The Educated Guess: For-profit colleges ordered to be transparent

For-profit colleges will have to be more forthcoming about information they’ve considered proprietary up to now. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday that requires for-profit colleges to inform prospective students about their accreditation status, salaries, student loan default rates, and whether graduates have found work in the fields they were trained for.

“We want students to make informed choices before they make sizeable investments in their future,” said Assemblymember Marty Block, a San Diego Democrat who introduced AB 2296.  “The basic information required under this bill helps make students smart consumers, and will especially assist veterans as they seek to earn degrees and career training for their transition to civilian life.”

via For-profit colleges ordered to be transparent – by Kathryn Baron.

The Educated Guess: Three up, one down for student discipline reforms

Gov. Jerry Brown signed three of the bills calling for alternatives to student suspensions and expulsions, and vetoed a fourth. Two other measures are still awaiting his action.

The governor approved AB 1729 by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, AB 2537 by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, a Democrat from Coachella, and SB 1088, introduced by Democratic Senator Curren Price of Los Angeles.

Ammiano’s bill gives principals and superintendents more discretion to use alternatives to suspension or expulsion, as long as they’re age appropriate and are targeted to change the student’s behavior. Options could include positive behavior interventions, participation in a program like restorative justice, or a conference with the student’s parents, teachers, and school administrators. Schools have to document the efforts.

via Three up, one down for student discipline reforms – by Kathryn Baron.

Daily Republic: FSUSD Public Safety Academy a different kind of school

FAIRFIELD — The halls of the Public Safety Academy remained quiet and peaceful, even as children shuffled between classes.

As one young boy approach Cadet Training Officer Larry Banks, the youth stopped, stood at attention and said, “Sir. Good afternoon sir.”

Banks was met with the same formality as he entered the fifth-grade classroom.

A fifth-grade girl belted out, “Class, attention!” The children stood up all at once and said, “Sir. Good afternoon sir.”

via Public Safety Academy a different kind of school.

EdSource Today: Study finds little uniformity in CA school discipline

By Kathryn Baron

There’s little consistency in the way California schools deal with expelling and suspending students, according to a new survey of 315 of the state’s largest school districts. Most districts agree on one thing, however: They need more counselors, support staff, and professional development to provide alternatives to kicking kids out of school.

During a time of increasing concern by advocacy groups and the Legislature regarding overuse of suspensions, especially for low-income and minority students, EdSource*, the nonprofit education research, analysis, and policy organization, set out to determine how districts are interpreting and implementing state policies. The responses, analyzed in the report, Understanding School Discipline in California: Perceptions and Practice, represent disciplinary measures in districts that enroll more than 4.1 million students, or two-thirds of the state’s K-12 population.

via Study finds little uniformity in CA school discipline – by Kathryn Baron.

EdSource Today: Bills influencing school disciplinary policies head to governor

By Susan Frey

Seven bills that collectively will shift thinking on how California schools discipline students will likely land on the governor’s desk at the end of the current legislative session on Friday.

Although the bills no longer mandate changes that their authors originally envisioned, “they start to lay out alternatives to suspensions and expulsions,” said Erika Hoffman, a lobbyist for the California School Boards Association (CSBA). “These bills set out a process for how teachers, administrators, and school board members can begin to think about discipline differently.”

via Bills influencing school disciplinary policies head to governor.

Daily Republic: Fairfield-Suisun district sues to keep child out of school

FAIRFIELD — Lawyers for the Fairfield-Suisun School District have turned to the federal courts in Sacramento trying to keep an expelled seventh-grader out of school.

One day in November 2011, the 12-year-old student at Suisun Valley Elementary School, identified only as B.S. in the lawsuit, got a hold of a female classmate’s notebook. B.S. scrawled a message in the notebook threatening to rape, torture and kill the girl.

B.S. was promptly suspended and within days, expulsion proceedings were initiated.

A week before, B.S. got into trouble for making a death threat against his teacher by soliciting classmates to join him in killing the teacher. The day after the threat, about a week before the boy penned the rape-torture note to a classmate, the boy’s mother told school staff she had concerns about her son’s psychotic thinking, his browsing the Internet for handguns and his access to guns at his father’s house.

via Fairfield-Suisun district sues to keep child out of school.

EdSource Today: A dozen-plus bills would reduce barriers to success for boys of color

By Kathryn Baron

The chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on Boys and Men of Color is confident that the bulk of legislation supported by the panel this session will become law.  Oakland Democrat Sandré Swanson wrapped up the committee’s first two years yesterday, presiding over a hearing in the Capitol that laid out current and future proposals for creating a path to success for African American, Latino and Native American boys.

Of about 19 bills supported by or introduced by members of the Select Committee, Swanson told EdSource Today he expects as many as 14 will make it to Gov. Brown’s desk (click here for bill info).  More than half of those address the disproportionately harsh discipline meted out to Black and Latino boys.  Recent studies found that although African American boys make up just 8 percent of the state’s public school students, they account for 19 percent of all suspensions.  Most of the offenses have nothing to do with violence or bringing weapons to campus; according to the committee’s draft action plan, the transgressions are more than likely to fall into the “willful defiance” category, which includes rude behavior such as talking back to a teacher.

via A dozen-plus bills would reduce barriers to success for boys of color – by Kathryn Baron.

The Educated Guess: Select committee: Time running short to end racial disparity

By Kathryn Baron

California’s economic prosperity may lie in a dozen recommendations for helping African American, Latino, and Southeast Asian boys succeed in school. The state Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color is releasing those proposals today in Sacramento along with testimony from an all-star panel of education, health, and workforce experts.

Committee members spent the last year and a half holding hearings across the state to gather personal stories, research, and examples of successful reforms. What they learned filled 19 bills that are currently before the Legislature. Nearly half those bills address the disproportionately high rates of school suspensions and expulsions meted out to boys of color.

The panel notes that although more than 70 percent of Californians under 25 aren’t white, they continue to face extensive economic, educational, and health barriers that prevent them, and eventually the state, from thriving.

via Select committee: Time running short to end racial disparitie – by Kathryn Baron.

Education Week: One in Four Black Students With Disabilities Suspended Out-of-School

Students with disabilities are suspended about twice as often as their peers, a new analysis from the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles, has found.

Analyzing data that districts submitted to the federal Education Department’s office of civil rights, researchers found that the rate of suspension for students with disabilities was about one in 13, compared with 7 percent for students without disabilities.

Most alarming, they said, was that one in four black students with disabilities was suspended at least once during the 2009-10 school year. That figure is 16 percentage points higher than for white students with disabilities. (Nearly one in six African-American students without disabilities was suspended from school during the 2009-10 academic year.)

Some of these students may have an explicit need for help with their behavior outlined in their education plans, which should warrant counseling or appropriate therapy, noted Daniel J. Losen, the director of the Civil Rights Project’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

via One in Four Black Students With Disabilities Suspended Out-of-School.

EdSource Today: Report pinpoints high-suspension districts

By John Fensterwald

African American students are more than three times as likely to be handed out-of-school suspensions as are white children, according to an extensive study released Tuesday by education researchers affiliated with UCLA. Nationwide, one out of six African American students is at risk of suspension every year, compared with one in 14 Hispanic students and one in 20 white students.

“Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion from School” is the latest report to highlight racial and ethnic disparities in student discipline and to call for alternatives to out-of-school suspensions. It includes a database of suspensions by race and ethnicity for districts and states.

“The findings in this study are deeply disturbing,” wrote Gary Orfield, a professor of education and co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, in a foreword to the report. “Students who are barely maintaining a connection with their school often are pushed out, as if suspension were a treatment.”

via Report pinpoints high-suspension districts – by John Fensterwald.

EdSource Extra!: Multiple bills to reform school discipline laws get hearing in Sacramento

By Susan Frey ~ EdSource Extra

A major legislative push is underway to reform California’s laws governing school discipline. A half dozen bills intended to do just that will be heard today in the state Senate and Assembly education committees.

The bills have been introduced against a backdrop of recent research that shows that African American and Latino students are disproportionately suspended or expelled. Some districts have introduced alternative approaches to school discipline and have reduced suspension rates, but these strategies have not been universally adopted. The flurry of bills is an attempt to make such practices part of California law, as well as to clarify aspects of school discipline policies.

In a sign that some reforms might emerge from this legislative session on the issue, two key school organizations are now supporting three of the measures they had previously opposed after the bills’ authors accepted a range of amendments.

via Multiple bills to reform school discipline laws get hearing in Sacramento.

Vallejo Times-Herald Letters: What will it take for Vallejo school district?

N. Richards


Does Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop’s management style model and encourage the disrespect and threats in Vallejo schools? When about two dozen teachers complained of student threats against them, didn’t she threaten to “pack up the teachers’ boxes” and get rid of the complainers?

Two recent videotaped and broadcast assaults in the local schools bring attention to a massive problem of fights, attacks, and bullying. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Most never make the newspapers. Violence against other students and threats to kill teachers demand more than a suspension — which is a short vacation. Expulsion and arrest by the police with referrals to juvie hall are needed. Teachers can’t teach and students can’t learn under these disruptive conditions.

via What will it take for Vallejo school district?.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Grand jury urges Solano County to grow juvenile hall gardening program

By Tony Burchyns

A grand jury report recommends expanding a Solano County juvenile hall gardening program so that the food grown in the garden can be incorporated into daily meals.

The Solano County Juvenile Detention Facility garden program currently donates all its produce to local food banks.

Food staff could not cite any code or contractual impediments to serving the food grown in the garden, the Solano County Grand Jury said.

via Grand jury urges Solano County to grow juvenile hall gardening program.

NPR News: Calif. Schools Try Out A Gentler Form Of Discipline

by Robyn Gee

Each school year, more than 700,000 California students — predominantly black and Latino — are suspended or expelled.

Robert, a talkative sixth-grader in the city of Richmond, has been suspended three times from his elementary school in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. If he gets suspended one more time, he says, he might get expelled. [NPR has withheld his last name because he is a minor.]

Getting expelled may sound extreme for a kid as young as Robert. But the most recent data in California show almost half of total expulsions statewide cited vague offenses, including “willfully defying the authority of school personnel” and “disruption of school activities.”

Some teachers say suspending students from school does not change behavior; it just puts kids further behind and makes it extra difficult for students who rack up multiple suspensions while still in elementary school.

via Calif. Schools Try Out A Gentler Form Of Discipline.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Survey – Vallejo teachers feel unsupported by district officials

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Vallejo teachers are more likely to leave the district due to a perceived lack of support from district administration than from concerns over safety.

That was one finding on a Vallejo Education Association survey made public Thursday night during a safety and school climate forum at First Presbyterian Church.

“A lot of teachers feel unsupported at our school site, that the administration is not at our backs,” said Rob Raven, a Vallejo High School teacher.

via Survey: Vallejo teachers feel unsupported by district officials.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Vallejo police confirm student with loaded gun arrested at Vallejo High School

A Vallejo High School student was found carrying a loaded handgun this past week, police confirmed Sunday.

On Tuesday, a couple of Vallejo High School safety supervisors were called by a maintenance crew member who reported seeing two teenagers in a breezeway at Corbus Field during school hours, a safety supervisor Terrence Greenwood said.

via Vallejo police confirm student with loaded gun arrested at Vallejo ….

SCOE’s Facebook Wall: Ortega is an integral part of new Truancy Court

Sonia Ortega, Student Support Specialist, has a unique role with SCOE. Ortega works with K-6 students and their parents to make sure students attend and stay in school. She does this by providing attendance boosting resources to families at Solano County’s new Truancy Court in Fairfield and Vallejo. Her new role grew out of a partnership between SCOE and the Solano County District Attorney’s office.

via Ortega is an integral part of new Truancy Court Sonia Ortega, Student Support S….

Sacramento Bee Editorial: Schools rely on suspensions far too often

The numbers are startling. In every school district – urban, suburban or rural – surveys show that black kids are more likely to be suspended than whites or Latinos or Asians. The discrepancies are large. In the Sacramento City Unified School District, for example, 20 percent of black students were suspended in the 2009-10 school year, compared with 8.9 percent of students overall.

Read more here:

via Editorial: Schools rely on suspensions far too often.

Daily Republic: FSUSD Board reviews expulsions, suspensions, truancy in Fairfield-Suisun district

FAIRFIELD — Officials at a special school board meeting Tuesday attributed a rise in enrollment and a dip in expulsions in the Fairfield-Suisun School District to the expansion of alternative programs for high school students.

via Board reviews expulsions, suspensions, truancy in Fairfield-Suisun district.