Governor vetoes bill setting timetable for expansion of preschool | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg

To the disappointment of many child care advocates, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Friday that would have set a timetable for providing state subsidized preschool for all low-income 4-year-olds.

Assembly Bill 47, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, would have set a target of June 2018 to provide access to state subsidized preschool to all low-income 4-year-olds who are not already enrolled in transitional kindergarten or state preschool. Whether that timetable would be met would have been contingent “upon the appropriation of sufficient funding in the annual Budget Act for this purpose.”

via Governor vetoes bill setting timetable for expansion of preschool | EdSource.

New times demand new ways to support students and schools | EdSource

By Tom Torlakson

California’s education system is transforming in positive ways. Replacing the high school exit exam with more modern and meaningful measures is a critical part of that work.

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 172 into law, eliminating the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a requirement for high school graduation. I was proud to sponsor this bill, and I deeply appreciate state Senator Carol Liu, D-Pasadena, for bringing forward this urgently needed legislation.

The state Legislature created the exit exam requirement in 1999, and schools began using the test a few years later. Since then, however, the world – and California’s education system – have changed dramatically.We have instituted new, more rigorous state academic standards.

via New times demand new ways to support students and schools | EdSource.

Number of California State University Graduates at All Time High | Dixon, CA Patch

By Bea Karnes

The number of students graduating from the California State University schools is at an all time high according to a new report, CSU officials announced Monday.

Based on statistical data, the report found that the CSU system graduated 105,693 students during the last academic year. The number increased by two percent from the previous 2013 to 2014 academic year, in which 103,781 students graduated, CSU officials said.

That number rose by four percent from the 2012 to 2013 academic year, in which 101,209 students graduated, according to CSU officials.

via Number of California State University Graduates at All Time High | Dixon, CA Patch.

Trophies, free breakfast offered as prizes during annual drug-free campaign – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

Vacaville is preparing to “Team Up Against Drugs” on an annual campaign at local schools and businesses this month.

Participating students have the opportunity to win trophies for their schools, while businesses can win breakfast for their fellow employees.

In recognition of Red Ribbon Week — an alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention awareness campaign — the City of Vacaville AWARE Coalition is launching the fifth annual “Team Up Against Drugs” campaign.

Elementary and K-8 schools, as well as Vacaville businesses, will participate Oct. 23. Middle and high schools will participate Oct. 29.AWARE is asking people in the Vacaville community to put on their favorite sports or school team shirt or jersey and “Team Up Against Drugs” with the city.

via Trophies, free breakfast offered as prizes during annual drug-free campaign.

Teachers endorse retired firefighter for vacant VUSD board seat – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Vacaville Teachers Association on Thursday endorsed retired Vacaville Fire Department Deputy Chief John Jansen to fill a vacancy on the Vacaville Unified governing board.

In a press release, Moira McSweeney, president of the 680-member Vacaville Teachers Association, said: “We are happy to endorse Mr. Jansen for the open seat. We feel he brings a great combination of skills, knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the position of VUSD trustee and we will be actively running a campaign to support him during the appointment process.”

A 30-year resident of Vacaville, Jansen is an instructor at Solano Community College and served on the Measure V Oversight Committee and the $194 million Measure A campaign to upgrade the district’s many aging campuses and to increase student access to technology districtwide. He has also donated hundreds of volunteer hours in various classrooms, on school site councils, school functions, and community outreach projects over the years, noted McSweeney, adding that nine of the 11 trustee applicants were interviewed Monday.

via Teachers endorse retired firefighter for vacant VUSD board seat.

New school boundaries win OK in Fairfield-Suisun School District – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

New school boundaries that Fairfield-Suisun School District officials have said are intended to maintain neighborhood schools won approval Thursday by trustees and will affect reopened Dover School along with nearby David Weir, Grange, Cleo Gordon, Laurel Creek and Tolenas schools.

Boundary changes begin in the 2016-17 school year.

Dover School closed in 2009 as part of school district budget-related changes.

Brian Purcell, chairman of a boundary advisory committee, told school board members in August that safer walking distances – including issues surrounding children who cross Air Base Parkway to go to school – were among matters the committee discussed.

via New school boundaries win OK in Fairfield-Suisun School District.

The Specials: Curriculum Enrichment Builds a Positive School Culture | Edutopia

By The Symonds School Quest Team

Like all elementary schools, Symonds has its own distinct culture. The development and maintenance of the school environment requires intention and daily work. Social curriculum and academic collaboration require clarity and consistency throughout the building. Symonds art, music, PE, and media teachers all play a vital role in reinforcing the school culture. We do this regularly by creating opportunities to meaningfully express the foundations of our school.

We specialists (or “specials” teachers) teach every child in the school, often for five or six years. This long-term experience has several advantages:

via The Specials: Curriculum Enrichment Builds a Positive School Culture | Edutopia.

Annual Walk to School Day a success in Vacaville – The Reporter

By Ryan Chalk

Walk, run or roll, hundreds of children across Vacaville participated in an international movement Wednesday aimed at getting more kids out of cars and on their feet each day.

International Walk to School Day is as much about promoting healthy activities for kids as it is about making everyday routes to school safer for children and adults. At least eight Vacaville elementary schools participated this year.

via Annual Walk to School Day a success in Vacaville.

Fairfield-Suisun schools mark Walk to School Day – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Kevin McNamara first heard about International Walk to School Day three years ago when listening to Vacaville-based radio station KUIC.

The P.E. teacher at Green Valley Middle School in Fairfield started the event for students at Green Valley days after hearing the broadcast – and hasn’t stopped.

“Since then I’ve done it every year,” McNamara said.

He stood Wednesday in the gym at the school and spoke about how students walking to school can provide the freedom and independence that youths in middle school seek.

via Fairfield-Suisun schools mark Walk to School Day.

Schools hurting children by banning rough play – Daily Republic

By Virginia Postrel

No roughhousing. No superhero games. No turning your fingers – or your Pop-Tart – into a make-believe gun. No tag. And certainly no dodgeball.

Stories of zero-tolerance play-policing by schools are a well-established news genre.

Most recently, parents in Washington state mounted a successful campaign to force the Mercer Island School District to reverse its ban on playing tag during “unstructured playtime,” or what used to be called recess. In his backpedaling press release, district superintendent Gary Plano puzzlingly insisted that “asking students to keep their hands and feet to themselves at all times, including recess” wasn’t a ban on tag.

via Schools hurting children by banning rough play.

Increasing Education Opportunities For Minorities In STEM – Forbes

By Maria Klawe

This summer I had the honor of attending an event that brought together educators and industry leaders involved in improving the state of STEM education in the U.S. During a panel discussion, I was asked whether I was encouraged or discouraged by where we are today in terms of diversity in STEM education. I am definitely encouraged, but we still have far to go to achieve equity in STEM education for minorities who have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields.

African-American, Latino and Native American students still lag far behind their white and Asian counterparts in terms of participation in math, science and engineering fields. While these underrepresented groups have made some modest gains over the last several decades, their progress has been extremely slow. Worse, over the last decade African Americans’ progress in attaining bachelor’s degrees in engineering, mathematics, computer science and physics has stalled or even reversed.

via Increasing Education Opportunities For Minorities In STEM – Forbes.

YouTube Tweaks Kids App for Safer, Easier Experience – Education News

By Polymnia Hadjipanayiotou

YouTube has released new updates for its Kids App that offer better parental control of the video content children watch online, as well including video streaming via Apple TV, Chromecast and gaming consoles.

The Google service had come under fire after watchdog organizations revealed that inappropriate content could be reached by children using the app.

When first launched, the YouTube Kids App was warmly welcomed by parents who appreciated content tailored to the younger audience. The Kids App offers curated, children-friendly, educational and entertaining content that families found useful.

However, parent complaints and criticism from consumer watchdog organizations revealed that inappropriate content was slipping through the filters and reaching children, with content including alcohol use, drug, sex and violence.

via YouTube Tweaks Kids App for Safer, Easier Experience.

California poised to grant high school diplomas retroactively | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg

Never mind.

That is what the state of California is poised to tell between 40,000 and 150,000 students who for nearly a decade may have been denied a high school diploma because they failed to pass the California High School Exit Exam, or CAHSEE.

Senate Bill 172, authored by State Sen. Carol Liu, D-Glendale, is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, and he seems likely to sign it. It follows earlier legislation (SB 725) that addressed an immediate problem. When the state abruptly stopped administering the exit exam last summer, some students from the class of 2015 found themselves stranded – admitted to a college, but without an opportunity to pass the test that they needed to enroll this fall.

via California poised to grant high school diplomas retroactively | EdSource.

Federal Officials Launch Chronic Absence Initiative – Attendance Works

The federal government today took up the fight against chronic absence with a cross-sector initiative aimed at helping states, school districts and communities address the root causes of absenteeism. The Every Student, Every Day initiative will harness support from the White House and the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Justice.

“It’s common-sense – students have to be in their classrooms to learn, yet too many of our children, and most often our most vulnerable children, are missing almost a month or more of school every year,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement, who announced the initiative at a Washington, D.C. elementary school after an awards ceremony honoring students with improved attendance.

via Federal Officials Launch Chronic Absence Initiative – Attendance Works Attendance Works.

New Fall 2015 Readings For Better Creative Leadership – Forbes

By David Slocum

2015 has already been a year of excellent and helpful publications for leaders wanting to improve themselves and their motivation and coordination of creative teams, projects and businesses. Some, like Herminia Ibarra’s already essential Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader and Stanley McChrystal’s powerful call for agility and cohesion, Team of Teams, highlight the importance of action-based leadership. Laszlo Bock’s manifesto for a new way of working, Work Rules!, and Heidi Halvorson’s manual for more authentic interactions, No One Understands You and What To Do About It, among others, focus on the centrality of cultivating talent and enhancing interpersonal communications. Still others argue convincingly for the relevance of behavioral economics, notably Richard H. Thaler’s instructive and spirited overview of the topic, Misbehaving, and Dilip Soman’s guide to applying its insights to create value, The Last Mile. Here is a further batch of valuable titles coming this fall.

via New Fall 2015 Readings For Better Creative Leadership – Forbes.

An Unlikely Group Forms Unified Vision for the Future of Education | MindShift

By Katrina Schwartz

Education has long been a hotly debated issue and with good reason — the policies and actions of education leaders affect our nation’s children, the future of the workforce and the day-to-day lives of families. But the struggle to improve the system has often left advocates in distinct camps, each believing that their solution, whether it be charter schools or blended learning or investing in teachers, is the best way to improve learning. That’s why it’s surprising to see a group of high-profile but strange bedfellows putting forward a new vision for learning, which they’re calling Education Reimagined.

The Education Reimagined vision statement comes out of almost two years of meetings where participants from very different sides of the education debate (labor representatives, charter proponents, district folks, business leaders, you name it) convened, left their individual missions and baggage at the door, and indulged in an exercise to imagine what a 21st century education should look like.

via An Unlikely Group Forms Unified Vision for the Future of Education | MindShift | KQED News.

Kindergarteners: The most “truant” students? | EdSource

By Erin Brownfield

The recently released scores on the Smarter Balanced assessments underscore enduring achievement gaps that decades of previous reforms have failed to close. But one contributor to the achievement gap has recieved little attention: The fact that large numbers of the youngest and often most disadvantaged students are frequently absent from school.

In California, kindergarten students are the most likely of any elementary school students to be “chronically absent,” defined as those missing at least 18 days, or 10 percent of the school year, according to “In School & On Track 2015,” a new report from Attorney General Kamala Harris that looked at absenteeism rates in the 2014-15 school year.

via Kindergarteners: The most “truant” students? | EdSource.

Raising The First Generation Of iPad-Addicted Kids – Forbes

By Basil Moftah

My son is the first generation of human beings to never know a life without the iPad.

He was born in April of 2010, the same month that the first generation iPad was introduced to the world, and his first bedtime stories were told in the glow of the revolutionary device.

So, if pop research is to be believed, he should now be exhibiting advanced signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), have an unhealthy penchant for first-person shooter video games, and otherwise be developing into an incommunicative drone, right?

via Raising The First Generation Of iPad-Addicted Kids – Forbes.

Meet John B. King Jr., Who Will Be Acting U.S. Secretary of Education – Education Week

By Stephen Sawchuk

John B. King Jr., a former New York state commissioner of education, will take the reins at the U.S. Department of Education following Arne Duncans departure in December.

The son of educators, King—who is Black and Puerto Rican—was orphaned at age 12. He credits his teachers in the New York City public school system with his success, saying they made sure he didnt fall through the cracks.(More in this Huffington Post piece by King.)

“New York City public school teachers are the reason that Im alive,” King said, as President Barack Obama introduced him at a news conference as his new acting education secretary. “They gave me hope about [what] could be possible for me in life.”

via Meet John B. King Jr., Who Will Be Acting U.S. Secretary of Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Fairmont Elementary embraces brave new world of technology – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Greek philosopher Socrates, who lived 2,500 years ago, feared the impact writing would have on humans’ ability to think. Gutenberg’s 1436 invention of moveable wooden or metal letters, the printing press, aroused similar anxieties. Technological advances, such as robots using artificial intelligence in our own time, always seem to create unease, if not dread, in some.

But at Vacaville’s Fairmont Elementary School, fear and the latest technology are, apparently, never used in the same sentence, as educators at the Marshall Road campus embrace educational software called Google Docs and a learning platform called Google Classroom.

via Fairmont Elementary embraces brave new world of technology.