California schools: a reopening marred by absenteeism

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It seems that the children are not doing well.

The day after a landslide victory in the Sept. 14 recall election, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited an Oakland school to tout the state’s progress in reopening campuses, noting that 95-100% of students from most districts had returned to school. instruction of the person. But that picture was complicated by an EdSource report on Monday which found that many districts are experiencing a massive increase in chronic absenteeism – students who miss more than 10% of school days. Since the start of the school year:

  • 46% of students at Thermalito Union Elementary, a rural district serving primarily low-income families in Butte County, has been chronically absent – up from 8.8% two years ago.
  • 39% of Stockton Unified students have been chronically absent – more than double the rate from two years ago.
  • Almost 33% of Oakland Unified students have been chronically absent.
  • Over 26% of Elk Grove Unified Students have been chronically absent.

Experts say the staggering numbers are partly due to children in quarantine, who are counted absent if they don’t log in every day and complete their homework. Another possible reason for the skyrocketing absenteeism is an influx of families who want their children to continue learning at a distance. Many of the 15,000 Los Angeles Unified students who enrolled in the district’s independent study program encountered problems that kept them from going to school for days or even weeks, reports the Los Angeles Times. .

The problem is particularly acute for students with disabilities. Newsom last week signed legislation clarifying that students with special needs can continue to access services remotely – but some have already gone more than a month without any special education or care, as reported by CalMatters.

Complicating matters further is the shortage of teachers and substitutes in California. A whopping 37% of positions at Los Angeles Unified are currently filled by locums – who by state law must transfer to different students after 30 days (recently extended to 60 days until July 1 2022). The chaos and difficulty of putting together a reliable staffing plan is one reason many districts this year will not be able to implement Newsom and lawmakers’ $ 5 billion plan to fight against learning loss through extended school days and summer programs.


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The net result of the coronavirus: Sunday California had 4,471,635 confirmed cases (+ 0.5% compared to the day before) and 68 362 deaths (+ 0.4% compared to the day before), according to state data. CalMatters also tracks coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

California administered 49 116 036 vaccine doses, and 70% of eligible Californians are fully immunized.

More: CalMatters tracks the results of Newsom’s recall election and the top 21 bills state lawmakers have sent to Newsom’s office.


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1. Judge makes vaccination mandatory for prison guards

Guards monitor inmates at San Quentin prison. Photo by Penni Gladstone for CalMatters

California prison officials and employee unions have two weeks to develop a plan to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for prison staff, inmates who work outside of facilities, and inmates who wish an in-person visit, a federal judge said on Monday. The order came days after a federally appointed official who oversees medical care in the California prison system urged the court to require vaccines for prison guards, citing the rapid spread of the delta variant and ongoing outbreaks attributed to infected staff members. But he could face a legal challenge from the powerful prison guards union, which has so far been exempted from Newsom’s extended terms affecting other state employees, reports Byrhonda Lyons of CalMatters. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association donated $ 1.75 million to committees fighting Newsom’s recall – the sixth-largest contribution overall.

Meanwhile, California on Monday recorded the lowest rate of coronavirus cases in the country, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Newsom signs key elections and labor bills

A postal vote in California. Photographic illustration by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

Newsom on Monday reduced the pile of more than 500 bills on his desk by signing a package related to elections and workers’ rights. Here’s a look at what some of the new laws mean for the Golden State:

3. The political calculation of redistribution

Image via iStock

The independent commission charged with redrawing California’s legislative and congressional boundaries each decade is supposed to be just that – independent. But the commission – which is meeting today and Wednesday in Sacramento before the Dec. 27 deadline to submit final maps to the Secretary of State – may not be as immune to political forces as its name indicated, report Ben Christopher and Sameea Kamal of CalMatters. . This is because not all Californians who testify before the committee disclose possible conflicts of interest. Some examples :

  • Ada Briceño, who urged the commission to separate “very different communities” from the northern and southern coasts of Orange County into separate districts, described herself as a “union organizer” – failing to mention that she is also president of the Orange County Democratic Party.
  • A caller named “Austin” said the commission should keep both Orange County coasts in the same congressional district. His phone number snippet and biographical description match those of Austin Eisner, whose husband Alexander is the partner of Shawn Steel, the husband of US GOP Representative Michelle Steel – who narrowly ousted incumbent Democrat Harley. Rouda in November 2020 to represent the coastal county of Orange.

Raising the political stakes of the commission’s work: California loses a seat in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in history – likely a seat held by a Los Angeles County Democrat. Further hindering the political reshuffle, United States Representative Karen Bass, who represents Los Angeles, officially launched her candidacy for mayor of Los Angeles on Monday.


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Building an “endemic” economy: California needs to create coherent long-term policies, rather than adopting arbitrary short-term mandates, argue Rob Lapsley of the California Business Roundtable and Tracy Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Business Federation.

It’s time for a civilian climate body: State and federal governments must support young people who want to stay in their home communities and reverse the harms of decades of fossil fuel pollution, writes Maricruz Ramirez of Sunrise Kern County.


Other things are worth your time

Podcast: Why Fresno is one of hottest housing markets. // CalMatters

What killed the Bay Area teenager? Suicide follows the fight with COVID. // Mercury news

Leaders grappling with the Pajaro Valley pandemic youth violence crisis. // Lookout Local Santa Cruz

Veto pressure on Newsom mounts as the ethnic studies deadline draws near. // Jewish news

California’s Secret War on Pentagon Aid in the fight against forest fires. // New York Times

Los Angeles County District Attorney to lay off 60,000 previous convictions for marijuana. // Los Angeles Times

California’s new diversion law is confusing, disparities in DUI cases. // Mercury news

San Francisco could foot the bill for school board recall to help the cash-strapped district. // Chronicle of San Francisco

Dilawar Syed, candidate for small business administration, a Californian businessman, stranded since the GOP confirmation. // Washington Post

Unflattering Audit of Real Estate Transactions in San Diego invites the refoulement of the city prosecutor. // San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County increased wages to a struggling COVID-19 hotel entrepreneur. // newsource

“He took me hostage without a weapon but with his words”: The phone scam has put California therapists on gas. // Chronicle of San Francisco

Why California’s Youth Population Birth Rate decreases. // Mercury news

Cargoes pile up as California ports scramble on how to resolve delays. // The Wall Street newspaper

Picturesque ranch near Mission San Juan Bautista unspoiled in the land conservation agreement. // Mercury news

Los Angeles luxury real estate battle: The battle for “The One”. // Los Angeles Times


Until tomorrow.

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