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January 20, 2011 (San Diego's East County)--The following local, state and national education news items are excerpted from a very informative e-newsletter published by Doug Deane, chair of the Business Education Committee at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.


Our picks for Deane’s top education stories from the latest issue include: 

• GUHSD Superintendent Swenson’s Newsletter
• Vacancies on the Grossmont Union-High School District Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee
• ‘No-Child’ Change has Bipartisan support
• A Challenge to States and Districts: Policies That Put the Students First
• High School to College: The New Alignment
• Financial Aid Grants on the Rise
• DREAM Act Boosts Attention on Illegal Immigrant College Students
• Learning with Disabilities
• Rethinking Advanced Placement
• College’s Policy on Troubled Students Raises Questions
• How California Ranks
• Challenging Times: California Schools Cope with Adversity and the Imperative to Do More
• School Finance Highlights 2010-11


GUHSD Superintendent Swenson’s Newsletter
Check out the latest edition of Superintendent Swenson's Newsline at this link:

Vacancies on the Grossmont Union High School District Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee

The Grossmont Union High School District is seeking applications to fill three (3) vacancies within the eleven-member Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC). The CBOC oversees the implementation of Proposition H, the $274 million general obligation bond measure passed in March 2004 to bring facility improvements and renovations to the district’s schools. In addition, the CBOC also oversees Proposition U, the $417 million general obligation bond measure passed in November 2008 to substantially complete the modernization of all District schools, provide classrooms and equipment for Career Technical Education, and construct a new high school in the Alpine/Blossom Valley area.

Two (2) appointees will serve a two-year term beginning April 2011 in the capacity of “Community Member-at-Large” and will be eligible for a second two-year term. One (1) appointee will serve a two-year term beginning April 2011 in the capacity of “Parent-at-Large” and will also be eligible for a second two-year term.

View the application press release here.

'No Child' Change Has Bipartisan Support

Michael Harrison from Congressman Hunter’s office forwarded us this interesting article from the Washington Post, regarding likely changes to NCLB:

President Obama will mount a fresh attempt this year to rewrite the No Child Left Behind education law, a top administration official said this week, and key congressional Republicans said they are ready to deal.

"The president is ready to move on this," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told The Washington Post.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of a subcommittee on elementary and secondary education, said there is bipartisan consensus that the 2002 law should be overhauled.

"We have a lot of common ground," Hunter said. "We also see a major need. It's time to get it done."

Read more by clicking on
And there’s a related article at

A Challenge to States and Districts: Policies That Put Students First

Michelle Rhee’s organization,, has just released their policy agenda for American school districts, saying,” In too many American schools, current laws, policies, and practices put adult interests ahead of students. The result is an increasingly broken education system that, if not corrected, will keep America from leading in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

“This agenda is a call to action and a roadmap for state and local lawmakers who want to make the changes necessary to put American students back at the top of the international rankings.”

You can download the entire policy statement by clicking on


High School to College: The New Alignment

Chancellor Cindy Miles, recently sent us a link to this great article in Education Week:

For a number of years now, we have been hearing how high schools are not doing the job they need to do and that students remain woefully unprepared for college and careers. In fact, high schools have been doing exactly what we ask of them, but it is time to reassess what we ask of our secondary educational institutions and how we judge the job they do.



Financial Aid Grants on the Rise

Grossmont College distributed $21.8 million in financial aid during the 2009-10 academic year, well ahead of the $14.8 million made available in the previous year.

And, said Michael Copenhaver, the college’s director of financial aid, the upward trend is continuing.



DREAM Act Boosts Attention on Illegal Immigrant College Students

An impromptu class where Mark Farrales taught other immigrant detainees English vocabulary brought him a sliver of normalcy while lost in legal limbo.

Nouns and verbs helped Farrales avoid thinking about his pending deportation to the Philippines as he waited for five weeks behind high fences.


Learning With Disabilities

Rayne Nelson, a 21-year-old sophomore at Landmark College in Putney, Vt., does not let her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder throw her off track.

Ms. Nelson is paying most of her own way at Landmark, a two-year college exclusively for students with learning disabilities and A.D.H.D. She wants to graduate on time this spring, and with tuition and fees alone at $48,000 a year — more than any other college in the nation — she cannot give in to distraction.



Rethinking Advanced Placement

WHEN Joan Carlson started teaching high school biology more than 30 years ago, the Advanced Placement textbook was daunting enough, at 36 chapters and 870 pages. But as an explosion of research into cells and genes reshapes our sense of how life evolves, the flood of new material has been staggering. Mrs. Carlson’s A.P. class in Worcester, Mass., now confronts a book with 56 chapters and 1,400 pages, along with a profusion of animated videos and Web-based aids that supplement the text.

And what fuels the panic is that nearly every tongue-twisting term and microscopic fact is fair game for the year-end test that decides who will receive college credit for the course.
“Some of the students look at the book and say, ‘My gosh, it’s just like an encyclopedia,’ ” Mrs. Carlson says. And when new A.P. teachers encounter it, “they almost want to start sobbing.”


College’s Policy on Troubled Students Raises Questions

Many people had a glimpse of the deep delusions and festering anger of Jared L. Loughner, but none seemed in a better position to connect the dots than officials at Pima Community College.

After the release of detailed reports the college kept of Mr. Loughner’s bizarre outbursts and violent Internet fantasies, the focus has turned to whether it did all it could to prevent his apparent descent into explosive violence.


How California Ranks

Public education supports California's economic growth and creates opportunities for the state's youth. Given that, it is important for Californians to understand how much the state is investing in its schools and how that money is being spent. Comparing California with the nation and other similar states can provide a useful perspective in answering these questions, but such comparisons are complex and different organizations frequently pick and choose among the data for the numbers that best support their position.

EdSource examined the available data sources and interpretations with care and also consulted extensively with experts when we encountered questions or inconsistencies. Throughout this report, you will find straightforward explanations of what we found and—as necessary—notes about the data we chose and why we chose it. Based on our research, we feel confident in reporting the following:

• California's public schools serve the country's largest student population, one that is quite diverse and faces substantial challenges. (Page 3)
• California's effort to support its schools financially does not quite match its capacity. (Pages 4-6)
• California's per-pupil expenditure lags the national average, and the gap grows if labor costs are considered. (Page 7)
• California's high labor costs and modest per-pupil expenditures mean that its school districts have low staff-to-pupil ratios compared with the country as a whole, with some staff categories particularly low. (Page 8)
• California school districts are for the most part similar to the rest of the country in their spending patterns, with about two-thirds of funds going to instruction. (Page 9)

Read more by clicking on


Challenging Times: California Schools Cope with Adversity and the Imperative To Do More

California school districts are being expected to "do more with less." They face critical and competing pressures to improve academic achievement while remaining fiscally solvent in a time of increasing budgetary pressures.

This report examines the financial circumstances of California's school districts and the actions they have been taking to cope with these competing demands. It looks at the various forces that govern both the revenues they receive and the expenditures they make, and the added pressures they face due to the insolvency of California's state budget and the fact that the 2010-11 budget was the latest in the state's history.

School Finance Highlights 2010-11

California entered 2010–11 with a longstanding imbalance between ongoing spending and income.

To help close that gap, state policymakers suspended Proposition 98, the minimum funding guarantee for K–12 schools and community colleges. In total, revenues for K–12 schools are down nearly 10% this year compared with 2007–08. Yet more cuts loom as the state faces a massive 2-year budget shortfall, including $6.1 billion in 2010–11.

This EdSource report discusses the budgetary decisions made in 2010–11 that are affecting K–12 education this year and going forward. It also makes clear how tightly linked school funding and the budget are in California.


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