California education news: What’s the latest?
Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 10:35 am
Link copied.Biden signs executive order trying to make child care more accessible
Amid the ongoing child care crisis, President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to find ways to make child care cheaper and more accessible, as the New York Times reported, seeking to make headway on a promise he made when he took office.
White House officials described it as the most sweeping effort by any president to streamline the delivery of child care.
“The child care and long-term care systems in this country just don’t work well,” said Susan E. Rice, the director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, as the New York Times reported. “The order includes more than 50 directives to nearly every agency to take action on fixing our child care and long-term care system.”
Rice said the order would direct some agencies to lower co-pays for services. Other provisions will seek to make Medicare and Medicaid dollars go further.
However, the order does not deliver on the goal Biden identified at the start of his presidency, when he proposed $225 billion to fully cover child care for low-income Americans and an additional $200 billion for universal preschool. Those proposals failed to win support in Congress, and Biden abandoned them in favor of other issues. Now, as the president prepares to announce his re-election campaign, he is seeking to make progress on unmet promises.—Karen D'Souza
Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 10:33 am
Link copied.LAUSD reaches new agreement with UTLA for higher pay, smaller class sizes
The Los Angeles Unified School District and the union representing teachers in the district have reached a deal for a new contract that will increase salaries for teachers and reduce class sizes.
The contract, which will go into effect July 1 and be for three years, includes a 21% raise for all union members and reduces class sizes by two students in all grades, the two sides said. The contract will also increase mental health and counseling services for students by adding more social workers, counselors and psychologists to schools.
“This agreement with UTLA is a necessary step not only to make Los Angeles Unified the district of choice for families but also the district of choice for teachers and employees,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a statement. “I am grateful that we reached an agreement with UTLA in a manner that reflects the dedicated work of our employees, provides a better academic experience for our students and raises the standards of compensation in Los Angeles and across the country.”
The deal must still be ratified by union members and be approved by the district’s school board.
UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement that the new contract will “not only improves students’ learning, but also the quality of life for LA families.”
“Smaller class sizes will give our kids the attention and care they require, and competitive salaries will ensure our schools can successfully hire, retain and develop successful teachers and educators to mold our young leaders of tomorrow,” she added.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 10:33 am
Link copied.California State University student workers file petition to unionize
Undergraduate workers across California State University filed a petition Monday to form a union that would represent more than 10,000 students across the 23-campus system, the Long Beach Post reported.
More than 4,000 student workers have signed union authorization cards and are seeking health care, higher wages, more paid time off and more work hours.
Catherine Hutchinson, president of the California State University Employees Union, said at a news conference Monday that students “work because they have to” and need the money “to support themselves, pay rent, buy food,” the Long Beach Post reported.
“But instead of providing resources to help make the students’ lives easier, the CSU exploits this labor pool because they can,” Hutchinson added.
A spokesperson for CSU, Amy Bentley-Smith, told the Post that CSU recognizes “all workers’ right to organize” and that CSU looks forward to engaging the student workers “in the event student employees are formally recognized by the California Public Employment Relations Board.”—Michael Burke
Monday, April 17, 2023, 10:50 am
Link copied.Some retired teachers hit with large bills for ‘overpayment debt’
Thousands of retired teachers in California are facing hefty bills from the state’s teacher retirement agency due to miscalculations of their benefits, the Mercury News reported.
The state Supreme Court declined last month to hear a case brought by 27 of the teachers, leaving them to repay large sums to the California State Teacher Retirement System. Some teachers owe more than $100,000.
“Retirees have literally had to pay for the mistakes that either the district or CalSTRS were making,” Jennifer Baker, a legislative advocate at the California Retired Teachers Association, told the Mercury. “These are individuals who did what they were supposed to do: they sat down with a CalSTRS counselor, they checked with the district to make sure that data was correct, and they retired based on the information they were given.”
Most of the miscalculations were related to bonuses, teaching summer school and other “extras” that could affect a teacher’s salary.—Carolyn Jones
Monday, April 17, 2023, 10:43 am
Link copied.Jury awards family $15 million after student dies in L.A. Unified
Los Angeles Unified owes a family $15 million after their son died during a middle school P.E. class in 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The jury found that the district was liable because even though a defibrillator was located on campus, staff didn’t know it was there and didn’t use it to help the boy, who had collapsed while running laps during a morning P.E. class at Palms Middle School. The verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court was unanimous.
The family is “devastated by the loss of their son,” attorney Gary Casselman told the Times. “(But they’re) gratified that the jury rendered a verdict in their favor. … Nothing will bring him back, but they wanted accountability from the district.”
The district had no comment on the case.
The case is similar to one that the district settled last year, in which another middle school boy collapsed during P.E. class and later died. In that case, staff likewise were not aware there was a defibrillator on campus. The district settled that case for $9 million.—Carolyn Jones
Friday, April 14, 2023, 4:02 pm
Link copied.Los Angeles Trade-Tech names new president
Alfred McQuarters, a community college administrator in Oregon, has been appointed as the next president of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
McQuarters is currently the vice president of instruction at Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon and will take over as the president at LATTC on July 1. LATTC is one of nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District.
“Los Angeles Trade-Tech College has a strong student diversity and a legacy of preparing students for trades and technical careers. It is an honor to be part of the LACCD family, as I serve in my new role as LATTC president,” McQuarters said in a statement.
Francisco Rodriguez, the district’s chancellor, in a statement called McQuarters “a proven leader who is committed to equitable student success and academic excellence.”—Michael Burke
Friday, April 14, 2023, 3:21 pm
Link copied.New guide helps families and school leaders navigate dual enrollment
Education Trust-West has updated its resources aimed at helping students and families navigate dual enrollment and advocate for equitable resources.
An increasing number of high school students are earning college credit through programs local community colleges, but dual enrollment often fails to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of high school communities.
Ed Trust-West, an education nonprofit that advocates for justice in education, created a set of bilingual resources called A Jumpstart on College: Dual Enrollment Resources aimed at families, advocates and school leaders.
The resources include a brief guide for families, questions students and families should ask, a resource guide curated by Career Ladders Project, a guide to public comment and a slideshow presentation for advocates that can be adapted to each school community.—Emma Gallegos
Friday, April 14, 2023, 10:38 am
Link copied.State board votes to further delay shuttering of two L.A. County juvenile halls
Los Angeles County has been granted additional time to come up with a detailed plan that would prevent California’s oversight board from shutting down two juvenile halls. During a board meeting Thursday, the board voted that L.A. staff return a more detailed plan of action that provides solutions for each of the issues the board has found present in the halls.
Since 2021, the Board of State and Community Corrections has found Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and Central Juvenile Hall, two out of three juvenile halls in the county, “unsuitable for the confinement of minors,” with problems ranging from insufficient staffing to youth being confined for too long in their rooms to lack of proper training on the use-of-force policy.
The state board received a corrective plan from L.A. County on March 14. The plan, however, “does not provide enough detail about the specific plans that will be relied upon to correct the items of noncompliance and does not provide a reasonable timeframe for resolution,” according to a letter from the board to the L.A. County Probation Department’s interim chief, Karen Fletcher. Fletcher became interim chief last month after the previous department chief, Adolfo Gonzales, was fired.
During the board meeting Thursday, the board voted to grant an additional month for L.A. County to return a more detailed plan. The county will then have until mid-June to comply with the plan.
“I think the clear message is this change is going to have to be expedient, definable, measurable and inspectable,” said Linda Penner, chair of the state board.
The decision comes on the heels of a violent incident at Nidorf, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. A probation officer was stabbed Monday night by a young person housed in the hall’s unit for youth adjudicated for serious crimes such as assault and homicide.—Betty Márquez Rosales
Friday, April 14, 2023, 10:24 am
Link copied.Students rally to save Orange County Arabic high school program
Students from Western High School in Anaheim are rallying to save the only Arabic language public school program of its kind in Orange County, the Voice of OC reported.
The program, which was created in the 2017-18 school year, has helped Arab American students feel included by learning about their language and culture, Western High teacher Lina Mousa told Voice of OC. District officials say they don’t have enough money to keep the program going because of low enrollment, since emergency pandemic funding is running out.
However, supporters of the program believe Covid impacted the enrollment numbers, according to the Voice of OC.—Ali Tadayon
Friday, April 14, 2023, 9:45 am
Link copied.Across party lines, Californians favor more K-12 funding and civics education, UC Berkeley, Stanford poll finds
Despite growing polarization between political parties in the U.S., Californians are in broad agreement that the state should put more funding towards K-12 education and that California should strengthen its high school civics education, according to a poll conducted by UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Stanford University’s Center on Democracy among others.
The poll presented a representative sample of more than 700 Californians with different backgrounds and long-term policy ideas, according to a UC Berkeley news release. The participants were first surveyed on 56 policy proposals on housing, homelessness, education, and other issues. After the initial survey, the participants read background materials and held online discussions with experts and other participants. Afterward, they were re-surveyed to see how their opinions had changed.
On that poll, about 80% of respondents agreed California should “strengthen its high school civics education and include experiences with participation, negotiation and compromise in a democracy,” according to the news release. The poll also found that 73% of responds agreed “the state should increase support for K-12 education enough to move California into the top third of student achievement scores nationwide.”—Ali Tadayon
Thursday, April 13, 2023, 4:40 pm
Link copied.Cal State LA student shot and killed near campus
Edgar Aguirre, 38, a junior majoring in communications at California State University, Los Angeles, was shot and killed April 1 near the Golden Eagle apartments near campus.
Aguirre was also a part of Project Rebound, which supports formerly incarcerated individuals as they complete their college degrees.
A campuswide email sent April 3 from Cal State LA President William Covino said Aguirre was shot while riding a scooter. The university also issued a statement: “This is devastating news. Our hearts are with Edgar’s family, friends and those in our community who knew him. … Edgar’s death is a tragic loss for his family and our University.”
LAPD said they are investigating the case.—EdSource staff
Thursday, April 13, 2023, 10:31 am
Link copied.Orange County school board introduces plan for elected trustees to vet books
Trustees at the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District in Orange County want to vet books before they go to students — a move that some worry will lead to book bans and stop educators from choosing curriculum materials, the Voice of O.C. reported.
District trustees voted 3-2 Tuesday to introduce a revision to their book selection and evaluation policy that requires them to vote on books before they get tested with students. They rejected a literature review committee that would have been made up of educators and parents.
Trustee Todd Frazier, who called for the policy revision, and trustee Leandra Blades have said the change will bring more transparency and accountability to the book selection process. “There’s no oversight up till this point in the process. There has been none,” Blades said.
But Trustee Carrie Buck said the elected trustees are not qualified to make decisions about what books should be taught. “We’re not experts in this field,” Buck said at the meeting. “We should not be the five that are determining this.”—Thomas Peele
Thursday, April 13, 2023, 10:30 am
Link copied.L.A. Community College District to increase adjuncts’ eligibility for health coverage
The Los Angeles Community College District will begin offering adjunct professors health insurance based on them working one-third as much time as full-time employees, the district announced Wednesday.
Adjuncts previously had to work half-time to be eligible for district health care coverage.
“We’re proud to announce that, together, we’ve reached an impactful and historic (contract) with our faculty colleagues,” Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez said in a statement.
The district is taking advantage of $200 million in state funding passed last year that increased reimbursement for health coverage to part-time academics, district Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Teyanna Williams said in the statement.
Health coverage for part-time academics varies widely across the state, EdSource reported last year, with some districts providing no coverage at all.
“I am extremely pleased with the District’s decision to offer these benefits for our hard-working adjunct faculty, ”said A. James McKeever, president of the district’s Faculty Guild, the union that negotiated the contract.—Thomas Peele
Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 9:43 am
Link copied.Black students protest school Newsom’s proposed spending plan
Black students from around California gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday to protest a proposed school spending plan they say shortchanges Black students, the Sacramento Bee reported.
“We have been demanding change for too long without seeing change,” said Hannah Canada, a senior at Cosumnes Oaks High School and president of Black Students of California United. “If we want equity, we need to start seeing direct solutions instead of trying to slap a Band-Aid.”
The proposed spending plan, put forth by Gov. Newsom, would allot additional school funding based on how many students at a school qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Because many Black students do not attend low-income schools, they would miss out on that funding despite persistently low scores in math and reading, advocates said.
Protesters also spent part of Tuesday at an Assembly budget subcommittee hearing, promoting their alternative budget plan. Their plan would adjust funding so more Black students would benefit.
At the rally, students toted signs that read “70% of Black kids are below grade level in reading” and “84% of Black kids are below grade level in math.,” the Bee reported. They also danced, marched and sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“In California, equity means everyone but Black students,” Margaret Fortune, president and CEO of Fortune School of Education, said at the rally. “It’s time for our students to be seen, heard and funded.”
Newsom will release his revised budget in May.—Carolyn Jones
Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 9:41 am
Link copied.Pacific Grove Unified begins search for new superintendent
The schools board overseeing Pacific Grove Unified in Monterey County launched its search for a replacement for Superintendent Ralph Gómez Porras, who resigned effective June 30, the Monterey Herald reported.
Porras announced his resignation March 31 after 16 years as superintendent of the 1,812-student K-12 district south of Monterey. He told the board he was resigning to pursue another job, but didn’t elaborate.
The board is sending requests for proposals to three executive search firms, and plans to announce its next steps at its April 20 board meeting.
Meanwhile, members of the public and the board thanked Porras for his leadership.
“Over the past sixteen years in the Pacific Grove Unified School District, Dr. Ralph Gómez Porras has served our staff, students, families and community with his time and talents. We are grateful for Dr. Porras’ leadership and dedication over these many years, especially during the pandemic. With his announcement this week that he is moving on to a new opportunity, we honor and respect his decision and wish him the very best in his future endeavors,” the board said in a prepared statement. “(The district) will continue its focus on providing high-quality education programs while prioritizing the health and safety of our students and staff. We believe our wonderful district is heading in the right direction and want to continue on our current trajectory.”
Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 6:24 pm
Link copied.California attorney general issues guidance on how districts can close schools
California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a guidance document Tuesday spelling out school districts’ legal obligations and best practices for closing, merging and consolidating schools.
The guidance comes at a time when many districts are facing the prospect of closing, merging or consolidating schools due to declining enrollment.
It explains how districts must follow new state laws under AB 1912, which requires school districts to engage the community and conduct an “equity impact assessment” before closing schools. Under AB 1912, an Equity impact assessment analyzes the “disparate harms” that a closure may cause and makes sure the closure is alleviating, not maintaining school segregation, according to the guidance. The document recommends districts work with experts to create community advisory groups to participate in the assessment.
“These impacts are serious and can cause educational harm,” Bonta said in the guidance. “When these harms affect one group of students more than others, they may also be unlawful.”
The Attorney General’s Office was asked by the American Civil Liberties Union to investigate Oakland Unified’s plan to close schools last year. The decision to close sparked outrage among staff, students and families, and a hunger strike by two Oakland Unified educators.
The guidance also explains the California civil rights laws that apply to districts considering closures.
“The statewide guidance issued today presents clear standards and procedures on how school districts should determine school closures, mergers and consolidations to meet their legal requirements and to establish a mindful community engagement process with local school communities,” Bonta said in a statement. “We must proactively mitigate harm and ensure equity in our school system to help navigate this difficult process.”—Ali Tadayon
Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 10:58 am
Link copied.LAUSD union workers ratify new contract
Los Angeles Unified union workers have voted to ratify their new contract following last month’s three-day strike, according to LAist.
The contract, which was tentatively agreed to in March, will give a 30% raise to bus drivers, custodians and other support staff represented by Service Employees International Union Local 99. It also includes a higher minimum wage of $22.53 an hour and guarantees more hours for special education assistants.
The contract must still be approved by the district and will be taken up by the school board, which next meets on April 18.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 10:57 am
Link copied.San Diego State to build 182 affordable apartments on campus
San Diego State University plans to build its first-ever income restricted apartments and has selected Chelsea Investment Corp. as the developer, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
SDSU announced Monday that the Carlsbad-based affordable housing developer has been tapped for the project, which will be on the university’s Mission Valley campus. The building’s units will be reserved for families making between 30% and 60% of the area’s median income, according to the Union-Tribune.
“SDSU has always been committed to the inclusion of affordable housing on-site at Mission Valley. In partnership with Chelsea, which has strong experience and success in developing similar projects, we are taking a big step toward fulfilling our long-standing commitment,” Gina Jacobs, an associate vice president at SDSU, said in a statement.
Monday, April 10, 2023, 10:05 am
Link copied.State’s education Innovation Challenge internet contest ‘a bust’
The state Department of Education’s Digital Divide Innovation Challenge, a $1 million contest announced during the pandemic to deliver high-speed internet access to all Californians, has not resulted in any winners or significant inroads in solving a long-standing problem, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The contest, launched in 2020, was intended to spur innovation that could provide broadband to the 20% of California’s student population who lack high-speed internet access at home. Several private tech companies, as well as the Tulare Office of Education, spent money and time on their contest entries.
But two years later, the state has yet to award a winner.
“We see that it was too big of a lift,” Mary Nicely, chief deputy to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, told the Chronicle. “We were pretty much trying to figure out anything” to provide internet access during the pandemic.
One company, Bay Area-based Dalet Access Labs, spent more than $700,000 on its contest entry.
The Innovation Challenge is now slated to become a $2 million grant program, the state said, although the timeline is unclear.—Carolyn Jones
Monday, April 10, 2023, 10:03 am
Link copied.Ojai Unified appoints interim superintendent
Ojai Unified’s board voted unanimously to hire Sherrill Knox, a former assistant superintendent, teacher and principal, to serve as interim superintendent of the 2,300-student district in Ventura County, the Ventura County Star reported.
Knox had been serving as acting superintendent since mid March, when the board fired Tiffany Morse amid financial troubles in the district. Initially, the board wanted to hire a former superintendent of Oxnard Union High School District to replace Morse, but that candidate withdrew her application. Around the same time, two members of the five-member board resigned.
Knox will earn $185,000 annually and will serve indefinitely.—Carolyn Jones
Friday, April 7, 2023, 1:50 pm
Link copied.UCLA study finds sharp decline in violence at California middle and high schools
A new study by UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs analyzed 18 years of data from the California Healthy Kids Survey to find massive drops in violence and weapons incidents throughout California.
The California Healthy Kids Survey is a confidential, anonymous questionnaire given each year to all California students in grades five, seven, nine and 11 asking about school climate, safety, student wellness and youth resiliency, according to the California Department of Education. The study’s authors looked at survey results between 2001 and 2019 to find a 56% reduction in physical fights, a 70% reduction in reports of carrying a gun onto school grounds, a 59% reduction in students being threatened by a weapon on school grounds and larger declines in victimization reported by Black and Latino students compared with white students.
The study’s findings challenge the perception that California schools are less safe now than they ever were, sparked by outbursts of mass shootings throughout the country, UCLA scholar Ron Avi-Astor, who co-authored the study, said in a news release. Astor suggests that “eruptions of gun violence should be treated as a separate social and psychological phenomenon.”
“Each school shooting is a devastating act that terrorizes the nation, and there is a growing sense in the public that little has changed in two decades to make schools safe,” Astor said. “But mass shootings are just one part of this story. Overall, on a day-to-day basis for most students, American schools are safer than they’ve been for many decades.”—Ali Tadayon
Friday, April 7, 2023, 1:26 pm
Link copied.Expansion of community college baccalaureate degrees could help racial equity, report says
As California’s community colleges add more baccalaureate degrees to their offerings, it could help improve racial equity in the state’s higher education systems, according to a new study.
The study by UCLA calls for a “strategic expansion” of baccalaureate degrees by centering racial equity as the community college system adds more of those degrees.
Assembly Bill 927, signed into law in 2021, permits California’s community college system to approve up to 30 bachelor’s degree programs annually. The system’s colleges already offer 24 such programs, including nine that were approved since last year.
The UCLA study notes that Latino students and Black students in the community college system transfer to the state’s four-year universities at lower rates than their peers.
“Our community colleges are filled with bright, talented students, but many face economic and structural challenges in the education system that hinder their ability to transfer to four-year colleges and complete their degree,” said Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, chair of the Department of Education at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies and a co-author of the report, in a statement. “The expansion of the Community College Baccalaureate degree programs offers the potential to do better by these students. We can further educational and racial equity by increasing access to opportunities for degree completion at local community colleges and help to meet our state’s educational and economic needs by increasing degree production.”—Michael Burke
Friday, April 7, 2023, 10:51 am
Link copied.Long Beach Unified reaches $13 million settlement with family of 18-year-old mother shot to death by school safety officer
The family of Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez, the 18-year-old mother who was killed in 2021 when a school safety officer opened fire on a car she was riding in, was awarded $13 million from the Long Beach Unified School District, NBC News reported.
Rodriguez’s brother, Omar Rodriguez, called the settlement “step one of accountability.”
“I’m really hoping that we get true justice,” he said. “My sister was robbed of that. We were robbed of our sister.”
School safety officer Eddie Gonzalez, 51, was patrolling near Long Beach’s Millikan High School on Sept. 27, 2021, when he noticed an altercation between Rodriguez and another teen girl. Footage of the incident showed Rodriguez getting into the rear passenger seat of a nearby car. While the car drove away, Gonzalez was seen firing his handgun at the car.
Rodriguez was struck and was taken to a hospital where she died about a week later. Gonzalez was promptly fired through a unanimous vote by the district’s school board, the Southern California News Group reported.
About a month later, The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Gonzalez with murder. He plead not guilty in December 2021 and is awaiting trial.—Ali Tadayon
Friday, April 7, 2023, 10:10 am
Link copied.California library advocates to rally in support of access to online books
Advocates are hosting a rally Saturday in San Francisco in support of the Internet Archive, a California-based nonprofit online library that is fighting in what some are calling a landmark legal case for access to digital books.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the Internet Archive expanded its Open Library program to allow anyone in the country access any given title in its digital archive at the same time, giving students access to books when physical bookstores, libraries and schools were closed.
The print industry’s largest publishers sued the Internet Archive that year, arguing that it violated traditional copyright law by allowing unlimited numbers of people to access e-books at the same time, and by not paying licensing fees for separate digital editions of copyrighted books.
The Internet Archive argued that it has the right to digitize its library because it owned physical copies of the books it distributed.
Last month, a federal judge ruled in favor of the publishers. The decision makes it so libraries don’t have the right to turn print books into e-books and distribute them. Northeastern University Library Dean Dan Cohen wrote in the Atlantic that the decision is a “serious loss” for public libraries and could change their entire scope in the future.
The Internet Archive plans to appeal the decision, and its supporters will rally behind it in San Francisco on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. outside of the Internet Archive’s headquarters at 300 Funston Ave.—Ali Tadayon
Thursday, April 6, 2023, 1:56 pm
Link copied.Trans students may play on teams that align with their gender identity, Biden administration proposal says
Schools cannot ban students from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, but they do have some flexibility in limiting trans students’ participation in competitive situations, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.
The announcement, intended to clarify Title IX rules, caps two years of input from students, parents, coaches and school staff. The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed change before it becomes final.
“Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages. Beyond all the benefits to physical and mental health, playing on a team teaches students how to work hard, get along with others, believe in themselves, and build healthy habits that last a lifetime. Today’s proposed rule is designed to support Title IX’s protection for equal athletics opportunity.”
Title IX, which dates from 1972, is a federal law that requires schools, colleges and universities to provide equal opportunities for all students, regardless of sex. In February, the department’s Office of Civil Rights issued updated guidance to help schools navigate issues about athletics, compliance and filing complaints.—Carolyn Jones
Thursday, April 6, 2023, 9:35 am
Link copied.33,000 students show up for voluntary ‘acceleration days’ in L.A. Unified
More than 30,000 students opted to spend two days during their spring break attending “acceleration days” in Los Angeles Unified, as a way to catch up after last month’s strike and learning loss suffered during Covid, the Daily Breeze reported.
Students spent their days getting tutoring, doing science labs, making up homework and enjoying enrichment activities like arts, crafts and games. Students also received free meals. About 9,500 teachers and other staff worked during the acceleration days.
The district also offered acceleration days during winter break, when attendance was roughly 40,000.
“Any and all of our students could really benefit from additional learning time,” Karla Estrada, deputy superintendent of instruction, told the Daily Breeze. “Our intention is really to personalize that support, so you will see definitely small-group instruction … and in some cases, you’ll see 1-to-1 intervention and support, targeting certain skill sets that we know that the student would benefit from.”
This could be the last year the district offers acceleration days. The recently approved 2023-26 academic calendars do not include any acceleration days.—Carolyn Jones
Thursday, April 6, 2023, 9:35 am
Link copied.Tahoe Truckee superintendent named to top post in San Rafael City Schools
San Rafael City School board voted unanimously to hire Carmen Ghysels, the current superintendent of Tahoe Truckee Unified, to lead the 7,000-student Marin County district, the Independent Journal reported.
Ghysels, who starts work July 1, will earn $280,000. She replaces Jim Hogeboom, who retires June 30.
Ghysels grew up as an English learner and is fluent in Spanish. She has worked as a bilingual teacher, special education specialist, special day class teacher, instructional coach, principal, special education director, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent. She’s held the top post in Tahoe Truckee for three years.
“As a bilingual educator and the granddaughter of immigrants, Carmen brings a deep understanding of the diverse needs and challenges of our students,” Gina Daly, the board president, said. “With her decades of experience in improving student achievement and prioritizing student well-being, we are confident she will lead our district with compassion and effectiveness,” Daly said.
San Rafael City Schools includes three high schools and nine elementary and middle schools. The majority of students are Latino.—Carolyn Jones
Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 9:23 am
Link copied.Escalating teen mental health crisis spurs social media lawsuits
The teen mental health crisis has shaken school districts across the country, prompting many to wage legal battles against the social media giants they say have helped cause it, including TikTok, Snap, Meta, YouTube and Google, The 74 reported.
Many school districts, and one California county system, the San Mateo County Board of Education, which oversees 23 smaller districts, have filed suits this year, representing roughly 469,000 students.
Two other districts in Arizona are considering their own complaints, one superintendent told The 74. Eleven districts in Kentucky voted to pursue similar litigation, as did Pittsburgh Public Schools. Many others across the country are on the verge of doing the same, according to a lawyer representing a New Jersey district.
“Schools, states and Americans across the country are rightly pushing back against Big Tech putting profits over kids’ safety online,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, co-sponsor of the bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act, The 74 reported. “These efforts, proliferated by harrowing stories from families amid a worsening youth mental health crisis, underscore the urgency for Congress to act.”
Algorithms and platform design have “exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” Seattle Public Schools claimed in the first suit, filed this January.
Educators say tech companies target young users, exacerbating depression, anxiety, tech addiction and self-harm, straining learning and district finances. But the legal fight will not be easy, outside counsel and at least one district leader said.
“We don’t think that this is a slam dunk case. We think it’s going to be an uphill battle. But our board and I believe that this is in the best interest of our students to do this,” said Andi Fourlis, superintendent of Arizona’s largest district, Mesa Public Schools. “It’s about making the case that we need to do better for our kids.”
How seriously Mesa youth have been impacted is laid out in the court filings: More than a third are chronically absent, 3,500 more were involved in disciplinary incidents in 2021-22 than in 2019-20 and the district has seen a “surge” in suicidal ideation and anxiety.—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 9:22 am
Link copied.Flip phones may be making a comeback as some try to limit screen time
Dumb phones may be on the rise in the U.S. as Gen Z looks to limit screen time, CNBC reported, partly responding to mental health concerns.
“I think you can see it with certain Gen Z populations — they’re tired of the screens,” said Jose Briones, dumb phone influencer and moderator of the subreddit, “r/dumbphones.” “They don’t know what is going on with mental health and they’re trying to make cutbacks.”
In the U.S., flip phone sales were up in 2022, with tens of thousands sold each month. Companies like Punkt and Light are catering to this market, selling devices geared toward trying to cut back on screen time. You can now find influencers on YouTube touting this retro-flip phone trend.
“What we’re trying to do with the Light phone isn’t to create a dumb phone, but to create a more intentional phone — a premium, minimal phone — which isn’t inherently anti-technology,” said Joe Hollier, co-founder of Light, CNBC reported. “But it’s about consciously choosing how and when to use which aspects of technology that add to my quality of life.”
Some suggest a connection between the rise in intensive social media engagement and the escalating youth mental health crisis. According to the CDC, nearly 3 in 5 teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021.
“In North America, the market for dumb phones is pretty much flatlined,” said Patrick Moorhead, an industry analyst. “But I could see it getting up to a 5% increase in the next five years if nothing else, based on the public health concerns that are out there.”
Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 10:35 am
Link copied.Teacher shortages at center of negotiations between Sacramento City teachers and district
As the Sacramento City Unified School District and the union representing district teachers negotiate their contract ahead of the 2023-24 school year, teacher shortages have emerged as a top issue, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Teachers in the district went on an eight-day strike last year before reaching an agreement with the district, but, according to the Bee, the two sides agreed to negotiate three issues before the 2023-24 school year: staff salaries, class sizes and hiring new teachers.
The district currently has 78 full-time teacher vacancies and many students in the district have gone several months without a teacher as the district relies on long-term substitutes.
District officials said in a statement that the district plans to “enhance hiring and assignment timelines and procedures to give our district earlier and increased opportunities to fill teaching vacancies,” according to the Bee. The union, the Sacramento City Teachers Association, told the Bee in a statement that the district’s staffing crisis “is far more serious than a few tweaks to the hiring process is going to fix.”
“Staff have no confidence in the current superintendent to address the real issues in the district that will ensure that every student has a teacher in the classroom: improved learning conditions for students and salaries and benefits necessary to recruit and retain certificated and classified staff in Sac City,” the union added.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 10:34 am
Link copied.Lagunitas district votes to consolidate elementary schools into one
The school board for the Lagunitas School District in Marin County voted to consolidate the district’s two elementary schools into one, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
The board’s 4-1 vote means that the district’s 50-year-old open classroom will be combined with its newer Montessori school program. The new school will launch in the fall, and the district is still designing the structure of the school.
“Everybody wants the same thing — the best for their children. Education is change,” trustee Denise Bohman said before the board vote, according to the Journal.—Michael Burke
Monday, April 3, 2023, 11:02 pm
Link copied.Ex-CSU chancellor starts new position at Cal Poly SLO
Embattled former CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro will appear in the classroom again at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Tuesday.
Castro was granted retreat rights, or the ability for a university administrator to “retreat” to a faculty position, in September 2020 shortly after he became chancellor of the 23-campus system. Castro resigned in February 2022 amid an outcry from students and faculty over how he handled sexual harassment complaints while he was president of Fresno State University from 2013 to 2020.
In September, Castro told EdSource that he looked forward to sharing the “many lessons” he learned about how he handled the complaints to “assist higher education leaders” who face similar matters.
According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Castro will teach Business 476, Leading Social Innovation in Organizations. So far, only 11 students have signed up for the first class and eight for the second. Each class has space for 40 students, according to the newspaper.
Multiple faculty groups have protested Castro’s ability to retreat to a tenured professor position. The Academic Senate at Cal Poly passed a resolution asking Castro not to use his retreat rights. The Academic Senate at Fresno State declared a lack of confidence in Castro joining the faculty.—Ashley A. Smith
Monday, April 3, 2023, 10:39 am
Link copied.Guide to safety officers in Stanislaus County schools
Families, students and staff in Stanislaus County’s public schools, colleges and universities can learn what kind of safety officers are on campus and what their roles are, thanks to a guide compiled by The Modesto Bee.
The newspaper looked at safety staffing at Modesto City Schools, Turlock Unified, Ceres Unified, Patterson Joint Unified, Riverbank Unified and Oakdale Joint Unified, as well as California State University Stanislaus and Modesto Junior College. The guide explains the differences between resource officers and safety officers, whether they’re armed, their level of training and their responsibilities.
The guide comes amid renewed focus on school safety, as some districts statewide have seen upticks in violence. Districts are also reconsidering the role of officers as their schools review their discipline policies, in the wake of the George Floyd murder in 2020 and the state’s mandate that districts reduce suspensions and expulsions.—Carolyn Jones
Monday, April 3, 2023, 10:38 am
Link copied.Black, disabled students in Fresno have disproportionate police interactions, records show
Less than a year after Fresno Unified restored its school police officers, new data shows that Black and disabled students had disproportionately high rates of police interactions, The Fresno Bee reported.
Black students made up about 17% of police interactions over a six-month period from August 2022 to March, even though only about 8% of the district student population is Black. Students with disabilities also represented 17% of police interactions, while making up only 11% of the student body.
The district board voted in June to reinstate its contract with the Fresno Police Department to provide five school resource officers, a year after allowing the previous contract to expire amid a debate over defunding the police in the wake of the George Floyd murder. Several other school districts around California also agreed to reduce or eliminate resource officers during the same time period, and have also brought back police as a way to curb escalating on-campus violence.
The Fresno data was released as part of the district’s new contract with the Fresno Police Department.
“There still seems to be some inequity with some of our students of color,” board trustee Veva Islas said during a board workshop on safety, The Bee reported. “That’s concerning, and I want to make sure that we’re interacting in ways that … are mitigating that.”
Police officers responded that their involvement in disciplinary matters is usually at the request of teachers and other school staff, and that discipline is only one part of their role on campuses, Fresno police told The Bee.
“The last thing our men and women in the schools want is to take enforcement action,” Capt. Tom Rowe said. “Now, we have to provide for the safety of the school, and there’s certain behaviors that are going to require that. Weapons on campus — you can’t really look the other way right now on that one. … (School resource officers) want to serve (as) that positive role model that bridge between the school, the staff and law enforcement. And I think that gets overlooked.”
Friday, March 31, 2023, 2:53 pm
Link copied.Los Angeles community schools frustrated over co-location
Correction: A previous version of this story inaccurately described Proposition 39’s requirement for districts to provide space to charter schools.
Six of 30 community schools within Los Angeles Unified are co-located with charter schools, which teachers and parents have said has limited the resources that they’ve been able to provide for the community. Under Proposition 39, districts are required to provide sufficient space to charter schools, but they say that’s hindered their ability to provide necessary resources.
At Logan Academy of Global Ecology in Echo Park, second grade teacher Ivonne Cachú said the school had to hold a dental clinic last fall in the library since the auditorium had been occupied. The community school coordinator’s office at the school also serves as a space for the speech therapist, after-school tutoring and more, she said. The school, she added, has been hoping to add a wellness center and more enrichment activities, but the limited space has made that difficult.
“To that point of how are we gonna do it? We’re going to do it,” Cachú said of the school’s effort to offer more resources to the community. “This is what we know that our students need.”
It’s been a similar frustration at Baldwin Hills Elementary in South L.A., which had trouble hosting a food pantry because the space available wasn’t big enough to have the refrigerator and shelves needed for food and clothing, according to teacher Marie Germaine.
At Trinity Street Elementary in South L.A., two second grade classes are currently hosted on a different campus. Other classes are held in the library and the auditorium, according to second second grade teacher Tanya Flores, who teaches in the library. The school hopes to eventually host English courses, health services and more, but those efforts have been impacted by the lack of space.
“It has hindered our efforts to be able to provide the way it should be done as a community school,” said Flores, who is also a parent at the school.
New LA Elementary charter, which shares space with Baldwin Hills Elementary, told ABC7 that it has worked “tirelessly” to find a permanent space that is not co-located. The California Charter School Association has also acknowledged that co-location is not an “ideal situation.”—Kate Sequeira
Friday, March 31, 2023, 11:21 am
Link copied.L.A. Unified teacher’s union, UTLA, opposed to district approval of shorter winter break
This post has been updated to include comment from Los Angeles Unified School District.
This week, Los Angeles Unified School District approved instructional calendars that include a two-week winter break, down from 3 weeks — a move that the teacher’s union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, are opposed to and now rallying against.
In tweets posted since the calendar approval, the union has highlighted the results of a survey that showed parents of L.A. Unified students opposed the switch to a two-week break. The union alleged the school board is “pushing an illegal calendar change,” since “calendar changes are mandatory subjects of bargaining,” according to a tweet posted Wednesday.
In a press release, the district announced the calendar approvals are for school years 2023-26.
“The new instructional calendars address the need to mitigate learning loss by shortening the winter recess and extending options for summer programming,” said Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho in the press release.
In an email, a district spokesperson said they have made themselves available for bargaining regarding the calendar change.
“In response to the latest Unfair Practice Charge from United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the development and approval of the instructional calendar is at the sole discretion of the Superintendent and the Board of Education, and the Board voted unanimously to adopt the 2023-26 instructional calendars,” the district spokesperson wrote in the email to EdSource. “However, prior to the approval of the instructional calendar, Los Angeles Unified held two meetings with labor partners to discuss the impacts on employee work hours regarding the instructional calendar and the District’s recommendation to shorten the winter recess. UTLA sent a representative to only one meeting and failed to send a representative to the other meeting. The District has been, and continues to be, available to bargain the effects of the amended calendar with UTLA, and recently offered an additional meeting to bargain the effects of the amended calendar, but UTLA did not respond to the invitation.”
UTLA, however, disagrees.
“LAUSD’s rash decision to ignore the input from educators and parents and disrupt next year’s school calendar speaks to this administration’s lack of willingness to engage in good faith with the people most impacted. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the district has bypassed families and staff. When the district attempted to add four optional school days last year, teachers, parents, and students spoke out and demanded the district cancel the unilateral calendar changes they made without bargaining,” said Arlene Inouye, who is part of UTLA’s bargaining team. “With the district pushing another illegal calendar change despite opposition from the community whilst in active bargaining with UTLA, we have no choice but to challenge this arbitrary development and ensure LAUSD rescinds this careless action.”—Betty Márquez Rosales
Friday, March 31, 2023, 11:15 am
Link copied.TK-8 teachers in San Rafael may strike over pay dispute
San Rafael City Schools TK-8 teachers have overwhelmingly voted to strike if their union and the school district can’t come to an agreement on pay raises.
The district and union remain at an impasse after a state-appointed mediator could not resolve the dispute. Before there is a strike, a three-member state fact-finding panel will attempt to resolve the conflict.
The school district has offered teachers a 4.7% pay increase, according to a press release from the union. It did not say how much more teachers are requesting, but asked for equity citing higher pay for high school teachers in the district.
Friday, March 31, 2023, 11:12 am
Link copied.Bill to include financial literacy in K-12 curriculum fails to move forward
The Senate’s Education Committee this week failed to move Senate Bill 342 forward, which would have required California’s Instructional Quality Commission to incorporate financial literacy into the K-12 curriculum. The bill proposed a language change in the curriculum that would have led educators to teach real-life scenarios and age-appropriate best practices in various personal finance topics, such as the uses and costs of student loans, taxes, and budgeting.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Kelly Seyarto, would not have imposed additional financial burdens on schools across the state.—Betty Márquez Rosales
Friday, March 31, 2023, 10:00 am
Link copied.Bill would give TK teachers 2 more years to take early childhood education classes
California teachers could get a last-minute reprieve from a law that requires them to take additional courses to teach transitional kindergarten.
Assembly Bill 1555, authored by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, would give transitional kindergarten teachers, hired after July 1, 2015, two more years to either take at least 24 units in early childhood education, earn a child development teacher permit or early childhood education specialist credential, or prove they have adequate experience teaching preschool-age children. The current deadline is Aug. 1 of this year.
“Teachers are having a difficult time completing 24 credit units, while also teaching full time as well as all the other responsibilities they have in their life,” Quirk-Silva said in her author’s statement.
California, already in the midst of a teacher shortage, will need 15,000 additional teachers to fill transitional kindergarten positions as the grade is expanded across the state to include all 4-year-old children by 2025.
The bill delaying the requirements will help to ensure there are enough teachers to fill the TK classrooms, Quirk-Silva said at an Assembly Education Committee meeting Wednesday.
“I’m very interested in making sure we have the teachers with the background they need for early childhood education, but that we don’t discourage them from moving down (to TK classes),” she said.
The bill passed the Assembly Education Committee Wednesday and was sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further review.—Diana Lambert
Thursday, March 30, 2023, 10:37 am
Link copied.Palo Alto schools search for ways to curb enrollment declines
Faced with consistently declining enrollment in recent years, the Palo Alto Unified School District is looking at potential ways to address its shrinking student population without closing schools, which district officials say is the last resort but a possibility if action isn’t taken, Palo Alto Online reported.
District trustees heard from an ad hoc committee this week that was tasked with preparing a list of options to tackle enrollment declines. District Superintendent Don Austin told the board that there were three options he believed to be at the top of the list and should be considered more immediately, according to Palo Alto Online.
They are: allowing Palo Alto city employees to enroll their children in the district.; lowering the required number of hours that a district employee must work for their children to be eligible to attend a Palo Alto school; and creating an early enrollment deadline after which families may not be assigned to their neighborhood school.
Austin said he expects the board to consider the options soon.—Thomas Peele
Thursday, March 30, 2023, 9:20 am
Link copied.Bill to make free condoms available to all high school students advances in California Senate
Legislation that would require high schools to provide free condoms to students was approved by the state Senate Education Committee, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Senate Bill 541 would require California public high schools and charter schools to make condoms available to all students by the start of the 2024-25 academic year, The Bee reported.
“Nationwide, 1 in 5 individuals have contracted an STI,” said Sen. Caroline Menjivar, D-Burbank, who introduced the bill. Of those people, “50% are those of ages between 15 and 24,” she said.
Contraceptives would be free to students. Schools would also be required to post at least one notice with information specifying how to use condoms.
Sexually active teens face significant barriers to accessing contraceptives, including stigma, judgmental providers, limited transportation and cost, Maura Decker, an associate professor at the Institute for Health and Policy Studies at UC San Francisco, said during the public comment on the bill Wednesday, The Bee reported.
The San Francisco and Los Angeles unified school districts already provide free condoms to students, Decker told the committee. The bill now goes to the Senate Health Committee.—Thomas Peele
Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 2:49 pm
Link copied.Dyslexia bill advances in state Senate committee
Over the objections of the state’s largest teachers union and English learner advocates, a bill requiring schools to screen K-2 students for dyslexia unanimously passed the state Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 691, which now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee, would require schools to identify children at risk for dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects up to 20% of the population, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and the bill’s author, Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Burbank.
The California Teachers Association and two groups that advocate for English learners opposed the bill at Wednesday’s hearing, saying it would be overly burdensome for teachers and would misidentify too many English learners, funneling them into special education unnecessarily.
Portantino said that the implementation details can be worked out later and that the screening test would be linguistically and culturally tailored to students based on their native language.
“The neuroscience tells us that if we help a young child earlier in their journey, then we’re going to be more successful,” he said. “If we wait, it becomes four times more difficult, and the problem becomes harder to solve.”
Portantino introduced a similar bill last year, but it died in the Assembly Education Committee.—Carolyn Jones
Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 11:10 am
Link copied.Berkeley Unified creating a task force to look into reparations for Black students
Over the next year, Berkeley Unified will consider cash payments as reparations to Black students whose ancestors were enslaved in the United States. The district is establishing a 15-20 member Reparations Task Force consisting of school board members and staff, and community members. Iits first meeting is April 24, according to a website on the effort.
“We believe this is a critical conversation for school districts to have at this moment as educators look to better address the opportunity gap of Black students,” school district spokeswoman Trish McDermott told the San Francisco Chronicle.
About 1,270 of the district’s 10,200 students are Black. It’s unclear how many of those students would qualify and where the funding for reparations would come from.
The Berkeley City Council is also considering developing recommendations for reparations; a reparations task force in San Francisco has submitted dozens of recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, including the potential for $5 million one-time payments to certain individuals. By July 1, California’s state task force will forward its recommendations to the Legislature on cash payments.—John Fensterwald
Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 11:00 am
Link copied.Orange Unified parents file lawsuits against district over abrupt firing of superintendent
Parents of Orange Unified School District students have filed two lawsuits this month alleging that the abrupt firing of Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen and Assistant Superintendent Cathleen Corella earlier this year violated the Brown Act — California’s public meetings law — according to Voice of OC.
The lawsuits challenge the legality of a Jan.5 meeting called for by the district’s newly elected conservative majority on the school board. Parents and staff of the district were still on holiday when the meeting occurred, and the four-member majority voted to fire Hansen and Corella with replacements already lined up despite no prior public discussion.
Later that month, the board’s temporary replacement for Hansen abruptly resigned after public outcry over Hansen’s firing.
In January, EdSource filed a public records request for all communications between members of the school board about Hansen’s possible dismissal. A Jan. 4 email that the district released — the only document provided to EdSource — showed that board President Rick Ledesma and two other members laid out the strategy for voting without debate at the closed-door meeting the following day, at which Hansen would be fired and her replacement would be hired.
Madison Miner, the fourth member to vote for Hansen’s dismissal, denied prior knowledge of the meeting, and Ledesma has stated that the meeting complied with the Ralph M. Brown Act. The litigation should reveal whether Miner or another board member communicated about the meeting before it was held. Under the Brown Act, a majority of an elected board may not discuss with one another anything on the agenda, including how members are going to vote.—Ali Tadayon
Tuesday, March 28, 2023, 9:52 am
Link copied.Stockton Unified credits summer programming for increased graduation rates
Stockton Unified is seeing an uptick in its graduation rate, and district officials say summer school programming deserves some of the credit for the increase.
The district graduated 85% of its seniors last year, up from 76.6% in 2020, according to The Record. Brian Biedermann, the district’s director of Educational Services, told the district’s board of trustees that 117 seniors who were at risk of not graduating were able to get their diplomas last year because they took their final high school classes over the summer.
“We’re lucky to have adults that believe in this program willing to work extreme hours over the summer and during intersession,” Biedermann said, according to The Record. “They’re connecting with the kids, I have adults going to houses literally dragging them out of bed to complete coursework, because we don’t want them to be five or 10 credits away and just give up.”—Michael Burke
Tuesday, March 28, 2023, 9:52 am
Link copied.Fresno Unified to get laundry machines in all middle schools
Fresno Unified’s middle schools will all get new washers and dryers by next month, The Fresno Bee reported.
The district’s leadership announced the new initiative this month, but it may not have happened if not for the efforts of Eric Calderon, a middle school teacher in the district. According to the Bee, Calderon brought attention to the issue when he began fundraising for new laundry machines.
Calderon told the Bee that when he and other staff began calling families of chronically absent students to find out what they could do to help, they learned that one of the top reasons those students weren’t attending was because they didn’t have clean clothes.
“What I would call a basic human need was affecting attendance for our student population,” Calderon said.
Calderon later engaged with district leadership about the issue, and they agreed to the cover the costs of new laundry machines not only at Calderon’s school, but at all middle schools across the district, according to the Bee.—Michael Burke
Monday, March 27, 2023, 10:10 am
Link copied.Three small schools in S.F. Unified brace for cuts
Three small schools in San Francisco that serve predominantly Black, Latino and low-income students are preparing for steep budget cuts, Mission Local reported.
June Jordan High School, Cleveland Elementary and John O’Connell High School are each facing cuts of about $200,000, or the equivalent of three teacher positions. The cuts are related to declining enrollment districtwide; San Francisco Unified has lost 10,000 students since 2019. In January, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced cuts to statewide K-12 education funding totaling $1.5 billion.
The potential cuts, which some educators said impact small schools disproportionately, could result in fewer teachers, more combination classes, larger class sizes or reductions in class preparation time. The school board will make its final budget decisions by July.
Monday, March 27, 2023, 10:10 am
Link copied.Superintendent fired from Orange Unified finds new job in nearby district
Gunn Marie Hansen, whom Orange Unified fired in January because she allegedly focused “too much on social politics,” starts next month as the new superintendent of nearby Westminster Unified, the Orange County Register reported.
Hansen begins work April 1. She will earn $335,000 annually.
“(Westminster) is quickly becoming a destination district in Orange County sought by discerning parents, staff and teachers, school board president David Johnson said. “Now we will also boast one of the best Superintendents in the entire state and she is in alignment with our goals for excellence. … We are so fortunate to have (her) take the lead at WSD.”
The Orange Unified board fired Hansen Jan. 5, with no explanation. Later, board president Rick Ledesma said that under Hansen, the district was “focusing too much on the social politics of education” and the board planned to revisit policies related to sex education, student equity and ethnic studies.—Carolyn Jones
Monday, March 27, 2023, 9:08 am
Link copied.LAUSD teacher David Goldberg elected CTA president
David Goldberg, a bilingual teacher at Murchison Elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District, will be the next president of the California Teachers Association.
Currently the 310,000 member CTA’s vice president, Goldberg, 51, will succeed current president E. Toby Boyd and assume the first of two terms as president on June 25. A life-long resident of Los Angeles and graduate of UC Santa Cruz, he is also the nephew of Jackie Goldberg, who is president of the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education.
The CTA’s State Council of Education elected the new slate of officers on Sunday. Current CTA Secretary-Treasurer Leslie Littman, an AP US History, Economics and Government teacher in the William S. Hart Union High School District, will become vice president. Erika Jones, 44, an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles Unified, wills serve as secretary-treasurer.
“Students and their needs are at the center of everything we do as educators and as union leaders. It’s a core value that drives the work we do in our schools and colleges and at the bargaining table,” Goldberg said in a statement.—John Fensterwald
Friday, March 24, 2023, 4:20 pm
Link copied.El Camino College trustee Kenneth Brown dies
Kenneth Brown, the president of El Camino College’s board of trustees, died Thursday.
“The sudden loss of our friend and colleague has sent shockwaves throughout our campus community, and no doubt throughout the many networks and circles that Trustee Brown traveled through,” the college said in a statement. “He was tirelessly dedicated to the mission of providing quality educational opportunities to students. He will be dearly missed.”
Brown has served on the board at El Camino, which is near Torrance in Los Angeles County’s South Bay, since 2010. Since 2016 he was also a member of the board for the California Community College Trustees, including a stint as president from 2021-22. He was also an adjunct professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he taught physics and math courses.
“He inspired those who knew him to think critically about solutions and act definitively to improve opportunities. He was a truly amazing man who spoke from the heart and gave from the depths of his soul. No one knew that more than his family, including his wife Karla and his two sons,” said Larry Galizio, president of the Community College League of California, in a statement.
Daisy Gonzales, the interim chancellor of California’s community college system, said in a statement that Brown “was a champion for students in everything he did” and that his “legacy and commitment will empower generations of leaders to come.”