Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

President’s Message: Facing a daunting task, we must put students first

12 Jun
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Now that the 2019–20 school year is coming to a close, we must shift our focus to reopening schools and how we can do so in a way that’s safe, equitable and effective for students, staff, families, and community. While that will require detailed discussions, input from all stakeholders and guidance from our counties, public health officials and the state, we must not lose sight of what really matters: the academic, physical, social and emotional development of California students. An...

CCEE webinar offers distance learning needs, strategies for small districts

3 Jun
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Weighing the digital divide and its particular challenges in rural areas lacking needed infrastructure, experts say a blend of analog and digital learning opportunities is one practical solution to engage students as the school year ends and summer offerings begin. Also strongly encouraged during a California Collaborative for Educational Excellence May 27 webinar was that board members and school leaders understand that students, teachers and parents are exhausted from “emergency-mode” learning and need much more social and emotional support. “I...

New report projects significant learning loss due to COVID-19 school closures

24 Apr
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With the nation’s unprecedented measures to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, school systems made an abrupt transition from classroom instruction to distance learning. In some cases, districts paused learning altogether while they scrambled to address logistical issues such as the digital divide and preparing teachers to use remote learning approaches and tools. And all of this took place in the context of a public health and economic crisis combined with sustained physical isolation. Education leaders and families have...

Legislators, district administrators outline needs, goals to close the digital divide

21 Apr
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Just hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 April 20 media briefing overwhelmingly focused on efforts to bridge the digital divide, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond welcomed legislators and representatives from internet service providers to the first meeting of the newly created Closing the Digital Divide Task Force. In proclaiming that California must work to “let the internet flow like electricity,” especially during a time of widespread distance learning, Thurmond commended the companies and individuals that have partnered with...

Senators’ letter to Congress highlights need for dedicated funding for digital access in student homes

3 Apr
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The sudden and extended closures of America’s schools have brought into the spotlight a persistent problem well known to education advocates: unequal access to both internet access and devices in student homes. Across the country, 12 million students do not have internet access at home. According to a 2019 report from the Public Policy Institute of California, nearly 16 percent (roughly 945,000) of California’s school-aged children had no internet connection at home in 2017, while 27 percent (about 1.7 million)...

Celebrating the impact of music in California schools

13 Mar
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For more than 30 years, March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education for the observance of Music in Our Schools Month, a time of year to raise awareness of music education and the value it adds to student learning. A growing body of research shows the benefits of music — and other arts — education to overall student achievement in schools. For example, a 2012 study by the College Board found that, of the students...

Board members share what they’ve learned in final meeting of CSBA Equity Network

10 Mar
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Closing persistent opportunity gaps requires a commitment to educational equity. In summer 2018, CSBA launched an Equity Network with a grant from the Stuart Foundation, providing extensive support and professional development to board members across California on concepts related to educational equity. Topics addressed included implicit bias, cultural proficiency, the history of public education and the role of education leadership in disrupting a system of inequity. The second cohort of network participants met at CSBA’s offices in West Sacramento for...

New guidance offers approaches to improve alternative schools and programs

5 Mar
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Alternative schools typically have lower graduation rates than traditional campuses, are often expensive and challenging to operate, and rank lower on accountability measures than more conventional schools. However, researchers find that shifts in district and county office of education practices and policies can contribute to improving outcomes for students enrolled in these schools. New guidance developed by the National Dropout Prevention Center — “Effective Strategies for Alternative School Improvement” — notes that alternative schools are frequently “ground zero” for dropout...

Teachers need support as expectations on educators grow, study finds

2 Mar
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teacher with student
Policymakers aiming to address an array of stubborn challenges in K-12 education can begin with improving teacher training and preparation; ensuring the equitable distribution of highly qualified, experienced teachers; and taking steps to diversify the educator workforce, according to new research. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that, with all the additional expectations and demands placed on teachers in the past two decades related to everything from shifting curriculum standards to developing a...

African American History Month: An interview with Bettye Lusk, CSBA Director-at-Large, African American

28 Feb
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Each February, African American History Month marks a time for celebrating the achievements of African Americans and recognizing their central role in U.S. history. To help mark the month, California School News interviewed Bettye Lusk, CSBA’s Director-at-Large, African American and longtime trustee for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, for her perspectives on her childhood, the importance of educational equity and the path toward greater outcomes for all students. Question: Tell us a little about your background and upbringing. Answer:...