English language arts, math and science for subgroups of English learners, including long-term English learners, defined as students who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for six years or more and have not advanced on the English proficiency test in two or more years, and those at risk of becoming long-term English learners. The bill also requires the department to report how many students are both English learners and have a disability.

Previously, the department reported test scores for English learners as a whole, but not for all specific subgroups.

Proponents of the bill say that separating the data on subgroups of English learners will give the state and local school districts a better picture of how each group is doing, which will help them provide more targeted support to groups such as long-term English learners.

“We are overjoyed about the success of AB 1868,” said Martha Hernandez, executive director of Californians Together, a statewide coalition that advocates for English learners. “This legislation will ensure that state, county, and district leaders have valuable information about the achievement of the over 200,000 long-term English learners (LTELs) and over 130,000 students at risk of becoming LTELs. Moreover, with over one in three LTELs being dually identified as students with disabilities, the provision to disaggregate special education data by language acquisition status and type of disability will be critical to informing our continuous improvement system.”

Zaidee Stavely

Monday, October 3, 2022, 9:51 am

Link copied.Young people continue to experience high levels of anxiety, depression

Even as the pandemic ebbs, young people in California reported persistently high levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A survey of 800 Californians ages 18-24 conducted by the California Endowment found that 86% worried about the high cost of housing and college, shortage of well-paying jobs, homelessness, substance abuse and dearth of affordable health care.

In addition, almost half said they had difficulties accessing mental health services.

“If we compare this to what we get when we talk to [older] adults, we don’t see the same breadth and intensity of concern about this wide range of issues,” said David Metz, a pollster who worked on the survey. “I think that says something about the burdens that young people are feeling.”

Carolyn Jones

Monday, October 3, 2022, 9:51 am

Link copied.After LAUSD refuses to negotiate, hackers release some data

Hackers released some Social Security numbers and other confidential information stolen from Los Angeles Unified over the weekend after district officials declined to negotiate over ransom, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The demand — any demand — would be absurd,” district Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the Times on Friday, a day before the hackers released the information. “But this level of demand was, quite frankly, insulting. And we’re not about to enter into negotiations with that type of entity.”

He added later: “Paying ransom never guarantees the full recovery of data, and Los Angeles Unified believes public dollars are better spent on our students rather than capitulating to a nefarious and illicit crime syndicate.”

Hackers whom police believe are part of a crime syndicate called Vice Society broke into the district’s record-keeping system on Sept. 3 and demanded ransom and encryption keys to unlock computer systems.

Police are continuing to investigate the data theft.

Anyone who believes their data was stolen can call the district at (855) 926-1129 between 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, September 30, 2022, 4:51 pm

Link copied.California streamlines eligibility for early education and care

​​Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday that will streamline access to the state’s subsidized early childhood education system. 

Introduced by Sen. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, Senate Bill 1047, formerly SB 50, makes it easier for low-income families to access the state-funded California State Preschool Program and subsidized child care system by automatically granting eligibility to families who are already enrolled in CalFresh, Medi-Cal, WIC or Head Start, cutting a layer of red tape.

“We’re thrilled that Governor Newsom has signed SB 1047 as it will help families and child care and preschool providers by creating easier enrollment procedures and ensuring that once children are enrolled in a program, they will benefit from the continuity of two years of care and education,” said Patricia Lozano, executive director of Early Edge, an advocacy group. “The signing of SB 1047 complements the strides made to improve access to the State Preschool Program and other efforts to lift up families and children, particularly in strained financial times.”

Also notable in the early childhood education space, the governor has signed Assembly Bill 2806, introduced by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, which will prohibit suspension and expulsion, practices that experts say tend to target children of color.

Karen D'Souza

Friday, September 30, 2022, 4:02 pm

Link copied.Newsom signs bill to ban most remedial classes at community colleges

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed Assembly Bill 1705, setting into motion changes that will severely restrict the ability of community colleges to offer remedial math and English courses.

The legislation creates new rules that mostly prevent colleges from offering those courses, which can’t be used toward transfer to four-year universities. 

The bill was among a package of higher education bills that Newsom signed Friday. He also signed AB 1187, which will expand tutoring at community colleges. “Reforming remedial education and expanding access to tutoring will help millions of Californians complete their education faster,” Daisy Gonzales, interim chancellor of the community college system, said in a statement.

AB 1705 builds off a 2017 law, Assembly Bill 705, that said colleges can’t place students in remedial classes unless they are deemed highly unlikely to succeed in transfer-level coursework. That bill was brought forward amid research showing that students who took remedial math and English classes often got stuck in those classes and were less likely to finish their degrees.

The latest bill goes further by limiting colleges to enrolling only certain populations of students in remedial classes, such as English learners and students in some career and technical education programs. It also leaves room for colleges to enroll other students in remedial classes if the colleges can prove, based on a student’s high school grades, that the student is more likely to earn a degree or certificate by starting in the pre-transfer classes.

The number of remedial classes being offered across the community college system has already dwindled dramatically since AB 705 was signed, but dozens of colleges still offer at least some remedial courses. Officials with the statewide Chancellor’s Office expect that with the latest legislation, almost none of those courses will be offered by fall 2023.

Michael Burke

Friday, September 30, 2022, 3:58 pm

Link copied.California will survey teachers to determine why they quit

A new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday requires state agencies to design a survey that could help lawmakers learn why teachers are resigning from the profession.

California’s persistent teacher shortage, coupled with higher-than-usual retirements and resignations during the pandemic, has had district officials scrambling to fill classrooms.

Districts have increased teacher pay, developed new hiring strategies and tried to ease teachers’ workloads by hiring more support staff, according to a report by the Learning Policy Institute, a nonprofit education research organization.

The California Department of Education and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing are tasked with developing the survey, which will be given by local school officials as teachers leave their districts.

The bill encourages school districts to begin surveying exiting teachers during the 2023-24 school year and to report the results to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. A final report will go to the California Department of Education and the state Legislature. It also will be posted on the commission’s website.

Diana Lambert

Friday, September 30, 2022, 3:54 pm

Link copied.Newsom signs legislation changing recall process

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a pair of bills Friday that change the way elected officials in California, including school board members, can be recalled.

Assembly Bill 2584 and Senate Bill 1061 make several revisions to the Election Code, including increasing the number of signatures required to initiate a recall from 10 to a minimum of 30 in jurisdictions with fewer than 100,000 registered voters, and a minimum of 50 in areas with more voters.

The bills also require that information on recall petitions undergo the same review as candidates’ statements and that each page of the petition includes the estimated cost of the special election. Recall elections must also be consolidated with regular elections if the recall qualifies for the ballot within 180 days of a regular election.

“It is far too easy to initiate a recall in California, wasting taxpayer dollars and distracting local elected officials from being able to serve their communities,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman, author of AB 2584. “While recalls can be an important tool to hold elected officials accountable, AB 2584 will ensure that the process to initiate a recall is rigorous enough to demonstrate that it is a serious effort, rather than weaponizing the recall process for the sole purpose of impeding government from working. In addition, this bill will make sure that voters are provided accurate and truthful information, and that we don’t waste limited public resources.”

Last year, the state saw a record number of recall efforts, including 22 targeting school board members.

State lawmakers decided to review the state’s recall process after a recall election last year raised questions about whether there were enough checks and balances in place to ensure it was democratic and fair, according to a news release from Berman’s office.

“The process for local recall elections is currently open to gamesmanship that undermines the democratic process,” said Stephanie Doute, executive director of the League of Women Voters of California. “AB 2584 will help protect against frivolous recall elections, provide voters with accurate information, maximize community participation in government decision making, increase transparency and boost participation by consolidating special elections.”

Diana Lambert

Friday, September 30, 2022, 3:20 pm

Link copied.Hackers give LAUSD until Monday to pay ransom

Hackers have given Los Angeles Unified School District until Monday to either pay their ransom or have the district’s data released on the dark web. LAUSD has not said how much the hackers are asking for but says it will not pay ransom or negotiate.

“Los Angeles Unified remains firm that dollars must be used to fund students and education,” the district wrote in a news release. “Paying ransom never guarantees the full recovery of data, and Los Angeles Unified believes public dollars are better spent on our students rather than capitulating to a nefarious and illicit crime syndicate.”

A countdown is visible on a website on the dark web hosted by ViceSociety, which has claimed responsibility for the hack discovered on Labor Day weekend. According to screenshots, the website states that the information will be published Monday at midnight London time, which would be 4 p.m. in Los Angeles. 

Neither LAUSD nor law enforcement has said whether Vice Society is indeed responsible.  However, a cybersecurity advisory reported earlier this month that Vice Society was largely targeting the education sector.

LAUSD said it’s still working to find out what information was breached. According to a news release, the district does not believe that employee health care and payroll information has been impacted. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the White House and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have all been involved in addressing the hack. The district has also put together a task force of security experts to examine the impact and outline recommendations in a 90-day report.

According to Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow, at least 27 school districts and 28 colleges have been affected by ransomware this year. He wrote on Twitter that at least 36 have had data stolen and released, and that, including LAUSD, Vice Society alone has hit at least nine school districts.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, September 30, 2022, 12:49 pm

Link copied.California raises wage replacement for paid family leave

​​Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday that will raise the amount of money workers receive under the state’s paid family and medical leave program, a boost that supporters say will ensure lower-wage workers are not blocked from the benefit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The state will pay up to 90% in wage replacement for all new parents and those who need to take time off to care for a seriously ill relative, starting in 2025. Senate Bill 951, sponsored by Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, also ensures that the wage replacement, currently set at 60%-70%, will not drop back to its original rate, which was 55%.  

“California families and our state as a whole are stronger when workers have the support they need to care for themselves and their loved ones,” Newsom said in a statement. “California created the first Paid Family Leave program in the nation 20 years ago, and today we’re taking an important step to ensure more low-wage workers, many of them women and people of color, can access the time off they’ve earned while still providing for their family.”

This bill largely rectifies a key inequity of the paid family leave system because low-wage workers often can’t afford any cut in pay while taking care of a new baby or an elderly parent. That has led to the benefit being mostly enjoyed by higher-income workers, experts say, while less privileged workers remain tied to their paychecks. The pandemic and inflation have only heightened that dynamic, pushing many families to the financial brink.

“Paid family leave policies have the power to lift people out of poverty, but only if the lowest-income Californian has the ability to utilize the program,” Bridget Shea, California campaign manager for Paid Leave for the United States, an organization advocating for paid leave, has said. “Californians that are working paycheck to paycheck.”

Karen D'Souza

Friday, September 30, 2022, 12:30 pm

Link copied.Yuba City high school to forfeit football game because of ‘slave auction’ video

River Valley High School is forfeiting its next varsity football game after team members were recorded participating in a “slave auction.” Yuba City Unified School District has launched an investigation into the incident to determine which students were involved, according to the Sacramento Bee

The California Interscholastic Federation leaves it up to the school administrations to deal with repercussions for such incidents. River Valley High School is the second school in the region to deal with problems of conduct, following a school in Amador County Unified School District, which had its football season canceled. The district is investigating a social media group chat with racial undertones involving players.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, September 30, 2022, 11:09 am

Link copied.Grant to aid students seeking careers in health, technology

Schools across Los Angeles County are participating in an $18-million state grant over the next four years in a push to connect underrepresented students with careers in health and technology. Five California State University campuses in the region will be a part of the LA Region K-16 Collaborative grant and will receive $3 million in grant money, according to the Los Angeles Daily News

The schools involved will have to meet specific goals across the four-year period to ensure accountability as they work toward building pathways and setting up resources. The funding, facilitated by local nonprofit UNITE-LA, is meant to address both education and workforce gaps fueled by inequities and racism.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, September 30, 2022, 10:47 am

Link copied.Governor vetoes bill to remove lead from water at schools

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill proposing the removal of lead from water at schools and state buildings, calling it too broad and raising concerns about cost. Senate Bill 1144, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, on behalf of the California State Pipe Trades Council, passed easily through the Legislature but faced opposition from some school organizations over concerns about the unfunded costs of the bill.

The bill would have required school districts to put together water efficiency and quality assessment reports outlining lead levels in each building. Fixtures and appliances that didn’t meet the standards would have had to be replaced, including lead pipes, depending on the state funding. Lead is known to be highly toxic and harmful to children’s health and cognitive development.

“The Board regulates water systems; however, oversight of internal plumbing at the individual building level is not a function of the Board,” Newsom wrote in the veto message. “Developing new expertise to adequately implement this bill and develop regulations would require significant new staff and resources.”

Opposition to the bill included groups such as the Association of California School Administrators, the California Association of School Business Officials and Los Angeles Unified. Those in favor of it included the California Federation of Teachers, the California Teachers Association and the California Water Association.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, September 29, 2022, 3:33 pm

Link copied.Education Department changes guidelines on student loan relief

As many as 800,000 student loan borrowers may not get the debt relief initially promised, after the Biden administration  scaled back which loans are eligible for forgiveness, rewriting guidelines this week, NPR reported.

Initially, borrowers whose loans were held by private lenders but guaranteed by the government could consolidate the loans into federal Direct Loans to qualify for the debt-relief plan. That included Federal Family Education Loans, which were common until the FFEL program ended in 2010.

But as of Thursday, according to NPR, the Department of Education “quietly changed that language.”

The guidance now says, “As of Sept. 29, 2022, borrowers with federal student loans not held by ED cannot obtain one-time debt relief by consolidating those loans into Direct Loans.”

A Department of Education spokesperson said borrowers who applied to consolidate their loans into Direct Loans before Sept. 29 will still be eligible for the debt relief.

The changing guidelines come after a lawsuit has been filed arguing debt forgiveness would hurt loan servicers, though the Education Department did not specify why the change was made.

President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan, announced in August, would relieve up to $10,000 for borrowers with incomes at $125,000 or less, or relieve up to $20,000 if the borrower received a Pell Grant while in college.

Ashleigh Panoo

Thursday, September 29, 2022, 10:23 am

Link copied.New law signed by Gov. Newsom requires California schools to serve only American-grown food

Come Jan. 1 2024, California schools will have to serve only food grown in the United Sates unless its costs more than 25% of imported products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Senate Bill 490, sponsored by Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, requires California public institutions, including schools, to budget for and purchase domestic-made foods, the Sacramento Bee reported. Caballero has said the state’s allocated $611.8 million to help school districts cover the extra cost, according to the newspaper. A spokesperson for the senator told the Bee the law does not contain an enforcement provision and schools will be asked to comply with it on an honor code.

The governor said in a signing  statement that the “Buy American policy will benefit the California agricultural industry and agricultural workers, as well as the students and teachers consuming these meals in our schools.”

A spokesman for the California School Boards Association told the Bee that school-district meal costs have increased because of the state’s new Universal Meal System and that district’s may need additional funding.

EdSource staff

Thursday, September 29, 2022, 10:22 am

Link copied.Girls’ flag football could become an official high school sport in California

California is considering making flag football a school sport for girls, the Associated Press reported.

The southern section of the California Interscholastic Federation is expected to vote Thursday on making it an official girls’ high school sport. If approved, the state federation — which governs interscholastic sports in California — would take it up next month with a goal of making it an official sport for the 2023-24 school year, according to the news service.

Flag football already is a sanctioned high school girls’ sport in states including Alabama and Nevada. And it was added as a collegiate sport by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, with colleges in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, and elsewhere fielding teams.

Elsa Morin ,17, a senior at Redondo Union High School in Los Angeles County told the A.P. that “something about football just gets me really excited. I’ve always just wanted to play.”

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 4:26 pm

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified reaches agreement with teacher’s union over optional school days

Los Angeles Unified and United Teachers Los Angeles have reached an agreement to move the district’s optional acceleration days to school breaks, following protest from the teacher’s union. UTLA members are set to vote to ratify the decision by Tuesday, which would shift the acceleration days to the first two days of both winter and spring breaks.

The changes to the calendar also come as UTLA continues its contract negotiations with LAUSD, the first with Alberto Carvalho as superintendent. 

UTLA filed a complaint against the district last month saying the district did not engage with its labor partners when it decided to extend the school year, calling it a promotional stunt. The district introduced the optional four additional days to the academic calendar in April, calling them a way to address the learning loss brought on by the pandemic by ensuring students receive time for extra support. 

The acceleration days were initially set to take place on Wednesdays throughout the school year. UTLA members, along with some student groups, were planning to boycott the first one in October, opting instead to hold a rally around their platform.

“The truth is four optional school days that create disruptions during the school year would not positively impact student learning as much as investing in smaller class sizes, increased mental health supports and robust extracurricular activities,” said UTLA member and teacher Phylis Hoffman in a UTLA press release. 

Teachers that work the optional days will be compensated at their regular salary rate. The move to adjust the calendar would also make the last day of school earlier, after the initially chosen days had pushed back the end of the school year.

Carvalho commented on the new acceleration day plan on Twitter, saying the most important thing was to prioritize students.

“Differing perspectives may sometimes keep children from the best they should get but fair alternatives can always be negotiated,” Carvalho wrote Wednesday. “A win is only a win if kids, too, are winners.”

Kate Sequeira

Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 9:33 am

Link copied.Lawsuit could block student debt cancellation plan

A conservative legal group has filed a lawsuit to stop President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel billions of dollars of student debt, according to the New York Times.

The federal plan would cancel $10,000 of student debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year and another $10,000 for borrowers who were eligible for a Pell Grant.

The Congressional Budget Office has said the plan may cost $400 billion.

A Pacific Legal Foundation complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, calls the plan an end-around the Congress with untold economic impacts.

In order to challenge the plan, opponents must have a plaintiff who can claim they would be harmed by it. This case hinges on a plaintiff who claims he may have to pay $1,000 in additional taxes if his loan is forgiven through the federal program. He is seeking forgiveness for his college debt through another program that would eliminate his debt without taxing it, according to the New York Times.

The Biden program prevents federal taxes from being levied against student debt relief, but states may choose to tax it.

EdSource staff

Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 9:31 am

Link copied.Thurmond hosts town hall for K-12 parents tonight

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond will hold a virtual town hall meeting for parents of public school students from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Parents can talk about their experiences with public education and hear about the California Department of Education’s efforts to improve health and safety, literacy and enrollment, according to a news release from the department. 

The event will be translated into Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog. American Sign Language interpretation also will be provided.

The town hall will be available on Facebook or Zoom.

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 6:29 pm

Link copied.More baccalaureate programs coming to California Community Colleges

Three more baccalaureate programs have been approved at California community colleges, the college system announced.

Bachelor’s degrees in respiratory care at El Camino College, automotive technology management at De Anza College and research laboratory technology at Bakersfield College recently received full approval. Additionally, six other programs have received provisional approval but still must receive approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

The expansion of baccalaureate programs at California’s community colleges stems from Assembly Bill 927, a law signed in 2021 expanding a 2014 pilot program that created bachelor’s degrees at 15 community colleges. The new law allows the community college system to add up to 30 baccalaureate programs each year.

The six programs that have received provisional approval include: respiratory care programs at Crafton Hills and Foothill Colleges; histotechnology at Mt. San Antonio College; ecosystem restoration at Feather River College; cyber defense and analysis at San Diego City College; and biomanufacturing at Moorpark College. In addition to needing approval from the accrediting commission, the latter three programs also must still be approved by the University of California and California State University, which sign off on the degrees.

Once the programs are approved by UC, CSU and the accrediting commission, the community college system’s board president, currently Pamela Haynes, gives final approval. The full board previously delegated the board president the authority to give that approval.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 5:45 pm

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified school board approves greening initiative

Los Angeles Unified is pushing forward efforts to provide more green spaces across its campuses, as schools continue to feel the impact of recent heat waves. Dozens of community members spoke in favor of the resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting, some pointing to the high temperatures asphalt has reached during hot periods of the year. 

The resolution, introduced by board president Kelly Gonez, aims for 30% of school campuses to be covered in green space by 2035. Currently 16% of schools in the district meet that recommendation made by LAUSD’s greening program. Schools like El Sereno Elementary and Vanalden Elementary, for example, have less than 5% green space at their school sites, alongside many others across the district.

“We need a cohesive system-wide plan to urgently drive greening efforts throughout our district, starting with our most impacted schools,” Gonez said at the board meeting.

The superintendent has 150 days to put together a plan to reach this goal to invest in more green spaces. Schools with the least access and evaluated as most affected by extreme heat according the district’s Greening Index will be prioritized first. The Greening Index was put together by LAUSD to identify levels of need. 

The district will also work to identify funding for the projects by way of bonds, the general fund and grants.

Kate Sequeira

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 10:56 am

Link copied.Cal State fall 2023 application window opens Oct. 1

All 23 California State University campuses will start accepting applications for fall 2023 admission on Oct. 1. Students have until Nov. 30 to apply at calstate.edu/apply.

The application fee is $70 per university, however, students can also apply for fee waivers for up to four campuses.

“In the true spirit of the CSU’s mission to provide an affordable and accessible education, thousands of new seats will be available across the 23 universities this coming fall for incoming first-year and transfer students,” said April Grommo, CSU’s assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management Services. “There is no better time to enroll at the CSU, as we have ramped up student success services and redoubled our efforts to guide current, new and prospective students toward obtaining their college degree.”

The campus will be able to enroll an additional 10,000 students next fall with $81 million in new funding for enrollment growth given by the state this summer in the 2022-23 budget agreement.

EdSource staff

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 10:27 am

Link copied.Biden’s student debt plan estimated to cost $400 billion

President Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for borrowers may cost $400 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

The president’s plan cancels $10,000 in student debt for borrowers making less than $125,000. Borrowers who received Pell Grants will be eligible to have another $10,000 canceled.

The White House said in a statement Monday that the plan will bring relief to struggling borrowers and noted that the CBO’s estimate of costs in the first year of cancellation — $21 billion — is lower than the Biden administration’s $24 billion estimate, according to PBS.

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Chuck Schumer of New York, who both advocated for debt cancellation, said in a statement Monday that they “don’t agree with all of C.B.O.’s assumptions that underlie this analysis.”

“But it is clear the pandemic payment pause and student debt cancellation are policies that demonstrate how government can and should invest in working people, not the wealthy and billionaire corporations,” they added.

The CBO also cautioned that its estimates are “highly uncertain.” Still, Republican critics of debt cancellation quickly cited the report as evidence that Biden’s plan is too costly.

“Every American should be outraged by the president’s cynical ploy and by the real cost it places on those who stand to benefit the least,” said Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, according to The New York Times.

 

Michael Burke

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 10:21 am

Link copied.UCLA buys 2 new sites, will expand enrollment

UCLA is buying two properties from Marymount California University in San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes, the university announced Tuesday.

By acquiring the new sites, UCLA estimates it will be able to add about 1,000 additional students. The new students could help UCLA meet soaring demand from prospective students.

“UCLA has been a crucial nexus of education, research and public service within Los Angeles for more than 100 years,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. “As demand for our academic offerings continues to grow, this acquisition will allow us to expand student access.”

Marymount California University closed earlier this year because of rising costs and declining enrollment. The university’s president, Brian Marcotte, said in a statement that the university chose to sell to UCLA because of its “long track record of educational excellence.”

Michael Burke

Monday, September 26, 2022, 10:28 am

Link copied.Newsom signs bill to bolster UC Merced and Riverside climate initiatives

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will bring state investment to the University of California’s two most diverse campuses, Merced and Riverside, with the goal of boosting the state’s inland economy and fighting climate change.

AB 2046 requires the Legislature to allot an unspecified amount of money to expand the two campuses, with a focus on capital projects and research initiatives that address climate change, sustainable agriculture, clean technology, air pollution and other environmental topics.

Sponsored by Assemblymembers Jose Medina, D-Riverside, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, the bill is intended to boost the profile of both universities and spur economic growth in the Inland Empire and Central Valley, which are among the state’s most low-income regions and most affected by environmental challenges.

Carolyn Jones

Monday, September 26, 2022, 10:28 am

Link copied.Genentech gives $10 million to K-12 STEM program

Genentech, the biotechnology giant, announced Monday it would invest $10 million in a nationwide K-12 school STEM program that originated in South San Francisco schools.

The program, Futurelab+, includes biotechnology curriculum that fits into existing state science standards, training for teachers and a volunteer program that matches biotech professionals with classrooms. The goal is to boost achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among low-income students and groups that are underrepresented in the biotechnology field.

Genentech, which is based in South San Francisco, launched Futurelab+ in South San Francisco Unified in 2015. The program, which has so far reached more than 8,000 students, will expand nationally with the new funding. Genentech hopes it will reach 2 million students by 2026.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, September 23, 2022, 10:27 am

Link copied.California home to largest number of student debt holders eligible for forgiveness

About 90% of student loan relief is expected to go to those earning less than $75,000 a year, according to a White House fact sheet. Larger states like California and Texas are set to receive the largest portion of forgiveness.

In California, which has the largest number of student debt holders, more than 3.5 million individuals with student debt are eligible for up to $10,000 in debt relief. The state is also home to 2.3 individuals who received the Pell Grant and will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt relief. The state with the fewest eligible student debt holders is Wyoming, which is home to nearly 50,000 eligible individuals.

Individuals are awaiting the release of the application, which is expected to be up in early October. The Department of Education recommends that applicants apply before Nov. 15 to ensure they receive the debt forgiveness before payments restart in January.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, September 23, 2022, 10:27 am

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified to pay $9.5 million settlement to family whose son died during P.E.

Los Angeles Unified will pay $9.5 million to the family of a 12-year-old who died after running laps in P.E., according to the Los Angeles Times

The settlement comes after the family, whose son attended Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes, filed a lawsuit against the district in March 2019. The lawsuit alleged LAUSD did not take appropriate measures to save their son’s life.

The boy died in March 2018 after running laps around the school track. He laid down after running four, and though both P.E. teachers saw the boy was unconscious but breathing, neither performed CPR or used the automated external defibrillator, and there was a delay in calling 911. The boy died in the hospital.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, September 22, 2022, 7:31 pm

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified to offer opioid overdose treatment at school sites

Los Angeles Unified will provide schools with the opioid overdose treatment naloxone following several overdoses among students this school year. Nine students have overdosed across the district, including one 15-year-old who died last week.

With support from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, LAUSD is distributing the naloxone units across its schools at no cost, beginning first with middle and high schools. Naloxone, known also as Narcan, can temporarily reverse overdose effects and will be distributed in nasal spray form, which Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said will make it easy to use if needed. School police officers will also have the drug on hand.

“We are experiencing a devastating epidemic,” Carvalho said at a press conference Thursday. “While we talk about fentanyl or the many variations of fentanyl, there is an abundance of drugs that students are having ready access to. But there are solutions.”

The LAUSD community has been processing the death of Melanie Ramos, 15, who died on campus at Bernstein High School last week after taking a pill she bought from another student laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can be lethal in small doses. Seven of the nine cases of overdose reported by officials occurred at the Bernstein campus and Hollywood High School.

Fentanyl overdoses have been on the increase since prior to the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. It’s become increasingly common for pills to be laced with fentanyl.

As the district continues to hone in on the issue, it has formed a task force to take a deeper look at the data and pinpoint which areas of the district have been disproportionately affected. Carvalho said the district now has an idea of what those areas are but will wait to connect with the communities first before officially announcing the patterns. LAUSD will work further with Los Angeles School Police and the Los Angeles Police Department to address safety.

Aside from taking measures to respond to use, the district is also working toward prevention. It is launching peer-to-peer counseling for students to spread knowledge of the impact of drug use. Students will receive training from the Health Information Project, which focuses on providing health education through that model. 

The district will also offer courses on drug use and impact through its Family Academy beginning next week. Courses will tackle the issue through several aspects, including effects and signs of usage as well as the mental health impact. LAUSD is also launching its Make a Choice campaign across social media, posters and messaging to grow awareness.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, September 22, 2022, 10:40 am

Link copied.Sonoma teachers sanction strike

A teachers strike could be coming to the Valley of the Moon, in Sonoma County, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

More than 95% of the members of Valley of the Moon Teachers Association voted on Tuesday to strike, if needed, after impasse mediation over salary negotiations with Sonoma Valley Union School District was unsuccessful, the newspaper reported.

“With a catastrophic teacher shortage facing our profession and after two horrific years of pandemic that were met with sacrifice and flexibility, the district’s actions toward teachers are unnecessary and disrespectful,” Bernadette Weissman, VMTA bargaining chair and a history teacher at Sonoma Valley High School, said in a statement, according to the newspaper.

The union and SVUSD have been some $2.9 million apart as they negotiate increasing teacher salaries and benefits for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

EdSource staff

Thursday, September 22, 2022, 9:57 am

Link copied.District LCAPs lack detailed goals for English learners, report says

School districts continue to lack detailed plans for how they will improve education for English learners, according to a new report from Californians Together and the Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University.

The report is based on an analysis of the Local Control Accountability Plans for 2021-24 from 26 public school districts that serve either high percentages or high numbers of English learners. The analysis was conducted by a team of educators, researchers and advocates from across the state, and is the fourth published by Californians Together. The group also analyzed LCAPS in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

“These findings reveal that nine years into Local Control Funding Formula, seven years of LCAP implementation, and two years after the exacerbation of systemic inequities by the devastating effects of the pandemic, the search for equity continues to mirror the search for “a needle in a haystack,” stated Magaly Lavadenz, one of the authors of the report, in a news release.

The report finds that many districts did not go into detail about how they would serve English learners. Many did mention subgroups of English learners, such as long-term English learners and newcomer students, but did not describe in detail how they would serve these subgroups differently.

In addition, the analysis found that most districts did not set goals to close achievement gaps for English learners. For example, districts set out goals to decrease the high school dropout rate by the same percentage for all students, despite the fact that English learners drop out at a much higher rate than all students.

The lack of a systematic approach to professional development for teachers of English learners was also a key finding of the report.

The authors recommend that the state begin to require districts to identify differentiated goals for English learners and other groups, to close achievement gaps. In addition, they recommend that county offices of education make sure staff with expertise in English learners review district LCAPs and closely monitor districts’ goals.

Zaidee Stavely

Thursday, September 22, 2022, 9:56 am

Link copied.Seven Los Angeles teens have overdosed on likely fentanyl in last month, police say

At least seven teenagers, including a high school student who died last week, have overdosed in Los Angeles in the last month after taking pills possibly laced with fentanyl, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The latest overdose occurred Saturday morning, when a 15-year-old student from STEM Academy of Hollywood was found unconscious by his mother in their Hollywood residence, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the newspaper.

Police said they are investigating whether the most recent overdose was connected to the drugs that killed 15-year-old Melanie Ramos, a student at Bernstein High School, which is part of STEM Academy, on Sept. 13.

Moore confirmed that 10 pills that police took into custody last week during the arrest of a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of manslaughter tested positive for fentanyl. He described them as “crude blue M30 pills” believed to be counterfeits containing fentanyl and are produced by illicit labs as a substitute for Percocet, a pain reliever that contains the opioid oxycodone.

“It speaks to the impurities of street narcotics,” Moore said. “Fentanyl is a very dangerous drug, and this dosage can range from being a painkiller to a depressant to death.”

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 2:25 pm

Link copied.Lawmakers make it easier to become a substitute teacher

Beginning Jan. 1 prospective substitute teachers will not have to prove they have the basic skills needed to teach, at least temporarily. Senate Bill 1397 waives the basic skills proficiency requirement for an emergency 30-day substitute permit through July 1, 2024.

Substitute teacher candidates usually prove basic skills proficiency by taking a test or completing specific coursework. Substitutes are still required to have completed a bachelor’s degree and a background check.

California schools have struggled to find enough substitutes to fill classrooms in recent years.  Many quit and found other jobs during the first year of the pandemic when school campuses closed. Others took permanent teaching jobs on emergency or long-term permits, further reducing the number of daily substitutes available to schools.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 10:39 am

Link copied.SFUSD takes broader look at changing school calendar, puts Muslim holidays on hold

The San Francisco Unified school board voted Tuesday night to suspend a plan to add two Muslim holidays to the school calendar until staff can study how to best recognize the cultural holidays of all students and recommend changes to the academic calendar.

In August, the board voted to add Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as school holidays, but that decision faced backlash, including the threat of a lawsuit by an attorney who argued that the initial resolution violated the Brown Act. The resolution also faced criticism from Jewish parents who noted that the district doesn’t recognize any Jewish holidays.

The holidays would have been recognized beginning next school year.

“Tolerance, inclusiveness, and respect for all people, cultures, and religious and spiritual beliefs are fundamental values championed by the San Franciscan community at all levels,” said Superintendent Matt Wayne. “The resolution will set in motion a process in place to ensure that we are living up to our values and including SFUSD’s diverse students and families.”

The recommendations are expected to be presented to the board no later than Jan. 31 so that they can be included in the 2023-24 school calendar.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 8:23 am

Link copied.Hackers demand ransom from Los Angeles Unified

Los Angeles Unified School District has received a ransom demand from the hackers who targeted its data system and disrupted its website on Sep. 3.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho would not disclose the amount the hackers demanded or elaborate on the data they claimed to have in their possession, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We can confirm that there was a demand made,” Carvalho told the Times. “There has been no response to the demand.”

Social security numbers and other personal employee information were not compromised in the cyberattack, according to district officials. They aren’t as certain about student information like grades, schedules and discipline records.

Hackers often threaten to post the information they claim to have obtained online if their demands aren’t met.

The district is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and other experts and is following their guidance, according to the Times.

 

EdSource staff

Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 10:18 am

Link copied.San Francisco Unified to reconsider adoption of Muslim holidays

San Francisco Unified’s school board on Tuesday plans to reconsider a recent decision to add two Muslim holidays to its instructional calendar, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In August, the board voted to add Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as school holidays, but that decision faced backlash, including the threat of a lawsuit by an attorney who argued that the initial resolution violated the Brown Act. The resolution also faced criticism from Jewish parents who noted that the district doesn’t recognize any Jewish holidays, according to the Chronicle.

Wassim Hage, community organizer with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, told the Chronicle in August that he was “so happy to see this, it’s really wonderful to feel seen by the district” after the resolution to add the holidays was adopted.

But on Tuesday, the board will vote on a new resolution that would suspend the adoption of those holidays and instead require the district to conduct an analysis to create best practices for “how and when to determine what holidays” should be added to the school calendar.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 10:17 am

Link copied.Paramount Unified switches from at-large to by-district elections

The Paramount Unified School District is switching from an at-large system for electing school board members to a by-district voting system, the Press-Telegram reported.

With the change, the Los Angeles County-based district will join many other large districts with distinct voting districts for each of its school board members. Under the at-large voting system, everyone living in the district’s boundaries can vote for each school board seat. But under the new system, voters will only be able to vote for the school board seat representing the specific area of the district where they reside.

Many other districts already use the by-district voting system, including Los Angeles County’s two largest school districts, Long Beach Unified and Los Angeles Unified.

“It’s important to have representation from our diverse school district,” Paramount Unified board member Eddie Cruz said told the Press-Telegram. “This is an opportunity for individuals to take ownership of their school community.”

Michael Burke

Monday, September 19, 2022, 10:22 am

Link copied.S.F. Unified, teachers union agree to 6% raise

Retroactive raises for teachers and paraeducators, more time for class preparation and dedicated substitutes assigned to specific schools are among the agreements reached over the weekend between San Francisco Unified and its teachers union.

According to the agreement, elementary teachers will have 195 minutes of preparation time per week. High school and middle school teachers will get one class period a day for preparation time, plus an additional 30 minutes per week.

Also, the district agreed to assign a full-time substitute teacher to certain schools. When no teachers are absent, the school’s administrator will assign the substitute other duties.

The agreement, hammered out by the district and United Educators of San Francisco, now heads to the board for final approval, likely in October.

“This agreement is an important investment in our educators and an important step for SFUSD to attract and retain talented professionals,” said SFUSD Superintendent Matt Wayne. “I want to thank our educators who continue to teach and nurture students every day in SFUSD schools and classrooms. We are committed to working with our labor partners to cultivate a vibrant education workforce and partnering on efforts to sustain these investments.”

“This agreement is one step in a series to ensure educators are able to stay in SFUSD. We are glad we could come to agreement in the fall on this year’s much-needed raise, as it will immediately impact UESF members and their families,” said union President Cassondra Curiel.

Carolyn Jones

Monday, September 19, 2022, 10:22 am

Link copied.Fresno elementary district hires 4th superintendent in less than a year

A Fresno County elementary district that’s been plagued by high staff turnover, low test scores and discontent among parents has hired its fourth superintendent since December 2021 to try to bring stability to the troubled district, the Fresno Bee reported.

West Park Elementary, southwest of Fresno, hired Brian Clark, a first-time superintendent with 24 years’ experience in education. Clark, who grew up in Fresno, said he was eager to lead the 600-student district.

“I am so happy and feel so blessed to have received the opportunity,” he told the Bee’s Ed Lab. “There’s so much positive here. There’s so many great students here and some fantastic educators. I just want an opportunity to help bring things to a place where we all can be extremely, extremely proud. I believe that’s possible.”

Clark takes over from interim Superintendent Darrell Yates, who replaced Regina Diaz. The board fired Diaz shortly after she was hired in early 2022. Diaz replaced Ralph Vigil, whom the board fired in December 2021 after 15 years on the job.

 

 

Carolyn Jones

Monday, September 19, 2022, 10:22 am

Link copied.Book bans on pace to set new record, new data shows

The number of book bans and restrictions in U.S. libraries, schools and universities is on track to set a new record this year, according to data released Friday by the American Library Association.

In the first eight months of 2022, the association documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library books, with 1,651 unique titles targeted. In 2021, the association reported 729 restrictions or bans, the highest number since the association began tracking the figure 20 years ago.

“The unprecedented number of challenges we’re seeing already this year reflects coordinated, national efforts to silence marginalized or historically underrepresented voices and deprive all of us — young people, in particular — of the chance to explore a world beyond the confines of personal experience,” said ALA President Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada. “Librarians develop collections and resources that make knowledge and ideas widely available, so people and families are free to choose what to read. Though it’s natural that we want to protect young people from some of life’s more difficult realities, the truth is that banning books does nothing to protect them from dealing with tough issues. Instead, it denies young people resources that can help them deal with the challenges that confront them.”

“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, “The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie and “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson are among the most commonly banned books.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, September 16, 2022, 9:27 am

Link copied.Newsom vetoes bill that would have let California students ride free on public transit

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed this week a bill that would have let California students ride public transit for free, according to LAist.

Assembly Bill 1919, which had bipartisan support, would have established the five-year Youth Transit Pass Pilot Program. Caltrans would have run the program, managing grants to transit agencies that applied for funding.

K-12 students, along with students enrolled in state community colleges, California State University, or the University of California systems would have been eligible, LAist reported.

Newsom said the bill was too costly.

“…the bill requires the creation of a new grant program that was not funded in the budget,” Newsom wrote in a letter after the veto. “Bills with significant fiscal impact, such as this measure, should be considered and accounted for as part of the annual budget process.”

Ashleigh Panoo