Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law | EdSource

Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law | EdSource

Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law
Districts must create new "learning continuity plan" in coming weeks




issatisfied with the uneven quality of distance learning among school districts after they closed in March, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature established minimum requirements for the next school year in legislation accompanying the 2020-21 budget.
For many districts, the school year will begin next month. With Covid-19 infection rates and deaths rising, some districts, including the state’s largest, announced this week they’ll open solely with remote learning or hybrid instruction, with some in-person and some remote teaching.
The minimum requirements include ensuring every student is equipped with a computer and internet access, taking daily attendance and interacting with students in some form every day. Proponents of the standards say they’re pleased the Legislature acted but haven’t given up lobbying for additional requirements, particularly more extensive online teaching.
“Live instruction is an important equity issue. We want to know how districts plan to monitor it, so that it’s not simply a daily roll call with links to Khan Academy,” said Samantha Tran, senior managing director of education policy at Children Now, a nonprofit advocacy organization.
To make sure that districts follow through with the requirements, legislators are CONTINUE READING: Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law | EdSource

McKeesport Area School District’s Reopening Plan is Based on Dubious Facts, Bad Reasoning & Takes Unnecessary Risks: An Open Letter to the Superintendent | gadflyonthewallblog

McKeesport Area School District’s Reopening Plan is Based on Dubious Facts, Bad Reasoning & Takes Unnecessary Risks: An Open Letter to the Superintendent | gadflyonthewallblog

McKeesport Area School District’s Reopening Plan is Based on Dubious Facts, Bad Reasoning & Takes Unnecessary Risks: An Open Letter to the Superintendent



Dr. Mark Holtzman:
I am extremely concerned about the reopening plan for the McKeesport Area School District you offered on video Tuesday.
As a parent of a child in the district and a teacher in a neighboring district, I find the plan you put forward to be absolutely terrifying. It is badly reasoned, based on unproven facts, and takes unnecessary risks with students and staff.
In short, you propose reducing social distancing by half, requiring students to wear masks only occasionally, having zero temperature screenings and keeping schools open when students, staff and/or family get sick.
This is unacceptable.
And given that you said all superintendents in Allegheny County are meeting weekly to discuss reopening, my concern about McKeesport’s plan extends to all other local districts working under similar miscalculations.
Be assured I will send my concerns to the email hotline you provided because it was impossible to have public meetings to discuss this matter. Which brings me to my CONTINUE READING: McKeesport Area School District’s Reopening Plan is Based on Dubious Facts, Bad Reasoning & Takes Unnecessary Risks: An Open Letter to the Superintendent | gadflyonthewallblog

AFT Prez Weingarten Outlines Legal & Strike Strategy to Resist Unsafe School Re-Openings – Payday Report

AFT Prez Weingarten Outlines Legal & Strike Strategy to Resist Unsafe School Re-Openings – Payday Report

AFT Prez Weingarten Outlines Legal & Strike Strategy to Resist Unsafe School Re-Openings




As the recession delivers severe budget cuts to education, many teachers are worried they won’t be able to re-open schools safely, which has left some considering the possibility of a strike. 
Given the physical distance needed, teachers are considering the “hybrid basis,” of teaching as the best model for re-opening, says American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten about teaching in a combination of online and in-person instruction.
“Our members understand that in-school teaching is really important and with the safeguards we have been pushing since April, 76% of them were comfortable with re-opening,” says Weingarten, referring to one survey released earlier this month the AFT where 76% of teachers supported some form of school re-opening if it could be done in a safe and effective way.
Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, however, dropped a bomb on teachers last week while teachers were hoping to negotiate a contract over re-opening safely. 
They threatened that if schools didn’t re-open this fall that they would lose their federal funding.
Trump and DeVos’ threats came on the heels of many teachers fearing that they don’t have enough resources to open schools.
“We are seeing states project 20% budget cuts on schools when we know that to re-open safely, we need 20% more,” DeVos said, explaining that no new state aid would be needed to bolster the revenue loss.
“What Trump and Devos did was open the floodgates, which where our members before were very focused on having safe conditions because people want to start school because they want to be back to school with our kids,” says Weingarten. “But Trump and DeVos basically eviscerated any trust that anybody has in the federal government.” 
One study by the Kaiser Family Network found that 1 in 4 teachers, approximately 1.5 million teachers, are considered “at-risk” if they are infected with COVID. 
Weingarten says that neither Trump nor DeVos has a re-opening plan for schools.
“Neither of them are providing resources,” she says.  CONTINUE READING: AFT Prez Weingarten Outlines Legal & Strike Strategy to Resist Unsafe School Re-Openings – Payday Report

Ethnic Studies Virtual Event with Dolores Huerta + SBE Adopts Arts Educ and World Languages Guidance - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Ethnic Studies Virtual Event with Dolores Huerta - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Hosts Virtual Classroom Session on Chicano Latino Studies with Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta




SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today hosted the second in a series of virtual classroom sessions about ethnic studies. Guests included students from throughout California, Assemblymember Jose Medina, and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, the labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the National Farmworkers Association.
Today’s event focused on the importance of ethnic studies in general, the history of Chicano Latino Studies, plus a lesson and activity within the discipline of Chicano Latino Studies, one of the four foundational groups of ethnic studies. An archived broadcast can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..
As the CDE prepares to submit a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review, this series will help students, educators, and families familiarize themselves with the core areas of ethnic studies, including how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as key concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.
“We've heard from students from around the state who are realizing the power of seeing themselves reflected in a curriculum, and how that can empower them to get more active in their classrooms and their communities,” said Thurmond. “We’re happy to now be in the position of creating an ethnic studies framework that can inspire all students to create positive changes for themselves, their communities, and the world.”
During Tuesday’s virtual classroom, students and members of student groups from the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, the Puente Project, and M.E.Ch.A.(Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztl√°n; "Chicanx Student Movement of Aztl√°n") heard the personal account of a California leader who’s already in history books nationwide. Dolores Huerta shared her personal story, which included organizing and empowering others around her to fight for better working conditions for farmworkers. She also participated in a robust question-and-answer session that included topics such as civic engagement, organizing around a cause, and finding a personal voice while advocating for your rights. In his closing remarks, State Superintendent Thurmond also offered to provide reading materials on Chicano Latino Studies to the first 100 students who reach out.
This series of virtual classroom sessions continues this month weekly through July 28. It focuses on all four foundational groups of ethnic studies: Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American Studies. The series features prominent leaders and educators from each discipline to provide a lecture. All events in the series will be broadcast on the CDE Facebook pageExternal link opens in new window or tab.. The remaining two events are as follows:
  • Tuesday, July 21, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Asian American Studies with Karen Korematsu, educator, civil rights advocate, and daughter of late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu.
Tuesday, July 28, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Native American Studies with Assemblymember James C. Ramos, co-founder of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ Cultural Awareness Program and director of the California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference at California State University, San Bernardino.


# # # #
Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
Ethnic Studies Virtual Event with Dolores Huerta - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SBE Adopts Arts Educ and World Languages Guidance - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education) - https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr20/yr20rel56.asp
SNP Administrative Review in School Year 2020–21 - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education) - https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/snpadminreview2020-21.asp