By Donna Beth Weilenman
Most Benicia students who get into trouble aren’t bad children, School Resource Officer Will Patterson told Thursday’s class of the Benicia Police Department’s Citizens Academy.
They have just made bad choices, he said.
Patterson’s first duty is as a police officer, one who primarily is on Benicia High School’s campus, dressed in full police gear, with weapons, protective vest and badge. “I hope they respect the position,” he said.
via Citizens Police Academy: For School Resource Officer, education a big part of the job.
Battling Jerry “Bulldog” Brown is back, and with the right cause. He vowed Wednesday “to fight with everything I have and whatever we have to bring to bear” to overhaul what his budget calls the state’s “overly complex, administratively costly and inequitably distributed” school funding system.
After doing virtually nothing to engage the Legislature on this since January, it took a Senate proposal (Senate Bill 69, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg) that modifies key elements to rouse Brown to action.
via Editorial: Brown fights the good fight on school funds.
What would it really take to close the achievement gap?
The answer, according to a cadre of education scholars who have just published a new book, is to fix the “opportunity gap” that exists between children born into middle class and affluent families and those who are not.
Thirty years after the release of the seminal A Nation at Risk report ushered in an era of academic standards and standardized tests to measure how students were mastering those, “Closing the Opportunity Gap,” argues that until federal and state governments, as well as local school districts, devote as much time and attention to making investments in broad access to quality preschool, health care, good teachers, and rich curricula as they have to driving up test scores and graduation rates, the academic gaps between upper and middle-class kids and their low-income peers will never disappear.
via Fixing the ‘Opportunity Gap’ to Close the Achievement Gap.
By John Fensterwald
Joan Buchanan, the Democratic chair of the Assembly Education Committee, grilled administration officials at length Wednesday on Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to reform school funding. She wanted, without success, to get them to concede there are flaws and inconsistencies in the plan.
Buchanan’s intense questioning prompted a frustrated Assemblymember Das Williams, a fellow Democrat from Santa Barbara, to call for a shift in the discussion from “poking holes” in the plan to “doing what we can to make it work.”
via Democrats split on timing, specifics of Brown’s funding formula – by John Fensterwald.
By Paul Bruno / commentary
With the release of the final draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), states must begin in earnest to consider replacing their own existing standards. California should be especially cautious in this deliberation because, by some measures, the Golden State already has some of the strongest science standards in the country. In fact, while the NGSS may have much to recommend them to other states, it is unlikely that they represent an improvement over the status quo for California.
via California should not adopt Next Generation Science Standards – by Paul Bruno / commentary.
FAIRFIELD — Solano Community College will be alive Saturday with the sound of music, alumni and visitors as the campus opens for numerous all-day events.
Events include a tour and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Fine Arts Building built with Measure G bond money, an open house and career education fair highlighting the various programs the college offers, a car show, music featuring a variety of musicians and an “Alumni and Friends Mixer” from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. under the large tent that will be located in the middle of the campus.
via Solano College opens campus to visitors, alumni.
FAIRFIELD — Requests by five local school boards to switch from odd-year elections to even-year elections have the county’s blessing.
The Solano County Board of Supervisors has approval power over requests to change election years. On Tuesday, it voted in favor of requests by the Fairfield-Suisun, Vacaville, Benicia and Vallejo school districts and the county Office of Education.
However, the board doesn’t have full discretion over such requests. A county report said the board must grant them unless it finds that the county’s ballot style, voting equipment or computer capacity cannot handle additional elections or materials.
via County approves election-year switch for schools.
By Keri Luiz
The BUSD Board of Trustees has a new member: Peter Morgan.
The board gathered Wednesday for a special meeting to select a replacement for Dana Dean, who resigned in March when she was appointed to the Solano County Board of Education.
Of six candidates for the position, Morgan was unanimously approved by Trustees Rosie Switzer, Steve Messina, André Stewart and Gary Wing. The other five applicants were Thelma Bentley, Ellen Blaufarb, Rick Ernst, Nicole Nunes and Tina Thorn.
via Trustees choose new member.
A celebration and impromptu jam session took place at SCOE’s Transportation Department yesterday in recognition of School Bus Driver Day. Thank you for all you do to safely transport students! You rock, bus drivers!!
via A celebration and impromptu jam session took place at SCOE’s Transportation Depa….
By David Siders
Facing resistance at the Capitol and in suburban school districts to his effort to shift more education money to California’s poor and English-learning students, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called his measure a civil rights issue and promised opponents “the battle of their lives.”
The education financing proposal is a central part of Brown’s budget plan and an emerging source of division between the Democratic governor and lawmakers of his own party.
via Jerry Brown pledges foes ‘battle of their lives’ over education funding.
Four large California school districts—Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Oakland—recently adopted ambitious new graduation standards designed to increase college readiness. Evidence from San Diego indicates a need for major interventions to help students succeed under the new policies. In conjunction with this report, the authors developed the a–g On Track Model, which can help districts identify middle-school students who will have difficulty completing the new requirements.
This research was supported with funding from the Donald Bren Foundation.
via PUBLICATION: College Readiness as a Graduation Requirement: An Assessment of San Diego’s Challenges.
For the first time in years, the Vallejo City Unified School District is on track to avoid major budget cuts.
“We are moving forward on trying to establish normalcy,” said Lisa Grant-Dawson, the district’s chief business officer, during Wednesday’s school board meeting.
The last several years saw the board make multi-million dollar cuts as the state, which funds public school districts, grappled with its own deficit.
via Vallejo district to avoid major budget cuts.
Like many state lawmakers, business leaders for Vacaville-area school districts agree with the intent of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed education funding plan, saying its goals are admirable, but they see his desire to shift more money to poorer districts as somewhat controversial.
Although Vacaville Unified schools will not gain or lose from the Democrat’s proposal, Kari Sousa, the district’s chief business officer, called it “a very divisive issue across the state.”
via Locals school officials like governor’s funding plan but call it ….
BENICIA — Charles Schwab attorney and senior vice president Peter Morgan was appointed to the Benicia school board on Wednesday night.The seat had been vacant since the resignation of Dana Dean on March 6. Dean resigned following her appointment to the Solano County Board of Education.
via Morgan sworn in to fill school board vacancy.
A bid for a construction project at Armijo High School and the joint use, with the city of Fairfield, of Charles Sullivan Middle School are on the agenda when the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District Governing Board meets tonight in open session.
Trustees are expected to approve and announce the winning bid to build a new administration and counseling building at Armijo High School on Washington Street.
via Armijo, Sullivan projects on tap for Fairfield-Suisun trustees.
K-12 education overhaul may be on the back burner in Congress these days, but immigration reform sure isn’t. And there are obviously big implications in a new, widely anticipated bipartisan Senate bill for students who come to the United States as children without documentation and graduate from American high schools. (Many call themslves “DREAMers” after the DREAM act, versions of which would grant them citizenship.)
The bill creates an arguably long and bumpy path to citizenship for those without documentation who came to the country in 2011 or before. But folks who came to the nation as children could go a much speedier route, provided they pass a criminal background check, graduate from high school (or get a GED), and complete two years of post-secondary education, or spend four years in the military, or other uniformed services.
via Immigration Bill Would Help DREAMERs, Boost STEM.
By Kathryn Baron
Civil rights groups sued the state Department of Education and the Board of Education on Wednesday, saying they are failing in their obligation to require school districts to provide 20,318 English learners with the language instruction they are entitled to by law.
The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU of Southern California and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, cites figures provided by 251 districts showing that one out of every 50 English learner students is not receiving any English language services – a figure the plaintiffs say is conservative. Even though the state is aware of the deficiency, it hasn’t taken any action to correct the situation, the lawsuit said. A quarter, or about 1.4 million, of California’s roughly 6.2 million students are designated as English learners, according to the Department of Education.
via ACLU sues state over English-language instruction – by Kathryn Baron.
By John Fensterwald
Gov. Jerry Brown emphatically vowed Wednesday “to fight with everything I have and whatever we have to bring to bear” for passage this year of his school finance reform, as proposed.
Back from a trip to China and re-engaged on a priority issue, Brown spoke at a news conference a day after Senate Democrats announced they would propose a bill that would delay action on the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) for a year and would eliminate one of its chief features, providing a “concentration grant” for districts with high percentages English learners and low-income children.
via Brown fights back, responds to critics of his funding formula – by John Fensterwald.
Educators, youth, and community members who work with special education students were recognized for outstanding service on April 22 at SCOE. The event was hosted by the Solano County Community Advisory Committee.
via Educators, youth, and community members who work with special education students….
Wesley Smith, the superintendent of Morgan Hill Unified for the past four years, will become the new executive director of the Association of California School Administrators, which offers professional development programs and advocates on behalf of superintendents and school administrators in Sacramento.
“Wes has the professional skills and the leadership qualities required to grow the organization, advocate on behalf of public education, build the capacity of school leaders and develop a coalition of support for the success of our students,” said ACSA president David Gomez in a news release Tuesday.
via Morgan Hill superintendent new ACSA executive director – by John Fensterwald.