Bill Gates gets involved in Education –

Guys, you aren’t going to believe this…Bill Gates and his wife spend a lot of money to influence education policy.

This testing story from Tennessee is pretty fantastic. You’re a state and your testing company isn’t doing a great job for you so you bring in another company to help with capacity and then – surprise! – the second company is owned by the first company. And neither company is named Pearson!

Anyway, I’m always struck how in any conversation about testing things immediately turn to Pearson – certainly a major player – but you don’t hear a lot about ETS, one of the two companies involved here or the American Institutes for Research, another major vendor.


Leaven mentor nominated for 95.3 KUIC ‘Teacher of the Month’ – Daily Republic

By Ashley Ching

May, National Teacher Appreciation Month, is a time to show gratitude for the educators who have done so much for us. Not only have teachers taught us essential skills like literacy and arithmetic, but they have also served as our cherished mentors and role models.

Great educators like this are found at The Leaven, a Fairfield-based tutoring program that has earned national recognition by Dr. Phil. Within the rapidly growing grassroots organization, The Leaven benefits at-risk youth in many ways. It helps students succeed in school, including reading and comprehension; it provides positive role models for its students; and it reduces crime as residents become active in making their communities safer.

Source: Leaven mentor nominated for 95.3 KUIC ‘Teacher of the Month’

Teachers Have the Nation’s Highest Retirement Costs – Education Next

By Chad Aldeman

As teachers have staged walkouts and strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and perhaps Arizona, most of the news coverage has focused on big-picture questions about state education budgets or average teacher salaries. But this misses a large trend going on in the background — teachers, like other workers in the American economy, are forgoing base salary increases in favor of in-kind benefits.

In 2016, I wrote a paper called “The Pension Pac-Man,” attempting to raise awareness of these issues. Using national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, I found that teacher salaries hadn’t increased, in inflation-adjusted terms, since the early 1990s. But while base teacher salaries have not risen, total teacher compensation has, driven by large increases in health care and retirement costs. That is, there’s a growing disconnect between what teachers are paid and what their employers pay for them.

This trend has accelerated rapidly over the past 10 years. Across the country, benefit costs are increasing much faster than salaries. At some level, this trend is playing out across the broader American economy as the baby boom generation begins to retire and as health care costs have soared. Over the past decade, civilian employers have paid average annual wage increases of 2.3 percent, their health care contributions have risen by 3.2 percent, and retirement costs have increased by 4.9 percent a year.

Source: Teachers Have the Nation’s Highest Retirement Costs. But They’ll Never See the Benefits – Education Next : Education Next

First 5 Solano starts $200K annual grant program – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

First 5 Solano has launched a $200,000 grant program for one-time projects that address the needs of children up to 5 years old, caregivers – including parents and guardians – and service providers.

“The purpose of the annual grants program is to provide an opportunity for the First 5 Solano Commission to consider grant requests that fill community gaps, pilot new or innovative ideas, or address time-sensitive community needs,” a statement released by the county Administrator’s Office said.

“All projects proposed for the annual grants fund must support First 5 Solano’s mission to promote, support and improve the lives of young children, their families and their communities,” the statement said.

Source: First 5 Solano starts $200K annual grant program

What It Takes To Be A Top School Leader – Forbes

Big, medium or small, urban, suburban or rural, school districts all over the country need a leader, usually a superintendent.

It’s not an easy job, particularly in this time of school violence, teacher strikes, school funding woes and controversy over widespread testing and how student perform.

How do superintendents pull it off?

For an answer, I found a great source: David R. Schuler, the 2018 National Superintendent of the Year.

Source: What It Takes To Be A Top School Leader

Benicia Middle School pitches in to help fellow student – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

March 26 to 29 was March Madness Spirit Week at Benicia Middle School, where students got to show their school pride by dressing up and partaking in various activities. They also had their annual coin drive sponsored by the leadership class, where students donate money to a particular cause. Past donors have included the Humane Society of the North Bay and Faith Food Fridays. This year, students decided to raise money for one of their peers.

In December, seventh-grader Sunni Dae Ross was diagnosed with a brain tumor which was removed the following month. Ross soldiered on by continuing to attend school amidst her health issues. She notes that she is feeling positive but is limited in what she can do.

Source: Benicia Middle School pitches in to help fellow student

How Much Would it Cost to Get All Students Up to Average? | US News

By The Hechinger Report

How much does it cost to educate a child? It often feels like policymakers pick numbers out of a hat. Utah spends less than $7,000 a year on a student from kindergarten through high school. New York spends more than $20,000, federal data show. Within the state of Illinois, a wealthy district typically spends $3,400 more than a poor district, according to a February 2018 study by The Education Trust, a nonprofit group that conducts research and advocates for low-income students. Cost of living differences account for some of these gaps but not all or even most of them, says Ary Amerikaner of Education Trust.

Now a team of five researchers from Rutgers University in collaboration with the Education Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization, has created a complicated model that predicts how much money it would cost each school district in America to get its students to reach average test scores in math and reading, as recorded from 2013 to 2015. This is not a particularly ambitious goal; the average test score in the U.S. is well below what is considered “proficient” for each grade level.

Source: How Much Would it Cost to Get All Students Up to Average? | National News | US News

Solano County to host resource fair and launch website for people with disabilities – The Reporter

In observance of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Solano County Health and Social Services, in partnership with the DisABILITY Planning Group, will host a Disabilities Resource Fair from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the County Events Center, 601 Texas Street in Fairfield. This event is free and open to the public.

At the resource fair, the County will unveil the — Disabilities website, an online hub of resources, services, health topics and events designed specifically for Solano residents with disabilities. Like its sister site, this one-stop resource website provides people with disabilities, their family members, caregivers, and health care professionals a means to easily look up disability-related information.

Key features of the website include a comprehensive service directory of local, state and national resources, community calendar, learning center, nationwide news stories and health library. The website aims to empower people with disabilities by providing them a streamlined platform to find resources in an easy-to-read format. is ADA-compliant and available in multiple languages.

Source: Solano County to host resource fair and launch website for people with disabilities

First 5 Solano announces Children’s Month grants – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

First 5 Solano has several grants of up to $300 each available to fund events and observances that celebrate and recognize children in the community.

Events may include education about the health, development, safety and school readiness of children from birth to 5 years old or may be recognizing “April Children’s Month” observances, such as Week of the Young Child, Children’s Memorial Flag Day, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CASA Light of Hope Day, Month of the Military Child, National Spank-Out Day, Victims of Crime Week, and El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros Day.

Source: First 5 Solano announces Children’s Month grants

Leading Democratic candidates for California governor offer visions for education | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg

California voters interested in the future of education in California will make a pivotal decision when they go to the polls twice next year to elect a successor to Gov. Jerry Brown, whose record four terms are drawing to a close.

The primary election will be held exactly six months from now (on June 5, 2018). The general election will be held on Nov. 6. The four leading Democratic candidates to replace him are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Assembly Speaker and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and former State Controller and current State Treasurer John Chiang. Because of Democratic dominance in statewide elections, it is a virtual certainty that one of them will be elected governor.

In the latest PPIC poll of registered voters, conducted between Nov. 10 and Nov. 19, Newsom was still leading the field, although narrowly. He received 23 percent voter support, compared to 18 percent for Villaraigosa. Chiang got 9 percent support, and Eastin 6 percent. But large proportion of voters — 30 percent — are undecided. The two leading GOP candidates — businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen — received 9 percent and 6 percent support respectively.

Source: Where they stand: leading Democratic candidates for California governor offer visions for education | EdSource

School Voucher Programs Should Be Clear About Disability Rights, GAO Report Says : NPR Ed

By Cory Turner

A new report from the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office says many of the nation’s voucher programs — and the private schools that participate in them — aren’t giving parents the information they need to make an informed choice, especially parents of kids with disabilities.

Federal law says that students with disabilities are entitled to certain protections when they attend public school (more on those in a minute). If parents use a publicly funded voucher to enroll their child in a private school, they leave many of those protections behind. Some families do this knowingly, trading federal guarantees in a cash-strapped public school for the hope of something better on the private market.

Source: School Voucher Programs Should Be Clear About Disability Rights, GAO Report Says : NPR Ed : NPR

5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management | Edutopia

By Samer Rabadi and Betty Ray

Effective classroom management requires awareness, patience, good timing, boundaries, and instinct. There’s nothing easy about shepherding a large group of easily distractible young people with different skills and temperaments along a meaningful learning journey.

So how do master teachers do it?

To get a deeper understanding of experienced teachers’ go-to classroom management strategies, we took an informal poll on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet for classroom management success. That said, as we pored over the more than 700 responses, we did see some clear trends. Here are the most often cited and creative approaches.

Source: 5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management | Edutopia

California’s school war flares up on 3 fronts – Daily Republic

By Dan Walters

Three recent and seemingly discreet events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated.

The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.

The battle has been waged in the Legislature, before the state school board and local boards and quite often in the legal arena.

Source: CALmatters Commentary: California’s school war flares up on 3 fronts

State Controller posts pay info on some K-12 staff – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Controller Betty T. Yee has updated the Government Compensation in California website to include 2016 self-reported salary and benefits data for K-12 education employers, including public school districts, charter schools and county offices of education.

The data, which can be found at, covers 634,314 positions across the state and more than $25.55 billion in wages.

But in Solano County, however, pay information for most school districts and employees was not reported.

Here’s why:

While cities, counties, and special districts are required to report salary and benefits data to the State Controller, K-12 education employers, that is, school districts, are voluntary reporters, said Taryn Kinney, a spokeswoman for Yee’s office.

Yee — who, as the chief fiscal officer of California, is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s taxpayer-funded resources — requested data from more than 1,900, K-12 school districts. However, only 514 chose to report “in the interest of transparency,” Kinney wrote in a press release issued Wednesday.

Source: State Controller posts pay info on some K-12 staff

Child Haven shares plans for holiday luncheon – The Reporter

By Daily Republic Staff

The 29th annual Child Haven Holiday Luncheon, Toy Drive and Raffle is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at The Clubhouse at Rancho Solano, 3250 Rancho Solano Parkway.

Proceeds benefit Child Haven, which, since 1983, has offered therapeutic services for children traumatized by abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, domestic and community-based violence.

Source: Child Haven shares plans for holiday luncheon

Seal on diploma will be badge of honor for civically active California students | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Johnny Rebel, the 20-foot tall mural of a Civil war soldier carrying a rifle, may soon be sanded and scraped off the gym wall and into the dustbin of history at Savanna High in Southern California.

All because students got involved and came up with a recommendation for their school board.

Their work is just the type of civic engagement that in the future should earn students a California Seal of Civic Engagement, said Michelle Herczog, a history consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and activist for civics education. When first awarded, probably in 2021, students who put good grades in civics, social studies and government to good use in the community will see the seal affixed to their high school diploma.

Source: Seal on diploma will be badge of honor for civically active California students | EdSource

School garden grants available through Western Growers – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Western Growers Foundation has grants up to $1,500 available to support school gardens.

Any public, charter or private school that has a school garden program or wants to start one, or any school district or nonprofit that supports school gardens, can apply for the grants.

Source: School garden grants available through Western Growers

Early Edge California appoints new executive director to lead early education efforts | EdSource

By Ashley Hopkinson

One of the state’s leading child advocacy organizations, Early Edge California, has appointed a new executive director.

Patricia Lozano will succeed Deborah Kong, who has been executive director since January 2014. Lozano has extensive experience in early childhood policy and research, as well as dual language education. She will continue the organization’s work in promoting increased access early education and steering policy strategies to attract and retain a quality early education workforce for California, according to a statement.Patricia Lozano has been appointed the new executive director of Early Edge California.

“We are thrilled that Patricia Lozano is taking the helm at Early Edge,” said Catherine Atkin, chair of the Early Edge California Advisory Committee and executive director of The Early Learning Lab. “As Early Edge California’s advocacy and policy for quality early learning grows, she brings a deep commitment to supporting educators and improving the early care and education of California’s children.”

Source: Early Edge California appoints new executive director to lead early education efforts | EdSource

State could reap big economic benefits with later school start time | EdSource

By Theresa Harrington

While California legislators debate a bill to ban secondary schools from starting before 8:30 a.m., a new report shows the change could contribute $10.2 billion to the state’s economy within 10 years and $24.8 billion after two decades.

In fact, if all schools nationwide were to convert to this later start time, the RAND Corporation and RAND Europe found that the U.S. economy would get an $83 billion boost within a decade.

The RAND report released Wednesday is the first-ever economic analysis of 47 states based on a shift in school start times. It is a follow-up to research by RAND Europe in 2016 that found insufficient sleep among U.S. workers causes economic losses of up to $411 billion a year.

Source: State could reap big economic benefits with later school start time | EdSource

How To Counter Back-To-School Anxiety : NPR Ed

By Elissa Nadworny

The start of the school year can be rough on some kids. It’s a big shift from summer’s freedom and lack of structure to the measured routines of school. And sometimes that can build up into tears, losing sleep, outbursts and other classic signs of anxiety.

“Going back to school is a transition for everyone,” says Lynn Bufka, a practicing psychologist who also works at the American Psychological Association. “No matter the age of the child, or if they’ve been to school before.”

In the vast majority of cases, this is pretty standard stuff. It doesn’t mean it’s not painful — for you and your kids. Just watch this viral video — (Andrew is now in first grade and doing fine).

“If you see that in your kids, don’t panic,” says John Kelly, a school psychologist in Long Island, N.Y. “For most kids, there’s gonna be some level of anxiety.”

Source: How To Counter Back-To-School Anxiety : NPR Ed : NPR