ACLU: Schools Need More Mental Health Professionals, Not Police

By Amir Vera, CNN - March 23, 2019

Public schools need more mental health professionals and fewer police, according to a recently released report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The report found that nearly one-third of public school students, more than 14 million, are enrolled in schools with police but without a counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker. The shift in resources comes as schools reassess their security measures in the wake of repeated school shootings and as local, state and federal governments make more money available to fund officers on campuses...

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Proposed State Constitutional Amendment Would Make It Easier to Approve School Parcel Taxes

By Jorge Casuso - March 23, 2019

A ballot measure sponsored by Santa Monica Senator Ben Allen that would lower the threshold for approval of parcel taxes is awaiting referral to a committee, his office said on March 18.

Introduced in December, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 would dramatically improve the chances for school parcel taxes to be approved by lowering the threshold from two-thirds to 55 percent of the vote...

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Newsom Signs Long-Discussed Charter School Transparency Legislation

March 9, 2019

Alongside representatives from the California Charter Schools Association, California Teachers Association, California School Employees Association, California Federation of Teachers, California School Boards Association, Association of California School Administrators and SEIU California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 126 on March 5 -- historic legislation requiring all schools that receive taxpayer funding to follow the same standards for accountability and transparency.

“It’s common sense. Taxpayers, parents and ultimately kids deserve to know how schools are using their tax dollars,” said Governor Newsom. “This isn’t the end of a conversation but a beginning. Let’s use this momentum to move forward together, constructively and in partnership, to improve education for children across California. I thank the leaders on both sides of this issue for coming together to help get this bill across the finish line.”...

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Proposed Legislation Encourages Climate-Friendly, Plant-Based Lunch Options for Students

March 9, 2019

California Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) has introduced legislation incentivizing K-12 public schools across the state to offer healthier, climate-friendly lunch options. Under AB 479, the Healthy Climate-Friendly School Lunch Act, schools would receive additional state funding for serving a plant-based entrée and plant-based milk. The bill is co-sponsored by Animal Hope in Legislation, Friends of the Earth, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and Social Compassion in Legislation.

AB 479 also includes critical state support for staff training, student engagement, recipe development, and other technical assistance needed to help public schools boost participation rates and successfully serve plant-based foods...

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Attorney General Opinion Confirms Charter Schools Must Comply with Key Public Integrity Laws

January 12, 2019

The California Attorney General recently issued an opinion (Opinion No. 11-201) addressing the long-debated question of whether California charter schools must comply with key public integrity laws, including the Ralph M. Brown Act, California Public Records Act, and laws prohibiting financial and other conflicts of interest under Government Code section 1090 and the Political Reform Act of 1974. The Attorney General confirmed that charter schools and their governing bodies are subject to these laws-just like public school districts and county offices of education...

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Pregnant and Parenting Pupils Afforded New Accommodations Beginning January 1, 2019

January 12, 2019

Beginning January 1, 2019, significant amendments to the Education Code provide pregnant and parenting pupils with new rights and accommodations designed to afford them the opportunity to succeed while protecting their health and the health of their children.

In 2015, over 24,000 children were born to individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 in California. Fewer than 4 in 10 young mothers graduate from high school by the age of 18, and 70 percent of young parents nationwide are "pushed out of school." Assembly Bill (AB) 2289 works to allay some of these obstacles...

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Two New Laws Require Educational Agency Actions to Enhance Student Access to Health Services

January 12, 2019

Before leaving office in early January, Governor Jerry Brown signed two Assembly Bills (AB) into law, designed to increase student access to health services. Both laws focus on mental health services for students.

AB 2022: Bi-Annual Notice Requirement Regarding Access to Student Mental Health Services

AB 2022 adds Education Code section 49428 and requires public schools, including charter schools, to provide students and their parents or guardians at least twice per school year with information regarding how to access student mental health services on campus and/or in the community...

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New Law Limits the Use of Seclusion and Restraints in Schools, Requires Annual Data Report

January 12, 2019

The California Legislature recently passed a new law aiming to promote student rights and safety by imposing limits on the use of behavioral restraints and seclusion in schools. Assembly Bill (AB) 2657, which prohibits the use of restraint or seclusion for any student except in specified circumstances, became effective on January 1, 2019...

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California, Washington and Oregon Education Officials Oppose Federal Changes Redefining the Concept of Gender

December 15, 2018

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recently partnered with the top education officials from Oregon and Washington to send a letter opposing federal attempts to redefine the concept of sex and gender government-wide, making that definition purely biological. The joint letter was sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on December 12, in coordination with Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill and Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.

“This damaging proposal would seriously harm our nation’s children and eliminate the ability for some people to fight back against discrimination,” said Torlakson, who was a high school science teacher and coach. “Policies and facilities that assume individuals fall strictly within two categories and assume that identity is visually identifiable risk excluding and alienating individuals. This policy would allow discrimination against those whose gender identity does not line up with their biological sex.”...

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School Bond Bill Introduced by Assembly Education Chair Patrick O’Donnell

By Tom Duffy, Legislative Director, Coalition for Adequate School Housing - December 15, 2018

With the new legislative year getting underway, Assembly Education Chair Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) has introduced a school bond bill with the intent of having it on the ballot in 2020. With recognition that (current state) bond authority for new construction projects is exhausted and in anticipation of the depletion of modernization authority by mid-2019, no Proposition 51 funding authority for such projects will remain. The introduction of the bond bill is therefore timely.

The primary election in California will be in March 2020. Anticipating the passage of the O’Donnell bill by the legislature and signature by Governor-elect Gavin Newsom in 2019, the bond could be on the ballot in the primary election. The bond bill as introduced declares intent for a Kindergarten through Community College (K-14) bond but does not yet propose a specific dollar amount. The bill will kick off negotiations with the Legislature and a wide variety of stakeholders over the coming year...

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Torlakson Writes Letter Opposing Federal Public Charge Proposal to Deny Immigrants Visas

November 30, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a letter on November 14 to the federal Department of Homeland Security opposing efforts to deny immigrants permanent residency or visas if their households benefit from aid programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Medicaid.

In California, an estimated one million students are living with one parent or guardian who is undocumented. And there are many more students with parents on visas or as permanent residents who could be impacted by such changes as well...

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Education Groups Launch Campaign to Provide Arts Education for All Students

November 1, 2018

Every student has the right to a dynamic, creative education, and California Education Code requires it. Yet 88 percent of California schools are failing to meet this standard. That's why California State PTA joined forces with Create CA to launch one of the most impactful public will campaigns for the arts in recent history to demand arts education for all students. See the campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to spark a movement with the public, parents, educators, artists and policy makers to demand a comprehensive, sequential arts curriculum for all children in grades K-12...

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Flu Shots Recommended for Kids Age Six-Months-Old and Up

October 20, 2018

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges Californians to get the influenza (flu) vaccine to protect your health during the upcoming flu season.

In California, flu usually begins to increase in late November or December. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity, so now is the time to get vaccinated to have the best protection now the flu season has started.

“Getting vaccinated is the best line of defense against flu," said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "You can prevent missing work or school, visits to the doctor or hospitalization, and protect others from coming down with the flu."...

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Suicide on Campus: How Schools are Dealing with the Crisis Under New Legislation

October 20, 2018
By Gail Marshall

It’s never too soon to plan for the unthinkable.

No one knows that better than two Rancho Cucamonga school districts, which this summer suffered four student suicides during the first two weeks of school.

The victims, two boys and two girls, were ages 10-16. Three were in Chaffey Joint Union High School District, which encompasses 12 schools, and one 10-year-old boy was enrolled in Alta Loma School District, a K-8 district...

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