In the News Archive: June 2015


California's state pension funds move closer to divesting from coal
The Guardian | June 26, 2015
A key vote in the campaign to get California’s state pension funds to divest from thermal coal was passed this week. 

Vergara appeal moves forward, but final decision may be 1 year away
LA School Report | June 24, 2015
An appellate court ruling in the landmark Vergara v. California case moved closer to an end date today with the attorneys for the nine student plaintiffs filing their appeal brief. 

School nurse bill by Sen. Lois Wolk moves forward
The Reporter | June 24, 2015
Legislation by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, to enable schools to hire more school nurses and take a lead role in managing chronic childhood diseases received unanimous, bipartisan support in the Assembly Health Committee this week. 

How California teachers beat the gun companies
Huffington Post | June 23, 2015
The recent success of the California Federation of Teachers' (CFT) battle to remove investment in guns and pro-guns organizations from their retirement fund is a major victory. In the years since the ultimately successful divestment campaign to end apartheid in South Africa, the tactic of using one's money to change the world has been repeatedly second-guessed, called ineffective and generally dismissed. Yet divestment campaigns continue, on fossil fuels, on guns, and on other issues, for a reason: They work.

California tempers backlash while embracing Common Core
ABC News | June 22, 2015
While the Common Core education standards provoked political backlash and testing boycotts around the country this year, the state that educates more public school children than any other — California — was conspicuously absent from the debate. 

California nurses, teachers oppose Phillips 66 oil train project
Bay Area Indymedia | June 19, 2015
The 120,000-member California Federation of Teachers voted to add their voice to the growing community of nurses and teachers opposed to the Phillips 66 oil train project.

Financing the destruction of American lives
East Bay Express | June 17, 2015
More than two years after it promised to do so, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) announced last week that it had finally stopped financing Remington Outdoor, the firearms company that makes Bushmaster rifles, including the AR-15 used by Adam Lanza to murder twenty children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012. California teachers praised CalSTRS' decision to liquidate its stake in Remington — held through a private equity fund managed by Cerberus Capital Management — but said it was long overdue. "This divestment will ensure that educators and their pension system are not associated with weapons that place communities, and, in rare but tragic cases, schools, at greater risk," said Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association. 

Don’t let child poverty undermine school readiness: Guest commentary
LA Daily News | June 16, 2015
By the time they set foot in their kindergarten classroom for the first time, half a million children in California will already have had their opportunities for academic success undermined by the pernicious impact of profound poverty. 

English learners: Props for CTA power play
U-T San Diego | June 16, 2015
There is always going to be cynicism about politics because of the awareness that the interests of the powerful often dictate how our elected leaders act, whatever pure motives they claim. But what’s going on now with the implementation of a costly, much-ballyhooed state education reform is stupefying in its cynicism. 

Debate over funding child care is a trap
Sacramento Bee | June 11, 2015
As an educator, a parent, and someone who wants to see the next generation given every tool possible to succeed, I support the proposed expansion of child care programs. The earlier we prepare children for the classroom, the stronger their foundation for learning will be.

CA teacher retirement fund dumps firearms shares
Breitbart News | June 10, 2015
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has sold its investment in Remington Outdoor, the parent company for Bushmaster firearms–the firearm that Adam Lanza stole and used in his his heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary. 

CalSTRS cashes out of firearms investment
Sacramento Bee | June 8, 2015
Ending a lengthy effort that had frustrated school teachers, CalSTRS has sold its investment in the firearms manufacturer linked to the 2012 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Assemblyman Ting, education advocates demand accreditation process reforms
San Francisco Appeal | June 6, 2015
Legislators and education advocates today called for curbs on the powers of college accreditors, who they accused of targeting City College of San Francisco while allowing violations by the for-profit Heald College to go unchecked. 


Public sector unions’ $9 billion, two-stage attack on Prop 13
Breitbart News | June 2, 2015
It was only a matter of time until California’s powerful public sector unions geared up for a two-step approach to overturn the 1978 Proposition 13 ballot measure that has saved California property owners about $550 billion in property taxes.

New approach leads to drop in CMS suspensions
Charlotte Observer | May 31, 2015
The number of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students who have been suspended is down 14 percent this year, a reflection of the district’s new emphasis on finding alternatives to sending children home to discipline them. 


California vaccine bill that bans personal, religious exemptions advances
CNN | June 25, 2015
The California House passed a proposal that would outlaw a family's personal and religious beliefs as reasons to exempt their children from school vaccinations.

SB277 update: Calif. state Assembly approves controversial vaccination bill
KPCC | June 25, 2015
The controversial bill that would require almost all children entering daycare or school in California to be vaccinated crossed another key hurdle Thursday, as the state Assembly approved it by a vote of 46-30.

U.S. appoints monitor to oversee Corinthian Colleges claims
LA Times | June 25, 2015
The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday appointed an advisor to help guide the debt relief process for potentially hundreds of thousands of students who attended now-defunct Corinthian Colleges campuses.

Schools consider impact of ending vaccination opt-outs
EdSource | June 25, 2015
In the pockets of California where hundreds and even thousands of kindergartners are not fully vaccinated, school districts are starting to think seriously about how a proposed law requiring vaccinations – which the Legislature approved Thursday – could affect their enrollment and in turn, their funding.

U.S. enlists monitor for Corinthian student loans
Wall Street Journal | June 25, 2015
The Obama administration is enlisting the lawyer who carried out the government’s landmark mortgage settlement to oversee the process of forgiving the loans of tens of thousands of former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc., drawing into focus the similarities between the mortgage crisis and the student loan burden facing many Corinthian students.

Bad teachers: New bill puts poor performers in the crosshairs
Watchdog | June 25, 2015
Ineffective teachers kept safe by seniority may soon lose that protection. Pennsylvania is one of a few states in which performance does not factor into layoff decisions. Instead, it employs a system designed to shield veteran educators from budget cuts while newer teachers, no matter how good in the classroom, are typically the first to go.

For-profit colleges aggressively target veterans for enrollment. These Democrats want it to stop.
Washington Post | June 25, 2015
When it comes to enrolling veterans and their families, there is only upside for for-profit colleges. Men and women who serve in the military receive federal education funding that has become a stable source of revenue for many of the schools. And that money is exempt from a key federal rule that governs the way for-profit colleges are funded.

Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions selling controversial gun holding
LA Daily News | June 25, 2015
One of Los Angeles’ pension funds is dropping its holding in Remington Outdoor, the gun manufacturer whose rifle was used in the 2012 Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre.

Taxpayers on the hook for Corinthian Colleges student loan bailout
World Magazine | June 25, 2015
Taxpayers will be on the hook for a massive student loan bailout the federal government is offering students left stranded after the beleaguered for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain abruptly closed its doors in April. The debt-relief plan could cost taxpayers as much as $3.6 billion.

Lawyers challenging California teacher tenure cite 'dance of lemons'
Reuters | June 24, 2015
California's tenure system for public school teachers shields the jobs of ineffective instructors in a "dance of the lemons" that disproportionately harms minority students, attorneys for students argued in appeals papers filed on Wednesday in support of a lower court ruling.

SD Unified budget to lower class size, raise teacher pay
San Diego Union-Tribune | June 24, 2015
The San Diego Unified School District finalized its $1.37 billion operating budget for the 2015-16 academic year, setting into motion a spending plan that lowers class size, adds counselors and nurses, and raises pay 5 percent over two years for some 14,000 employees.

CSU looks to enroll 12,000 more students under budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown
LA Daily News | June 24, 2015
The CSU will be able to expand enrollment by 12,000 students after receiving a funding boost from Sacramento on Wednesday.

L.A. schools Supt. Cortines wants out soon but sets no deadline
LA Times | June 24, 2015
Los Angeles schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines has set no hard deadline for his departure, but wants the Board of Education to move forward with a search for his successor, ideally by the end of the year.

California students respond to union appeal in Vergara case
Watchdog | June 24, 2015
Nine California students have filed a legal brief against the state claiming teacher job protections violate their right to equal and quality education.

California teachers unions fight for their special privileges against students' right to a good education | June 24, 2015
A little over a year ago, a group of nine California students with the help of the activist group Students Matter won an amazing victory in California Superior Court in the case of Vergara v. California.

Respondents file brief countering unions' claims in Vergara appeal
Education Week | June 24, 2015
The high-powered legal team supporting the plaintiffs in Vergara v. California has filed its first brief in response to an appeal to last year's ruling.

Another View: Accrediting commission is helping colleges
Sacramento Bee | June 24, 2015
Assemblyman Phil Ting argues that the failings of California’s college accreditation system require the Legislature to support his “reform” legislation (“College accreditation agency is unfair, rife with conflict,” Viewpoints, June 15).

California lawmakers propose property tax reform for commercial and industrial properties
Mondaq News Service | June 24, 2015
California lawmakers recently introduced SCA 5, a new proposal of an old idea to create a “split-roll” property tax. The proposed constitutional amendment would remove Proposition 13’s limits on property taxes for commercial and industrial properties. The measure would allow for yearly reassessment of those properties to ensure their property taxes reflect current market value, as opposed to only reassessing a property when it changes ownership. Protections for residential and agricultural property assessments would remain in place.

California dodges Common Core controversy
Education Dive | June 23, 2015
California is keeping testing tied to the Common Core State Standards as a practice run this year while also making efforts to keep parents’ expectations in check as the release of test scores looms.

Teachers to teach teachers at statewide Common Core summit
EdSource | June 23, 2015
Thousands of California teachers, who’ve spent recent years simultaneously learning and teaching the new Common Core State Standards, will share ideas about what has worked best in their classrooms at a multi-site conference on July 31.

Keeping better tabs on California's education funding
LA Times | June 18, 2015
One of Gov. Jerry Brown's greatest and most dramatic accomplishments has been his reform of the way California allocates money to public schools. He used the recession to hit the reset button, replacing an arcane and blatantly unfair formula with a streamlined and equitable distribution: a certain amount of funding per student, and significantly extra for those who are poor, in foster care or not fluent in English — in other words, students who need extra help.

CA’s budget avoids funding equity issue in special ed
Cabinet Report | June 18, 2015
Despite the recent release of a sweeping road map for improving special education, legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have settled on far less ambitious changes for how those services are delivered and paid for.

Corinthian steals spotlight at accreditation hearing
Politico | June 18, 2015
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy tore into Albert Gray, president and CEO of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, at a Higher Education Act reauthorization hearing Wednesday. Senate HELP Committee members balked at Gray’s claims that ACICS found no evidence that the 55 Corinthian campuses it accredited defrauded students, and that accreditors were right to keep federal dollars flowing.

Early education makes substantial gains in state budget
EdSource | June 17, 2015
Despite initial resistance from Gov. Jerry Brown, the final budget deal struck by lawmakers on Tuesday provides more than $300 million for early education. (Subscription needed)


Letters: Common Core best for California kids
OC Register | June 17, 2015
It’s time we move the Common Core conversation out of the realm of political in-fighting and focus our attention on what’s best for California kids. The fact is that the Common Core education standards will better prepare students to meet the challenges they’ll face after graduation.

Vaccine opt-outs, teacher evaluation bills still alive as state budget approved
EdSource | June 17, 2015
It’s not exactly the summer All-Star break, but the June deadline for bills to move successfully from one house in the state Legislature to the other – or be declared dead – reveals what remains possible in this legislative season.

Gunshot-sensing technology installed in first U.S. high school
CBS News | June 17, 2015
Earlier this year, New York City became one of 90 cities now using ShotSpotter technology - gunshot-detecting sensors that alert police to the location of shots fired.

Civil rights fights focus on public results, watching the money and keeping Common Core
Modesto Bee | June 16, 2015
Several conversations on civil rights converge on education right now. The first focuses on keeping the teeth in federal No Child Left Behind mandates to show all kids are doing better. Another focuses on state funding for high-needs students, parsing out how much is really being spent on those kids. A third links best practices in Common Core to closing the achievement gap.

The toughest for-profit college rules in years are here. And lawmakers are still fighting over them.
Washington Post | June 16, 2015
A spending plan released by a House committee Tuesday would prevent the Obama administration from moving forward with new regulations limiting the amount of debt students can carry in career-training programs, two weeks before the rules take effect.

Budget deal confirms record K-12 spending
EdSource | June 16, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown got the bottom line he wanted faster than expected. Brown and legislative leaders announced a budget deal Tuesday, one day after state lawmakers approved spending $2 billion beyond what the governor said he’d accept. The final agreement will not alter the record education spending that Brown proposed through Proposition 98, the voter-approved formula that determines revenue for some preschool programs, K-12 schools and community colleges.

Vergara time bomb still hangs over public schools: Thomas Elias
LA Daily News | June 15, 2015
Like a time bomb, the court decision in Vergara v. California has been mostly dormant since the last election season ended in November 2014. But its explosive potential remains as large as ever.

Common Core can help Latino students
CNN | June 15, 2015
Graduation season is upon us once again. Proud parents from California to Florida beam as their children walk across the stage and embark on the next phase of their lives. While this is a time to celebrate, there is more work to be done and progress to be made to prepare our graduates -- especially Latino students -- for the journey ahead.

Prop.13 changes could affect health care
California Healthline | June 15, 2015
Proposed changes to Proposition 13, California's landmark property tax initiative, could generate as much as $9 billion a year for state and local governments. In addition to helping schools, public safety and infrastructure, the money would improve delivery of health care services, proponents say.

Torlakson reinterprets department’s stance on teacher raises
EdSource | June 15, 2015
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has softened clear-cut guidance his department issued in a memo regarding the use of money intended for underserved students to fund across-the-board pay raises for teachers.

Corinthian Colleges grilled over how it failed
Wall Street Journal | June 12, 2015
Federal bankruptcy watchdogs and lawyers for California’s attorney general grilled representatives of Corinthian Colleges Inc. on Friday, seeking information about what brought down the operator of for-profit schools.

Preventing the next Corinthian
U.S. News & World Report | June 12, 2015
In a breathtaking acknowledgement the federal government bears some responsibility for college quality, the Obama administration announced this week that it will forgive the federal student loan debt of up to 350,000 Corinthian College students at a taxpayer cost of as much as $3.5 billion. Corinthian, the for-profit corporate parent to Heald College and Everest Institutes, was forced to shut down last month amid widespread charges of misrepresentation and fraud.

Taking on student debt, and refusing to pay
New York Times | June 12, 2015
Over the last couple of decades, we have been engaged in an enormous national experiment, taking impressionable and often ignorant teenagers and young adults and seeing just how much student loan debt they can handle.

Exclusive Interview: Robert Reich on the War Against Teachers and Public Education
Capital & Main | June 11, 2015
It’s no secret that former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich has some misgivings about the direction of the American economy. But the prolific writer, radio commentator and longtime University of California, Berkeley professor isn’t thrilled about how we are educating our kids, either.

LAUSD adds $889.5 million in spending power in $8.09 billion budget
LA Daily News | June 11, 2015
Los Angeles Unified revealed an $8.09 billion operating budget Thursday, summarizing its plans to spend a windfall of state funding in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Democrats' budget has more money for UC, CSU
Capital Public Radio | June 11, 2015
Don’t expect a California budget deal before the Legislature’s constitutional deadline Monday. Lawmakers will instead vote that day on a plan by legislative leaders that relies on higher revenue estimates to fund several Democratic priorities -- including more money for the UC and CSU systems.

Student teaching key to teacher retention, report says
EdSource | June 11, 2015
Aspire Public Schools and the San Francisco Unified School District both use a new teachers preparation program that has earned high marks for teacher retention, according to a new report by the American Institute for Research.

Digital needs fuel Common-Core-curricula choices
Education Week | June 10, 2015
There was a new face at the table this school year as the Meriden public schools set out to evaluate digital curricula aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Lawmakers push to scrap Prop. 13 tax limits for factories and business
LA Times | June 10, 2015
Saying a major “loophole” allows some business to unfairly avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes, two Democratic state senators on Wednesday filed a proposed constitutional amendment to revise Proposition 13, the landmark property tax initiative approved by California voters in 1978.

How one school fashions geometry lessons from recyclables
KPCC | June 10, 2015
This is another story in KPCC's ongoing series, Classroom Core, that takes a close look at how the Common Core teaching standards are playing out in schools in Southern California.

Prop. 13 overhaul targets commercial property tax rates
Sacramento Bee | June 10, 2015
Facing long political odds, state Sens. Loni Hancock and Holly Mitchell introduced a constitutional amendment Wednesday to overhaul portions of Proposition 13, California’s landmark tax-limiting measure.

Democrats propose Proposition 13 overhaul for businesses
KPCC | June 10, 2015
California businesses would pay billions more in property taxes under a long shot bid by two Democratic lawmakers to unravel some of the voter-approved tax limits in Proposition 13.

After two years of trying, California teachers divest from Remington | June 10, 2015
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System successfully pulled funds from the Remington Outdoor Company, a conglomerate of 16 gun and gun accessory companies, management of the pension fund announced June 5.

California state senators to propose overhaul of Prop. 13
LA Times | June 10, 2015
Two Democratic state senators plan to introduce legislation Wednesday to overhaul Proposition 13, the state's landmark restrictions on property taxes, so local governments can raise more revenue from commercial and industrial properties.

For some ex-Corinthian Colleges students, loan forgiveness not enough
KPCC | June 10, 2015
Former students of the shuttered Corinthian College chain welcomed the U.S. Department of Education's announcement that they won't have to pay back federal loans, but some said that wasn’t enough.

It’s time to make Prop. 13 fairer for homeowners
Sacramento Bee | June 9, 2015
Saturday marked the 37th anniversary of Proposition 13, California’s landmark law that capped all property tax increases at 2 percent a year. For homeowners and renters, Proposition 13 was an extraordinary victory, and a huge relief that helped millions, especially those on fixed incomes, stay in their homes.

Have the Vergara plaintiffs unwittingly helped their reform adversaries?
PR Web | June 9, 2015
The California Court of Appeals is currently considering arguments about whether to uphold or reverse the trial court decision in Vergara v. State of California, which declared unconstitutional a set of state statutes that provide teachers with due process protections, seniority-based layoffs, and a two-year review period before a tenure decision (Vergara v. State, No. BC484642 [Cal. Super. Aug. 27, 2014, Unpublished Opinion]).

Years after Sandy Hook shooting, pension fund CalSTRS exits Cerberus-backed Remington
Forbes | June 8, 2015
More than two-years after stating its intention to exit investments in gun manufacturers following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six staff dead, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, said on Monday it has completed its firearms divestment.

For Corinthian Colleges students: what you need to know about debt relief
Home Room | June 8, 2015
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education announced new steps to protect students from abusive for-profit colleges, as well as a new debt relief process for students at Corinthian Colleges – which operated schools under the names Everest, Heald, and Wyotech.

State lawmakers want to change teacher evaluations
LA Daily News | June 6, 2015
State legislators are approving bills that will revamp teacher evaluations for the first time in 44 years, but critics say the measures give more power to teachers unions, even as a landmark court ruling threatens to overturn labor-backed laws that protect ineffective teachers.

California teachers pension fund divests from weapon maker
Huffington Post | June 5, 2015
The largest teachers pension fund in the world plans to end its indirect investment in Remington Outdoor assault weapon manufacturer after two years of urging for divestment.

Corinthian debt strike grows larger
Inside Higher Ed | June 5, 2015
The group of former Corinthian Colleges students refusing to repay their federal loans and pressing the Education Department to forgive their debt announced Friday that their membership had again grown.

Corinthian Colleges closing: Student debt strike reaches 190 while lawmakers consider loan forgiveness
International Business Times | June 5, 2015
The Corinthian 15 -- a 15-member group of for-profit college students refusing to pay back their loans to the federal government -- is no more. Now, it's the Corinthian 190. The number of students in Occupy Wall Street's Debt Collective arm's crusade to get the Education Department to forgive the debt they accrued while attending schools in the Corinthian Colleges Inc. network has grown to 190 since the organization's February formation, the group announced Friday in a blog post. They've also enlisted 13 senators and nine attorneys general in their fight to get their loans canceled over the past four months.

AM alert: accredit this
Sacramento Bee | June 4, 2015
Students and teachers will rally outside the Oakland Airport Hilton where the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will hold biannual meetings.

Assembly passes comprehensive community college accreditation reforms
Assemblymember Phil Ting | June 4, 2015
The California State Assembly Committee passed legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to ensure fairness, objectivity and transparency in the accreditation process affecting California’s community colleges. The vote occurred while our accreditor – the San Rafael-based Accreditation Commission on Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) – meets behind closed doors this week. Ting’s legislation moves to the State Senate for further review.

Former students press claims against Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges
OC Register | June 4, 2015
Things are heating up in the bankruptcy case of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc., the for-profit education chain that shut down in April.

Ed chair’s facility bond fails passage in Senate
Cabinet Report | June 4, 2015
State support for building new schools could be nearing historic lows after Senate Republicans on Tuesday nixed a plan to seek voter approval for a bond measure that would help pay for construction and modernization costs.

CA needs better effort on Common Core math, says Ed Trust-West
LA School Report | June 3, 2015
California is woefully deficient in providing quality math education to low-income students and students of color and needs to make a better coordinated effort as it switches to the new Common Core State Standards in math (CCSSM), according to a new report from Education Trust-West.

Teachers union: Revised faculty handbook could reduce San Francisco legal protections
National Catholic Reporter | June 3, 2015
The executive council of the teachers union representing the four high schools administered by the San Francisco archdiocese released a statement Monday to members that says a revised faculty handbook section on church teaching and practice could significantly reduce their legal protections against discrimination.

California’s requested waiver from providing test scores denied
EdSource | June 3, 2015
The U.S. Department of Education has denied California’s request for a waiver from the requirement that it provide test scores to parents of students who are taking this year’s California Alternate Assessment, the standardized assessment for students with severe cognitive disabilities.

This is what it takes to get a teacher fired around the country
Huffington Post | June 3, 2015
States around the country can't agree on what job protections teachers should be granted. Some states allow teachers to obtain tenure -- a tool that typically grants educators due-process rights -- or other similar job protections after only two years on the job, while others force teachers to work up to five years first. Similarly, while some states hold that teachers without tenure should be the first to go in cases of layoffs, others prohibit tenure from being a factor.

New LAUSD board member proposes holding failing kids back, like in the 1980s
LA Weekly | June 3, 2015
Scott Schmerelson knew he would win. “I don't want to sound cocky,” says the genial Schmerelson, the first Republican elected to the LAUSD Board of Education in decades. “I could just tell by the pulse of the people I met. I could just tell.”

Report finds school districts lag in implementing new science standards
EdSource | June 3, 2015
A review of some of California’s largest school districts shows that fewer than half even mention the new science standards adopted by the state nearly two years ago in their Local Control and Accountability Plans, which they are required to draw up as a result of school reforms championed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Schools face challenge of explaining Common Core test results to parents
EdSource | June 2, 2015
As school districts wrap up administering new online assessments aligned with the Common Core, educators now face another challenge: how best to share with millions of parents how their children fared on the tests.

Common-Core algebra seen as tougher
Education Week | June 2, 2015
Under the Common Core State Standards, Algebra 1 is a much tougher course than what was taught previously in most states, teachers and standards experts say, in part because many of the concepts that historically were covered in that high school class have been bumped down into middle school math.

Jerry Brown in cross-hairs as Prop 13 foes push ‘split roll’ in California
Washington Times | May 31, 2015
Ever since Proposition 13 ignited a nationwide tax revolt in 1978, the California measure has been regarded as politically untouchable — until now.


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