By Zak Ringelstein
Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nomination for secretary of education — whose confirmation Democrats are hoping to block on Tuesday — has reignited the war over public schools like nothing America has seen in recent years. That’s not to say there haven’t been debates over the education system, in part fueled by films such as 2010’s Waiting for Superman and The Lottery, both focusing on charter schools, activist foundations such as the Walton Family Fund pouring billions into school choice, and politicians such as Jeb Bush portraying charter schools and vouchers as the answer to our educational inequity.
Source: 3 Ways Public School Teachers Are Uniting To Block Betsy DeVos Confirmation
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today urged all California public schools to continue “Safe Haven” efforts for students and their families, particularly Muslims and refugees targeted by recent federal actions.
“As a teacher, coach, father, citizen, and leader of California’s public school system, I strongly disagree with President Trump’s recent immigration order and want to make sure that our students and families who are refugees and Muslims feel safe and protected in our schools,” said Torlakson. “California public schools welcome all students regardless of their heritage, religion, ethnicity, background, disability, or sexual orientation.
“Diversity is California’s strength. We do not just welcome diversity. We celebrate it. An ill-conceived presidential executive order is not going to change that.”
Source: Schools Encouraged to Continue Safe Haven Efforts – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Ryan McCarthy
A resolution declaring the Fairfield-Suisun School District a “safe haven” and reminding families about laws that protect students from questions about their immigration status won support Thursday from trustees and most public speakers.
“Every student is our student no matter the circumstances. Period,” Trustee Jonathan Richardson said.
“Our job is to provide education,” he said. “We’re not the education police.”
Trustee John Silva recalled being sent to Mexico twice because his parents weren’t documented and had to get papers together for the family’s return.
Source: ‘Safe haven’ resolution for Fairfield, Suisun schools scores support
By Richard Bammer
Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, will devote perhaps two hours before they consider agenda item 18A, a one-line entry that might be overlooked if not for headlines spawned Wednesday by President Donald Trump: his executive order to build a Mexican border wall and plans to indefinitely block Syrian refugees from entering the United States and to initiate a temporary halt on all refugees from the rest of the world.
The seven-member governing board will discuss a proposed resolution to declare the district as a “safe haven” for students, and, if approved, will vote on it at a Feb. 9 meeting.
The trustees’ discussion comes two days after Gov. Jerry Brown’s fiery State of the State address, during which — while railing against several controversial Trump proposals — he noted laws passed to expand protections for illegal immigrants.
By Alyson Klein
President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order freezing hiring at many federal agencies, with the exception of military and public safety employees. So how might that effect the U.S. Department of Education’s work?
For one thing, it could mean longer hours for some of the department’s career staff and slower responses to department inquiries, said Zollie Stevenson, who served as a career staffer in the department under three presidents, including as the director of student achievement and school accountability programs.
“Existing staff in departments often have more work to do and often have to work longer,” said Stevenson, who is now the acting vice president for academic affairs at Philander Smith College, in Little Rock, Ark. “Sometimes the timeline for response to inquiries and program requests can slow down during hiring freezes in areas with lots of customers.”
Source: What Does Trump’s Hiring Freeze Mean for the Education Department? – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Louise Feedberg
Aspects of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal for a massive $20 billion “school choice” program are running into resistance from an unexpected source: charter school advocates in at least two states.
According to the plan he announced last September, the goal would to allow parents to use federal and state dollars to enroll their children “in the local public, private, charter or magnet school that is best for them.”
The plan would include provide parents with tax-payer supported vouchers that could be used to pay for private school tuition. That has been a central passion of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s multibillionaire nominee to be secretary of education, who will testify before the Senate Health, Labor, Pensions and Education Committee at her confirmation hearing beginning at 2 p.m. PST on Tuesday. She has also been a vigorous supporter of charter schools, and has been a driving force in promoting charter schools in her home state of Michigan. Her husband, Dick DeVos, the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, even started one, the West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids.
Source: Charter school advocates in two states oppose aspects of Trump ‘school choice’ proposal | EdSource
By Louis Freedberg
The U.S. Department of Education has once again rejected California’s bid to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of current tests based on standards in place since 1998.
In a letter sent Tuesday to state education leaders, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr., said that California would have to continue to administer the old tests. She said the pilot tests based on the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by California in 2013 would not “measure the full depth and breadth of the state’s academic content in science.”
It is not clear what will happen after Jan. 20 when President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated, and whether his administration will also insist that California administer the old tests.
Source: Federal government insists again that California administer old science tests | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
The incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and the heads of the University of California and California State University have formally asked President-elect Donald Trump to continue an Obama policy allowing children of undocumented immigrants to pursue higher education in the United States.
Their Tuesday letter comes as the Republican businessman campaigned on a platform of being a strict enforcer of U.S. immigration laws and eliminating many of President Barack Obama’s executive orders, including the policy (not a formal executive order) of giving “particular care” before deporting students, military veterans and others, many of them Hispanics and Latinos who are deemed low risks.
Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in America, 2 million of them were brought here as children. About 800,000 of these “Dreamers” qualified for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the 2012 Obama program that would shield the children from deportation and allow them to obtain work permits, driver licenses and a sense of hope and safety.
Source: Top state educators ask Trump to protect “Dreamers” – The Reporter
By Alyson Klein
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Betsy DeVos, a longtime school choice advocate and Republican mega-donor, to be his education secretary, he announced Wednesday.
DeVos is best known in the school choice world as the chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, an advocacy and research organization that champions school vouchers and tax-credit scholarships. And just hours after her selection, DeVos sent a tweet making it clear that she adamantly opposes the Common Core State Standards, which Trump also has denounced.
“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” said President-elect Trump in a statement announcing the pick, which is still subject to U.S. Senate confirmation. “Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”
Source: School Choice Advocate Betsy DeVos Named Ed. Sec.: What Does That Mean? – Politics K-12 – Education Week
Education was not a major theme in the Trump for President campaign. Among his few specific proposals: eliminate the Common Core standards in English and math, and establish a $20 billion program to expand school choice for low-income children. Last week, President-elect Trump posted a two-paragraph statement framing his position on education on a new website, greatagain.org. Clearly, many details have yet to be fleshed out.
EdSource asked 16 leaders in their respective fields or organizations in California to anticipate possible change in education during the Donald Trump presidency. Their voices are not intended to be representative of the education community in California, or of all political points of view. EdSource did approach Californians thought to be in touch with the Trump transition team, but they did not wish to express their ideas publicly. We will add other perspectives in the days and weeks ahead.
Source: Education leaders contemplate what Trump presidency means for California education | EdSource