Photo of Educators Holding Noose Prompts Concern

May 20, 2019

California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following comments on May 10 regarding a recent photograph of Palmdale educators posing for a photograph holding a noose:

“We are shocked and saddened at the deeply disturbing photo taken recently at a school in Palmdale. Such a picture, and its resulting hurt and division, has no place on any school campus or in our education communities. A noose is a painful and racist symbol of our history.

“The California Teachers Association and the National Education Association have a deep and long-standing commitment to human rights, social justice and equity...

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What Is the Impact of the Trump Administration’s Rescission of Federal School Discipline Guidance?

May 7, 2019

The purpose of U.S. public education is to provide an opportunity for every student to develop the skills and capacities they need to become contributing members of society. Unfortunately, too many U.S. schools employ harsh, zero-tolerance discipline policies resulting in suspensions and expulsions for minor offenses that can push students out of school and onto a path to prison. These policies are disproportionately applied to students of color, students with disabilities, and other historically underserved students.

Recognizing these facts, the Obama administration issued nonbinding guidance for states, districts, and schools on school discipline and discrimination in application of these policies. The guidance reflected a large body of research showing that exclusionary policies were ineffective and applied in discriminatory ways. Despite the preponderance of research shared within the guidance, the Trump administration rescinded it in December of 2018...

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Lack of State K–12 Funding Raises Concern, and Most Say Teacher Salaries are Too Low

May 7, 2019

Californians have a split opinion on charter schools, with roughly equal shares supporting them and opposing them. And while most believe that parents in low-income areas should have the option of sending their children to charter schools, there is a high level of concern that charter schools take state funding away from traditional public schools. These are among the key findings of a statewide survey released on April 24 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

Californians hold mixed views on charter schools, with 49 percent of adults in favor and 46 percent opposed. Support is somewhat higher among public school parents, with 59 percent in favor and 38 percent opposed. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (51%) and whites (50%) are more likely than Asian Americans (43%) and African Americans (36%) to favor charter schools in general...

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California Districts Fight Student Vaping in Schools

By Lauren Katims - Rep: May 7, 2019

By the time Makayla Klug, now a senior at Laguna Beach High School, turned 8, she was put on bed rest to manage her physical pain. Doctors diagnosed her with meningitis, optic-neuritis and encephalitis – inflammatory diseases that kept her off her feet for nearly two years.

Her family lived next to a longtime fire station, and Klug’s mom eventually made the connection that the sickness was most likely caused by exhaust from outdated fire trucks and poor ventilation, which contaminated Klug’s home.

Laguna Beach city officials refuted the cause, and before the family could build its case, the deadline for suing the city had passed and the case was closed. But, for Klug, who suffers dizziness and headaches whenever she breathes any form of smoke, from exhaust to tobacco, it will never be over...

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Dixie No More

Marin County School District to Change Its Name

By Joe Heim, Washington Post - April 19, 2019

Following a months-long debate marked by increasingly rancorous charges and countercharges, the Dixie School District in suburban Marin County is changing its name.

Board members of the small school district, just north of San Francisco, voted on April 16 to replace the name, which opponents said is a racist vestige of the Confederacy and the pro-slavery South. The board did not choose a new moniker for the 2,000-student district in San Rafael, instead calling for an advisory group to provide suggestions and for the board to approve a name by the time the next school year begins in late August...

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California’s Improved Vaccination Rates Keeping Measles at Bay

By Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle - April 19, 2019

The United States is in the middle of what may end up the largest measles outbreak in two decades.

Dozens of new cases are being reported each week. As of April 11 — date of the most recent data published by the recent data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 555 cases had been confirmed...

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Teachers Shouldn’t Have to Beg in Über-rich California

By John Affeldt - April 4, 2019

Teachers in Sacramento, west Fresno County and Dublin may soon go on strike over the same bread and butter issues that were fought over in Oakland: low teacher pay, large class sizes, and few counselors and nurses.

If you didn’t know better, you might mistake California for a declining Rust Belt state. But it’s not. California is über-rich. The shameful truth behind all this discord is that California is fabulously wealthy; yet for decades, it has starved its public schools and 6 million children of the resources necessary to succeed...

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Gov. Newsom Appoints Two to State Board of Education

April 4, 2019

On March 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed two new members to the State Board of Education.

--Kim Pattillo-Brownson, 44, of Los Angeles. Pattillo-Brownson has been Vice President for Policy and Strategy at First 5 Los Angeles since 2016. She was Managing Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Advancement Project from 2007 to 2016 and an education attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California from 2006 to 2007. Pattillo-Brownson eared a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Pattillo-Brownson is a Democrat...

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Thurmond Swears In State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond

March 23, 2019

Linda Darling-Hammond, Governor Gavin Newsom’s choice to lead the California State Board of Education as president, was sworn into office on March 14 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who serves as the Board’s Executive Secretary.

“Linda Darling-Hammond is one of the most respected education leaders in the nation, and we are so fortunate that she calls California home. Her appointment to the State Board of Education shows the caliber of focus the Governor has on raising the stakes in public education in California. We have work to do, and with Linda Darling-Hammond at the helm, I am confident that we will move the needle forward to work toward improving the public education system in an equitable way for all of our six million students,” Thurmond said...

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With New Ears in California’s Capitol, Scholars Push for K–12 Improvements and School Equity

By Ross Brenneman - March 23, 2019

When any report comes out, the long-term effects might be hard to quantify. Some, like A Nation at Risk, can shift paradigms. Others spend time gathering dust on an office shelf.

For the team behind a recent and comprehensive report on the state of education in California, irrelevance is unacceptable...

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Despite Federal Retreat From Supporting School Diversity, Some Districts Forge Ahead With School Designs for Integration

March 9, 2019

Public schools are increasingly segregated along both racial and socioeconomic lines, with 8.4 million Black and Latino/a children currently attending schools that are extremely segregated and high-poverty. Many of the most extremely segregated schools are also the most under-resourced, plagued by inexperienced educators, lack of access to quality curriculum, and lack of quality facilities or access to technology.

Two new reports from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) look at the roles the federal government, states, and districts play in promoting racially diverse learning environments. The Federal Role and School Integration: Brown’s Promise and Present Challenges by LPI Senior Policy Advisor Janel George and LPI president Linda Darling-Hammond highlights the research on the benefits of integrated learning environments, the critical role of the federal government in supporting school diversity, and evidence-based best practices districts and regions can implement to foster school diversity. It shows that, although integrated education is not a panacea, diverse learning environments benefit all students...

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U.S. Dept. of Ed. Acts on School Safety Report Recommendation to Improve Understanding of Student Privacy Law

February 24, 2019

On February 12, the U.S. Department of Education released a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on schools’ and districts’ responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the context of school safety.

The Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) released an in-depth report last December, which observed that “substantial misunderstanding remains at the local level among officials and educators concerning (FERPA), and in particular its application to school-based threats.”...

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Gov. Newsom Appoints Linda Darling-Hammond as President of State Board of Education

February 24, 2019

On February 12, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Linda Darling-Hammond, 67, of Stanford, has been appointed to the State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond has been Charles E. Ducommun professor emeritus at the Stanford University, Graduate School of Education since 2017, where she was a professor from 1998 to 2017. She has been president of the Learning Policy Institute since 2015. Darling-Hammond was founder and co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education from 2008 to 2017, and faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program from 1998 to 2005. She served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future from 1994 to 2001. Darling-Hammond held an endowed professorship at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1989 to 1998 and was director of the RAND Corporation’s education program from 1979 to 1989. She is a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education. Darling-Hammond earned a Doctor of Education degree is urban education from Temple University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Darling-Hammond is a Democrat...

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DeVos Announces Federal Initiative to Address Inappropriate Restraint and Seclusion of Children with Disabilities

February 9, 2019

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced on January 17 that the U.S. Department of Education will launch an initiative to address the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will oversee this proactive approach which will protect students with disabilities by providing technical assistance and support to schools, districts, and state education agencies, and strengthen enforcement activities.

“This initiative will not only allow us to support children with disabilities, but will also provide technical assistance to help meet the professional learning needs of those within the system serving students,” Secretary DeVos said.  “The only way to ensure the success of all children with disabilities is to meet the needs of each child with a disability. This initiative furthers that important mission.”...

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CDE Revokes Certification of School Where Special Education Student Died While Being Restrained

February 9, 2019

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) has completed its current investigations into Guiding Hands School (in El Dorado County). Guiding Hands is a private, nonpublic school that serves students with disabilities.

CDE revoked the school’s certification, effective January 11, 2019 based on numerous investigations, including one involving the death of a student in late November 2018, and alleged violations of improper use of restraints in violation of the California Education Code. As a result of the revocation, Guiding Hands School was no longer certified by the CDE as a nonpublic school. On January 11, 2019, a Sacramento Superior Court judge temporarily placed the revocation by CDE on hold, pending a hearing scheduled for January 25, 2019. As of 1:30 p.m. on January 25, a judge affirmed that the temporary restraining order was dissolved, which means that the revocation previously issued by CDE stands...

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Most Californians Favor Governor’s Budget, and Nearly Half Willing to Modify to Proposition 13 Tax Limits

February 9, 2019

Majorities of Californians support Governor Newsom’s first proposed budget, which increases spending on K-14 education, higher education, and health and human services. This is among the key findings of a statewide survey released on February 6 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

When read a summary of the governor’s 2019-20 proposed budget, 70 percent of all California adults and 64 percent of likely voters favor the spending plan. Large majorities support two key components of the governor’s proposal: 77 percent of adults and 72 percent of likely voters favor allocating $1.8 billion to expand pre-kindergarten and early childhood programs and facilities, while 78 percent of adults and 70 percent of likely voters support an $832 million funding increase for public colleges and universities...

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New Title IX Rules Require Hearings, Cross-Examinations in Colleges -- But Not High Schools

By R. Shep Melnick - January 26, 2019

The proposed rules implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 were released in November, more than a year after Secretary DeVos had withdrawn the Obama administration’s guidelines on the subject and promised to follow standard notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures to replace them. Once the comment period ends, the Department must respond to all “significant” comments and explain any changes it decides to make in the interim. The final rules will be subject to judicial review, making further litigation all but inevitable. The incoming chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Representative Bobby Scott, has promised to hold hearings on the proposal, which he and many other Democrats in Congress have harshly criticized. The battle over federal sexual-harassment rules is thus likely to drag on for many months, leaving educational institutions unsure exactly what is required of them.

So far, the most controversial sections of the proposal are those requiring schools to hold live hearings for college disciplinary proceedings and to allow cross-examination of all witnesses, including those who have lodged sexual-assault complaints. The Department maintains that live hearings with cross-examination are essential elements of due process. Its critics warn that these requirements will inhibit victims of sexual misconduct from coming forward...

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Thurmond Appoints Three New Department Heads at CDE

January 26, 2019

Recently elected state officials often bring in their own team to help run the agency, and newly-sworn-in State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has recently appointed several new department heads at the California Department of Education:


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced on January 17 that he has appointed a new Deputy Superintendent for the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Government Affairs Division...

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