Here’s a sampling of some significant education stories that appeared in this newspaper in 2014.
1. New school funding, curriculum and testing
– The California Board of Education adopted regulations to help districts implement the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, which changed the ways schools were funded and required districts to create plans showing how they would spend money, especially for English language learners, low-income students and foster youth.
– Districts implemented new Common Core standards for education, focusing less on memorization and more on critical thinking.
– Students piloted new computer-based tests aimed at gauging how well they were learning with the new standards.
2. School child abuse cases
– The Brentwood school district agreed to pay $8 million to settle a lawsuit with the families of eight special needs children over its handling of a special-education teacher who was convicted of child abuse, yet allowed to remain in the classroom.
– An Antioch district teacher charged with abusing special-education students pleaded guilty to one felony count of child abuse and two misdemeanor charges.
n The Moraga school district agreed to pay $14 million to two women who sued over sex abuse by a former teacher, in what was believed to be the nation’s largest molestation settlement per student.
n Former Woodside Elementary teacher Joseph Martin was charged with 150 counts of child molestation involving 14 students. The District Attorney later dismissed 34 charges, a jury acquitted Martin of 21 more and failed to reach consensus on 95 charges. The District Attorney is retrying the former Mt. Diablo school district teacher on 24 felony molestation counts involving nine students.
3. Charter schools
n The Contra Costa County Board of Education approved an agreement paving the way for the Summit K2 Charter School to open in El Cerrito in the fall, after the West Contra Costa school board rejected the charter petition.
n The Antioch school district reached an agreement with Dozier-Libbey High teachers to keep the site under its authority, after a months-long campaign to convert the school into an independent charter. The Antioch school board and Contra Costa County Board of Education denied the charter petition and teachers dropped their appeal to the state Board of Education.
n Although the Contra Costa County Board of Education renewed the charter for Clayton Valley Charter High for five years, tensions built throughout the year between some staff members and the school’s governing board. An original petitioner for the school was fired, the board president resigned and a teacher board member was asked to resign, but refused. Teachers voted no confidence in Executive Director Dave Linzey and the board dismissed the school’s coordinator of technology after he was accused of breaching Linzey’s confidence.
n The West Contra Costa school board approved three charter petitions in December, after initially proposing to seeking a waiver from its responsibility to vote on charters, saying the independent schools negatively impact the district.
n The Knightsen school board rejected a charter proposed by ChartHouse Public Schools, which also seeks to operate a countywide Performing Arts charter.
4. West Contra Costa bond program
n Voters rejected a $270 million bond measure in June.
n The Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed the district, board president, county, and district financial advisers and consultants in an inquiry into the district’s bond financing. The school board approved hundreds of thousands in contracts for legal representation related to the SEC inquiry, along with representation related to separate questions from the FBI.
What do you think were the most significant education stories in 2014?
Posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2015
Under: Antioch school district, Brentwood school district, California Department of Education, Clayton Valley Charter High, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa County Board of Education, Education, Knightsen school district, Moraga school district, Mt. Diablo school district, West Contra Costa school district | 7 Comments »