Monday, November 26, 2012

UPDATE: FCMAT » Cali Education Headlines Monday, November 26, 2012

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Education Headlines

Monday, November 26, 2012

School books give way to tablets

All over the country, and here in Kern County, thick, heavy textbooks are going by the wayside, replaced by electronic tablets such as iPads.

Lodi Unified administrator set to step down

Art Hand said he felt like Don Quixote chasing a windmill when he was hired to be Lodi Unified's assistant superintendent of facilities and planning in summer 2006. It was a job he never thought would be there for him, his dream job since he first started as a Tokay High School janitor in the early 1980s.

Stockton USD credits 24-7 policing for large pot bust

In the space of a few weeks in October and early November, Stockton Unified's police force was thrust into the news after incidents involving guns at three of the district's campuses. Less high-profile, however, is the force's role earlier this month in a drug bust that netted more than $100,000 worth of marijuana and resulted in the arrest of a 17-year-old Edison High School student.

Parents decry plan for Morro Bay, Los Osos sixth-graders

A plan to move all sixth-grade students in Los Osos and Morro Bay from their elementary schools to middle school by the San Luis Coastal Unified School District is being met by resistance from parents.

San Luis Coastal petitions to allow Cayucos youth to attend its high school in Morro Bay

San Luis Coastal Unified School District is contesting a county committee’s September decision to continue sending Cayucos high school students to Cambria.

Long Beach Unified sets higher English-learner standards

In the Long Beach Unified School District, where nearly a quarter of all students are learning English as a second language, quality programs are critical for student success, said Pamela Seki, the district's director of curriculum for English learners.

Districts refine anti-bullying Web policies

Coachella Valley school districts are refining their anti-bullying policies this year in response to new state laws.

Special-ed credential program helps jobless Long Beach teachers find work

Times have been tough for teacher Robyn Ellis, who lost her job last year along with hundreds of other teachers in a mass layoff in the Long Beach Unified School District.

Palm Springs Unified School District may sell naming rights

Palm Springs Unified School District may start selling naming rights to its buildings as a way to bring in extra cash.

Elementary teacher was abusive, parents say

For five years, a group of parents complained that one Hardy Elementary teacher’s behavior toward students went beyond discipline — they said it was abuse. Now, the parents are pressing for the San Diego Unified School District to take a stronger stance against emotional abuse — with steps including reporting accused teachers to law enforcement for investigation.

‘Farm-to-School’ initiative puts fresh produce in classes

When you hear the popular phrase “farm to table,” it’s often in reference to a restaurant promoting a locally sourced menu, or to a farmers market. Now the “farm to table” philosophy has caught on in education, including the San Marcos Unified School District.

Walters: California's straitjacket education bites back

Such wide variations would seem to warrant a more individualized approach to education, but oddly, for all our happy talk about diversity, we increasingly tend to stuff kids into one-size-fits-all systems, with ever-narrower curricula enforced by testing.

In her other life, Elk Grove kindergarten teacher is a professional boxer

Terri Lowe admits that her two passions – teaching and boxing – are a paradox. "I'm a different person in kindergarten class," Lowe said. "But when I get in the ring. … "

Santa Cruz Mountains community debates redrawing school district lines

The dispute that has heated up the bucolic mountain community illustrates the difficulty in redrawing outdated boundary lines, even with arguments about educational or community benefits.

Two Turlock elementary schools will get upgrades worth millions

Julien and Wakefield elementary schools are set to undergo some $6.3 million in modernization in the coming year. Turlock Unified School District approved the budgets for about $5.5 million for Julien and $858,000 for Wakefield. The projects are part of an ongoing modernization of all the district schools, reaching back to 2006.

Barnidge: Teaching is hard enough without drugs and guns in class

If you don't believe these are trying times in public education, you owe it to yourself to sit in on a local district presentation of the California Healthy Kids Survey.

Upcoming battles in California Legislature pit education reformers against teacher unions and their backers

A nearly $6 billion infusion from Proposition 30 and a Democratic supermajority in the Legislature are a welcome pre-holiday gift to public education from voters, but it also could set the stage for battles between those laboring for education reform and suddenly fortified unions protecting teacher interests.

Special report: O.C. teacher dismissals

Orange County educators who've lost their teaching license in recent years are not all sexual predators and criminals. The individuals tasked with ensuring the well-being and academic success of children have also been accused of showing up at school intoxicated, threatening students with violence, showing graphic photos to students, and yanking, smacking and grabbing kids.

California is preserving penmanship in a digital age

The pen may not be as mighty as the keyboard these days, but California and a handful of states are not giving up on handwriting entirely.

LAUSD moves to speed English learners into mainstream

Triggered by a federal civil rights investigation, Los Angeles Unified has launched a network of programs designed to more quickly move English learners into mainstream academic classes and help close the achievement gap.

Some parents say English learner program casts too wide a net

Across California, about 23 percent of all K-12 students are English learners. Nearly 40 percent of the state's kindergartners are so designated. A contingent of lawmakers and academics believes the number is too high - that the system is designed to err on the side of assigning the label.

L.A.'s revamped teacher evaluation system getting mixed grades

Teachers are finding value in the new evaluation system as it rolls out, but administrators doing the reviews complain about how time-consuming they are.

School district performs drug tests at parents' request

The Santa Clarita Valley district hopes to expand the program, which now involves about a tenth of junior and senior high students. Civil rights advocates are dubious.

For two L.A. schools, sharing a campus is starting to chafe

Logan Elementary in Echo Park hosts Gabriella Charter School. That seemed good when enrollment was lower. But both schools are growing, and the campus is not.

Fensterwald: Great uncertainty over direction of state standardized tests

With the statute authorizing state standardized tests due to expire in June 2014, the incoming Legislature is facing some hard decisions on the future of the state testing system: What subjects should be tested, for whom, how often (not every year in every subject, perhaps), at what cost, and, perhaps the biggest question, for what purpose?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monterey Peninsula USD hires community relations firm to help its image

How the public views MPUSD is something administrators say the district has battled for years and tried to counteract by organizing community meetings, workshops and other activities to little or no avail.

Long Beach school board approves new contract with teachers

The Long Beach Unified School District and its teachers union have officially come to an agreement on a contract that compromises over health care benefits and saves the district's Head Start preschool program.

Drugs, guns, alcohol use down at Berkeley High, survey says

For the first time in years, fewer Berkeley High School students are bringing weapons to school and coming to school drunk and stoned, according to a new survey.