Education must-reads: From uneven progress for CSU grad rates to layoffs in Oakland, 8 new things to know about California’s schools (and beyond)
Esmeralda Fabián Romero | February 6, 2019
Education Must-Reads is our daily roundup of the most interesting news articles and analysis surrounding students, schools and California education policy.
While the California State University has boasted about improved systemwide graduation rates, new statistics show a more troubling picture at many of CSU’s 23 campuses. Some campuses lag far behind in the expensive initiative to sharply improve graduation rates by 2025 and face what one high-ranking administrator called “a heavy lift” to get many more entering freshmen to finish within four years. For example, 11 campuses still graduated less than 20 percent of the students who entered as freshmen four years ago. In an unpleasant surprise, four campuses actually saw their four-year graduation rates decline a bit in 2018. And at 13 campuses, less than 60 percent of freshmen finished after six years. By Larry Gordon, EdSource
See if California has identified your school as low-performing, San Diego Union-Tribune
Oakland school district braces for up to 150 layoffs in administration, services, San Francisco Chronicle
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See previous morning roundups below:
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 6:
In one fallout from the recently settled strike of teachers in Los Angeles, Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to establish a panel of experts to examine the impact of charter school growth on district finances.
The panel will have four months to look at the issue, and to report back to Newsom by July 1. Thurmond has not yet announced who will be on the panel, but its formation raises the likelihood that California’s charter school laws may undergo revision over the coming year. This would be the first time there has been an in-depth look at the financial impact of charter schools since passage of California’s first charter law in 1992. The issue was a concern of Newsom’s even before the L.A. teachers strike, said Newsom spokesperson Brian Ferguson.
“As Governor Newsom stated in his first budget proposal, rising charter school enrollments in some urban districts are having real impacts on those districts’ ability to provide essential support and services for their students,” he said. Under a 1998 state law, districts are not allowed to take into account the financial impact of a charter school on a district in deciding whether or not to grant them a charter. Charter advocates fear that removing this prohibition could have a dramatic impact on slowing charter school school expansion in the state. By Louis Freedberg and Mikhail Zinshteyn, EdSource
How to improve California’s education, housing affordability, San Francisco Chronicle
TUESDAY, FEB. 5:
Some folks call Dr. Yvonne Chan the ‘charter matriarch.’ At age 73, 26 years after she founded the first charter school in Los Angeles, her reign along a six-block stretch of the East San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Pacoima is palpable. Chan is the founding principal of an empire of schools teaching 3,187 students from pre-K through 12th grade, the first independent charter school in the city. These days, she goes by the title “Chief Visionary Officer,” but she’s rarely without a jangling lanyard of keys around her neck to unlock each of the five campuses at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center. Like other schools at the movement’s beginning, Vaughn was a charter forged by teachers and administrators hoping to better serve low-income students of color through managerial autonomy from the L.A. Unified School District behemoth and without representation from a teachers union. Vaughn’s success, a story of “the little school that could,” marks the beginning of an industry no one imagined would become so large and such a fault line in the national debate about education reform. Their proliferation became a focal point of the recent six-day walkout by more than 30,000 UTLA-represented teachers, as union leaders called public school “privatization” and “unregulated charter school growth” an existential crisis for traditional public schools. By ARIELLA PLACHTA, Los Angeles Daily News
Five Things to Watch for in Trump’s State of the Union Speech, Education Week
MONDAY, FEB. 4:
It is the most obvious and important contributor to student success and yet something many California school districts are not doing well: getting students to show up for school. More than 1 in 10 students statewide were chronically absent from school in 2017-18, meaning they missed at least 10 percent of the school year, according to recent data released by the California Department of Education. “The numbers are bad and getting slightly worse,” said Rob Manwaring, a senior education policy advisor for Children Now, a statewide child advocacy organization. He is referring to the fact that the statewide rate rose to 11.1 percent from 10.8 percent in 2016-17, the first year the state released the numbers. By David Washburn, EdSource
San Francisco Public School Advocates Rally For $60M From Tax Windfall, CBS San Francisco
Governor’s $20 million Alaska education cut may be illegal, state senator says, Anchorage Daily News
After a hate crime, a town welcomes immigrants into its schools, Hechinger Report