The U.S. Department of Education passed over California’s largest school districts in selecting finalists for the Race to the Top district competition. Out of 17 districts that applied for a share of the nearly $400 million in federal grant money, only four made the cut to the finals: Galt Joint Union Elementary, Lindsay Unified and New Haven Unified school districts, along with Ánimo Charter Schools, a division of Green Dot Public Schools. Districts that didn’t make the cut include Los Angeles, Fresno and Clovis Unified.
Our high school graduation rates in Vacaville Unified School District are abysmal.
Officially, most graduation rates are above 90 percent. Unofficially, if you compare the size of incoming freshman high school classes with the number of students who make it to their senior year, you’ll see that several hundred students are missing. This has been the pattern as long as I have been teaching.
Those missing students are more likely to end up in prison or on welfare. Without a high school diploma, they are unlikely to climb out of poverty.
With the statute authorizing state standardized tests due to expire in June 2014, the incoming Legislature is facing some hard decisions on the future of the state testing system: What subjects should be tested, for whom, how often (not every year in every subject, perhaps), at what cost, and, perhaps the biggest question, for what purpose?
The state will likely end up with a hybrid system, a combination of state-created tests and tests designed in partnerships with other states. The principal partnership is Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two multistate consortia with contracts with the U.S. Department of Education to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Smarter Balanced is designing tests for California and two dozen other states. Its new tests are expected to be more demanding and will require new approaches to teaching. But the tests, due to roll out in spring 2015, will cover only math and English language arts in grades three through eight and an important 11th grade college and career readiness assessment.
The Solano County Office of Education is seeking adult volunteers to help with the North Bay Region Academic Decathlon scheduled for Saturday, January 12, and Saturday, February 2, 2013, at Rodriguez High School, 5000 Red Top Road in Fairfield.
FAIRFIELD – The Solano County Office of Education is seeking adult volunteers to help with the North Bay Region Academic Decathlon scheduled for Saturday, January 12, and Saturday, February 2, 2013, at Rodriguez High School, 5000 Red Top Road in Fairfield.
The process to select a new Vacaville Unified superintendent is under way, and a community forum will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.
All members of the public are welcome to attend the forum, which will be managed by Leadership Associates, the executive search firm hired to help select a successor to John Niederkorn, who will step down June 30.
Solano Community College leaders have signed a two-year, $106,000 contract with a consultant to recruit international students from Asia in hopes of bringing in additional revenues to the cash-strapped school even as many local and in-state students struggle to get the classes they need.
In a unanimous vote, the SCC board of trustees in September approved an agreement with Naoki Hirota to recruit students primarily from China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam to the Fairfield-based college.
International students pay nearly $200 more per unit than local students, SCC Superintendent-President Jowel Laguerre confirmed Wednesday.
Congratulations to our own Director of Human Resources Rob Martinez for being named the Association of California School Administrators Personnel Administrator of the Year!
The results of a new study confirm that students with autism spectrum disorders gravitate toward majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM—if they make it to college in the first place.
Researchers at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis found that about 34 percent of students with an autism spectrum disorder chose STEM majors. That inclination was not only higher than students with other types of disabilities, but also higher than students without disabilities, about 23 percent of whom declared a STEM major. Students with autism were most likely to choose science and computer science among the variety of STEM majors.
Two-thirds of chronically underperforming schools that tapped into a big new infusion of cash under the federal School Improvement Grant program made gains in math or reading, but another third saw student achievement decline in their first academic year, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Education.
A quarter, or slightly more, of the schools in the program had seen their student progress slip before they got the grant, then saw gains after they received SIG funding, the analysis found.
In his first major postelection remarks, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that he will use his second term to continue to leverage education improvement at the state and local levels, with a new emphasis on principal preparation and evaluation. And, he made clear that if Congress isn’t serious about reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which the No Chid Left Behind Act is the current version, then his department won’t devote a lot of energy to it.
Duncan used his remarks today to the Council of Chief State School Officers to emphasize that his second term as President Barack Obama’s education chief will focus on fine-tuning the work started during the first term.
Pasadena and Santa Barbara City Colleges are recipients of the 2012 Chancellor’s Student Success Award for their programs to support first-year and underserved students in community college.
“These are the types of initiatives our Student Success Task Force determined were extremely important in achieving equity and helping a greater number of students reach their educational goals,” said Community College Chancellor Brice Harris in a written statement.
For California’s K-12 districts and federally funded preschools, the “fiscal cliff” that is now consuming politics in Washington is more like a distant canyon.
The abyss refers to an across-the-board 8.2 percent cut in federal discretionary spending, including defense, that will go into effect Jan. 3 if President Obama and congressional leaders don’t reach a deal on taxes and spending to reduce the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Federal student loans, most child nutrition programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would be exempt from cuts.
by Louis Freedberg
The passage of Proposition 30 represents a major victory for public schools, and for Governor Jerry Brown, but still to be tackled are multiple challenges facing California’s education future.
Here are eight principal challenges:
1. Bringing the state’s funding levels up to the U.S. average
Latest estimates rank California 46th in per capita spending compared to other states. Over the past decade, the gap between California spending per student and the national average has grown from $691 in 2001-02 to $2856 in 2010-11. According to the California Budget Project, just bringing California to the national average – let alone the highest-spending states like Massachusetts or New Jersey – would cost $17.3 billion, three times more than the amount raised by Prop. 30. The discrepancy raises a basic issue of fairness: Should California’s children be subjected to a less effective education than their peers in many others states just because they happened to be born here?
FAIRFIELD – Sixteen county schools in the lower one-third of 2009 Academic Performance Index scores have received a good report from the Solano Office of Education.
Under state law, Office of Education officials had to visit the schools to determine three things. They looked to see that students had sufficient instructional materials, that the facilities are kept in good repair and that the schools provide accurate data for the annual school accountability report card.
FAIRFIELD — The city and the Fairfield-Suisun School District have completed a deal that will allow Laurel Creek Elementary to eventually expand.
The Fairfield City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to trade land with the district, which will use it to build four to six new classrooms over the next four years. Councilwoman Pam Bertani did not attend the meeting.
VACAVILLE — The Heritage Peak Charter School has opened enrollment for kindergarten to ninth-graders for the 2012-13 spring semester.
The nonprofit charter school that serves children in home school and independent study programs will offer an informational meeting at 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at 630 Orange Drive, Suite R. Staff will be available to answer questions about the school and programs.
FAIRFIELD — When Christian Morales went looking for a job, he had a tough time finding someone who would hire a 18-year-old for his first job.
Being new to the area, he had little prospects until he drove by Yippie Yogurt on Texas Street and noticed they were hiring.
He received his first paycheck Friday after the nonprofit shop recently had its grand opening. He said it was a good feeling to have worked for something that was his own.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign for Proposition 30, his sales and income tax increase, more or less promised voters that it would solve the state’s chronic budget problems.
It was a somewhat specious contention, although apparently an effective one, since voters did pass the measure.
Scarcely a week later, though, we were told by the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, that there’s still a deficit in the current fiscal year’s budget, albeit a relatively small one.
The relief was palpable Wednesday night, at the first Vallejo school board meeting since the Nov. 6 elections.
Some benefits of Proposition 30’s passage will not be realized immediately, but the school district will move to restore furlough days, officials said at the Vallejo City Unified School District board meeting.
The measure already had been included in Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget, and its passage was necessary to prevent triggering drastic education funding cuts statewide. The Vallejo school board cut $5.7 million last spring in preparation for Proposition 30’s failure.