EdSource Today: School initiative’s bumpy road to the ballot box

By Louis Freedberg

The thicket of obstacles Governor Brown and his allies have run into in trying to convince voters to approve his initiative to raise funds for schools and the state budget underscores the extreme hazards of trying to convince California voters to raise taxes, even for a cause they’re predisposed to support.

A combination of an unexpected and bitter rivalry among pro-education forces that should have been allies, greater than expected and deeper-pocketed opposition to the Brown initiative, and voters still struggling to cope with the enduring economic downturn in a state that reflexively votes against tax increases have all conspired to make it impossible to predict victory on November 6.

Instead, school officials and other education advocates are filled with a sense of dread that neither Prop. 30 nor Prop. 38, the rival initiative sponsored by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, will get the simple majority they need on November 6, resulting in an automatic $5.4 billion in “trigger cuts” to schools and community colleges.

via School initiative’s bumpy road to the ballot box – by Louis Freedberg.

Daily Republic Editorial: Martin, McCullough, Thurston for Solano College board

A minority of the seven-member Solano Community College District governing board turns over this year with contested races in three trustee areas.

Residents of those areas should consider the choices carefully. Whoever is elected will steer spending from the $348 million Measure Q should it pass muster Nov. 6. They will also chart the college’s course in coming years.

via Martin, McCullough, Thurston for Solano College board.

Daily Republic Letter: Academic programs under threat at Solano College

Melanie Lutz
Engineering and Physics Departments
Solano Community College

In 2002, the taxpayers of Solano County funded a $124.5 million bond measure (Measure G) to improve the facilities at Solano Community College.

Approximately $5 million of that amount was used to remodel the science/engineering building. The remodeling was just completed during the summer of 2011. Now the district has spent $300,000 to float a new bond measure (Measure Q) in the November election, asking the taxpayers of Solano and Yolo counties for an additional $348 million.

via Academic programs under threat at Solano College.

Daily Republic Letter: Vote for Thurston for SCC board

Teena Miller


Please vote for Rosemary Thurston for Solano Community College Governing Board Area 3. This is a clear choice.

Rosemary Thurston is best qualified by education, training and experience. Rosemary holds a bachelor’s degree and a master of science degree in business education and has taught a total of 37 years, with 28 years at Solano Community College. Education has always been an important part of her life as it was with her late husband, Bill Thurston, also a professor at Solano College and for whom the Vallejo Campus of SCC is named.

via Vote for Thurston for SCC board.

Daily Republic: FSUSD School board praises educators for test scores

FAIRFIELD — In a span where the district cut $41 million, most local schools have steadily improved test scores since being placed in Program Improvement in 2007.

Many of those successes were celebrated Thursday as members of the Fairfield-Suisun School District Board of Trustees were informed of the results from 2011-12 year. The board also got an update on what is being done at some of the sites that still haven’t shown improvement.

Named the Local Educational Agency Plan, the district is required to periodically report results as part of the program improvement guidelines set by the California Department of Education. Thursday’s meeting featured the 2011-12 end-of-year report.

via School board praises educators for test scores.

The Reporter Editorial: Prop. 38 is best for schools

When it comes to Proposition 30, the tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, The Reporter Editorial Board is as divided as California voters, who, according to a poll this week, are nearly evenly split for and against it.

But unlike the Public Policy Institute of California’s survey showing that most voters oppose Proposition 38, the Editorial Board is unanimous in its support for that initiative, which would raise income taxes across the board to support public schools and preschools.

During a discussion about the two measures, those opposed to Proposition 30 said it came down to a matter of trust.

via Editorial: Prop. 38 is best for schools.

Benicia Herald: Should Benicia High School’s campus be closed?

By Keri Luiz
Assistant Editor

Benicia High School Principal Damon Wright last week offered details on ongoing discussions over whether to close the school campus during lunch.

Wright told the Benicia Unified School District Board that “we want to make sure that the policy is in the best interest of our students. Our primary focus is and will remain on student safety, but we also want to make sure that we are creating a positive learning environment for our students and our staff members.”

The closed-campus question has been raised frequently over the years amid concerns for student safety, among other questions. Wright, who is in his first fall semester at Benicia High, said he personally became passionate about the topic when he was driving to the district office and saw “a drove of students walking up Military West well after the bell rang.

via Should Benicia High School’s campus be closed?.

Daily Republic: Robot-building students will put their skills to the test at Vanden

FAIRFIELD — Middle school and high school VEX Robotics students and mentors will gather Dec. 1 at the Vanden High School gym for the Vanden High Sack Attack Competition.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will feature more than 25 teams competing with – and against  – other schools in a series of back-to-back robot challenges.

Participants will compete for the title by strategically executing the game Sack Attack, driving robots they designed, built and programmed from the ground up using the VEX Robotics Design System.

via Robot-building students will put their skills to the test at Vanden.

The Educated Guess: Responses to EdSource infographic comparing Props. 30 and 38

After publishing our infographic that compares Prop. 30 and Prop. 38, we received the following responses from the campaigns and others knowledgeable about the propositions and the issues involved. Free free to add your own response to our infographic below.

via Responses to EdSource infographic comparing Props. 30 and 38 – by Brent Zupp.

SacBee: Jerry Brown pivots to link Proposition 30 to voters’ top issue — jobs

FRESNO – His tax initiative in trouble just two weeks before Election Day, Gov. Jerry Brown is re-tuning his campaign message, casting his initiative as a jobs measure in a bid to broaden its appeal.

The adjustment, made by Brown in a series of recent public appearances, reflects the urgency of a campaign that is seeking to untie itself from controversy about education spending and to blunt conservative attacks centered on the economy, the most significant issue to voters in this election year.

“I say Proposition 30 is about jobs, because it’s about kids and teachers, and they produce the brains and the skills that make the jobs of the future possible,” Brown told teachers in San Francisco on Saturday, before repeating the message at a Bay Area church the next day and in a campaign blitz Tuesday through Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/24/4933678/jerry-brown-pivots-to-link-proposition.html#mi_rss=Education#storylink=cpy

via Jerry Brown pivots to link Proposition 30 to voters’ top issue — jobs.

KQED MindShift: Should Math and Science Teachers Get Special Training?

By Anne Jolly

Excited and inspired about the subjects they teach, math and science educators ideally want their classrooms to dive into real-world challenges. But they’re faced with the predictable realities of the school day when designing their curriculum. Each year, students seem to lose interest as the subjects become more difficult and abstract. “And what use is this anyway?” students. Why should they learn it?

Though educators know that real-world application would help students engage more fully with the subjects and understand the vital role in solving real problems, they’re overwhelmed by how to make this happen. Just a few of their obstacles:

  • “My school system has an obsessive focus on student testing, and that’s all they want me to teach toward – test objectives, test objectives, test objectives.”

via Should Math and Science Teachers Get Special Training?.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Vallejo teachers lend helping hands, give out supplies

By Lanz Christian Bañes Times-Herald staff writer/

Nigel Robinson had a bit of difficulty walking home Tuesday — but for a good reason.

“I pick the books my teachers prefer,” Nigel said, balancing half a dozen hardcover novels in his hands as he prepared to leave the Continentals of Omega Boys & Girls Club.

The 13-year-old eighth-grader from Solano Middle School also had a bounty of school supplies in his backpack, courtesy of the annual Helping Hands event sponsored by the Vallejo Education Association.

via Vallejo teachers lend helping hands, give out supplies.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Vallejo school district wins grants for counselors, ‘crossover youth’


Reflecting the dismal state of education funding in California, the Vallejo Unified School District has increased efforts to win outside money and is celebrating the recent acquisition of two grants — including one that targets students on probation.”These are students that have all the odds stacked against them,” Superintendent Ramona Bishop said of “crossover youth” during last week’s board meeting.

That’s what the Sierra Health Foundation calls students who are known to have been abused, neglected or suffered from trauma, have been involved in the child welfare system and have spent time in juvenile hall and the criminal justice system.

via Vallejo school district wins grants for counselors, ‘crossover youth’.

The Reporter: Dixon Unified School District trustees set to discuss budget

Accountability progress, an update on the 2012-13 budget and Internet content filtering will be on the minds of Dixon school leaders when they meet Thurs-day.

Jesus Contreras, the district’s senior director of educational services, will deliver the report on accountability and also the Williams quarterly report.

The Williams report is the result of a legal case and SB 550, the School Accountability Report Card, or SARC. It includes reporting requirements for “good repair” of school facilities; for teacher

via Dixon Unified School District trustees set to discuss budget.

Education Week: States Must Tread Cautiously on Evaluations of Special Ed. Teachers

With school reform efforts combining with federal incentives to encourage more districts and states to change how they evaluate teachers, the Council for Exceptional Children today shared recommendations and views for how to evaluate special education teachers.

Federal initiatives including waivers from No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top not only have pressed for new evaluation systems, they push for teacher ratings to include student performance as a unit of measure.

However, special education teachers’ work may differ sharply from school to school, the CEC notes. They may co-teach, work with students one on one, act as consultants to other classroom teachers.

via States Must Tread Cautiously on Evaluations of Special Ed. Teachers.

EdSource Today: Romney’s right to oppose Common Core (even if wrong on facts)

By Doug Lasken

Many education activists were high-fiving in September when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finally attacked President Obama’s signature education initiative, the Common Core State Standards. It was a long time coming, though it hasn’t quite come yet.

The Common Core standards are national academic standards that will replace the often shoddy and substandard standards (if that’s not an oxymoron) of the 45 states and District of Columbia that have approved adoption. As someone who consulted for the Fordham and Pioneer Institutes on assessing the states’ English Language Arts standards in the run-up to Common Core, I can attest that many states have abominable ELA standards in which, often, a functionally illiterate student can be certified proficient in reading. Ironically, one of the causes of such shoddy state standards is the federal government’s last major attempt at reform, the Bush-era No Child Left Behind initiative, which enacted harsh penalties for states whose students do not test proficient in reading and math. The bar was set impossibly high, culminating in the Lake Wobegon-esque requirement that all children test proficient in reading and math by 2014. It should be no surprise that many states reacted to this unrealistic demand by degrading their standards to the point that the definition of “proficiency” would be low enough to escape the Department of Education’s ideological fervor.

via Romney’s right to oppose Common Core (even if wrong on facts) – by Doug Lasken.

Daily Republic Letter: Retired teachers support Proposition 30

As teachers, we were dedicated to the success of our students. As retired teachers, we don’t stop caring. We remain committed to California’s children.

That’s why the California Retired Teachers Association supports Proposition 30, which will secure badly needed funding for kindergarten through community college education. Visit www.teachers4ever.com to learn more, and please join us in voting for Proposition 30.

Suzanne Carlson
CalRTA Board Member and former Fairfield-Suisun School District Teacher


via Retired teachers support Proposition 30.

Daily Republic: Fairfield-Suisun school board to review academic progress

FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield-Suisun School District is showing progress while working its way out of program improvement status, according to a report that will be presented Thursday to the governing board.

Named the Local Educational Agency Plan, the district is required to periodically report results as part of the program improvement guidelines set by the California Department of Education. Thursday’s meeting will feature the 2011-12 end-of-year report.

Included are details of what strategies were taken to improve scores. With that are results of how students in all grades have fared over the past four years, based on performance in English, math and overall Academic Performance Index scores.

via Fairfield-Suisun school board to review academic progress.

Daily Republic Letter: Facts lead to ‘yes’ vote on Measure Q

George Guynn of the Central Solano/Citizen Taxpayers Group wrote here Tuesday against Solano Community College’s Measure Q, to which I would like to respond.

The past:

  • The 2002 Solano Community College Bond (Measure G) fixed many of our aging buildings and brought many of our facilities up to code, to include additional access to individuals with disabilities. Key student services that were housed in some 1971 trailers were moved to new facilities.
  • The 2002 bond promised a new science lab. Actually, the county and Winters’ citizens received four new labs: two at the Vacaville Center and two at the Vallejo Center. In addition, the bond is renovating our ancient art building so as to enrich the arts culture in the county. This new facility will also accommodate training for technical jobs.
  • Measure G funds were instrumental in allowing the district to have severe accreditation sanctions removed, thus providing a new optimism at the college. We continue to work diligently to resolve remaining accreditation issues.

via Facts lead to ‘yes’ vote on Measure Q.

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