In the News Archive: August 2014


Torlakson asks state to appeal Vergara ruling
EdSource | Aug. 29, 2014
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Friday asked the California attorney general to appeal the landmark court decision in Vergara vs. California, which in June struck down statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority. 

Bill that would increase transparency for community college accreditation heads to governor’s desk
San Francisco Examiner | Aug. 29, 2014
A bill that seeks to make the accreditation system for California's 112 community colleges more transparent landed on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown this week after receiving unanimous support from the state Senate and Assembly. 

Judge sets up battle over teacher protections
Politico | Aug. 28, 2014
A Los Angeles judge on Thursday affirmed a tentative June ruling that struck down five laws governing job protections for teachers in California.

Vergara ruling stands, judge rules in final review
L.A. School Report | Aug. 28, 2014
The judge in Vergara vs. California today released his final review of the case, affirming his preliminary decision in June, that five state statures governing teacher employment rules violate the California constitution by denying students access to a quality public education. 

Here are the winners and losers in California's $330 million film tax subsidy
LA Weekly | Aug. 28, 2014
Jerry Brown, California's skin-flint governor, acceded Wednesday to an increase in the film tax credit to $330 million. Brown is a well-known skeptic of Hollywood subsidies, but the combined forces of organized labor, multinational entertainment conglomerates, and B-list celebrities proved too powerful to resist. 

Viewpoints: More transparency required at community college accrediting agency
Sacramento Bee | Aug. 27, 2014
A bipartisan, unanimous vote in the Legislature doesn’t happen every day. So it’s worth noting that Assembly Bill 1942, for fair community college accreditation practices, recently passed 36-0 in the Senate and 74-0 in the Assembly. 

Joshua Pechthalt: Doing what works for school success
Orange County Register | Aug. 27, 2014
In my home, like millions across the country, kids and parents are preparing for the beginning of a new school year. New backpacks are stuffed with folders, pencils, pens and erasers. Kids hurry off to meet friends, check out their new teachers and classes and settle in for another year of learning, physical and emotional growth and hopefully some fun. 

S.F. College evaluators proposed probation, not more severe sanctions
LA Times | Aug. 22, 2014
The private panel that moved last year to revoke the accreditation of City College of San Francisco has admitted in a court filing that all 15 members of its evaluation team recommended a less punitive sanction. 

Hancock College board extends president's contract
Lompoc Record | Aug. 20, 2014
Hancock College Board of Trustees extended the contract of President Kevin Walthers on Tuesday as one in a series of personnel moves.

California bill curbing ‘willful defiance’ suspensions opens school discipline debate
San Luis Obispo Tribune | Aug. 16, 2014
The way he sees it, a stolen backpack could have derailed Brian Hernandez’s academic career. 

CFT President Pechthalt Discusses Merits of Due Process
Al-Jazeera America | Aug. 14, 2014
California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt talks about due process in California and the Vergara v. California decision with lead attorney for the plaintiffs Ted Boutros.

Petaluma teacher pay standoff drags into school year
Petaluma Argus Courier | Aug. 12, 2014
Many Petaluma teachers are already in their classrooms preparing for the start of the school year on Aug. 19. But while their lesson plans may be taking shape, some terms of their own employment contract, including their salary for the coming year, are less certain. 

Bipartisan coalition supports school facilities bond on November ballot
Pleasanton Weekly | Aug. 5, 2014
Assemblymembers Joan Buchanan and Curt Hagman, along with many supporters from around the state, urged Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday during a news conference to sign assembly bill 2235 to place a school facilities bond on the November 4 ballot. 

School reforms that actually work
Washington Post | Aug. 5, 2014
For years now education leaders have been pushing onto school districts school reforms that don’t show any sign of working while giving short shrift to those that have a track record of working. Gary Ravani, a 35-year public school teacher and president of the California Federation of Teachers’ Early Childhood/K-12 Council, explains in this post.

The Secret campaign of Sandra Fluke
Vogue | Aug. 4, 2014
Her website lists her campaign address as a post office box in Santa Monica. But on a somewhat obscure, untraveled city street in West Los Angeles, black and white paper cutout letters hang in the shape of a rainbow, spelling out: “Stand With Sandra.” In another window, on the other side of the unmarked door, a more festive neon version states (or rather understates): “Sandra Fluke for Senate.” 

What happens when students sue their teachers?
Al Jazeera America | Aug. 1, 2014
In June, Christine McLaughlin, who had been named Pasadena’s Teacher of the Year in 2013, found her work on trial. 



Tom Torlakson will appeal California teacher tenure ruling
Sacramento Bee | Aug. 29, 2014
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will appeal the June court ruling that California’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional, he announced Thursday.

Calif. teacher tenure case spices up superintendent race
Washington Post | Aug. 29, 2014
The Vergara case in California, in which a judge struck down that state’s tenure laws and other job protections for teachers, is about to become a central issue in the November race for state schools chief.

The attack on bad teacher tenure laws is actually an attack on black professionals
Washington Post | Aug. 28, 2014
After the Vergara v. California decision in California’s state Supreme Court, which held that key job protections for teachers are unconstitutional, anti-union advocates everywhere began spawning copycat lawsuits. But while reformers may genuinely want to fix education for everyone, their efforts will only worsen diversity in the teaching corps. The truth is that an attack on bad teacher tenure laws (and ineffective teachers in general) is actually an attack on black professionals. 

Fiasco: Attack on San Francisco City College outrages CA officials
Capital & Main | Aug. 27, 2014
Throughout the two-year debate over a plan by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to shut down San Francisco’s nine-campus City College, the school’s supporters held their tongues on one key belief. Namely, that the commission had long ago made up its mind to shut down the college and no amount of restructuring could change the ACCJC’s mind. 

CCSF decision defended by accrediting commission
San Francisco Examiner | Aug. 27, 2014
The commission that voted to strip City College of San Francisco of its accreditation last summer is defending its decision to exceed an evaluation team's recommendation in 2012 to only place the school on probation, according to recently revealed court documents.

CCSF visiting team had recommended lesser penalty
SF Gate | Aug. 27, 2014
The team that visited City College of San Francisco in 2012 recommended placing the college on probation - a far lesser penalty than was adopted by the accrediting commission, which instead issued its most severe sanction and is seeking to revoke accreditation from the school of nearly 80,000 students.

Judges’ rulings take away workers’ rights
People’s World | Aug. 27, 2014
If there ever is a year that proves the importance of judges' rulings to workers' rights, 2014 is it. That's because the jurists in black robes spent much of the year taking rights away.

Changes coming for California public schools: Thomas Elias
LA Daily News | Aug. 25, 2014
For many years, it was valid to urge that students take a good look around as they entered high school in the fall — because more than one-third of their opening-day classmates would probably drop out before Graduation Day four years later.

L.A. Unified halts contract for iPads
LA Times | Aug. 25, 2014
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy suspended future use of a contract with Apple on Monday that was to provide iPads to all students in the nation's second-largest school system amid mounting scrutiny of the $1-billion-plus effort.

Endorsement: Attorney General Kamala Harris, all but unchallenged, deserves a second term
Sacramento Bee | Aug. 25, 2014
Attorney General Kamala Harris almost certainly will lead California’s Department of Justice for the next four years, appropriately so.

Team that reviewed City College of S.F. recommended a less-severe penalty
The Chronicle of Higher Education | Aug. 25, 2014
The accreditor that oversees the City College of San Francisco has admitted in a court filing that members of its evaluation team recommended a less-severe penalty than the one that eventually led to the accreditor’s move to revoke the college’s accreditation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia talks to Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera America | Aug. 22, 2014

Ray Suarez: Recently in Vergara v. California the teachers' unions defending the notion of tenure were handed a big defeat in a California court. What's more interesting is who was lined up on the side of Vergara, a young California schoolgirl who was the petitioner: Arne Duncan, the secretary of education. 

Some California community colleges could soon start offering 4-year degrees
San Jose Mercury News | Aug. 22, 2014
A small number of California's two-year colleges will start offering four-year degrees if the governor signs a bill that cleared the state Legislature Thursday.

Duncan offers teachers leeway on job performance tied to standardized tests
Washington Post | Aug. 21, 2014
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Thursday announced a plan to allow states to delay using student standardized test results on teacher performance evaluations, a move widely seen as an effort to calm tension between Duncan and the nation’s educators.

Dan Choi running for City College of San Francisco board spot
Towleroad | Aug. 21, 2014
Lt. Dan Choi, who was for many years the public face of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal movement, has announced a candidacy for the City College of San Francisco Board.

California lawmakers pass education and drug bills, strike Prop. 187.
L.A. Times | Aug. 21, 2014
California community colleges could offer four-year degrees for the first time, and suspension of defiant schoolchildren would be curtailed, under proposals sent to Gov. Jerry Brown by the Legislature on Thursday.

LAUSD's $1-billion iPad effort beset by problems, report finds
L.A. Times | Aug. 21, 2014
The groundbreaking effort to provide an iPad to every Los Angeles student, teacher and school administrator was beset by inadequate planning, a lack of transparency and a flawed bidding process, according to a draft of an internal school district report obtained by The Times.

Democrats reject GOP attempts to lift school reserves cap
Sacramento Bee | Aug. 21, 2014
Democrats in the California Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican effort to overturn a state budget provision that caps the amount of money school districts can hold in reserve.

'Future is rich' for City College of San Francisco, says chancellor
New America Media | Aug. 20, 2014
This week marks the start of the fall semester at City College of San Francisco, which celebrates its 80th anniversary next year. Even as the fight to retain its accreditation continues, school administrators say they are working to ensure CCSF’s survival for another eighty years.

NEA’s new president denounces testing
EdSource | Aug. 20, 2014
In the midst of her first swing through California, the incoming president of the National Education Association praised the Common Core State Standards and California’s measured approach in implementing them while warning that the nation’s largest teachers union would fight efforts to use the new tests for the standards in ways that “harm kids” and punish schools and teachers.

California high school seniors beat national averages on ACT exams
L.A. Times | Aug. 19, 2014
California high school seniors outperformed their peers nationally in all categories of the ACT college entrance exam this year, according to data released Wednesday.

The public turns against teacher tenure
The Wall Street Journal | Aug. 19, 2014
It's back-to-school season, but teacher tenure has been a hot topic since summer began. In June a California court ruled that the state's tenure and seniority laws are unconstitutional in Vergara v. State of California. Minority students have filed a similar case in New York, with more to come elsewhere.

Gallup finds opposition to Common Core
EdSource | Aug. 19, 2014
Americans are hearing more about the Common Core State Standards and most of them don’t like what they’re hearing, according to a national opinion poll released Wednesday.

S.F. teachers vote to strike, but not just yet
SF Gate | Aug. 18, 2014
San Francisco teachers overwhelmingly supported a preliminary strike vote, with 2,238 checking the yes box on the ballot and 16 voting no.

Higher ed is embracing goals of Common Core
EdSource | Aug. 18, 2014
Most attention to the Common Core State Standards has focused on the continued political backlash against the standards and the status of implementation in schools. As we look ahead to next spring when students will take assessments that indicate whether they are on track to college and career readiness, we are seeing some attention begin to focus on the role of higher education (see New America’s paper on this topic and a story from the Hechinger Report). 

Proposed November school bond all but dead
Sacramento Bee | Aug. 15, 2014
Californians’ ballots this fall are all but certain to lack a proposed $4.3 billion school bond, even though the legislation cleared a key Senate committee this week.

Campbell Brown put on notice by teachers union
Washington Post | Aug. 15, 2014
I recently wrote a post about how Campbell Brown’s new advocacy group, the Partnership for Educational Justice, had used on its Web site the exact wording of the slogan of the current branding campaign of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union.

School bond moves on to uncertain fate
EdSource | Aug. 14, 2014
A slimmed down school construction bond measure approved by a state Senate committee on Thursday faces an uncertain future.

Attorney general moves to consolidate teacher tenure lawsuits
Staten Island Advance | Aug. 14, 2014
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a motion in state Supreme Court, St. George, to consolidate two similar lawsuits filed since July that seek to end teacher tenure.

S.F. teachers set to vote on strike | Aug. 14, 2014
Days before heading back to school, San Francisco teachers will take their first of two votes that could lead to a strike after months of labor negotiations have failed to produce a new contract.

AFT President on the Death of Michael Brown and Events in Ferguson, Mo.
AFT | Aug. 14, 2014
Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the events in Ferguson, Mo.

McKenna wins key L.A. school board seat, according to unofficial results
LA Times | Aug. 13, 2014
Veteran school administrator George McKenna won his bid for a key seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education besting political newcomer Alex Johnson, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night.

Outspent by rival, McKenna drew on connections in school board victory
LA Times | Aug. 13, 2014
In this week's election for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education, one side had deep pockets and extensive political connections; the other side had people such as Orley Frost Jr.

Michelle Rhee drops out of school group
Politico | Aug. 13, 2014
Michelle Rhee had big ambitions when she went on Oprah four years ago to launch her new advocacy group, StudentsFirst, with a promise to raise $1 billion to transform education policy nationwide.

Campbell Brown responds to critics (including me)
Washington Post | Aug. 13, 2014
have recently published several posts about a new effort led by former CNN journalist Campbell Brown to eliminate or restrict teacher and other job protections for teachers. (You can see them here, here, here and here.) Brown has appeared on numerous television shows recently arguing that legal job protections for teachers have a negative impact on student achievement; critics say there is no research showing a connection between teacher tenure laws and lower rates of student achievement.

School leaders oppose Brown’s rainy day measure
Cabinet Report | Aug. 13, 2014
A coalition of some of the state’s most influential education groups is rallying opposition to a Constitutional amendment placed on the November ballot by the Legislature that would require the state to reconstruct a rainy day fund for use in lean budget years.

Yes, I am a teacher. No, I am not going to destroy society and your children

The Guardian | Aug. 12, 2014
I learned recently that I don’t live in the real world: before that, I’d assumed that if my degrees, certifications and teaching career didn’t qualify me as a resident of the “real world”, then the taxes, rent, car payments and student loans that I am dutifully paying off certainly would. But each time my eyes wander into the comments section of an education-related article, I’m told that my fellow educators and I inhabit an alternate universe in which we are the villains, responsible for all of society’s ills.

Bills Seek to Curb Chronic Absenteeism
Capital Public Radio | Aug. 12, 2014
A lot of kids miss a day of school here and there. But some are chronically absent or late. Now some California lawmakers want to crack down on the problem.

With fractions, Common-Core training goes beyond 'invert and multiply'
Education Week | Aug. 12, 2014
"Who would draw a picture to divide 2/3 by 3/4?" asked Marina Ratner, a professor emerita of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

My teacher family urges "Yes" on pending California EpiPen bill
Huffington Post | Aug. 12, 2014
Our toddler daughter stopped breathing in our arms after eating a bite of food to which she was severely allergic. The EpiPen injection we quickly gave her likely saved her life. My teacher-husband Alex was stung by a bee when in his 30s, and unexpectedly had his first anaphylactic reaction, losing consciousness within minutes. Quick action on a friend's part, and an EpiPen injection, likely saved his life.

Confused about where to stand on teacher tenure? So is the rest of America
Huffington Post | Aug. 12, 2014
From New York to California, teacher tenure has been under attack across the nation this summer.

Lunch lady rises to teachers union leader and takes on all comers, bluntly
Washington Post | Aug. 11, 2014
She began her career in a school cafeteria, as a lunch lady. In three weeks, she will take over as head of the nation’s largest labor union, representing 3 million educators.

The Vergara decision: a dagger aimed at teacher unions
Socialist Alternative | Aug. 10, 2014
Several weeks ago, a California judge delivered a ruling that, if upheld, would represent a devastating blow to teacher unions in that state and set a very dangerous precedent nationwide. The ruling in Vergara v. California by Judge Rolf M. Treu decrees that the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they deprive students from receiving a quality education.

An Open Letter to Whoopi Goldberg and 'The View' Regarding Teacher Tenure

Huffington Post | Aug. 8, 2014
I am writing you today to shed some light on teacher "tenure," better described as due process. Your comments over the past week regarding teacher tenure have created much controversy across this nation, but more than that, your words were perceived as an attack on teachers. I personally would like to think that you do value and support the teachers who are working so hard, day in and day out, to ensure that our nation's children are getting the education they need and deserve. 

California millionaire joins fight against teacher tenure in New York
New York Daily News | Aug. 7, 2014
The Silicon Valley millionaire who won a landmark legal case against teacher tenure in California is joining the fight in New York.

Who the @$#! is Campbell Brown?
Esquire | Aug. 6, 2014
To paraphrase from my grandmother, the former shepherd lass from the hills and hollows of north Kerry, who the fck is Campbell Brown when she's at home?

‘The View’ hosts apparently love teachers, hate tenure
Huffington Post | Aug. 6, 2014
Hosts of "The View" caused a stir in the education world this week after sounding off on teacher tenure on Monday's show.

L.A. teachers union says district wants it to pick pay or class size
L.A. Daily News | Aug. 6, 2014
Concluding a second round of contract talks Wednesday, teachers union leaders released a statement claiming Los Angeles Unified administrators were attempting to pit the community and parents against educators.

Vergara legal team joining similar teacher case in New York 
L.A. School Report | Aug. 6, 2014
The LA-based legal team that prevailed in Vergara v. California, convincing a California judge to strike down state laws governing teacher employment, has been brought into a similar lawsuit now underway in New York.

Supporters make case for California school bond
Sacramento Bee | Aug. 5, 2014
Legislative supporters of putting a multibillion-dollar school construction bond on the fall ballot kicked off efforts Monday to pass the measure by the end of next week, with California’s largest homebuilding group warning that the state otherwise faces a “nuclear option” of more expensive homes.

Backers push to put school bond on ballot
EdSource | Aug. 5, 2014
Despite widespread bipartisan support from state legislators and school districts, Gov. Jerry Brown is remaining mum on whether he supports putting a multi-billion-dollar school construction bond on the ballot in November. The governor had no comment, his press office said in an email.

Lawmakers face long list of education bills
Cabinet Report | Aug. 5, 2014
Standardized testing inaccuracies, funding for new adult education programs and new Common Core assessments for students with disabilities are among the education proposals left to be decided upon by legislators returning from summer recess Monday.

Former Obama aides broke with democratic firm over anti-teachers union project
Huffington Post | Aug. 4, 2014
Every day throughout the summer of 2006, seemingly without end, things just kept getting worse for Washington Republicans. Iraq was spiraling out of control, President George W. Bush was at the depth of his unpopularity. Congressional Republicans were mired in scandal. One was even caught sending dirty instant messages to young boys.

Teacher tenure: taking it to the courts
Huffington Post | Aug. 4, 2014
Like all society's most vexing problems, the question seems deceptively simple -- what is the best educational system for our children? This question is so broad that it may be all but unanswerable with anything other than, "it depends." The current focus of our never-ending education debate has settled on a narrower issue, that of teacher tenure.

Celebrated trial lawyer to head group challenging teacher tenure
New York Times | Aug. 3, 2014
David Boies, the star trial lawyer who helped lead the legal charge that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban, is becoming chairman of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group that former CNN anchor Campbell Brown founded in part to pursue lawsuits challenging teacher tenure.

Fact-checking Campbell Brown: What she said, what research really shows
Washington Post | Aug. 3
Former CNN correspondent Campbell Brown appeared on The Colbert Report last week in her role as head of the new Partnership for Educational Justice, an advocacy organization that is supporting seven parents in a lawsuit against New York State’s teacher tenure laws. (Supporting may be underestimating what the group is doing, given that she called the parents “our plaintiffs.”) Colbert asked her some good questions but her answers were, well, questionable. 

City College Of San Francisco continues to fight to stay open
SFist | Aug. 1, 2014
In the continuing saga of City College of San Francisco (CCSF)'s credentials, the Chronicle reports that CCSF leaders have applied to restore its accreditation as a learning institution.


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