Education must-reads: From charter bill’s narrow passage in state Assembly to LAUSD superintendent’s long-anticipated plan to reshape the district, 14 new things to know about California’s schools (and beyond)
LA School Report | May 23, 2019
Education Must-Reads is our daily roundup of the most interesting news articles and analysis surrounding students, schools and California education policy.
Legislation that would give local school districts more control over charter-school authorizations narrowly passed the California State Assembly Wednesday in a dramatic vote that served as an initial litmus test for a package of consequential, union-backed charter regulation bills.
For nearly an hour, Assembly Bill 1505 stood just shy of a handful of the 41 votes required to advance to the Senate, in part because of concerns the bill went too far in limiting the ability of charter schools to appeal authorization denials from local school districts to county and state education boards.
Moderate Democrats in particular were reluctant to support the measure. When the bill finally passed 42-19, it was with an assurance from Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, the bill’s author, that the bill would be amended to include a “fair” appeal process.
“We knew this was going to be a fight because this is a heavily political matter,” O’Donnell said following the floor vote. “Charter schools have a lot of resources that public schools don’t on the political front, and they employ them in the state Capitol, and we saw that today.” By Ricardo Cano, CALmatters
Opinion: Imagining Los Angeles without charter schools, Los Angeles Daily News
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See previous morning roundups below:
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22:
Four special education students and their parents or guardians filed a lawsuit last week against the state of California claiming they were emotionally and physically harmed when they were illegally put in restraint holds and secluded during behavioral interventions at their Concord school.
The four students attended Floyd I. Marchus School, operated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. The public school offers special education services and integrated counseling to 85 children with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Students are referred to the school from districts in Contra Costa County and neighboring counties.
The class-action suit, alleging battery, negligence and civil rights violations, also names the California Department of Education, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and members of the staff at Marchus School as defendants. The suit also names State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in his official capacity as state schools chief, although the incidents occurred before he took office in January. By Diana Lambert, EdSource
California’s school accountability laws have quietly become defunct, Voice of San Diego
TUESDAY, MAY 21:
Los Angeles Unified estimates more than half of its general fund will be needed to pay down pension and health benefit debt by 2031, leaving little for students in a district already struggling against declining enrollment and competition from charter schools.
But district officials are hopeful a remedy will come from Measure EE, the 16-cent-per-square-foot parcel tax on the June 4 ballot that promises to reduce class sizes, retain quality teachers and provide services and programs to students.
The initial draft of the ballot measure prohibited the use of the tax dollars for “funding long-term healthcare or pension liabilities.” Two days later, the final draft quietly removed that language, replacing it with “legal settlements and liabilities” instead. By Jason Henry, Los Angeles Daily News
A year in, can LAUSD chief Austin Beutner help save a school district in distress?, Los Angeles Daily News
The Reasoning Behind the SAT’s New ‘Disadvantage’ Score, The Atlantic
MONDAY, MAY 20:
Research released this week identified 156 California school districts with higher test scores in math and English language arts than expected for African-American and Hispanic students, and found that teacher experience was the common factor that contributed to the higher results.
“The research finds that providing students with qualified, fully prepared teachers is a critical component for raising student achievement,” said Anne Podolsky, lead author on the report, “California’s Positive Outliers: Districts Beating the Odds,” by the Palo-Alto based Learning Policy Institute. Other co-authors included Sean Reardon, professor at the Stanford University School of Education, and the institute’s CEO and president, Linda Darling-Hammond. Hammond is also the newly appointed president of the State Board of Education and an adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The study looked at 435 districts with at least 200 African-American or Hispanic students and 200 white students and compared the actual scores of the student groups with their predicted scores, based on a formula that includes districts’ median family income, poverty rate and parents’ education levels. By John Fensetrwald, EdSource.
Teachers union delays strike at Sacramento City Unified, The Sacramento Bee
SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background, Wall Street Journal
Schools turn to apps, other tech to guard against shootings, Washington Post