In the News Archive: July 2015


Lawsuit targets Saddleback Valley Unified, 12 others in state
OC Register | July 22, 2015
Saddleback Valley Unified is among 13 California school districts named in a recent lawsuit that claims they are violating the law by not using standardized testing results as part of teacher evaluations.

Students Matter backs teacher eval suit against 13 California districts
Education Dive | July 21, 2015
Last Thursday, four parents and two teachers filed suit against 13 California school districts, alleging that they have signed collective bargaining agreements that block them from using student performance data in evaluating teachers.

Board extends CCSF special trustee
SFBay | July 21, 2015
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted Monday to extend the appointment of a special trustee to oversee the City College of San Francisco, inciting resistance from the California Federation of Teachers.

Judge Chalfant has made his decision; now let him enforce it
San Diego Union-Tribune | July 20, 2015
Whether President Andrew Jackson actually said Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall “has made his decision; now let him enforce it” after an 1832 ruling is a matter of dispute among historians, but Jackson’s anger over the high court’s assertion of its authority is well-documented.

NCLB debate puts opt-out in the 2016 spotlight — Vergara 2.0: The teacher evaluation edition — Scrutinizing overregulation claims
Politico | July 17, 2015
The 2016 GOP contenders who took part in the No Child Left Behind rewrite debate in the Senate took a cue from parents, adopting the testing opt-out mantra in their push for changes to the No Child Left Behind overhaul bill. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) rejected the standardized tests mandated by the law. “At the end of the day, this bill still mandates testing requirements,” Cruz said Thursday on the Senate floor, who added that his amendment would place “power over choices in education in the hands of teachers, in the hands of school boards, in the hands of states.”

Lawsuit says schools are breaking law in teacher evaluations
San Jose Mercury News | July 16, 2015
The same organization that backed a landmark case on California's teacher tenure laws is funding a lawsuit filed Thursday that takes aim at districts not enforcing an act that requires student achievement data to be used on teacher evaluations.

Group sues 13 school districts for not using test scores in teacher evaluations
LA Times | July 16, 2015
An education advocacy group sued 13 California school districts Thursday, claiming that they have ignored a state law requiring teachers’ performance evaluations to include student standardized test scores.

College accrediting group gets more public oversight under bill
SF Gate | July 15, 2015
Expressing frustration with the private process for accrediting California’s community colleges — an obscure system that nearly led to the closure of City College of San Francisco last year — the state Senate’s Education Committee approved a bill Wednesday to increase public oversight of the group.

NEA opposes California's Phillips 66 oil-train project over risks to students
Bay Area Indymedia | July 15, 2015
Out of concern for the safety and wellbeing of students and teachers, the National Education Association today opposed the proposed Phillips 66 oil-train offloading facility in San Luis Obispo County. If approved the project would bring millions of gallons of hazardous crude oil nearly every day through highly populated areas near hundreds of schools.

Community college accreditation commission needs more accountability: Guest commentary
LA Daily News | July 8, 2015
The nine colleges comprising the Los Angeles Community College District are currently gearing up for their accreditation review. Accredited status allows students to receive credit and take out federal loans to attend and assures educational quality and accountability to the public

Teaching moment: Will Sacramento school college accreditors?
Capital & Main | July 7, 2015
If it becomes law, a reform bill now in the state legislature will mark a milestone in the two-year effort to rein in the secretive but powerful private organization responsible for accrediting California’s 112 public community colleges. The target of Assembly Bill 1397 is the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which was recently thwarted from terminating the accreditation of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), mostly for issues stemming from the academically high-rated school’s Great Recession-battered finances.

Mayors hear biased view of California court decision vs. teacher tenure
People’s World | July 7, 2015
In the landmark case of Vergara v. California, state Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled last year that tenure and seniority laws in public education had robbed California students of their constitutional right to a high quality public education. 

Report from charter group suggests English learners do better at charters
LA School Report | July 7, 2015
English learner students are performing better in charter schools than in traditional schools, according to a new report released by the California Charter Schools Association. 

Court may put school status quo under siege
San Diego Union-Tribune | July 2, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement this week that it would hear the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case this fall offers tremendous hope for better public schools and a healthier state political climate. Rebecca Friedrichs, an elementary schoolteacher for 27 years in Anaheim, nine other state teachers and the Christian Educators Association International are challenging the state law requiring them to pay dues to the CTA that the union uses to fight for many causes that Friedrichs opposes – starting with extreme job protections and efforts to control local school boards by electing union allies. 



Organizing is the key to surviving Friedrichs
Labor Notes | July 30, 2015
When news broke that the Supreme Court would hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, headlines instantly projected the worst, calling it “The Supreme Court Case That Could Decimate American Public Sector Unionism,” “An Existential Threat,” and even “The End of Public-Employee Unions?”

Districts urged to step up for next generation of teachers
EdSource | July 30, 2015
A report out this week urges California school districts to take a more assertive role in producing new teachers. A new half-billion-dollar appropriation to districts to improve teacher effectiveness presents the opening to do this, although more state encouragement and incentives would help, the study said.

California Community College chancellor says access and success are priorities
San Bernardino Sun | July 30, 2015
As the state’s community colleges make their way out of the economic downturn and find themselves with a fuller budget this year, Brice Harris, chancellor of California Community Colleges, on Thursday asked administrators to keep two priorities in mind: increasing access and helping more students succeed.

California's school system ranked 9th worst in the nation
SF Gate | July 30, 2015
Summer break is in full swing, but with August days away, the start of the school year is fast approaching. As kids beg for new backpacks and parents mentally prepare for another schedule shift, personal finance website WalletHub is taking a look at the country’s statewide school systems. And for California, the results are grim.

Building teacher communities with summits
San Diego Union-Tribune | July 30, 2015
California State University San Marcos is one of more than 30 sites across the state co-hosting innovative educator summits designed to help teachers share strategies and build teacher communities.

Public school teacher Rebecca Friedrichs: "I never asked the union to represent me." | July 30, 2015
"We're asking that teachers be able to decide for ourselves, without fear or coerscion, whether or not to join or fund a union," says Rebecca Friedrichs, a veteran public school teacher in Buena Park, Califorina. "It's that simple."

Statewide teacher summit to focus on Common Core
Fresno Bee | July 29, 2015
Thousands of teachers across the state will meet at different locations on Friday to discuss Common Core standards and share teaching strategies and resources.

The fight to save City College: Push back against push-out
San Francisco Bay View | July 28, 2015
The fight to save City College is taking place on two levels. We’re winning one but losing the other.

Why Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog is wrong about teacher evaluation
Washington Post | July 28, 2015
FiveThirtyEight is a blog created by Nate Silver, a famous statistician who developed a system for forecasting player performance in Major League Baseball and accurately predicted the winner of 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election. A few years ago, he was asked during an online Q & A session at Reddit whether he believes student standardized test scores should be used to evaluate teachers.

‘Parent trigger’ campaigns can continue despite lack of new test scores
EdSource | July 27, 2015
While California’s testing and accountability system is in flux, parents are allowed to attempt to force major changes at schools considered failing based on tests that are at least two years old and that measure material that’s no longer being taught.

SJ teachers to join statewide Common Core summit
Stockton Record | July 27, 2015
Thousands of teachers across California will come together virtually this week to learn strategies to teach what is known as Common Core.

Pacific helps host summit on teaching Common Core
Manteca Bulletin | July 26, 2015
University of the Pacific on July 31 will join more than 30 other colleges and universities throughout California as hosts of a statewide summit for teachers on the Common Core.

States in Motion: Visualizing how education funding has changed over time
EdSource | July 26, 2015
After a complete redesign and the addition of new data, we’re excited to relaunch “States in Motion.”

Suit seeks to change teacher evaluation criteria
Champion Newspapers | July 25, 2015
Chino Valley school district, school board members and superintendent Wayne Joseph are named as defendants in a lawsuit that seeks to compel compliance with the 1971 Stull Act, which requires student performance on standardized tests to be taken into account when teachers are evaluated.

Schools chief presents blueprint for California education
Santa Cruz Sentinel | July 24, 2015
California should provide a cradle-to-career education system in which children are provided learning opportunities from a young age and given support and services inside and outside the classroom, the state's schools chief recommended Friday.

Early education gets noticed in proposed revise of No Child Left Behind
EdSource | July 24, 2015
The latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, that’s before Congress more formally addresses early education and adds a competitive grant program to help states align their early education system with K-12 schools.

Senate education bill could return control to states
Desert Sun | July 16, 2015
The past few years, California has been reconstructing its entire K-12 educational system. Almost everything — from the way schools are funded to curriculum standards and from standardized tests to a new accountability system — has changed or is in the process of changing.

Students Matter sues districts over teacher evaluations
EdSource | July 16, 2015
Students Matter, which is challenging tenure and other teacher protection laws in Vergara v. California, filed a second school lawsuit Thursday. It is suing 13 school districts that it claims are violating the state law requiring student scores on state standardized tests be a component of a teacher’s evaluation.

David Welch group again sues over Calif. teacher tenure
Washington Times | July 16, 2015
The same organization that backed a landmark case on California’s teacher tenure laws is funding a lawsuit filed Thursday that takes aim at districts not enforcing an act that requires student achievement data to be used on teacher evaluations.

Lawsuit says SoCal schools among those breaking law in teacher evaluations
KPCC | July 16, 2015
A group that got a judge to overturn California's laws on teacher tenure and layoffs is now going after teacher evaluations.

Half of new teachers quit profession in 5 years? Not true, new study says
EdSource | July 16, 2015
A recent federal study found that a much smaller percentage of beginning teachers leave the field in their first five years on the job than the widely quoted figure of 50 percent. It’s 17 percent, according to the new research.

Teachers back in school to master Common Core standards
EdSource | July 15, 2015
School’s out for summer – although maybe not, if your job is to teach the Common Core State Standards.

Teachers Summit aims to address Common Core
Victorville Daily Press | July 15, 2015
An estimated 20,000 teachers from across the state will meet at 33 locations on July 31 for a free event designed for teachers to share ideas and practices addressing Common Core.

California’s dwindling teacher supply rattling districts’ nerves
EdSource | July 14, 2015
Just as California school districts are facing new pressures to implement the Common Core State Standards and other key educational reforms, many of them are struggling with what some officials are calling the early impacts of a long-feared teacher shortage.

As many as 40,000 Corinthian students could get temporary relief from their loans
Market Watch | July 14, 2015
Tens of thousands of former students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges will get some temporary relief from fretting over their student loans.

Death, taxes, and union dues: We all have to pay our due
Education Week | July 14, 2015
I have been putting off writing this week. I didn't want to bore you by talking about something that's already been given a lot of press. I tried to think of other things to write about but I keep coming back to the same topic, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) agreeing to hear the case of Friedrichs v. CTA.

Public union dues comes under Supreme Court scrutiny
National Law Review | July 14, 2015
The constitutionality of “fair share” provisions, requiring non-members covered by public-sector collective bargaining agreements to pay union fees, will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915.

Will the Vergara ruling backfire?
Education Week | July 13, 2015
When a Superior Court judge ruled in Vergara v. California that the state's teacher tenure laws were unconstitutional because they disproportionately deprive poor and minority students of a decent education by leaving ineffective teachers in place, the verdict was hailed as a victory for the plaintiffs. But if the ruling stands, it has the potential to invite litigation with entirely different goals ("Silver Linings Casebook: How Vergara's Backers May Lose by Winning," University of Maryland Law Journal, Volume 15/Issue1).

Friedrichs v CA and CTA
Townhall | July 13, 2015
Like many first-year teachers, I enjoyed no protections despite forced union representation (and paying union dues) since a teacher’s contract strictly declared that non-tenured faculty could be removed for any reason. “For the cut of your hair” is the common refrain to describe the arbitrary, unjust power of administrators and school boards.

Why are some teachers being evaluated using the test scores of kids they didn’t teach?
Slate | July 13, 2015
By almost all accounts, Albuquerque, New Mexico, music instructor Nick Prior is an all-star teacher. He runs six choirs, which serve nearly 200 students at the city’s Eisenhower Middle School. His choirs have won state competitions three times, and in multiple categories. Last year, his students swept a national choir competition, earning first place in showmanship and musicianship. He won a statewide award for teaching from the New Mexico Music Educators Association in 2014.

Corinthian College students reach agreement with Education Dept.
The Hill | July 13, 2015
The Department of Education has agreed to suspend all judicial actions to collect on student loan debt from former Corinthian College students for 120 days, the student committee announced Monday.

Teachers' union girds for Supreme Court setback, pledges to grow membership
Huffington Post | July 13, 2015
Faced with its gravest threat in years from the Supreme Court, one of the country's largest labor unions is preparing for a ruling that could make it much more difficult to collect fees from the workers it represents.

Pasadena City College’s accreditation placed on probation
Pasadena Star-News | July 9, 2015
A regional accrediting commission has placed Pasadena City College on probation after reviewing the way the school is run. 

Bay Area school trustees urge Legislature: Repeal cap on reserves
Contra Costa Times | July 9, 2015
Several Bay Area school board members on Thursday urged state legislators to repeal a cap on school district reserve funds that could be triggered whenever the state puts money into its own rainy day fund for schools. 

Accrediting commission sanctions 4 East Bay community colleges
SF Gate | July 8, 2015
Four community colleges in Alameda County have been placed on a watch list for accreditation problems by the same agency that threatened to revoke accreditation from City College of San Francisco.

Common Core test results due next month: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’
Modesto Bee | July 7, 2015
After a year with no results to, in essence, test the test, this summer there will be numbers and ratings winging their way to parents’ mailboxes.

Who's funding Campbell Brown's education news site?
Inside Philanthrophy | July 6, 2015
Former news anchor and current education reform advocate Campbell Brown has found a way to combine her interests in journalism and education reform with her new venture, a nonprofit news site focused on K-12 education.

Are test scores proving fears about Common-Core high school math correct?
Education Week | July 6, 2015
As I wrote last week, Smarter Balanced test scores released by Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state show that students are largely beating states' projections for student performance—except for on the high school math tests, where students in all three states fell short of their predicted performance.


CCSF to meet with accrediting commission over possible reversal of 2013 decision
San Francisco Examiner | July 6, 2015
Leaders with City College of San Francisco on Wednesday will ask the school’s accrediting commission to reverse its 2013 decision to revoke the school’s accreditation, though it’s unknown what impact that move would have.

Legislators take aim at Proposition 13 loophole
SF Gate | July 6, 2015
San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting calls it one of the most vexing issues in the state Capitol, a loophole in California’s Proposition 13 that allows commercial property buyers to wiggle out of paying higher taxes.

Marriage ruling may boost school climate for LGBT families and students
EdSource | July 6, 2015
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major civil rights decision on marriage in Loving v. Virginia in 1967, striking down a state law banning interracial marriage, Alameda Unified teacher Gene Kahane was a 3rd-grader in Richmond, California, and didn’t hear about it. News of social change travels faster and farther now – and almost immediately into the classroom.

California advocates still pushing to unionize child care providers
Sacramento Bee | July 5, 2015
Pamela Sharp’s day starts at 5:30 a.m., when she gets up to make breakfast for the children she watches all day in her home. She’s open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., five days a week.

‘Project-based learning and Common Core are a natural fit’
EdSource | July 5, 2015
Tyler Graff is the incoming principal at the Claire Lilienthal alternative school in San Francisco Unified. Previously, he was principal of Stevenson Elementary, a public school in Mountain View, where he kicked off a project-based learning initiative in 2012.

Debt forgiveness and liquidation
Inside Higher Ed | July 2, 2015
The messy dismantling of Corinthian Colleges is moving through a federal bankruptcy court, as a judge mulls whether to halt loan repayments for up to 350,000 former students and the defunct for-profit chain seeks the court’s approval for the fire sale of its remaining assets – including trademarks, furniture and even old diplomas and typewriters.

Arne Duncan 'thrilled' to close Corinthian Colleges, not so ready to help its former students
Huffington Post | July 2, 2015
The Department of Education was “thrilled” to shut down the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges Inc., Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared Wednesday -- a claim that stands in sharp contrast with his department's frantic efforts last year to save the company. 

State budget offers ‘epic opportunity’ for California community colleges
EdSource | July 2, 2015
The budget deal agreed to by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature last month has record increases for education, particularly community colleges. Some call it a windfall. Others call it catch up from deep budget slashing during the recession.


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