Weekly News Brief 11/4-11/10 $3.5 billion bond request approved for San Diego schools | School chief's plan would divide L.A. school district

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$3.5 billion bond request approved for San Diego schools – By Mike Kennedy, American School and University Magazine

Voters in the San Diego Unified School District have given their stamp of approval for a $3.5 billion bond proposal, the district's largest ever bond measure and the third approved since 2008.

The money will pay for school facility renovations, repairs and safety upgrades, the reduction of lead in drinking water and new facilities for athletics, visual or performing arts and career or technical education. The proposal also includes $588 million specifically for charter schools.

The district plans to sell about $350 million worth of bonds in the spring and break ground on its first construction projects in the summer, district spokesperson Andrew Sharp says. The first projects will likely involve removing lead from water and making schools safer from intruders.

Superintendent Cindy Marten says she thinks the district’s past performance with bond projects helped persuade voters to pass the $3.5 billion request.


Enrollment a record high at Georgia college system – By Eric Sturgis, The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Nearly 329,000 students are getting educations this fall at the University System of Georgia, a record high enrollment, officials announced Wednesday.

The enrollment is a 1.1 percent increase from the prior year, according to its data. Much of the increase comes from Georgia Tech, where enrollment is up 11 percent, to nearly 33,000 students. Georgia State University has the largest enrollment in the system, with nearly 53,000 students.

Non-white students make up nearly half of the students in the system, a reflection of the state’s increasing racial diversity. Some researchers have reported in recent years that Georgia State, where 41 percent of its students are black, graduates more African-American students than any university in the nation. Dalton State College, where 29 percent of its students are Hispanic or Latino, became the first school in Georgia to be recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution earlier this year.

The annual enrollment report was not all rosy. Enrollment increased at 12 University System institutions but declined at 14 colleges and universities. Savannah State University last week announced plans to lay off 26 faculty members due to enrollment declines. Its enrollment is down seven percent this fall.


Civics lessons: Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Neil Gorsuch on promoting education in citizenship – From CBSNews.com

"There's no such things as not voting. Not voting is voting," said Eric Liu. "It's voting to hand your power over to someone else who's gonna say, 'Thank you very much. Let me take that voice and that power and exercise it in your name, but in my interests.'"

Makes sense, right? And yet, less than half of eligible voters are expected to show up at the polls this Tuesday. And that's a vexing problem according to Liu. "I think the greatest enemy here is indifference," he told Mo Rocca. "Indifference can take various forms. One is, 'The game is rigged, so why should I even bother paying attention? My vote doesn't matter.' The other form is, 'Huh? What?' Not even apathy, but complete ignorance.'"

He said there has been, across the country, a disinvestment in civic education, which is why Liu started Citizen University, a program that travels the country teaching people of all ages the lost art of civics.

"Civics? Didn't I take that in high school?" If you're over the age of 60, you probably did! Civics is the study of how to be a good citizen. In fact, that was the original mission of public schools: creating good citizens. Part of that was learning how the government works.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and fellow Justice Neil Gorsuch agreed to talk to Rocca about their work promoting civic education.


School chief’s plan would divide L.A. school district into 32 networks – By Howard Blume and Anna M. Phillips, The Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles schools chief Austin Beutner is working on a plan to radically reshape the nation’s second-largest school district by shrinking the central bureaucracy and moving decision-making closer to campuses.

The aim is to boost student success and save money at a time when officials insist that grave financial problems threaten the Los Angeles Unified School District’s solvency.

Under a proposal being developed confidentially, Beutner would divide the system into 32 “networks,” moving authority and resources out of the central office and into neighborhoods. He is expected to make his plan public next month.

In L.A. Unified’s downtown headquarters, managers and other employees recently have been asked to explain their duties — and to justify why their jobs should continue to exist in a leaner, more localized school system.

The network strategy is not a plan to break up or end L.A. Unified, but it could transform how the school system functions.

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This is Part Two of a New Monthly Series, The Brief History of the Future of Education. If You Missed Part One, You Can Read it Here.


Ryan L Schaaf

PublicSchoolWORKS formulates effective safety programs for school districts across the U.S.

Kenna McHugh, Learning Counsel Writer
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