White House summit pushes states to reopen schools — with safety in mind

9 Jul
One day after President Donald Trump tweeted, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” senior health and education officials said at a June 7 White House summit that reopening schools this fall is a necessity. But to do so safely, health and safety precautions eschewed by the president since the pandemic began will need to be followed. The “Summit on Safely Reopening America’s Schools” presented a more measured perspective than a call with governors that preceded it, in which Trump and...

California leads multistate lawsuit to protect CARES aid for public schools

8 Jul
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Tuesday, July 7, that he is leading a multistate lawsuit with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel against U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the interim rule for how public schools distribute K–12 CARES Act money to private schools. Becerra, CSBA and many other public education organizations argue that the rule threatens tens of millions of dollars in California meant to help K-12 public schools confront the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic....

Deadline approaching to apply for Pandemic-EBT meal benefits

7 Jul
Only about half of an estimated 3.8 million California children eligible to receive Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits are signed up or have received their benefit cards, according to the Department of Social Services. To ensure that all children have access to healthy meals, the deadline to apply has been extended to July 15. Applications can be completed at ca.p-ebt.org. P-EBT provides food benefits for children who would normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school. Through the program, eligible...

CDC releases new school guidance, does not recommended universal COVID-19 testing

6 Jul
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 30 released new guidance, “Interim Considerations for K-12 School Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing.” The document notes that testing for COVID-19, along with symptom screening and contact tracing, are effective strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus. “Schools should determine, in collaboration with state, tribal, territorial, and local health officials … whether to implement any testing strategy, and if so, how to best do so,” the document reads. The guidance, however,...

New task force begins difficult work of reforming school policing

2 Jul
Kids together
The first of three hearings of California’s new Task Force on Safe Schools on June 30 sought to answer three main questions: Is there a place for police on school campuses? If so, what should their role be in promoting student safety? And if not, what strategies can districts implement to ensure students feel safe on campuses? Following two hours of input from legislators and tough questions and testimony from police and researchers from UCLA, WestEd and the Learning Policy...

Ninth Circuit upholds existing FAPE rules in A.W. v. Tehachapi Unified School District

1 Jul
On June 25, 2020, in a special education case in which CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance filed an amicus brief, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the district in an unpublished opinion in A.W. v. Tehachapi Unified School District, upholding the district court’s decision on a couple of issues, including that the school district was not required to seek a due process hearing when it believed it was providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In 2015,...

Governor signs 2020–21 budget package; CSBA webinar dives into details

30 Jun
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday night signed the 2020–21 state budget that leans heavily on deferrals in lieu of cuts to K–12 education funding and counts on significant additional federal funding to bolster schools financially in their monumental task to safely reopen schools. In a CSBA webinar on June 29, which drew nearly 500 attendees, experts offered insights into budget implications for schools and other policy changes during COVID-19 (view the slideshow presentation). Breaking down the finances and deferrals While...

E-rate program regulations and innovative district solutions to digital divide explored in webinar

29 Jun
A June 25 webinar hosted by New America’s Open Technology Institute featured advocates for closing the homework gap and three school district representatives from across the nation attempting to do so right now. At least 7 million students in the U.S. currently lack broadband access and “even when schools are back full time, those 7 million or more students will still be on the wrong side of a persistent homework gap that reinforces education inequities, especially in low-income and rural...

California education officials announce plans to re-examine policing on school grounds

25 Jun
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced June 24 two ways in which the California Department of Education intends to support schools as districts throughout the state address concerns surrounding educational equity and racial justice. Since the inception of the school resource officer decades ago, many families — especially families of color — have raised questions about the necessity of police in schools while pointing to research showing that Black children in particular are more likely than their white...

State budget provisions complicate school reopening under COVID-19 conditions; Mega-deferrals established and major cuts avoided

24 Jun
pencils and coins
While touted by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders as preserving K–12 funding and positioning schools to reopen this fall, the 2020–21 state budget trailer bill language strips local educational agencies of critical flexibility needed to safely and effectively resume instruction. Distance learning Assembly Bill 77 states that in-person instruction should be offered to the greatest extent possible, only allowing distance learning under two circumstances: On an LEA or schoolwide level as a result of an order or guidance from...