Category Archives: Uncategorized

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...

California’s Substantially Underfunded Public Education System

20 Apr
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by Keith Bray A remarkable thing happened this past January in San Francisco. In the First District Court of Appeals, the attorney representing school boards, administrators, parents, students and community groups and the Deputy Attorney General representing the state of California argued the merits of Robles-Wong v. California. After waiting almost four years to make its case that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional, plaintiffs in Robles-Wong argued that the state is failing to support, much less maintain, a...

Saluting our unsung heroes

1 Apr
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by Chris Ungar It’s 6 a.m. and her school bus is gassed up, inspected and ready to begin gathering students from throughout the district. She guarantees that the kids will arrive safely, and, as a bonus, she helps reduce air pollution and traffic congestion; It’s 10 p.m. and he’s just finished cleaning and sanitizing a kindergarten classroom. He wipes down the desks, vacuums the floor, empties the trash, replenishes paper towels and makes sure the restroom is spotless; It’s 7...

Invest in Health to Improve School Climate and Student Engagement

11 Mar
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by Juan Taizan The Student Perspective: Omar’s Story For Omar, being a part of a gang simply meant he had other men from his neighborhood in whom he could confide, trust  and depend on to look out for him like a brother or son. These relationships often put Omar in situations where he had to stand up for his friends, which sometimes meant physically fighting other students. After being suspended for one such fight, Omar was referred to his high...

Court should protect privacy of California’s students

4 Mar
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By Sherry Griffith, Vernon M. Billy and Wesley Smith “When parents entrust a child to public schools, the system accepts a special responsibility to protect and enrich the student. That responsibility includes safeguarding personal information – a right guaranteed by state and federal law. Yet, a recent federal court order threatens student privacy rights by forcing the California Department of Education to release as many as 10 million student records containing names, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers, as...

State’ s Schools Are Still Underfunded

22 Feb
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by Chris Ungar “A recent report released by the California School Boards Association and its Education Legal Alliance found that California is underfunding K-12 schools by as much as $42 billion annually. The study looks at state funding levels and what it would actually take for all students to meet state standards and be prepared for college and career upon high school graduation. By nearly every measure – funding, staffing or infrastructure – we’re lagging behind other states and countries....

Averting a Student Mental Health Crisis in Our Classrooms

6 Jan
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by Alicia Rozum Jared, a high school Junior had been acting different. Typically an excellent student, he started falling asleep in class or putting his head down on the desk. He seemed “out of it”, his chemistry teacher wrote, referring Jared to his high school’s comprehensive mental health program. As the school social worker managing this program, I too saw reasons to be worried about Jared’s well-being. Dramatic changes in classroom behavior, even among moody and unpredictable teens, can signal...

Summer Matters at CSBA

30 Nov
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by Katie Brackenridge Summer learning programs are popping up all over the state. School board members and superintendents are replacing traditional summer school programming with a more interactive and engaging approach called summer learning. Using a combination of funding streams, including Local Control Funding, these school leaders are finding that the benefits – in student engagement, Common Core preparation and staff development – far outweigh the costs. A recent analysis of 50 Local Control Accountability Plans found that 76 percent...

Survey shows California school wellness programs are bearing fruit

30 Sep
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by Dr. Lynn Silver Statewide and local efforts to support healthier schools and students have blossomed from Humboldt to Imperial Counties. These efforts are bearing fruit today. California school districts are approving and implementing increasingly innovative wellness policies and practices. To gauge progress on school wellness, the California Local School Wellness Collaborative asked members of the Association of California School Administrators for information on wellness in their districts, 366 administrators replied. The survey was carried out by California Project LEAN...

Classrooms or Crime?

8 Apr
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This is the second in a series of blog posts by the Council for a Strong  America highlighting creative partnerships between communities, boards and school districts. By Sheriff Adam Christianson Preventing kids from turning to a life of crime, that’s basically what it comes down to: classrooms or crime. The steps we take to address student absences and misbehavior in the K-12 years have a direct impact on whether or not that student will drop out and potentially end up...