California education news: What’s the latest?
Friday, June 2, 2023, 9:48 am
Link copied.Conservative Temecula school board rejects social studies curriculum over Harvey Milk inclusion
The majority conservative Temecula Valley School board voted to leave 11,397 students without a textbook next year because the supplemental material to the textbook included gay rights activist Harvey Milk, KABC Los Angeles reported.
The curriculum was meant to replace outdated textbooks, and had already been vetted by 47 Temecula Valley teachers who taught the material in 18 elementary schools as part of a pilot program throughout the year, according to KABC. It was also approved by the California Department of Education.
The decision left many in the community stunned. Board Member Allison Barclay, who voted to approve the curriculum, said that none of the families of the 1,300 students who learned from the curriculum during the pilot program voiced any complaints. All 18 schools that were part of the pilot sent surveys to parents to solicit input, but less than a dozen cared to answer it.
The new curriculum would have allowed the district to replace books that are no longer in print. The two school board members who voted in favor of the curriculum warned that failing to approve it puts the district in violation of the Williams Act, which requires students to have equal access to school materials, according to KABC.
Friday, June 2, 2023, 9:14 am
Link copied.Attempts to ban books will face investigation by attorney general, Gov. Newsom warns
Gov. Gavin Newsom, on Thursday, sent a message to county and district superintendents and charter administrators warning that any attempt to ban books from classrooms or libraries will face investigation by the state’s attorney general, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The warning comes amid a nationwide rise in book bans, according to free speech organization Pen America. In California last year, the American Library Association recorded 87 challenged book titles, the subject matters of which mostly centered around LBGTQ issues.
Newsom, in his letter alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Attorney General Rob Bonta, told school leaders that anyone who attempt to remove certain instructional materials will be asked to explain their decision-making process to Bonta’s office, the Bee reported. The letter highlighted constitutional precedent and case law that Bonta’s office says bars the banning of books and mandates that school administrators protect academic freedom and freedom of speech, according to the Bee.—Ali Tadayon
Thursday, June 1, 2023, 8:52 am
Link copied.Pandemic-era grant for laid-off workers to attend college to end June 15
A state grant for workers who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and enrolled in a college class will likely end by June 15, CalMatters reported.
The Golden State Education and Training Grant Program was created in 2021 to help workers laid off because of the economic consequences of Covid. But now the college grant program is itself slated to be cut due to California’s current budget woes.
Seeking ways to plug the state’s estimated $31.5 billion budget hole, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed in May to completely scupper the relief grant program in the 2023-24 budget year, which starts July 1. That would return an estimated $480 million to the state. Lawmakers in both the state Senate and Assembly have signaled they accept the governor’s proposal.
Eligible workers must submit the application for the grant by June 15, a spokesperson for the California Student Aid Commission told CalMatters. If workers affected by the pandemic aren’t currently in a college program, they must be enrolled by June 30 to take advantage of the grant, the spokesperson said.—Thomas Peele
Thursday, June 1, 2023, 8:48 am
Link copied.Pride flag burned at LA elementary school where parents oppose Pride assembly
An elementary school in North Hollywood that’s already dealing with parental protests over an upcoming Pride assembly is facing more turmoil after a transgender teacher’s pride flag was burned on campus, the Los Angeles Times reported. The teacher was removed from school because of concerns for their safety.
On May 22, the full-time teacher at Saticoy Elementary, discovered a pride flag that had been displayed in a flower pot was burned and the pot had been broken, the Times reported, citing police sources. Police are investigating the incident as an act of vandalism.
The teacher at first stayed at the school but was later moved, the Times reported. Conservative parents have been using an Instagram account to rail against the school’s Pride assembly scheduled for Friday.
The account recently showed photos of the teacher before and after they transitioned, the Times reported, accompanied by comments critical of the educator.
“We’re in an atmosphere especially here in the United States with school shootings where, no, I don’t feel safe,” a teacher from Saticoy who requested anonymity told The Times. “I don’t think any of our teachers feel safe. And a lot of parents don’t feel safe about their children either.”—Thomas Peele
Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 9:14 am
Link copied.Should social media be regulated to protect kids?
Exhaustive studies show that adolescent rates of depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm and suicide have skyrocketed in the U.S. since social media became ubiquitous, as Scientific American reports. In fact, in the U.S., suicide is now the leading cause of death for people aged 13 to 14 and the second-leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24.
In October 2021 the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a “national state of emergency in children’s mental health,” stating that the COVID pandemic had intensified an already existing crisis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a similar warning in 2022, after the agency found that nearly half of high school students reported feeling persistently “sad or hopeless” during the previous year.
Yet the role social media plays has been widely debated. Some researchers, including Jean Twenge of San Diego State University and Jonathan Haidt of New York University, have sounded the alarm, arguing that social media provides the most plausible explanation for problems such as enhanced teen loneliness.
Other researchers have been more muted. In 2019 Jeff Hancock, founding director of the Social Media Lab at Stanford University, and his colleagues completed a meta-analysis of 226 scientific papers dating back to 2006 (the year Facebook became available to the public).
They concluded that social media use was associated with a slight increase in depression and anxiety but also commensurate improvements in feelings of belonging and connectedness. “At that time, I thought of them as small effects that could balance each other out,” Hancock says.
Since then, he has grown more concerned. Hancock still believes that, for most people most of the time, the effects of social media are minor. He says that sleep, diet, exercise and social support, on the whole, impact psychological health more than social media use. Nevertheless, he notes, social media can be “psychologically very detrimental” when it’s used in negative ways—for instance, to cyberstalk former romantic partners.
“You see this with a lot of other addictive behaviors like gambling, for example,” Hancock says, as Scientific American reports. “Many people can gamble, and it’s not a problem. But for a certain subset, it’s really problematic.”—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 9:13 am
Link copied.Teachers who claim gender equality may show bias against girls, study suggests
Math teachers who believe women no longer face discrimination tend to be biased against girls’ ability in math, according to an experiment conducted with over 400 math teachers across the United States, as The 74 reported. The findings were published in a peer-reviewed article that appeared in April 2023 in the International Journal of STEM Education.
In this experiment, teachers were asked to evaluate a set of student solutions to math problems. The teachers didn’t know that gender and race specific names, such as Tanisha and Connor, had been randomly assigned to the solutions. The idea was to see if the teachers had any unconscious biases, as The 74 reported.
After the teachers evaluated the student solutions, they were asked questions about their beliefs and experiences. Teachers who believe that society has achieved gender equality tended to rate a student’s ability higher when they saw a male name than when they saw a female name for the same work.—Karen D'Souza
Tuesday, May 30, 2023, 10:46 am
Link copied.Clovis Unified reaches historic deal with union representing mental health workers
The Clovis Unified School District has reached a tentative agreement on a contract with the union representing psychologists and mental health support providers in the district, according to The Fresno Bee.
The contract, if ratified, would be the first union contract for certificated employees in the history of the district, which is also the largest district in the state without a teachers union.
The psychologists and mental health support providers would get raises of almost 14% under the deal.
“This should really serve as an example and as a challenge to the rest of our certificated employees,” said Kristin Heimerdinger, a teacher in the district and a spokesperson for the union.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, May 30, 2023, 10:46 am
Link copied.San Diego Unified reaches tentative agreement with teachers union
San Diego Unified and the unions representing teachers and paraeducators in the district have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Under the agreement, teachers would get 10% raises retroactive to July 2022. On top of that, the teachers will get another 5% raise next year.
Other benefits included in the deal include doubling paid maternity leave to six weeks and permitting more teachers to be paid for work they do during after-school activities. Smaller class sizes are also part of the deal: Transitional kindergarten classes would have a maximum of 24 students, and kindergarten through third-grade classes would not have more than 29 students.
“We were able to have a very ambitious platform and achieve almost everything in that platform,” Kyle Weinberg, the union president, told the Union-Tribune. A ratification vote by union members will begin Thursday.
Lamont Jackson, the district’s superintendent, told the Union-Tribune that the deal “is the culmination of a common goal to provide the best educational experience possible for students, teachers and staff.”—Michael Burke
Friday, May 26, 2023, 10:10 am
Link copied.Colleges will be able to block a student’s race on the Common App
The Common App, the application that 1 million students use to apply to college each year, is making it possible for colleges to block a “race box,” the box a student checks to indicate their race or ethnicity.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to bar affirmative action soon. Common App said in a statement that the new option will help colleges comply “with whatever legal standard the Supreme Court will set in regards to race in admissions.”
Supreme Court justices mentioned the phrase “checking the box” during oral arguments last October.
The Common App will allow colleges to block a student’s information beginning Aug. 1. The Common App is used by over 1,000 colleges and universities.
The New York Times notes that the nonprofit organization’s move is one of the first concrete examples of how admissions could transform in the wake of a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Legal experts told the Times that masking the race boxes on the Common App could protect colleges from liability, in the wake of a ban on race-conscious admissions practices.—Emma Gallegos
Friday, May 26, 2023, 9:38 am
Link copied.College enrollment ticked up in California this spring
After three years of declines, enrollment in California’s colleges ticked up by 2% since last spring, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
The increase was due in large part to a 7% increase in California’s community college enrollment. The increase is not enough to catch up to prepandemic numbers: there were 898,598 community college students in the state this spring compared to 1.1 million in spring 2019.
This increase in community college numbers parallels a national increase of 0.5%. The National Student Clearinghouse attributes this to growing numbers of freshmen (12.8%) and dual enrolled high school students (8%).
After three years of slight gains, enrollment at public four-year universities in California dipped 1.6% over the last year. That puts it at 736,811 students, or 1,189 students fewer than Spring 2019 levels. Enrollment at private nonprofit universities dipped 4.4% to its lowest levels in the last four years to 280,364 students.
Nationally, enrollment in four-year universities dipped, but at lower rates than the past few years. Public university enrolled dipped 0.5% and private nonprofits dipped 0.2%. The National Student Clearinghouse sees this as a sign that pandemic-era declines are leveling off.—Emma Gallegos
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 11:15 am
Link copied.Fresno Unified teachers rally with threat to strike
More than a thousand members of the Fresno Teachers Association rallied Wednesday evening vowing to strike if the union and the Fresno Unified School District fail to reach a new contract by Sept. 29, the Fresno Bee reported.
The union represents over 4,000 teachers, nurses, social workers and other professionals, according to the Bee.
The contract negotiations between the two started in November ahead of the contract ending on June 30.
FTA’s proposals request a 7.26% pay raise, 100% district-paid healthcare and multimillion dollar investments for students, such as free laundry service and free clothes and school supplies for students in need.
“Systemic changes in this district have only happened when educators have taken collective action,” FTA president Manuel Bonilla said during the rally that shut down N Street in downtown Fresno.
Other Fresno-area districts have rallied this week as well, including educators frustrated by contract negotiations with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Office and the Parlier Unified School District.—Lasherica Thornton
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 11:03 am
Link copied.Parents plan to protest Pride Day at LA elementary school
Outraged conservative parents at an L.A. elementary school say they plan to keep their children home on the school’s Pride Day to protest the school teaching students about gay parents, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A group of parents at the North Hollywood kindergarten-through-5th-grade Saticoy Elementary School launched an Instagram page about a week ago calling out the school’s administration and urging other parents to keep their children home on June 2, the day the school plans to hold its Gay Pride and Rainbow Day assembly, the newspaper reported.
“Keep your kids home and innocent,” the group posted, according to the Times. “It is time to say stop grooming our children.”
In a statement, the Los Angeles Unified School District said it remains committed to “creating a safe and inclusive learning environment that embraces the diversity of the communities we serve,” The Times reported. “As part of our engagement with school communities, our schools regularly discuss the diversity of the families that we serve and the importance of inclusion.”—Thomas Peele
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 10:21 am
Link copied.A place for all – San Bernardino district breaks ground on $45 million resource center
The San Bernardino City Unified School District broke ground on a $45 million resource center Wednesday, which officials described as a place where families will find not only assistance with enrollment and registration, but also a wide range of services to help students, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
Superintendent Mauricio Arellano said at a ceremony that the center “will be a symbol of unity, a symbol of empowerment for San Bernardino. It will be a place where families will find not only assistance with enrollment and registration but also a wide range of services aimed at nurturing and supporting the holistic development of our students,” the Press-Enterprise reproted. “We’re talking about taking care of the whole child as a community.”
Construction is expected to conclude in December of next year, the newspaper reported.—Thomas Peele
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 1:28 pm
Link copied.L.A. County juvenile halls “unsuitable” & ordered to shut down
Two juvenile halls in Los Angeles County were found to be “unsuitable for housing youth” after a vote Tuesday of California’s Board of State and Community Corrections.
Staff has 60 days from May 24 to move youth currently housed at the Barry J. Nidorf facility in Sylmar and Central Juvenile Hall in Boyle Heights. According to reporting by the L.A. Times, the county Probation Department plans to reopen Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, which shuttered in 2019, to house all of the impacted youth.
The vote was unprecedented but not entirely unexpected.
“We have stayed in this process much longer than I’m comfortable with,” board Chair Linda Penner wrote in a news release. “I’m concerned with the youth who are there right now, and we really must address that. The time has come to take this extraordinary move.”
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.
Most recently, 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.
In late April, the board conducted inspections and found “that no significant items of noncompliance had been corrected,” according to the news release. The findings from that inspection were followed by a unanimous vote to shut down the two juvenile halls.—Betty Márquez Rosales
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 1:27 pm
Link copied.‘Very unlikely’ California has enough money for proposed budget, Legislative Analyst’s Office says
California will be about $30 billion shy of the money it needs to afford its proposed multiyear budget, the Legislative Analyst’s Office announced Tuesday.
It’s “plausible” the state will have enough money for the governor’s May budget revision in the short term, but by 2024-25 expenses will probably outstrip revenue.
“Our analysis suggests that level of revenue is very unlikely — there is less than a one‑in‑six chance the state can afford the May Revision spending level across the five‑year period,” according to the LAO. “This means that, if the Legislature adopts the Governor’s May Revision proposals, the state very likely will face more budget problems over the next few years.”
The Legislature will vote on a final budget by June 15.
No cuts are anticipated in the governor’s proposed budget for education, H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance, said Wednesday. The governor’s proposed budget takes into account potential revenue shortfalls, he said.
“The report’s uncertain outlook for the coming years underscores the importance of the principles reflected in this year’s May Revision,” Palmer said. “First, sustain and protect core programs. Second, don’t compound the risks that we know exist with higher spending that may not be sustainable. And third, maintain the state’s substantial reserves as an essential insurance policy against further fiscal uncertainty.”—Carolyn Jones
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 1:15 pm
Link copied.Men much less likely to earn a college degree than women, report suggests
After centuries of men eclipsing women in the halls of academia, in a world that has long favored male authority, men are now much less likely to earn a degree than women, new research suggests.
In California, 56% of undergraduates at the state’s public universities and community colleges are women, as are 54% of undergraduates at nonprofit colleges and 63% at for-profit colleges, according to a new analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California. The growing college gender gap has sharp consequences for men’s economic prospects, many experts say, particularly those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
Based on current rates of enrollment and graduation, 36% of women in California will earn a bachelor’s degree by the time they are in their early to mid-20s, compared with only 24% of men. This imbalance is the consequence of gender differences that start well before college, this research suggests.
Female students have stronger high school records and are more likely to be prepared for college than male students. Other recent studies find that gender differences can start as early as grade school, with male students falling behind in English and math test scores in grades three to eight. This may lead to boys dropping out of school early.
Clearly, the implications of the growing equity gap for young men are significant, considering the link between college completion and economic mobility. Richard Reeves’ new book, “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters and What to Do About It” also examines many facets of this correlation moving forward, if a new gender inequity does indeed emerge.—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 10:16 am
Link copied.Adults must do more to curb the harmful impacts of social media on girls, report from First Partner finds
Social media has positive and negative impacts on girls, but teachers, parents, legislators and other adults must do more to protect youth from the downsides, according to a report released today by California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
The report, “Shared Experiences: How social media affects the well-being and empowerment of girls and young women,” details the latest research and recommendations for how young people can reap the benefits of social media but minimize the harm. The report was produced by California Partners Project, a gender equity advocacy group Siebel Newsom co-founded.
Among the recommendations:
- Better media literacy for all young people.
- Improved online safeguards, such as privacy controls, and industry bans on selling minors’ personal information.
- Greater investment in STEM education and careers for girls, especially those of color.
- More research into the impact of social media on young people.
The report also has suggestions for parents, including encouraging children to talk about their experiences on social media and how it makes them feel; limiting children’s time on social media; limiting their own time on social media; using safety settings; promoting real-life social connections; and encouraging positive uses of social media, such as artistic expression and connecting with friends and family.—Carolyn Jones
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 9:13 am
Link copied.Transitional kindergarten expansion needs more focus on quality, research suggests
As California ramps up its expansion of universal transitional kindergarten, new research suggests it must focus more on high-quality teaching.
“High-quality preschool instruction can make a difference for students,” said Alix Gallagher, the lead researcher of the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) brief. “But only high-quality preschool instruction results in persistent positive gains. California has taken important steps to address facilities and staffing but needs to shift its focus to ensure high quality, developmentally appropriate instruction for its youngest learners if it is to meet its goals for improving student learning and achievement.”
Based on dozens of interviews with district leaders and national experts on early childhood education, the research brief, “California’s Major Investment in Universal Transitional Kindergarten: What Districts Need to Fulfill Its Promise,” suggests that districts have focused their rollout of universal transitional kindergarten on the things the state has mandated, such as finding classrooms that meet facilities guidelines and hiring enough staff. But it says greater emphasis must be placed on the need for quality, not just access, when it comes to early childhood education. Developmentally appropriate play-based instruction, family engagement and transparency to the public are among the cornerstones outlined.—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 9:02 am
Link copied.Four interim presidents announced at Cal State campuses
The CSU Board of Trustees announced Wednesday that Leroy M. Morishita will be interim president at Cal State LA, Vice Adm. Michael J. Dumont will be interim president at CSU Maritime Academy, Sylvia Alva will be interim president at Cal State Fullerton, and Susan E. Borrego will be interim president at Stanislaus State University.
Morishita will receive an annual salary of $496,213 starting July 31, Dumont will receive an annual salary of $370,241 starting July 7, Alva will receive an annual salary of $476,223 starting Aug. 1, and Borrego will receive an annual salary of $370,319 and a monthly housing allowance of $4,166.67 starting Aug. 2.
All four interim presidents will hold the positions until the trustees hire and announce permanent replacements.—Ashley A. Smith
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 8:48 am
Link copied.Surgeon general warns social media may harm youth
The United States surgeon general issued a public warning about the risks of social media to youth, as the New York Times reported, urging a push to grapple with the potential “harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
In a 19-page advisory, Dr. Vivek Murthy noted, “There are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
The report included recommendations to help families curate children’s social media use. It suggested that families keep mealtimes and in-person gatherings free of devices.
Murthy also called on tech companies to enforce minimum age limits and to create default settings for children with high safety and privacy standards. And he urged the government to create age-appropriate health and safety standards.
Adolescents “are not just smaller adults,” Murthy said in an interview with the Times. “They’re in a different phase of development, and they’re in a critical phase of brain development.”
Survey results from Pew Research have found that up to 95% of teens reported using at least one social media platform, while more than one-third said they used social media “almost constantly.” As social media use has risen, so have self-reports and clinical diagnoses among adolescents of anxiety and depression, along with emergency room visits for self-harm and suicidal ideation.
Murthy’s push for caution joins a growing body of calls for action regarding youth and social media. The American Psychological Association issued its first-ever social media guidance recently, recommending that parents closely monitor teens’ usage.
The surgeon general’s advisory noted that social media platforms have “extreme, inappropriate and harmful content,” including content that “can normalize” self-harm, eating disorders and other self-destructive behavior. Cyberbullying is rampant.—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 8:47 am
Link copied.Three new presidents appointed across California State University system
Sonoma State, Chico State and Sacramento State universities will all see new presidents this year.
The CSU Board of Trustees announced Wednesday that Stephen Perez will serve as the new president of Chico State, J. Luke Wood will lead Sacramento State, and Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee has been appointed as the new president of Sonoma State.
Perez is currently Chico State’s interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. He’s replacing Gayle Hutchinson, who is retiring at the end of June. His presidency starts on July 1.
Perez’s annual salary will be $454,757 and he will receive an annual housing allowance of $50,000 and a $ 1,000-a-month auto allowance. Chico State doesn’t have an official home for university presidents.
Wood is currently vice president for student affairs and campus diversity and chief diversity officer at San Diego University. He is replacing Robert S. Nelsen, who is retiring on July 15. Wood will assume the presidency on July 16.
Wood’s annual salary will be $476,225. He will also receive an annual housing allowance of $60,000 and a $1,000-a-month auto allowance.
Lee has been interim president of Sonoma State since August. Previously he worked in multiple leadership positions at Sacramento State.—Ashley A. Smith
Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 10:38 am
Link copied.Stockton Unified narrows list of superintendent candidates
Stock Unified’s board of trustees has narrowed its list of superintendent candidates to five and will interview those finalists this weekend, according to The Stockton Record.
The candidates on Friday and Saturday will face questions from the board as well as from 21 community leaders, according to the newspaper.
AngelAnn Flores, the president of the board, told The Record that the board is looking for a superintendent who understands budgeting and hiring practices. Earlier this year, the San Joaquin County Office of Education said the district is deficit spending and expressed “serious” concerns over its budgeting.
“Somebody who understands that rebuilding means making tough decisions,” Flores said.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 10:25 am
Link copied.San Diego Unified student medical data compromised in cybersecurity breach
The medical information of some students at San Diego Unified was compromised in a cybersecurity breach last fall, district officials told families this month, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The district did not respond to questions from the Union-Tribune about how many students had their information compromised. The breach happened on Oct. 25 and families were notified in December. Staff and students in the district have since been issued new passwords to access the district’s network.
The district is currently conducting an investigation and plans to notify affected students as it identifies them, a spokesperson told the Union-Tribune.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 8:31 am
Link copied.Colleges must play larger role in improving student mental health, report finds
Colleges and universities should take more responsibility for students’ mental health — not just by providing more counselors, but by improving campus culture and climate overall, according to a report released today.
At least 60% of college students said they experienced mental health challenges in 2021, due in part to hostile politics, violence, wealth disparities and other factors, the report found. But a significant source of stress originates from the college itself. Financial worries, social isolation, a competitive culture, prejudice and discrimination on campus and under-staffed counseling centers all contribute to student depression and anxiety.
“I wasn’t surprised by the findings, but I was surprised that there’s been very little discussion about institutional responsibility in addressing mental health issues,” said report co-author Samuel Museus, an ethnic studies professor at UC San Diego and director of the National Institute for Transformation and Equity. “We have a responsibility to cultivate a more supportive campus culture.”
The report, “Degrees of Distress: How higher education institutions hurt and help student mental health,” was published by the College Futures Foundation, a nonprofit focused on increasing college graduation rates among underrepresented students in California. The report is based on a review of several hundred studies and analyses of mental health among college students. Lindsay Pérez Huber, education professor at Cal State Long Beach, was Museus’ co-author.
Among other things, the report recommends:
- Promoting self-care, including good sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, gratitude and mutual aid.
- Improving students’ connections to their home communities.
- Providing culturally relevant curricula, campus art and spaces that uplift marginalized student groups.
- Protecting and strengthening programs focused on the well-being of diverse students, such as ethnic studies.
- Diversifying counseling staffs and providing culturally relevant mental health programs.
“The general narrative of student mental health is that it’s the problem of individual students, as opposed to something that is shaped by institutions,” Museus said. “We think there’s a lot more that institutions can do to support student mental health.”
EdSource receives funding from several foundations, including the College Futures Foundation. EdSource maintains sole editorial control over the content of its coverage.—Carolyn Jones
Monday, May 22, 2023, 9:20 am
Link copied.Newsom demands information from Florida regarding textbook revisions
Concerned about revisions to Florida textbooks related to history and civil rights, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office filed a public records request last week to determine if any of those publishers are also doing business with California.
The request, filed with the Florida Department of Education and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, seeks communications between the state and publishers regarding revisions that publishers made to win approval for use in Florida classrooms.
“California will not be complicit in Florida’s attempt to whitewash history through laws and backroom deals,” Newsom’s letter said. “California deserves to know whether any of the companies designing textbooks for our state’s classrooms are the same ones kowtowing to Florida’s extremist agenda.”
Newsom’s office has also sent requests to publishers whose books are under consideration for use in California, asking whether they’ve revised social studies textbooks to reflect Florida’s new standards.
June 1 is the deadline for publishers to respond.
Monday, May 22, 2023, 9:20 am
Link copied.Carvalho cuts back popular elementary program for struggling students
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo has reduced an elementary school program that parents and teachers credit with helping struggling students catch up academically, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The program, Primary Promise, helps students in kindergarten through third grade who need extra help in math and reading. Former superintendent Austin Beutner launched the program in 2020 in 305 of the district’s 450 elementary schools. Carvalho cut the program to only 168 schools, saying it’s too costly and not as effective as he hoped.
Instead, the district is hiring reading instructors at more than 20 middle schools and coaches to help English learners.
Parents and teachers protested the cutbacks.
“This program has helped immensely, and I know it’s not just my kid,” Danielle Watkins, who has twin third-graders at Charnock Road Elementary, told the Times. “I was really upset to hear that they were getting rid of Primary Promise, knowing how much it benefited my son. I want others to have that kind of opportunity as well.”
Friday, May 19, 2023, 11:40 am
Link copied.Sausalito Marin City Schools teachers rally amid contract negotiations
Sausalito Marin City School District teachers rallied this week in support of higher raises amid contract talks with the district, the Marin Independent Journal reported.
The district is offering the teachers union a 3% raise this fiscal year and for 2023-24, the Marin Independent Journal reported, which teachers say is not competitive with surrounding districts. Teachers say the district’s offer would make it hard for them to justify staying at the district.
The union has about 27 members, and union members say the district has one of the lowest starting salaries in the area.
Friday, May 19, 2023, 10:26 am
Link copied.Activists build “pop-up crosswalks” in front of Oakland Tech high school
Rather than wait on the City of Oakland to fulfill their request of building crosswalks on the high-traffic, dangerous street outside of Oakland Tech High School — a process that often takes months, if not years — activists striped their own temporary crosswalks on Broadway this week, Oaklandside reported.
The action comes about two months after a student was hit as he crossed Broadway, suffering fractures, according to Oaklandside. Cars constantly speed on Broadway in the afternoon and during Oakland Tech’s lunchtime, when students will cross the street to get to restaurants and food stores. There are no crosswalks directly in front of the school, prompting many students to jaywalk across the four-lane street instead of walking to the end of the block to cross at the traffic light.
To show city officials how easy and beneficial it would be to put a crosswalk across Broadway in front of the school, volunteers from local traffic safety organizations created a temporary, rainbow-colored crosswalk of their own, Oaklandside reported. They also used traffic cones and delineators to reduce the lanes that led into the crosswalk, built plywood ramps for people with disabilities and made large traffic signs.
The organizers received written endorsements from nearly all of the businesses on the other side of the street as well as permission from the city to create the pop-up crosswalks. They also talked to local traffic engineers and adhered to the Oakland Department of Transportation’s guidelines for traffic slowdowns.—Ali Tadayon
Thursday, May 18, 2023, 10:32 am
Link copied.University of Idaho set to acquire the University of Phoenix
The University of Idaho is on the verge of buying the for-profit University of Phoenix and turning it into a nonprofit, Inside Higher Ed reported.
The Idaho State Board of Education approve the deal Thursday, according to reports.
The Idaho deal comes after a University of Phoenix-proposed deal with the University of Arkansas System fell apart last month amid sharp disagreement among the system’s board members and concerns expressed by critics of for-profit higher education, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Under the proposal, the University of Idaho will create and fully control a new nonprofit corporation that would issue bonds to pay $550 million to buy the University of Phoenix’s assets, which include about 85,000 students, significant technology and roughly 3,000 full-time and adjunct faculty members, according to Inside Higher Ed. The University of Phoenix has a campus in Ontario, San Bernardino County.
The University of Phoenix was once the biggest university in the United States, and it was also the flag bearer of a for-profit higher education sector that burgeoned during the 2000s and early 2010s but has shrunk significantly in the last decade. Although it is far from its peak of nearly 470,000 students in 2010, documents show its current enrollment at about 85,000, making it still one of the nation’s largest institutions, according to Inside Higher Ed.—Thomas Peele
Thursday, May 18, 2023, 10:30 am
Link copied.Dispute over millions in crossing guard funding hits Santa Ana
A bitter funding dispute between Santa Ana City Council members and school district officials could leave thousands of kids without crossing guards this year in a town where drivers are known to treat the streets as if they are freeways, The Voice of OC reported.
The issue centers on the city’s yearslong arrangement to pay for crossing guards that serve the Santa Ana Unified School District, guiding children through busy intersections to as many as 41 schools, according to the Voice of OC. But when a new five-year, $7 million crossing-guard agreement landed on council members’ desks at a meeting this week, a majority of them opted to hold off.
It’s part of a long-standing political feud between the council and the school board, the Voice of OC reported.
“Come the next school year, in August, we would not have any crossing guards assisting students” without some kind of agreement, city Public Works Director Nabil Saba said in response to council questions at a meeting.
Some council members said the district should split the cost with the city, while others said the district should pay for the guards, the Voice of OC reported. The district and the city have until June 30 to reach an agreement, the news site reported.—Thomas Peele
Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 9:31 am
Link copied.Vast majority of parents support federal child care programs, survey shows
Amid the federal budget debate, roughly 90% of parents with small children view family issues as a top priority, one report finds. Conducted by the advocacy group Zero to Three, the survey also showed great concern over possible cuts to child care, education, and housing programs. Almost two-thirds of parents reported struggling to find affordable high-quality child care.
Notably, there is a consensus among parents who voted Democrat in 2022 (94%) and those who voted Republican (90%) that Congress should prioritize the needs of children in the upcoming federal budget. Other key findings include that 82% of parents are worried about cuts to special education and 83% are concerned about cuts to food assistance. Many parents also expect the lack of such critical resources to affect their jobs and financial stability.
“When it comes to programs supporting children and families, we’re seeing strong support across the partisan divide,” said Miriam Calderón, chief policy officer of Zero to Three. “At a time when some in Congress want to make deep cuts, Democratic and Republican voters are in broad agreement that Congress must address the debt ceiling without trading away critical supports that their constituents look to.”—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 9:31 am
Link copied.Southern states make big strides in early literacy
Mississippi went from the second-to-last slot in literacy in 2013 to being ranked 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama, meanwhile, were among only three states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic, which saw massive learning setbacks in general, as the Washington Post reported.
The turnaround in these states has grabbed national attention, showing rapid progress is possible even in areas that have struggled for decades with poverty and dismal literacy rates. The states have passed laws adopting similar reforms that emphasize the tenets of structured literacy, including phonics and early screenings for struggling kids.
“In this region, we have decided to go big,” said Kymyona Burk, a key architect of the Mississippi reforms who is now a senior policy fellow at ExcelinEd, a national advocacy group, the Washington Post reported.
These Deep South states were not the first to pass major literacy laws. Much of Mississippi’s legislation was based on a 2002 law in Florida that saw the Sunshine State achieve some of the country’s highest reading scores. The states also still have far to go to make sure every child can read.
But the country has taken notice of what some have called the Mississippi miracle. Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Virginia are among the states that have recently adopted similar policies. As Mississippi climbed the rankings, the Barksdale Institute, an influential organization in literacy policy in the state, got phone calls from about two dozen states.
The institute’s CEO, Kelly Butler, said she tells them there’s no secret to the strategy.
“We know how to teach reading,” she said. “We just have to do it everywhere.”—Karen D'Souza
Tuesday, May 16, 2023, 9:34 am
Link copied.Pasadena City College president to take same role at Santa Barbara City College
Erika Endrijonas, the president of Pasadena City College, was recently selected as the next president of Santa Barbara City College.
If the college’s board of trustees formally approves her contract next month, Endrijonas will start in her new role on Aug. 1.
Endrijonas has been the president at Pasadena City College since 2019 and for more than four years prior to that, she was president of Los Angeles Valley College. Her career as a community college administrator began at Santa Barbara City College, where she was a dean overseeing departments including business, technology and health and human services.
“It has been my goal since I left SBCC to return,” she said in a statement. “It is where I started my community college career. I am thrilled to render service in a place I love.”—Michael Burke
Tuesday, May 16, 2023, 9:34 am
Link copied.New elementary school set to be constructed in Sacramento County
Construction for a new elementary school in Sacramento County will break ground at a ceremony Tuesday, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Alder Creek Elementary School will be part of the Folsom Cordova Unified School and will serve an estimated 764 students in grades TK, according to the Bee.
Construction of the school is expected to be completed by July 2024 and the school will open for the 2024-25 school year.—Michael Burke
Monday, May 15, 2023, 12:51 pm
Link copied.Number of English learners shrinks at many dual-language immersion schools
The number of English learners is shrinking at many dual-language immersion schools while the number of English-dominant and white students is increasing, according to a new analysis released by The Century Foundation and Children’s Equity Project.
The organizations analyzed 1,600 dual-language immersion programs in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
They found that over five years, the share of English learners shrank while the number of English speakers increased in most dual-language immersion schools in several large cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San José and New York City.
When comparing student enrollment by ethnicity, the number of white students increased at many dual language immersion schools in Los Angeles and other cities, including New York City, Dallas, Albuquerque, Portland and Washington, D.C.
“The potential shifts suggested in these data — from the goal of advancing linguistic equity and expanding educational opportunity for ELs and toward language enrichment for English-dominant children — should trigger alarm bells,” wrote the report’s authors.
Dual-language immersion (DLI) programs are designed to teach both English learners and English speakers in both English and another language, to help all students become bilingual and biliterate in both languages. There is evidence that dual-immersion programs help English learners both learn English and maintain their home language. Ideally, they should enroll equal numbers of students learning English and students who already speak English fluently.
“In order to deliver on DLI programs’ promise, education policymakers will need to protect equitable DLI access,” the authors wrote.
The authors recommended that school districts prioritize enrollment of English learners in dual-language programs, at the same time as making sure these programs are fully integrated linguistically, racially and socioeconomically and represent the surrounding communities. They also recommended districts establish more dual language programs in neighborhoods where more English learners live.—Zaidee Stavely
Monday, May 15, 2023, 10:27 am
Link copied.Biden administration adds nearly $100 million for school mental health professionals
Fourteen colleges and school districts in California are among those that will receive federal grants to hire and train mental health professionals in high-needs schools, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday.
The grants are part of an overall investment of more than $95 million, spread among 35 states, through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The money is in addition to $286 million the administration has already awarded to train and hire mental health professionals and diversify the field.
California institutions among the latest round of grantees are: San Francisco State University, University Corporation at Monterey Bay, Los Angeles Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Riverside County Office of Education, Del Norte County Unified School District, University of the Pacific, San Diego County Office of Education, Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation, Solano County Superintendent of Schools, Santa Clara County Office of Education, California State University Long Beach Research Foundation, Northern Humboldt Union High School District and Oxnard School District.
Overall, the grants are expected to fund 2,173 new school mental health professionals in California.
The department expects to award more grants for school-based mental health services over the next five years, as part of President Joe Biden’s goal to double the number of school counselors, psychologists and social workers.—Carolyn Jones
Monday, May 15, 2023, 10:27 am
Link copied.Charter school network finds solution to teacher shortage — virtually
A San Jose-baed charter school network has found a unique solution to its staffing shortage: hiring teachers in other states and allowing them to work virtually, the Mercury News reported.
Alpha Public Schools, which operates four schools in San Jose, has hired 11 teachers from Alaska, Maryland and Texas to teach online.
“I know it’s not ideal for our students — we all know that,” Shara Hegde, chief executive officer of Alpha Public Schools, told the Mercury News. “But until we really, radically change the education profession here in the United States, we’re going to be looking at solutions like this.”
Staffing shortages are not unique to Alpha Public Schools. Eighty percent of California’s school districts are understaffed, according to the Learning Policy Institute.—Carolyn Jones
Friday, May 12, 2023, 10:07 am
Link copied.Developer pulls out of UC Berkeley homeless housing project at People’s Park
The nonprofit developer that was going to build the homeless housing portion of UC Berkeley’s People’s Park development has pulled out of the project, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Resources for Community Development, a developer based in Berkeley, said it was dropping out because of court delays. In February, a California appeals court blocked UC Berkeley from continuing with the project, citing environmental concerns. It was the latest of several delays to the project caused by court rulings.
“This creates significant delays and new challenges that negatively impact our capacity to move forward,” Lauren Lyon, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit developer, said in a statement to the Chronicle.
UC Berkeley plans to continue with its plans to build student housing on a portion of the site and find another developer to continue with the housing for the community, Dan Mogulof, a spokesperson told the Chronicle.
“The university’s commitment to donate a significant portion of the site for the construction of supportive housing is unwavering, as is our commitment to the other, essential elements of the project, including urgently needed student housing; revitalized, open green space; and a commemoration of the site’s storied past,” Mogulof said. “The university also shares the perspectives of RCD, the City of Berkeley, and the Governor regarding the recent appellate court ruling and we look forward to presenting our arguments to the California Supreme Court.”—Michael Burke
Thursday, May 11, 2023, 11:18 am
Link copied.1 in 4 California child care centers has alarming levels of lead in water, research shows
New research reveals that nearly 1,700 licensed child care centers across the state, roughly 1 in 4, have exceeded the amount of allowable lead in drinking water given to preschool-age children and infants. This means that babies and toddlers may have been drinking high levels of water for decades, the report suggests.
The tests were conducted to comply with Assembly Bill 2370, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, and sponsored by the Environmental Working Group. This law requires licensed child care centers to test their tap water for lead contamination.
It has long been known that many American public schools don’t have safe water for students to drink. Despite a flurry of testing, policy changes and the movement to replace water infrastructure in recent years, many children are still exposed to lead at school, according to the report, “Get the Lead Out.”
Even a little lead exposure, such as from water fountains, can harm health, impacting the brain and nervous system. Studies connect elevated lead levels to lower IQ and decreased focus as well as violent crime and delinquency. This threat is affecting children just as they struggle to recover from the pandemic.
“Despite all the work we’ve done to try to protect kids from the debilitating impacts of lead exposure through their drinking water and elsewhere, test results released today show we have failed to prevent harm to the most vulnerable Californians,” said Susan Little, EWG’s senior advocate for California government affairs. “Parents and decisionmakers alike need to understand that the water our children drink in California can contain high levels of lead. Young people in our state are being put in dire risk.”
The highest levels of lead were detected at the La Petite Academy, in San Diego, according to the report. These levels are comparable to some of the highest amounts of lead detected in Flint, Michigan.—Karen D'Souza
Thursday, May 11, 2023, 10:48 am
Link copied.S.F. Unified may bring back algebra in eighth grade
S.F. Unified may bring back algebra in eighth grade
The San Francisco Unified School District is considering returning algebra instruction to eighth grade classrooms after years of fierce debate with parents over math instruction, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
A vocal group of parents has argued that the district’s decision to delay teaching Algebra 1 until high school hobbles children who are ready to take the math course in middle school. But some experts and district leaders have argued that pushing back algebra can level the playing field for kids who are struggling in math, the newspaper reported. Parents sued over the matter earlier this year.
Superintendent Matt Wayne told the Chronicle in an interview that the district will be looking closely at math instruction and course sequencing in the months ahead. A progress report to the board is expected on May 23.
“We’ll share some thoughts about where we need to go with math,” he said. “We have work to do around math.”—EdSource staff
Thursday, May 11, 2023, 10:47 am
Link copied.Teamsters say Cal State is not bargaining in good faith
California State University employees that are members of Teamsters Local 2010 filed a second charge of unfair labor practices with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board on Tuesday alleging that the 23-campus system is failing to “bargain in good faith” by refusing to negotiate wages for any year except the current year.
The first charge against Cal State was filed in March. The Teamsters and other unionized CSU workers will see their contracts expire on June 30. More than 60,000 workers are demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
Cal State workers, during rallies this week, threatened to strike if negotiations continue to go poorly.—Ashley A. Smith
Thursday, May 11, 2023, 10:13 am
Link copied.Two convictions thrown out in ‘Varsity Blues’ college admissions scandal
A federal appeals court in Boston on Wednesday overturned the convictions of two wealthy businessmen in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal — including by rejecting a central claim of prosecutors: that the fathers had knowingly conspired with other parents to buy their children’s way into Harvard, Stanford and USC, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Both Gamal Abdelaziz, a former Las Vegas casino executive, and John Wilson, a private equity executive, paid self-styled college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer to get their kids into the schools by presenting them as better athletes than they were, according to court filings.
Abdelaziz and Wilson were convicted of mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery in 2021, and sentenced last year to a year in prison and 15 months in prison, respectively.
Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch wrote for the court that the government had “failed to prove that Abdelaziz or Wilson agreed to join the overarching conspiracy,” but nonetheless introduced “a significant amount of powerful evidence related to other parents’ wrongdoing.”
That, she wrote, created “an unacceptable risk that the jury convicted Abdelaziz and Wilson based on others’ conduct rather than their own.”
Abdelaziz was accused of paying $300,000 to get his daughter into USC as a basketball recruit, while Wilson was accused of paying $220,000 to get his son into USC as a water polo recruit and $1 million to get his twin daughters into Harvard and Stanford.
The court upheld Wilson’s conviction for filing a false tax return, for misrepresenting a payment to Singer as a tax-deductible donation.
Federal prosecutors are studying the appellate court ruling for a possible appeal, the Times reported.—Thomas Peele
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 12:52 pm
Link copied.Charter teacher workforce young and mostly female, according to new report
On Tuesday, the California Charter Schools Association released the first part of a two-part report called “The Face of Charter Public School Teachers 2023.”
The report shows a workforce made up of mostly female teachers who tend to be new to the profession, according to the CSSA. Half of the teachers are white, 23% are Hispanic, 6% are Asian and 5% are Black.
The average charter school teacher has nine years of experience compared with 14 years for teachers at traditional public schools, according to the report.
More than 685,000 students — 12% of the public school student population — are enrolled in California’s 1,285 public charter schools. In 2019, 30,114 teachers worked in the schools, according to the CCSA.
The second part of the report, to be released next week, will feature interviews from charter school teachers.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 11:44 am
Link copied.Latinos have made big educational gains, census data show
Over the last few decades, Latinos have made big educational gains in both high school and college attainment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 1996, 58.2% of the Latino population ages 25 to 29 had graduated from high school. That increased to 88.5% in 2021, according to census data. In 2005, one-third of Latinos 25-34 had some college. By 2021, over half of young Latinos had some college.
Latinos of all backgrounds have made gains, but those of Mexican and Central American origin have made the greatest strides. In 2005, 21% of 18- to 24-year-olds of Mexican origin were in college or graduate school. In 2021, that share jumped to 33%. Latinos from Central America jumped 8 points to 29.2%. Young Latinos from Cuba and South America already had higher levels of college enrollment, but they also saw a modest jump to 45.6% and 47%, from 43.3% and 41.3%, respectively.
Latinos skew younger with a median age of 30.5 years, and it is younger Latinos who are making the greatest gains. In 2021, Latinos represented 20.1% of the U.S. college population — up from 11.4% in 2006.
These increases are notable because Latinos represent a growing share of the U.S. population. Their numbers have quadrupled since 1980.—Emma Gallegos
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 11:18 am
Link copied.NAACP urges Oakland teachers to end strike for children’s sake
Oakland Unified students are on their fifth day at home or at school with limited instruction because their teachers are on strike. The Oakland branch of the NAACP has urged the teachers union to end the strike, saying it is hurting children.
“We know that our children’s education should never be compromised, and education is critical to ending intergenerational poverty,” said Cynthia Adams, president of the Oakland NAACP in a statement Monday. “As the academic school year nears the end, it is our position that all students, including the most vulnerable, should be learning and thriving in school.”
Half of the children in the district are Hispanic, 20% are Black, 10% are Asian and 10% are white. Nearly three-quarters of the district’s children come from low-income families, according to state data.
Oakland’s scores on standardized tests lag behind the state average. Just over 35% of the district’s students met or exceeded standards in English language arts, compared with the state average of 47.6% in 2022. There was a similar gap in math, with 25.9% of Oakland students meeting or exceeding standards in math, compared with 33.4% of the state’s students.
The statement expressed its support for the district’s teachers but questioned whether a strike should have been called so close to the end of the school year. The school year in the district ends May 25.
“We strongly urge the OEA to reconsider its decision to continue to strike at such a critical time in the school year,” Adams said. “As an educator in OUSD for over 35 years, I have seen the devastating effects of learning disruption on our students. Currently, students are taking exams, preparing for college and other important activities and need the support of their teachers and community to finish their school year strong.”
The union responded Wednesday afternoon with a statement from Kampala Taiz-Rancifer, its first vice president: “As an educator, a Black mother of OUSD students, and a member of the NAACP, I am proud to belong to a community that overwhelmingly supports the OEA strike for racially just community schools.”
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 9:59 am
Link copied.In the wake of the pandemic, will enrollment bounce back?
Three years after the pandemic shuttered schools, as The 74 reported, data shows that enrollment in the vast majority of the nation’s largest school districts has yet to recover.
Kindergarten counts continue to dwindle in many states — evidence of falling birth rates and a growing array of alternatives luring parents away from traditional public schools. Experts fear those trends, plus a possible recession and the looming demise of federal relief funds, will fuel a perfect storm for education.
The $190 billion in pandemic relief that was provided to schools allowed many districts to make up for the loss of funds tied to falling enrollment and delay deep cuts. Those funds are set to end in 17 months. As budget deficits grow and housing costs push families out of urban centers, education leaders are facing options such as closing schools or laying off staff.
“I’m not a pro-school closure guy. That’s the worst part of school reform,” said Brian Eschbacher, an enrollment consultant and a former Denver Public Schools official, The 74 reported. “But if anyone was holding out hope for a bounce back, we have put that to rest.”—Karen D'Souza
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 9:59 am
Link copied.Psychologists warn of social media’s potential harm to kids
Amid a youth mental health crisis, the American Psychological Association has issued recommendations for guiding teenagers’ use of social media. As NPR reported, the advisory, the first of its kind from the APA, is aimed at teens, parents, teachers and policymakers.
There’s mounting evidence that social media can exacerbate and even cause high rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness, experts say.
“Right now, I think the country is struggling with what we do around social media,” says Arthur Evans, CEO of the APA. The report, he says, marshals the latest science about social media to arm people “with the information that they need to be good parents and to be good policymakers in this area.”
The 10 key recommendations in the report, NPR reported, summarize recent scientific findings and advise parent on actions, such as monitoring teens’ feeds and training them in social media literacy, before they begin using these platforms.
However, some therapists and clinicians say the recommendations place too heavy a burden on parents. Cooperation from tech companies and regulatory authorities might be required for any reforms to stick.
“We’re in a crisis here, and a family’s ability or a parent’s ability to manage this right now is very limited,” says Robert Keane, a therapist at Walden Behavioral Care, an inpatient facility that helps teens with eating disorders. “Families really need help.”—Karen D'Souza
Tuesday, May 9, 2023, 9:46 am
Link copied.Sonoma Valley Unified appoints new superintendent
Jeanette Rodriguez-Chien has been selected as the next superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, according to The Press Democrat.
Rodriguez-Chien is currently the deputy superintendent for the San Diego County Office of Education, a role she has held since July 2020.
“I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with the Sonoma Valley students, staff, parents and community,” Rodriguez-Chien said in a statement. “I am looking forward to building relationships with people, understanding the desires of the various stakeholders and ensuring our district prepares students for their future endeavors.”
If her appointment is formally approved by the district’s board, Rodriguez-Chien will begin in her new role July 1.—Michael Burke
Tuesday, May 9, 2023, 9:45 am
Link copied.California Community College trustees elect new leadership
Andrea Hoffman, a trustee for the Los Angeles Community College District, has been elected president of the California Community College Trustees, an advocacy group representing the local trustees across California’s 73 community college districts.
“I am honored to have been elected by my peers to serve as the President of CCCT,” Hoffman said in a statement. “I am following past presidents who have provided strong leadership for our organization and ensured that trustees were at the table on important issues.”
Hoffman was elected to the position at the organization’s annual conference held this past weekend in Monterey.
The trustees group advocates to the statewide community college system’s board of governors as well as to the state Legislature. It is an arm of the Community College League of California.—Michael Burke
Monday, May 8, 2023, 8:51 pm
Link copied.Foster youth numbers declined, but youth of color remain overrepresented, report finds
The number of foster youth in California decreased over the course of 15 years, but youth of color remain overrepresented, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy and research organization. Researchers found that the Covid-19 pandemic, in part, led to the decrease in foster youth cases.
There were more than 147,000 foster youth ages 14 to 21 nationwide in 2021, a drop from over 271,000 in 2006. In California, 35% of all foster youth were age 14 or over in 2006. By 2021, the number decreased to 26%. In part, researchers attribute the drops in foster youth to the Covid-19 pandemic and lower reporting of cases.
Additionally, youth of color remain overrepresented in foster care in California. Latino youth made up 40% of the foster care system in 2006; by 2021, they made up 53%. This increase aligns with a rise in the general Latino population in the state during the same timeframe.
The number of Black foster youth decreased between 2006 and 2021 from 30% to 20% of the foster youth population. But in the general population in the state, Blacks represented 7% of the population in 2006 and 5% in 2021, indicating an over-representation in the foster care system.
The report also provided insight into why foster youth enter the system. In California and nationwide, neglect has become increasingly cited as the entry reason.
“Because neglect is the most frequent reason young people enter foster care,” the report authors wrote, “state and federal leaders must examine the role of underlying issues of poverty in these cases and focus on strengthening families and communities to reduce the need for child removals.”
—Betty Márquez Rosales