Edward James Olmos discusses a life of advocacy

29 Nov
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Born in East Los Angeles, Edward James Olmos has enjoyed a distinguished career as an artist and as an activist. Olmos initially gained notice as a rock musician in Los Angeles. He then transitioned to a career on the stage and on screen. He earned an Academy Award nomination for best actor for his portrayal of math teacher Jaime Escalante in the movie, “Stand and Deliver.” Olmos also directed the movie, “Walkout,” about Latino students protesting poor conditions in public...

Californians believe schools need more funding — will they vote that way?

4 Nov
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by Vernon M. Billy This November’s election will be unlike any we’ve seen in recent memory. Our Presidential election cycle has been, shall we say, “unique.” While California’s upcoming election isn’t nearly as interesting, we do have a whopping 17 statewide ballot measures that voters must sift through on election day. This election has huge implications for our state’s schools, but the sheer size of the ballot presents an obstacle for California voters — so much so, that existing voter support for...

Letter To NSBA On Importance Of Transgender Rights

14 Oct
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by Chris Ungar As the home to more than 6 million public school students — by far the nation’s largest contingent — it’s natural that California assume a leadership position on issues of great importance to public education. Our equity focus is reflected in our desire to improve conditions and outcomes for all students, regardless of their background. Much work remains in this area, but in many ways, California is setting the standard for the nation. In 2013, California passed...

A Conversation with CSBA President Chris Ungar on the Charter School Task Force

27 Sep
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By Gayle Romasanta Staff writer for CSBA Why did you think it was important to create the Charter Schools Task Force? Chris Ungar: Several years ago the CSBA Delegate Assembly Region 1 Director Bob Berkowitz and had a conversation about charter schools. He owned radio stations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. He related his experience during the rise of FM radio, which was dismissed by many in the 1960s as a passing fad … radio folks never believed that...

Food for Thought: September is National Food Safety Month

20 Sep
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by Mary Ellen Taylor Packing lunches?  Preparing snacks for when kids get home?  Here are some things to be aware of during September – National Food Safety Month.. Hepatitis A in frozen strawberries, pathogenic E. coli in flour and Listeria in frozen vegetables, – even Salmonella in peanut butter – these foodborne outbreaks have led to hundreds and hundreds of illnesses.  The American food supply is among the safest in the world, but according to CDC there are ~48 million...

Changing the Story of Summer

16 Sep
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by Michael Funk Which sounds more appealing to you for a summer activity: sitting in a stuffy school classroom doing remedial work, or hopping on a bus with your friends to go chase minnows in a nearby river? The traditional paradigm for summer learning has been the former, and it’s felt like a punishment. At the California Department of Education, we’re working to change that paradigm and write a new narrative about a summer that is as engaging as it...

Charter School Law Can Lead To Lack Of Oversight

9 Sep
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by Chris Ungar In early August, I had the opportunity to testify before the State Senate Education Committee on an issue of grave importance to CSBA and to the future of public education in California — the oversight of charter schools. Many of you know that this topic has been a point of emphasis during my presidency. I joined with other officials from schools districts and county offices of education, as well as charter school leaders, in addressing the lack...

Finding meaning in California’s constitutional guarantee of education

5 Aug
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by Keith Bray All children can succeed, but not all children have equal opportunity to do so. A child’s background and social station continue to play an inordinate role in his or her scholastic outcomes, both in California and across the nation. Schools, given the right circumstances, have the ability to disrupt this pattern of inequality, but may only do so if they are adequately and equitably resourced. In Robles-Wong v. California,(2016) 246 Cal. App. 4th 896, the California School...

The echo of Mendez v. Westminster 70 years later

28 Jul
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by Vernon M. Billy In May, Sylvia Mendez captivated CSBA’s Delegate Assembly with her recollection of the historic case in which she and her parents, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez, fought to desegregate California schools. The heartfelt presentation brought to life the intensity, emotions and history of one of the most important education and civil rights cases of the last 70 years. Prominent civil rights activist Robert L. Carter once described the history-altering civil rights case of Mendez v. Westminster as...