Happy 2017!

Legislation & Advocacy

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Budget & Finance

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Curriculum & Instruction

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Torlakson, Kirst Disappointed by Federal Denial of California’s Science Testing Waiver Request

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst released a joint statement on December 14 in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of a waiver allowing California to suspend an outdated science assessment and instead give a modernized science test:

“We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of our waiver request. We reject their insistence that we double-test. We believe the denial of this request harms our students, who will be forced to study science based on state standards adopted in 1998”...

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Governor Proposes Cautious Budget for 2017-18

“Prudent.”

That’s the word Gov. Jerry Brown used several times to describe his January budget proposal for 2017-18, announced on January 10. Brown alluded to the likelihood of another recession beginning in the next few years, and hinted at budget uncertainty stemming from the new administration in Washington, which could very well result in California receiving fewer fed dollars, as he outlined a generally cautious budget proposal.

“We are in very uncertain times,” Brown said. “We are subject to a lot of unpredictability. ... I think it is time for precaution.”...

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U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education released three new sets of guidance on December 28 to assist the public in understanding how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. These guidance documents clarify the rights of students with disabilities and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn.

The guidance includes a guide; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools...

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Governance & Leadership

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Human Resources

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Operations & Technology

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ACLU Letter to Sup’s Offers Recommendations to Ensure Safe, Supportive Campus Environments

Reacting to a significant nationwide increase in politically motivated bullying of students on the basis of race, religion, immigration status and sexual and gender orientation, the ACLU of California has sent a detailed letter to the state’s school superintendents laying out key points of antidiscrimination law and offering guidance on securing an inclusive educational environment.

The letter reminds them that under state and federal law, each district must provide all children equal access to school regardless of immigration status...

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Survey Suggests School Districts Must Modernize and Improve Their Human Capital Practices

A Center for American Progress survey of national school districts’ human capital practices, released on December 22, reveals that most districts have not yet adapted their human capital systems to the modern labor market, despite the increasing importance of attracting talented teachers.

The CAP survey asked districts to describe how they recruit new talent, select whom to hire, induct new teachers, develop teachers’ skills, and measure and reward teachers’ success in the classroom...

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Influenza Cases Widespread in California

On December 30, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that influenza activity is increasing in the state and has reached “widespread” levels. Areas with the most influenza activity include the Northern California, Central California and Bay Area regions.

Since the beginning of the influenza season in California, CDPH has received reports of three influenza deaths and 29 severe influenza cases resulting in admission to the intensive care unit in patients 64 years old and younger...

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