DeVos Confirmed as Ed Secretary, but Questions Remain

14 Feb
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by CSBA On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Vice President Mike Pence cast the decisive vote in favor of Betsy DeVos as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education. While Pence broke a 50-50 tie and put an end to the confirmation process, the debate over DeVos’ fitness for the position and her potential impact on public schools continues unabated. Every Senate Democrat, along with a pair of Republican Senators — Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — voted against DeVos and...

Dollars for Scholars: Scholarshare Grants Available for CA Schools

3 Feb
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State Treasurer John Chiang and ScholarShare recognize that students, parents, teachers  and administrators are spending more time on endless fundraising events to pay for equipment and programs that are essential to providing kids with well-rounded educations. That is why ScholarShare is launching a new grant program called Scholar Dollars that will be awarding 20 grants of up to $25,000 to K-8 public and charter schools statewide. Schools are free to spend the grants on musical instruments, computers, library books, sports equipment,...

A Conversation With CSBA President Susan Henry on education leadership & challenges in 2017

13 Jan
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California Schools magazine talks with CSBA President Susan Henry about her background and what led her to become engaged with public education. A registered nurse and an artist that went back to college at age 50, her life has centered on education, her family and community. The commitment and leadership she has shown for all of her endeavors is apparent in highlights from her interview. California Schools is excited for the upcoming year ahead with Henry at the helm, meeting...

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...