The Demographic Divide— African-American Students in Focus in California

17 May
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 by Manuel Buenrostro Demographics should not be destiny — all students are entitled to a quality education that enables them to meet their potential. It is for this reason that CSBA has continued to highlight the conditions and opportunity gaps of California’s diverse student population. This includes the nearly 400,000 African-American students, or six percent of all students, enrolled in California K-12 public schools. The group is the sixth largest population of African-American students in the country — larger than the...

Elected Boards Are The Best Way To Ensure Schools Remain Accountable To The Public

2 May
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by Chris Ungar Public schools are the most universal and intimate of our democratic institutions. A central role in this tradition is played by publicly elected school boards. Charged with the stewardship of their local districts, school boards provide the most direct (and often the only direct) connection to an elected official for the vast majority of Americans. This truth is especially important to remember amidst the sound and fury of the 2016 presidential primaries, when precious little time has...

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...

Legislative Action Day 2016: 200 Education Advocates Rally at Capitol

25 Mar
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CSBA President Chris Ungar shares the virtues of active engagement with local representatives in this 2016 Legislative Action Day video. “Remember the two A’s; advocacy and adequacy,” Ungar said. Watch this inspiring gathering of leaders fighting for public education and working on action for schools....

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....

The Power of Partnership: The Vital Role Family Resource Centers Can Play in Schools

5 Feb
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by Fiona Lavelle Family Resource Centers, known as FRCs, are community-based organizations that provide comprehensive family support services to children and their families. Centers work in deep partnership with parents, teachers, school officials, and a vast network of service providers to facilitate lasting personal and academic growth for students. A strong partnership between a school district and its local Family Resource Center can help with early intervention and lead to improved academic success and personal outlook for students. FRCs can...

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...