How We’re Robbing California’s Future by Under-Investing in Our School Children

By Linda Darling-Hammond, President of California’s State Board of Education (writing in Forbes) - Rep: September 9, 2019

During August, U.S. lawmakers gathered for the annual National Conference of State Legislators meeting to tackle a range of issues, including school funding, which they identified as their top priority earlier this year. Although there has been an upsurge in school funding since 2015, it comes on the heels of years of budget cuts during the Great Recession that left nearly half the states spending less on schools in 2016 than they were spending in 2007.

Low-wealth districts, especially those serving concentrations of students from low-income families, were hardest hit by these cuts. In many cases, they experienced teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, and reduced services in areas ranging from counseling to after-school programs...

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How to Be a Superintendent: Be Ready for Everything

By Ross Brenneman - Rep: August 26, 2019

It’s a scorcher in Los Angeles – sun blazing, heat index just under 100 degrees. And established and aspiring education leaders alike are in a standing-room only hotel conference room, hearing from a panel of experts at the 2019 USC Rossier Leadership Conference about pathways toward earning a school district superintendency.

And in the words of those experts, all it takes to be a superintendent is the ability to be a great communicator, change agent, role model, prognosticator, politician, networker, brand ambassador and... the list goes on.

“I am not a chess player, but I do like Jenga,” said Shelley Adams EdD ’17. “That’s really the work of a superintendent: Putting the right pieces in at the right time in the right way, and making sure even though the tower waves, it never falls.”...

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“If You Don’t Have a Strong Supply of Well-Prepared Teachers, Nothing Else in Education Can Work”

By Carrie Spector - Rep: August 12, 2019

Linda Darling-Hammond, professor emerita at Stanford Graduate School of Education, has spent decades studying teacher education programs and practices and is widely considered one of the most important voices in the field. She founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and led former President Barack Obama’s education policy transition team in 2008.

Now president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), she was recently appointed president of the California State Board of Education, which oversees academic standards, curriculum, assessments and accountability for K-12 schools throughout the state.

In a new book, Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning, she and UCLA Professor Jeannie Oakes, with LPI colleagues, profile seven groundbreaking teacher education programs in the United States, detailing the practices that set them apart...

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Large Majority of Parents Support More Funding for Schools, Higher Pay for Educators, According to National PDK Poll

August 12, 2019

The 51st annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, released in early August, finds that Americans overwhelmingly support increasing investments in our public schools: six in 10 parents say their schools are underfunded, and 74 percent say they support a strike by teachers for higher pay. The poll also finds that educators are fed up as 60% of teachers say they’re unfairly paid and 75% of teachers say their community’s schools are underfunded.

Key findings of the 51st annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools include:

  1. Seventy-five percent of teachers say the schools in their community are underfunded. Fifty-eight percent say they’d vote to strike for higher funding for school programs, and 52% say they’d vote to strike for greater teacher say in academic policies on standards, testing, and the curriculum...

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Michelle Obama Appeals to Teachers: Make Sure Your Students are Registered and Ready to Vote

By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post - Rep: July 29, 2019

Former first lady Michelle Obama is urging teachers throughout the country to make sure students who are eligible to cast ballots actually register and “are ready to vote.”

Obama made her call through a video address at two recent teachers union conferences: the annual convention of the National Education Association, the country’s largest labor union, and the American Federation of Teachers. Together, the organizations have as many as 5 million members, most of them educators.

Her outreach to teachers is the first piece of a voter registration initiative that she helped launch last year, a national, nonpartisan organization called When We All Vote. Other co-chairs include Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle MonĂ¡e, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. The teachers unions are partners with the nonprofit initiative, as are other organizations including the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote...

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Poll: California Voters Rank Early Childhood Education Spending Below Other Educational Priorities

By Carrie Spector - Rep: July 29, 2019

Despite strong evidence that high-quality early education programs can have a powerful impact on children’s future success in school and the workforce, Californians rank new investments in early childhood services below other educational priorities, according to a recent poll of 2,000 registered voters across the state.

The poll, conducted by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and the University of Southern California (USC) Rossier School of Education, showed that California voters considered new spending on programs for children age 5 and younger less urgent than improving the quality of K-12 education and making college affordable.

A new policy brief from PACE, written by Stanford education professors David Plank and Deborah Stipek, outlines the poll’s findings...

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NSBA Supports U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Citizenship Question

July 15, 2019

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), representing more than 90,000 local school board members across the nation, working with and through our state associations, commends the June 27 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dept. of Commerce v. New York. This is a decision that could have a profoundly positive and long-lasting impact on schoolchildren in our public schools.

Census numbers are used to calculate funding for a myriad of federal and state school responsibilities, including Title I services, Head Start, federal nutrition programs, special education initiatives and many more education and development programs. An inaccurate population count will truly harm all students, families and communities. Including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census would produce an undercount, significantly reducing resources for public schools and that would put student achievement and well-being under further stress...

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California Vaccination Rate Drops as Doctors Grant More Exemptions. Is There a Link?

By Soumya Karlamangla and Melody Gutierrez - Rep: July 15, 2019

California’s kindergarten vaccination rate dropped again in the most recent school year as more parents sought permission from doctors to not immunize their children, according to new state data.

The troubling trend comes amid a national measles outbreak as well as intense debate over whether California should strengthen its school immunization laws.

California already has one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, preventing children from skipping their shots unless a doctor says they have a medical reason to be exempt. Some health advocates fear that parents are obtaining exemptions for their children without valid medical reasons. Those advocates are now pushing lawmakers to clamp down on fraudulent exemptions...

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New Guidelines for School Districts Making Decisions About Student Activities During Periods of Poor Air Quality

June 12, 2019

During the first week of June, the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) released an air quality guidance template for local school districts to assist in making decisions about school activities during periods of poor air quality, including episodes involving wildfire smoke, high ozone levels, Spare The Air days, etc.

These guidelines are advisory (not mandatory), and are intended to help local school districts decide when outdoor activities should be curtailed, etc. The guidelines can be downloaded at:


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Thurmond Appoints Stephanie Gregson, Sarah Neville-Morgan as CDE Deputy Superintendents

June 12, 2019

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced on June 5 that he has appointed Stephanie Gregson, EdD, as the Deputy Superintendent for the Performance, Planning, and Technology Branch (PPTB) at the California Department of Education (CDE).

Dr. Gregson is the former Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division at the CDE. During her tenure as Director, her division developed frameworks for history and social science and health education. Dr. Gregson also led the largest state adoption of instruction materials for kindergarten through grade twelve science and the development of standards updates, including the first-ever state kindergarten through grade twelve Computer Science content standards...

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