EdBrief

 

California State PTA Opposes Trump Administration "Zero Tolerance" Immigration Policy, Including Separation of Children, Parents

June 29, 2018

In a statement issued on June 20, the California State PTA called on the Trump administration to change course on immigration policy. The PTA statement said:

California State PTA believes that the new "zero tolerance" policy implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice must be halted. This immigration policy is tearing families apart, separating children from their parents and forcing them into vulnerable situations when there is no federal mandate to do so. This is cruel and inhumane.”...

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Vaccination Law “Restoring Community Immunity in California’s Schools,” According to Bill’s Author

June 29, 2018

Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and member of the California Assembly, and the author of legislation to increase vaccination rates, commented in mid-June on data released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) demonstrating that, in its second year of implementation, Senate Bill 277 continues to keep children and communities safe and healthy from vaccine-preventable disease.

“With more than 95 percent of Kindergarteners fully vaccinated for the second year after implementation of SB 277, I am pleased that SB 277 is restoring community immunity in California’s schools,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “I want to thank public health and school officials who are working hard to educate families about the importance of vaccination to keep students safe from preventable, contagious diseases”...

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Trump Pondering Merger of Education Department with Labor Department; Educators Quick to Object

June 29, 2018

On June 20, several news agencies reported that the Trump Administration is considering making a formal proposal to merge of the federal Department of Education with the federal Department of Labor into a single agency as part of a larger plan to restructure the government.

President Donald Trump's proposal would be a long shot since reorganizing the government will need approval from Congress. Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama, tried and failed to combine several agencies focused on trade and commerce...

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Tuck, Thurmond Advance to November Runoff for State Superintendent

June 14, 2018

Candidates Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond will face each other in a runoff election on November 6 for the job of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As of June 11 (with some ballots from the June 5 election still being tallied), Tuck had received 1,597,243 votes (37.4 percent of the total) and Thurmond had received 1,497,385 votes (35.1 percent of the total). Thurmond and Tuck both ran well-funded campaigns, but neither of them came close to the 50 percent majority needed to win the job outright in the June 5 primary. As the top-two finishers in the field of four, Tuck and Thurmond advance to the November runoff (in which they will be the only two candidates on the ballot)...

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Court Sides with Transgender Student on Bathroom Policy

June 1, 2018
By Moria Balingit, Washington Post

A federal judge in Virginia sided on May 22 with a transgender teenager who spent most of his high school years fighting to use the boys’ bathroom, ruling that school officials violated his constitutional rights.

Gavin Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board after it barred him from the boys’ bathroom. The case made Grimm, now a 19-year-old activist in Berkeley, Calif., the face of a national fight for transgender student rights and ascended to the Supreme Court...

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Thurmond, Tuck Compete for Voters’ Attention During Last Week of Campaign for State Superintendent

June 1, 2018

Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck - the two major candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction - made a last minute sprint for votes during the past week, with election day looming on June 5.

Traditionally, California voters only “tune in” to the race for State Superintendent during the last ten days or so of the campaign. And this year appears to have followed that longstanding trend. In an early April poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, Tuck and Thurmond each received 13 percent support, with a whopping 74 percent of voters still making up their mind...

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SBE President Michael Kirst - Longtime Advisor to Jerry Brown, and Architect of LCFF - Plans to Step Down

May 18, 2018

State Board of Education President Michael Kirst plans to step down when Governor Jerry Brown leaves office in January. Kirst announced his intentions during the State Board of Education meeting in Sacramento on May 9.

Kirst, who is an emeritus professor of education and business administration at Stanford University, was first appointed to the state board back in 1975, during Brown's first term as California’s governor. Kirst has advised Brown on education policy for 44 years...

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New Campaign by California Department of Public Health Targets Tobacco Industry's Deceptive Marketing to Youth

May 18, 2018

In an effort to combat the tobacco industry's latest marketing strategies aimed at getting youth hooked on nicotine, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a new "Flavors Hook Kids" campaign on April 24.

The campaign warns parents and concerned adults about the increasing availability of flavored tobacco products targeted to teens. The campaign also highlights how easy it is for kids to purchase flavored tobacco products online...

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Mandatory Armed Guards in K-12 Schools? No Thank You

May 18, 2018

(Editor’s note: on May 16, the Los Angeles Times published the following editorial.)

Mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Fla., in February are terrifying, abhorrent and a sign of something extremely troubling in our society. But we shouldn't be misled into believing they're common.

In fact, in the more than five years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, there's been one shooting involving an injury or fatality for every 1,000 schools in the country. According to David Ropeik, a Harvard scholar who studies risk, the chance of a child being shot and killed in school is far lower than the chance that he or she will have an accident on the way to or from school, catch a potentially fatal disease while in school, or suffer a potentially deadly injury playing sports at school...

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State Supreme Court to Hear Case on Unfunded Education Mandates

May 3, 2018

On April 18, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the State’s use of unfunded mandates to avoid paying schools for required programs and services. The announcement marked the latest development in the cast California School Boards Association (CSBA) v. State of California, a case filed in 2011 by the California School Boards Association and its Education Legal Alliance, along with the Castro Valley Unified School District, the San Diego Unified School District, and the County Offices of Education for Butte and San Joaquin counties.

“Unfortunately, the State has a long and troubling history of saddling school districts with expensive mandates without providing the money needed to pay for the new requirements,” explained CSBA President Mike Walsh. “This violates not only provisions of the State Constitution and the principle of local control, but also common decency when California ranks near the bottom nationally in school funding and our schools are struggling to cope with rapidly rising costs.”...

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State Superintendent Candidates Tony Thurmond, Marshall Tuck Discuss Issues at Forum Held by Arts Education Group

May 3, 2018

On April 7, 2018, as part of the Arts Now Bay Area Summit, four students from schools across California, posed questions about arts education policy, equity and access at a Candidate Forum featuring two candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) - Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck.

The SPI of California is the nonpartisan elected executive officer of the California Department of Education. The SPI directs all functions of the Department, executes policies set by the California State Board of Education, and also heads and chairs the Board. 

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Community Colleges, UC Sign Agreement to Boost Transfers, Increase Academic Preparation

April 21, 2018

The California Community Colleges and the University of California announced on April 11 that they have signed a joint agreement aimed at increasing the number of academically prepared community college students who transfer to UC and earn a bachelor’s degree.

UC President Janet Napolitano and California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley signed the memorandum of understanding, “Enhancing Student Transfer,” that immediately initiates a comprehensive effort to guarantee admission for all qualifying California community college transfer students to the University of California’s system of nine undergraduate campuses...

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Frinzell Named New Director for Nutrition Services Division at CDE

April 21, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on April 6 the appointment of Kim Frinzell as the new Director of the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) at the California Department of Education (CDE). She began her new assignment on April 1.

Frinzell has over two decades of administrative and operations expertise in both federal and state nutrition programs and policy. She formerly served as the NSD’s Associate Director...

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SBE Adopts Revised Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan

April 21, 2018

On April 12, the State Board of Education today unanimously approved revisions to California’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, a document that outlines the use and management of $2.4 billion in federal assistance to the state’s neediest students. California’s revised plan now moves on to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.

Every state that receives funding under ESSA is required to submit a plan to the federal government that meets federal statutory requirements...

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Education Reform, Teacher Tenure, Free Tuition: Where Candidates for California Governor Stand

April 7, 2018

By Luis Gomez

Four of the leading California gubernatorial candidates - Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, Republican business John Cox, and Democrats former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa - debated in San Diego on March 25 at a forum co-hosted by The San Diego Union-Tribune (U-T) and ABC 10 News.

The U-T has transcribed their responses. Here is what the candidates said about education when asked to answer in 45 seconds.

Gov. Jerry Brown famously a few years ago derided the whole idea of education reform as a siren song, suggesting that California and other states don’t really know specific ways to improve their schools. Yet union-friendly states in New Jersey, in Massachusetts and in New York have achieved significantly better test results across ethnic groups by adopting reforms that they find very effective. Should California emulate these states? Which states? Which reforms?...

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Actress Rosie Perez
“We Have to Do the Right Thing, and Fund the Arts in Our Kids' Schools”

April 7, 2018

By Rosie Perez

The educational system in America is antiquated: We live in the 21st century, in which kids are constantly online and plugged in, and then we ask them to come to school, walk into a classroom and just sit there and memorize. It doesn't work anymore. We need to think about ways to keep students engaged, and we need to think about integrating arts in the classroom and arts in our schools.
Using the arts in teaching other subjects - known as arts education - is based on kinesthetics, so it uses all of your senses: It uses movement, sound, sight and your vocal abilities. It makes you get up off of your feet and participate and become part of the classroom...

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California Teachers of the Year Join Torlakson in Open Letter Opposing Trump's Efforts to Arm Teachers

March 23, 2018

On March 8, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of an “Open Letter to President Trump” opposing efforts to arm teachers, calling for the elimination of military-style assault weapons from our communities, and providing increased access to mental health services.

The open letter to President Donald Trump was signed by 61 California Teachers of the Year, including Michael Hayden (2014) and Brian McDaniel (2018).

California Teachers of the Year are selected from among California’s 295,000 teachers each year through a rigorous process of applications, interviews, and classroom visits. They are considered the best of the best...

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Candidates for State Superintendent Share Views in First Campaign Forum, Next Form Planned on April 7

March 23, 2018

The three candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction met for the first time on March 19 in a forum at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

The forum was the inaugural event of the USC Rossier School of Education’s Center on Education Policy, Equity, and Governance, and was co-sponsored by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), a collaboration between the University of Southern California, Stanford University, and the University of California, Davis...

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CTA Supports Brown, Becerra as They Denounce Federal Lawsuit

March 9, 2018

California Teachers Association President Eric Heins issued a statement on March 7, supporting Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra for standing up to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who personally served the state with a lawsuit when he visited Sacramento on March 6.

Heins said “Like our country, California is a land of Dreamers. We are proud of our diversity and value the rich tapestry of cultures that comprise this golden state. Students in California's public schools speak more than 65 languages. Every one of them deserves an equal opportunity to succeed...

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ACSA Forms Task Force to Study School Safety Issues

March 9, 2018

On March 2, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) announced the formation of a task force in response to the growing number of school violence situations.

The task force will be led by ACSA President-elect Holly Edds. A joint email signed by Edds, ACSA President Lisa Gonzales and Executive Director Wes Smith announced the task force being formed, and immediately the association was deluged with ACSA members volunteering and wanting to be involved...

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Teachers Unions: Educators ‘Overwhelmingly Reject’ Idea of Arming School Staff

February 24, 2018

In a “listening session” held at the White House on February 21 with survivors of several recent school shootings, President Donald Trump proposed to arm teachers and school staff in an attempt to prevent further mass shootings.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association (NEA), said in response:

“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students...

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Why Can’t Legislators React to School Shootings With More Than “Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With You”?

February 24, 2018

I am angry that another school shooting has taken place and many of the politicians and leaders respond only with..."our thoughts and prayers are with you." Children and adults are dying because of inaction pertaining to gun control. I will not repeat what many are saying today, that "we need to do something about these guns that are killing our children" even though it is true. What I would like to do is share from my time as an educational leader who has served at the elementary, middle school, high school and university settings. We must come together, discuss our similarities and differences, and provide action to protect our children.

Have you ever held an elementary school kindergartener in your arms as they struggled to find something good to share about themselves? I have, and it was heartbreaking...

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Field of Candidates for State Superintendent Expands to Five, as Pace of Campaign Fundraising Picks Up

February 10, 2018

The field of candidates seeking to become California’s next State Superintendent of Public Instruction has expanded. And the two most prominent candidates - State Sen. Tony Thurmond and charter school advocate Marshall Tuck - have stepped up their fundraising efforts as the June 5 election approaches.

Tuck, a former charter school executive, declared his candidacy in March 2017, and Thurmond, a Democrat and a two-term State Senator from the Richmond/East Bay area, threw his hat in the ring in April 2017. They have both been nailing down endorsements, with Thurmond getting support from the California Teachers Association (CTA) and other union groups, and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), while Tuck was recently endorsed by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and also by four Democratic state legislators...

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Washington Post: After a Year on the Job, DeVos Hails Shrinking of the Education Department

February 10, 2018

 

(On February 7, the Washington Post carried an interview between U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and reporter Moriah Balingit reflecting on the Education Secretary's first year as head of the U.S. Department of Education.) By Moriah Balingit

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proclaimed Wednesday that her proudest accomplishments in her first year in office were shrinking the role of the agency, rolling back Obama-era initiatives and erasing outdated regulations.

The secretary reflected on her tenure exactly a year after she was installed in the post, following a trial-by-fire confirmation. Last year, the Senate confirmed her by the narrowest margin possible - with Vice President Pence casting a tiebreaking vote to make her education secretary. It was the first time a vice president had to vote to confirm a Cabinet member...

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California Headed Toward Another Standoff with Federal Government Over Education

January 29, 2018

 

Editor’s note: On January 18, the Los Angeles Times carried the following article by reporter Joy Resmovitz examining the emerging clash between the U.S. Department of Education and the California State Board of Education. Resmovitz wrote:

The U.S. Department of Education, led by Betsy DeVos, had told the state that its plan to satisfy a major education law had significant flaws. On Thursday, the California State Board of Education voted to send a revised version of that plan, still missing an important component, back to Washington.

The plan is supposed to lay out how the state intends to satisfy th