Edvoice - Issues

Why Oakland Students Leave for Public Schools in Other Cities

September 14 | KQED

By Devin Katayama

John Foster and Sara Diamond didn’t leave the Oakland Unified School District because they were unhappy with their school choices.

They say they wanted an alternative to Oakland schools for practical reasons. Foster worked in San Francisco, where his daughter Claire’s day care was also located.  So father and daughter had a routine of commuting together from East Oakland.

The Myth of the 'Miracle School'

August 31 | The Atlantic

By Arne Duncan

In the field of education, success is too often an orphan while failure has many fathers. The stories of the high-performing charter-school networks featured in Richard Whitmire’s important new book, The Founders: Inside the revolution to invent (and reinvent) America’s best charter schools, provide a welcome antidote to the pernicious notion that high-performing schools for disadvantaged students are isolated flukes, dependent on a charismatic educator or the cherry-picking of bright students. Whitmire’s account reveals the secret of the sauce: What is it that schools can do at scale for children to close achievement gaps, even in the face of the real burdens of poverty?

$1-million donation will help needy students with their homework at L.A. libraries

August 31 | LA Times

By Anna M. Phillips

Thirty-eight branches of the Los Angeles Public Library that offer homework help to poor and homeless students will receive a boost from a $1-million donation.

The gift from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, announced Tuesday, will create an endowment for the free after school homework centers, which offer students access to computers, printers and other devices they might not have at home, if they even have permanent homes.

Students make slight gains on new Common Core state tests

August 24 | Sacramento Bee

By Diana Lambert and Phillip Reese

Sacramento-area students made modest progress in English and math this year, based on new state test results released Wednesday.

Fifty percent of the students in the four-county region met English standards - up from 46 percent the previous year, while about 40 percent of the region’s students met math standards - up from 37 percent.

The incremental gains came after dismal scores last year when students took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests for the first time. The new exams are based on Common-Core State Standards.

Tears, hugs follow jurors' $3.1 million award to whistleblower in teacher credentialing case

August 19 | Sacramento Bee

By Loretta Kalb

A Sacramento woman fired from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing after disclosing a three-year backlog in teacher misconduct complaints has won a $3.1 million jury verdict in a lawsuit against the agency and two of its executives.

Whistleblower Kathleen Carroll, an attorney for the commission until her termination in November 2010, revealed sweeping backlogs, nepotism in the agency and favoritism that within a year led to a blistering state audit of its educator discipline process. Then-state Auditor Elaine Howle characterized the commission as one of the “worst-run” agencies she had ever investigated.

What LAUSD's new 'one stop shop' school choice system will (probably) look like

August 18 | 89.3 KPCC

By Kyle Stokes

Superintendent Michelle King wants Los Angeles Unified School District officials to speed their efforts to create a "one-stop shop" where parents can browse and apply for all the district's popular choice programs — like magnet schools, open enrollment and gifted programs — from a single website.

This week, King gave herself a deadline of bringing that site "fully online" during the 2017-18 school year, though members of the district working group on the project later added that it might only cover a limited geographic area or student age range in its first year.

Focus: Teacher 'chronic absence' rate exceeds students'

August 15 | San Diego Tribune

By Lauryn Schroeder

The federal government has begun putting together a regular report on how many students — and how many teachers — are “chronically absent” from school.

It turns out teachers get that label more than their pupils.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, nearly one out of every four teachers in San Diego County miss 10 or more school days per year, a threshold that triggers that label. Those absences don’t include professional development time off for training or in-service days.

How did LAUSD spend $450 million? Not on the high-needs students the money was for, state officials say

August 9 | LA Times

By Sonali Kohli

The Los Angeles Unified School District may soon have to redirect how it spends hundreds of millions of dollars in order to directly benefit the English learners, foster youth and low-income students for whom the state funding was earmarked.

This summer, the school district appealed state officials’ determination that it was not following the terms of a new state funding plan meant to direct more money to students who are costly and difficult to teach. 

On Friday, state education officials upheld the original decision, saying “LAUSD must revise its calculation” of how it accounted for $450 million in spending.

Federal education officials should tell California no

August 6 | San Diego Union-Tribune

By The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board

This week, state Board of Education President Michael Kirst and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a 10-page letter to the U.S. Education Department taking issue with how the federal government is implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a far-reaching 2015 law that replaced the oft-criticized No Child Left Behind Act enacted in 2002.

ESSA sharply reduces federal mandates that states must follow. But it includes a provision to ensure states make a good-faith effort to improve public schools: a requirement that all students’ progress be regularly measured and that states must intervene when schools rank in the bottom 5 percent of statewide assessments, have more than one-third of students drop out and repeatedly have ethnic groups with poor test results.

Kirst and Torlakson object to ESSA regulations that require each school be given a single score to assess its quality. 

Five molestation victims reach $5.4 million settlement with Fresno-area school district

August 1 | The Fresno Bee

By Pablo Lopez

Five students who accused a former superintendent/principal of the Orange Center Elementary School District of molesting them inside his office during the 2013-2014 school year have settled their civil lawsuits against the district for $5.4 million.