The elections this year offer the first statewide look at Californians’ willingness to raise revenue for their local schools since passage of Proposition 30, the tax initiative to benefit education that voters passed in November 2012. While it’s too early to know how many local school districts will test the waters by placing a construction bond or parcel tax on the ballot, there are undercurrents in our new survey that spell trouble ahead for local school ballot measures. In short, the public’s sense that schools are in crisis has diminished.
Our annual PPIC Statewide Survey on Californians and Education shows that likely voters view fiscal conditions in education as generally improving. The proportion who say that the state budget situation is a “big problem” for California’s K–12 public education has dropped by 10 points—from 72 percent to 62 percent—between April 2012 and today. More importantly, the proportion of likely voters saying that the level of current state funding for their local public schools is “not enough” has also dropped by 10 points between April 2012 and today—from 59 percent to 49 percent. In other words, the likely voters who currently view state funding of their
The good news is that California’s graduation rate is climbing steadily. The bad news is that there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure all youth get a high school diploma, state officials said Monday.
In releasing the latest graduation data, the state Department of Education announced that 80.2 percent who started high school in 2009 graduated with their class four years later — an increase of 1.3 percent over the previous year.
The Vallejo City Unified School District is also seeing a similar trend of improved graduation rates, local officials announced.
I must have schools on the brain — where-ever I look, education is in the news.
Neel Kashkari, one of the Republican challengers for the Governor, just released a 30 page policy statement about improving education. Some of his ideas are good ideas. None of them will pass into law. Should Mr Kashkari get elected — a long shot, as Gov. Brown already has $20 Million in his campaign coffers — these proposals will all be quickly stabbed to death by the Legislature.
He would eliminate much of the state Education Code — not a bad idea, considering it fills more than 10 thick law books. Mr Kashkari would also have most state moneys sent directly to the schools, by-passing the district offices. Charter schools function this way, and there could be some advantages. Likewise, he proposes lengthening the school day, and merit pay for teachers. All worthy of debate, but DOA in the Legislature.
LOS ANGELES—For the fourth year in a row, California’s graduation rate climbed as the dropout rate fell, particularly for students of color, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
More than eight out of 10 students statewide, or 80.2 percent, who started high school in 2009-10 graduated with their class in 2013. That is up 1.3 percentage points from the year before (Table 1). Graduation rates among African-American and Hispanic students climbed faster than the statewide average, although the rates remained lower overall. Among African-American students, 67.9 percent graduated with their class in 2013, up 1.9 percentage points from the year before. Among Hispanic students, 75.4 percent graduated with their class, up 1.7 percentage points from the year before (Tables 2 and 3).
“For the first time in our state’s history, more than 80 percent of our students are graduating—a clear sign of their hard work and the support they receive from their teachers, families, and communities,” Torlakson said. “We are continuing toward our goal of graduating 100 percent of our students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed.”
Members of the GrizzlyBots robotics team from Grange Middle School won the Amaze Award for their top-performing robot at the Vex world championships at the Anaheim Convention Center.
“I’m very proud of them,” said Diane Halsey, algebra teacher and coach of the Grange team.
Grange students Josh Purvis, Samuel Deal, Wendy Martinez, Evan Poston, Cassie Reyes, Nathalie So and Trinity So traveled to Southern California for the event, which began Wednesday and ended Saturday. A total of 760 teams from around the world qualified. More than 15,000 people participated using custom-built and programmed robots.
Sometimes, being a superhero means fixing leaky faucets and remembering to turn off the garden hose.
“Everybody is a superhero when saving water. You don’t need special powers,” said Dylan Deleon, 8, a third-grader at Wardlaw Elementary School and first place winner in his division for this year’s Vallejo City Unified School district Earth Day contest.
This is the fourth year the district has held an Earth Day contest, this time asking students to design a bookmark for the theme “We’re in a drought, help us out.” Previous years involved creating banners, posters or light switch plates.
A Saturday event at a Vallejo church called for the local African American faith community to become more involved in efforts to improve the educational standards for the city’s youth.
The event at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church featured guest speaker, the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, a civil rights icon and pastor of the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. Brown also studied under Martin Luther King, Jr.
Saying “I just wasn’t sure of myself,” Solano County elementary spelling champion Francisco Agbayani of Vacaville stumbled on “plumage” and was eliminated during Round 2 Saturday at the California State Elementary Bee.
“I feel pretty disappointed,” Agbayani, a sixth-grader at Browns Valley Elementary School, said after the event, held at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton. “I could have done better.”
His mother and spelling coach, Joannalyn Agbayani, noted that he misspelled “plumage” during practice, spelling it with two m’s instead of one.
“Sometimes the child is over-practiced,” said Joannalyn, calling spelling bees in general “a game of chance.”
Solano Resource Conservation District’s 2014 Solano County Creek Biomonitoring Program is working with 300 high school and junior college students to study macroinvertebrates in local creeks.
Macroinvertebrates are small animals without a backbone that you can see with the naked eye.
Students study creek ecology and learn what the tiny aquatic insects tell about the health of local creeks in their watershed. Almost all of these students also participated in restoration work in the Blue Rock Springs Creek Corridor in Vallejo, working with Solano RCD restoration staff to help plant 12,000 native grass plugs and 1,200 trees and shrubs.
This is the eighth year of the biomonitoring program, and given California’s ongoing drought state and the late storms of this season, our stud
To even out the boom-and-bust revenue cycles that can particularly destabilize education funding, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a separate reserve for K-12 schools and community colleges in his revised plan for a rainy day fund.
But that lock box for education would gather dust most years because of the tight restrictions that Brown is proposing, according to analysts who have looked at the proposal. It would likely be the end of the decade before one of the preconditions for making an initial deposit is met, and even then, the rules for diverting money from Proposition 98, the main source of funding for schools, would be restrictive.
It’s a gift that has teachers throughout Solano County singing and playing a happy tune these days.
For the past four years, Vacaville residents Donald and Rose Marie Wong have given musical grants through a permanently endowed fund at the Solano Community Foundation to various teachers in the area.
It’s filled a void as school districts lost funding, pushing the arts by the wayside. This year, 12 music teachers were the recipients of grants totaling $20,800, some even receiving more than their grant application requested.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a sweeping gun bill into law this week that will lift many firearms restrictions in bars, churches, and government buildings and under certain conditions when it goes into effect July 1. The new law will also allow a person with written authorization from a public or private school or higher education institution to carry a gun on school property.
State proposals to lift restrictions on concealed carry in schools experienced a surge in popularity as legislatures rushed to shore up school safety plans following the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. An Education Week analysis of more than 450 school safety related bills filed in 2013 legislative sessions found 84 proposals related to arming school employees and 73 proposals related to easing gun restrictions in certain areas, including school grounds.
To weather deep cuts in public school funding, many California school districts shifted much-needed dollars away from repairing and maintaining their buildings to keep teachers in the classroom and save instructional programs from being eliminated.
Now, the state’s new funding formula, which allocates much of the increased school revenue to high-needs students, provides some latitude for districts to fix their ailing buildings too.
While there has been an assumption that only base grant dollars — the funds allocated to districts for all students — can be used for building repairs and improvements, that’s not necessarily the case under the Local Control Funding Formula’s current regulations. But what’s considered an allowable use of money targeted for high-needs students – defined as English-language learners, low-income children and foster youth – gets somewhat murky when it comes to school facilities.
For the first time since 2008, the Battle of the Books commenced with a concentrated silence of fourth- and fifth-graders at the Suisun Elementary School multipurpose room Thursday.
The Battle of the Books is a competition that is concentrated on a pre-selected set of nine books. The goal is to answer questions that come from the books and earn points for your team. The winning team is the one that answers the most questions correctly in the competition.
The Vallejo school board discussed Wednesday an agreement to resolve an investigation by the federal Office of Civil Rights in relation to the districts disciplining of African American students.
Much of the agreement instructs the Vallejo City Unified School District to continue with programs and alternative discipline initiatives established during Superintendent Ramona Bishops tenure, said Phillip Shelley, the districts director of school management and support.
“In a sense, the Office of Civil Rights is saying to Vallejo to continue the work youre doing,” he said.