EdBrief

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 the main federal education law, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2015 Obama administration successor to the No Child Left Behind Act. Where No Child took a prescriptive, test score-based approach to evaluating the quality of schools, Every Student Succeeds gives states more agency to design their own systems...

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Torlakson Appoints New Charter Schools Division Director

January 29, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on January 19 that he has appointed Lisa Constancio as Director of the Charter Schools Division. Her division oversees State Board of Education-approved charter schools throughout California and administers the Federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program.

Constancio most recently served as a consultant with the CDE’s School Facilities Planning and Transportation Services Division. During her 11 years there, she helped to design charter schools, review State Board of Education chartered schools facilities, and advised on state and federal capital funding opportunities.

“Lisa’s years of experience in program administration and her history of creating positive relationships with local education agencies, charter school advocacy groups, legislative staff, and other state agencies will be a great asset in providing leadership to her division,” Torlakson said...

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CSBA Calls on Legislature to Fund Public Schools at the Average of the Top 10 States

January 15, 2018

As part of its ongoing work to ensure that all students benefit from the resources needed for a high-quality education, the California School Boards Association called on the Legislature on January 8 to raise school funding to the national average by 2020 and to the average of the top 10 states by 2025.

“There was an era when California’s public education system was the envy of the nation and our schools were as well-funded as any in the country, but for decades now, California schools have been asked to do more with less,” said California School Boards Association President Mike Walsh. “It’s time we reverse the trend of shortchanging public schools and provide full and fair funding for all students, so they have the resources needed for success in college, career and civic life.”...

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Kirst, Rucker, Sun Reappointed to SBE

January 15, 2018

On January 9, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had reappointed three members of the State Board of Education:

--Michael W. Kirst, 78, of Stanford, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Education, where he has served since 2011. Kirst has been a professor emeritus at Stanford University since 2009, where he has been a professor since 1969. He was staff director for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment, and Poverty from 1967 to 1969. Kirst is a member of the National Academy of Education. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in political economy from Harvard University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Kirst is a Democrat.

--Patricia A. Rucker, 57, of Lincoln, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Education, where she has served since 2011...

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