In the News Archive: September 2015


Lawsuit: Union mistreated one of its own workers

Orange County Register | Sept. 22, 2015
The California Federation of Teachers is one of the most powerful education interests in Sacramento. CFT is the American Federation of Teachers’ California affiliate, composed of 135 local unions representing more than 120,000 employees at every level of the state’s education system.

Burbank Airport Center sells for nearly $20 million
Los Angeles Business Journal | Sept. 21, 2015
The Burbank Airport Center has changed hands for $19.8 million, or about $220 a square foot. The 90,000-square-foot office building at 2550 Hollywood Way was purchased by Atlantic Pearl Investments Inc. of West Hollywood from a group of Los Angeles investors who acquired the building in 2007, at the peak of the real estate market, and took a loss on its sale.

New community college accreditor needed now
Sacramento Bee | Sept. 20, 2015
State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris has released his long-awaited Accreditation Task Force report, and the news is not good for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Nation’s 2nd largest teachers union unanimously passes Armenian genocide resolution
Asbarez | Sept. 18, 2015
On Wednesday, September 16, the United Teachers of Los Angeles House of Representatives (UTLA), the policy making body for the nation’s second largest teacher union local adopted a resolution recognizing 2015, as the “Year of Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the month of April of every year thereafter as the month of Commemoration of the Anniversary Genocide”, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR).

Union supporters weigh in with briefs in Vergara appeal
LA School Report | Sept. 17, 2015
A group of education experts and organizations supporting the state’s two largest teacher unions’ appeal of the Vergara lawsuit have filed amici curiae, or “friend of the court” briefs with the California Court of Appeals while former California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed in with their own briefs opposing the unions.

Supporters of Vergara lawsuit file ‘friend of the court’ briefs
LA School Report | Sept. 15, 2015
A group of education chiefs from around the nation, as well as some teachers, parents, student groups and business organizations, lended their official support to the Vergara lawsuit today by filing several amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs.

Today on the bus tour
Politico | Sept. 15, 2015
Two friend of the court briefs have been filed in support of plaintiffs in the Vergara case that led to a judge’s ruling striking down job protections for teachers in California. 

The lies about influence Randi tells
Dropout Nation | Sept. 18, 2015
During its 2013-2014 fiscal year, the American Federation of Teachers pent $29.1 million on on political lobbying activities and contributions to what should be like-minded groups. This included $450,000 in donations to the philanthropies controlled by former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, the likely Democratic presidential nominee.

City College vindicated by state
The Guardsman | Sept. 10, 2015
The future of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges remains uncertain after a state task force deemed the commission unfit to oversee California community colleges, reinforcing criticism surrounding the sanctions it has imposed on the majority of these schools. 

California Assembly passes vaccine mandate bill
Siskiyou Daily News | Sept. 10, 2015
The California Assembly passed a bill this week that would require adults who work or volunteer at day care centers to receive vaccines before being allowed to work.  

SF City College prepares for strike following class reductions
KRON | Sept. 9, 2015
San Francisco City College faculty members voted overwhelmingly last week to raise their union dues to create a strike fund for colleagues who would suffer in the event of a strike.

Is there a 'Blue State' frontier for teachers' unions?
Education Week | Sept. 7, 2015
We know where the frontiers of labor relations are in Red States. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who bows only to Donald Trump in the bombast department, wants to punch teacher unions in the face. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign message is that he beat teacher unions in his state, and that qualifies him to be the leader of the free world. Defeating unionized public employees is a centerpiece of Republican strategy.

Op-Ed: Vigilance is needed to sustain labor’s gains
San Francisco Chronicle | Sept. 5, 2015
On Labor Day, we do well to remember the historic gains fought for, sometimes at great sacrifice, by union activists. We also should remember that labor’s efforts on behalf of the common good continue today. Perhaps you’ve noticed California public schools have been faring better. No longer are you reading headlines about thousands of teachers receiving pink slips because of lack of funding. 

President Pechthalt Talks Teacher Shortage on KNX 1070
Sept. 15, 2015
Audio clip 1 or clip 2 of President Joshua Pechthalt’s interview with Pete Demetriou on KNX 1070 News Radio in Los Angeles. “We’ve really robbed our schools of much of the creativity and excitement that used to be part of public education,” President Pechthalt said. 

Why data matters: California edition
Dropout Nation | Sept. 1, 2015
Two things can be said about California’s state government when it comes to its efforts on school data. The first? That the Golden State has always blundered when it comes to developing robust comprehensive data systems that can be easily used by families, school leaders, researchers, and policymakers.  

Report urges new accreditor for California’s community colleges
Chronicle of Higher Education | Aug. 31, 2015
Many lawmakers and others are calling for accreditors to get tougher with higher education and not let poor-performing colleges off the hook.

Trouble for an accreditor
Inside Higher Ed | Aug. 31, 2015
The future looks murky for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

College accreditation group should be replaced, task force says
SF Gate | Aug. 31, 2015
The only group authorized to accredit California’s 113 community colleges is far too punitive and should be replaced, a task force convened by the state’s Community College Chancellor’s Office concluded Friday.

New CA community college accreditor needed ... NOW!
Palo Alto Patch | Aug. 29, 2015
A task force comprised of education experts released a report Friday concluding that the accreditor tasked with overseeing California’s 113 community colleges has lost the confidence of its member institutions and should be replaced.

Task force report urges new California community college accreditor
KRON | Aug. 28, 2015
A task force comprised of education experts released a report today concluding that the accreditor tasked with overseeing California’s 113 community colleges has lost the confidence of its member institutions and should be replaced.

UPDATE: Report urges new accreditor for California community colleges
San Francisco Examiner | Aug. 28, 2015
City College of San Francisco supporters are calling for a new accreditor as recommended in a report released Friday, but to the chagrin of some, that process could take up to a decade. 

Making LA: Education
KCRW | Aug. 27, 2015
It’s no secret that Los Angeles has a massive school system. There are more than 900 schools in the L.A. Unified School District, with more than 600,000 students. Los Angeles also has more charter schools than any district in the country. Some say that’s a threat to the public school system, while others argue that charters offer a crucial alternative.

“Golden State Standards” bill advances in legislature; Senator Anderson speaks out to oppose measure
East County Magazine | Aug. 27, 2015
Senate Bill 350 aspires to set new standards for renewable energy in California that the authors day will grow the state’s economy and improve public health by cutting petroleum use, increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings. But opponents contend that raising taxes on gas and vehicle users’ fees would create economic hardship for some Californians.



Editorial: Give public employees a fair deal on fees
Bend Bulletin | Sept. 25, 2015
Jill Gibson, the Portland lawyer whose right-to-work ballot title was butchered by the Secretary of State’s Office, has decided not to give up. Instead, she will rewrite her measure that would make public employee union dues voluntary in this state.

California State University faculty union calls strike vote
Sacramento Bee | Sept. 24, 2015
Dissatisfied with a proposed 2 percent raise, the California State University faculty union has scheduled a vote next month to authorize a strike across the 23-campus system.

So, are those federal performance-pay grants having an effect?
Education Week | Sept. 24, 2015
That's the big question taken up in a recently released report on the Teacher Incentive Fund grants. TIF is a federal initiative that couples performance pay for teachers and principals with other reforms in low-income schools.

L.A. Unified highlights magnet school performance compared with charters
LA Times | Sept. 24, 2015
The Los Angeles Unified School District this week released an analysis of test scores showing that its magnet schools are outperforming charter schools. This comes as private foundations are proposing a huge expansion of charters in the city.

Fullan: Achievement gap an ‘indicator that right strategies are not being used’
EdSource | Sept. 24, 2015
The results of the Smarter Balanced assessments, the centerpiece of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, were released Sept. 9 and showed the vast achievement gaps that decades of education reforms have failed to close. In a series of interviews, EdSource executive director Louis Freedberg interviewed several leading experts about the continuing gap – and what additional reforms are needed to narrow or close it.

New California lawsuit alleges state has manipulated education funding
Education Week | Sept. 24, 2015
A new lawsuit filed by the California School Boards Association alleges that the state government has improperly kept some early child-care funding out of calculations for the state's minimum education budget.

Friends, foes of Vergara ruling file briefs to appeals court
EdSource | Sept. 23, 2015
Two former Republican governors joined an impressive array of law professors, education scholars, teachers of the year, civil rights advocates and state and civic leaders submitting briefs on both sides of the appeal of the Vergara lawsuit.

Gov. Brown must decide fate of exit exam, other key ed bills
EdSource | Sept. 23, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown has until Oct. 11 to sign or veto legislation that the Legislature passed before heading home last month. Bills to retroactively award high school diplomas to students who failed the high school exit exam and to ban for-profit charter schools are among those awaiting action.

Orange County says special ed students must comply with vaccination law
EdSource | Sept. 23, 2015
In Orange County, home to the Disneyland measles outbreak that spread to seven other states and fueled a strict California vaccination law this year, attorneys for the Orange County Department of Education have stated that the new vaccination requirements apply equally to special education students, a group that some thought would be exempt because of their federally protected right to educational services.

Poor students lose ground with Common Core testing
Sacramento Bee | Sept. 22, 2015
Howe Avenue Elementary School, the largest elementary school in the San Juan Unified School District, is in a threadbare neighborhood of strip malls, faded homes and aging apartments.

Common core: Father’s check goes viral. Why do so many parents relate?
Christian Science Monitor | Sept. 22, 2015
Angry over the complicated instructions of Common Core math, an Ohio dad crafted a message to his child’s elementary school in the form of a prank check.

Call for new accreditor for CCSF will be sent to feds
San Francisco Examiner | Sept. 21, 2015
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors wants federal education officials to know that a recent state chancellor’s office task force report recommended replacing the accreditor for 113 community colleges in California, including City College of San Francisco.

As test results trickle in, states still ditching Common Core
U.S. News & World Report | Sept. 21, 2015
After spending millions of dollars adopting and implementing the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments, states are finally beginning to release preliminary results from the first round of tests administered to students last spring.

Student college debt growing U.S. problem
Sharon Herald | Sept. 21, 2015
With the presidential candidates beginning to weigh in on the high price of a college education, maybe families will finally get some relief from the crushing debt resulting from seemingly endless tuition hikes.

Are student debt forgiveness scams the next mortgage meltdown?
ThinkProgress | Sept. 21, 2015
With student loan defaults on the rise, regulatory agencies are increasingly concerned about borrowers being preyed upon by student debt relief scammers. These scammers, which promise students they can cut their student loan payments by 50 percent or more, take advantage of students’ lack of knowledge about repayment options and a lack of intervention by student loan servicers that are paid by the federal government.

Charter school test scores take dive in California
Education Week | Sept. 21, 2015
State test scores of many once high-flying charter schools in California have plummeted—even more so than those of their regular public school counterparts.

Vergara appeal brings out a who's who in ed. policy
Education Week | Sept. 18, 2015
Is there anyone out there who hasn't weighed in, at this point, on the Vergara v. California appeal?

Obama admin lightens teacher evaluation requirements
Education Dive | Sept. 18, 2015
Over the last year and a half, the Obama administration has allowed states more latitude in how they implement teacher evaluation systems, as part of the No Child Left Behind waiver system, Education Week reports.

UTLA plans protest against Broad at his new downtown museum
LA School Report | Sept. 18, 2015
A few days after the posh parties with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Orlando Bloom, Ed Ruscha and Frank Gehry to celebrate the opening of the new Broad Museum, the LA Unified teachers union, UTLA, is planning a protest at the museum on Sunday, aimed at its namesake: Eli Broad, one of LA’s leading philanthropists.

Coalition fighting cap on budget reserves stumbles
EdSource | Sept. 17, 2015
A push in the Legislature to reduce the restrictions on school districts’ budget reserves faltered last week after a coalition of school organizations fractured over proposed compromises.

Lawsuit: Schools failed to inform parents of right to opt out of tests
EdSource | Sept. 17, 2015
A parents group claims a Los Angeles County school district failed to notify parents of their right to opt their children out of Common Core-aligned tests in a lawsuit filed this week.

CCSF trustees far from incompetent
San Francisco Examiner | Sept. 17, 2015
I have to think that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges loved Joel Engardio’s most recent column. Even though he modestly criticized the ACCJC, he provides much of the agency’s narrative concerning CCSF.

The other big debate: What is the Common Core, anyway?
LA Times | Sept. 16, 2015
If education comes up at all during Wednesday night's GOP debate, we're likely to hear about the Common Core State Standards. It's a favorite education topic among GOP contenders. Some of them tend to refer to the learning standards as a federal takeover of locally-run public schools.

California’s upward-mobility machine
New York Times | Sept. 16, 2015
The University of California is struggling with budget woes that have deeply affected campus life. Yet the system’s nine colleges still lead the nation in providing top-flight college education to the masses.

Striking Seattle teachers poised to return to classroom
New York Times | Sept. 15, 2015
Teachers in Seattle public schools suspended a nearly weeklong strike on Tuesday, announcing that they had agreed on a new contract with the city’s school board. Classes are to resume on Thursday.

How do we raise the quality of teachers?
Wall Street Journal | Sept. 15, 2015
While many influences contribute to a student’s academic achievement— drive, family background—research suggests that the single most important factor inside the school itself for K-12 students is the quality of the teacher.

The number of black teachers has dropped in nine U.S. cities
Washington Post | Sept. 15, 2015
The number of black public school teachers in nine cities — including the country’s three largest school districts — dropped between 2002 and 2012, raising questions about whether those school systems are doing enough to maintain a diverse teaching corps, according to a new report to be released Wednesday.

Test scores to be only one factor in measuring school progress
EdSource | Sept. 15, 2015
For months, California education officials have emphasized one message regarding the role that standardized tests will play in the future: Results from the Smarter Balanced tests, which were released last week, should be viewed as but one star, though a bright one, in a universe of metrics measuring student and school progress.

The empty promises of for-profit colleges
The Atlantic | Sept. 15, 2015
In February, Patricia Ann Bowers told ThinkProgress that she owed about $57,000 in student-loan debt. The now-54-year-old mother was a student at Everest College—one of several institutions owned by the for-profit operation, Corinthian College. During her time there, Bowers’s son committed suicide. When she asked about taking time off, she was strongly discouraged and was assured that if she failed her current classes, she could retake them for free. But that wasn’t true, and after Bowers paid to repeat coursework, the school shut down leaving her with a mountain of debt, no degree, and near her federal borrowing limit.

Workers, unions and ‘Caritas in Veritate’
Catholic San Francisco | Sept. 14, 2015
What is the responsibility of Catholic school teachers with regard to the spoken and lived representation of Catholic moral values? Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” is a helpful point of departure for some observations about the recent contract negotiations between the San Francisco archdiocese and its unionized Catholic high school teachers.

CCSF faculty union, administrators continue contract negotiations
San Francisco Examiner | Sept. 14, 2015
City College of San Francisco leaders are continuing to negotiate new contracts for faculty members, who earlier this month inched closer to a possible strike than ever before.

Saving City College with competence
San Francisco Examiner | Sept. 13, 2015
I grew up in the General Motors factory town of Saginaw, Mich., raised by a single mom. She cleaned people’s houses by day and started taking night courses at the local community college to get a better job when I was 9.

Brown to consider axing for-profit charter schools
Sacramento Business Journal | Sept. 11, 2015
California would abolish all for-profit charter schools under legislation now pending before the governor.

Opening salvos in the teacher union dues case
Pacific Legal Foundation | Sept. 11, 2015
The briefing in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is underway. You’ll recall that this Supreme Court case presents the issue of whether public employee unions can garnish the wages of non-union members to support the unions’ collective bargaining and other political activities, without those workers’ consent.

9/11 first responder: Unions work for all of us
The Hill | Sept. 11, 2015
Fourteen years ago, on a clear September morning, the world – and mine - changed forever. On September 11, 2001, as our nation watched in horror as tragedy unfolded, I responded with my brothers and sisters from EMS Station 22, running against the crowds fleeing the horror of Lower Manhattan to do my job as an EMT. That day the brave firefighters, police officers, EMTs and other first responders who answered the call of duty didn’t hesitate to put their lives on the line.

California unions launch pre-emptive strike against possible end to mandatory dues
Reason | Sept. 11, 2015
California's public-employee unions are among the most powerful interest groups in the state Capitol, yet an effort to sneak some language into a bill during the last week of the legislative session shows the degree to which even these lobbies fear a coming rollback in their financial power.

Proceed with caution when comparing California tests scores with other states
EdSource | Sept. 10, 2015
Comparing California scores on tests aligned with the Common Core standards to those in other states isn’t a straightforward process.

Standardized tests don't help us evaluate teachers
LA Times | Sept. 10, 2015
When I was the general counsel of the Los Angeles Unified School District, it was extraordinarily difficult to dismiss underperforming teachers who had tenure. One major problem was that we lacked objective measures of teacher effectiveness. So when the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act brought the nation annual standardized testing for math and reading, I applauded.

Union dues foes may still win, despite three ballot losses
Napa Valley Register | Sept. 10, 2015
The common assumption in California politics is that labor unions will always be a major force because they have been for the last 30-plus years. But change may be coming, even though organized labor since 1996 has beaten back three ballot initiatives aiming to end its influence.

Many California students miss mark in first round of Common Core tests
Sacramento Bee | Sept. 9, 2015
Most California students tested below English and math standards in the state’s first round of Common Core-based tests, including a majority at some Sacramento-area schools that performed well in past years, according to results released Wednesday.

New California tests present sobering picture of student achievement
LA Times | Sept. 9, 2015
Echoing a nationwide downward trend, most California students are falling short of state learning targets and are not on track to succeed in college, according to the results of new, more rigorous standardized tests released Wednesday.

Most California students below standards on Common Core-aligned tests
EdSource | Sept. 9, 2015
First-year scores on the new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards showed that 34 percent of California’s students met achievement targets in math, and 44 percent met achievement targets in English language arts.

Poll: California voters still unsure about Common Core
EdSource | Sept. 8, 2015
As the California Department of Education prepares to release the first set of student test scores based on the Common Core State Standards, a new poll shows voters have mixed feelings about the new standards, including many who don’t understand what they are, or how they’re being implemented.

Poll: CA voters confused, easily manipulated over Common Core
LA School Report | Sept. 8, 2015
With tomorrow’s expected release of the California’s Common Core-aligned standardized tests, which 3.2 million students took in the spring, a new poll shows the majority of the state’s voters know little or nothing about the new standards, and their views depend heavily on the way questions are posed.

What staggering loan defaults at for-profit schools say about accreditors
Washington Post | Sept. 8, 2015
Accreditation agencies have been the gatekeepers standing between colleges and millions of dollars in federal financial aid for more than half a century. But that role is in question after the stunning collapse of Corinthian Colleges.

Don't panic, officials say as California braces for lower student test results
LA Times | Sept. 8, 2015
Even before new state test scores are released this week, one thing is already clear: Results will be lower than in years past. Probably much lower.

Small accreditation agency feels heat for Corinthian College collapse
Consumer Affairs | Sept. 8, 2015
For more than two years Corinthian College has been the poster-child for the problems plaguing higher education, particularly among for-profit colleges and universities.

Teachers, too, will learn a lot from new tests
EdSource | Sept. 8, 2015
The initial release of statewide test scores in California this week will reveal how well schools, districts and groups of students did in classes aligned with the Common Core standards. With two-page reports that will be mailed to their homes, parents will find out how well their children did on the new Smarter Balanced tests on the Common Core. And with their own database of information, teachers will learn how effectively they’ve taught them.

Colleges blast accreditation panel
San Diego Union-Tribune | Sept. 6, 2015
A California Community Colleges system task force has issued a highly critical report that could lead to it severing ties with the commission that accredits its schools.

California union fees case spurring late-session talks at Capitol
Sacramento Bee | Sept. 4, 2015
Education unions want Gov. Jerry Brown to embrace a late-session measure they hope would shield them from possibly debilitating financial effects of a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Students speak out on the Common Core
EdSource | Sept. 3, 2015
The success of the Common Core standards depends on how effectively they engage students. Yet the issue of how students are responding to the standards has generally received far less attention – from researchers, policy analysts and the media – than other issues such as teacher preparation, the new Smarter Balanced assessments and the adequacy of curriculum material.

Editorial: Labor Day in the 'on-demand,' everyone-for-himself economy
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Sept. 3, 2015
As Labor Day weekend begins, we have it on no less an authority than Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump that 93 million Americans are out of work.

First ever Smarter Balanced test results expected next week
EdSource | Sept. 3, 2015
With the state’s much-anticipated release of Smarter Balanced test scores tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, EdSource is gearing up to provide comprehensive coverage, along with additional resources to help the public understand what the scores mean.

U.S. has forgiven loans of more than 3,000 ex-Corinthian students
Chronicle of Higher Education | Sept. 3, 2015
More than 3,000 borrowers who attended closed Corinthian campuses have had their student loans forgiven by the U.S. Department of Education to date, at a cost of $40 million to taxpayers, according to a report released on Thursday by Joseph A. Smith, the "special master" overseeing the discharges. Thousands more are in line for debt relief.

It may be a long time before many Corinthian students get debt relief
Washington Post | Sept. 3, 2015
There is no quick relief in sight for thousands of former Corinthian College students seeking loan forgiveness in the wake of the for-profit giant’s collapse.

Former students from Corinthian Colleges could receive state income tax break
OC Register | Sept. 3, 2015
Californians who had their student loans forgiven after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges this year could get a state income tax break.

After Corinthian collapse, students ask feds to drop college debt
SF Gate | Sept. 3, 2015
Almost 12,000 students are asking the federal government to discharge their college loan debt, asserting that their school either closed or lied to them about job prospects, according to government data released Thursday.

New institute in Palo Alto aims to help shape state, national K-12 policy
EdSource | Sept. 2, 2015
A prominent scholar from Stanford University will direct a new education institute in Palo Alto whose mission is to influence K-12 policies in both California and the nation.

How Long Do Waiver States Have to Get Teacher-Evaluation Systems in Place?
Education Week | Sept. 2, 2015
How long do states with No Child Left Behind Act waivers have to get teacher-evaluation systems up and running? Maybe longer than you think.

Schools deal with statewide teacher shortage
KCRA | Sept. 2, 2015
Some California students will start their school year with substitute teachers this year as schools grapple with a statewide teacher shortage which is worse in some areas than others.

Hotel California: teachers union edition
Cato Institute | Sept. 1, 2015
If a teacher opts out of her union, but the union refuses to hear it, did she really opt out? Even where state lawmakers have passed “right-to-work” laws legally enabling teachers to opt out of paying union dues, the practical ability to opt out is far from guaranteed. In Michigan, for example–where dues can cost up to $640 a year–the teachers union surreptitiously created new bureaucratic hoops for teachers attempting to opt out.

New York parents also fighting teacher protections
OC Register | Sept. 1, 2015
Nationally, public support for reforming teacher quality laws – including those dealing with tenure, dismissal statutes and seniority provisions – has risen. Some parents have even gone to court demanding changes.

School groups pursue compromise on budget reserves
EdSource | Sept. 1, 2015
A year-long battle between a coalition of school organizations and the California Teachers Association over district reserves has taken a new turn.

Initial Common Core goals unfulfilled as state results trickle in
San Jose Mercury News | Aug. 31, 2015
Results for some of the states that participated in Common Core-aligned testing for the first time this spring are out, with overall scores higher than expected, though still below what many parents may be accustomed to seeing.

California sets Sept. 9 for release of Common Core test results
LA School Report | Aug. 28, 2015
The California Department of Education has set Sept. 9 as the probable date for releasing the results of the new statewide Common Core-aligned tests that were administered in the spring.

COMMON CORE: Schools help assess state test results
Press Enterprise | Aug. 28, 2015
It’s a brand new ballgame for Inland schools. Gone is the era of paper and pencil tests. Computer-based exams have also ushered in a new way of evaluating kids’ knowledge of English and math.


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