Stay Current: Here's What You Missed

by Jeff Camp | August 2, 2016 | 0 Comments
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We work hard to keep the lessons of Ed100 up to date -- it's a challenge, but we think it matters. We're spending a bunch of time on it this summer so you have the most current info for back to school season. Below you will find an overview of 16 changes and updates we've made to our lessons that will impact you, your child and your school community.

Changes That Will Impact Your School Community

Vaccinations Now Required.
An outbreak of measles in 2015 prompted the California legislature to take action on falling vaccination rates that in some schools had fallen to unsafe levels. Families may no longer use personal belief to opt out of vaccinating their children when enrolling in school. Does your school have a high number of non-immunized students? We updated Lesson 2.3 with a link to an interactive map of vaccination rates at each school in California.

Obesity rates have stabilized.
At last, rates of childhood obesity appear to have stopped rising. We changed Lesson 2.3 to reflect this changed trend. We also added some information about why it might have happened.

Parents may be reading to their kids more. According to the National Household Education Surveys Program, parents may be getting the message about the vital importance of early reading. We updated Lesson 2.4 with the good news.

Stability for Foster Youth.
The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes provisions that make it easier for students in foster care to remain in a school when they are assigned to a new family outside the school's attendance area. Lesson 2.8 links to the new rules.

Who Wants to Teach?
We updated Lesson 3.1 with more evidence that, alas, the teacher "pipeline" has continued to shrink. According to ACT, even fewer of California's best and brightest are becoming teachers.

Districts are now newly on the hook for a big unfunded liability.

New Pension Pressures for Districts.
The state's pension system for teachers has changed, putting school districts officially on the hook for a big unfunded liability. This liability was formerly carried on the state's books, so the impact on districts' borrowing costs isn't yet known. It's easy to ignore only if the stock market rises. Lesson 3.11 explains the big picture.

Small improvements for small kids.
A new quality rating system for public preschools ("QRIS") has now been used to review and rate about 3,300 of the state's 50,000 preschools. In related news, the state budget added funding for about 9,000 early learners. California is still massively behind other states in early learning, but Lesson 4.1 acknowledges these small steps forward.

The Summer Job Gap.
The education system is unequal in many ways, and we thought this one was worth noting: over time, access to summer jobs has become yet another source of unequal opportunity for students. Lesson 4.6 summarizes findings from Pew Research.

Just for Girls.
Los Angeles Unified is opening its first new girls-only school in decades. Is that a good thing? Lesson 5.3 summarizes the research about it.

Warming Your School Climate.
Does your school have a good climate? How do you know? If it improves, can you measure it? If you can measure it, can you grade it? If you get a bad grade, what happens? These questions have been front-and-center in Sacramento this summer. We overhauled Lesson 5.10 to help you understand what might be coming from the state. We also point you to the survey you might want to use to measure your school's climate.

The Broadband Homework Gap.
Many schools in low income communities lack decent internet access, and students have trouble finding the signal they need to do their homework safely. We updated Lesson 6.6 with some rough data about the unequal impact on students.

Grit.
The most fashionable word in education at the moment is "grit." Lesson 6.13 explains it in context.

Still Skimpy.
Education funding in California has increased recently. We updated Lessons 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 to reflect the latest numbers. However, California remains massively below national norms in spending per student. Money is a big challenge for schools in California.

LCFF transition nearly complete.
The old systems for allocating dollars to districts are basically gone, and good riddance. Lesson 8.5 now describes a blissfully straightforward set of rules, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), that delivers dollars to districts.

Goodbye, Exit Exam.
The California High School Exit Exam is a thing of the past. We updated Lesson 9.3 to reflect this change, and also to add some new information about the assessments that students DO need to take.

New School Rating System Coming Soon.
A new, color-coded report card is under development for California schools. We updated Ed100 Lesson 9.7 with information about the work-in-progress. (For news about how it evolves with feedback, we're following EdSource.)

Thank You!

We really appreciate the readers who leave comments on lessons to help make them better. THANK YOU. Would you like to get involved in keeping Ed100 readers up to date? Send me a note at jeffcamp@ed100.org!

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