By Lanz Christian Bañes Times-Herald staff writer/
It’s not every day that a bunch of kids can step into a multi-million dollar recording studio.
But that’s just what happened Tuesday when the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus paid a visit to Beverly Hills Elementary School.
“I like it,” said a smiling Jaida Davis, a 9-year-old fourth-grader who spent time spinning fresh beats just outside the bus.
Now in its 15th year, this is the first time the mobile recording studio has visited Vallejo. Principal Rosalyn Davis said one of her fifth-grade teachers, Tracey Carr, contacted the nonprofit organization many months ago.
via Vallejo students channel former Beatle during John Lennon ….
by Nirvi Shah
Researchers in Georgia have developed two new tools designed to better understand and detect autism, including a system that uses glasses to track where children look and facial-analysis software to identify when a child makes eye contact with the person wearing the glasses.
That device, developed at Georgia Tech’s Center for Behavior Imaging, uses a commercially available pair of glasses that records the focal point of their wearer’s gaze. In a study at the school’s Child Study Lab, researchers took video of a child captured by a front-facing camera on the glasses, which were worn by an adult interacting with the child. The video was then processed using facial-recognition software. The result is a system able to detect eye contact in an interaction with a 22-month-old with 80 percent accuracy, the university said. Here’s a video of what this looks like.
via High-Tech Tools Developed to Detect, Study Autism.
by Alyson Klein
Mitt Romney told NBC’s Brian Williams today that he doesn’t think the federal government should provide support—financial or otherwise—for common standards, which have been adopted by forty-six states and the District of Columbia.
Instead, the Republican presidential nominee thinks states alone should pony up the money for their implementation. The Obama administration has allocated $360 million to two consortia of states to help develop tests that align with the standards, which were created through a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. And the administration gave states that adopted the standards an edge in the Race to the Top competition.
“I don’t happen to believe that every time there’s an initiative that comes along, the federal government should finance it,” Romney said during NBC’s Education Nation, noting that the state he governed, Massachusetts, was able to boost its standards without having any extra federal funding.
via Romney: No Federal Support for Common Core.
By John Fensterwald
Financially threatened high school career academies will get a lifeline and new career tech programs will get a lift, now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation committing $68 million for those and related projects over the next two years.
SB 1070 will sustain the career technology programs in high schools and community colleges that were to lose their funding and authorization at the end of this fiscal year in June. Now they will have additional time, and the Legislature will have two more years, to consider their future. The bill’s author is Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who has been a CTE champion in the Legislature.
The chief beneficiary will be 163 California Partnership Academies, about a third of the total 503 in the state, that were started three years ago under another bill that Steinberg sponsored. Their funding will continue through June 2015.
via New 2-year lease on life for 163 Partnership Academies – by John Fensterwald.
by Scripps Howard News Service
The high school class of 2012 has taken its College Board exams and the results are not good, showing the nation still hasn’t cracked the code of how to deliver a quality secondary education to large numbers of students from diverse backgrounds.
The results are dismaying because they come after a decade of No Child Left Behind. If that law forces teachers, as critics allege, to “teach to the test,” it is not this test they are teaching to.
The test is divided into three parts, critical reading, writing and math. A perfect score on each section is 800 — 2,400 if the student aces all three.
via SATs show declining level of college readiness.
by Danny Bernardini
FAIRFIELD — School trustees will meet Thursday to discuss changes and updates to board protocol.
The Fairfield-Suisun School District Board of Trustees meets at 6 p.m. to discuss new protocol, which is a result of work done by the Board Governance Subcommittee. These changes were last discussed by the subcommittee at the Sept. 11 meeting.
Most of the information is cleaning up language and confirming order or business for the board. The updates are being made to keep the district in compliance with state standards.
via School district to review board protocol.
Solano County Office of Education’s Facebook Wall
Register today for Building a Safe School Climate: Bullying Prevention and Conflict Management on Monday, October 15.
This workshop is designed to teach concrete, immediate, and experiential prevention and intervention skills that deal wit
h the issues of conflict, anger, and bullying. Educators will learn what triggers conflict and anger; examine various conflict styles; explore competition as a possible root of conflict.
Registration deadline is Monday, October 1. For more information: http://www.solanocoe.net/apps/events/2012/9/15/1276629/?id=0&REC_ID=1276629
via Register today for Building a Safe School Climate: Bullying Prevention and Confl….
Gov. Jerry Brown and civil rights attorney Molly Munger appear to be heading toward a direct clash over rival tax increase measures that could doom both.
Brown’s $6 billion per year sales and income tax increase, Proposition 30, barely tops 50 percent in recent polls of likely voters. Munger’s $10 billion income tax boost for schools, Proposition 38, falls short of a majority.
Brown attempted to persuade Munger to drop her measure, worried that having both on the ballot would alienate voters, but she refused. His campaign then publicly urged Munger to avoid attacks on Proposition 30, clearly fearing that they would threaten its passage.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/25/4851442/dan-walters-jerry-brown-molly.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy
via Dan Walters: Jerry Brown, Molly Munger gearing up for battle.
by Alyson Klein
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Education committee, is worried that the department isn’t holding states’ feet to the fire when it comes to monitoring graduation rates in states that have received waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.
In fact, Miller wrote Secretary of Education Arne Duncan a letter last Friday, saying, basically, that he’s worried that states are trying to wiggle out of the graduation reporting regulations that former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings put in place just before she left office in 2008. Those rules required states to use a uniform metric for calculating grad rates.
via Miller to Duncan: Waivers May Offer Too Much Leeway On Grad Rates.
By John Fensterwald
The pension reforms passed in June, paring back the benefits for new teachers and administrators, will knock off $189 million per year from the additional payments taxpayers must make to keep the California State Teachers’ Retirement System solvent over the next 30 years.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that this represents only about 6 percent of the extra $3.25 billion annually that CalSTRS actuaries are saying is needed to erase the system’s current $65 billion unfunded liability. That liability is the debt that taxpayers owe to future pensioners to compensate for shortfalls in CalSTRS’ income on investments following the Wall Street implosion in 2008. CalSTRS is still recovering from that with $152 billion in assets in July, still $20 billion below a high of $172 billion in 2007.
via Reform by the ounce, unfunded pension debt by the pound – by John Fensterwald.
by Bud Stevenson
Have you decided how you’re going to vote on Propositions 30 and 38, which would put into effect tax increases, allegedly for education?
Proposition 30 is Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet tax project: it would raise taxes progressively on those earning more than $250,000. Proposition 38 is more “democratic,” since the tax increases would fall progressively on those earning as little as $7,317, with a tax of four-tenths of one percent.
Both propositions are devoted primarily to K-12 education, but one-third of Proposition 38’s revenue would be dedicated to paying down existing bond debt.
via Say no to state tax measures.
by Heather Ah San
FAIRFIELD — Fourth-grade student Kevin Melendez didn’t always like vegetables — like most children his age.
Melendez enjoyed “potato french fries” and still does. But since the Food Bank of Solano introduced some new foods to him, his palate expanded.
“My favorite is carrots,” Melendez said eagerly.
His least favorite? Sweet potatoes, event even the french-fry version.
via Farm 2 Kids brings produce to students at no cost.
SACRAMENTO—SAT® results released today by The College Board show that for the first time, Latino students in California public* schools represented a larger percentage of SAT test-takers than any other ethnic group.
Reflecting the state’s growing diversity, nearly 70 percent of California’s public school test-takers in the Class of 2012 were minority students, and of those, 36 percent—or 69,832 students—were Latino. This compares to 29 percent—or 56,590 test-takers—who were white; 22 percent—or 42,121 test-takers—who were Asian; and 7 percent—or 13,101 test-takers—who were African American.
via SAT Results for 2012.
SACRAMENTO—Forty-two percent of California schools participated in the first of six surveys scheduled in a nationwide effort to gauge readiness for new on-line assessments, prompting State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson to urge more schools to take part in the future.
“We know our schools already face enormous day-to-day challenges—but we also need to understand what issues they face as we move to online testing over the next few years,” Torlakson said. “We know this effort will take time, energy and resources— all of which are in short supply. That’s why we need the broadest participation possible in this survey, so that we provide as much assistance as possible to schools as they make the transition to 21st-century testing.”
via Technology Readiness Tool Survey.
by Kathryn Baron
Gov. Jerry Brown signed three of the bills calling for alternatives to student suspensions and expulsions, and vetoed a fourth. Two other measures are still awaiting his action.
The governor approved AB 1729 by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, AB 2537 by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, a Democrat from Coachella, and SB 1088, introduced by Democratic Senator Curren Price of Los Angeles.
Ammiano’s bill gives principals and superintendents more discretion to use alternatives to suspension or expulsion, as long as they’re age appropriate and are targeted to change the student’s behavior. Options could include positive behavior interventions, participation in a program like restorative justice, or a conference with the student’s parents, teachers, and school administrators. Schools have to document the efforts.
via Three up, one down for student discipline reforms – by Kathryn Baron.
Solano County Office of Education’s Facebook Wall
SCOE’s second meeting of the Secondary Academic Institute for Leaders (SAIL) brought administrators and teacher together on September 20 to look at the School Improvement Network’s Professional Development 360 (PD 360) and the California Common Core Standards. PD 360 is a professional development tool that helps all students reach college and career readiness. PD 360 provides the largest online library of differentiated training videos for educators, an online professional learning community, and innovative tools for administrators and teachers. For more information: http://www.solanocoe.net/apps/events/2012/8/20/1223183/?id=0&REC_ID=1223183
via SCOE’s second meeting of the Secondary Academic Institute for Leaders (SAIL) bro….
The centerpiece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax increase measure, Proposition 30, is a $5 billion a year boost in income taxes on about 150,000 high-income individuals and families – the 1 percenters who already pay 40 percent of California’s income taxes.
Their marginal income tax rate, now 9.3 percent, would increase by one, two or three percentage points for seven years.
For those with more than $1 million in taxable income, the top rate would hit 13.3 percent, including a 1 percent surcharge for mental health services imposed by voters in 2004. California would have – by a wide gap – the highest marginal income tax rate of any state.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/24/4847846/dan-walters-if-their-taxes-go.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy
via Dan Walters: If their taxes go up, will the wealthy go elsewhere?.
by Kavitha Cardoza
One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Significant numbers of those young people are grappling with health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Those conditions can be difficult for children to manage in any setting, but they can pose particular challenges for children during the school day.
Dr. Yolandra Hancock used to be an elementary school teacher, and it shows. She’s patient, encouraging and has an endearing way of ending her sentences with “my love” and “my sweet.”
Her patients include a 13-year-old who weighs 400 pounds; a child whose teeth are so rotted she can’t bite into carrots; and many preteens who are diabetic. Today, Hancock is examining Derek Lyles, 13. He’s 4 feet 11 inches and weighs 256 pounds.
via At School, Overweight Children Carry A Heavy Burden.
In 2005, when voters changed the way they elected trustees to the Vacaville Unified School District board, no one brought up the potential ramifications of the California Voting Rights Act that took effect in 2003.
Instead, the question was whether the school district was finally united to the point that it no longer mattered whether a potential trustee lived on the north or south side of the freeway.
For decades — some say dating to the time when the district became “unified” — there were two trustee districts for the seven-member board. Three seats were reserved for trustees who lived in the northern district, while four seats were for those from the south side; voters from the entire district elected them all.
via Editorial: Election methods raise questions in Vacaville.
By Richard Bammer/ RBammer@TheReporter.com
To prevent the possibility of a lawsuit under the state Voting Rights Act, Vacaville Unified leaders may eventually ask for the school district’s legal counsel to hire a demographic-measuring firm to study voting patterns in the district.
The seven-member board listened Thursday to attorney David Soldani, who, in a 40-minute presentation, offered information, recommendations and commentary so the district complies with the act, which took effect in 2003.
The law prohibits the use of at-large elections if the method “impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice,” Soldani, a Fresno-based lawyer, noted in his computer-aided slide presentation.
via Vacaville Unified School District could look into voter patterns.