NPR Topics: Education: Healthier School Lunches May Leave Kids Hungry


Jessica Donze Black, director, Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, Pew Charitable Trusts
Ann Cooper, chef, director of food services, Boulder Valley School District
Kirsten Saenz Tobey, co-founder and chief innovation officer, Revolution Foods

In school cafeterias across the country, students are seeing big changes on their lunch trays. Responding to the growing childhood obesity epidemic, the USDA approved new rules for the federal school lunch program, the first such changes to student lunches in more than a decade.

via Healthier School Lunches May Leave Kids Hungry.

The Reporter: Solano County school districts favor Proposition 30

By Richard Bammer/

Area public school boards, like their counterparts statewide, have weighed in to support one or both state tax measures on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Vacaville Unified School District trustees recently unanimously voted to put their stamp of approval on Proposition 30, the so-called “governor’s initiative,” but stopped short of supporting the competing measure, Proposition 38, commonly called the “Munger initiative.” Their vote reflected the position adopted by the Vacaville Teachers Association.

In the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, trustees recently unanimously voted to endorse both, although the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association supports only Prop. 30.

via Solano County school districts favor Proposition 30.

The Reporter: Solano College Board District 7 hopeful Michael Martin wants more tech courses offered

By Richard Bammer/

A lifelong resident of Winters, Michael Martin believes community colleges are meant to serve area residents, and he wants to bring more career and technical training courses, such as welding and bio-technology, to Solano Community College’s Vacaville Center and its main Fairfield campus.

“Our community colleges are really for us,” said Martin, 64, a Winters farmer and Winters city councilman who seeks the Trustee Area 7 seat on the SCC governing board. He will face off against incumbent Phil McCaffrey Sr. on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Martin said his “strength” is “networking with decision-making people” in Yolo and Solano counties, in state and federal government, to promote job training and education.

via Solano College Board District 7 hopeful Michael Martin wants more tech courses ….

EdSource Today: New chancellor has strong support, tough job

By Kathryn Baron

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors unanimously named Dr. Brice Harris*, a longtime community college leader, as the 15th chancellor of the statewide higher education system. Just hours later he received an unexpected gift from Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed SB 1456, the Student Success Act of 2012, into law.

The bill, by Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), seeks to improve graduation and transfer rates at community colleges through better academic counseling and support services, setting tougher standards for students to receive fee waivers and requiring colleges to make public completion rates of students and progress toward closing the achievement gap.

via New chancellor has strong support, tough job – by Kathryn Baron.

EdSource Today: Once castigated, Commission on Teacher Credentialing is praised

By John Fensterwald

Eighteen months ago, State Auditor Elaine Howle called the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing one of the “worst-run” agencies she had investigated in a comment to the Sacramento Bee.

Howle had conducted a review at the Legislature’s request after reports surfaced that the Commission had been slow in investigating thousands of reports of arrest and prosecution against teachers – some involving criminal charges requiring automatic revocation of teaching credentials. There were also complaints of nepotism and employee intimidation. Several key administrators, including the executive director and chief counsel of the Commission, retired soon after.

via Once castigated, Commission on Teacher Credentialing is praised – by John Fensterwald.

EdSource Today: State Board gets authority to pare back 8th grade math standards

By John Fensterwald

Gov. Jerry Brown evidently agrees that California’s math standards should align more closely with the national Common Core standards. On Thursday, he signed SB 1200, which will allow the State Board to weed out the dozens of California state Algebra standards that were inserted two years ago with the adoption of Common Core as part of an ongoing, unresolved debate over what students should learn in eighth grade.

Advocates of SB 1200, which the Department of Education drafted, argue that the amalgamation of eighth grade standards created confusion for teachers and for publishers, who would have to design unique materials for California for an unwieldy course combining pre-Algebra and Algebra I. Critics, who include former State Board of Education Executive Director John Mockler, charged that SB 1200 will result in discouraging most students from taking Algebra I in eighth grade. That’s because removing the California standards will leave Common Core pre-Algebra standards as the default course for eighth grade.

via State Board gets authority to pare back 8th grade math standards – by John Fensterwald.

Dixon Tribune’s Facebook Wall: Tremont included in county’s School Commute Survey

Marilyn Sexton’s eyes lit up with excitement Thursday morning as she watched a family with three children all wearing helmets ride their bicycles and scooters across the intersection of Rehrmann Drive and Pheasant Run on their way to Tremont Elementary School.

Sexton, Tracy Nachand and Nazlin Huerta, all health education specialists with Solano County Health and Social Services, were standing at three different locations around Tremont Elementary with clipboards and pens in hand. They were counting the number of children walking to school, the number riding a bicycle or scooter, and whether or not they were wearing helmets or crossing streets safely.

At Sexton’s intersection, she counted 32 students walking to school, some with their parents, and children and adults all crossed the street safely. She also counted 13 students riding bicycles or scooters to school, and seven wore helmets.

via Tremont included in county’s School Commute Survey

Brianna Boyd

Daily Republic: Fairfield-Suisun schools chief announces plans to retire

FAIRFIELD — After 42 years in education, Fairfield-Suisun School District Superintendent Jacki Cottingim-Dias has announced her plan to retire in June.

Cottingim-Dias, 63, has spent the last five years as Fairfield-Suisun’s chief and her tenure will end June 30. She made the announcement at Thursday night’s board meeting. She said the timing was due to an item on the closed-session agenda that dealt with her position and wanted to quell any rumors before they started.

“Last year I looked at retirement and got talked into another year. And I’m happy I did,” Cottingim-Dias said after the meeting. “I’m going back to my research roots and will do some writing.”

via Fairfield-Suisun schools chief announces plans to retire.

California Watch: K–12: State reported inflated rate of teachers lacking credentials

Joanna Lin

The rate was startling: Nearly six in 10 teachers at California’s lowest-performing schools were not properly credentialed for the classes they led. It’s a rate California has worked to shrink for the past six years. It’s also a rate that was wrong.

The percentage of teachers and other certificated staff lacking proper credentials was actually 29 percent, not the 58 percent the state reported for the 2005-06 school year. The revelation, sparked by errors in state data identified by California Watch, means the state has been using an incorrect baseline as it measures progress at its lowest-performing schools.

Misassignments, as they’re known, have decreased dramatically since the state agreed to give the problem greater attention at low-performing schools. Unlike higher-performing schools, which are monitored every four years, the lowest-performing schools are monitored annually. The action was one of many stemming from the settlement of Williams v. California, a landmark class-action lawsuit that sought to ensure all students were taught by qualified, credentialed teachers.

via State reported inflated rate of teachers lacking credentials.

The Educated Guess: For-profit colleges ordered to be transparent

For-profit colleges will have to be more forthcoming about information they’ve considered proprietary up to now. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday that requires for-profit colleges to inform prospective students about their accreditation status, salaries, student loan default rates, and whether graduates have found work in the fields they were trained for.

“We want students to make informed choices before they make sizeable investments in their future,” said Assemblymember Marty Block, a San Diego Democrat who introduced AB 2296.  “The basic information required under this bill helps make students smart consumers, and will especially assist veterans as they seek to earn degrees and career training for their transition to civilian life.”

via For-profit colleges ordered to be transparent – by Kathryn Baron.

Suisun City Patch: Budget Matters and Text Books dominate FSUSD School Board meeting

The Governing Board of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District has a packed agenda to deal with during tonight’s meeting.


The board, which meets at 5 p.m. at 2490 Hillborn Road No. 108, in Fairfield, will be discussing high school proficiency, educational materials and money matters during the open portion of the agenda.


During a public hearing, the board will be asked to approve resolutions that certify the district will provide sufficient instructional materials for core areas and a certification of Provision of Standard-Aligned Instruction ACTION materials.

via Budget Matters and Text Books dominate School Board meeting.

The Reporter: Fairfield school leaders to hear final 2011-12 budget report

Fairfield school officials will hear the final report tonight concerning the 2011-12 budget and may enter the political fray by endorsing Measure Q, the Solano Community College bond measure on the November ballot.

When it meets in open session, the seven-member board of trustees likely will approve the unaudited actual financial statements for the last academic year. Kelly Morgan, assistant superintendent for business services, will deliver the report.

Among other action items are the governing board’s self-evaluation protocol, deferred maintenance funds and investing.

via Fairfield school leaders to hear final 2011-12 budget report.

Edutopia: Won’t Back Down: An Engaging and Misleading Film


Mark Phillips Teacher and Educational Journalist

The film Won’t Back Down is scheduled to open in wide release on September 28. Yet, weeks in advance of this date, there has been a veritable deluge of extremely strong emotional and critical responses. Both the film and the responses deserve our attention, because they are each symptomatic of the polarization that is plaguing both public education and national politics in this country. Every teacher and parent should see the film, but should also be fully prepared to view it critically.

via Won’t Back Down: An Engaging and Misleading Film.

EdSource Today: Brown signs bill moving API away from standardized tests

By John Fensterwald

Senate Bill 1458, which will shift California’s chief measure of a high school’s performance, from a near exclusive reliance on state test scores to a broader gauge of student accomplishment and preparation for college and the world of work, is now law.

After Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill Wednesday, its sponsor, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, predicted in a press release that the bill “will prove to be one of the most significant education reform bills of the decade.”

Starting in 2016, test results of the California Standards Tests will comprise no more than 60 percent of a high school’s Academic Performance Index, or API, the three-digit score that, next to a school’s mascot, has become its identity. Less prescriptive than last year’s version of the bill, which Brown vetoed with a caustic message, SB 1458 doesn’t dictate what the other elements comprising the 40 percent (or more) will be; the bill leaves that up to the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to determine. But it does makes clear that those measures should reflect success in preparing students for higher education and the workplace. Steinberg has said these elements might include high school and middle school graduation and dropout rates, or factors such as the proportion of students who pass Advanced Placement exams, are eligible for a four-year state university (complete the A-G course requirements), graduate without need for college remediation in English and math, or have completed a Partnership Academy program in a career pathway and qualified for college credit in that area.

via Brown signs bill moving API away from standardized tests – by John Fensterwald.

Daily Republic: T.C. McDaniel Center holds trike-a-thon

FAIRFIELD — Four-year-old Jocilyn Ortega had just spent some 20 minutes riding a tricycle around the school playground to the strains of “Chariots of Fire” and other music.

“Fun,” she said.

And, though she had to stop at that point, she had another preference.

“Keep going,” she said.

“Fun” and “keep going.” Those could have been slogans for the fifth annual T.C. McDaniel Center Trike-A-Thon on Wednesday.

via T.C. McDaniel Center holds trike-a-thon.

Daily Republic: Nelda Mundy celebrates high test scores

FAIRFIELD — The clinks and clanks of swinging medals were easily heard Wednesday even with a packed multipurpose room filled with of hyped-up children and parents at Nelda Mundy Elementary School.

“I’ve got to tell you, that sound is not annoying,” Principal Kristen Cherry said from the podium. “It’s awesome.”

Cherry was in the middle of awarding hundreds of medals to the children, rewarding the group for their work on the California Standardized Testing and Reporting results released earlier this month. That score was a 943 and upcoming scores are likely to be even higher.

She said the state has yet to make the scores official from the last round of testing. Still, Cherry said the school will come out between 950 and 955. That would place it first in the district, the county and the state when compared to similar schools, she said.

via Nelda Mundy celebrates high test scores.

The Reporter Columnist: No on Prop. 30: Don’t reward legislators with more tax money

By Earl Heal


This November, Sacramento politicians are asking voters to increase their taxes with a yes vote on Proposition 30. The politicians say that if you vote yes on these tax increases, it will help balance the budget, prevent further cuts to schools and fund local public safety. They threaten us with further cuts to education if we do not vote yes.But while threats of further cuts are being made, they are increasing their spending, preventing real reforms to the budget, pensions and spending, and not properly managing the money they currently have. Staff members have recently received a salary increase at an annual cost of $4.6 million.

Proposition 30 will increase taxes by $50 billion. The sales tax for all Californians will increase by more than $1 billion every year and will become the highest in the nation. Income tax for individuals and small businesses (3.8 million of them that file as individuals) will increase by up to 32 percent. In return, voters get no reform.

via No on Prop. 30: Don’t reward legislators with more tax money

Benicia Herald: Campaign urges students to walk, bike to school

By Donna Beth Weilenman
Staff Reporter

Youngsters attending all four of Benicia’s elementary schools will be urged to walk or ride their bicycles to and from class next week, especially Wednesday, said Marilyn M. Sexton, health education specialist of Solano County Health and Social Services.

Fourteen schools throughout Solano County are participating in Wednesday’s International Walk and Ride to School Day, up from a mere five schools the previous year, Sexton said.

While part of the purpose of the weeklong event is to promote public safety by encouraging children to wear helmets while on bicycles and other wheeled transport and to follow sensible rules, such as stopping and looking both ways before walking across a street, it also is to encourage activity.

via Campaign urges students to walk, bike to school.

TIME Ideas: Why Third Grade Is So Important: The ‘Matthew Effect’

By Annie Murphy Paul

Take a guess: What is the single most important year of an individual’s academic career? The answer isn’t junior year of high school, or senior year of college. It’s third grade.

What makes success in third grade so significant? It’s the year that students move from learning to read — decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet — to reading to learn. The books children are expected to master are no longer simple primers but fact-filled texts on the solar system, Native Americans, the Civil War. Children who haven’t made the leap to fast, fluent reading begin at this moment to fall behind, and for most of them the gap will continue to grow. So third grade constitutes a critical transition — a “pivot point,” in the words of Donald J. Hernandez, a professor of sociology at CUNY–Hunter College. A study Hernandez conducted, released last year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that third-graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times more likely to become high school dropouts.

via Why Third Grade Is So Important: The ‘Matthew Effect’.

SCOE’s Facebook Wall: Register today for a SCOE workshop on Social and Emotional Learning

Register today for a SCOE workshop on Social and Emotional Learning presented by Larry Newman on Tuesday, October 16. Newman, a former classroom teacher, has worked with more than 3,000 school districts in 30 states and Canada.

Social and Emotional Learning focuses on helping students increase their mastery of subject material, build their motivation to learn, and renew their commitment to school and schoolwork. In addition, Newman will share strategies for improving attendance, increasing graduation rates, and prospects for constructive employment by reducing suspensions, expulsions, and grade retentions.

For more information:

via Register today for a SCOE workshop on Social and Emotional Learning presented by….

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