Edvoice - Issues

As charter schools grow, they face challenge of hiring amid a teacher shortage

EdSource | December 7

By Fermin Leal 

As California struggles with a teacher shortage, charter schools face distinct challenges recruiting teachers.

Those challenges are exacerbated by the rapid expansion of charters, with the number of schools more than doubling in the past decade.

“The teacher shortage is being felt everywhere, but charters often have more to overcome,” said Kelly Hurley, chief talent officer of Green Dot Public Schools, a chain of 19 charters in Los Angeles that had 30 teaching jobs not filled by fully credentialed teachers at the start of the school year.

California teacher shortage worsens, especially in cities

November 30 | San Francisco Chronicle

By Jill Tucker

The teacher shortage across California is getting worse, hitting urban districts hardest, but pinching even rural and suburban schools as well, according to a survey released Wednesday.

As a result, students are seeing a revolving cast of substitutes, canceled courses and less qualified teachers in their classrooms, according to district officials who were surveyed.

Charter challenges appellate ruling to state Supreme Court

November 29 | San Diego Tribune

By Maureen Magee

A Northern California charter school has turned to the state’s highest court to review and potentially reverse an appellate court ruling that calls into question the legality of hundreds of satellite charter campuses.

California’s charter school industry suffered a major blow in October when a state appellate court ruled that a charter school cannot operate mini-campuses outside its home district in its resident county. Growth in satellite charters has stirred turf wars and costly litigation locally and throughout San Diego County and state.

California faces 'skills gap' that colleges aren't closing

November 29 | The Sacramento Bee

By Dan Walters

The Public Policy Institute of California analyzes dozens of pithy issues, but sitting atop its priority list is the state’s troubled higher education system.

Once the envy of the world, California’s three-level system – the University of California, the California State University system, and more than 100 locally governed community colleges – is now buffeted by a perfect economic, cultural and political storm.

PPIC’s latest report underscores its dilemma. It found that “the vast majority of students entering California’s community colleges are identified as unprepared for college and placed in remedial courses…”

Teachers union considers strike after Fresno Unified officials walk out of negotiations

November 29 | The Fresno Bee

By Mackenzie Mays

The Fresno Teachers Association is considering going on strike after failed attempts to make public the typically private bargaining negotiations with Fresno Unified officials.

“We’re definitely looking at preparing for a strike if we need to,” FTA President Tish Rice said. “But I’m hopeful that we have reasonable people that will say, ‘Let’s work together for the students.’ We just want the district to negotiate with us in a way that is in good faith and honest and transparent.”

The achievement gap grew in 2016

November 23 | Sacramento Bee

By Phillip Reese

Test scores in California improved this year - but the test score gap between the haves and have-nots got wider, too.

About 440 large California schools aced 2016 Common Core tests, with more than three quarters of their students meeting new math standards.

But just 7 of those schools also had a higher proportion of students classified as "economically disadvantaged" than the statewide average. In other words, 98 percent of the state’s highest-performing schools on the new math test had a relatively low proportion of students in poverty.

The test score achievement gap between wealthy and poor students is much larger under California's new Common Core tests than the gap was under older tests.


Obama administration to release new rules for judging schools

November 28 | Washington Post

By Emma Brown

The U.S. Education Department on Monday released final regulations governing how states should judge which schools are doing well and which are struggling and require help, a contentious set of rules that has pitted the Obama administration and its civil rights allies against an unusual alliance of teachers unions and GOP leaders.

But for all the debate, it is unclear — given Republican Donald Trump’s surprise election — whether the new rules will much matter. Trump has pledged a smaller federal footprint in public education, giving rise to speculation that his administration is likely to either rewrite the new regulations entirely, giving states more leeway to handle school accountability as they wish, or render the rules meaningless by declining to enforce them.

Preparing Students for Success in California's Community Colleges

November 15 | Public Policy Institute of California

By Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Olga Rodriquez and Hans Johnson

Community colleges identify 80 percent of incoming students as underprepared for college-level work. Fewer than half of these students advance to and succeed in a college course (44% in English and 27% in math). Concerns about poor outcomes have led to institutional reforms.

This research was supported with funding from The Sutton Family Fund.

Tuition expected to rise at UC, CSU next year

November 15 | SF Gate

By Nanette Asimov

Here’s a safe bet in an era of guesswork gone awry: Tuition will go up next year at the University of California and California State University for the first time since 2011.

And students and faculty won’t like it.

Neither university has a firm tuition proposal on the table. But the UC regents will discuss the possibility Wednesday and Thursday at their meeting in San Francisco, and the CSU trustees led that discussion Tuesday in Long Beach.

Editorial: The state school board flunks its accountability exam

Los Angeles Times

By The Times Editorial Board

Despite complaints from the school-reform movement in California and others, the State Board of Education appears intent on going ahead with an overly complicated, color-coded system for judging public-school performance and progress. It’s vague and confusing, larded with too many factors. Using it to compare one school with another is pretty much impossible.