By Lillian Mongeau
Unlike Gov. Jerry Brown, several governors have started the year highlighting early childhood education programs, according to a story in Education Week.
Govs. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., Rick Snyder, R-Mich., and Mike Pence, R-Ind., all used January speeches to propose expansions of early childhood education programs in their states from state preschool to full-day kindergarten. Govs. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., and Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, also talked about the importance of investing in early childhood education in January speeches, according to the Education Week story.
via Several governors tackle early childhood education, but not Gov. Brown – by Lillian Mongeau.
By Trey Bundy and Shane Shifflett
The Napa Valley Unified School District had a quandary: The district needed a new high school in American Canyon, but taxpayers appeared unwilling to take the financial hit required to build it.
So in 2009, the district took out an unusual loan – $22 million with no payments due for 21 years. By 2049, when the debt is paid, it will have cost taxpayers $154 million – seven times the amount borrowed.
School board member Jose Hurtado said he stands by the deal. But if it were a mortgage, he acknowledged, “we would run.”
via Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’.
Join SCOE at Solano Community College on Saturday, March 9, for the Out-Of-The-Darkness 5K Walk to Save Lives. The Event will raise money for suicide prevention, mental health, and community program resources.
For more information: http://www.solanocoe.net/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=289146&id=0
via Join SCOE at Solano Community College on Saturday, March 9, for the Out-Of-The-D….
Halfway into the 2012-13 academic year, the number of homeless students being tracked countywide has fallen by more than 200 from the end of last year. The figures — from 1,536 at the end of 2011-12 to 1,328 now — come as some districts report more students without permanent homes while others reported fewer.
Becky Cruz, an educational liaison at the Solano County Office of Education in Fairfield, was unsure if, by year’s end, the numbers would improve or worsen.
“You can’t really predict what’s going to happen,” she said Wednesday, the day after she released SCOE’s midyear count of homeless students.
via Midyear report shows fewer homeless students in Solano County.
Students across Solano County now have a local chance to compete for science fair glory.
For the first time in 17 years, the Fairfield Science Fair has expanded to include the entire county, Marilyn Lewis said.
Lewis is a science teacher at Vanden Elementary School and directs the science fair in Fairfield.
“I took over running the fair about five years ago, and decided I’d like to expand it — get it bigger, and get more competition for the kids,” Lewis said.
via Solano County students invited to enter science fair in Fairfield.
By Kathryn Baron
Californians are expressing a long-lost sentiment: optimism. A new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found growing support for Gov. Brown, for his education finance proposal and for making it easier for local communities to pass parcel taxes to help fund their schools. Even support for the Legislature has climbed out of the dregs.
Californians and their Government found that more than two-thirds of adults – 69 percent – approve of the governor’s overall budget proposal, including 51 percent of registered Republicans. Support for his plan to overhaul education funding is higher; 75 percent of those polled favor his proposal for a local control funding formula with additional money going to schools serving large numbers of English learners and low-income students. Details of the proposal, showing how individual school districts would be affected by the new system, aren’t yet available.
via Californians upbeat on ed budget, poll finds – by Kathryn Baron.
‘Days of small K-3 classes likely over,” announced a recent Reporter headline atop a news article quoting education officials who predict that California’s attempt to cap at 20 the number of students in the primary grades would not be resumed.
One can only hope that these reports of class size reduction’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, because it’s hard to believe that cramming 30 or more 5-, 6- or 7-year-olds into a single classroom is an effective way to teach.
California launched class-size reduction in 1996 but, because it didn’t immediately cure every ill of public education, its effectiveness has been routinely called into question.
via Updated: January 31, 2013 1:02:39 AM PST.
A Vallejo elementary school was briefly locked down Wednesday after a caller threatened to bring a gun onto campus, police said.
The man, who did not identify himself, called the Pennycook Elementary School at 9:02 a.m. on Fernwood Drive in East Vallejo and said he was “not feeling well. He was a former student and he was going to come to school with a weapon,” Sgt. Herman Robinson said.
After receiving the call, school officials summoned police and put the facility on lockdown, which involves securing doors and windows, turning off lights and making sure students and staff are safe, officials said.
via Vallejo elementary school on brief lockdown after ‘prank’ threat.
By Donna Beth Weilenman, Staff Reporter
The Solano County Board of Education is seeking candidates to complete the term of Area 3 Trustee John Galvan, who resigned Jan. 9.
Galvan represented Benicia on the board. Area 3 also contains Glen Cove, parts of south Fairfield, Travis Air Force Base and Collinsville.
via County ed board has vacancy.
Coding isn’t just for computer whizzes, says Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab — it’s for everyone. In a fun, demo-filled talk Resnick outlines the benefits of teaching kids to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies — but also create them. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)
Mitch Resnick directs the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab, dedicated to helping kids of all ages tinker and experiment with design
via TED: Mitch Resnick: Let’s teach kids to code – Mitch Resnick (2012).
SCOE Adult Transition Classes competed in the Third Annual Matt Galindo Chili Cook-off on January 25. Chili was judged on aroma, color, consistency, taste, and aftertaste. Adult Transition teachers and their classes included: Aliya Cromartie’s class from the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School; Terrence Penzel’s, Judy Waelbrock’s, and Karla Buckley’s classes from the Golden Hills Education Center; and Lambert Kelly’s class from Elm School in Vacaville.
via SCOE Adult Transition Classes competed in the Third Annual Matt Galindo Chili Co….
Vacaville Unified School District leaders will consider and likely approve an interdistrict attendance agreement when they meet Thursday in Vacaville.
According to state law, school district governing boards may enter into such agreements for no more than five years. Also, as noted in the state Education Code, such agreements spell out the terms and conditions for interdistrict attendance.
via Vacaville Unified School District trustees to consider ….
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, Crystal Middle School will hold its First Semester Honor Awards assemblies. Students will be recognized for earning a cumulative 3.0 – 4.0 grade point average in first and second quarters this year. Sixth Grade assembly begins at 9:00 a.m., Seventh Grade at 10:00 a.m. and Eighth Grade at 11:00 a.m. Please join us in sharing Cougar PRIDE for academic success!
via Go Crystal Cougars!
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, Crystal Middle School will h….
After four years in office, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan still hasn’t won over local school board members.
But he keeps coming back, year after year, to tangle with members of the National School Boards Association during their federal meeting in Washington.
In remarks yesterday, he laid out the four tenets of his second-term agenda: more money to expand access to high-quality early education for disadvantaged children, reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (and following through on waivers), making good on President Obama’s goal to lead the world in college completion by 2020, and passing gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
via School Board Members to Arne Duncan: Back Off.
By Susan Frey
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranked California 7th for its charter school laws among the 42 states and the District of Columbia that have passed laws allowing charter schools. For the past four years, the alliance has compared the strength of each state’s charter laws with its own model law, which includes measurements of quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities compared with traditional schools, and no caps on charter school growth.
California received high marks for its variety of charters (start-ups, conversions of existing schools, and virtual schools) and for its automatic exemption of charters from collective bargaining agreements with unions.
via Report ranks California’s charter school laws 7th strongest in nation – by Susan Frey.
By John Fensterwald
A state commission has ruled that the state must reimburse school districts about $1 billion in mandated special education costs dating back 20 years. But like many protracted mandate cases, the victory is largely one of principle. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to include a small payback in next year’s budget, and the dollars will come from funding within Proposition 98, so it will essentially involve shifting education dollars around.
The unreimbursed expenses are for intervention plans for special education students identified with behavior problems. In the early 1990s the State Board of Education, under orders from the Legislature, prescribed interventions that teachers should incorporate into individual education plans, known as IEPs, according to Paul Golaszewski, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office who has followed the case.
via State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate – by John Fensterwald.
By Peter Schrag
Listening to the people at the State Department of Education who are charged with California’s transition to the new Common Core K-12 learning standards, as I did (twice) earlier this month, you’d have to conclude that it’s all going pretty well.
Everything’s on schedule, local districts are moving ahead to “varying degrees” to get ready, teachers are champing at the bit to be liberated from the chains of rote learning and fill-in-the-bubble multiple-choice tests, and there’ll be materials to support the new focus on analytical skills, critical thinking, problem solving and essay writing.
By spring 2015, the state officials say, the kids will be ready – many of them anyway – for the “Smarter Balanced” computer-based test assessments that will measure how well they’re doing. (Yes, Virginia, “smarter balanced” is a test, not a shoe or a brand of margarine.) Anyway, they say, local districts will have a lot of flexibility on when to get on board.
via Uncertainty and unknowns beneath the gloss of Common Core – by Peter Schrag.
Brianna Boyd, Editor
Hours after Governor Jerry Brown delivered his State of the State address Thursday, Dixon Unified’s board of trustees were reviewing his new budget proposal and its impacts on the local school district.
The document at this time is just a proposal and will likely go through many revisions and changes before it is approved by the legislature in June, said Dixon Unified’s Chief Business Official Cecile Nunley. But with what is known at this time, there are reasons to celebrate.
via Trustees review governor’s budget proposal