May I have a glass of water?

20 Jan
by Nathaniel Browning, Policy and Programs Officer Having to ask for a glass of water at California restaurants is becoming commonplace. In light of the ongoing drought, many restaurants have adopted a policy of not automatically setting out water unless patrons request it. But consider a scenario in which you would be required to get up from the table and walk to the nearest water fountain, wait in line with all the other diners, and take sips from an unappealing...

Health Literacy: Calling for a Confluence of Effort

12 Jan
by S. Todd Stolp, Tuolumne County Health Officer In 2004 the Institute of Medicine defined health literacy as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” But today the term includes much more. In a world with an unlimited number of confusing messages complicating our efforts to make responsible personal health decisions, health literacy has become a critical part of survival. As we update...

Responding to the Drought

5 Jan
by Nathaniel Browning, Policy & Programs Officer You would have to be living under a very dry rock to not realize California is currently experiencing a fourth consecutive year of drought, the worst in recorded history and one that could last decades. School districts across the state are experiencing drying wells, providing students with bottled water instead of tap, and seeing football fields turn into dustbowls. With these issues at hand, Local Educational Agencies are in immediate need of retrofitting...

Happy To Be Here With Twenty-Five Hundred School Board Members

17 Dec
by Jill Wynns, Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education CSBA 2012 President Downtown San Francisco, my home, is filled with school board members from all over California this week. I am always so impressed by how hard school board members work to ensure that our students get the best education that they can. I share my righteous outrage that the state does not provide enough funding for schools with all of you who are here for the CSBA Annual Education...

Investing in Our Youth

14 Dec
by San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee If we want our families to stay and grow in San Francisco, and if we want employers to stay and grow here, we must strive for the best public schools, anywhere. I say the best public schools “anywhere” because we’re not just competing with other cities in California.  For the jobs of the future, our students will have to compete with the rest of the world. But to all those parents and aspiring...

New Research Suggests Common Strategies to Align Expanded Learning

12 Dec
by Jessica Gunderson, Policy Director, Partnership for Children & Youth Did you know that your students who regularly and fully participate in state-funded or federally-funded expanded learning time – afterschool, intersession, and/or summer – programs can gain up to an additional 90 full-days of learning or more? Today, thanks to shifting educational priorities and policies, school district leaders in California have a critical and unique opportunity to maximize their investment in expanded learning time* to better support local goals for...

Reforms need time and leadership, and the board has the power to sustain both

5 Dec
California School Boards Association logo;
by Christopher Maricle, Policy & Programs Officer A recent education week article reports that the average tenure of superintendents across the country has dropped slightly to an average of 3.2 years for large urban districts. Is this a trend that we should be concerned about? There are three separate but related facts that would suggest the answer might be ‘yes.’ Or at least ‘maybe.’ Fact # 1: While everyone would like quick fixes for K-12 education, and as much as...

Making the Most of Summer Time

2 Dec
Summer Matters at the state Capitol 2013
by Jennifer Peck, Executive Director, Partnership for Children & Youth Districts are working hard to meet the demands of multiple initiatives and new expectations … with the valid lament – “There’s not enough time to get all this done!”  But Summer TIME offers a solution. Districts across the state are finding that 4 to 6 weeks of quality summer learning programs provide enough time for multiple wins – 1) keeping students up to speed on math and ELA, and getting...

California Thursdays: Making the Case for Farm to School Programs

27 Oct
by Nathaniel Browning, Policy & Programs Officer The growing prevalence of schools acquiring food from local farms makes me wish I could once again eat at school. The increasing popularity of Farm to School (F2S) programs is for good reason: they have a positive impact on student learning and health as well as the greater community and environment. Many districts and county offices of education have incorporated school gardens and seasonal fruit and vegetable curriculum into classroom instruction. Many are...

Lead, arsenic, nitrates, OH MY!

22 Oct
by Nathaniel Browning, Policy & Programs Officer, CSBA Research has shown that adequate consumption of healthy water ensures proper motor functioning, mental acuity and stress reduction. Access to safe drinking water helps promote greater student achievement, physical fitness and a positive school climate. Unfortunately, many students in rural communities throughout parts of California are worried about the ills that face them as they tip their glass for a drink of water. They are concerned about the chemicals lurking in their...