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Catholic colleges oppose federal law, arsons on Antioch campuses and school closure debate in Oakland

Although this blog typically focuses on education news in Contra Costa County with an emphasis on the Mt. Diablo school district, I would like to throw a few other regional stories out this week for discussion:

Higher education reporter Matt Krupnick reports that Bay Area Catholic colleges are joining a fight against a new federal law that requires health plans to cover birth control. They argue the law violates their rights to oppose contraception:

Do you think Catholic colleges should comply with the law by providing contraception to students?

Antioch reporter Paul Burgarino reports that arsonists have struck two elementary schools, decimating the play structure at one and damaging the wall of a multiuse room at another:

“When the kids saw (the burned play structure), their faces fell,” said Lone Tree Elementary Principal Patty Ward. “You could see some of them were in tears and just asking why this happened.”

What do you think the community can do to try to prevent such incidents in the future?

Oakland schools reporter Katy Murphy reports that some members of the Oakland school board are having second thoughts about a plan to close five elementary schools to save $2 million:

This year, the Mt. Diablo school district in Contra Costa County closed one elementary school and one middle school in an attempt to save $1.5 million, along with other cost-cutting and revenue generating strategies.

Like the Mt. Diablo district, Oakland has experienced declining enrollment. Many Oakland students have also moved out of the district or transferred to charter schools that are not district-operated.

Do you believe it makes sense to close schools in districts with declining enrollment?

Posted on Sunday, October 16th, 2011
Under: Antioch school district, Education, Katy Murphy, Matt Krupnick, Mt. Diablo school district, Oakland school district, Paul Burgarino | 9 Comments »

Cal chancellor discusses minority enrollment

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau

Higher education reporter Matt Krupnick attended his seventh briefing by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau today.

Here are Krupnick’s comments about the gathering, which focused on Cal’s entering class:

“A variety of media types gathered at UC Berkeley today – the first day of classes – to get Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s annual take on the university’s state of affairs. It was his seventh such briefing, if my math is correct, and mine as well.

While Birgeneau previously used this event to announce news, they have become more wide-ranging in recent years. He provides a look at the entering class and updates on other items of interest.

The 2010 version featured a lot of discussion about minority and low-income students. Berkeley, always known for its allegiance to the poor, enrolled a record number of low-income freshmen this year, Birgeneau said. More than one-third of the entering class of 5,000 freshmen – 37 percent – is eligible for the federal Pell Grant, a need-based scholarship.

But Birgeneau also mentioned his concern about the low number of minority students. Just 3.2 percent of the class of 2014 is black, while 12.2 percent are Latino, 31 percent are white and 45.6 percent are Asian-American.

Additional income from the growing number of out-of-state and international students, who pay higher fees, will help UC Berkeley recruit more California minorities, he said.

The chancellor also talked about his concern for undocumented-immigrant students, who are unable to get state or federal aid for college. Birgeneau was scheduled to meet with a group of those students this afternoon, and he said he is working ‘as a private citizen’ with an advocacy group on that issue.”

You can reach Krupnick at 925-943-8246 or Follow him on Twitter at

Do you think undocumented citizens should be eligible for state or federal college aid?

Posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Under: Education, Matt Krupnick, UC Berkeley | 5 Comments »