Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

Survival Of The Fittest: Adapting To Drive The Public Education Agenda

27 Apr
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by Susan Henry In biological terms, fitness is defined by the ability to survive and reproduce — a condition dependent on how well an organism has adapted to its environment. As leaders in public education, we are operating in an extremely difficult environment. The political climate is changing rapidly, the landscape is constantly shifting, and we are surrounded on all sides by special interests with competing agendas. The old ways are no longer sufficient. We must adapt to our new...

Storm Relief Needed For Pension Increase Crisis

27 Mar
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by Susan Henry After you’ve survived a few financial storms, you begin to recognize clouds forming on the horizon. So, experienced weather watchers know a menacing front is headed for California schools in the form of major pension increases. Rising pension costs exceed new revenues in many districts and threaten to roll back the gains school districts have made under the Local Control Funding Formula. Even the thriftiest districts, ones that battened down the financial hatches under LCFF, aren’t equipped...

California Arts Education Data Project Provides Road Map for Districts

10 Mar
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by Patricia Wayne  All students in California deserve to have access to high quality arts education that will provide them with important skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. But up until now, we lacked the tools to show us where (and how) arts education is offered across the state. Create CA, in partnership with the California Department of Education and the Arts Education Data Project, have launched a first-of-its-kind suite of tools designed to help increase participation in...

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Commends California’s Continued Progress in Advanced Placement Exams

24 Feb
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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that annual Advanced Placement results released today show that the number of California public high school graduates taking and demonstrating success in AP courses continues to climb. California placed fifth in the nation in the percentage (28.5 percent) of graduates who scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP Exam during high school—an increase of nearly eight percentage points since 2006 (20.6 percent). “I applaud and congratulate these outstanding...

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...

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...