EdBrief

Three-Judge Panel Again Rejects Prayer During School Board Meetings

August 7, 2018
(Editor’s note: On July 25, the Los Angeles times carried an article describing a ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a 2016 injunction against prayer at school board meetings in the Chino Valley Unified School District.)
By Maura Dolan

A federal appeals court decided on July 25 that Chino Valley school board meetings may not include prayers, proselytizing or the citing of Christian Scripture.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2016 injunction against the religious practices, which the court said dated back to at least 2010...

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PPIC Brief Offers Snapshot of Child Poverty in California

August 7, 2018
(Editor’s note: The Public Policy Institute of California recently released this summary of child poverty statistics for California.)

  1. Child poverty rates remain substantially higher than before the recession.
    According to official poverty statistics, 19.9% of children in California lived in families without enough resources to make ends meet in 2016. This is down significantly from 2015 (21.2%) but well above the most recent low in 2007 (17.3%). The official poverty measure is a long-standing yardstick that does not account for differences in the cost of living across the United States or within California, family needs like medical or child care expenses, or the boost that safety net benefits give to many families, especially those with children...

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CSBA, ACSA Call on Legislature to Introduce Full and Fair Funding Amendment to the California Constitution

July 17, 2018

The California School Boards Association (CSBA) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) are calling for the State Legislature to introduce a Constitutional amendment that would provide for the Full and Fair Funding of California public schools.

The two statewide associations made the request in a joint letter sent to every member of the Legislature. Signed by CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy and ACSA Executive Director Dr. Wesley Smith, the letter states that, “Before the current legislative session ends on August 31, CSBA and ACSA are asking you to help lead the fight by introducing a Constitutional amendment to move California to the top 10 states in per-pupil funding.”...

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California Wins Federal Approval for ESSA Plan

July 17, 2018

California State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on July 12 that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved California’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.

“Given the differences between federal and state law, the plan approved by Secretary DeVos today represents the best possible outcome of our discussions with U.S. Department of Education staff,” Kirst said. “California is a national leader in supporting students with extra needs, providing local control over spending, encouraging community participation in schools, and releasing critical information on measures that indicate student success. Our ESSA plan allows that work to continue.”...

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Proposal: Give Teachers a $10,000 Raise By Adding Federal Tax Credit

July 17, 2018

On July 13, the Center for American Progress released a new proposal to vastly increase teacher pay using the federal tax code. The proposal’s release comes on the heels of several months of teacher strikes across the country that have shone a light on the critical state of teacher compensation in the United States, as well as on the same day as the American Federation of Teachers kicks off its annual national conference.

The CAP proposal aims to narrow the pay gap for teachers in high-needs schools. It would give teachers as much as a $10,000 - or roughly $190-per-week - raise using the federal tax code. This permanent, refundable tax credit would ensure that all eligible teachers would see a significant increase in take-home pay that is not subject to annual appropriation negotiations. The report also addresses preserving and increasing state and district funding levels under this plan...

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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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