ACLU Applauds Coachella School Board Sanctuary Policy

October 16, 2017

By a unanimous vote in late September, the Coachella Valley School Board adopted a policy to protect immigrant students and their families, as urged by the ACLU of California and Building Healthy Communities of Coachella Valley.

Coachella Valley was the first district to adopt the ACLU of California’s Sanctuary Schools Campaign model policy in its entirety, though the Riverside and LA Unified School Districts have adopted policies based on the model.

“This policy provides clear steps our schools can take to protect our children and we commend the board for approving it,” said Linnea Nelson, education equity attorney for the ACLU of Northern California. “Sanctuary polices make clear to families that districts will stand up for their communities and protect sensitive information from law enforcement.”...

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SBE Approves Every Student Succeeds Act Plan

October 2, 2017

On September 13, the State Board of Education approved a plan for using federal assistance under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Every state that receives federal funding to support low-income students and English language learners is required to submit an Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Several states submitted their plans earlier this year, while California and more than 30 other states will be submitting their plans on September 18.

The plan – essentially a grant application – allows each state to make a case for how it will utilize and manage federal dollars...

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Trump Administration’s Move to Rescind DACA by March Widely Criticized

September 18, 2017

The Trump’s announcement on September 5 that the Deferred Acceptance for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be phased out by early March 5 was widely criticized by California education stakeholders.

The California Department of Education issued this statement:

“Our country made an honest deal with these students – study hard, earn your degree, and you will get a fair chance to compete for college. We should keep deals, not break them. We should support dreams, not destroy them,” Torlakson said. “These students embody the American dream. Their hard work, energy, dedication, and diverse backgrounds help them contribute to our economy, while adding to the rich cultural heritage that makes California a dynamic global leader.”

Torlakson called on Congress to act swiftly to restore the program. “I urge Congress to step up, find a permanent path to citizenship, and protect these immigrants,” he said...

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California Attorney General Becerra Files DACA Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

September 18, 2017

On September 11, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by the attorneys general for Minnesota, Maryland and Maine, filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA). The four States filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California arguing that the Trump Administration violated the Constitution and federal laws when it rescinded DACA.

“The DACA initiative has allowed more than 800,000 Dreamers, children brought to this country without documentation, to come out of the shadows and become successful and productive Americans. One-in-four of those DACA Dreamers know California as home, and it’s no coincidence that our great state is the sixth largest economy in the world,” said Attorney General Becerra...

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Torlakson Sends Letter Denouncing Racism, Encouraging Schools to Celebrate Diversity

September 5, 2017

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a letter on August 24 to California school leaders denouncing racism and encouraging schools to celebrate diversity as the new school year begins.

The letter went to county and district school superintendents and charter school administrators at more than 1,025 school districts statewide – the nation’s largest public school system.

“I want to let all California educators, students and their families know that I reject the hatred, racism, and violence so sadly displayed earlier this month in Charlottesville,” Torlakson said.

“Hateful rhetoric and disgusting, failed ideologies should stay buried in the dustbins of history. We need to join together as Americans and denounce all who preach hate instead of the love, acceptance, and understanding that should define our 21st century...

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Finding from New PDK Poll: Support for Vouchers is Rising

By Paul E. Peterson - Rep: September 5, 2017

The just-released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 10 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time period. Although this finding is not reported by PDK in this year’s analysis of its findings, it emerges sharp and clear if one takes a close look at earlier PDK poll results.

PDK asked a nationally representative sample of the American public the following question: “Do you favor or oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense?” The question is worded in a way that discourages support for school vouchers, since it emphasizes choice at “public expense.” Still, the particular phrasing of a question is less important for tracking opinion over time than the use of the same exact wording each time the question is asked...

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Early Edge California Names Patricia Lozano Executive Director

September 5, 2017

Early Edge California has appointed Patricia Lozano as its new executive director. Lozano brings national and state expertise in early childhood education policy, research, and practice.

Early Edge California has been involved with early childhood advocacy efforts since 2003. As executive director, Lozano will ensure the organization continues to be a strong voice for increased access to quality early childhood experiences. She will lead the organization to use its advocacy leadership and capacity to drive a policy agenda to help California attract, support, and retain effective early childhood educators which are the lynchpin of quality.

“We are thrilled that Patricia Lozano is taking the helm at Early Edge,” said Catherine Atkin, chair of the Early Edge California Advisory Committee and executive director of The Early Learning Lab...

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Latest EdNext Poll Includes the “Trump Effect” on Public Opinion Regarding Education

August 21, 2017

The 2017 Education Next annual survey of American public opinion on education, released on August 1, shows public support for charter schools has dropped, even as opposition to school vouchers and tax credits for private-school scholarships has declined. Opposition to the Common Core State Standards seems to have finally leveled off. When the “Common Core” name is not mentioned, support for the same standards across states rises among both Democrats and Republicans. Meanwhile, support for the federal role in education policy has waned. This year’s poll also finds that President Trump’s policy preferences widen the partisan divide on issues such as charter schools, Common Core, tax credits, and merit pay for teachers.

The nationally representative EdNext survey also includes representative samples of teachers, Hispanics, blacks, Republicans, and Democrats. New this year is a breakdown of white respondents by education. This year’s results include two interactive graphics providing both 2017 findings and 11-year trends...

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In Race for State Superintendent, Marshall Tuck Raises $1.2 Million, Tony Thurmond Raises $896,000

August 7, 2017

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on August 1 that that two candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction have raised substantial war chests of campaign contributions from their supporters.

Marshall Tuck has raised $1.2 million for another try and has $1 million in the bank. Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, has collected $896,000 this year and has $860,000 cash on hand.

Tuck – who ran for State Superintendent in issued a press release, saying “Our campaign is about bringing Californians together to tackle the big challenges facing our public schools. California doesn’t shrink from big problems, we solve them. We know what it takes to educate our children. Now we need the political courage to do it.

“I’m humbled by our early support, and fired up to keep growing our grassroots movement to bring big changes to California’s schools, and renew the promise of public education for all students.”...

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SBE Seeks Input on New Accountability System

August 7, 2017

The State Board of Education deliberated for more than eight hours July 12 on the various components of the new accountability system and the emerging system of support. Finessing the California School Dashboard and reconciling it with the draft Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan is proving to be harder than anticipated.

Legislative Advocate Martha Alvarez, who oversees the actions of the SBE for ACSA, said the association was fortunate to have Ralph Porras, chair of ACSA’s Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force, speak on behalf of our members on items before the board.

The California Department of Education staff presented functional changes to the dashboard for fall 2017. Administrators and other stakeholders are encouraged to share major structural changes the CDE could consider making to the dashboard for fall 2018...

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CDE Names State Administrator for Inglewood Unified

August 7, 2017

On July 20, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Dr. Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana as his selection for State Administrator for the Inglewood Unified School District.

“Thelma Meléndez has a strong combination of leadership skills and experience managing school districts,” Torlakson said. “She will continue the district’s positive momentum.”

Meléndez most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Educational Services in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She was also Superintendent at the Pomona Unified and Santa Ana Unified School Districts, and served as Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. The American Association of School Administrators named her the California Superintendent of the Year in 2009. She will begin her appointment August 16, 2017...

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