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California education news: What’s the latest?

Monday, March 6, 2023, 7:51 am

Link copied.New legislation would ban textbook bans

A bill introduced last month would require that textbooks used in California schools represent people from all races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.

The author of Assembly Bill 1078, Corey Jackson, D-Riverside, told the Sacramento Bee that the current curriculum used in schools often erases Black, Latino, Asian and LGBTQ+ voices.

“When students are exposed to a narrow range of experiences, they may struggle to relate to the material, which causes them to disengage from learning, or even develop biases that limit them from engaging with people from different backgrounds,” Jackson told The Bee.

The bill will prohibit school districts from banning curriculum, textbooks and other instructional materials without state approval.

EdSource staff

Friday, March 3, 2023, 9:55 am

Link copied.Tapping into family engagement can boost literacy and math, experts say

Family engagement may be key to student academic success, as K-12 Dive reported. 

A strong connection between school and family leads to higher grades, test scores, attendance and graduation rates, said Karen Mapp, a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education during the U.S. Department of Education’s first online panel discussion in its Family Engagement Learning Series.

“Family engagement is not a new concept,” Mapp said, as K-12 reported. “It is an essential ingredient to the success of our students in our schools, but we still are battling a little bit to try to get people to accept this and realize this.”

The Education Department’s series, launched in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Overdeck Family Foundation, aims “to boost family engagement and lift parent voices,” the department said in a statement. The online series comes several months after the Education Department disbanded its newly formed National Parents and Families Engagement Council. The council’s dissolution followed the filing of a lawsuit by a group of conservative activists who claimed the effort lacked “balanced” perspectives. 

A parent’s relationship with their child is “the most underutilized natural resource in education,” said Alejandro Gibes de Gac, CEO and founder of the nonprofit Springboard Collaborative, during the session. 

Karen D'Souza

Friday, March 3, 2023, 9:42 am

Link copied.Coalition urges California to invest $150 billion in climate-resilient, healthy schools

A coalition of health, city planning and education nonprofits issued a report Thursday urging California leaders to invest $150 billion over a decade to build and renovate schools to mitigate to the increasingly hazardous effects of climate change on children’s health and well-being.

“Most of California’s schools were built long before anyone knew anything about climate change,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder of UndauntedK12, an Oakland nonprofit that seeks clean-energy solutions to community challenges and infrastructure inequities. “These buildings were not designed to handle things like wildfire smoke and extreme heat. As global warming intensifies and severe weather becomes increasingly frequent, it will become more and more difficult for California’s aging schools to maintain conditions that are safe, healthy and conducive to learning.”

And yet schools are the places where young people spend the majority of their days, the report Climate-Resilient California Schools: A Call to Action observes. Its climate action plan makes 14 recommendations. They include:

  • Adopt sustainable construction practices.
  • Power schools with solar technology and battery storage.
  • Electrify building energy systems to transition away from fossil fuel dependence.
  • Upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to electric heat pumps.
  • Improve the efficiency of water use.
  • Create green schoolyards that increase shade and reduce the presence of asphalt.

Other groups in the coalition include the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research and the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University, UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools and Ten Strands, which strengthens strategies on TK-12 environmental literacy.

That first installment of the plan could come about in 2024 if the Legislature approves and voters pass a TK-12 school construction bond that incorporates elements in the report. Matching state money for local district renovations and new construction from the last bond, passed in 2016, has run out of funding.

John Fensterwald

Thursday, March 2, 2023, 11:04 am

Link copied.Minority males benefit from having a consistent academic coach, study finds

Full-time students who had the same academic coach during their time at community college were 10% more likely to complete their studies, Inside Higher Ed reported.

The three-year study involved 11 North Carolina community colleges and found that technology-enabled academic success coaching closed equity gaps. The study by Watermark Insights found that minority male students fared better by having the same success coach over four terms.

“Retention goes up, graduation rates go up, all those negative academic metrics decrease and we make improvements to students moving forward,” John J. Evans, associate director of student life for N.C. Community Colleges told Inside Higher Ed about the findings.

EdSource staff

Thursday, March 2, 2023, 10:48 am

Link copied.High school junior in Sonoma County stabbed to death in fight in art class

A 15-year-old student at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa allegedly stabbed another student to death Wednesday morning, during a fight that broke out in an art class, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

Police identified the victim as Jayden Jess Pienta, 16, of Santa Rosa, the newspaper reported. The 15-year-old, who has not been publicly identified, fled the school and was taken into custody about a mile away without incident.

“This is truly a sad day,” Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Anna Trunnell said at a news conference Wednesday.

According to an account of the incident police provided to the newspaper, the fight started at 11:11 a.m. when Pienta and another student, both juniors, began fighting with the 15-year-old. Twenty-seven other students were present.

A teacher and three staff members rushed to stop the fight. Moments later, the fight resumed and the freshman retaliated, pulling out a folding knife with a 4- to 5-inch blade, police told the newspaper.

The 15-year-old allegedly stabbed Pienta in the upper body three times. Pienta died after initially being treated on the campus and then taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, police said.

Thomas Peele

Thursday, March 2, 2023, 10:47 am

Link copied.UC Berkeley offers counseling to students and staff after man sets himself ablaze on campus

A man set himself on fire at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Wednesday, suffering critical burns, Berkeleyside reported. Two people who attempted to smother the flames suffered lesser burns.

UC police said it was not yet known whether the man is affiliated with the university, according to Berkeleyside. Police estimated the man is in his early 20s. He sustained second- and third-degree burns over much of his body and was taken to the trauma center at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Stills taken from a video of the scene show a person spraying a fire extinguisher at the man as students in the plaza watch.

UCPD is asking people with information about the incident to call. The university shared counseling resources for students and staff with those who may have seen the incident or watched videos of it circulating online.

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 8:54 am

Link copied.High costs, staffing shortages mean waitlists in after-school programs

Staffing shortages and rising costs have kept about a quarter of the nation’s operating after-school programs from returning to pre-pandemic capacity, according to a survey of the programs conducted for the AfterSchool Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization. About half of the nation’s afterschool programs have a waiting list.

Although 94% of the after-school programs that were open before the pandemic have reopended, almost all of the providers are concerned about the ability to hire and retain staff.

After-school programs provide academic enrichment, time for students to interact with peers and build social skills, opportunities for physical activity, time to develop life skills and a chance to talk with peers or staff members.

“After-school programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, give working parents peace of mind, and help students recover from the isolation and trauma the pandemic caused,” said Jodi Grant, Afterschool Alliance executive director. “Ensuring that all students can attend should be a priority for lawmakers and educators because these programs are essential to students’ recovery and to their success in school and in life.”

Grant said that only 19% of the after-school programs surveyed have been able to access Covid-relief funds.

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 2:23 pm

Link copied.Los Angeles teachers union reelects Cecily Myart-Cruz as president amid negotiations

Cecily Myart-Cruz will serve a second three-year term as president of United Teachers Los Angeles after garnering three-fourths of the membership vote in a recent election. Her reelection at the powerful union comes as UTLA pressures the Los Angeles Unified district in contract negotiations for raises, smaller class sizes and more academic and mental health support for students. 

Myart-Cruz, a former elementary and middle school teacher, will continue to lead the union’s 35,000 teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses during disputes with the district over its use of funds and its response to the pandemic’s impact on teachers and students. To combat high inflation and cost of living, the union is pushing for a 20% raise over two years. UTLA has also positioned itself alongside community advocates pushing to defund the district’s police department and direct more support services toward Black students.

Myart-Cruz’s opponents, Leonard Segal and Greg Russell, are both substitute teachers within the district and followed behind her with 16.6% and 7.9% of the vote, respectively. Both say the union hasn’t been doing a good enough job of listening to its members.

UTLA’s strong influence delayed the return to in-person classes after the pandemic pushed classes online. In October, pressure from the union over LAUSD’s decision to extend the school year caused the district to change its plans. UTLA filed a complaint and threatened to boycott, arguing the district did not bargain with its labor unions.

LAUSD also is currently in negotiations with SEIU Local 99, which represents nearly 30,000 custodians, special education assistants and other essential employees. The workers union has declared an impasse and voted to authorize a strike if it does not reach an agreement with the district.

Election results still need to be certified by the UTLA board.

Kate Sequeira

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 12:27 pm

Link copied.New bills would raise pay for child care providers and lower family fees

The child care industry has long been beleaguered. Many families can’t afford the care they need while many providers subsist on poverty wages. Amid the crisis, two new bills in the California Legislature would raise pay for child care providers and lower family fees for subsidized care.

Sen. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, and Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-Colton, have introduced legislation, Senate Bill 380 and Assembly Bill 596, that would raise provider pay by about 25% as well as lower family costs,  the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.  

“We are at a crisis point in our child care system. Childcare employment rates have long struggled to meet the need for California families,” said Limón in a news release. “Providers have been underpaid, undervalued, and overutilized. It is past time that we pay child care workers what they are worth.” 

Family fees are currently being waived by the state as part of pandemic relief, but they are set to return on July 1. Details on how the proposed legislation would be implemented have yet to be hammered out. 

“With prices skyrocketing, families cannot afford another bill,” Reyes said in the news release.  “It is critical that we fight to ensure better access to affordable child care for working families. We must also ensure that child care providers receive a dignified wage that allows them to keep their doors open to serve more families.”


Karen D'Souza

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 11:03 am

Link copied.Michelle Herczog honored for her achievements in social studies

Michelle Herczog

Michelle Herczog, history-social science coordinator at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, is this year’s recipient of the Hilda Taba Award, the highest honor given by the California Council for the Social Studies.

The award is given to someone who has made a professional contribution to social studies education in California and significantly influenced the field over time. Herczog directs the California Democracy School Initiative and provides instructional support for educators across the state. She received the honor Saturday at the council’s annual conference in Santa Clara. 

Among her contributions is helping to establish the California Seal of Civic Engagement, which students receive for academic excellence and work on a project of civic achievement.

Herczog has served on the Social Studies Committee of the Council of Chief State School Officers, California Instructional Quality Commission and the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning. She currently serves on the California chief justice’s Power of Democracy Steering Committee.

Describing her work on the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning, Rob Vicario, president of the California Council for the Social Studies, said, “Alongside scholars, justices and superintendents, Michelle was a powerhouse: well-informed, diplomatic, authentic, and ultimately, well-respected and liked. She stood out in that blue ribbon group as a competent and passionate voice for students and educators.”

“There are not enough superlatives to describe the work that Michelle has done and continues to do for social studies education in California and the nation,” wrote Jim Charkins, director of the Center for Economics Education at CSU San Bernardino, in nominating her for the award. 

John Fensterwald

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 10:56 am

Link copied.Conservative Supreme Court justices question Biden’s loan forgiveness plan

Developing story: Check back for updates

Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested that the Biden administration overstepped its authority in canceling about $400 billion student debt. That was evident in oral arguments in two cases challenging the controversial forgiveness policy.

The White House contends that the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 gives the secretary of education the ability to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision,” including the partial debt forgiveness. But justices in the conservative majority expressed skepticism.

“We’re talking about half a trillion dollars and 43 million Americans,” Chief Justice John  Roberts said. “How does that fit under the normal understanding of modifying?”

In contrast, one of the court’s liberal justices, Elena Kagan, said the language in the HEROES Act is clear in giving the administration the ability to waive the debts. “Congress doesnt get much clearer than that,” Kagan said. “We deal with congressional statutes every day that are really confusing. This one is not.”

In the case that has gripped the worlds of higher education and politics, the Biden administration also argued that the plaintiffs seeking to stop the debt cancellation don’t have the legal standing to sue. The plaintiffs include six Republican-led states and two individuals.

Another conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, also said that the debt cancellation usurps congressional power, describing it as a grant of $400 billion and it runs into Congress’s appropriations authority.”

But Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, representing the Biden administration, pointed out that implementing the loan forgiveness doesn’t require any money to be withdrawn from the Treasury.

Under Biden’s debt forgiveness proposal, about 3.5 million Californians could have loans forgiven, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Michael Burke

Monday, February 27, 2023, 10:26 am

Link copied.Newsom says law ‘needs to change’ after UC Berkeley housing project blocked

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the California Environmental Quality Act “needs to change” after a court cited it while blocking UC Berkeley from building student housing at People’s Park.

In a ruling issued Friday, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said UC Berkeley failed to consider alternative locations for the housing and didn’t “assess potential noise impacts from loud student parties in residential neighborhoods near the campus.” The court said its decision doesn’t mean UC needs to abandon the project, instead suggesting UC return to the trial court and fix the errors in its environmental impact report.

UC Berkeley has vowed to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. The housing was initially proposed in 2018 and would provide about 1,100 beds, but has been repeatedly delayed by lawsuits that cite CEQA.

Newsom said in a statement that the CEQA process “is clearly broken” and vowed to work with lawmakers to change the law.

“California cannot afford to be held hostage by NIMBYs who weaponize CEQA to block student and affordable housing. The selfish mindset is driving up housing prices and making our state less affordable. The law needs to change, and I am committed to working with lawmakers this year to making more changes so our state can build the housing we desperately need,” he said.

Michael Burke

Monday, February 27, 2023, 10:12 am

Link copied.Thurmond sets up hotline to report schools with unfair discipline practices

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has set up a tipline to report schools that disproportionally discipline students of color or with disabilities, or that disguise expulsion by transferring students to other schools.

The tipline was set up after there were reports that some districts have either involuntarily transferred students or encouraged parents to voluntarily transfer their students to other schools to avoid reporting expulsions, according to the California Department of Education.

The department also plans to offer guidance to school districts about how to more fairly mete out discipline and will offer a second round of community schools grants and implicit bias grants to help reduce disproportionate discipline.

“We have to educate our kids — not incarcerate them — and provide them with opportunities for learning and to succeed,” Thurmond said. “Taking students out of learning time through suspensions and expulsions is proven to push them toward the criminal justice system. School districts trying to hide actual discipline rates through practices such as masking expulsions as transfers will not be tolerated.”

The hotline number is (916) 445-4624 or email

Diana Lambert

Friday, February 24, 2023, 9:18 pm

Link copied.University of California applications down slightly for fall 2023

Freshman applications for fall admission to the University of California were down slightly compared to last year, thanks mostly to drops among international and out-of-state students, according to UC data released Friday.

Transfer applications from California community college students were also down, but declined less severely than they did last year.

UC received applications from a total of 206,405 prospective freshmen — down about 2% from a year ago. The drop was driven by 1,976 fewer applications from international students and 2,258 fewer applications from students in states outside of California. Applications from California residents essentially stayed flat: 132,226 applied, or 111 fewer than sought admission for fall 2022.

Those Californians could have a better chance than in years past of being admitted. UC this year is expected under an agreement with Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers to increase the share of California resident undergraduates who are enrolled at UC.

UC also saw a 2% drop among transfer applicants from California’s community colleges. But that was a stabilization compared to a year ago, when those applications were down by almost 11%.

“The University of California received an impressive number of applications for admission from prospective students this year. This is a testament to the University’s continued reputation as a premier center of higher learning,” UC President Michael Drake said.

Michael Burke

Friday, February 24, 2023, 10:55 am

Link copied.Book ban controversy reaches San Ramon Valley Unified

Parents and community members clashed at the San Ramon Valley Unified board meeting Tuesday over what books should be available for students in district schools. The literature controversy pulls the district into an issue affecting districts nationwide as community members push for schools to ban books they do not find favorable.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, several speakers during the board meeting referenced “Gender Queer,” which many called “pornographic.” The graphic novel has been targeted in the movement to ban books, which has significantly targeted LGBTQ-related books, according to free-speech organization PEN America. The book is not required reading but community members who spoke up against it did not like that it was available at district schools.

Students who spoke up at the meeting, spoke against removing books from their libraries, questioning the anger from those who were in favor. Librarians took a similar side, outlining the review process each book goes through.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, February 24, 2023, 10:40 am

Link copied.2,000 assessment records breached in LAUSD cyber attack

About 2,000 assessment records were breached during the September cyber attack on Los Angeles Unified, affecting at least 60 currently enrolled students, the district is now disclosing. Compromised records have primarily affected former district students and include some drivers license numbers and social security numbers.

The new information comes after education news site The 74 revealed that hundreds if not thousands of sensitive mental health records for former district students were posted to the dark web containing details about education services, medical histories and disciplinary records.

It is not clear how many affected students have been notified of the breach. LAUSD, which addressed the situation in a statement attributed to IT infrastructure senior administrator Jack Kelanic, wrote that the district has notified some individuals and vendors who have been impacted by this attack and will continue to do so as determined.

“This is an ongoing investigation in partnership with forensic and cybersecurity experts where arduous, painstaking efforts are taking place to comb through the data, review individual pieces, determine what information was accessed, locate the impacted individuals and notify them of resources to protect themselves,” the statement read. “The aftermath of a cyberattack is a multi-layered, dynamic process in which real-time updates often alter the direction of an investigation.”

The cyber attack on LAUSD initially surfaced over Labor Day weekend but is thought to have started July 31. The district refused to pay ransom, which resulted in the release of 500 gigabytes of data on the dark web, including vendor information, though district officials indicated that the impact was not widespread. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho initially said no psychological evaluations were included in the data leak.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 10:53 am

Link copied.Tainted water persists in American schools, report shows

Many American public schools don’t have safe water for students to drink, USA Today reports.

Despite a flurry of testing, policy changes, and the movement to replace water infrastructure in recent years, many children are still exposed to lead at school, according to a new report, “Get the Lead Out,” published Thursday. 

Even a little lead exposure, such as from school water fountains, can harm health, impacting the brain and nervous system. Studies connect elevated lead levels to lower IQ and decreased focus as well as violent crime and delinquency. This threat is affecting students just as they struggle to recover from school closures in particular and the pandemic in general.

“We have known for some time that high levels of lead can cause severe health impacts — including anemia, kidney disease, abnormal brain function and even death,” the report says, USA Today reports.“Even tiny amounts of this toxic substance can harm our children.”

The report’s authors, John Rumpler and Matt Casale from the Environment America Research & Policy Center and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, urge state and federal policymakers to address lead exposure at school. Not only are the findings grim, but they are both well-established and long-reported. This is the third report since 2017 that has found such problems exist, USA Today reports.

Karen D'Souza

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 10:47 am

Link copied.East Bay teacher accused of teaching antisemitic conspiracy theories

An East Bay high school teacher is on leave after students complained that he performed a Nazi salute, taught antisemitic conspiracy theories and that Adolf Hitler was not a bad person.

Students and teachers at a school board meeting complained that Mt. Eden High School English teacher Henry Bens remained in his classroom for two months, despite complaints. During this time, students were given “a master class in antisemitism,” Teresa Drenick, deputy regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

About 100 sophomore students are enrolled in Bens’ course. Students read Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust memoir, “Night,” a text required by Hayward Unified School District. But students told The Jewish News of Northern California that Bens also handed out a pamphlet called “The Hidden Tyranny,” subtitled “the Satanic Power which Promotes and Directs Chaos in Order to Lay Low All Civilization in Preparation for a Well-Outlined Plan for World Dictatorship.” It claims to expose a Jewish conspiracy to manipulate the media with the goal of world domination.

“This is something that was written as hate speech, and it continues to be hate speech,” fellow English teacher Heather Eastwood told The Jewish News.

Teachers said they’re frustrated with the lack of response from the administration. History chair Annie Mladinich said they’re concerned about the students who said they now believe in the antisemitic lessons they were taught. She and her colleagues plan to create a lesson plan on antisemitism.

Emma Gallegos

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 10:01 am

Link copied.Long Beach Unified hit by cyberattack

Long Beach Unified was hit by a cyberattack, school officials confirmed on Wednesday.

“Our school district recently learned about an incident in which an individual gained access to a list containing student identification numbers, names and their corresponding LBUSD-provided email addresses,” the district wrote to parents and students in an email obtained by the Press-Telegram.

The district first learned about the cyberattack Tuesday evening. It stated that more sensitive student and staff information, such as addresses, birth dates, social security numbers and grades were not affected. It’s not clear how many in the school district of 67,500 were affected by the attack.

Brett Callow, a threat analyst for Emisoft, first noted the attack. He told the Press-Telegram that this attack appears to be less severe than the recent attack in L.A. Unified. Officials with LAUSD said that 2,000 students were affected in the breach whose contents include Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. The 74 reported that medical histories, disciplinary records and other sensitive academic information was included in the LAUSD breach.

Emma Gallegos

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 1:16 pm

Link copied.Tulare County will use federal money to bolster mental health services in schools

Over the next five years, millions of dollars in federal money will be delivered to fourteen high-needs California school districts or offices of education, in hopes they will boost the number of mental health professionals to help students. That is especially needed in rural areas, officials say. 

One of those funded projects is in Tulare County, which sits in the southeastern Central Valley with a population of nearly half a million people. The $2.9 million for Tulare County will go toward hiring and retaining mental health professionals, according to Marvin Lopez, the executive director of the California Center on Teaching Careers, which is housed in the Tulare County Office of Education. 

The money comes from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed in 2022. 

Lopez said the pilot project began in 2019 and saw success in placing in Tulare County schools over 30 graduates from partner colleges such as CSU Fresno, Bakersfield and San Bernardino, and Boise State, Grand Canyon University and UMass Global. The funding will go toward financial incentives for retaining the future counselors, therapists and social workers who complete their clinical training at the schools. 

But Lopez said one of the findings during the pilot program was that retention was difficult. “Oftentimes, they might go and get employment at a clinic instead of getting employment with the school district,” he said. 

The project will give interns a living stipend of $20,000 for the full year of clinical training, then a $5,000 bonus every year for the first three years they are employed at a Tulare County school. The school will also receive a financial incentive “to help offset the cost of hiring project graduates for the first three years,” Lopez said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom last year announced a similar goal to boost the number of mental health professionals in schools, aiming to create incentives and pipelines for students to train. 

Youth mental health issues were already of concern before 2020, but studies have found that the pandemic caused a mental health crisis, especially among teens. 

Other high-needs schools in California that will receive grants are: Northern Humboldt Union High School District, Eureka City Schools, Santa Clara County Office of Education, Madera Unified School District, Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District, Riverside County Office of Education, Conejo Valley Unified School District, Animo Jackie Robinson Charter High School, Ukiah Unified School District, Lemon Grove School District, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, and the Imperial County Office of Education.

“A well-staffed school with high-quality teachers and robust staff of mental health professionals is the goal we’re working towards to ensure every California student has a strong educational experience where their needs are met,” Lopez said.

Ashleigh Panoo

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 8:12 am

Link copied.Bill would ensure all California students have access to computer science classes

Legislation that would ensure all high school students have access to computer science courses was introduced last week by Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park.

“From Silicon Valley to Biotech Beach, California is the undisputed cradle of innovation. People move here from all across the globe with bold ideas and big dreams of changing the world,” Berman said. “But the reality is that far too many California students grow up in the shadows of these tech companies, yet go to schools that don’t even offer them the opportunity to learn the skills they need to one day work there.”

A quarter of California students do not have access to computer science instruction, according to a press release from the assemblyman’s office. Students who attend schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students and Black, Latinx and Native American students are less likely to have computer science classes than other students in the state.

Twenty-seven other states require schools to offer computer science instruction, according to the release.

Ensuring all California students have access to computer science instruction would help close the gender and diversity gap in tech fields, and help train the future workforce needed for the state to remain competitive with other states and countries, Berman said.

“AB 1054 will begin to restore California as a leader, and will equip our students with the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s digitally driven world,” Berman said.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 8:11 am

Link copied.Grant available to help more students earn State Seal of Civic Engagement

California school districts can apply for up to $500,000 to increase the number of high students earning the State Seal of Civic Engagement.

The state has budgeted $5 million for the California Serves Program, which requires districts earning a grant to combine service learning and civic instruction in their programs.

The seal, which is affixed to student transcripts, diplomas and certificates of completion, indicates that the graduate understands the principles of democracy, the United States Constitution and the California Constitution. The student also must have a thorough knowledge of civics education, which includes service learning opportunities as a volunteer in the community.

The funds can be used for paid planning time for teachers, professional development for teachers and administrators, the purchase of instructional materials, personnel costs for coordinating service learning opportunities, and travel and other costs associated with service learning.

Applicants must submit an application to the California Department of Education by 4 p.m. March 10.


Diana Lambert

Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 6:35 pm

Link copied.Ed Trust-West calls for more state funding to help Black students

Black students need more from Gov. Newsom’s latest proposal to close California’s achievement gap, said Ed Trust–West, a nonprofit that advocates for justice in education.

The group’s analysis praised the governor’s budget proposal that will send an additional $300 million annually to the state’s poorest schools and revamp the state’s accountability system to target racial disparities statewide. But Ed Trust–West said that more could be done to target Black student success.

“We’re encouraged that the governor’s proposal sends more money to schools with high concentrations of poverty and uplifts accountability changes that focus on closing equity gaps for marginalized students,” according to the Ed Trust–West report. “However, much more can be done to center Black students in these solutions.”

The Ed Trust–West analysis estimates that about 6% of all California students and 7% of Black students in the state attend the schools that would receive $300 million set aside under the proposal the governor calls an “equity multiplier.” It found that it would increase funding for students in these schools by an estimated $887 per student.

This mirrors an EdSource analysis showing that the equity multiplier schools would serve only 6.6% of California’s Black students. The Newsom administration and the Black Legislative Caucus said that equity multiplier schools would reach nearly 10% of the state’s 299,000 Black students.

The report outlined four recommendations for targeting Black student success in California through the state’s formula for funding schools, the process for holding them accountable and the support schools receive from the state to improve.

It urges a more targeted approach to improvement and accountability, given that the last decade under the Local Control Funding Formula has witnessed only “marginal” increases for Black students, followed by a steep decline in the wake of the pandemic.

“Year after year, students, parents, community members, and advocates have demanded that California address Black students’ needs. Now is the time to finally take bold and effective action,” said the report.

As a group, Black students trail every other race or ethnicity on measures of academic achievement, including performance on state tests and graduation rates. However, unlike other groups, such as English learners and low-income students, school districts do not receive any extra funding to address Black students’ specific needs. Ed Trust–West recommends the Local Control Funding Formula be adjusted to directly address California’s yawning and persistent racial achievement gap. The governor’s proposal directs school districts to use the yearly state funding to help all student groups improve academic achievement.

A bill that would directly fund the lowest-performing racial or ethnic group, AB 2774, was written by Assemblymember Akilah Weber, D-La Mesa, and then pulled during the last session. The governor’s advisers warned it could go up against Proposition 209, California’s ban on affirmative action.

Ed Trust–West said it recognizes the limitations proposed by the measure and other laws such as Proposition 209. The nonprofit added:  “We also acknowledge that legality in the United States has often masked what is right or just.”

Ed Trust–West also made a series of recommendations to improve the accountability and support systems for school districts as they create and implement their Local Control Accountability Plans. This includes requiring Black students and families to be at the table during the LCAP process, and also requiring that districts’ goals and actions targeting Black students be “grounded in research.”

Ed Trust–West recommends that the  California Department of Education and the California Collaborative for Education Excellence become a hub of state expertise for supporting Black students, such as those outlined by the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Emma Gallegos

Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 11:11 am

Link copied.Bill would require universal screening for dyslexia

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, D–Burbank, has introduced legislation that would require California schools serving students in grades kindergarten through second grade to screen students for dyslexia.

Senate Bill 691 would mandate those screenings annually, unless parents or guardians opt to not have their children screened.

“Dyslexia is the most common learning disability and yet it often goes undetected,” Portantino said in a statement. “Early identification and intervention with evidence-based strategies is key to helping children read and vital to their academic success. By screening all students for dyslexia early, we can help families and teachers achieve the best learning and life outcomes for all students, close academic achievement gaps, and help end the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Michael Burke

Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 9:15 am

Link copied.Bill would require CSU to give workers full semester of parental leave

Newly introduced legislation would require the California State University to provide employees with a full semester of parental leave following the birth, adoption or fostering a child.

The bill, Assembly Bill 1123, was introduced by Assemblymember Dawn Addis, D-Morro Bay. “CSU faculty and employees play a critical role in our state by educating and supporting California’s future,” Addis said in a statement. “Ensuring that they have the right to paid parental leave is long overdue. AB 1123 affirms and solidifies California’s commitment to supporting parents and the well-being of families.”

Frances Mercer, an associate professor at Cal Poly Pomona, said in a statement that a full semester of parental leave is essential for “career support and retention of the CSU’s diverse faculty, especially women.”


Michael Burke

Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 9:15 am

Link copied.California lawmaker introduces bill to require all-gender restrooms in schools

State Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, has introduced legislation that would require all K-12 schools in California to provide students with access to all-gender restrooms during school hours.

California’s schools are currently required to give students access to restrooms consistent with their gender, but are not explicitly required to have gender-neutral restrooms, according to Newman’s office. His bill, SB 760, would change that. The bill does not require schools to get rid of traditional gender-segregated bathrooms, but it does mandate that they have at least one gender-neutral bathroom.

“Schools should provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students, one where they’re able to focus on learning and where they’re encouraged to thrive academically, socially and emotionally,” Newman, who also chairs the Senate Education Committee, said in a statement. “Let’s face it — at some point during a typical 8-hour school day, everyone is going to have to go. By requiring all California K-12 schools to provide gender-inclusive restroom facilities on campus, we’ll ensure the well-being of our LGBTQ+ and non-binary students and ensure safer school communities for everyone.”

Among the bills sponsors is State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who said in a statement that the legislation would help California “lead the nation by providing adequate access to gender-inclusive bathrooms on all campuses.”

Michael Burke

Friday, February 17, 2023, 10:59 am

Link copied.Berkeley removes name from fifth campus building for racist past

UC Berkeley removed the name of a founder and white supremacist from a campus building Tuesday, the fifth to be removed from its buildings since 2020. Moses Hall, which was named after Bernard Moses, a university professor who set up the science and history departments but also had racist ideals, is now known as Philosophy Hall.

Moses, who died in 1965, wrote in favor of lynching Black people and believed nonwhite races were inferior. He joins the likes of other slaveholders, eugenicists and racist individuals whose legacies are no longer displayed on the campus. 

These decisions for removal have been led by UC Berkeley’s Building Name Review Committee, which requires well-documented evidence to move forward with a proposal, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. So far, consensus has been unanimous for the individuals who have been identified and removed from buildings. 

According to reporting from the San Francisco Chronicle, there is still much left to be done: The university still has a Moses parking lot and Moses lecture series. The university also plans to post plaques to unnamed buildings, sharing their history so as to not completely erase the past. However, that has yet to be completed for all of them.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, February 17, 2023, 10:58 am

Link copied.Tension high after San Diego County school district hires ex-board member’s consulting firm

The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating a contract Cajon Valley Union School District has with the consulting firm of the former school board president that was awarded after she lost her run for reelection. The contract secured Tamara Otero’s firm a $60,000 no-bid, half-year contract, paying her significantly more than she earned as a board member, and the move has left parents and district employees concerned.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Otero filed paperwork to create her consulting firm, Alfabet Soup LLC, Dec. 9. Some board members said they didn’t know that Alfabet Soup belonged to Otero. The board has now approved a new contract with the firm for a lower amount of money, $50,400, after calling a special board meeting in January. 

This is not the first time the San Diego County district has dealt with issues involving Otero and its contracted companies. In 2019, the Cajon Valley school board awarded a $655,000 contract to her son’s construction company. According to the Union-Tribune, Otero abstained from the vote but did not disclose her son’s involvement.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, February 16, 2023, 10:59 am

Link copied.Proposed law calls for high school football championship games to be played at neutral sites

A bill introduced by a state lawmaker would require that high school football championship games be played at neutral sites after leaders from rural schools complained that playing at the home fields of larger schools can put them at a disadvantage, KGET television reported.

Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, introduced  SB-486 on Tuesday. The bill’s aim is to ensure rural schools are treated equally when it comes to host sites for California Interscholastic Federation football championship games.

“Games need to be played on an equal footing and not relegate rural and small schools to unequal treatment,” Hurtado tweeted about the bill, KGET reported.

The bill was written after the coach of Shafter High School complained last year about unfair playing conditions at a championship game played on the home field of a larger school.

Thomas Peele

Thursday, February 16, 2023, 10:28 am

Link copied.Excessive screen time in infancy may impede later academic success, study suggests

Amid the spike in screen time fueled by the pandemic, a new study found that letting babies watch tablets and TV may impair their academic achievement as well as emotional well-being later on in childhood.

Researchers found that increased use of screen time during infancy was associated with poorer executive functioning once the child was 9 years old, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, as CNN reported.

Executive functioning skills are mental processes that “enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully,” according to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child.

Executive functioning skills are key to higher-level cognition, including emotional regulation, learning, academic achievement and mental health, according to the study. They influence our success socially, academically and professionally, said Dr. Erika Chiappini, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“Though these cognitive processes naturally develop from infancy through adulthood, they are also impacted by the experiences that we have and when we have them in our development,” said Chiappini in an email, as CNN cited.

The parents in the study reported each child’s screen time, and researchers found there was an association between screen time in infancy and attention and executive function at 9 years old. 

More research needs to be done, experts say, to determine if screen time caused the impairments in executive function or if there are other factors in the child’s environment that predispose them to both more screen time and poorer executive functioning, the study noted.

The data tracks with cautionary recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which discourages all screen time before 18 months old, said Dr. Joyce Harrison, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Karen D'Souza

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 10:56 am

Link copied.Audit uncovers potential fiscal malfeasance at Stockton Unified; district attorney notified

A state audit of Stockton Unified finances has revealed evidence of potential fraud, misappropriation of funds and illegal fiscal practices, San Joaquin County Superintendent Troy Brown told the district’s board at a meeting Tuesday, according to The Stockton Record.

A report from the state’s Fiscal Crisis Management Team released that day details potentially illegal financial activities, including allegedly ignoring board policies to award a $7 million contract for air filters, according to The Stockton Record. The agency spent nearly a year working on the report.

The report found that 96% of the district’s business transactions between 2019 and 2022 had no documents showing there had been competitive bidding; 94% did not have a fully executed contract or formal board approval; almost 51% had no purchase order; 11% had payments not supported by an original invoice; and more than 9% showed an invoice dated before the purchase order or approval date.

Brown referred the report to State Controller Malia Brown, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas, according to The Record.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 10:35 am

Link copied.Cabrillo College looks to build housing for community college and UC students

Cabrillo College is seeking to build dorms and apartments that would house more than 600 students, including some UC Santa Cruz students, Santa Cruz Local reported.

The community college in Santa Cruz County submitted a $181.7 million proposal to the state for the project, the news site reported. The proposal comes as the state deals with a dire housing crisis that is particularly bad in Santa Cruz, where rent is expensive and little housing is available.

The project would include 383 beds for Cabrillo students and another 241 beds for UC Santa Cruz students.

“We know from studies that students who live in residence halls are more likely to finish on time because they’re full-time students and they’re committed to their course of study,” Cabrillo College President Matt Wetstein told the news outlet.

Michael Burke

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 9:57 am

Link copied.CSU Dominguez Hills wins federal grant to diversify teacher workforce

California State University Dominguez Hills has been awarded almost $1.6 million as part of a U.S. Department of Education program to increase the number of high-quality teacher preparation programs for teachers of color, strengthen the diversity of the teacher pipeline and address the teacher shortage.

The university was one of 12 nationwide to share $18.7 million in awards as part of the new Augustus F. Hawkins Centers for Excellence Program.

The program was created in 2008, but this is the first year it has been funded, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The grants support teacher preparation programs at universities that serve minority populations, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

“Today, more than half of our learners nationwide are students of color, and yet fewer than 1 in 5 educators come from communities of color,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I’ll never forget the impact that my first teacher of color had on me as a student, and my experience tracks closely with years of research suggesting the profound, positive influence that educators of color have on students of all backgrounds.”

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 9:24 am

Link copied.Civil rights lawsuit filed against El Dorado High School District

Ashley Lewis, a Placerville mother, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against El Dorado Unified High School District, alleging that district and high school administrators failed to protect her daughter from racially motivated verbal and physical attacks, and ignored her pleas for help, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Lewis told the Bee that her daughter, who is Black, had been subjected to racial taunts and harassment since first grade. The harassment became more physical when she began attending El Dorado High School, according to the lawsuit. The girl, who is now 16, has been beaten, touched, had her hair pulled and called names, according to the lawsuit. The girl, who was not named in the lawsuit, has since changed schools. 

The lawsuit alleges discrimination, sexual harassment and negligent supervision of students and seeks punitive, general and medical damages. 

District officials denied the allegations in a statement to the Sacramento Bee, but declined further comment.


EdSource staff

Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 4:13 pm

Link copied.Chico State biology professor sues estranged wife, colleague over their claims he made gun threats

Suspended Chico State biology professor David Stachura on Monday filed a libel lawsuit against his estranged wife and a biology lecturer in Butte County Superior Court, claiming they each fabricated claims that he spoke with them about shooting colleagues.

The suit comes days after a Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order sought by the California State University system against Stachura on behalf of three Chico State academics, including the lecturer named in the new lawsuit, Betsey Tamietti. The suit also names Stachura’s estranged wife, Miranda King, as a defendant. A hearing on the university’s request for a restraining order is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Stachura was suspended indefinitely after EdSource reported in December that he allegedly threatened to kill two colleagues who cooperated in an investigation that found he had a prohibited sexual affair with a graduate student he supervised in violation of CSU policy. He denied the affair. When the matter became public, it roiled the campus of 13,000, with faculty and students blasting the university’s decision to keep the security threat secret. Provost Debra Larson, who approved light punishment of Stachura for the affair, resigned. Students and faculty have demanded increased security and other changes.

In the newly filed suit, Stachura’s lawyer, Kasra Parsad, claims King gave a false declaration in 2021 when she asked the court for a restraining order against Stachura. The couple is locked in ongoing divorce and child custody cases.  She did that, Parsad wrote, to gain leverage in the child-custody dispute.

“For the next year, Stachura lived with constant shame and ridicule. King’s false statements caused him to be ostracized by his colleagues and overshadowed his life work,” Parsad wrote. King did not return a message Tuesday. King told EdSource earlier this month she had received a letter from Parsad telling her she would be sued if she didn’t retract the statement in her declaration. She told EdSource she had told the truth and would not back down.

The suit also claims Tamietti made false statements at a Dec. 12 online campus forum when she said Stachura had talked to her about shooting people in the biology department and threatened her to remain silent. Parsad wrote that the statements were false and caused Stachura “a loss to his reputation” and brought him “shame, embarrassment (and) ridicule.”  In an email to EdSource on Tuesday, Tamietti’s attorney, Jean-Paul Jassy, of Los Angeles, wrote that “the suit is meritless.”

Court records show the suit was assigned to Judge Stephen E. Benson, with a case management conference scheduled for Aug. 2.

Michael Weber of the Chico Enterprise-Record contributed to this report.

Thomas Peele

Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 1:54 pm

Link copied.California Community Colleges board sets date to hire new chancellor

The next chancellor of California’s community college system will be appointed during a board of governors meeting on Feb. 23, according to an agenda item for the meeting.

A proposed employment agreement between the next chancellor and the board will be presented at the meeting, and the board will be asked to approve it. That contract won’t be publicly available until the day of the meeting, according to the item.

The top position for the system of 116 colleges opened when the former chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, departed last year to head the College Futures Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students earn college degrees.

The college system launched a national search last July for the next chancellor and a search committee considered applications from “well-qualified higher education executives” from California and across the country, according to the agenda. The board reviewed four finalist candidates on Jan. 26 and 27. Officials have declined to identify the finalists or the selected candidate.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 9:44 am

Link copied.San Jose has the highest rate of homeless youth in the U.S., according to study

San Jose has the highest number of homeless young people ages 18 to 24 per capita, according to a study from United Way of National Capital Area. The national study included data from 100 major cities across the United States and found that 85 young adults out of every 100,000 residents are homeless in San Jose.

“This has been a crisis for years,” Scott Myers-Lipton, a San Jose State University sociology professor, told San José Spotlight, who reported on this study. “At SJSU, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to implement the agreement to provide emergency beds.”

The crisis has increased in recent years, with students at San Jose University rallying in recent years for school administration to provide support such as emergency funds and beds. And a 2021 survey by the school’s basic needs program showed that 624 out of 5,680 respondents, or 11.2%, had been homeless for at least one day during that school year.

The city has partnered with a local organization to build new apartments for young people, but the projects will not be finished until at least 2024, according to the San Jose Spotlight.

Betty Márquez Rosales

Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 9:39 am

Link copied.LAUSD workers vote to authorize strike

Thousands of Los Angeles Unified employees — including cafeteria workers, bus drivers and custodians — have voted to authorize a strike, the union representing those workers said in a statement.

The vote does not declare a strike but gives permission to the union’s bargaining team to call a strike if needed. The strike authorization was supported by 96% of the SEIU Local 99 members.

The union has been negotiating for a new contract with the district since April of last year, seeking better wages, more full-time workers and increased staffing levels. With the two sides at an impasse, a state mediator will now be overseeing negotiations. A mediation session is scheduled for Feb. 21, according to the union.

“Workers have sent a clear message to the school district that we demand respect,” Edna Logan, a custodian and member of the bargaining team, said in a statement. “During the pandemic we disinfected schools and kept our communities fed. This is a reminder that we’re still essential. LAUSD needs to value our work and respect our rights.”

The district said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that it is “committed to fair and equitable negotiations that offset the pressures of inflation for all employees who serve our students and school” and that it is hopeful the two sides reach an agreement.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 9:38 am

Link copied.UC Irvine to receive largest ever alumni gift with $35.5 million donation

The University of California, Irvine will receive a $35.5 million donation from the estate of Paul Butterworth and Jo Butterworth, both alumni of the university. The gift is the largest ever to UC Irvine from alumni, the campus said in a statement Monday.

The gift will support the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and will go toward awards, scholarships and fellowships for students in addition to funding research initiatives and faculty positions.

Paul Butterworth graduated from UC Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1974. He currently sits on the board of trustees for the UC Irvine Foundation. Jo Butterworth graduated from the campus in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree from Irvine’s School of Social Sciences.

“Paul and Jo Butterworth have been woven into the fabric of the University of California, Irvine for many years, and their contributions have been substantial and highly effective. With this new gift, they have further cemented their place among the greatest champions of students at our institution,” Chancellor Howard Gillman said.

Michael Burke

Monday, February 13, 2023, 10:47 am

Link copied.Violence against teen girls on the rise, so are their feelings of hopelessness

Teenage girls are increasingly subjected to rape and sexual violence, and are reporting record levels of sadness and hopelessness, according to federal research released Monday.

The “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that almost 15 percent of teenage girls surveyed have been forced to have sex. Three in five teenage girls reported feeling so sad and hopeless that they stopped participating in regular activities, according to the Washington Post.

One in three of the teenage girls considered suicide – an increase of 60 percent over a decade ago. Thirteen percent had attempted to kill themselves during the past year.

Girls also abused alcohol and drugs more often than boys and were bullied electronically more often, according to the article.

Teenagers, who struggled emotionally when faced with social pressures, family problems and academic difficulties, were impacted even more since the pandemic began.


Diana Lambert

Monday, February 13, 2023, 10:14 am

Link copied.Bill would require older students to have HPV vaccine to attend school

Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry introduced the Cancer Prevention Act last week. The bill would add the human papillomavirus or HPV immunization to the list of 10 vaccines that students are required to have before attending public or private schools in California.

Students would be required to have to have the immunization before entering the eighth-grade. The requirement doesn’t apply to students in home-based private schools or who are enrolled in an independent study program.

Medical exemptions would be allowed.

Diana Lambert

Friday, February 10, 2023, 11:09 am

Link copied.‘Exceptional’ barriers stop Black students from succeeding in higher ed

Black students face “exceptional” psychological, financial and physical barriers in higher education, according to a new survey by the Gallup and the Lumina Foundation.

Black students are less likely than any other racial or ethnic group to complete any credential or certificate. Researchers say that discrimination, the cost of education and responsibilities outside of school stop Black students from getting credentials — or even enrolling in the first place.

Over 12,000 adults this fall, including 1,106 non-Hispanic Black currently enrolled students were surveyed. Here are some of the key findings outlined in the report “Balancing Act: The Tradeoffs and Challenges Facing Black Students in Higher Education“:

  • 21% of current Black students say they feel discriminated against frequently or occasionally at their institution. Black students were more likely to say they were discriminated against at private for-profit schools (34%), short-term credential programs (32%) or less diverse institutions (31%) .
  • 36% of Black students have responsibilities that interfere with their education, such as caregiving or a full-time job — double the rate of other students.
  • 59% of Black bachelor’s students say they need greater flexibility in their work or personal schedule to stay enrolled in their degree or credential program.
  • 46% of Black students with additional responsibilities are more likely to say they considered stopping their coursework in the last six months 

The systemic discrimination that Black students experience in increasingly popular short-term credential programs and at for-profit colleges may point to the need for more oversight, researchers say. Black students’ experiences at for-profit institutions is “particularly problematic” given that Black students make up a larger share of the student population at these types of schools than at public or private nonprofit schools.

This research points to the need for leadership at higher education institutions who wwill address discrimination and its psychological toll, said Courtney Brown, Lumina Foundation’s vice president of strategic impact and planning.

“There needs to be somebody that’s not only going to listen, but take action on that and not dismiss it,” Brown told CNN. “Far too many students have tried to report things and it’s been dismissed based on the color of their skin, their age or their gender.”

She said this data should also serve as a wake-up call for policymakers who have an image of college students as kids who start college at 18, live on campus for four years and graduate.

“We have been trying to educate policymakers about today’s students. How do you think about child care on campus?” Brown told the 74.

Emma Gallegos

Friday, February 10, 2023, 10:52 am

Link copied.Former students sue ex-Pomona coaches over sexual abuse

Former cheerleaders and student athletes from Pomona High School are suing four former coaches alleging they sexually abused them. The three women, who attended the school in the 1990s, say the coaches groomed, assaulted and harassed students. They also say school administrators who were aware of the situation did nothing to stop it.

This is the fifth lawsuit filed against Pomona High School’s former coaching staff since 2020, increasing the total number of accusers to eight, according to the Los Angeles Times

The four male coaches named in Tuesday’s lawsuit include the current Mt. San Antonio College women’s basketball coach.

Kate Sequeira

Friday, February 10, 2023, 10:51 am

Link copied.San Mateo Community College District sues contractors

The San Mateo Community College District filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that a group of architectural firms and contractors engaged in a fraud scheme to secure big contracts. The scheme allegedly involved former Chancellor Ron Galatolo, though he was not named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that, in exchange for lavish gifts, Galatolo helped the companies secure multimillion-dollar contracts. Architectural firms Allana, Buick and Bers, and Bunton Clifford and Associates as well as construction companies McCarthy Building Cos., Blach Construction and Robert A. Bothman all received construction contracts for work at the Skyline College, College of San Mateo and Cañada College. 

Voters had approved $1 billion worth of bond measures in San Mateo County between 2011 and 2014 meant to address the colleges’ construction and equipment needs, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Galatolo was arrested and charged in April 2022 with fraud and corruption to which he pleaded not guilty, the Chronicle reported. This came after he was placed on administrative leave from the community college district in 2019 and later had his contract rescinded in 2021 for undisclosed ethical violations.

Kate Sequeira

Thursday, February 9, 2023, 10:37 am

Link copied.Bill would cap campaign donations to local school board candidates

New legislation introduced by state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, would put a $5,500 limit on individual donations to candidates for local school and community college district boards, Dodd announced in a statement. There are currently no limits on donations to school board candidates.

“Too often, we’re seeing eye-popping amounts donated to candidates for smaller community offices,” Dodd said in the statement. “These well-financed campaigns favor the wealthy at the exclusion of grassroots candidates and people of color.  Putting a cap on the money in these races will help ensure fairness in local elections while encouraging a more diverse field that is more reflective of the population.”

Senate Bill 328 would cap individual donations to school board candidates at $5,500, which is equal to the cap on donations to candidates for the legislature, according to the statement.

“No candidate for local office needs contributions larger than those for a Senate or Assembly district,” Dodd said.

Dodd said a lack of both media coverage and public interest in school board races leads to little analysis or scrutiny of donations. The $5,500 limit also applies to candidates for city and county offices.

The proposed law would also apply to donations to candidates for special district boards, such as water and sewer districts.

Thomas Peele

Thursday, February 9, 2023, 10:35 am

Link copied.San Francisco School Board plans to ask voters to approve $1 billion bond measure for building repairs

The San Francisco Unified School District plans to present voters with a $1 billion general obligation bond as soon as November, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

It would be the largest bond measure in the city’s history, the Examiner reported

A district-wide facilities condition assessment last year that analyzed 148 public schools, charter schools, and administration sites, found the district needs $1.7 billion for building repairs and upgrades over the next five years, according to the Examiner.

School Board President Kevin Boggess said of the assessment, “$1 billion feels like a small number” considering all the needs for building upgrades.

San Francisco Unified has some of the “oldest buildings west of the Mississippi,” district spokesperson Laura Dudnick told the Examiner.

Thomas Peele

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 9:54 am

Link copied.Biden highlights youth mental health in State of the Union speech

The U.S. Department of Education will invest $240 million in grants to help schools tackle the youth mental health crisis, President Joe Biden announced during his State of the Union address Tuesday, Education Week reported.

The president said youth mental health remains an urgent priority, as rates of anxiety and depression among young people continue to climb. The pandemic, school shootings and community violence, social media and persistent inequities and racism have all contributed to the rise in youth mental health challenges.

“When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school,” Biden said.

The grants, which follow a $1 billion investment last year, are intended to help schools hire more counselors and other mental health professionals.

Biden also called for other education reforms, including free pre-kindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds, pay raises for teachers,  upgrades to school buildings, expanded career training and protections for LGBTQ youth, EdWeek reported.


Carolyn Jones

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 9:54 am

Link copied.Hundreds protest Bakersfield teacher who supports student confidentiality on gender identity

More than 300 people attended a Kern High School District board meeting Monday night to protest — or support — a teacher who was quoted in The New York Times supporting students’ rights to confidentiality regarding gender identity, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

The teacher, Olivia Garrison, did not attend the meeting. The board didn’t take action because the item was not on the agenda, but did direct the superintendent to review the district policy.

Brandon Holthaus, senior pastor of Rock Harbor Church, was among those who called for the board to investigate and possibly fire Garrison, who teaches at Del Oro High School in Bakersfield.

Garrison’s comments, Holthaus said at te meeting, “are a violation of parental authority. I understand that (teachers) hear a lot of stuff (and issues from students). We’re asking them: Punt that, please. Punt that to the professionals and do not try to take that on yourself. You’re an educator. You are not a psychotherapist or a counselor that can handle those kinds of things.”

The New York Times quoted Garrison as saying, “My job, which is a public service, is to protect kids. … Sometimes, they need protection from their own parents.” The article focused on teachers who don’t inform parents when students discuss their gender identity.

Lance Mack, a transgender male who attends a local college, spoke at the board meeting in support of Garrison and LGBTQ students’ rights.

“If a student has decided to come out to someone at school rather than someone at home, there’s probably something going on at home,” he said. “Sometimes students just need space to be themselves. Maybe that can lead them to coming out at home later if it’s more about just needing a separate space.”

Carolyn Jones