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!