22

Gov. Brown signs, vetoes, student discipline bills

Public Counsel, a non-profit law firm that has promoted an overhaul of school discipline policy, released this summary of bills signed and vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Note: The descriptions of each bill are theirs, not mine.

Bills Brown has signed:

  • AB 1729 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) changes existing law to strengthen the alternatives to suspension or expulsion and clarify that school removals should only happen after other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct.
  • AB 1909 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) ensures that school districts provide notification to foster parents or other county child welfare designees and the court-appointed attorney for the foster youth when a foster youth is pending expulsion.
  • AB 2537 by Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella) provides additional discretion to school administrators to use alternative means of correction in lieu of expulsion and further clarifies that possessing an imitation firearm, over-the-counter medicine or student’s prescription medicines are not “zero tolerance” offenses that automatically require expulsion. It also eliminates an existing $500 fine imposed on a principal who fail to notify law enforcement of certain crimes allegedly committed by students.
  • AB 2616 by Assemblymember Wilmer Carter (D-Rialto) will focus truancy reduction efforts on solutions with schools, students and parents that are shown to work, so that law enforcement and courts are used only as a last resort.
  • SB 1088 by Senator Curren Price (D-Los Angeles) helps ensure that children who have had contact with the juvenile justice system are not barred from re-enrollment and are immediately reenrolled in school.

He vetoed: Continue Reading

83

Weinberg: Extra money makes a huge difference in student outcomes

Steven Weinberg, a retired Oakland teacher and Education Report contributor, makes a case for the Proposition 30 tax initiative on the November ballot.

Steven WeinbergDoes providing schools with more money lead to improvements in student achievement?

The experience of Oakland middle schools over the last three years shows that it does.

Several years ago four Oakland middle schools with test scores in the lowest 20 percent of state schools received multiyear grants of $900 per student to reduce class sizes and fund other improvements. The grants were not given to all schools in the lowest 20 percent because the state wanted to be able to compare differences in improvement between those schools that received the extra money and those that did not.

After three years the differences in Oakland’s middle schools are dramatic. Continue Reading

15

California’s budget, “day of reckoning”

Want to see the governor’s latest proposal for balancing the state’s budget, despite ballooning deficit projections?

You’ll find the May Revise summary here. The education proposal begins on page 33.

If you’d rather read a long and incredibly comprehensive first-day news article about the details of the proposal, check out  Josh Richman’s piece (to which a number of reporters, including me, contributed) here.

Gov. Jerry Brown says that if the November tax initiative doesn’t pass, funding for schools and community colleges will be automatically cut by $5.5 billion — equivalent to three weeks of instruction. The May budget revision assumes those tax hikes will go through, though.

The plan includes a whopping $453 million cut to state-funded child care services.

Brown also proposes a simpler funding formula for schools, as I noted recently. Schools with higher-needs students would receive more money, and the state would no longer require certain funding streams to be spent on particular programs.

What jumps out at you from reading the proposal and the news coverage?

8

LAO proposes even shorter year, fewer special-purpose funds, changes to teacher layoff deadline

Given the financial stresses facing California school districts and the uncertain outcome of Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office thinks state lawmakers should:

  1. reduce the minimum school year from 175 to 170 days
  2. remove the strings attached to even more special-purpose funding streams, such as Partnership Academies and K-3 class-size reduction funding. (To see what might happen to such programs when districts can use the money for any legal purpose, look no further than to adult education, which lost its protections in 2009.)
  3. lift restrictions on outside contracts for services not related to teaching (food services, clerical, maintenance)
  4. make major changes to the teacher layoff timeline, including a rolling emergency layoff window in the event of mid-year cuts
  5. adopt the governor’s proposal for k-12 funding restructuring by replacing the current reimbursement system with a “weighted student formula” or block grants. (The list of restricted programs that would merge into that formula is on page 4 of the report on the previous link.)

What do you make of these recommendations? You can find further explanation at the bottom of this report, which includes a survey of school districts. About 60 percent of the districts surveyed reported instituting three furlough days in 2010-11, and slightly fewer in the current year.

The layoff proposal, explained: Continue Reading