Newsom soundly defeats California recall attempt
California Gov. Gavin Newsom survived a historic recall election Tuesday, winning a major vote of confidence during a COVID-19 pandemic that has shattered families and livelihoods and tested his ability to lead the state through the largest worldwide health crisis in modern times. With more than 8m votes tallied, the recall campaign was capturing only a third of them. Making an appearance at the California Democratic Party headquarters that lasted less than five minutes, Mr. Newsom said voters had chosen diversity and inclusion over cynicism and negativity. “We owe our kids a deeper sense of respect and all of us as adults have a responsibility to disregard this false separateness,” Newsom said during brief remarks that included no questions from the media. “We have so much more in common as a state and a nation than we give ourselves credit for.”
Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Mateo Daily Journal
LAUSD board votes down school police officer proposal
A resolution that would have allowed school police officers to be placed back on campuses was rejected by the Los Angeles USD school board yesterday, seven months after the majority of board members voted to permanently move them off campuses in the first place. The resolution, sponsored by board members George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson, had been framed as a local control issue for school sites by giving principals and individual school communities the autonomy to decide if they wish to have an officer stationed at a middle or high school. The resolution would not have forced all secondary schools to bring officers back. Similar to the February vote, when McKenna and Schmerelson were the only ones on the seven-member board to vote against removing officers from campuses, they were the only two to endorse this week’s resolution. Board member Jackie Goldberg abstained from voting while the remaining four board members rejected the resolution. Since the resolution was voted down, the item cannot return for another vote for six months.
Hart principal calls for end to ‘bathroom trashing’ social media trend
In an email sent to parents Tuesday morning, Hart High School Principal Jason d’Autremont called for an end to a destructive social media trend that involves students filming themselves “trashing” school bathrooms. “Some of the stuff we’re dealing with is soap dispensers and soap being thrown all over the ground, which is a dangerous thing,” said Mr. d’Autremont. “If a kid were to slip, fall and hurt himself/herself … We’ve had fire extinguishers taken and (used), setting off the fire alarm.” Not only do the acts of vandalism cause a dangerous situation, it also means more work for the campus custodians, he added.
'Varsity Blues' defense lawyers quiz California father-turned-cooperator
A California father testified on Tuesday in the first trial in the U.S. college admissions fraud scandal that the mastermind behind the vast scheme to help children fraudulently get into top schools made clear parents had to follow "his way of doing business." However, while Bruce Isackson admitted he paid $600,000 to have William (Rick) Singer help get his daughters into universities through illegitimate means, he said he did not know how Singer dealt with two other parents now on trial, Gamal Aziz and John Wilson. When Mr. Isackson, concerned about a purported tax audit of a charity Mr. Singer ran that prosecutors said was part of the scheme, pressed him on whether any money was used to pay college athletic officials, Singer, in a recording he took at the direction of investigators, was evasive. "I wanted him to tell me, admit, that he actually gave money to people," he said. "He was clever about not doing that.” Forty-six have pleaded guilty in the so-called Operation Varsity Blues investigation, including Singer, Isackson, actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and 31 other wealthy parents.
School officials cautious on using ARP funding for construction
A survey by the School Superintendents Association (AASA) reveals that school districts across the country don't plan to spend much of their American Rescue Plan funds on facilities renovations or new construction. Close to half of districts indicated they would spend no more than 10% of ARP funding on school facilities improvements, while 16% of districts said they would spend between a quarter to half of ARP funding on such improvements. About 25% of respondents indicated the 2024 spending deadline was an obstacle in using the ARP funds for infrastructure and construction. ARP funding alone is not enough to remedy the nation's school infrastructure, said Sasha Pudelski, AASA advocacy director, pointing to the Reopen and Rebuild America's Schools Act introduced by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). "We desperately need Congress to pass the Rebuild America's Schools Act, which would provide $100 billion in direct aid for new facilities projects," said Ms. Pudelski. "While ARP money can be utilized for school facilities, we are underinvesting roughly $80bn a year behind where we should be in school facilities, so we need a significant federal uptick in spending to get us on track."
Push for Native American curriculum in schools makes gains
Connecticut, North Dakota and Oregon have all adopted measures requiring the teaching of Native American studies, with an emphasis on local tribes. A 2019 report from the National Congress of American Indians, which surveyed 35 states with federally recognized tribes, found nearly 90% of states said they had efforts underway to improve the quality and access to Native American curriculum. While a majority said it’s included in their schools, less than half said it was required and specific to tribal nations in their state. “We are seeing a focus on different races and issues,” said Aaron Payment, first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians and chairperson of the 44,000-member Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan. The Connecticut legislation makes it mandatory for schools to teach Native American studies starting with the 2023-2024 school year. It passed despite concerns raised by teachers unions and state Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. Cardona, who is now the U.S. education secretary, had said it is important to teach about Native Americans but he was wary of unfunded mandates for school districts that are still working to implement other courses lawmakers and the governor have required them to teach. In North Dakota, a bill became law this year that requires all elementary and secondary schools, public and private, to include Native American tribal history in their curriculum, with an emphasis on tribes within the state.
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Surgeon General backs Biden's vaccine mandate for schools
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has rallied behind President Biden's new COVID-19 vaccination requirements, saying they are "an appropriate legal measure" in line with traditional safety requirements in schools and workplaces. The Biden administration's measure could affect up to 80m workers and is expected to be issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the coming weeks. Employers will be expected to ask all employees to either test weekly or be fully vaccinated against the virus — or face fines of $14,000 per violation.
Boundary changes can alleviate school segregation, claims report
Schools can fix persistently racially segregated K-12 schools by changing attendance boundaries, according to a report from nonprofit research organization Urban Institute. Explicit efforts to create school boundaries based on race can reduce inequality between schools not only in racial, ethnic and socioeconomic characteristics, but also in regard to staffing, academic programming, student discipline rates and student achievement, the report said. Although redrawing school attendance zones can be one of the most contentious undertakings in school communities, there should no longer be any excuses, said Tomás Monarrez, the report’s author and a labor economist at Urban Institute. In fact, Monarrez added, failure to do so in egregious cases may mean a school is in violation of the Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1974, which prohibits intentional segregation of schools. “It's really not so much policymakers' intention to make these racist lines, but it has been their failure to change the school boundaries,” Monarrez said. “They have all the power to change it.”