I attended the 2019 California Democrats Endorsing Convention this past weekend as an elected Delegate for Assembly District 22. In advance of the weekend, I submitted amendments to the Party's PLATFORM in the Education, Disabilities and Criminal Justice "Planks."
I was excited to learn that the Platform Committee was recommending that a number of my proposed amendments (also edited by Tiffanee Jones & signed on to by Austin Tam, Shay Franco-Clausen & Hene Kelly) were being recommended for approval by the entire State Delegation.
This morning (Sunday, November 17th) the Platform amendments were passed by the Party's State Delegates (myself included) and NINE (9) of the amendments were those proposed in our submissions (See below)!
This updated statement of Party values, which includes statements of disabilities rights, as well as acknowledgment of biases in our systems that unfairly impact and impinge upon the civil & human rights of many demographic groups is important!
Thanks to my team, thanks to the Platform Committee, the Plank subcommittees. and to the CADEM Delegates for approving the Platform amendments today!
🌟 Plank: Criminal Justice/Adopted Changes:
Support the increased oversight of juvenile justice agencies and the implementation of trauma-responsive justice systems grounded in adolescent development to yield better outcomes for youth and reduce racial and socioeconomic inequalities;
Work toward ending the systemic bias that harms students with disabilities and disadvantages students based on racial and socioeconomic status.
🌟 Plank: Disabilities/Adopted Changes:
Encourage municipalities and local governments to establish disability advisory bodies, such as commissions on disabilities, to assist in considering issues, needs, accommodations and unique perspectives of people with disabilities;
Prioritize making California a leader in embracing inclusive educational practices and achieving successful educational outcomes for students with disabilities;
🌟 Plank: Education/Adopted Changes:
Strive for full proficiency in English language arts and mathematics especially for historically low performing demographic subgroups such as socioeconomically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, foster youth, English language learners, and certain historically underperforming ethnic groups;
Work to close our opportunity and achievement gaps by leveraging the flexibility of Local Control Funding Formula, engage parents and communities to develop accountability plans benefiting all students, particularly low income, English learners, foster children and students with disabilities;
Seek to end zero tolerance policies that criminalize student behavior, work to identify the root causes of behavior and institute school discipline reforms that are centered around counseling, education and positive behaviors;
Ensure that sworn peace officers in schools are adequately trained to work with children and teenagers, that the use of force against students is unacceptable except in extreme circumstances, recognize and address persistent issues of bias such as institutional racism, and understand the need for increased empathy of potential atypical reactions of students with disabilities;
Advocate for schools to use restorative policies and practices and to engage in regular bias training in regard to student discipline situations to halt the school-to-prison pipeline;
"The latest scores of NAEP, the closely watched national assessment taken by a sample of 4th- and 8th-graders in every state, showed that California largely followed the national pattern this year with little to no change in math but a significant decline in 8th-grade reading on a scale of 500 points."
"As with [California's] annual standardized assessment, the Smarter Balanced test, there remain huge disparities in performance on NAEP among racial and demographic groups and progress in closing the gaps has been mixed."
English learners are a significant portion of California public school students.
As of the Fall of 2018:
The 1,195,988 English learners constitute 19.3 percent of the total enrollment in California public schools.
A total of 2,587,609 students (English Learners and Fluent English Proficient) speak a language other than English in their homes. This number represents about 41.8 percent of the state's public school enrollment.
The majority of English learners (70.2 percent) are enrolled in the elementary grades, kindergarten through grade six. The rest (29.8 percent) are enrolled in the secondary grades, seven through twelve, and in the ungraded category.
Although English learner data are collected for 67 language groups, 93 percent speak one of the top ten languages in the State:
As a young teacher, I dedicated myself to ensuring that my students had the best possible experience in the classroom and that they learned to read - and to love school! I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of their educational experience.
Getting Down to Facts II, Technical Report - Teacher Shortages in California: Status, Sources, and Potential Solutions
Linda Darling-Hammond, Leib Sutcher, Desiree Carver-Thomas (Learning Policy Institute)
"After many years of budget cuts and staff layoffs, the tide turned in 2013–14, when California brought new, more equitably distributed revenues into the education system as a result of Proposition 30, which expanded revenues, and the LCFF, which redistributed funds based on pupil needs. As funding improved and districts began trying to replace the positions they had lost, teacher hiring increased dramatically. The teacher workforce has expanded steadily over the past 5 years, growing by more than 8%, or 22,000 teachers (see Figure 1)."
"Teacher preparation program enrollments declined by more than 70% between 2002 and 2014 when ongoing budget cuts meant that jobs for new teachers were fewer and further between (see Figure 2). Between 2008 and 2012, more than 100,000 pink slips were issued to teachers warning them they could be laid off. Although most of these teachers were eventually hired back, this highly publicized practice was likely a contributing factor to a diminished supply of college students wanting to go into teaching. Many teachers experiencing multiple lay-offs also decided to find another career path."
"In 2016–17, the most recent data available, California issued more than 12,000 intern credentials, permits and waivers, which comprised roughly half of all credentials issued that year (see Figure 3). In all, the number of substandard credentials increased by 260% from 2012–13 to 2016–17. Emergency-style permits—issued to individuals who have not demonstrated subject-matter competence for courses they are teaching and who typically have not yet entered a teacher training program—have increased by nearly seven-fold since 2012–13 and represent the fastest growing category of substandard teaching authorizations. In 2016–17, 5,700 teachers entered teaching on emergency-style permits, compared to fewer than 900 in 2012–13. These data strongly suggest supply is insufficient to meet teacher demand in the areas where these kinds of permits are being issued."
"Moreover, many districts are relying on the least prepared teachers—those not even enrolled in intern programs—to fill positions. Nearly two thirds of surveyed districts reported hiring teachers on Provisional Intern Permits (PIPs), Short-Term Staff Permits (STSPs), and waivers, and half of those districts hired a greater proportion of teachers on emergency-style permits in fall 2017 than they did the year prior. These permits, which are for “acute” areas of shortage, do not require their holders to have demonstrated competence in the subject matter they will teach or any knowledge about how to teach the subject. In some small, rural districts, all new teachers were hired on emergency-style permits in fall 2017. In some large districts, teachers on emergency-style permits made up as much as 30% of new hires. Interns, who are completing teacher preparation while teaching and are supposed to be receiving mentoring and support, also comprised up to 30% of new hires in some large districts."
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS
"In special education, shortages are a five-alarm fire. The most vulnerable students––students with the greatest needs who require the most expert teachers––are those with the least qualified teachers. According to the GDTF survey data, depicted in Figure 7, nearly 8 in 10 California schools are looking to hire special education teachers, and 87% of principals at those schools reported hiring is a challenge. Although there was a 21% increase in new education specialist preliminary credentials in 2016–17, with more than 2,700 authorizations issued and an additional 700 out-of-state preliminary credentials issued, this increase was not nearly enough to meet demand (see Figure 8)."
"About two thirds of entering California-prepared special education teachers are on substandard credentials (see Figure 9). In total, 4,500 substandard special education/education specialist credentials were issued in 2016–17, representing the largest total in the last decade. Of these substandard credentials, most (2,500) were emergency-style permits granted to individuals without teacher preparation or subject-matter competence."
It has been a pleasure and an opportunity to begin visiting the many school districts and cities that comprise San Mateo County.
In my countywide race to become the next Area 4 Trustee on the San Mateo County Board of Education, I want to learn more about what's going on in education community-by-community throughout our County... and to share my thoughts on how we might address certain issues differently and why I am running for this very important post.
So far, I have visited Burlingame, Menlo Park & East Palo Alto... and next week I will be in Half Moon Bay.
You can find out where I will be at https://www.chelseabonini.com/meet_chelsea
I look forward to Chatting with you about Education in our County very soon!
Bayshore Elementary School District is the ONLY San Mateo County School District that IMPROVED from Level 2 (Differentiated Assistance) in 2017 to Level 1 (General Assistance) in 2018, meaning that is no longer had any student groups does not meet performance standards for two or more LCFF priority areas. California Education Code (EC) Section 52071(c). See Chelsea's 10.5.19 Blog Post for more Information.
Bayshore is currently in its third year of embracing the Special Education law requirement of "Least Restrictive Environment" for students with disabilities under a full inclusion model, whereby the district attempts to serve the needs of most students with disabilities, for as much instructional time as possible, in its general education environment with supports and accommodations for these children to access their education pushed into the classroom, with as little pull-out instruction and separate placement of students in "special classes" as possible.
Has this helped overall achievement levels? It's not a certainty, but I will be interested to see the outcomes in 2019... and whether this trend toward better outcomes continues.
California's System of Support - California's system of support is one of the central components of California’s accountability and continuous improvement system.
The overarching goal of California’s system of support is to help local educational agencies (LEAs) and their schools meet the needs of each student they serve, with a focus on building local capacity to sustain improvement and to effectively address disparities in opportunities and outcomes.
The characteristics within California's system of support are:
- Reduce redundancy across state and federal programs
- Integrate guidance and resources across state and federal programs
- Support LEAs to meet identified student needs through the LCAP process
Levels of Support
California’s system of support includes three levels of supports to LEAs and schools.
- County offices of education (COEs) must offer differentiated assistance to a school district if any student group does not meet performance standards for two or more LCFF priority areas. California Education Code (EC) Section 52071(c).
Although sometimes described in short-hand as "funding for differentiated assistance," these are unrestricted funds (i.e., not a categorical) intended to ensure COEs have resources to support their school districts. These funds are an add-on to the existing LCFF formula for COEs (which is also unrestricted funding), recognizing that the differentiated assistance work is "new" work resulting in additional workload. Specifically, EC 2575.2, which creates the add-on, includes a base allocation for each COE and then the rest of the formula is tied to number of districts receiving differentiated assistance within each county on a rolling three-year average (two year average for 2018-2019).
Additionally, pursuant to EC 52066(i), COEs must annually develop a summary in conjunction with their LCAP that describes how the COE is supporting its districts in general and includes a more specific description of the supports provided to districts receiving differentiated assistance (including source of funds for those activities). So COEs are expected to transparently explain how they are supporting their school districts in general and more specifically for those receiving differentiated assistance. These summaries will be compiled and publicly posted by the CDE.
Accordingly, while LCFF funds are unrestricted, COEs will have to annually document the supports provided as part of differentiated assistance and more generally to school districts. While COEs should prioritize these funds to enhance the supports they provide to school districts in differentiated assistance, there is no limitation of making those supports more broadly available within the county.
Is there a formula that will be used to allocate the additional funding provided for COEs in the Budget Act of 2018?
Yes, all COEs with two or more districts will receive base funding in the amount of $200,000 annually. COEs will received additional funds based on the size and number of districts identified for differentiated assistance. (EC 2575.2(b)) The formula is as follows:
- $100,000 multiplied by the number of small school districts (2,499 ADA or less)
- $200,000 multiplied by the number of medium school districts (at least 2,500 ADA but not more than 9,999 ADA)
- $300,000 multiplied by the number of large school district (10,000 ADA or more
COEs will receive these additional funds through continuous appropriations, as part of their Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Funds will be added to their LCFF state aid and paid in monthly increments per the Principal Apportionment (PA) payment. The PA payment schedule will be posted on the PA web page at every certification period.
Environments, outcomes, and other indicators for the success of special education students in San Mateo County are not meeting the levels required by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Performance Indicator Review (PIR) is a component of the Annual Submission Process (ASP) for the Annual Performance Report. The APR consists of 17 Indicators (5 for compliance, 11 for performance, and 1 for both).
The County's SELPA is charged with assisting the LEA's in determining the root causes of their failure to meet the target for the specified indicators, and in determining strategies and activities to address root causes as well as other improvement strategies, resources needed to support the strategies and activities, who will carry out and be responsible for the activities, the anticipated dates of completion, and the methods and standards that will be used to measure progress toward meeting the specified indicator targets in the future.
California began to take positive steps toward addressing the impacts of dyslexia in our schools with the passage of Assembly Bill 1369 in 2015 law (Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley) and with the 2017 Development of the Dyslexia Guidelines, a 132-page document, which while not mandatory, is the result of years of lobbying by parents who watched their children agonize over learning to read. The guidelines provide an opportunity for proactive work to help our kids, rather than the typically reactive modes of assistance we often employ. “The devil is in the details — now we need to look at how we convert [the Guidelines] into practical and implementable practice in our public schools,” said Meyer of Decoding Dyslexia California.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
What are the rights of a person with dyslexia?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define the rights of students with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. These individuals are legally entitled to special services to help them overcome and accommodate their learning problems. Such services include education programs designed to meet the needs of these students. The Acts also protect people with dyslexia against unfair and illegal discrimination.
This is an opportunity for all Districts to serve kids better, ideally in general education with some supports and accommodations.
Has your district taken action to implement any portion of the State's Dyslexia Guidelines?
Are kindergartners being screened?
Are new strategies to meet the needs of dyslexic kids being utilized?