ASCD California


  • 01/21/2020 2:47 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California governor joins those wanting to hold school districts more accountable for spending

    Proposed budget addresses criticisms by State Auditor Elaine Howle.


    JANUARY 21, 2020


    Recess at Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland.

    In an audit last fall of three districts’ spending, State Auditor Elaine Howle called on the State Board of Education and the Legislature to hold districts more accountable for how they spend money they receive from the Local Control Funding Formula.

    In the state budget that he presented this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom included two proposals that respond to the audit, setting the stage for negotiations with legislators who have introduced bills that mirror two of Howle’s key recommendations.


    New Efforts To Make School Spending In California More Transparent 

    The audit of San Diego Unified, Clovis Unified and Oakland Unified found that it was often impossible to track the spending for English learners, foster and homeless youth and low-income children. Districts receive extra money under the funding formula for these children, based on their proportions of enrollment, and in return are required to provide them with improved and increased services and programs. Along with a lack of transparency, the audit said that some expenditures appeared to be misspent on all students without clearly benefiting the targeted student groups.

    The audit also called for an end of a practice that student advocacy groups have criticized for years and that State Board of Education and county offices of education, which review districts’ compliance with the funding formula, have permitted. Districts that haven’t spent money for the high-priority groups at the end of the year can roll the money into their general fund and use it however they want, including rising pension and health care costs and teacher raises.

    For complete article please click link

  • 01/03/2020 1:27 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Gavin Newsom's 1st-year K-12 scorecard: good grades on priorities and some incompletes

    He funded beyond the minimum, struck deals on charter schools and building aid


    JANUARY 3, 2020


    Helped by students at the Ethel I. Baker Elementary School in Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 7 signs Assembly Bill 48, placing a $15 billion school construction ballot on the March 2020.

    Gavin Newsom wasn’t pressed during his 2018 campaign for governor to be specific about his education goals or how he’d raise taxes for the additional revenue that he agreed schools need. Well-assured of election, he didn’t have to. He faced a weak opponent in Republican John Cox after vanquishing opponents in the primary. Plus, K-12 education wasn’t a central issue in the election.

    But in his first year in office, Newsom partially made good on education positions he highlighted on his website and in a questionnaire for EdSource. These include making early education a priority, funding incentives to hire more teachers and creating the framework for a database to track students from pre-K to higher ed. In 2019, he also made decisions that sometimes surprised, and largely pleased, education groups and advocates and that distinguished him from his predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown.


    California Education Issues To Watch In 2020 — And Predictions Of What Will Happen

    “Following Brown was going to be tough,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting firm in Sacramento, “but if anyone thought a rookie governor would be weaker and more timid, they were sorely mistaken.”

    Celia Jaffe, president of the California State PTA, said, “The California State PTA is pleased with real strides in education under Newsom; there was progress on thorny issues like charter school reform.”

    “In education, Newsom established independence from Gov. Brown,” said former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, a Democrat from Alamo who chaired the Assembly Education Committee in 2013-14. “He has been what I expected. He has never been afraid to move forward but he also is a businessman who understands the need to balance budgets.”

    As Newsom enters his second year in office, here is a look back at some of the commitments he made, key actions he took and some promises still awaiting action.


    On his campaign website, Newsom wrote, “If we are serious about closing achievement gaps and income gaps, we must get serious about closing the opportunity gap and that begins with doubling down on the readiness gap by emphasizing prenatal care and the first three years of a child’s life. Gavin will work to address the inequities in our public education system, connect our early childhood, K-12 and higher education systems and develop incentives to attract highly qualified educators.”

    How’d he do?

    Early education: As he had promised, Newsom made child care and early education a priority, committing more than $2 billion, much of it in one-time money. Newsom expanded funding without encroaching on the K-12 budget by using other General Fund dollars.

    Data: With a $10 million budget appropriation, Newsom has set in motion what Brown had opposed: the creation of a longitudinal data system linking information on children from infancy through college and into the workforce. It will connect existing data systems so that lawmakers and policy makers can answer fundamental questions, like which early education investments pay off long-term and which community college reforms increase college completion rates.

    Teacher shortage: Adding to efforts that Gov. Brown included in his last budget, Newsom included $90 million in scholarships for 4,500 new teachers in high-demand subjects, such as special education, math and science, in low-income districts where they are most needed. That could be a down payment for more funding this year.

    Newsom’s first-year budget did not include initiatives to address inequities, other than to direct most new money toward the Local Control Funding Formula, which targets additional funding to districts based on their numbers of low-income, foster and homeless students and English learners.

    For the full article please click link below:
  • 12/09/2019 11:50 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Helping students to sort facts from lies on the internet

    Online curriculum out of Stanford offers lessons in ferreting out misinformation. 


    DECEMBER 9, 2019


    Will Colglazier teaches Civic Online Reasoning, developed by the Stanford History Education Group, to his high school history class at Aragon High in San Mateo.

    Think like a fact checker.

    That’s at the core of a new, free online curriculum developed by a group of Stanford researchers. Civic Online Reasoning or COR is designed to help students tell the difference between reliable and fake information on the internet. The Stanford History Education Group found that the lack of a fact-checker mindset is a big part of why so many students — and adults — so often are duped by political and social issues websites.

    The developers, a group of Stanford faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars, are confident that their strategies will make a difference, if students learn and then regularly use them.

    The lessons “need to be explicitly taught,” Will Colglazier, an AP history teacher at Aragon High in San Mateo, says in a video on the COR website in which his students learn the techniques. Students need these skills to develop a “habit of mind” that will stay with them, he adds.


    Bill Would Help California Schools Teach About ‘Fake News,’ Media Literacy

    Last month, the group released a nationwide study of the ability of 3,446 high school students to evaluate information online. It found that “nearly all students foundered.” The results were no better than a 2016 analysis of high school and college students.

    “We hoped there would be some improvement, given the hand-wringing about fake news, but there hadn’t been,” said Joel Breakstone, director of the Stanford History Education Group.

    In the latest study, for example, two-thirds couldn’t differentiate between news stories and ads, clearly designated as “sponsored content,” on the news site Slate. And 96 percent didn’t consider why funding by fossil fuels companies might affect the credibility of a climate change site.

    The students judged the site by subjective and often unreliable criteria: the site’s appearance, how it described itself on its “About” page and whether it was an “.org” — presumably a “reliable” non-profit source.

    “Young people will be easy marks to rogues of all stripes” if they cannot determine the accuracy of information, the Nov. 13 report said.

    For the entire article please click this link

  • 10/31/2019 10:16 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    During a decade of stagnation, California slowly narrows gaps with other states in math and reading


    OCTOBER 30, 2019


    The article was updated on Oct. 30 with additional comments and information, including the Urban Institute's state comparisons based on demographic differences.

    In 2017, California education leaders heralded the significant increase in the state’s 8th-grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress as a sign that the state’s investment in education and its adoption of the Common Core standards had taken hold.


    To find the 2019 NAEP national scores in 4th and 8th grade reading go here  and go here for California and other states. To find the national 4th and 8th grade math scores, go here and go here for California and other states. For the scores of the TUDA districts, go here.

    NAEP’s governing board will discuss the 2019 results at an event in Washington, D.C., that will be webcast live on Oct. 30 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm PT. To learn more about the event and register, go here

    Curb that enthusiasm. In 2019, California’s 8th-graders gave back the gain, as did much of the nation, underscoring that progress on state and national standardized tests is best measured over a decade, not in single years.

    The latest scores of NAEP, the closely watched national assessment taken by a sample of 4th- and 8th-graders in every state, showed that California largely followed the national pattern this year with little to no change in math but a significant decline in 8th-grade reading on a scale of 500 points.

    In math, both California’s and the nation’s 8th-grade scores fell less than 1 point. The nation’s 4th-grade math score rose 1 point and California’s rose 3 points — though it was not considered statistically significant because of the sample size.

    The biggest change was in reading and the news was not good. Joining 30 states whose 8th-grade reading scores also fell, California’s decline of 3 points, the same as the nation, about matched its point gain in 2017.

    In 4th-grade reading, the national score fell 2 points, which was considered significant, while California’s 1 point rise was not. Only one state, low-scoring Mississippi, saw a gain in 4th-grade reading.

    Los Angeles Unified, one of three California districts whose results are reported, had big single-year drops of 6 points in both 8th-grade math and reading. It was the largest decline of the 27 urban districts participating in the Trial Urban District Assessment project.

    Taking a longer view, the national results show from 2009 to 2019 there was no improvement in math scores. Stagnant results in reading go back at least two decades for national results in both 4th and 8th grades.

    For entire article please click link

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