EdBrief

Field of Candidates for State Superintendent Expands to Five, as Pace of Campaign Fundraising Picks Up

February 10, 2018

The field of candidates seeking to become California’s next State Superintendent of Public Instruction has expanded. And the two most prominent candidates - State Sen. Tony Thurmond and charter school advocate Marshall Tuck - have stepped up their fundraising efforts as the June 5 election approaches.

Tuck, a former charter school executive, declared his candidacy in March 2017, and Thurmond, a Democrat and a two-term State Senator from the Richmond/East Bay area, threw his hat in the ring in April 2017. They have both been nailing down endorsements, with Thurmond getting support from the California Teachers Association (CTA) and other union groups, and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), while Tuck was recently endorsed by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and also by four Democratic state legislators...

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Washington Post: After a Year on the Job, DeVos Hails Shrinking of the Education Department

February 10, 2018

 

(On February 7, the Washington Post carried an interview between U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and reporter Moriah Balingit reflecting on the Education Secretary's first year as head of the U.S. Department of Education.) By Moriah Balingit

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proclaimed Wednesday that her proudest accomplishments in her first year in office were shrinking the role of the agency, rolling back Obama-era initiatives and erasing outdated regulations.

The secretary reflected on her tenure exactly a year after she was installed in the post, following a trial-by-fire confirmation. Last year, the Senate confirmed her by the narrowest margin possible - with Vice President Pence casting a tiebreaking vote to make her education secretary. It was the first time a vice president had to vote to confirm a Cabinet member...

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California Headed Toward Another Standoff with Federal Government Over Education

January 29, 2018

 

Editor’s note: On January 18, the Los Angeles Times carried the following article by reporter Joy Resmovitz examining the emerging clash between the U.S. Department of Education and the California State Board of Education. Resmovitz wrote:

The U.S. Department of Education, led by Betsy DeVos, had told the state that its plan to satisfy a major education law had significant flaws. On Thursday, the California State Board of Education voted to send a revised version of that plan, still missing an important component, back to Washington.

The plan is supposed to lay out how the state intends to satisfy the main federal education law, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2015 Obama administration successor to the No Child Left Behind Act. Where No Child took a prescriptive, test score-based approach to evaluating the quality of schools, Every Student Succeeds gives states more agency to design their own systems...

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Torlakson Appoints New Charter Schools Division Director

January 29, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on January 19 that he has appointed Lisa Constancio as Director of the Charter Schools Division. Her division oversees State Board of Education-approved charter schools throughout California and administers the Federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program.

Constancio most recently served as a consultant with the CDE’s School Facilities Planning and Transportation Services Division. During her 11 years there, she helped to design charter schools, review State Board of Education chartered schools facilities, and advised on state and federal capital funding opportunities.

“Lisa’s years of experience in program administration and her history of creating positive relationships with local education agencies, charter school advocacy groups, legislative staff, and other state agencies will be a great asset in providing leadership to her division,” Torlakson said...

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CSBA Calls on Legislature to Fund Public Schools at the Average of the Top 10 States

January 15, 2018

As part of its ongoing work to ensure that all students benefit from the resources needed for a high-quality education, the California School Boards Association called on the Legislature on January 8 to raise school funding to the national average by 2020 and to the average of the top 10 states by 2025.

“There was an era when California’s public education system was the envy of the nation and our schools were as well-funded as any in the country, but for decades now, California schools have been asked to do more with less,” said California School Boards Association President Mike Walsh. “It’s time we reverse the trend of shortchanging public schools and provide full and fair funding for all students, so they have the resources needed for success in college, career and civic life.”...

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Kirst, Rucker, Sun Reappointed to SBE

January 15, 2018

On January 9, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had reappointed three members of the State Board of Education:

--Michael W. Kirst, 78, of Stanford, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Education, where he has served since 2011. Kirst has been a professor emeritus at Stanford University since 2009, where he has been a professor since 1969. He was staff director for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment, and Poverty from 1967 to 1969. Kirst is a member of the National Academy of Education. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in political economy from Harvard University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Kirst is a Democrat.

--Patricia A. Rucker, 57, of Lincoln, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Education, where she has served since 2011...

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New Officers Elected by California School Boards Association

December 18, 2017

Butte County Office of Education Trustee Mike Walsh has taken the reins as President of the California School Boards Association, a group representing nearly 1,000 California school districts and county offices of education.

A seven-year veteran of the Butte County Office of Education Board, Walsh was elected to CSBA’s Delegate Assembly in 2010 and elected to the organization’s Board of Directors in 2011. During his time at CSBA, Walsh has served ably on numerous committees, including chairing the Legislative Committee.

Walsh is a 1982 graduate of Las Plumas High School where he recorded perfect attendance while distinguishing himself in track and field, wrestling, football and student government...

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800,000 Students Now Eligible for Free- and Reduced-Price Lunches Through New State-Level Direct Certification Process

December 4, 2017

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on Nov. 27 that more than 800,000 California students are now eligible to receive free and reduced priced meals from the state school lunch program through a more streamlined and automated state-level Direct Certification process.

Local education agencies (LEAs) can now use Medi-Cal data included on the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) direct certification reports to certify eligible students. The data exchange between the state departments and the LEAs takes place securely without disclosing a student’s Medicaid status, health information, or specific income data...

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Torlakson Appoints New Fiscal and Administrative Services Division Director

December 4, 2017

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on November 20 that he has appointed Leisa Maestretti as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Fiscal and Administrative Services Division (FASD).

Maestretti’s duties include managing the CDE’s Fiscal Systems Analysis, Child Development and Child Nutrition, Budget Management, and Accounting Offices, as well as overseeing fiscal systems and processes, including the Department’s upcoming transition to the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal).

“Maestretti’s extensive background in fiscal administration and accounting will help support the CDE’s mission of overseeing the state’s diverse public school system,” said Torlakson...

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Torlakson Criticizes DeVos for Repealing Federal Protections for Sexual Harassment and Assault Victims

November 13, 2017

California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has criticized U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Secretary Betsy DeVos for repealing guidance letters under Title IX that made it easier to protect the rights of victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment.

“Victims of sexual assault and harassment must know that they will have a fair chance at justice when they come forward with serious accusations,” Torlakson said in a statement on November 6. “California has changed our laws to make our system more just and to make certain victims are heard. The actions by the federal government take us backward.”...

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