Getting the lead out: Free lead testing for schools

15 Aug
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California schools are encouraged to take advantage of a free program to test water taps for toxic metals. Triggered by increased public awareness of lead contamination in schools,  the California Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Education launched the free testing program for schools in January 2017. Lead contamination has been linked to neurological disorders and impaired cognitive ability. The free testing is available until Nov. 1, 2019. A new San Francisco Chronicle investigation found that “two-thirds of the...

How one district practices inclusive education

1 Aug
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Special education program San Benito High
By Adam Breen Inclusion is more than an educational buzzword at San Benito High School in Hollister, Calif., where students with special needs are not just included, but embraced and accepted by their general education peers. The school has no fewer than 10 programs that focus on preparing students in the Life Skills program “to be active and confident members of our community and of society,” according to Paulette Cobb, the district’s director of special education. Beyond the benefits that...

Education leaders gather in San Francisco for CSBA’s 2018 Leadership Institute

25 Jul
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School board members, administrators, teachers and education advocates from across the state gathered at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on July 13 and 14 for CSBA’s 2018 Leadership Institute to build skills, learn from experts and network. This year’s theme, “The Science of Leading Students to STEM Success,” focused on advancing science, technology, engineering and math education in districts and county offices of education through real-world tips and best practices, inspiration from world-class tech leaders and information from experts...

ESSA approved ending months of negotiations with SBE

18 Jul
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The State Board of Education unanimously approved final changes to Every Student Succeeds Act plan at its mid-July meeting. On July 12, the U.S. Department of Education approved California’s plan ending a monthslong process of negotiations with the U.S. DOE. The State Board developed the plan over a two-year period with input from thousands of stakeholders. ESSA, the federal accountability system for schools, brings with it roughly $2.4 billion in funding for low-performing TK-12 schools as well as funds for after-school programs,...

The Janus Decision and Implications for School Leaders

3 Jul
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by CSBA staff The U.S. Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated opinion regarding Janus v AFSCME. As expected, the Court has ruled, by a 5–4 margin, that compelling nonconsenting employees to pay agency fees, also known as fair share fees, to unions is a violation of their First Amendment rights. This decision by the Court overturns its 1977 ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Abood, a 1977 Supreme Court case, gave public employees represented by a union the...

A focus on inclusion and advocacy during LGBT Pride month

20 Jun
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On Monday, June 11, 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared the month of June as LGBT Pride Month in California, a month already recognized across the country as a time to honor the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Set in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered a “tipping point” for the LGBT rights movement, “Pride” is a time to reflect on LGBT history and look towards the future. While celebrating the gains in social and legal acceptance...

California aims to be a language leader in the classroom

6 Jun
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 Spanish, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Armenian, Mandarin and are just some of the languages taught in California schools. A new initiative announced last week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Global California 2030, aims to expand the teaching and learning of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language over the next 12 years — thus creating a more globally prepared workforce. According to the California Department of Education, more than 40 percent of...

In the news: May 18-24

25 May
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      Push underway to increase California school funding by billions -John Fensterwald, EdSource Legislators and education advocates who support Brown’s funding formula are ready to set the next target: an aspirational goal of committing more than $35 billion in new K-12 dollars to the funding formula — enough to raise California’s current per-student spending of $11,149 by about $6,500. That would potentially place California among the top 10 states in the nation. Betsy DeVos: Schools can choose to...

New federal data offers insights on school safety, STEM courses and more

22 May
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Kids together
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education released its Civil Rights Data Collection  for 2015–16, offering the public new statistics on enrollment demographics, opportunity gaps and other civil rights issues that affect K-12 public school students. The U.S. Dept. of Education also released two accompanying briefs on School Climate and Safety and STEM Course Taking using the new data. Here are some of the key findings from the new data briefs: School Safety & Climate Nearly 1.1 million incidents of...

Supporting foster youth during Foster Care Month

15 May
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teacher with student
May is Foster Care Month, a 31-day reminder that foster youth need support 365 days of the year. In California, 82 percent of school districts and county offices of education serve students in foster care. In 2016, the California School Boards Association and the Stuart Foundation joined forces to ensure that foster youth are no longer invisible and, instead, receive the support they need. This partnership led to the production of the following videos. Take a look and learn more...