California education news: What’s the latest?

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 11:01 am

Link copied.U.S. Education Department warns those with student loans to be alert for debt forgiveness scams

As President Joe Biden moves ahead with his student-loan forgiveness program, the U.S. Department of Education issued a public service announcement Thursday warning borrowers to be aware of scammers “with promises to help you obtain student loan forgiveness, reduce your student loan debt, consolidate your student loans, or eliminate your student loans completely.”

The announcement comes despite a  hold that a federal appeals court placed on loan forgiveness last week in response to an emergency motion brought by attorneys for several Republican governors hoping to eventually derail the program. Applications for loan forgiveness remain open even with the hold in place.

The department’s Office of Inspector General made the announcement, which states that “dishonest companies, fraudsters, and cybercriminals are targeting student loan borrowers. They’re sending unsolicited texts, emails, or calls with promises to help you obtain student loan forgiveness, reduce your student loan debt, consolidate your student loans, or eliminate your student loans completely. You may also see their ads pop up on social media. Don’t fall for it — these are likely scammers coming after your money, your personal information, or both.”

The department is telling borrowers to obtain information about the plan only from the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid office.

Any encounters with scammers should be immediately reported to the OIG’s fraud outline, department officials said in the public service announcement.

Thomas Peele

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 10:47 am

Link copied.Private school funded by Kayne West shuts down following outrage to antisemitic remarks

The private Simi Valley school founded by the artist formally known as Kanye West abruptly closed Thursday in the aftermath of the rapper’s recent spate of antisemitic remarks, KTLA TV and other news outlets reported,

The school, Donda Academy,  is closed  “for the remainder of the 2022-23 school year effective immediately,” parents were told by email late Wednesday, according to news outlets. The decision was made “at the direction of our founder,” the email stated.

The unaccredited Christian school requires parents to sign nondisclosure agreements before students join. It has about 100 students, with half attending on scholarships funded by the artist, now known as Ye, and others, Insider reported. Students wear uniforms made by the rapper’s brand, Yeezy, and other high-end designers. The school’s basketball team has recruited some of the top high school players from around the U.S.

Earlier this month, Ye tweeted he intends to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to the U.S. defense readiness condition scale known as DEFCON. The French athletic wear company Adidas ended its relationship with Ye’s companies on Wednesday amid global outrage.

His comments have spurred other outbursts of antisemitism. Last weekend, white supremacists were photographed on a highway overpass in Los Angeles with a sign that read  “Kanye is right about Jews” while doing the Nazi salute.

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 11:37 am

Link copied.College unaffordable for most Pell Grant recipients, report says

A new report by the National College Attainment Network found that the average Pell Grant recipient could only afford to attend a quarter of the public four-year colleges in the U.S. in 2019-20. Pell Grant students who attend these schools generally needed an additional $2,627 annually to cover the cost of attendance.

Fewer than half of Pell Grant recipients could afford to attend U.S. community colleges that year. Community college students needed about $907 more to meet their college costs.

NCAN classifies a college or university as affordable if the total cost of attendance, plus $300, is less or equal to a student’s income, including financial aid and family contributions, according to Higher Ed Dive.

Washington, Kentucky and New Mexico had the highest rate of affordable institutions.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 10:31 am

Link copied.Forum to discuss picking new president of CSU Los Angeles

The committee to select the new president of California State University, Los Angeles will hold an open forum from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Luckman Theatre on campus to outline the search process and ask for community comment.

President William A. Covino will retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Campus and community members who want to address the committee are required to register before noon.

CSU trustee Jack B. Clarke Jr. will chair the committee. Trustees Larry L. Adamson, Adam Day, Jean Picker Firstenberg and Wenda Fong, and CSU interim Chancellor Jolene Koester are on the committee.

The virtual open forum will be web-streamed live and archived on the presidential search website​, where written comments also will be taken.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 10:02 am

Link copied.CSU Fullerton pulls student teachers out of district that banned critical race theory

Cal State Fullerton won’t be sending student teachers to Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District next spring. The university’s leadership halted placement of student teachers in the district, in part because of a decision by the district school board to ban the teaching of critical race theory at the school.

“The placement of student teachers in Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD), at this time, would place us in conflict with our goals to prepare teacher candidates with pedagogical approaches rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, race and gender theories, cultural linguistic studies, social emotional well-being, and tenets of critical race theory,” said a statement from the university sent to the district last week.

Critical race theory is typically taught at the university level and is not part of the voluntary state model curriculum for K-12 schools, although it is taught in some districts that have adopted an alternative curriculum. It examines how laws, regulations and government practices have perpetuated racial injustice. Critical race theory is often confused with culturally relevant teaching.

Feedback from teacher candidates who said mentor teachers couldn’t tell them whether they could teach curriculum related to ethnic and cultural differences — areas aligned with state standards for teacher preparation — led to scaled-back placements for fall of 2022, according to an article on the university website.

The college had six student teachers in the district at the time of the decision to withdraw all student teachers, down from the usual 70 to 80 that generally are placed there.

The lack of clarity around what could be taught in the district, accompanied by the school board’s resolution banning critical race theory in April, and continued discussions as to whether ethnic studies could be taught and cultural celebrations could be held, led the College of Education to pause placements for the rest of the 2022-23 academic year, according the university’s website.

The College of Education will continue its partnership with the school district if district leaders make it clear that student teachers can create lessons aligned with state standards, according to the statement.

In a statement posted on the district website, Superintendent Michael D. Matthews said that the district values diversity and promotes equity and equality — all values that were outlined in the board’s resolution banning the teaching of critical race theory.

“While we respect the university’s right to make this determination, we are disappointed by their decision to pause the placement of new student teachers in our district,” he said. “We value our partnership with CSUF, and we look forward to continuing the discussion about renewing their placement of student teachers in PYLUSD, and about our continued commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and culturally relevant and inclusive teaching practices.”

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 10:47 am

Link copied.Southern California district ordered to pay $45 million in abuse case

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District was ordered by a jury to pay $45 million to the family of autistic twins who were physically abused by an aide at a Malibu elementary school in the district, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

A lawsuit filed in 2019 alleged that Galit Gottlieb, an employee at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, physically restrained and abused the two second graders. A Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, who included and Charles and Nadine Wong and their two sons, according to the newspaper.

“District administrators failed the twins by allowing them to be abused for months despite clear warnings they were being harmed,” the family’s attorney, David German, said in a statement, according to the Daily Press. “Even now, they refuse to acknowledge the extent of the harm their employee caused. Fortunately, the jury saw through their continued attempt to cover up what occurred.”

Ben Drati, superintendent of the district, said in a statement to the newspaper that the ruling was “not justified.”

“We are working with our legal team to explore options to respond to what we believe to be a verdict that was not justified by the evidence presented,” Drati said.

 

Michael Burke

Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 10:18 am

Link copied.High school students in Ventura walk out of class, call for raises for teachers

Hundreds of students at Ventura High walked out of class on Monday to protest in support of their teachers, who are seeking more pay in contract negotiations with the district, the Ventura County Star reported.

“We want to protest for our teachers’ pay. We wanna give love to them,” Mateo Navarro, a senior who helped organize the protest, told the newspaper.

The principal of the school, Marissa Cervantes, said the school was “supporting students in exercising their First Amendment rights and ensuring their safety.”

The union representing teachers in the Ventura Unified School District has been bargaining for months with the district. But those negotiations have not had significant progress, with union officials saying the district’s offer doesn’t match the rising cost of living in Ventura. Negotiations will resume Nov. 9.

Michael Burke

Monday, October 24, 2022, 11:43 am

Link copied.Students in L.A. walk out of class to demand better campus security

Hundreds of students at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles staged a walk-out Thursday after two students were stabbed on campus earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Many of the students said they don’t feel safe on campus, and asked administrators to increase mental health services and security measures such as metal detectors and drugs and weapons searches, the newspaper reported.

The stabbings occurred Wednesday during a fight between students at 3:30 p.m. Two students were hospitalized and quickly released. The incident follows a spate of violence on other school campuses in Los Angeles, including a Sept. 22 stabbing at Grant High School.

Some students said they’d feel safer if there were police on campus. But not all thought police would solve the problem.

“I don’t think we would need a school police officer if the administration was taking more care of the students’ mental health and just figuring out what’s going on with the students,” student Marina Wells told the Times.

Carolyn Jones

Monday, October 24, 2022, 9:48 am

Link copied.Student arrested after fight with teacher in Marin

Police in Marin County arrested a student Thursday after he got in a physical altercation with a teacher, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

The fight, which was captured on video, occurred at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in a hallway Redwood High School in Larkspur. Another adult on campus broke up the fight. Afterwards, school staff “peacefully engaged the student” and called the police, according to the newspaper.

No weapons were involved, and staff did not know the cause of the fight. There were no threats beforehand and no other students were involved, staff said. Principal Barnaby Payne sent a letter to parents about the incident, asking them to monitor their children’s social media use for misinformation.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, October 21, 2022, 5:53 pm

Link copied.Court temporarily halts Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan

A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked the President Joe Biden’s imminent plans to cancel federal student loan debt.

The 11th hour move comes after 22 million borrowers have applied for the debt cancellation program announced in August. The administration had stated that the program could go into effect early next week.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted an administrative stay on Friday evening. The Washington Post reports that borrowers will have to wait until a panel of conservative judges rule in the case being argued by Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina — a coalition of Republican-led states. On Thursday, a federal district judge in Missouri dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing.

On Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a separate request in Wisconsin to stop the debt cancellation program.

Biden, campaigning for the upcoming midterm elections, spoke out against the suits in a speech at Delaware State University, a historically Black university.

“Republican members of Congress and Republican governors are doing everything they can to deny this relief, even to their own constituents,” he said.

Emma Gallegos

Friday, October 21, 2022, 10:44 am

Link copied.Former UCLA gynecologist found guilty of sexual abuse

Jurors found former UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps guilty on five counts Thursday following accusations that he sexually abusing female patients while working at the university. 

Heaps, 65, was found guilty of three counts of sexual battery by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, following assaults between 2013 and 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times. On other charges, he was found not guilty of seven, and a mistrial was declared by the judge regarding the other nine because the jury could not reach verdicts on them.

The trial comes as hundreds have stepped forward, accusing him of sexual abuse during his 35-year career in connection with UCLA. The University of California system is paying $700 million to settle lawsuits against Heaps and the university filed by women who accused him of sexual abuse.

Heaps is currently facing up to 28 years in prison and is awaiting sentencing scheduled for Nov. 17.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, October 21, 2022, 10:43 am

Link copied.States to appeal dismissal of student debt relief lawsuit

Six Republican-led states are looking to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan. 

The states asked Thursday night that the federal appeals court reconsider it, hours after a U.S. district judge in St. Louis ruled that the courts did not have jurisdiction to hear the case because the states lacked standing. The states also asked for an injunction to prevent the debt relief from moving forward until the appeals process ends.

Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina argue that moving forward with the student debt relief would cause them economic injury by causing them to lose tax revenue and incur other losses from federal student loans that state-related entities manage, own or invest in, according to Politico.

The appeal request comes just as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected an appeal from a Wisconsin taxpayers group attempting to stop the debt relief program. 

Applications for student debt forgiveness launched Monday and will remain open through December 2023. Individuals earning under $125,000 and households earning less than $250,000, qualify for up to $20,000 of relief.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 4:19 pm

Link copied.West Contra Costa Unified still short around 60 teachers

Two months into the school year, West Contra Costa Unified is still struggling to fill around 60 teacher vacancies amid a nationwide shortage.

At a school board meeting Wednesday, West Contra Costa’s interim associate superintendent of human resources, Sylvia Greenwood, said there were 18 teacher vacancies at the district’s elementary schools, the equivalent of 15.6 full-time teacher vacancies at middle schools and high schools, and 26 special education teacher vacancies. Some of the vacant positions are not full time, so they were counted as a fraction of a full-time position.

Prior to the pandemic, the district employed 1,454 teachers in the 2018-19 school year, according to Ed-Data.

The district is using both long-term and short-term substitutes to fill the vacancies, as well as contractors and subcontractors for the special education positions. Greenwood said the district is continuing to recruit teachers and is currently onboarding several new ones.

The district will also be receiving 27 teachers in December from the Philippines through the Teach USA program.

In addition to the teacher vacancies, the district is also short hundreds of school workers such as custodians, counselors, librarians, speech pathologists, secretaries, tutors and classroom aides.

Ali Tadayon

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 10:33 am

Link copied.Two students stabbed at Los Angeles high school

Two students were stabbed at a Los Angeles high school Wednesday afternoon and were hospitalized, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The attack occurred at about 3:38 p.m. at John Marshall High School in the city’s Los Feliz neighborhood near Hollywood, the newspaper reported.  A person of interest was detained but released and no weapon was found, Los Angeles Unified School District police told the newspaper.

A police spokesperson declined to say if the person of interest was a student. The attack occurred at the time classes normally end for the day, the Times reported.

The medical status of the victims was not released. The police spokesperson said the pair spoke to investigators Wednesday evening at an undisclosed hospital.

Anyone with information on the stabbing is asked to call the school police department’s investigative services division at (213) 202-8621. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Thomas Peele

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 10:32 am

Link copied.Sacramento high school student diagnosed with tuberculosis; information meeting set

A Sacramento high school student was recently diagnosed with active tuberculosis, and more than 200 students and staff members who were possibly exposed have been notified, the Sacramento Bee reported.

In a letter to parents on Wednesday, Hiram Johnson High School Principal Garrett Kirkland wrote that the student was isolated at home, and there was no longer a risk of exposure to others on campus. Contact tracers identified 236 individuals who were possibly exposed — the majority of that contact came through shared classes with the student at the 1,500-student campus, according to the newspaper.

Parents of those close-contact students, as well as exposed school staff, will receive an additional letter for the next steps, which include testing for the contagious bacteria, the newspaper reported.

The school is scheduled to host an informational session via Zoom on Thursday evening.

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 2:54 pm

Link copied.Students, scholars want California universities to hire undocumented students

Students and some of the country’s top legal scholars are proposing that the University of California hire undocumented students.

According to the New York Times, a group of students planned to present a letter to University of California president Michael Drake on Wednesday, proposing that the university hire undocumented students as research and teaching assistants and for other jobs.

Federal law prohibits hiring undocumented immigrants, but at least 26 legal scholars are arguing that states are exempt from this law. The legal analysis was drafted at UCLA and is backed by immigration and constitutional scholars at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, New York University Law School, Cornell, Stanford and Yale, among other universities. Conservative immigration experts question the argument.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has allowed some students to be hired legally in the past, but many current undocumented college students in California are not eligible to apply for DACA, because since 2017, no new applications for DACA have been accepted. Many of these students could not apply before the restrictions were put into place, because they had not yet turned 15.

Zaidee Stavely

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 10:00 am

Link copied.U.S. parents are worried about school shootings, survey says

Most parents of K-12 children are concerned that a shooting could happen at their child’s school, according to the results of a survey released by the Pew Research Center today.

Of the 69% of parents who said they were worried about a shooting at their child’s school, 37% said they were “somewhat worried,” while 32% said they were either “very worried” or “extremely worried.”

The survey of 3,757 parents was conducted between Sept. 20 and Oct. 2.

Mothers who were surveyed were more concerned about the possibility of a school shooting than fathers, with a 39% saying they were either “very worried” or “extremely worried,” compared to 24% of the fathers who were surveyed.

Half of Hispanic parents surveyed said they were “very worried” or “extremely worried” about school shootings, compared to 40% of Black parents, 35% of Asian parents and 22 percent of white parents.

 

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 9:47 am

Link copied.UC alumna named university’s chief academic officer

Katherine S. Newman has been named the University of California’s chief academic officer. She will serve as the university’s provost and executive vice president of academic affairs beginning Jan. 9.

Newman, a California native and alumna of UC San Diego, is currently the system chancellor for academic programs and the senior vice president for economic development for the University of Massachusetts.

She was selected after a nationwide search to replace Michael T. Brown, who is stepping down after five years in the role.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to return to the University of California, my alma mater twice over as an undergraduate and a graduate student,” Newman said. “I lost count at nine in totaling up the number of people, across three generations of my family, who have completed their degrees within the UC system.  Its excellence in all spheres — from its remarkable faculty to its extraordinary students — is recognized the world over. “

Newman earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology from UC San Diego, then went on to earn a doctoral degree in anthropology at UC Berkeley. She began her teaching career at Berkeley Law in the doctorate program in jurisprudence and social policy.

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 5:15 pm

Link copied.Enrollment decline at Los Angeles Unified less than than expected

Enrollment at Los Angeles Unified dropped by fewer students than predicted, according to the district’s latest numbers. Across the district, enrollment dropped 1.9% among TK-12 students in comparison to the initially projected 4.1%. 

The 1.9% drop comes after two years of steep declines amid the pandemic and represents a loss of 8,000 students since last school year. Tuesday’s enrollment announcement follows the district’s count of actively enrolled students in September, which reported TK-12 enrollment at 422,276 students.

“We’re still declining, but not as quickly as was anticipated,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole. “It seems that for the first time in a decade, there is, at least at this point, that reversal of a long term trend of aggressive enrollment decline.”

The last time LAUSD had an enrollment drop as low as 1.9% was during the 2013-14 school year. Outside factors, such as the rising cost of living and decreasing birth rates, continue to have significant impact on enrollment, but Carvalho said he believes that rolling back some Covid-19 protocols has led some families to return to the district.

The decline in enrollment highlights smaller drops among elementary school students than predicted but points to significant drops among some high school grades. Enrollment in 12th grade dropped rather than increased as predicted, and 11th grade made up a little over a quarter of the loss among TK-12 students at a 7% decline.

As eligibility expands for transitional kindergarten, numbers are lower than initially predicted by the early education department, which told EdSource in April that it expected 5,000 additional students to enroll this school year. Enrollment increased by nearly 2,700 students instead, which was still a bit higher than enrollment predictions by the district’s financial team. 

The district is still looking to further analyze trends and evaluate the impact of these new numbers, according to Chief Financial Officer David Hart. It isn’t yet clear how these enrollment changes reflect across schools.Enrollment numbers play a significant role in district funding, which is based not only on the number of students enrolled but also on their attendance. This recent enrollment analysis, though for internal use, assists in shaping budget projections as the district moves forward.

Kate Sequeira

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 12:02 pm

Link copied.Rising cost of child care outpacing Inflation

The cost of child care continues to outpace inflation, according to a new report from ​​Child Care Aware of America.

In 2021, child care prices rose by 5% while the annual inflation rate was lower at 4.7%. This means families with children struggle to afford child care, experts say, on top of essentials such as food, housing and transportation.

“Parents continue to face the challenge of finding and affording high-quality child care,” said Lynette M. Fraga, chief executive officer of Child Care Aware of America, an advocacy group. “Recent public investments in child care have been a lifeline and helped keep programs open. But robust, long-term public support is needed to make child care affordable for families and ensure more children have access to high-quality early learning experiences to prepare them for success in school and beyond.”

Other key findings in the report include that, in most states, the price of child care for two children in a center-based program exceeds annual housing payments. Similarly, the price of child care for an infant in a center-based program exceeds annual in-state tuition at a public university in 34 states.

Karen D'Souza

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 10:56 am

Link copied.Federal student loan forgiveness application now open

The Biden administration on Monday formally launched the application for student loan forgiveness for millions of Americans.

The application can be accessed at studentaid.gov, where applicants will fill out their name, Social Security number, date of birth and contact information to see if they qualify for up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt relief or up to $20,000 if they received a Pell Grant and earn less than $125,000 a year.

The application window closes Dec. 31, 2023.

“This is a game-changer for millions of Americans,” Biden said at a White House news conference Monday. “We’re getting moving, and it took an incredible amount of effort to get this website done in such a short time.”

Despite the launch of the application, several lawsuits have been filed against the Department of Education challenging the student loan forgiveness program. A U.S. district judge could soon decide whether to temporarily block the program after hearing a motion for a preliminary injunction last week, CNN reported. That could put the forgiveness program on hold until a final ruling is made in the case.

Ali Tadayon

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 10:40 am

Link copied.Man arrested for threatening to shoot Conejo Valley Unified superintendent

Thousand Oaks police arrested a Goleta man Saturday on suspicion of calling the Conejo Valley Unified school district and threatening to “put a bullet” through the skull of superintendent Mark McLaughlin, the Ventura County Star reported.

The threat appears to stem from unconfirmed claims by a parent at a Sept. 20 school board meeting that her daughter witnessed another student masturbate in class, the superintendent told the Ventura County Star. The claim has been published by right-leaning websites, though no one else from the class has corroborated that claim, the Star reported. The websites accuse McLaughlin of brushing off the incident as normal, and he is pursuing legal action.

Conservative activists, incited by national right-wing groups, have been protesting at Conejo Valley Unified board meetings for months about the district’s handling of transgender issues in the classroom, according to the Star. Conservative organization Turning Point USA added Conejo Valley Unified to a “Watchlist” of “radical” school boards, publishing the district’s office phone number and contact information for the five board members.

Ali Tadayon

Monday, October 17, 2022, 9:41 am

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified AP English teacher is California nominee for national Teacher of the Year

Jason Torres-Rangelan Advanced Placement English teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, will represent California in the 2023 National Teacher of the Year competition.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond nominated Torres-Rangel from among five teachers also selected as state teachers of the year.  Torres-Rangel was also named the Los Angeles Unified and LA County Teacher of the Year in 2022.

Torres-Rangel is a graduate of Los Angeles Unified and has spent over 18 years teaching English and ballet folklorico at several campuses across the district. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College and a master’s in education from Harvard University.

“To be selected as California State Teacher of the year is a profound honor. As the son of two retired Los Angeles Unified teachers,” Torres-Rangel said in a statement, “I am humbled, moved, and touched, and am so excited to uplift the voices of my students and the work of my colleagues. The work of teaching is the work of love and family; no teacher works alone, it is truly a family effort.”

This is the 50th year that California has selected a teacher of the year. The honor is presented by the California Department of Education and supported by the California Teachers of the Year Foundation to honor outstanding teachers and encourage and inspire new teachers to enter the profession.

The other four teachers of the year for 2023 are Catherine Borek, an AP English literature and drama teacher at Dominguez High in Compton Unified; Lauren Camarillo, a high school Spanish teacher at Mountain View High in the Mountain View–Los Altos Union High School District; Ben Case, an instrumental music and music theory teacher at Northwood High in Irvine Unified, and Bridgette Donald-Blue, a fourth grade teacher at Coliseum Street Elementary in Los Angeles Unified.

Meghann Seril, a third-grade teacher at Broadway Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified district and a member of EdSource’s teachers advisory group, was among nine finalists. To see the full list, go here.

John Fensterwald

Monday, October 17, 2022, 9:32 am

Link copied.Salary negotiations underway for Fresno County’s highest paid employee: the superintendent

A Fresno County compensation committee is preparing a salary package for the incoming superintendent that’s expected to be the highest in the county, the Fresno Bee reported.

Newly elected superintendent Michele Cantwell-Copher takes over the position on Jan. 3. Her predecessor, Jim Yovino, who held the job since 2013, is the county’s highest-paid public employee with a salary of $340,000. The county school board will vote on Cantwell-Copher’s salary at an upcoming meeting.

Yovino’s base salary does not include benefits. His total compensation package includes $55,042 in other pay and $60,574 in benefits, according to Transparent California. By comparison, the county’s chief administrative officer earns $267,800.

The county superintendent’s office oversees a $359 million budget, 1,500 employees, and fiscal operations in 32 school districts, the Bee reported.

 

 

Carolyn Jones

Friday, October 14, 2022, 5:07 pm

Link copied.Bakersfield College hosts high school homecoming threatened with cancellation due to gang violence

Bakersfield College announced it will be hosting a homecoming game next Friday between neighboring high schools whose surrounding communities have recently experienced a wave of deadly shootings.

The McFarland High School Cougars will be facing off against the Delano High School Tigers at Bakersfield College’s Memorial Stadium. The storied venue in Bakersfield is about 30 miles southeast of McFarland where the game was originally scheduled.

The Kern Community College District’s Early College program has a large presence on both campuses, so many of its students are also dually enrolled Bakersfield College students. College and high school officials looked at the new venue as a chance to expose more students to the college experience.

“Chancellor Sonya Christian and her administration continue to provide students with college experiences, and Friday’s homecoming game is just another real-time event for McFarland and Delano students to get a taste of the college lifestyle,” said Superintendent Samuel Aaron Resendez, in a statement.

Delano and McFarland straddle a dividing line between northern and southern gangs in the state. Six people have been killed in shootings since Oct. 4 in communities in northern Kern County and Tulare County.

The threat of gang violence cast a dark shadow on fall activities such as football and homecoming. Law enforcement said that there are no credible threats to schools, but threats of retribution circulating on social media have made many in the school communities uneasy.  Three school districts, including McFarland Unified and Delano Joint Union High, canceled after-school activities this week. Robert F. Kennedy in Delano canceled its homecoming scheduled for tonight.

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) wrote a letter to State Attorney Rob Bonta, calling on him to create a regional task force to address violence in the region. She called Kern a “rural and underfunded” county. The county has the highest murder rate in the state.

Emma Gallegos

Friday, October 14, 2022, 3:36 pm

Link copied.Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd cancels men’s soccer season over hazing incident

Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd colleges near Los Angeles canceled the schools’ combined men’s soccer season this week due to a hazing incident that an administrator described as “demeaning and potentially dangerous.”

The incident, which occurred Oct. 1, involved almost the entire team, which is made up of players from both schools. College officials did not release the details, but an email to students said players “subjected new team members to acts of hazing that were demeaning and potentially dangerous,” according to the student newspaper, the Student Life.

Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd, which are part of the Claremont Colleges, plan to increase campus education on hazing, promote positive team-building activities and provide mental health counseling for students who were impacted, said Claremont McKenna spokeswoman Gilien Silsby.

“As is often the case in difficult times, the opportunities for growth and character building are significant, and we have every reason to believe these men and this team will be better versions of themselves as they emerge from this difficult moment,” Silbsy said.

The team, which plays in Division III, competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Prior to its season being canceled, the Stags were 4-1-2 in the conference and were predicted to finish the season at No. 1. Last year they were undefeated in the conference and finished 14-2-3 overall.

Carolyn Jones

Friday, October 14, 2022, 10:36 am

Link copied.More than 1,000 students at two San Diego high schools call out sick after flu-like symptoms

More than 1,000 students have been absent this week from two San Diego high schools after reporting flu-like symptoms. San Diego County Public Health Services is investigating the matter. 

At Poway Unified’s Del Norte High School, students began calling out sick Monday, shortly after the school hosted homecoming that weekend. Absences jumped to 400 by the middle of the week. However, a spokesperson from the district told CBS8 that not all of the students calling out sick attended homecoming.

The symptoms at Del Norte were similar to those at San Diego Unified’s Patrick Henry High School, which reported more than 700 students called out sick as of Tuesday.

County doctors believe that the fever, cough and headache symptoms indicate most students at both schools had the flu.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, October 14, 2022, 10:34 am

Link copied.Group attacks student at Sacramento City Unified high school

Six individuals entered Sacramento City Unified’s John F. Kennedy High School Thursday and attacked a student, according to KCRA3. They entered the school around 2:20 p.m. without permission. 

Two of those in the group, unaffiliated with the school, entered a classroom and sprayed a student with pepper spray. The attack left the student, as well as a staff member who attempted to break up the fight, needing treatment for the spray. One person was transported to the hospital, although it is not clear whether it was the student or the staff member.

The school believes all or most of those who entered the school for the attack were adults. Police are still working to identify those involved. School staff handed over two individuals to the Sacramento Police Department when officers arrived on scene.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 4:05 pm

Link copied.Four California universities receive $3 million awards for training teachers of English learners

Four universities in California will receive awards from the U.S. Department of Education to support training for teachers of English learners.

The Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition announced 44 awards nationwide, of nearly $120 million over five years. The awardees in California are the San Diego State University Foundation, the regents of the University of California Los Angeles, the State University San Marcos Corp. and the California State University, Dominguez Hills Foundation. Each will receive close to $3 million over five years for different projects, in which they work with school districts or student teachers.

The grants are for implementing professional development to improve instruction for English learners, defined as students who speak a language other than English at home and are learning English in school.

“I grew up speaking Spanish at home and thrived as an English learner in school thanks to great teachers who helped me realize that my bilingualism and my biculturalism would someday be my superpower,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a news release. “As our nation grows more diverse than ever before, we must level up our investments in educators who can provide students from all backgrounds with equitable opportunities to succeed. This $120 million, five-year investment will support high-quality professional development and teacher-preparation programs across the country. It will also help us grow a pipeline of diverse and talented educators who can help more English learners realize their own bilingual and multilingual superpowers.”

 

Zaidee Stavely

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 10:53 am

Link copied.Early start times OK for elementary schools, study finds

Elementary schools that start before 8 a.m. have almost the same academic outcomes as those that start closer to 9 a.m., a new study found.

The study, published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, looked at test scores, attendance, suspension rates and other metrics of 1,417 schools in North Carolina from 2011 to 2017. It found little variation in outcomes at schools that start before 8 a.m., before 8:45 a.m. and after 8:45 a.m.

The research is in contrast to outcomes for high school students, who tend to perform better academically with later school start times. California recently passed a law requiring middle schools to start after 8 a.m. and high schools to start after 8:30 a.m.

“As a number of districts and, notably, the state of California, adjust school start times to allow high schools and middle schools to start later, our findings offer reassurance that moving elementary schools to earlier start times is unlikely to harm the educational outcomes of the youngest students,” said Kevin C. Bastian, a co-author of the study and a research associate professor in the department of public policy at the University of North Carolina.

Carolyn Jones

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 9:57 am

Link copied.Stanford apologizes for anti-Jewish admissions practices in the 1950s

The president of Stanford University, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, apologized Wednesday after a campus task force found that the university strictly limited the admission of Jewish students in the 1950s.

“This ugly component of Stanford’s history, confirmed by this new report, is saddening and deeply troubling,” Tessier-Lavigne wrote. “On behalf of Stanford University I wish to apologize to the Jewish community, and to our entire university community, both for the actions documented in this report to suppress the admission of Jewish students in the 1950s and for the university’s denials of those actions in the period that followed. These actions were wrong. They were damaging. And they were unacknowledged for too long.”

The task force discovered that Stanford administrators in the early 1950s limited admission of Jewish students after an internal memo complained that the university was admitting too many students from two high schools in Southern California —Fairfax and Beverly Hills — whose student bodies were primarily Jewish. Before the memo, 87 students from those two schools were enrolled at Stanford. Within a few years, that number fell to 14.

The practice discouraged other Jewish students from applying to Stanford and had an overall detrimental impact on Stanford’s Jewish student population, Tessier-Lavigne said. The university later denied it had conducted the practice.

The task force recommended that Stanford take a number of steps to bolster Jewish life on campus, such as aligning the academic calendar to accommodate Jewish holidays; hosting trainings for staff and students on antisemitism; and conducting a comprehensive study of Jewish life on campus.

The university is hosting a webinar on the task force findings at noon today.

Carolyn Jones

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 9:11 am

Link copied.School district opens wellness center for families in south LA

Los Angeles Unified will open a wellness center today on the New Charles Drew Middle School campus in the Florence-Firestone area of south Los Angeles.

The school-based clinic will provide medical and counseling services to students, as well as people living in the area. According to the school district about 60,000 people from mostly low-income families live in the 3.5-mile area around the school.

The Drew Student and Family Wellness Center will cost about $7.7 million.

The district has built nearly 20 wellness centers on its campuses, according to the district.

 

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 8:34 am

Link copied.Sacramento City Unified staff training to save lives with Narcan

Sacramento City Unified is the latest California school district to distribute Narcan to all of its schools. The nasal spray can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The school board voted recently to change its board policies to train school staff to administer Narcan at school sites.

Sacramento County had 174 deaths related to opioid overdose in 2021. Some victims were as young as 15, according to a press release from the Sacramento City Unified.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is the major contributor to drug overdoses in California, according to the California Department of Public Health. In late September the department sent out a email alert warning of a new brightly-colored fentanyl, known as rainbow fentanyl that is growing in popularity. The drug can be in pill form or disguised as powder, blocks, candy or sidewalk chalk.

SCUSD Health Services has obtained free Narcan to distribute to our school sites through the California Department of Health Care Services Naloxone Distribution Project.

“We know that as adults and children cope with multiple traumas in their lives, before and after the pandemic, there has been a tremendous increase in substance abuse,” said Victoria Flores, executive director of Student Support and Health Services for the school district. “Opioid related deaths can be prevented and by having broad access to Narcan, our schools will have the ability to educate our community and save more lives.”

 

 

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 7:22 pm

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified to move forward with changes to instructional calendar

The Los Angeles Unified school board unanimously voted Tuesday to move the district’s additional acceleration days to school breaks, despite pushback from one of its labor partners. The new plan to shift the acceleration days comes after pressure from the teacher’s union to reconsider its plans.

Under the changes, the acceleration days will take place the first two days of both winter and spring breaks, and the school year will end four days earlier. The optional days were originally meant to take place on four Wednesdays throughout the school year as a way to provide extra support to students in light of the pandemic’s toll on learning. The first one was scheduled for next week.

Some board members were reluctant in their decision to support the change in dates, acknowledging SEIU Local 99’s concerns about not being considered in the decision making and how the change would impact its members.

SEIU Local 99 estimated last week that nearly half of their members would not be available to work the acceleration days if moved because of prior commitments.

“They’re right about getting the short end of the stick. They’re right about standing with this district and about trying to be collaborative partners,” board member Nick Melvoin said at the board meeting. “But it’s also tough because on the other hand, our schools are not ready for an optional day in school next week.”

United Teachers Los Angeles initially surfaced frustration over the planned acceleration days in August when it filed a complaint, claiming that LAUSD had gone forward with the additional days without consulting with its labor partners. UTLA had planned to boycott the first day, calling the district’s plan a PR stunt.

Kate Sequeira

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 1:18 pm

Link copied.Chico State president announces retirement

Gayle Hutchinson, president of Chico State University, announced Tuesday that she would retire from the position at the end of the 2022-23 academic year.

Hutchinson is the university’s first woman president and the first openly gay president in the California State University system.

“Hutchinson has been both a visionary leader and a trailblazer for the (CSU) and for higher education more broadly,” CSU interim Chancellor Jolene Koester said. “We are deeply appreciative of President Hutchinson’s extraordinary service to Chico State and the CSU.”

CSU will launch a national search to find Hutchinson’s successor, Koester said.

Ashley A. Smith

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 1:16 pm

Link copied.19 California districts recognized for policies that support LGBTQ+ students

In its latest survey of California’s unified school districts, an LGBTQ+ civil rights nonprofit honored 19 districts for their inclusive policies supporting LGBTQ+ students and identified others who need to do more to ensure students feel safe on campus.

Equality California, one of the country’s largest LGBTQ+ rights organizations, singled out San Francisco Unified, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, Elk Grove Unified, Pittsburg Unified, Monterey Peninsula Unified, Vista Unified, Moreno Valley Unified and 11 other districts for the extra steps they’ve taken to train staff, prevent suicide, expand curriculum to include LGBTQ+ issues, support transgender students and maintain an overall positive campus climate.

“Our goal was to elevate examples of excellence so other districts have a model they can look to,” said Chris Negri, program director at Equality California. “This year we saw a lot of success with anti-bullying policies, teacher training and suicide prevention, but there’s lots of room to grow.”

The organization sent surveys to all 343 unified school districts across the state, and 118 responded. Results were down slightly from the 2019 survey, but that’s likely due to disruptions related to Covid and greater outreach efforts, Negri said. The organization plans to do another survey in two years.

In the 2022 survey, 52 districts were identified as needing to work harder to create a safe environment for LGBTQ+ students. Those included West Contra Costa Unified, Needles Unified, Santa Ana Unified, Sanger Unified and others.

Tehachapi Unified, where a gay student died by suicide in 2010 due in part to bullying on campus, did not respond to the survey. The death of Seth Walsh, 13, led to a nationwide anti-bullying movement and a California law that requires school districts to track and respond to incidents of bullying.

“Every student deserves to learn and grow in a school environment that is welcoming, supportive and safe,” said Negri said. “We hope policymakers and community members use this report as a resource to identify both bright spots and challenges as we build a community of districts across the state that are committed to implementing common sense policies and approaches to improving  school climate for LGBTQ+ and all students.”

Carolyn Jones

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 11:03 am

Link copied.Student achievement in San Diego Unified fell during pandemic

Student achievement at San Diego Unified, California’s second largest school district, fell during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic,  The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, citing state standardized test scores the district released Monday.

The declines were consistent with national trends, the Union-Tribune noted.

About 53% of students who took state tests in spring 2022 met or exceeded standards in English, a decline of 4 percentage points, while only 41% of students met or exceeded standards in math, a drop of 7 percentage points.

San Diego school board trustee Richard Barrera told the newspaper that it was “certainly not surprising” to see the declines in test scores.

San Diego Unified Superintendent Lamont Jackson added in a news release that the district must “ask questions to better understand how we can support our students, and create learning conditions that are grounded in equity so all students can succeed.”

“San Diego Unified is committed to helping our students recover — with both academic and social-emotional support — so that all children have the ability to thrive at school,” Jackson added.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 10:52 am

Link copied.Former San Jose superintendent awarded $2 million in discrimination lawsuit

Kathy Gomez, the former superintendent of Evergreen School District in San Jose, was awarded about $2 million by a federal court after suing the district and alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her gender, according to the East Bay Times.

The federal court determined that the district had “significantly underpaid its first female superintendent,” the Times reported. Gomez retired in 2019 after serving for eight years as superintendent. She filed the lawsuit in 2020.

District studies had previously shown that Gomez was underpaid compared with the superintendents of nearby districts, and she was also underpaid compared with her male predecessor at Evergreen School District.

In his findings, Judge Nathanael Cousins wrote that the San Jose district “failed to show that the pay disparity between Gomez and her predecessor was justified by a job-related ‘bona fide reason other than sex,'” the Times reported.

Michael Burke

Monday, October 10, 2022, 10:39 am

Link copied.New biography of Mike Kirst explores an accomplished career spanning six decades

In a biography out now in paperback, “Michael Kirst: An Uncommon Academic,” Richard Jung tracks the life and career of an unusual academic who made a big imprint on K-12 public policy in and out of government service.

Kirst will be forever identified in California as the Father of the Local Control Funding Formula, the 2013 financing reform law that Kirst jointly conceived as a professor emeritus at Stanford University, persuaded Gov. Jerry Brown to embrace, and then implemented as Brown’s designated president of the State Board of Education. It was the capstone of six decades in academia and public policy dating back to his role in the Johnson administration in the mid-1960s.

Richard Jung, biographer of Michael Kirst

Jung, a retired teacher, private school headmaster and school consultant, was Kirst’s teaching assistant while working on his doctorate at Stanford in the 1970s, and Kirst was his thesis adviser. The two have remained close since then. That put Jung  in a good position to explain why Kirst was effective in influencing public policy. In addition, long conversations with Kirst and those who worked with and collaborated with him provided Jung with insights into Kirst’s scholarship and self-effacing leadership.

He also witnessed the evolution of Kirst’s thinking away from top-down directives, which he helped draft with the establishment of federal Title I “categorical” programs, to the empowerment of local control, which Brown referred to as the principle of subsidiarity.

The books explores key figures who influenced Kirst, particularly his mentor John Gardner, an influential leader who was Johnson’s secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, founded Common Cause and reunited with Kirst with an appointment at Stanford.

In a forward to the book, Michael Usdan, former president of the Institute for Educational Leadership, wrote that Jung’s “persistence in and dedication to capturing Mike’s remarkable career document how one especially dedicated academic can have such remarkable influence.”

Jung included an innovation in his first biography. Through QR codes interspersed throughout the book, readers can link to recordings of Kirst’s speeches and interviews with and about him over the decades.

Jung is dedicating proceeds from the book, which sells on Amazon for $12.95, to EdSource.

John Fensterwald

Monday, October 10, 2022, 10:31 am

Link copied.High School coach’s decision to end use of ‘thin blue line’ flags by football team causes uproar

Controversy has erupted at a Southern California school district over the use of pro-police “thin blue line” flags by a high school football team, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

The flap involves Saugus High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District in Santa Clarita, where three students were killed in a shooting in 2019. Since then, Sagus’s football team has run onto the field before games carrying the blue version of the American flag as a tribute to police who responded to the shooting.

But Saugus head coach Jason Bornn recently ended the practice because he believes it does not fit with the inclusive culture he is trying to create, the Daily News reported.

“In deference to (Bornn’s) commitment to inclusivity, kindness and respect (just loving people), and because the team never voted as a unit to carry this banner, (Bornn) decided to discontinue this practice,” district Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said in a statement.

Friday night many parents and students wore shirts to a football game with “thin blue line”  flags io the back and the words “THE BLUE HAD OUR BACKS NOW WE BACK YOURS!!” on the front.

A retired police officer whose son plays on the Saugus team told the Daily News that “there are several kids on the team whose parents work in law enforcement and are first responders and want to show their support for them.”

But others are opposed. The newspaper reported that in a recent Facebook post, a Santa Clarita resident insisted the school district do something about Saugus players running onto the field with the flag.

“There is absolutely no reason for this image to be carried out onto the field by players” the post read. “What message are we sending to our kids if we sit back and allow this divisiveness to continue.”

Thomas Peele

Monday, October 10, 2022, 9:51 am

Link copied.Bogus calls of school shootings are rising across the country, NPR reports

Fake reports of school shootings being called in to police are on the rise across the country, National Public Radio reported.

In a story that aired on the network’s Weekend Edition program, host Scott Simon talked about the troubling phenomenon that is throwing schools, police, and parents into panicked situations.

“Over the last three weeks, schools across the U.S. have been targeted by a new wave of hoax calls. Somebody calls the school or local dispatch to say an active shooter is on the campus and that some people have already been shot. The school is then put on lockdown. Police swarm the scene. And in some cases, panicked parents rush to the location,” Simon reported.

NPR found as many as 114 recent calls in 19 states and the District of Columbia of bogus claims of school shootings.

Some of the calls may be coming from outside the United States, NPR domestic extremism correspondent Odette Yousef told Simon. In one case, police in Minnesota traced a call that came directly from Ethiopia, she said.

The FBI is investigating, she said.

EdSource staff

Friday, October 7, 2022, 10:11 am

Link copied.Labor unions clash over Los Angeles Unified’s additional days of instruction

Labor organizations are clashing over proposed changes to Los Angeles Unified’s academic calendar. LAUSD’s initial plan to add four optional instructional days to the school year first received push back from the teacher’s union. Now, SEIU Local 99 is pushing back on new changes made to accommodate United Teachers Los Angeles’ concerns.

According to the initial plan, which is still in place, the four optional school days are spread across Wednesdays throughout the school year, with the first one set to take place Oct.19. A compromise between LAUSD and UTLA would move those days to winter and spring break, shortening the lengthened school year and converting those Wednesdays to regular workdays. However, SEIU Local 99 is rejecting the proposal, citing frustration over the last-minute change.

“We believe that changing the school calendar eight weeks into the semester will be disruptive to students, families and workers at LAUSD,” executive director Max Arias said in a press release from the union. “A last-minute change to a calendar that was adopted by the Board of Education this past spring will do a disservice to the very students and families these acceleration days are intended to help.”

SEIU Local 99 estimates that nearly half of their members would not be available to work the acceleration days if moved because of prior commitments.

Though the decision to lengthen the school year was passed by the school board in April, official pushback from UTLA did not start until August when the union filed a complaint against the district for not engaging with its labor partners on the matter. UTLA members initially planned to boycott the first acceleration day, calling it a PR stunt, before reaching the compromise with LAUSD. However, the agreement still awaits a vote from the school board.

“Los Angeles Unified looks forward to finalizing an agreement that supports the most fragile students, and works for those who provide leadership, instruction and support services to students on a daily basis,” LAUSD wrote in a statement last week after the changes were proposed.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, October 7, 2022, 10:09 am

Link copied.San Marcos Unified principal placed on leave

A principal at a San Marcos Unified school was placed on leave last Friday after district officials received a complaint about him the day before, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The Mission Hills High School community has yet to be told the reason behind his leave of absence, which was announced to families Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the district told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Principal Cliff Mitchell was placed on leave while the district reviews the matter. Mitchel has worked at Mission Hills High School since 2020, following more than a decade as principal at a Poway Unified school. Assistant Principal Nathan Baker is currently taking over his responsibilities.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, October 7, 2022, 9:30 am

Link copied.Nonprofit blames Stockton Unified board for keeping district “stuck in neutral”

In a back-to-school brief  “Stuck in Neutral?” released this week, the education-focused nonprofit San Joaquin A+ calls on districts in San Joaquin County to spend $109 million in federal and state pandemic funding on high-intensity tutoring and to prioritize social and emotional health and safety to support student learning.

The report also spares no words criticizing the governing board of the county’s largest district, Stockton Unified. It notes that two county grand juries have condemned the board for committing open-meeting violations, for “poor business practices, conflicts of interest, a lack of transparency, and budget shortfall of at least $30 million by 2024,” and for creating the conditions that have led to a revolving door of six superintendents in six years.  Without mentioning pivotal school board elections next month, the report says, “The leadership changes themselves are a window into the management crisis perpetuated by the (Stockton Unified) school board.”

Pointing to “pockets of progress,” San Joaquin A+ praises Lodi Unified’s successful investment of Covid relief funding on early literacy programs and a decision to send 250 high school students to the University of the Pacific’s residential summer camp, as well as San Joaquin County’s creation of an early college program TEACH! Academy. It  enables high school students to pursue an associate’s degree in education.

The report also points to the $4.6 million awarded to a coalition to establish the San Joaquin County Child Savings Account, setting up $750 college savings accounts for families with 3- and 4-year-olds. And it cited Stockton’s city government purchase of 1,550 Chromebooks with hotspots  and 500 data-enabled tablets, equipped with three years of prepaid internet access, to address the 36% of Stockton households without reliable internet access and the 8% without a computer.

These are among the efforts to get schools and children “out of neutral” from the effects of the pandemic, the report said. To read the full report, go here.

John Fensterwald

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