Dan Walters: School finance plan creates coalitions

Whenever the governor or the Legislature proposes a change in how California’s public schools are financed, someone almost immediately creates a spreadsheet that shows which districts would gain money and which would lose.

The losers quickly coalesce to oppose any formulaic change and that usually dooms the proposal, regardless of its merits.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/25/5214170/dan-walters-school-finance-plan.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: School finance plan creates coalitions.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: The 2013-14 Budget: Restructuring the K-12 Funding System

The Governor proposes to restructure the way the state allocates funding to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education. We believe the Governor’s proposed new formulas would address many problems inherent in the state’s existing K-12 funding approach, and we recommend the Legislature adopt most components of the proposal. Unlike the current system, the proposed formulas would be simple and transparent, fund similar students similarly, and link funding to the cost of educating students. We believe the proposed approach could be improved, however, with some notable modifications. We suggest a number of specific changes to better align funding levels with anticipated costs, eliminate irrational funding differences across districts, simplify the formulas, and ensure important state priorities are addressed.

via The 2013-14 Budget: Restructuring the K-12 Funding System.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Vallejo High School Zombots prepared to claw competition

By Lanz Christian Bañes/Times-Herald staff writer/

To paraphrase a famous mad scientist — it’s aliiiiiiiive!

Or rather, they both are.

The Vallejo High School robotics team, affectionately known as the Zombots, completed its latest creations last week — a pair of clawed, Frisbee-throwing monstrosities.

via Vallejo Zombots prepared to claw competition.

Vacaville Reporter Opinion: Ed Sanderson: Ability to educate children with our chosen values makes us unique

America is a unique experiment. Our blend of free enterprise capitalism, democracy and republican ideals shaped by British traditions, refashioned by practices from other nations and our own innovations, has created a culture imitated around the world. Our exceptionalism is even seen in our schools.

We don’t have a federal “top-down” education system, as do some nations. Families here are allowed to choose home schooling, private schools or public schools, based upon their own values and resources.

via Ability to educate children with our chosen values makes us unique.

Fox 40TV: Matt Garcia Youth Center, a Safe Haven is Offered in Fairfield

by Reporter/Anchor
The Matt Garcia Youth Center is a safe haven for teens in Fairfield.
After 13-year-old Genelle ConwayAllen was found dead in a Fairfield park last month, the center is now offering self-defense for young girls.
“A lot of things have been going on with girls getting raped. This is a way for them to defend themselves,” said Malik Fowlkes, a member of the Fairfield’s Youth Commission.
The center is open five days a week, offering basketball, tutoring and mentoring for teens ages 13 to 18.

via In Wake of Teen’s Murder, a Safe Haven is Offered in Fairfield.

FSUSD’s Facebook Wall: Students at Sheldon Elementary School participate in Friday Flag Day

Students at Sheldon Elementary School participate in Friday Flag Day. Each classroom valedictorian presents the flag. Each class recites their college cheers and chants. Valedictorians receive a certificate and a yellow No Excuses t-shirt.

via Students at Sheldon Elementary School participate in Friday Flag Day. Each class….

Education Week: White House Estimates Impact of Across-the-Board Cuts by State

School districts all around the country are bracing for an across-the-board cut in federal funds, set to go into effect on Friday, unless lawmakers and the Obama administration are able to come to some kind of agreement to head them off. The cuts would impact just about every federal program under the sun, from the U.S. Department of Education to the Pentagon and the Justice Department.

Ever since the threat of cuts were put in place to prod a long-term deficit reducation deal, education advocates and some lawmakers—such as U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the panel that oversees K-12 spending— have been trying to draw attention to how they would effect education, which hasn’t grabbed as many headlines as say, the military.

via White House Estimates Impact of Across-the-Board Cuts by State.

EdSource Today: Bill would open the door to undergraduate teaching credentials

For the first time in decades, aspiring teachers in California would be able to major in education as undergraduates and get both a preliminary teaching credential and a baccalaureate degree in four years if a bill in the Legislature becomes law.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, could result in a dramatic shift in teacher preparation. Distinct among the states, students wishing to become teachers in California are required to major in subjects other than education in college. Then, to get their teaching credential as post-graduates in nine to 12 months, they must pass a content test measuring their knowledge of the subject they plan to teach, and take courses in teaching techniques and intern as a student teacher in the classroom. Critics of the current system, including Linda Darling-Hammond, the chair of the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing, say compressing everything a teacher is expected to know into a program lasting a year or less leaves teachers less prepared than they should be, shortchanging their students.

via Bill would open the door to undergraduate teaching credentials – by John Fensterwald.

Daily Republic: Free Kindergarten Readiness event helps children, parents prepare

FAIRFIELD — Mayra Rivera’s 5-year-old son played with some of his free school supplies and munched on treats after taking several tests at Sheldon Elementary School Saturday.

Ivan Rivera just spent about 30 minutes being tested on his numbers, reciting the alphabet, practicing his motor skills and naming different colors. The tests were designed to assess kindergarten preparedness in local children such as Ivan.

via Free Kindergarten Readiness event helps children, parents prepare.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Vallejo principal dies after hit-and-run; police look for suspect

By Lanz Christian Bañes/Times-Herald staff writer/

The Vallejo Adult School is mourning the death of its principal Friday after he succumbed to injuries sustained in a hit-and-run incident last week.

Paul Jacobs, 63, was struck by an unidentified vehicle at about 10:40 p.m. Feb. 13 as he rode his bicycle in the bike lane on Columbus Parkway, near Hilary Way and not too far from his home off Ascot Parkway.

via Vallejo principal dies after hit-and-run; police look for suspect.

Benicia Herald: BHS campus to close

By Keri Luiz, Assistant Editor

Benicia Unified School District trustees on Thursday approved Benicia High School Principal Damon Wright’s proposal to close the school campus during lunch hours.

Wright delivered a report that had been in the works since October, shortly after he began his first school year as principal. He said the study included an informal staff survey, discussion with the Student Senate, a community forum and a survey of local companies that profit from student business at lunch time.

via BHS campus to close.

Attendance Works: BoostUp’s “Day of Action” Links Attendance to Dropout Prevention

We know that about 7,000 high school students drop out every school day and that, for many, this process starts with chronic absenteeism. So it makes perfect sense that BoostUp,  a dropout prevention campaign created by  the U.S. Army and the Ad Council, is adopting attendance as a key component of its efforts.

Tomorrow (2/25) at noon, BoostUp is hosting a Twitter Q&A from noon to 1 with Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang and Johns Hopkins University researcher Bob Balfanz (follow us at hashtag #AttendanceCounts). BoostUp is also releasing an Attendance Spark, a video widget that you can post on Facebook or embed on your website. The spark includes a recent PSA on attendance, along with links to other resources.

via BoostUp’s “Day of Action” Links Attendance to Dropout Prevention.

Dan Walters: California’s high taxes bring low results

One of the annoying anomalies about government services in California is that while we carry one of the nation’s highest state and local tax burdens – over 10 percent of personal income – we consistently rank very low in what those many billions of tax dollars provide.

That disconnect is very evident in public education, the single biggest consumer of tax dollars as well as the most popular thing that governments do.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/22/5208537/dan-walters-californias-high-taxes.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: California’s high taxes bring low results.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal

The Governor’s 2013‑14 budget includes a plan to implement the provisions of Proposition 39, which increases state corporate tax (CT) revenues and requires that half of these revenues for a five-year period be used for energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. The Governor proposes to count all associated revenues toward the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges. The Governor also proposes to designate all energy-related Proposition 39 funds to schools ($400.5 million) and community colleges ($49.5 million) in 2013‑14 and for the following four years. The Governor’s proposal to count all Proposition 39 revenues toward the Proposition 98 calculation is a significant departure from our longstanding view that revenues are to be excluded from the Proposition 98 calculation if the Legislature cannot use them for general purposes. In addition, the proposal excludes other eligible projects besides schools and community colleges (such as public hospitals) that potentially could achieve greater energy benefits. Further, the proposal does not coordinate Proposition 39 funding with the state’s existing energy efficiency programs. In view of the above concerns, we recommend the Legislature exclude from the Proposition 98 calculation all Proposition 39 revenues required to be used on energy-related projects and not count spending from these revenues as Proposition 98 expenditures. In addition, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to administer a competitive grant process in which all public agencies, including schools and community colleges, could apply and receive funding based on identified facility needs.

via The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: The 2013-14 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis

The Governor’s 2013-14 budget provides $56.2 billion in total Proposition 98 funding–a $2.7 billion (5 percent) increase from the revised current-year level. The Governor dedicates new monies to paying down school and community college deferrals, transitioning to a new K-12 funding formula, restructuring adult education, funding Proposition 39 energy projects for schools and community colleges, and adding two mandates to the schools mandates block grant. The Governor also proposes various changes and consolidations relating to special education funding. Though we think the Governor’s basic approach of dedicating roughly half of new funding to paying down existing obligations and the other half to building up base support is reasonable, we have concerns with many of his specific Proposition 98 proposals. In the areas of adult education, Proposition 39 energy projects, mandates, and special education, we provide alternatives for the Legislature ‘s consideration. Our assessment of an alternative to the Governor’s Proposition 39 proposal can be found both in the Proposition 98 report and in a standalone budget brief–2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal.

via The 2013-14 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis.

Education Week : Arne Duncan On NCLB Waivers, Sequestration, Common Core

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan continues to send strong signals that he may grant tailored, district-level waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act in states that have not already won this flexibility.

In a wide-ranging, hourlong interview today with a small group of national reporters, Duncan said he met with some of the “CORE” California superintendents yesterday to discuss their waiver request—as my colleague Lesli Maxwell reported yesterday. The CORE is a group of 10 districts, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, that are moving ahead with reforms their state is slow to embrace (such as the common core and new teacher evaluations). Duncan reiterated in today’s interview that his preference is to work with states, especially as the Feb. 28 deadline for the fourth-round of state applications looms.

via Arne Duncan On NCLB Waivers, Sequestration, Common Core.