Education

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: State Water Bond Deal Blocked in Senate; NTSB Cites Pilot Error In Deadly Asiana Crash

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A proposal to place a $10.5 billion water bond on the November ballot failed to garner enough votes in the state Senate because Republicans want a greater share of the measure’s revenues to be spent on new dams and expanded reservoirs, the SacBee$ reports. Bond measure proposals require a two-thirds vote from the legislature, meaning that the water bond must have some GOP support. The current proposal would replace another $11.1 million bond measure that is already slated for the ballot, but is unlikely to be approved by state voters.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Berkeley Council Okays $12.53 Minimum Wage; Oakland Moves Forward with Controversial West Oakland Plan

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Berkeley City Council unanimously voted to move forward with a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $12.53 an hour by October 2016, the Trib$ reports. The proposal will come back to the council on June 24 for final approval, and city officials are expecting opposition from restaurant owners. Under the plan, the city’s minimum wage would increase to $10 on hour on October 1 this year, and then to $11 an hour by October 1, 2015, before rising to $12.53 an hour the following year.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Teachers’ Union Vows to Appeal Tenure Ruling; EBMUD Hikes Water Rates, Again

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The California Teachers Association (CTA) is vowing to appeal a Los Angeles judge’s ruling that declared the state’s teacher tenure laws to be unconstitutional, the Chron reports. The teachers’ union contends that Judge Rolf Treu overlooked the importance of safeguarding academic freedom and that teachers should not be subjected to "the whim and caprice" of employers. But Treu ruled that the state’s cumbersome laws for firing teachers makes it nearly impossible to get rid of bad instructors — and that children in schools in low-income neighborhoods are being disproportionately harmed by the current system.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bishop Michael Barber May Revise Controversial Morals Code for Teachers — in 2015

by Sam Levin
Thu, May 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

After weeks of intense criticism and media coverage surrounding the Diocese of Oakland's new "morals" code in its teacher contracts, Bishop Michael Barber now says he may revise the controversial language. But if he does, it won't be until next year, for the 2015-16 contracts. As we reported earlier this month, Barber has faced intense backlash for requiring teachers to sign a new clause saying they agree to "model and promote" Catholic faith and morals in their personal lives. Some teachers have refused to sign, arguing that officials could use this contractual language to fire employees for a wide range of troubling reasons — including for being LGBT or non-Catholic. Officials from the diocese have responded that the bishop has no intention of targeting certain employees or behaviors — and spokesperson Mike Brown told me today the language could change for 2015-16, but that nothing has been finalized.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bishop O'Dowd Program Director Refuses to Sign Oakland Diocese's New 'Morals' Code

by Sam Levin
Tue, May 13, 2014 at 12:44 PM

In recent weeks, the Diocese of Oakland has increasingly come under fire for requiring teachers in East Bay Catholic schools to agree to a new "morals" code in their contracts — a controversial revision that covers expected behavior in their personal lives. For background, check out the story we published last week on the backlash against the new clause. One of the central concerns from critics is that schools will lose out on good teachers who simply refuse to sign a morality code that could be used to discriminate against certain employees. Those fears, it turns out, are not unwarranted: I spoke today with Kathleen Purcell, director of the career partnerships program at Bishop O'Dowd High School, who has declined to agree to the new language — and thus won't be returning next year to the Oakland private school.

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Tuesday Must Reads: Economic Recovery Skips Low- and Middle-Income Workers; Melting Antarctic Ice Sheet Can’t Be Stopped

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The economic recovery is largely bypassing low- and middle-income workers, whose wages remain well below what they were before the Great Recession, the Sacramento Business Journal$ reports, citing a new study from the California Budget Project (via Rough & Tumble): “The median hourly wage for a low-income worker in 2013 was $10.90, more than 5 percent below the inflation-adjusted, pre-recession level. The median wage for middle-income people, $19.10 an hour, is also just over 5 percent lower than the pre-recession level.” Wages for higher-income earners, by contrast, have returned to pre-crash levels.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Judge Orders Berkeley to Use Disputed Student Council District; Oakland Schools Get New Superintendent

by Robert Gammon
Fri, May 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered Berkeley to use in this year’s elections new council district boundaries that include a disputed district, in which a large majority of the residents are UC Berkeley students. As a result, Berkeley might have its first Cal student on the city council since Nancy Skinner (now an Assemblymember) won election in the 1980s. Some opponents of the new district contended that it was designed by the council majority to remove Councilmember Kriss Worthington from office. But Judge Evelio Grillo ruled that the city could not return to old council districts drawn up in 2002, because they are now unconstitutional, the Trib$ reports.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Affirmative Action Measure; Warriors Buy New Property for San Francisco Arena

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The US Supreme Court today upheld a Michigan law that bans affirmative action in public programs, including university admissions, the Mercury News$ reports. The high court held that states have the right to establish such bans — a ruling that likely means California’s nearly identical anti-affirmative action law, Proposition 209, cannot be overturned by the courts. As a result, opponents of Prop 209 will need to now pass a statewide ballot measure to overturn it. A recent attempt at such a measure, however, stalled in the state legislature after Asian-American lawmakers blocked it, arguing that it would make it tougher for Asian students to gain admission to the University of California system.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Must Reads: OPD Overseer Endorses Interim Chief Whent; UC Berkeley Accepts Fewer California Students, More Out-of-State Applicants

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police overseer Robert Warshaw praised the work of Interim Police Chief Sean Whent and criticized the city’s drawn out hiring process for a permanent chief, the Trib$ reports. In a report, Warshaw also said that the lack of a permanent chief has harmed OPD’s efforts to comply with federally mandated reforms. Mayor Jean Quan said through a spokesman that she plans to name a permanent chief in May.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Cal-OSHA Fines BART for Worker Deaths During Strike; Obamacare Signups Top 8 Million Nationwide

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Cal-OSHA slapped BART with a $210,000 fine — the largest such penalty in more than a year — for negligence leading to the deaths of two track workers during the 2013 strike, the CoCo Times$ reports. Cal-OSHA noted that a BART manager who was training another non-union employee to drive trains during the strike was seated in a passenger car and could not even see the track when the train struck and killed the two workers. Cal-OSHA also found that the track workers were not properly trained by the agency. In addition, Cal-OSHA found fault with a BART policy that placed the onus of safety on track workers. The transit agency rescinded the policy after the deadly crash.

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