Find the latest announcements and launches from the Linked Learning Alliance here—plus reflections and insights about what’s happening across the field.
This was a big week for ethnic studies in California. Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1460 (Weber), requiring an ethnic studies course as a graduation requirement for undergraduate students at California State University (CSU). (See our July 23 blog post for additional background information.) Additionally, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond expressed his support for the revised draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, as part of his comments to the state’s Instructional Quality Commission (IQC).
This week, the California Department of Education (CDE) announced that the U.S. Department of Education approved California’s Perkins V State Plan. They also released a teacher survey to collect examples of distance learning successes from last school year. Finally, public-private partnerships are helping to close the digital divide, increasing the number of devices and online accessibility for students as they get ready for the start of school.
This week, the California Department of Education (CDE) released instructions for the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan template (you can read our first update on this template here). Beyond the instructions, CDE is also providing webinars to support educational leaders as they work on their plan, including opportunities to explore considerations and available tools for addressing the needs of English Learners, students with disabilities, foster youth, and students experiencing homelessness.
This week, the California State Legislature returned from an extended recess triggered by a spike in COVID-19 cases statewide. The Senate Education Committee also met to discuss a small number of bills, including Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s bill on Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars, AB 1835.
K-12 districts continue to plan for fall in light of the Governor’s recent announcement that schools in counties on the state’s monitoring list will not be allowed to provide in-person instruction. These schools will be able to resume in-person instruction once their county is removed from the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Also this week, the California State University (CSU) Trustees approved the addition of an ethnic studies course as a college graduation requirement.
The California Department of Education (CDE) rolled out the draft Learning Continuity Plan template sooner than expected. Here we provide more details about the template, along with information about CDE’s upcoming webinars on the topic.
Also, with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, many school districts, and even entire counties, have indicated that they will start the school year with distance learning. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond signaled his support of this approach in light of health and safety considerations.
When summer comes to an end, what will school be like? Educators across California and the country are working hard to answer that question, drawing on available guidance and taking into account local context. As we note below, reopening schools has also become a political issue, with state and federal leaders weighing in on what is needed.
In other news, the University of California (UC) Regents confirmed Dr. Michael Drake as the next president of the UC system. He will be the UC’s first Black president.
This week, we’re pleased to see that the state budget largely protects education from the proposed cuts in the May Revision. That said, there will likely be more work on the budget in the near term--with potential activity when the legislature returns from Summer recess on July 13.
Also, the California Department of Education is rolling out a series of ethnic studies webinars, the first of which is scheduled for July 7. We provide details on these webinars below, along with the social media channels you can use to learn more about these opportunities.
This week has brought a great deal of budget analysis, which will continue for the foreseeable future. It appears that Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) base grants will remain at 2019-20 amounts, and there will be very few direct cuts to categorical programs. Though there is no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2020-21, the significant cuts to LCFF base amounts outlined in the Governor’s May Revise have been avoided by all accounts.
In addition to budget news, we share updates on an Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA-5), Assemblymember Weber’s measure that addresses affirmative action, which will be placed before voters in November (referenced in last week’s blog post).
California’s Legislature met the June 15 Constitutional deadline for passing a balanced budget, but negotiations with the Governor are still in process, Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s Constitutional Amendment (ACA5) also appears to be headed for the general election ballot, which would allow voters to reinstate affirmative action in state employment, plus an opportunity to participate in a "Closing the Digital Divide Task Force Update" session.