ASCD California


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  • 06/17/2019 1:12 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Study: More than half of California high schools lack computer science courses

    Increase seen in schools offering computer science reflecting push by the State Board of Education


    JUNE 17, 2019

    California has the highest number of technology workers in the country. But many students in the state lack access to the computer science courses that may set them up for those career opportunitiesa new study shows.

    More than half (61 percent) of high schools in California do not offer computer science courses, according to a study released Monday by the Kapor Center, a nonprofit that focuses on equity and access in technology, and Computer Science for California (CSforCA), a campaign that promotes access to computer science education in California.

    The high schools that do offer computer science courses are more likely to be in high income or urban areas.  Students of color and students in rural and low income areas are least likely to have access to computer science courses, the study found.

    Only 3 percent of California’s 1.9 million high school students were enrolled in a computer science course in the 2016-17 school year, according to the report. In 2018, only 1 percent took an Advanced Placement computer science course, which can offer students college credit.

    “We have made progress in the state, but overall we have a lot of work to do to ensure that all kids in California have access to computer science,” said Allison Scott, a report author and chief research officer at the Kapor Center “It’s a critical moment.”

    The report also highlights several promising trends, including how the availability of computer science courses in California has been steadily increasing in recent years. Thirty-nine percent of California high schools now offer computer science courses, up since 2014, when about 24 percent of high schools offered them.

    For full article please click link

  • 06/14/2019 2:05 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Pension relief, special education funding highlight Gov. Newsom's budget

    Governor gets most of what he wanted in his first go-round


    JUNE 14, 2019


    Democratic Assemblywomen Cottie Petrie-Norris, o

    f Laguna Beach, left, Buffy Wicks, of Oakland, center, and Jacqui Irwin, of Thousand Oaks, right, huddle before the Assembly passed the state budget bill on Thursday.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first education budget, which the Legislature passed on Thursday, remains his budget. After negotiations with legislative leaders, Newsom’s spending priorities remain largely intact and signal the directions his administration will take over his first term.


    Gov. Newsom Proposes To Chip Away At Mountain Of Pension Liability And Ease School Districts’ Burden

    Education leaders largely praised the education budget when Newsom released his initial budget in January and the revision in May, and were still on board this week.

    “The governor successfully held true to principles he laid out in January and got significant wins across the board,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting firm. “He found creative ways to address crucial issues that educators statewide are articulating.”

    Funding for K-12 schools and community colleges is determined by a complex formula  laid out in Proposition 98, which voters passed in 1998. It’s roughly 40 percent of the state’s budget, varying a bit from year to year.

    Newsom funded the minimum increase required by Prop. 98, which will raise the level by $2.9 billion, to $81.1 billion in 2019-20. For additional money, Newsom turned to the General Fund, where K-12 had to compete with health care, housing, homelessness and legislators’ own priorities .

    The final budget provides about $3.5 billion beyond Prop. 98. By far the biggest piece is the $3 billion that will relieve districts from escalating school pension costs. Next is $300 million in one-time money to fund facilities for districts to transition to full-day kindergarten — half of what Newsom had requested.

    For full article please click link

  • 06/10/2019 6:08 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Students in California log on in record numbers to take online state tests


    JUNE 6, 2019


    Despite a new science test that has increased demand on the internet capacity of schools, this spring hundreds of thousands of California students went online to take standardized tests aligned to new academic standards without experiencing major technical problems.

    The peak testing session for Smarter Balanced in 2019 so far occurred on May 7, when 683,673 California students logged in to take the tests from their laptops and tablets — a record number. In 2017, about 500,000 students went online at the peak of testing. That was still well below the capacity of the system, which can handle 1.75 million simultaneous users, according to state officials.

    The testing window opened on Jan. 8 and will close on July 15 and most students have already started or completed the exam. As of June 4, about 3.1 million students had completed the Smarter Balanced tests out of an eligible 3.3 million.

    The successful administration of the test reflects investments of tens of millions of dollars in recent years in upgrading the internet capacity of California’s schools. 

    However, a small number of schools, especially smaller ones in rural areas, are still having difficulties getting online to access the system. Educators there have to stagger test times to make sure they are not overloading their broadband capacities. 

    This is the fifth year that California students in 3rd to 8th and 11th grade are taking standardized tests aligned with the Common Core that school districts are required to administer by state and federal law. The new tests were the first online statewide assessments in California. The previous tests, known as the California Standards Tests, were aligned with the old standards and were all paper and pencil tests.

    At the time Smarter Balanced testing began, many districts worried not only whether students would be prepared to take the tests, but whether they had adequate technology and broadband access in order to administer the online tests successfully. This year California added another online test, the California Science Test, putting additional pressures on the state’s online testing capacity. The science test is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, which are new science standards adopted by the state in 2013.

    Today, most schools have the bandwidth they need to administer the online test. At least 92 percent of California students have access to the minimum internet speed that test developers recommend, according to an official from the K-12 High Speed Network, a state project funded by the California Department of Education to help expand high-speed internet to schools.

    Click below on link for entire article.

  • 06/10/2019 6:04 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California Content Standards

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) first-ever mobile app for the California Content Standards, a powerful tool that provides quick, targeted access to standards related to the arts, computer science, health education, history–social science, and mathematics.

    Content standards are utilized by educators to design the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students should acquire for subject areas at each grade level. The California Standards app, designed entirely by CDE staff, can search, filter, and sort content standards to isolate specific content, identify standards that are common across disciplines, and inform decisions around instruction and assessment.

    You can download the app from the Content Standards Mobile Application website at

    You can access the internet-based searchable database of California Content Standards at

    Read the full CDE press release at

  • 05/28/2019 2:45 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California governor and lawmakers at odds over new special education funding

    It’s not the amount, which is big, but how to spend it.


    MAY 28, 2019


    A child with Down Syndrome draws a picture.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders agree that the state should significantly increase funding for students with disabilities. But, in one of the biggest disagreements over next year’s state budget, they head into negotiations far apart on how they would spend the new money.

    Newsom is proposing an additional $696 million in ongoing funding for special education in his budget for next year. Last week, the Assembly Budget Committee rejected outright the new formula that the Department of Finance has proposed for divvying up that additional money. The 21 percent increase for students with special needs would be the largest in decades. But critics — and they are numerous — point out fewer than a quarter of the state’s school districts would qualify for any of the new money and once they get it, they could spend it however they want.


    Special Education Funding Is A Morass; Straightening It Out May Not Be Cheap Or Easy

    Instead, the Assembly committee’s proposal for an additional $593 million instead would pay for services for students with disabilities in preschool — an age group that currently gets no state funding — and equalize funding for the regional special education agencies that administer funding and services on behalf of school districts and charter schools. This is the approach that a past state task force on special education urged and the Coalition for Adequate Funding for Special Education and associations representing school boards and school administrators are endorsing.

    The Legislative Analyst’s Office also panned Newsom’s new program in its review of the May revision of the state budget and the Senate Budget Committee has created a united front for negotiations by making funding equalization and preschool funding of special education its priorities, too. However, it would attach restrictions not in the Assembly’s version.

    Districts bear bulk of costs

    Newsom’s program wouldn’t affect the current funding system, in which the state funnels its portion of special education funding through the 134 agencies that work with districts and charter schools, called Special Education Local Planning Agencies, or SELPAs. Funding for the agencies is based on the total number of students, not just students with disabilities, enrolled in the districts served by SELPAs. SELPAs are funded at disparate rates per student under a 40-year-old, outdated formula, creating further inequities.

    The federal government’s share of special education funding has declined significantly over the past decade and the state’s share stagnated under Gov. Jerry Brown, who made funding of the Local Control Funding Formula, governing K-12 spending that is separate from special education, his top priority. As a result, the state and federal government contribute less than 40 percent of the $13.2 billion in special education spending in California, with school districts paying the rest out of their general budgets.

    For full article please click link

  • 05/24/2019 10:07 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California considers overhauling test of reading instruction for teachers in training

    Test's high failure rate contributes to teacher shortage, say some critics


    MAY 23, 2019


    California is considering overhauling a test intended to measure whether prospective teachers are prepared to be effective reading instructors.

    That’s because the test, known as the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, or RICA, is outdated, and there is no evidence that it contributes to more effective instruction. On top of that, although would-be teachers can take the test multiple times, it costs nearly $200 each time. That may discourage some from entering the profession at a time when the state is experiencing teacher shortages in several subject areas, and in schools with many high-needs students.

    A passing score on the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, meant to measure a teacher’s ability to teach reading, is required to get a credential to be an elementary school or special education instructor.

    But the test hasn’t been revised since 2009 when it was aligned to the English Language Arts-English Language Development Framework put in place two years earlier to guide instruction in classrooms. Frameworks are blueprints for teachers and schools to use to implement state-adopted content standards in different subject areas.

    When a new English Language Arts framework was adopted in 2014 the test was never revised to reflect the changes.

    “In failing to align with the current standards and framework, the RICA does not reflect current research and instructional best practices in literacy,” said Mimi Miller, a professor from Chico State University, who is part of a literacy expert group convened by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to offer recommendations on the skills and knowledge prospective teachers need to teach reading and literacy.

    For full article please click link

  • 05/08/2019 3:10 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)


    Six Districts to Help Statewide Community Engagement Efforts 

    The statewide Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) has selected six school districts to join the groundbreaking effort to build capacity for meaningful community engagement in California's public schools:  The districts selected will compose the CEI's inaugural Peer Leading and Learning Network which will identify and analyze models, metrics, and practices of community engagement in order to help schools, districts, and their communities across the state build their engagement skills and knowledge. 

    The CCEE, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS), the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), and Families In Schools (FIS) jointly lead the CEI which is an integral part of the System of Support. 

  • 05/03/2019 11:49 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    First on new California state superintendent’s long agenda: getting more men of color in the classroom

    Tony Thurmond reaches out for ideas on 13 education challenges


    MAY 3, 2019


    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond during a staff interview at EdSource.

    Four months into his first term, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is creating 13 work groups that he expects will recommend strategies for addressing some of the state’s thorniest education challenges. The issues include the need for an extensive student data system, college affordability, special education, teacher development, student health and safety, the teacher shortage and the issue he ran on but has little direct power to effect — more funding for schools.


    The 13 work groups that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will appoint will deal with the following issues:

    • The achievement and opportunity gaps
    • A teacher shortage
    • Literacy achievement
    • Special education
    • K-12 funding
    • College affordability
    • Early education
    • Jobs of tomorrow (computer science, STEAM, CTE)
    • Dual language instruction
    • Professional development for educators
    • Data collection
    • Student health and safety
    • Pension obligations

    In an interview this week at EdSource, Thurmond identified one priority he’s ready to push high on the to-do list: enticing more minority men to become teachers, particularly in the elementary grades, and fostering the conditions to keep them in the classroom. “We’ve landed on a strategy that we’re going to get in place hopefully by next year. It’s tangible. It’s concrete and we know it’s impactful,” Thurmond said. “The data shows when kids see a teacher who looks like them it makes a huge difference.”

    Only 1 percent of teachers in California are male African-Americansand 5 percent are Latino, while 6 percent of the state’s students are African-American and 54 percent are Latino. A half-dozen of the 23 campuses in the California State University system, which trains the bulk of the state’s teachers, have had initiatives to recruit minority men. But they need more funding for programs like year-long teacher residencies, which mentor young teachers in districts where they will work, Thurmond said.

    For the full article please click

  • 04/29/2019 2:40 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Bolstering California’s increased focus on early childhood, statewide commission releases final recommendations


    As California lawmakers consider Gov. Gavin Newsom’s early childhood proposals, a new report lays out the goals that parents, advocates and early childhood experts believe are needed to serve the state’s youngest children.

    The final report of the California Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, released Monday, sets out a long-term vision for how to overhaul the early childhood education system in California, with short-term and mid-term milestones along the way. For example, it sets a long-term goal of universal access to early education, meaning eventually every child, regardless of income, should be able to enroll in preschool, but focuses on expanding access first to children in low-income families.

    At least 25 early childhood bills are currently under discussion in the Legislature. Many of them would move toward the goals laid out by the Blue Ribbon Commission.


    • Families with average or low incomes pay no more than 7% of income on child care.
    • Childcare providers and teachers be trained and paid similarly to K-12 teachers.
    • Expand paid family leave to one year with 100% wage replacement.
    • Expand early childhood degree programs.
    • Expand programs that offer care on nights or weekends.
    • Provide grants for centers and homes to open new classrooms.
    • Establish an Early Childhood Policy Council that includes parents, providers and others.

    The report, which is more than 100 pages long, is the result of two years of deliberations and hearings held throughout the state with parents, child care providers, early learning experts and advocates. Commissioners included Assembly members as well as early education experts, child care providers and advocates for children and parents. A draft of the report was released in March.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom made early education a major focus of his campaign and in his January budget proposal proposed almost $2 billion to expand services to young children.

    For the full article click here

  • 04/24/2019 3:39 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California’s newest college will blend online and face-to-face job trainingSchool CEO says college will get a new name to reflect its mission.


    Heather Hiles, the first president and CEO of California's online community college.

    Even before it debuts its first classes in the fall, the California Online Community College will get a new name, says its president and CEO Heather Hiles.

    That’s because the school’s title needs to better reflect its goal of offering in-person as well as online job training for adults and to let the public know “what you are talking about,” she said.

    “The mission is to help people who are underemployed get fully employed. And to use whatever technology and resources are required to make that mandate a reality,” said Hiles, who started in February as the college’s president and CEO 

    Hiles said it is premature to say what the new name will be. But whatever the title, the institution — which is expected to receive at least $240 million over the next seven years — won’t be like any traditional college. It won’t have a set course catalog, distinct academic departments, grade point system or a student body recruited from the general public to earn an associate degree.

    Instead, it will be a technological support and educational delivery system in job training for adult workers without college degrees who are starting jobs or trying to advance, according to Hiles. Employers will have a big say in what is taught and where. Those firms will be expected to subsidize costs so students won’t pay any tuition. 

    For full article please click on the link

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