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California education news: What’s the latest?

Sunday, June 7, 2020, 4:00 pm

Link copied.California coronavirus cases rise above 128,000

Coronavirus cases in California topped 128,000 Sunday after a surge in cases last week, the Bay Area News Group reports.

Another 2,427 cases were confirmed Friday — a record for cases in a single day. California’s coronavirus death tell has reached 4,604, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Ali Tadayon

Sunday, June 7, 2020, 10:00 am

Link copied.California higher ed community outraged over Trump order barring entry to some Chinese graduate students

President Trump’s May 29 proclamation halting entry for Chinese graduate students tied to China’s “military-civil fusion strategy” has sowed anxiety among the California university community, the Los Angeles Times reports. Universities fear that the order could lead to overreach, wrongfully barring some Chinese graduate students, driving away others, and jeopardizing international research collaboration.

Nox Yang, a sophomore from China studying at UCLA, told the Los Angeles Times that the order adds to Chinese students’ mounting stress exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.  They feel isolated being far away from family, she said, and distressed by Trump’s references to “the Chinese virus” and the rise of anti-Asian hostility during the pandemic.

Ali Tadayon

Saturday, June 6, 2020, 4:00 pm

Link copied.Racist online comments from Granada Hills Charter High students sparks outrage from classmates

During graduation week, students at Granada Hills Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley called out racist comments made by classmates in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Statements made by Granada Hills Charter High students in a private chat mocking Floyd, and using the n-word and racial slurs, were captured on screen grabs by a member of the chat who was offended by them, according to the Los Angeles Times. The screen grabs were reposted across social media platforms by outraged classmates, as well as students from other Los Angeles-area schools.

Brian Bauer, executive director of Granada Hills Charter, told the Los Angeles Times that the school was notified of the statements Monday and took immediate action. Bauer said the students “experienced heavy consequences” but would not get into specifics or identify the students.

Ali Tadayon

Saturday, June 6, 2020, 11:00 am

Link copied.Teachers, students protest outside of Oakland school board members’ homes against school police

Oakland teachers and students protested outside of two Oakland Unified school board members’ homes Friday to urge them to eliminate the district’s police department. Dozens of protesters filled the streets in front of the homes of school board president Jody London and school board member James Harris holding signs and banners that said “OPD out of OUSD,” and “Black power matters; black lives matter.”

Community group the Black Organizing Project and other activists have been calling on the district to dissolve its police department for years. In March, when school board members identified $18.8 million in cuts to the 2020-2021 school year in order to balance the district’s budget, they considered eliminating the police department but ultimately decided not to. At that time superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell ordered a report to be completed by September on how cutting the police department would impact student safety.

The Black Organizing Project and the teachers union, the Oakland Education Association, are again calling on the school board to eliminate the police department in the wake of the George Floyd killing, and national outrage over the police brutality and racial injustice. School board member Roseann Torres will reintroduce the proposal at a school board meeting Wednesday.

Ali Tadayon

Friday, June 5, 2020, 2:15 pm

Link copied.Governor affirms commitment to distributing CARES Act funding to neediest students, expresses support for juvenile justice reforms, and pledges masks for educators and child care workers

Gov. Newsom said during his news briefing Friday that he stands by his budget proposal to distribute $4.4 billion in CARES Act funding to schools based on a Local Control Formula Funding formula that prioritize districts with high percentages of low-income students – who are largely “black and brown” – as well as English learners. He said he would reject any proposal by the state Legislature that dilutes this funding in an attempt to distribute it more “equally” to all districts because he want to focus instead on “equity.” “I won’t budge on that budget proposal,” he said. “We have to do more and do better.”

Newsom cited the achievement gap as a core reason for his funding priority, citing recent research showing that learning loss due to Covid-19 is estimated to amount to 10.3 months for black students and more than one year for low-income students, compared to seven months on average for all students nationwide.

He also said he has proposed eliminating the Department of Juvenile Justice to instead focus on probation, rehabilitation and higher education opportunities for youth offenders. In addition, Newsom said state leaders should discuss affirmative action and “study more broadly what that means.”

And as portions of the state begin to reopen, Newsom said he is prioritizing the distribution of masks to sectors including the public education and child care systems to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Theresa Harrington

Thursday, June 4, 2020, 11:44 am

Link copied.California pediatricians urge schools to reopen despite coronavirus risk 

 The harmful affects of keeping school campuses closed outweigh the health risks posed by coronavirus, the Southern California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“The negative effects of missing in-person educational time as children experience prolonged periods of isolation and lack of instruction is clear,” the statement says. “Children rely on schools for multiple needs, including but not limited to education, nutrition, physical activity, socialization, and mental health. Special populations of students receive services for disabilities and other conditions that are virtually impossible to deliver online. Prolonging a meaningful return to in-person education would result in hundreds of thousands of children in Los Angeles County being at risk for worsening academic, developmental and health outcomes.”

The group advised districts to adopt flexible protocols for reopening, tailored to students’ ages and needs.

Carolyn Jones

Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 11:38 am

Link copied.L.A. Unified superintendent details challenges of reopening schools

Before schools in Los Angeles Unified can reopen, there needs to be sufficient coronavirus testing available for staff and students as well as robust contact tracing, Superintendent Austin Beutner reiterated in a televised speech. Beutner said it should be up to health officials, not schools, to administer the testing and develop the contact tracing.

Beutner also said that if schools reopen, there could be “hybrid” schedules in place, with some students in classrooms and other students learning from home. Those students would switch places depending on the day.

To highlight the complexities of safely returning to schools, Beutner pointed to Topanga Elementary, which is located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The school has 315 students and staff who live across 15 zip codes. They collectively have 53 siblings and other family members who are enrolled in an additional 10 schools across the district that have more than 8,000 combined students and staff.

“The 8,418 people in these 11 schools go home to another maybe 20,000 people. Those in school at Topanga Canyon Elementary are connected to almost 30,000 people in their school community,” Beutner said. “… Schools need to plan for fewer student interactions with each other and with staff and fewer interactions between staff and with families. Scientists tell us this will also help identify and isolate those who do contract the virus to keep it from spreading further.”

Michael Burke

Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 9:30 am

Link copied.College Board postpones at-home online SAT exam

The College Board, which. is the organization that administers the SAT exam, announced Tuesday that it would postpone offering an at-home SAT exam this year.

“The College Board will pause on offering an at-home SAT this year because taking it would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet for each student, which can’t be guaranteed for all,” according to a statement from the organization. “The College Board will continue to develop remote proctoring capabilities to make at-home SAT possible in the future. It will also continue to deliver the SAT online in some schools but will not introduce the stress that could result from extended at-home testing in an already disrupted admissions season.”

Ashley A. Smith

Monday, June 1, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.Governor and pastor say country is facing two pandemics: Covid-19 and racism; governor calls on moral leaders including teachers to help change hearts, minds and culture

In response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests throughout the state and nation, Gov. Newsom and Tecoy Porter, senior pastor of the Genesis Church in Sacramento, said the country is facing a “double pandemic.” The first is the coronavirus, they said. And the second is racism.

Newsom said that too often in the past, leaders have addressed similar incidents with rhetoric and a feigned resolve to create a new paradigm. But when things don’t change and history repeats itself over and over again, it becomes clear that the past ways of addressing systemic racism have not worked.

Newsom said he could put together a task force and promise a few pieces of legislation, but he knows that would not be good enough. “You’ve got to change hearts, minds, and culture,” he said, “not just laws.”

“We need moral leaders now more than ever who have the capacity to lead by example, to find our better angels, and focus on things that unite us, not divide us,” he said. Besides elected leaders, church leaders and community leaders, he called on teachers to also step forward as moral leaders in their schools.

“That kind or leadership is desperately needed in this nation,” he said. And while he promised to quell the violence that has erupted throughout the state, he said it is also important “to address the foundational issues that led to the violence in the first place.”

Theresa Harrington

Monday, June 1, 2020, 10:30 am

Link copied.California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to answer questions about executive order suspending testing for teacher

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is hosting an informational webinar at 2 p.m. June 1 on the executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom Saturday that suspends testing for teachers impacted by the coronavirus.

The order allows eligible teacher candidates to earn preliminary credentials without taking either the California Teaching Performance Assessment or the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment. It also allows students to enter teacher preparation programs without passing the California Basic Education Skills Test and teacher candidates to enter internship programs without passing required tests in the California Subject Examinations for Teachers because testing centers were closed.

Click on the link to join the webinar.

Diana Lambert

Saturday, May 30, 2020, 4:00 pm

Link copied.In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis school board moves to terminate city police contract, CTA leader calls for an end to institutional racism

As protests erupt around the country in response to the death of George Floyd, educators are reacting with outrage and confirming their commitment to eliminating racism.

The Minneapolis school board plans to vote Tuesday on a resolutionto terminate the district’s contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for school resource officers, halt future negotiations with the department, and direct district staff to come up with a new plan to better serve students by Aug. 18.

“While our school board does not have the ability or authority to arrest and prosecute the officers who murdered George Floyd, we do have the ability to send MPD a very clear message,” board member Josh Pauly tweeted May 29, adding that he wrote the resolution with the support of Chair Kim Ellison and director Siad Ali.

The resolution says the police contract does not align with the priorities of the district’s equity and social emotional learning goals,” which include “identifying and correcting practices and policies that perpetuate the achievement gap and institutional racism in all forms in order to provide all of its students with the opportunity to succeed.” The district is striving to eliminate bias, “particularly racism and cultural bias, as factors affecting student achievement and learning experiences, and to promote learning and work environments that welcome, respect and value diversity,” according to the resolution.

Expressing similar values, California Teachers Association president Toby Boyd issued a statement Saturday saying that “the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor demand that we, as educators and Americans, recognize and confront the institutional racism that exists in our systems and structures.”

Boyd called on educators and all Americans “to work to abolish racism on a personal, structural, and institutional level beginning in our schools and colleges,” confronting it “for the sake of a fair, just, and equitable future for all students.”

The spread of the coronavirus throughout the country over the past 11 weeks, he said, has “shined a light on the divide,” showing that “black students and educators experience schools, the police, and this pandemic very differently than our white students and educators. Saying #BlackLivesMatter isn’t enough.”

Theresa Harrington

Saturday, May 30, 2020, 2:20 pm

Link copied.Joint statement from superintendents of Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified says proposed state budget does not provide enough funding to safely reopen schools

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten have issued a joint statement that suggests schools may not be able to reopen without more state funding.

“Reopening schools is integral to the future well-being of our students as well as restarting the economy,” said the statement, issued May 29. “However, opening our schools will not be as easy as separating desks or placing pieces of tape on the floor. We will need to ensure the safety and well-being of all in our school community – students, staff and families. Facilities will need to be reconfigured and supplies purchased to sanitize schools on a regular basis. Personal protective equipment will need to be provided to students and staff. More teachers and staff will be needed to do this extra work in schools and to provide both in school and online learning programs. And State authorities have to provide the funding for all of these necessary pieces.

“The proposed 2020-21 state budget does not provide the necessary funding to safely reopen schools. And the Governor’s proposed cuts for public education in the May Revise to the 2020-21 state budget come at a time when schools are being asked to do more – not less – to deliver a quality education for students.

“Public health authorities must solve some very real issues for the safe return of our school community. For example, our two school districts employ about 90,000 people and serve approximately 825,000 students who live with another couple million people. A robust system of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will need to be in place before we can consider re-opening schools. Local health authorities, not school districts, have to lead the way on testing, contact tracing and a clear set of protocols on how to respond to any occurrence of the virus.”

Theresa Harrington

Saturday, May 30, 2020, 10:20 am

Link copied.Governor signs executive easing restrictions on child care for essential workers and on teacher credential testing requirements

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that waives certain requirements that restrict child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential workers and that also allows people enrolled in teacher preparation programs during the 2019-20 school year to obtain their preliminary credential without a teaching performance assessment, if they were unable to complete that requirement due to a Covid-19 school closure.

“There remains an increased need for child care for families who may not have previously needed child care, or who may now require additional hours of child care,” the order signed May 29 states. It also notes that “individuals seeking to obtain teacher credentials have been unable to meet certain credentialing requirements, and it is necessary to provide flexibility to minimize the impacts to these individuals and the state’s supply of qualified teachers, while maintaining high teacher credentialing standards.”

Under the order, people otherwise eligible to obtain certain teaching or education specialist credentials or to enroll in teacher preparation programs are permitted to do so without passing certain assessments, if testing was suspended due to the statewide stay-at-home order.

Theresa Harrington

Friday, May 29, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.Governor says school reopening guidance is coming soon, but local officials will decide when to open campuses

Acknowledging that the state has created draft guidance for reopening schools, Gov. Newsom said during his news briefing that it is still being finalized and is expected to be released soon. He said state officials want to make sure the guidance is appropriate and are stressing the importance of protective gear such as face masks for all employees – including teachers, custodial staff, principals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and maintenance crew members.

Newsom said state guidelines explain how businesses and schools can reopen, but do not say when they should open. It is up to county and other local officials to determine their own timeframes, he said.

The governor also said state officials are continuing to work with Congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the passage of the HEROES Act, which would provide additional revenues to states to protect heroes, including teachers and nurses.

Theresa Harrington

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 4:45 pm

Link copied.The California Education Coalition, made up of unions and school administration associations, say schools can’t open safely with proposed budget cuts

Representatives from California teachers and employee unions, and associations representing school boards and school administrators, all agree on one thing — schools can’t reopen safely with the funding proposed in the state’s May budget revision.

California schools are facing a $19 billion reduction in funding from that proposed in the January budget, said Sara Bachez, chief governmental relations officer for the California Association of School Business Officials.

This could result in schools laying off an estimated 58,000 teachers, 125,000 classified employees and could increase class sizes by 19 percent, Bachez said.

“The deep cuts to public education will stand in the way of preparing our schools for the safe return of students and our educators, and it’s going to further prolong the economic recovery since this pandemic,” said E. Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Association.

He and other members of the California Education Coalition, a group of nine statewide associations that advocate for education, urged state legislators to reject the proposed budget cuts to education and to prioritize funding for schools in a video press conference Thursday.

State lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom have until June 15 to negotiate and pass a budget.

Schools need more money to bring students back to school during the pandemic, not less, said Jeff Frietas, president of the California Federation of Teachers.

“Until we have a vaccine, there are many steps to safely reopen schools in person,” he said. “We must continue social distancing. We need to provide personal protective equipment. We need to clean. We need clean and safe environments. This all means smaller class sizes, which can only happen with more teachers. It means more bus runs, which can only happen with more bus drivers and buses. It means more cleaning, which can only happen with more custodians and cleaning supplies. It means more nurses and psychologists to help the physical and mental health concerns of our students.”

Diana Lambert

Saturday, May 23, 2020, 10:00 am

Link copied.California schools could be used as safe voting sites this fall

Schools in California could be used as in-person voting sites for this fall’s elections. State election officials in a letter to lawmakers this week asked them to consider closing schools around election day to allow for gymnasiums and auditoriums to be used for voting, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Joe Holland, president of the California Association of Clerks and Elected Officials, told the Times that using those spaces could allow voters to follow guidelines meant to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, such as physical distancing. “Schools have facilities that are big enough to accommodate in-person voting with the COVID-19 environment that we have to deal with,” Holland said.

Earlier this month, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order requiring election officials across the state to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters before the general election in November. Still, voters would have the option of voting in person.

Larry Gordon

Friday, May 22, 2020, 6:15 pm

Link copied.Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks speaks at Skyline High’s virtual graduation in Oakland Unified

Graduates in the Class of 2020 at Skyline High School in Oakland Unified got a big surprise during their virtual graduation ceremony when they heard an inspirational message from guest speaker actor Tom Hanks, who graduated from the school in 1974 and is its most famous alum. This was the first of several virtual graduation ceremonies to be held for Oakland Unified high school seniors over the next two weeks.

Courtesy of Oakland Unified

Tom Hanks’ Skyline High senior portrait, 1974.

“Somewhere out of the fate of every high-schooler, you guys were picked to graduate this year – in the year 2020 – to start off this next chapter of your lives in the face and in the midst of so much change,” Hanks said in his pre-recorded message. “Good luck to you. I’d like to think that just as Skyline High School provided me with a direction and an instinct to follow, the same has happened for you.”

He congratulated the graduates for “having gotten through these years of struggle,” which he predicted would “lead ultimately to the triumph as you pursue your heart’s desire.” Urging them to follow their instincts, he added: “Always understand that you have been chosen by fate to lead the way in whatever our post-pandemic world is going to be. Make it a great one, would you? We’re all relying on you.”

Finally, Hanks proudly let the grads know he is one them, saying: “Let us all be a part of the grand group that is called ‘the alumni of Skyline High School.”

Theresa Harrington

Friday, May 22, 2020, 1:50 pm

Link copied.Governor calls reopening schools a ‘bottom up’ process, promises guidance for summer camps and summer school in next week

Acknowledging that many children – including his own – have been asking about summer camp and summer school options, Gov. Newsom said the state expects to issue guidance in the next week about how those programs could safely open. However, like school reopening in the fall, he said decisions to open summer schools and summer camps should be made regionally, based on input from public health officials.

Before releasing the summer school an summer camp guidance, he said the state is working to “make sure it’s an inclusive process” so that people are comfortable with it and there are “no big surprises.” As the state begins to open other businesses with modifications, Newsom said he hopes schools will also be able to open “in a safe and responsible way” that protects teachers, support staff, students and parents.

To plan for schools reopening, Newsom said he has been working with teachers’ union officials, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond and others to create a “bottom up” process instead of one that is “top down.” The guidance to be released later for schools reopening in the fall, he said, will include “flexibility required to address learning loss and to address the disruption of the school year.”

Newsom also affirmed the principle of local control of schools. “We have over a thousand school districts in the state of California, independently led, with a deep appreciation and recognition that localism is profound as much as it is pronounced. The LCFF process that was developed under the previous administration went very specifically to this framework, and advanced that cause I think in an appropriate way.”

Audio Clip: Gov. Newsom addresses summer programs, and new guidance for schools expected next week during his daily briefing on May 22, 2020

Theresa Harrington

Thursday, May 21, 2020, 12:45 pm

Link copied.State schools chief  Tony Thurmond says state guidance on opening schools is on the way

Schools could open next fall with a variety of different learning models, including a blend of distance and in-person instruction or with more classes held outside, according to Stephanie Gregson, chief deputy superintendent of public instruction at the California Department of Education.

Gregson mentioned some of the ideas being considered by the task force that is developing guidance on safely reopening schools during a webinar Thursday, but offered little new information. The guidance is expected to be ready in the coming days, she said.

A teacher, superintendent, union leader, government official and public health officer participated in the webinar, billed as     “A discussion on the safe re-opening of California schools.”

Speakers expressed concerns about continuing distance learning, laying off teachers and support staff in order to balance budgets, and the need for additional nurses and counselors to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

“Our focus today is to share with you what we have been learning in our task force in how to safely reopen schools,” Thurmond said.

The superintendent also talked about budget shortfalls and the need for additional federal funding. He asked district leaders watching the webinar to share their plans for reopening schools with the department.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 12:05 pm

Link copied.UC regents choose new UC Merced chancellor, a Houston university president with California roots

UC Merced, the University of California’s youngest campus and one with special emphasis on educating students who are first in their families to attend college, will next be led by the son of a California farmworker who is now president of a Texas university.

The UC Regents on Wednesday voted to select Juan Sánchez Muñoz, who has headed University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) since 2017, as UC Merced’s fourth chancellor. Muñoz, who is to take over in early July and will be paid $425,000 a year, faces challenges in dealing with the current pandemic’s effects on the campus’ academic programs and budget.

Regents chairman John A. Pérez said that Muñoz’s personal story is one that “will give tremendous reinforcement to the hopes and dreams of our students.” He noted that Muñoz’s father at one point picked grapes in the Merced area.

Juan Sánchez Muñoz

Muñoz has strong California roots, having earned a bachelor’s degree at UC Santa Barbara, a master’s at Cal State Los Angeles and a doctorate in urban education at UCLA. A U.S. Marines veteran, he taught in the secondary education program at CSU Fullerton. At UHD, he helped lead increases in enrollment and graduation rates, conducted the school’s largest fundraising campaign and presided over recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey, according to UC officials.

UC Merced opened to undergraduates in 2005 and now enrolls 8,800 students, with plans for a doubling in coming decades. Three-quarters of those students are in the first generation of their families to attend college, the highest rate among UC’s nine undergraduate campuses. Its previous chancellor, Dorothy Leland, retired in August 2019 and since then the campus’ interim chancellor has been Nathan Brostrom, who will now return to his previous job as the UC system’s chief financial officer.

Larry Gordon

Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 11:25 am

Link copied.Oakland campaign to raise $12.5 million to close digital divide reaches goal with $700,000 contribution from Zynga founder

A campaign to raise $12.5 million to help provide computers and internet access to Oakland students reached its goal within days after the founder of Zynga contributed the final $700,000 needed. This was on the heels of a $10 million donation last week by Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey to the “Oakland Undivided” campaign.

“The program created by OUSD and the city of Oakland will play a critical role in allowing students to be connected and develop the critical skills they will need to succeed and make a positive impact on the world,” said Mark Pincus, founder of the San Francisco-based online gaming company Zynga. “I was inspired by how quickly and generously Jack responded and I was excited to be able to complete the first phase of the program.”

Like Dorsey, Pincus tweeted his support in respose to a Tweet from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. The money raised so far will help provide computers and internet access to all students who need them in Oakland Unified and in city charter schools for the coming school year.

However, the campaign is now embarking on a second phase of fundraising to continue providing computers and internet access to students every year, at an annual cost of about $4 million. In addition, the campaign would like to raise funds to improve internet access for residents citywide, technology for teachers and to provide computers to seniors graduating from high school for use in college.

Theresa Harrington

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 6:25 pm

Link copied.Oakland voters to decide in November whether to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections

In response to a proposal by student leaders in Oakland Unified, the Oakland City Council unanimously agreed to ask voters in November to approve an amendment to the city charter that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in Oakland Unified school board elections. The students, along with youth advocates, argued that they should be able to vote for the elected representatives who make decisions that directly affect them and cited research that showed giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote creates lifelong, habitual voters, increases voter turnout, and influences their parents by making them more likely to vote.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also poised to place a similar initiative on the November ballot that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in all municipal elections. In 2016, Berkeley voters passed an initiative giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in school board elections. Voters in four Maryland cities allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in all their municipal elections.

Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who sponsored the city proposal, urged advocates to reach out to other Bay Area cities to promote this idea. “This is another opportunity for Oakland to lead in a way that is about opportunity and inclusion,” she said.

If approved, the Oakland measure would go into effect for 2022 school board elections. More information is at http://www.oaklandyouthvote.org/.

Theresa Harrington

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 5:23 pm

Link copied.LA schools unlikely to reopen on time this fall with reduced budget, official says

It is “not realistic” to expect schools in Los Angeles Unified to open on time this fall if the district’s budget is reduced, Deputy Supt. Megan Reilly said during a school board meeting Tuesday. “We cannot in good conscience risk the health and safety of our students and staff by returning to the classroom prematurely,”she added.

Reilly’s comments come after LA Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner and five other superintendents of urban school districts said in a letter to legislative leaders Monday that funding cuts proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in his revised budget would result in the reopening of schools being delayed.

Newsom’s revised budget proposed a 10% cut to general funding for school districts. For LA Unified, that would mean a cut of about $500 million. But the superintendents wrote in the letter Monday that it will cost more, not less, to reopen schools for in-person classes, due to increased costs for sanitation, personal protective equipment, more staff and efforts to recover lost learning.

Michael Burke

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 1:00 pm

Link copied.UC unions contend layoffs can be avoided by tapping investment funds.

The University of California should spend more of its gigantic endowment funds and other investment reserves to avoid layoffs and educational cuts possibly triggered by a drop in state revenues related to the coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of employee labor unions urged Tuesday.

The ten-campus university and its five medical centers should tap the “overall strong financial standing and reserves to avoid austerity measures,” AFSCME 3299 research director Claudia Preparata said during an online presentation. UC could use several billion dollars from various funds if needed and possibly borrow more to cover the 10% reduction in state support recently proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to cover the large spending spike caused by the pandemic, she said.

AFSCME 3299 is the largest union in UC, representing 27,000 service workers, patient care technical workers, craftsmen and others. It was joined in the coalition statement by other unions, including those representing nurses, medical interns and residents and lecturers. The university has not announced any layoffs and the union is seen as trying to get ahead of any such move.

A statement released Tuesday from the UC’s president’s office said: “We will be happy to discuss with the union coalition their
presentation and claims once we have had an opportunity to carefully review them.” The UC system will assess possibly drawing on some of its capital resources or borrowing funds, the statement noted. Meanwhile, UC officials touted other austerity measures such as 10% pay cuts for the president and campus chancellors and salary freezes
for non- unionized staff.

The UC Regents are meeting this week to discuss, among other things, financial responses to the health emergency and the governor’s plan.

Larry Gordon

Monday, May 18, 2020, 6:50 pm

Link copied.California community colleges expect more students even with online classes.

The chancellor of the California Community Colleges said Monday that he was encouraging all 114 campuses to keep classes online in the fall but said he still thought that enrollment would increase as unemployed people seek retraining during the pandemic.

“Displaced Californians are going to come to community colleges to improve their lives. So we’ve got to advocate that we get every resource to help that happen,” Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said during the statewide Board of Governors meeting, which was held online. He said he would advocate strongly to reverse some of the budget cuts recently proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to cope with declining tax revenues caused by the health emergency.

Some of the state’s 72 community college districts, which are making decisions on the matter, have decided to remain online unless the health situation improves significantly in the fall. Oakley said he encourages all to stay with fully online learning since he said it “will be the most relevant way for us to continue to reach our students.” But he said that colleges will need to get better and quicker data on how many students are continuing in the classes and how well they are succeeding, particularly low-income students and some minorities.

Community colleges also need to expand the efficiencies of online by eliminating travel expenses for meetings, according to Oakley. “This Covid-19 crisis has forced us to innovate on a scale we did not think was imaginable,” he said.

Larry Gordon

Monday, May 18, 2020, 4:30 pm

Link copied.Student-led virtual support group slated for May 21

California students from diverse backgrounds will lead a support group for their peers on May 21, sharing personal stories about distance learning, staying in touch with friends and handling anxiety, depression and other challenges during the school closures. Hosted by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the panel will be the first of a series of virtual support groups aimed at students. It will also include a presentation from the California Department of Education on how students can improve their mental health during the school closures. The panel will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on the Department of Education’s Facebook page.

Carolyn Jones

Sunday, May 17, 2020, 12:00 pm

Link copied.Marin County to open one classroom for special education students this week

The Marin County Office of Education will open up one classroom at a middle school in Novato to serve a dozen students starting Monday in what could be a pilot for the restart of school in the fall.

All 12 will be special education students who have had difficulty adjusting to distance learning, county Superintendent Mary Jane Burke told TV station CBSN Bay Area, which reported the story.

Because of safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, school districts are considering a range of options for the fall, including scheduling students on alternate days or offering only distance learning. Burke said a year-round school to make up learning loss is another option. The experience of the class at San Jose Middle school will inform that decision.

Special education teacher Cindy Evans, who volunteered to lead the class, told the CBSN, “I had a phone call with one of the parents and she said to me I feel like a failure, and she was teary eyed, and at that point I said, I really, really need to help.”

John Fensterwald

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 5:00 pm

Link copied.Obama gives virtual “commencement address” to nation’s high school graduates

In a nationally broadcast event, former President Barack Obama shared with the nation’s high school graduates “a hard truth” — that “all those  adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing…don’t have all the answers.” In fact, he said, “a lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions.”

So, he said, “if the world’s going to get better, it going to be up to you.”

The event, which included a slew of entertainment and sports personalities, including basketball star Lebron James, was billed as the first national commencement ceremony. It was targeted at high school seniors who have been robbed of live commencement celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Obama’s speech was conspicuously non-political, although some of his remarks could easily be interpreted as a commentary on some of the practices and messaging of the Trump administration.

In another commencement address earlier in the day, also delivered virtually and directed at historically black colleges and universities, his language was similar but more explicitly a criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic — again without mentioning Trump by name. “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” he said. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

He reminded high school students that the nation has gone through tough times before — slavery, civil war, famine, disease, the Great Depression and 9/11. “And each time we came out stronger, usually because a new generation, young people like you, learned from past mistakes and figured out how to make things better,” he said.

And in dispensing advice to the graduates he delivered harsh criticism of what passes for leadership at the highest levels in the U.S. “Do what you think is right,” Obama told students. “Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up.”

The event was organized the  Oakland-based XQ Institute, which is underwritten by the multi-billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs.

The institute is directed by Russlyn Ali, who was an assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Dept. of Educaiton during the Obama administration.  The organization’s principal activity is to promote thinking about “the high school of the future,” and has awarded $10 million grants to several school districts and charter schools to implement innovative strategies toward that end.

Read Obama’s entire speech here

Louis Freedberg

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 12:00 pm

Link copied.In a first in state history, college campuses kick off graduation season with virtual commencement ceremonies

In another fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and its devastating impact on education in California, several campuses around the state held commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 on Saturday — for the first time in state history entirely online.

UC Berkeley and UC Merced, the only two University of California campuses on the semester system, became the first UC campuses to hold virtual commencement ceremonies on Saturday.  Some California State University campuses did so too, including San Diego State and Humboldt State University, in Arcata in the far north of the state.

The Cal commencement ceremony was the most elaborate — centered around an animated video based on the Minecraft videogame that was created by more than a hundred UC Berkeley students, complete with student avatars marching into Memorial Stadium to a recording of Pomp and Circumstance. Chancellor Carol Christ gave the commencement “address” in which she said students could not have imagined three months ago that they would be participating in graduation ceremonies “perhaps in your pajamas instead of a cap and gown.”

“The pandemic and its effects have been thrust upon us all, and the only thing in our power is how we choose to respond,” she said. “We can let these weighty circumstances hold us down, or we can decide to pick ourselves back up, to adapt, to push onward. Trials such as this are opportunities to cultivate habits of mind that will serve us for all time: courage, ingenuity, resilience, patience, humility, grace and gratitude.”

Several campuses held their ceremonies on Friday — notably the University of Southern California, Chico State and Woodland Community College, both in Northern California. Cal State San Marcos held a “drive by” graduation, in which students donned their caps and gowns, and drove through a designated route as faculty and staff cheered them on — and students got handed a provisional diploma on a tray as they drove by. Some 700 students participated. The university is promising to hold an in-person commencement ceremony whenever it is possible to do so

Numerous other virtual commencement ceremonies will be held ater this week, such as Laney College’s in Oakland on Thursday, and others during the weeks to come. UCLA’s ceremony will be on June 12, while San Francisco State’s will be on June 18.

Louis Freedberg

Friday, May 15, 2020, 7:45 pm

Link copied.Twitter CEO donates $10 million to Oakland fund to close the digital divide

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a Tweet that he would donate $10 million to the “Oakland Undivided” fund launched on Thursday to help close the digital divide for all current and future students in Oakland Unified and city charter schools.

The district and city initially raised $2 million toward its $12.5 million goal, which they expected would take years to achieve. Oakland Unified Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said the money is needed to provide Chromebooks and stable internet service to students who have been educated through distance learning since schools closed March 13 due to the coronavirus.

She said the district expects to offer summer school through distance learning and that students will likely need to learn remotely during the 2020-21 school year. Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city is supporting the effort because computers and internet access help families to connect with community resources, such as free food and other support.

Theresa Harrington

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 2:50 pm

Link copied.Governor unveils education cuts, along with some new revenues, in May budget revision

Gov. Newsom unveiled a stark May budget revision for 2020-21 that included a $54 billion shortfall as the pandemic’s hit to the economy sharply reduced state revenues. The proposed budget showed a 13% reduction for public education, shrinking from $81.1 billion last year to $70.5 billion. “It’s a very challenging moment,” he said, adding that he hoped the federal government would provide more funding to the state to help alleviate some of the proposed cuts.

The revised budget, which may be amended before the legislature adopts the final budget in June, includes a 10% cut in local control funding for K-12 schools, as well as deferrals of payments that will likely force districts to borrow short-term throughout the year. However, Newsom promised no cuts to the state’s commitment for special education.

To help soften the budget blow, he said the state would allocate $4.4 billion from  federal CARES Act funds to public education in order to address several issues related to school closures from the coronavirus: learning loss, socioemotional challenges and trauma that families are facing, distance learning needs, as well as for summer school. The state will give districts flexibility to decide how best to use the funds “on a district by district basis,” with strategies that could include extending the school year, he said. “This will be discretionary money to address anxiety,” he added.

To help college students, including parents who may want to go back to school, Newsom said the proposed budget would not cut Cal Grants for higher education students.

He stressed that the cuts are not permanent, but added that they would require districts to make difficult decisions. He also said some cuts would be restored if the Congress passes the HEROES Act proposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which would give money to states to deal with issues created by the coronavirus.

Keely Bosler, director of the Department of Finance, said that if the HEROES Act does no pass, the state will cut base funding for University of California and Californai State University systems by 10%. She said community colleges would see a 10% reduction in student-centered funding, as well as payment deferrals similar to those that K-12 schools will experience.

Theresa Harrington

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 1:40 pm

Link copied.Mostly good news for special education in revised state budget

In announcing his proposed budget revisions, Gov. Gavin Newsom kept intact a 15% increase in per-pupil spending for students enrolled in special education, and left most other special education funding streams unchanged, at least temporarily. In addition, the proposed budget includes $15 million in federal funds to pay for scholarships for those pursuing special education teaching credentials.

Money for pandemic-related expenses was also included: $7 million to help districts resolve disputes related to distance learning and special education, and $600,000 to adjust individual educational programs to account for distance learning. The only significant cut, so far, is a $250 million grant for special education preschools.

“The (revised budget) maintains the Administration’s commitment to increasing special education resources and improving special education financing, programs, and student outcomes,” the proposed budget reads.

Carolyn Jones

Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 1:45 pm

Link copied.Peralta Community College District fall classes will be offered primarily online 

The four colleges within the Peralta Community College District will mostly offer fall classes online. The decision applies to Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College.

“We are making every effort to minimize disruptions to the educational mission as we support student success in achieving desired certificates, degrees and transfer,” said Regina Stanback Stroud, the district’s chancellor. “We will continue to engage in the necessary discussions with faculty and staff to ensure the best decisions in service of our students and their goals.”

Ashley A. Smith

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 2:30 pm

Link copied.California State University trustees say they want to avoid raising tuition

The California State University system should avoid increasing tuition as a way to make up for revenue losses and higher costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic, several trustees said during a virtual meeting. The system is already facing more than $300 million in coronavirus-related losses.

“The message that it would send to raise tuition, under really almost any circumstances during this extremely sensitive time, I really caution against it,” said state Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, who is a CSU trustee through the duties of her office.

Student trustee Maryana Khames as well as trustees Jack McGrory, Lateefah Simon and Peter Taylor also said they are opposed to increasing tuition.

Taylor was CFO of the system during the Great Recession, when the system raised tuition as it faced similar financial challenges. Taylor said he regrets raising tuition at that time, saying it hurt middle-class families.

“In hindsight, it was the wrong move,” he said. “And I just hope before we consider something like this, we uncover every rock to find every penny and every dime we can collect in order to avoid a tuition increase.”

Michael Burke

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 10:45 am

Link copied.More community college classes will be offered primarily online this fall

The four colleges in the Sacramento area’s Los Rios Community College District, the San Diego Community College District, and Shasta College in Redding have all joined an increasing number of community colleges to announce fall classes will be offered primarily online.

Constance Carroll, chancellor of the four colleges in the San Diego district, said it was important to make a decision about how fall classes would be offered to allow faculty and students time to prepare.

“Never in my years in higher education have I seen a crisis of this magnitude, certainly never in my 28 years in the San Diego Community College District,” Carroll said. “And the Board of Trustees and I have never been prouder of how faculty, staff, students, and alumni have responded. Their efforts have been extraordinary and have enabled the district to continue to meet the educational needs of students and the community.”

Ashley A. Smith

Monday, May 11, 2020, 1:55 pm

Link copied.Western states seek $1 trillion to help save jobs of teachers and other frontline workers, state distributes masks to educators and childcare workers, UCSF/UCLA trains 500 contact tracers, governor says

The Western States Pact that includes California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado has sent a letter to Congressional leaders seeking $1 trillion in aid to help save the jobs of educators and other frontline workers, Gov. Newsom announced during his daily news briefing. “Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions – like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders,” the letter said. “This aid would preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work.”

Newsom also said the state distributed half-a-million surgical masks to the California Department of Education on Friday, along with thousands more to child care workers, as part of its effort to meet criteria necessary to reopen the state. In addition, he said a new UCSF/UCLA program has trained 500 new “contact tracers” who will work with current contact tracers in counties to track and trace the contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus. This will bring the total number of contact tracers to about 3,500, with the goal of getting to 10,000 in the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, Newsom plans to give a presentation on testing capacity throughout the state and to unveil new criteria that would allow counties to reopen some businesses ahead of the state, if they can self-certify that they meet specific requirements.

Theresa Harrington

Sunday, May 10, 2020, 10:00 am

Link copied.Many California students still lack technology for distance learning, two months into stay-at-home order

Nearly a third of California school districts said that “less than half” or “a small minority/none” of students have access to the internet at home, according to a recent survey of 270 districts and county offices of education by the California School Boards Association.

About 19% of districts said that cell phone service, which is required for mobile WiFi hotspots, is “poor or nonexistent” for their students, and about two-thirds of districts said that most of their students have laptops at home.

Sydney Johnson

Saturday, May 9, 2020, 3:45 pm

Link copied.Placer County high school district will hold in-person graduation ceremonies for high school seniors

All seven high schools in the Placer Union High School District will have in-person graduation ceremonies in July,  according to The Sacramento Bee.

Ceremonies will be limited to 50 graduates at a time.

The article reports that the seniors overwhelmingly voted to have the ceremony in-person with fewer classmates in attendance at a time then to have an online celebration.

Diana Lambert

Saturday, May 9, 2020, 10:00 am

Link copied.California Teachers Association launches digital ad campaign to thank teachers for work during pandemic

The California Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union, has started an ad campaign applauding teachers for their commitment to students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am so proud of how our educators have responded during this pandemic to continue reaching and teaching students,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “While we are all in this together, educators are going above and beyond to take care of their students during the statewide lockdown – from providing more office hours, visiting their students at a safe distance, or delivering meals to families in need. Educators have demonstrated that their hearts are and will always be with their students.”

The campaign, which includes television, print and digital advertisements, will run through May 19.

Diana Lambert

Thursday, May 7, 2020, 9:30 am

Link copied.New forecast from Gov. Newsom projects record deficit 

California’s state budget will face a $54 billion deficit by the end of next year, the biggest in its history, the Newsom administration disclosed in documents released Thursday. The coronavirus’ immediate and disastrous impact on the state’s economy will result in a $42 billion decline in state revenues in 2019-20 and 2020-21, bringing the General Fund to under $100 billion for the first time since the end of the Great Recession.

The Department of Finance is projecting that funding for Proposition 98, the formula that determines spending for K-12 and community colleges, will drop by a record $18.3  billion. However, that appears to include the effect on the current year, which Gov. Gavin Newsom had assured would be funded, so the impact may not be quite as severe. (Go here for a press release and here for slides.)

EdSource staff

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 2:40 pm

Link copied.California Department of Education offers Virtual Support Circle for Educators

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is hosting a forum on Facebook Live between 4 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday to offer support and encouragement to California teachers.

“The State Superintendent and California Department of Education understand that educators are feeling overwhelmed during this time of distance learning, and this virtual event will be an opportunity to share experiences, resources and encouragement as schools and families navigate next steps together,” according to a press release from the California Department of Education.

The even is the first of many planned for educator support. Participants will be announced as they are confirmed.

Diana Lambert

Monday, May 4, 2020, 5:30 pm

Link copied.Digital divide task force asks internet providers to extend free service to California students

California needs at least 447,451 laptops and 340,202 Wi-Fi hotspots to connect every student to internet at home, according to the latest numbers provided by the California Department of Education. The figures, which are higher than an estimate provided last week, were shared at the second hearing for California’s new digital divide task force led by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Sen. Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino.

At the hearing, state lawmakers pressed internet providers on what they are doing to help every student in California access the internet from home in order to participate in distance learning. Companies represented included AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Each of the companies shared plans to reach more students during the pandemic, such as partnerships with school districts, mobile Wi-Fi school busses, and extending timelines for discount programs. But some lawmakers said they still have concerns about families unaware of free and discounted service programs, as well as ongoing challenges for rural communities to gain access to broadband infrastructure.

Sydney Johnson

Monday, May 4, 2020, 2:05 pm

Link copied.New UCSF/UCLA training program for contact tracers; some retailers can reopen Friday; new guides coming to lift county stay at home orders, no mention of schools

UC San Francisco and UC Los Angeles are partnering on a new program that will train “contact tracers” who will help counties track people who test positive for the coronavirus, as well as those with whom they have come in contact, Gov. Newsom said Monday during his daily news briefing. The program is expected to train about 3,000 people a week so the state can reach a goal of 10,000 contact tracers in the next few weeks, followed by another 10,000 shortly after that, said Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health.

Because the state is flattening the curve of coronavirus cases and is increasing its testing and contact tracing capacity, Newsom announced that some retailers will be able to open as soon as Friday based on modifications to the statewide stay at home order he expects to release on Thursday. He also said counties may be able to lift some restrictions to the stay at home order if they can certify that they meet certain public health conditions that will be released later on Monday. Newsom did not address whether lifting the county stay at home orders would apply to schools.

The ability of some retailers to reopen marks the beginning of phase 2 of a four-part plan for reopening the state, Newsom said. However, he said that public health officials in some counties – such as those in the Bay Area – can continue to impose stricter restrictions on residents and businesses if they do not believe their communities are ready to reopen at the same pace as the rest of the state.

Theresa Harrington

Sunday, May 3, 2020, 2:00 pm

Link copied.Several California community colleges extend online instruction through fall 2020 term

Over the last week, beginning on April 28, the Los Angeles Community College District, Santa Monica College, Sierra College whose main campus is in Rocklin, College of the Desert in Palm Desert, and Santa Rosa Junior College, have announced that most classes will be offered remotely in the fall.  The LA Community College District consists of nine campuses.  Depending on the college, a few classes may still be offered in person.  For example,
Santa Monica President Kathryn Jefferey said the college “is working to determine whether a few courses that may not be easily converted to a fully online format can be offered through a limited hybrid option.”   Santa Rose president Frank Chong said “There may be some courses that require in-person instruction, such as those that require hands-on labs and those offered at the Public Safety Training Center.”

Louis Freedberg

Friday, May 1, 2020, 12:30 pm

Link copied.Modoc County eases stay-at-home rules for businesses, churches and schools

Officials in Modoc County announced a strategic plan this week to allow businesses, churches and schools to reopen if they are able to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between people.

However no school districts in Modoc County, which has less than 9,000 residents and no cases of the coronavirus so far, have said they will reopen yet. Districts and the county education office plan to work with the Modoc County Public Health Department on plans to reopen schools, but no dates have been set, according to an announcement from the Modoc County Office of Education in response to the restriction changes.

Sydney Johnson

Thursday, April 30, 2020, 1:25 pm

Link copied.Governor announces new child care website, closes beaches in Orange County, and says it’s OK “to play catch with my kids”

To help essential workers who are parents find high-quality child care, Gov. Newsom announced the state has launched a new portal on the covid19.ca.gov website with information about child care facilities throughout the state. The portal will also help other workers find high quality child care as the state begins to modify its stay at home order in the next few weeks, Newsom said. He noted that the state has provided $100 million for child care vouchers and facilities and said he expects to include more money for child care in the revised state budget, known as the “May revise,” which he will present on May 14.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Newsom said that beaches in Orange County will be closed this weekend, after crowds congregated on them last weekend and did not practice physical distancing. He said beaches in other areas of the state would remain open because people who visited them did adhere to the state’s requirement to stay 6 feet apart.

Newsom also said the state’s covid19.ca.gov website is updated regularly with information about the state’s requirements to answer questions, such as: “Can I play catch with my kids?” The answer, he said, is yes.

Theresa Harrington

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 6:10 pm

Link copied.Families of children eligible for free or reduced-priced meals at school will get $5.70 for each day school has been canceled

A new federal program will give low-income California families money for groceries to feed their children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Pandemic Electronic Transfer program will pay each family $5.70 per child for each day school has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, up to $365 per child. The money is roughly equivalent to the cost of the meals the children would have received through the free or reduced-price meal program had they been in school.

“The Covid-19 crisis has placed additional economic strain on some of our families that were already struggling to put food on the table,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “This program provides critical food assistance so that our students who are economically challenged households can get the nutritious meals at home they need to thrive.”

The program will provide about $1.4 billion collectively to California families.

The California Department of Social Services will automatically issue electronic payment cards to families identified as being certified for the school meal program in early May. If families don’t receive a card they can apply online before June 30. The online application will launch in late May.

Students who are eligible for this program can still receive school meals at designated pick-up sites and can continue to receive CalFresh benefits if eligible.

Diana Lambert

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 1:50 pm

Link copied.Newsom: New partnership to feed needy students and their families; concern that Bay Area plans to allow 12 children to congregate exceed state limits

To help feed students who normally qualify for free and reduced breakfasts and lunches, Gov. Newsom announced a new partnership between the state, farmers, ranchers, philanthropists and food banks to provide food boxes to needy students through local food banks.

He also said during his daily news briefing that he had spoken to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond that morning to discuss the idea of reopening schools in late July or early August to help combat the loss of learning many students are experiencing during school closures.

And while Newsom said he generally supports the ability of local public health officials to determine how and when to loosen restrictions in their own shelter in place orders, he expressed concerns about modifications announced by six Bay Area counties that would allow up to 12 children to congregate in childcare groups, which he said exceeds the state’s limit of 10 children.

Theresa Harrington

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 1:20 pm

Link copied.NCAA supports rule change allowing athletes to earn compensation, but advocates say athletes need more during pandemic

College athletes across the United States could soon be permitted to earn compensation under  a rule change being supported by the National College Athletic Association, the governing body for most college sports, but advocates for college athletes in California are calling on the NCAA to do more to help athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors is supporting a rule change that would allow college athletes for the first time to make money off their name, image and likeness. The change would take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year. 

The NCAA began considering the rule change after Gov. Newsom last year signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which defied NCAA rules by permitting college athletes in the state to make money from endorsements and other personal ventures. That law was scheduled to go into effect in 2023 but could now be moot since the NCAA’s rules seem poised to change.

Despite the likely rule change, the NCAA should be doing more to help college athletes during the coronavirus pandemic, said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the California-based National College Players Association. In a statement, Huma said college athletes are becoming increasingly vulnerable during the pandemic and called on the NCAA to implement its rule change immediately rather than waiting until fall 2021.

Michael Burke