Education

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: State Democrats Propose Universal Preschool; California Water Officials Preparing Drought Declaration

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Democratic lawmakers are proposing to create preschool programs for all four-year-olds in the state in recognition of the importance of early childhood education, the Mercury News$ reports. Like kindergarten, preschool would be voluntary and free to participants. Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, the program would be phased in over five years at an estimated cost of $1 billion. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, a former East Bay legislator, is co-sponsoring the proposal.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Must Reads: BART Board Approves New Union Contract; Judge Orders San Francisco City College to Remain Open

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The BART board of directors voted 8-1 to approve contracts with two of the transit agency’s largest unions, thereby greatly lessening the possibility of another strike, CoCo Times$ reports. The agreements now must be ratified by the unions’ rank-and-file members. The membership had approved an earlier contract agreement but the BART board rejected it, contending that its negotiating team had mistakenly agreed to a paid family leave benefit. Under the revised deal, that benefit is dropped in exchange for other concessions.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Berkeley Council Adopts First-Ever Student District

by Sarah Burke
Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

The Berkeley City Council voted to implement a redistricting map that will make Berkeley the first municipality in the country to form a council district designed solely to represent the interests of college students. But some councilmembers and community members feel that the new district lines do not fairly represent the student body, and a coalition of community organizers plans to petition for a referendum of the ordinance.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Must Reads: California’s Obamacare Exchange Deluged with Enrollees; Oakland Schools Go Solar

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Californians are scrambling to sign up for Obamacare through the state’s insurance exchange as the December 23 deadline for getting coverage next year is approaching fast, the LA Times$ reports. The state’s insurance exchange is being swamped with enrollees. On Wednesday, the exchange tallied 17,000 calls in less than an hour. And an expected surge in applicants in the next two weeks could overwhelm the state’s system.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Unions Say BART Is Overstating Costs of Family Leave; Growth of Oakland Charter Schools Damages School District

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART unions say the transit agency is overestimating the costs of a disputed family medical leave benefit by perhaps tens of millions of dollars, the Chron reports. The BART board directors has effectively rejected a tentative deal its management team reached with the unions because of the six-week paid family leave benefit — a move that could prompt another strike. BART officials estimate that the benefit, which they contend they agreed to by mistake, will cost the agency up to $44.2 million over the life of the four-year contract. But the unions say that the estimate is deeply flawed, and say they have no intention of renegotiating the deal.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Must Reads: BART Deal Is In Jeopardy; Cal Lowered Academic Standards for Athletes

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The tentative contract agreement between BART management and the transit agency’s unions may unravel, the Chron reports. BART managers say they didn’t realize that the contract deal — which brought an end to last month’s strike — included a six-week family medical leave benefit for employees that they said could prove costly for the transit agency. As a result, the BART board may vote today to reject the deal. BART unions, meanwhile, contend that BART’s negotiating team knew full well that the family leave provision was in the contract. The unions have already approved the agreement, but if the BART board rejects it, it could result in yet another transit strike.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Must Reads: President Announces Fixes to Obamacare; Number of Mentally Ill Homeless Surges in East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. President Obama announced changes to the Affordable Care Act today that would allow insurance companies to continue selling health-care policies that previously were to be canceled, the Washington Post$ reports. The president’s announcement was intended to address a controversy that erupted when millions of Americans began receiving notices in recent weeks that their insurance policy was going to be canceled because it didn’t meet the coverage requirements under Obamacare. The cancellation notices sparked a firestorm of criticism because the president had promised repeatedly that people could keep their insurance policy if they liked it. Under the changes announced today, insurance companies can continue selling existing plans for the next year. The president cautioned, however, that some insurance companies might choose not to sell the old plans.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday Must Reads: Feds Threaten to Cut Off $3.5 Billion in Education Funds to State; New UC President Vows to Increase Minority Enrollment

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Federal education officials are threatening to cut off $3.5 billion in funding to public schools in California this year because of a dispute over standardized testing, the Mercury News reports. The feds are angry about legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown last month that eliminates the STAR test this spring. The state is launching new computerized testing for public schools this year to replace the STAR test, but will not release the results because the new exams are only in a testing phase. Brown has argued that it’s unfair to require students to take two sets of standardized tests, but US Department of Education officials say the legislation violates federal law.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Hacker Scouts Will Change Name After Legal Threats from Boy Scouts of America

by Sam Levin
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Hacker Scouts, an Oakland-based nonprofit group dedicated to science and technology education for youth, has decided to change its name after repeated legal threats from the Boy Scouts of America.

"We did not want to dedicate the next year to fighting this. We did not want to slow down," Samantha Cook, executive director and founder of Hacker Scouts, tells the Express. "We're not a name. It's our substance. It's what we do that makes us who we are."

The organization, which now has dozens of programs across the country, posted a note this week announcing that BSA is refusing to compromise — and that the Hacker Scouts board does not want to get involved in a legal battle.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Chronicle Needs to Correct Headline on Oakland Black Males Story

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 5:36 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle is making big waves this week with its three-part series, highlighting the Oakland school district’s innovative response to the problem of young black men being suspended, expelled, and dropping out of high school — at a time when so many black males are being killed each year in the city. The stories are well-done, and feature excellent photojournalism, but they contain a major error: The headline on the first story of the series “Even Odds” and the subheadlines on both the first and second stories are wildly inaccurate and grossly overstate the chances of a black male being killed in Oakland.

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