Edvoice - Issues

Sacramento district can’t find enough teachers, so it turns to Philippines for help

July 16 | Sacramento Bee

By Richard Chang

Officials at the Sacramento City Unified School District took an international field trip to the Philippines this year – to hire teachers.

The district says it has no choice but to look abroad to fill vacancies, as schools around California and the nation face a shortage of employable teachers.

Sacramento City Unified is the only district in the greater Sacramento region hiring from the Philippines through a program that began last year.

Anaheim parents win victory over district in charter school fight

July 13 | Orange County Register

By Roxana Kopetman

Parents at an Anaheim elementary school who have fought their district to convert their campus to a charter school won their battle Wednesday when the California Supreme Court refused to hear the district’s appeal.

Families at Palm Lane Elementary can now move forward to convert their school into a public charter, independently run from the Anaheim Elementary School District.

Author shelves teacher tenure bill; surprise alternative emerges

July 13 | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

The latest attempt in the Legislature to lengthen the probation period for new teachers has stalled for the year. On Wednesday, the author of a bill to add an optional extra probationary year pulled her bill amid the surprise emergence of a competing bill by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, a candidate for state superintendent of public instruction.

Thurmond’s Assembly Bill 1164 adopts the position of the California Teachers Association, which is expected to support his candidacy, and appeared last week as an alternative to a bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego. Her bill would extend the standard two-year probation to a third year for those teachers “on the bubble,” showing potential but needing further help and supervision. Thurmond’s bill also would permit a third probationary year, but contains conditions and restrictions, advocated by the teachers’ unions but criticized by school districts, that aren’t in Weber’s bill.

‘There’s no timeline for accountability’: LA parents tell state board the lowest-performing schools need to be improved now

July 12 | LA School Report

By Esmeralda Fabian Romero

Los Angeles parents traveled to Sacramento Wednesday in hopes of making sure their children’s interests will be reflected in the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, which must be finalized and submitted to the federal government by Sept. 18.

A mother from Compton, Esther Covarrubias, was one of a handful of parents who are members of the Parent Power Network in LA who addressed the state Board of Education. “The state needs to design a plan that truly improves the lowest-performing schools such as the ones I attended when I was 12 years old and I was an ESL student who failed because of the old system,” she said during public comment.

She also urged the board to ensure that the plan can improve schools in poor and minority areas such as South and East LA and Compton — not in three or five years, but now.

What exactly is an 'ineffective teacher?' California's definition doesn't include measures of performance

July 14 | LA Times

By Joy Resmovits

Even after years of debate and litigation over teacher evaluations and tenure, California had no official definition of what constituted a bad educator — until now.

Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, states must report on whether disadvantaged students have a higher proportion of ineffective, out-of-field or inexperienced teachers than do their peers. But to supply that answer, California needed to define, concretely, what an ineffective teacher looks like.

On Wednesday, the Board of Education approved a profile that does not touch on teacher performance: An “ineffective” teacher is now officially one who is improperly assigned or does not have proper credentials.

Is California’s investment in needy students paying off? Few signs yet that achievement gap is closing

June 20 | CALmatters

By Jessica Calefati

California’s new system for funding public education has pumped tens of billions of extra dollars into struggling schools, but there’s little evidence yet that the investment is helping the most disadvantaged students.

A CALmatters analysis of the biggest districts with the greatest clusters of needy children found limited success with the policy’s goal: to close the achievement gap between these students and their more privileged peers. Instead, test scores in most of those districts show the gap is growing.

The test scores echo a broader and growing concern about the Local Control Funding Formula from civil rights groups, researchers and legislators.

Data Exclusive: 75 Percent of Black California Boys Don’t Meet State Reading Standards

May 31 | CALmatters

By Matt Levin

Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters.

More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups.

See which college degrees lead to well-paying jobs

May 24 | Sacramento Bee

By Phillip Reese

Hundreds of thousands of California college students will graduate this month, many hoping their degree translates into a well-paying job.

They have reason to be optimistic: Earnings for college graduates age 35 and younger in any discipline tend to be much higher than earnings for those in the same age group without a college degree.

But some degrees lead to well-paying jobs faster than others. Using census data, The Bee looked at the percentage of Californians age 35 and under with college degrees who reported earning at least $50,000 a year.

California tolerates failing schools for millions of kids

May 16 | Sacramento Bee

By Dan Walters

As they declare implacable resistance to Donald Trump, politicians from Gov. Jerry Brown downward portray California as an island of tolerance.

That’s certainly true in one respect. We Californians, including our politicians, tolerate a K-12 school system that’s failing to properly educate millions of poor students of color.

Yes, those politicians talk a lot about the “achievement gap” that separates those students from their more privileged white and Asian-American classmates, and throw a lot of money at it.

Democrats reject an attempt to help kids in need of a break

May 16 | Sacramento Bee

By The Editoral Board

Democratic legislators purport to defend foster kids, poor children who receive subsidized school lunches and English-language learners.

So they should have readily supported legislation that would have allowed those students to attend the public school of their choice. They didn’t.

In Assembly Bill 1482, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Roseville, seeks to bar school districts from denying the transfer of students for whom English is a second language, foster children or kids who qualify for reduced-cost meals. It would be similar to existing laws that permit working parents and military parents to enroll their children in towns where they work.