USA: California education news: What’s the latest?

USA/ 12 May, 2021/ Source/

California school superintendent confirmed as deputy secretary of education

Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified since 2013, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate today as the deputy secretary of education.

Marten will help Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona manage the U.S. Department of Education and implement President Joe Biden’s extensive education agenda.

Before serving as superintendent of San Diego Unified, Marten had been a teacher for 17 years, as well as principal of San Diego’s Central Elementary School.

“I am grateful for today’s confirmation of Cindy Marten as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education,” said Cardona in a statement. “As superintendent of the second-largest school district in California and one of the longest serving urban school leaders in America, Cindy remained committed to San Diego when the pandemic hit, finding ways to provide technology to thousands of students and provide more than 20 million free meals to students in need.

“Cindy also partnered with the local public university to stand up testing at all San Diego Unified School District campuses to curb the spread of the disease and protect students, staff, and the community,” he said. “Our top priority at the Department of Education is to reopen America’s schools for in-person learning, support students’ social, emotional, and academic needs, and address inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. I am thrilled that Cindy has accepted this challenge and I look forward to working with her as she continues to serve our nation’s students as deputy secretary.”

Marten will be the second Californian in a quarter century to be deputy secretary of education. From 1996 to 2000, Marshall (Mike) Smith, the former dean of the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, occupied that position in the Clinton Administration when Richard Riley was education secretary.

Diana Lambert

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 1:56pm

Link copied.Christopher Edley named interim dean at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education

Christopher Edley, a noted law professor and former dean of  UC Berkeley School of Law will, become the interim dean of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education for two years, starting  July 1.

Christopher Edley

Although his appointment marks the first time that the 129-year-old graduate school has named a dean without an academic or research background in education, Edley has long been an activist in promoting funding equity and racial equality for K-12 and undergraduate education. He is the co-founder and president emeritus of the Berkeley-based Opportunity Institute, whose mission is “to eradicate poverty and racial inequality to build ladders of success for the next generation.”

The current dean, Prudence Carter, who is stepping down at the end of a five-year term, noted Edley’s influence on setting the dialogue on local and national educational issues.

“Dean Edley’s professional journey speaks for itself. I cannot think of anyone more qualified to serve,” she said in a statement. “As a scholar, he has a deep grasp of the national and state educational landscapes, having chaired a number of major federal commissions and serving as co-founder of the Opportunity Institute.”

“In this American moment, there is more energetic attention to inequality and racial justice than we’ve seen in 50 years. Nothing is more central to those challenges than education,” Edley said. “A great school of education at a great public university will play a critical leadership role and produce ideas that matter.”

(Note: Edley will be interviewed in this week’s EdSource podcast, This Week In California Education.)

John Fensterwald

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 10:28am

Link copied.Little return for seniors, but apparently big return for San Francisco Unified

San Francisco Unified teachers made a surprise offer over the weekend to let high school seniors  return to school before school ends. An analysis by the San Francisco Chronicle of the details shows the agreement provides  little for students but a lot for the coffers of the school district — about $12 million by barely complying with requirements for additional state funding.

According to Chronicle staff writer Jill Tucker, students in the Class of ’21 who  choose to return:

  • Will receive “in-person supervision” but not instruction;
  • Will attend only one of two schools sites — for many, not their own high school;
  • May be returning for only one day;
  • Will be part of a cohort of two teachers or staff supervising them through activities that might include “end of high school conversations” or “college and career exploration.”

The offer by United Educators of San Francisco appears to satisfy the minimum requirements that Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature set in March to make schools eligible for $2 billion in one-time state funding. School districts and charter schools had to offer in-school instruction for all students in grades K-6 and at least one grade in middle to high school. The Legislature didn’t set any minimal time or instructional requirements to get the money, so one day or one hour a week technically could qualify a district for full funding.

San Francisco Unified started bringing back elementary grades in early April and then opened sites for middle and high school students only to  English learners, those in public housing, foster youth, special education students and those who have struggled in distance learning — what the law defined as students with highest needs.

Districts will be docked 1 percent of the money they’re entitled to for every instructional day after April 1 that they’re late in complying (not counting spring break). After May 15, they’ll forfeit all of the money if they don’t meet the requirements.

San Francisco will appear to qualify for the lion’s share  by allowing high school seniors back within the next week.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, who sponsored the financial incentives legislation, told the Chronicle he didn’t know if San Francisco Unified would meet the law’s demands but, “It definitely doesn’t meet the spirit of the law.”

John Fensterwald

Monday, May 10, 2021, 2:46pm

Link copied.FDA approves Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of its Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents age 12 to 15 today, according to the New York Times.

Authorization is given for the vaccines after clinical trials are completed on thousands of people to determine their safety and effectiveness. The emergency use authorization allows the vaccines to be distributed during public health emergencies despite not having full approval.

Pfizer and BioNTech enrolled 2,260 children ages 12 to 15 in a clinical trial that included a placebo group and a group that received the vaccination, according to the New York Times. There were 18 cases of symptomatic coronavirus in the placebo group and none in the vaccinated group.

Next the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel will meet and decide whether to recommend the use of the vaccine in adolescents. If the committee recommends the vaccines, immunizations can begin immediately, according to the Times.

Pfizer-BioNTech also plans to apply for emergency authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine to be used in children ages 2 to 11 in September.

Diana Lambert

Monday, May 10, 2021, 1:41pm

Link copied.L.A. Unified’s in-person attendance patterns reflect wide income disparity

Attendance patterns continue to emerge at Los Angeles Unified, where students began attending their classes in-person nearly one month ago. In a Monday morning broadcast, Superintendent Austin Beutner shared that low-income students attend in-person classes at lower rates than students who live with families who have higher median household incomes.

Beutner said that three cities in Southeast Los Angeles — Bell, Cudahy, and Maywood — where the median household income is $44,000, have an 18.2% attendance rate, the lowest among the district’s elementary students. In sharp contrast, West Los Angeles, with median incomes of over $115,000, has a 68.5% attendance rate.

In high schools, however, the opposite is occurring. Students in low-income communities are attending at higher rates than their higher-income peers. The Watts and Green Meadows neighborhoods in South Los Angeles have a 27.2% attendance rate while the higher-income Glassell Park and Los Feliz communities in Northeast Los Angeles have a 3.9% attendance rate.

“Looking ahead, further progress in vaccinations and continued reduction in the spread of the virus should allow for all-day, in-person instruction at all schools when the new school year starts,” Beutner said. He added that the district expects more than 70% of students to return to in-person attendance for the upcoming school year, with many of them being the district’s “highest-needs students.”

Betty Márquez Rosales

Monday, May 10, 2021, 12:11pm

Link copied.Governor proposes subsidized child care for 100,000 more California children

One hundred thousand more children in California could receive free or low-cost child care next fiscal year if Gov. Gavin Newsom gets his way.

Newsom proposed the new child care subsidies in a video released on Mother’s Day to announce some of the proposals he plans to unveil in more detail on Friday in his revised budget proposal.

Adding child care subsidies for 100,000 more children would be the largest increase in the state’s history, but would still be only a tiny step toward providing care for all families who need subsidized child care. More than 2 million children in the state qualify for subsidized child care because of their families’ incomes, but in 2019 only about 280,000 children in California were able to enroll.

The governor is also proposing more state funds for child care providers and for career pathways for home care workers. Today he also announced new stimulus payments, including $600 payments for households with incomes up to $75,000 a year, and additional money for families with children. He also announced more help for low-income Californians struggling to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic.

Zaidee Stavely

Monday, May 10, 2021, 11:10am

Link copied.Low-income families can seek federally subsidized internet service, starting this week

Starting Wednesday,  May 12, low-income households can apply for discounts on monthly broadband service expenses, as well as a one-time discount to buy a computer or tablet, the Federal Communications Commission announced. The Alliance for Excellent Education has summarized the program, called the the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Congress funded the program last year as part of a Covid relief package.

Households can participate if at least one member meets the eligibility requirements, including if a child is eligible for free and reduced-price school lunch.

Eligible households can sign up here to receive up to $50 off their monthly broadband service bill ($75 per month for households on Tribal lands). Additionally, participants can receive up to $100 toward a one-time purchase of a computer or tablet if they contribute between $10 and $50.

The FCC also has announced proposed regulations for spending the emergency $7.2 billion under the American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden proposed and Congress passed in March to help schools and libraries purchase broadband and connected devices. The money will provide emergency internet connectivity funding to help schools and libraries in low-income communities.

If the proposal is adopted, school districts and libraries could apply to be reimbursed for purchases made between July 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021. If money is left over, there would be a second round of funding. Purchases would include laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, and routers, with a maximum payment of $400 for laptops and tablets and $250 for Wi-Fi hotspots. The proposal didn’t include a cap on reimbursements for broadband service plans, although the FCC expects those will be made under bulk purchasing agreements, with costs of $10 to $25 per month, the Alliance for Excellent Education reported.

John Fensterwald

Monday, May 10, 2021, 11:06am

Link copied.Faculty face pay cut to save courses at City College of San Francisco

Faculty at City College of San Francisco will take 4% to 11% less pay next year to preserve courses that would otherwise be eliminated, under a deal reached over the weekend between union and administration negotiators. Both the board of the community college and instructors have until the end of Monday to approve the deal.

Under the one-year deal, there will be no cuts for full-time faculty, and most part-time instructors will be rehired. Courses that the community pushed to be saved will be preserved, KQED, the public radio station in San Francisco, reported.

“This is a very positive thing as painful as it is for our members, but it doesn’t mean that the budget problem is permanently fixed,” said Robin Pugh, a full-time instructor at City College facing a 10% salary cut next school year under the deal.

KQED reports the community college faces two challenges beyond the temporary agreement: a new funding formula and declining enrollment.

In 2019, the Legislature put into effect a “Student-Centered Funding Formula” that, along with funding enrollment, calculates a college’s share of state funding based on the awarding of certificates, associate degrees or students transferring to four-year colleges and universities. City College was granted a reprieve until 2023, but faces streamlining many of the non-degree courses taken by adults in the community.

The bigger challenge is a steady decline in enrollment since peaking at 100,000 in 2009. The pandemic has compounded the problem. According to an EdSource database, City College’s enrollment dropped 17.2% between the fall 2019 term and the fall 2020 terms.

John Fensterwald

Friday, May 7, 2021, 2:02pm

Link copied.Students could raise failed grades, repeat current school year under bills in Legislature

Two bills that would give parents and high school students more options to respond to lost learning and bad grades during the pandemic are making their way through the Legislature and would take effect as soon as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed them — assuming they get to his desk.

Assembly Bill (AB) 104 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, would allow parents to apply to hold their children back a year in 2021-22 and set up a process for parents, a teacher of record and the school to decide if retention is in the student’s best interest socially and academically. The bill also would:

  • Give high school students the opportunity to change grades in 2020-21 to pass/no pass with no negative effect on their GPA average;
  • Exempt juniors and seniors in 2020-21 from local graduation requirements that exceed the minimum number of credits required by the state for a diploma;
  • Enable juniors and seniors to complete the coursework required for graduation, including the option of returning for a fifth year of instruction.

Senate Bill 545 by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, would require districts to use the $4.6 billion in state Expanded Learning Opportunities Grants, approved in March, to address students’ academic struggles over the past year by:

  • Offering credit recovery for courses that students failed;
  • Offering students the ability to raise grades in courses where they got Ds or Fs;
  • Informing parents about research on the effects of having students repeat a school year and about effective forms of academic support and interventions.

AB 104 was passed unanimously by the Assembly and heads to the Senate. SB 545 awaits action by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will determine if the bill moves to the Assembly. As “urgent” legislation that would take effect immediately, in time for the next school year, both bills would require passage by a two-thirds majority in the Legislature. In his revised budget, which will be released by May 14, Newsom may propose his own ideas on how to enable students to raise grades, retake courses or repeat a grade to compensate for the harm of Covid-19.

John Fensterwald

Thursday, May 6, 2021, 3:04pm

Link copied.Much to celebrate in Biden’s first 100 days, state board of education chairwoman says

President Joe Biden’s first 100 days have been a boon for progressive education goals, such as civil rights and desegregation, universal preschool, college access, student wellness and other issues, State Board of Education Chairwoman Linda Darling-Hammond said Thursday.

“This president has come from a lifetime of service and commitment and is moving at a pace with an intensity that could secure quite a bit of progress,” Darling-Hammond said, in a virtual public address to the Education Law Center, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that advocates for student equity.

“But we are in a race against the clock, probably,” she said.

Hammond, who was on Biden’s transition team, noted that Democrats hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate and Republicans could win control in the 2022 midterms, imperiling Biden’s agenda.

Still, those in the education field have much to celebrate, she said. The American Rescue Plan directs billions to schools and families, with a focus on mental health, nutrition, preschool and child care, community college and programs to support children in poverty. Biden is also working to reverse Trump-era restrictions to civil rights legislation.

Future plans include money for modernizing school buildings, teacher training programs, free community college, special education and other initiatives. In looking at the entirety of Biden’s agenda, Darling-Hammond likened his impact to that of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society platforms.

“Such moments can lead to generational social change,” she said.

Carolyn Jones

Thursday, May 6, 2021, 3:00pm

Link copied.Los Angeles Unified board votes not to extend school year

Los Angeles Unified’s school board voted Tuesday not to extend the school year after hearing opposition from the teachers union and differing opinions from parents, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Union leaders argued that teachers and families are too exhausted for an extended school year, according to the article. A survey of parents was divided.

The district had considered adding up to 10 more school days for students, which could have been accomplished by starting the school year early, adding Saturday school, lengthening school days or shortening the break at Thanksgiving or in January.


Diana Lambert


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USA: California education news: What’s the latest? – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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