Just News from Center X – Dec 6, 2019

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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

New Trump rule could eliminate food stamps for almost 200,000 Californians

Manuela Tobias, Cal Matters
The Trump administration finalized a rule Wednesday that will cut off food stamps to roughly 688,000 American adults by requiring states to enforce work requirements.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said the move will save about $5.5 billion over five years. The rule takes effect in April 2020. “This is about restoring the original intent of food stamps,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on a call to reporters. “Moving more able-bodied Americans to self-sufficiency.” About 198,000 Californians stand to lose their assistance in buying food, according to a 2018 estimates by the Urban Institute.

Saugus High students return to school

Emily Alvarenga, The Signal Santa Clarita Valley
The morning school routine felt different for many Saugus High School students Monday, as they returned to school for the first time since the deadly shooting that left three dead and three others wounded. “As we enter our campus today, we know that things will not be the same,” said senior Tyler Nilson, student body vice president, adding, “likely in the future, they will never be the same.” These first moments, as students step back onto campus to resume their classes, are important for the Saugus community, Nilson said during a news conference held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints next door to Saugus High, where the media was assembled in order to allow the students to return to school with minimal distraction.

Enrollment in teacher-preparation programs is declining fast. Here’s what the data show

Madeline Will, Education Week
Across the country, enrollment in teacher-preparation programs has dropped by a third from 2010 to 2018, a new report finds. The report from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, analyzed federal data to find that nearly every state in the nation has experienced enrollment declines, with some states seeing steep declines of more than 50 percent. And the number of black and Hispanic teacher-candidates enrolled in teacher preparation dropped by a quarter over that eight-year time period. Enrollment numbers can be a “proxy for interest in the teaching profession,” said Lisette Partelow, the senior director of K-12 strategic initiatives at CAP and the author of the report. Some of these declines, she added, are “quite worrying.”

Language, Culture, and Power

These students speak perfect spanglish — and now they’re learning to own it

Camille Phillips, NPR
Porfa please. Pero like. Janguear (to hang out). These Spanglish phrases are all the results of contact between Spanish and English. In a Texas college classroom, students are learning that Spanglish — a version of Spanish that’s influenced by English — is just as valid as any other Spanish dialect. “What history teaches us is that the only constant is change,” explains Meghann Peace, who teaches this class primarily in Spanish at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. “When two or more languages are in constant geographic and social contact, there will always be linguistic consequences.”

Parkland students tell Supreme Court gun violence is a youth epidemic

Jess Nelson, Miami New Times
Brooke Harrison arrived at school on Valentine’s Day 2018 with a backpack full of candy she would never hand out to her friends. By the end of the day, 17 of her classmates and teachers lay murdered on the floors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When she was finally able to gather the backpack from her freshman English class, Harrison found it riddled with bullet holes. In the 22 months since the Parkland massacre, students across the United States have channeled their trauma, anger, and despair into an activist movement that has now reached the nation’s highest court. Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in NY State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, the first Second Amendment case to appear before the court in almost a decade. Among the legal documents presented to the justices was an amicus brief filed by March for Our Lives advising the court about the impact of gun violence on America’s youth.

Youth in states requiring universal background checks are less likely to carry guns to school, study says

Kristen Rogers, CNN
High school students in states that require universal background checks on all prospective gun buyers are less likely to carry guns compared to students in states that require background checks only on sales through federally licensed firearms dealers, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics. On average, 5.8% of nearly 180,000 students who responded to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported carrying a gun during the study period. The study did not account for adolescents who were not enrolled in school.

Chicana/o studies department votes on adding Central American Studies to name

Marilyn Chavez-Martinez, The Daily Bruin
The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies voted Nov. 15 to expand its name to include Central American studies. Expanding the name had been a subject of conversation for years among faculty and students, said department chair Eric Avila. The faculty of the newly named César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies voted overwhelming in favor of the expansion, with 15 votes for, one against, and one abstention. “I do not see this vote as a victory for one group of people, but rather for our entire department, which retains its roots in Chicana/o student activism, but adapts to a changing set of social, political, and demographic circumstances,” said Avila in a department-wide email sent Monday. “It is also a victory for UCLA, which continues to strive towards full equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Whole Children and Strong Communities

Berkeley program puts students seeking housing in the homes of older adults

Robin Estrin, Berkeleyside
Marcia Garcia, 29, moved to the Bay Area in August, admitted to UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy for a master’s degree. Searching for housing, she quickly learned that options were scarce—and expensive. But thanks to a new program that pairs up graduate students and University retirees with room to spare, she found something affordable: a first-floor bedroom with its own entrance, in a house owned by Cal alumna Linda Artel. “I like it,” said Garcia over tea with Artel on a recent evening. “It feels like home.”

These LGBTQ students say their school treats them like second-class citizens

Mary Retta, The Nation
One night in 2018, senior Kyle Deserosiers was walking across campus with his boyfriend. They were holding hands. Another student, seeing them, turned and yelled, “Faggot!” It was hardly the first time Deserosiers was ridiculed for his sexuality at Baylor University, a private Christian university in Waco, Texas. Administrators, students, and even professors, he said, have made lewd comments and jokes about queer and trans people in front of him, both in and outside of class, during his four years at the school.

Despite ban, Feds want more immigrant detention in SoCal (they want child shelters, too)

Erick Galindo, LAist
California has banned new for-profit immigrant detention centers. And local officials have opposed the opening of new child migrant shelters. But this has not stopped private companies and the Trump administration from recently trying to open more of both.
In early October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 32, which starting Jan. 1 bans new contracts on for-profit state prisons as well as on privately run immigrant detention centers in California, like the one operated by the The Geo Group in Adelanto.
A few days later, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement posted a public proposal request seeking bids for “Detention Services in California.” The site of at least one of these facilities would be no more than 100 miles from Los Angeles, according to the documents.

Access, Assessment, and Advancement

Cities look to address food, housing insecurity among college students as a way to improve regional workforce

Andrea Lopez-Villafana, The San Diego Union Tribune
San Diego County’s two largest cities are taking part in a nationwide initiative to ensure students in pursuit of postsecondary education have access to basic needs, such as food and housing. Chula Vista and San Diego will join five cities in identifying those needs and creating a plan to support students. City officials say that meeting basic needs will increase the number of individuals who obtain degrees and credentials, and as a result improve the region’s workforce.

Just how selective have UC schools become? Top students feel the pressure

Nanette Asimov, The San Francisco Chronicle
Madeline Bedwell’s dad went to UC Berkeley. Her mom attended UC Santa Barbara. Her uncle graduated from two UC schools, including UC Davis Law School. But even with that history, Madeline, 17 — a flute player with A-minus grades at San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts — faces more daunting odds than her parents did of getting into either of their schools or the three other University of California campuses she’s just applied to. “You know, at the time my husband and I went to UC schools, if you had good grades, you went to a UC school — and you thought your kids would go there,” said Madeline’s mom, Joanne Bedwell, a physical therapist in San Francisco. “But as we’ve gotten closer to this process, we’ve learned how competitive it’s gotten. Today, I would have never gotten into UC Santa Barbara.”

Are American students falling behind? The latest international scores offer both good and bad news.

Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat
American 15-year-olds performed better in reading and science than most students around the world, but lagged behind in math, according to the latest results of an oft-cited international exam. The results offer a glass half full and half empty, and a somewhat rosier picture than the recent federal exams for fourth- and eighth-graders, which showed declines in reading. Since the last international test in 2015, American students have gained relative to other countries in all three subjects. And since 2006, scores have risen in science.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Beacon High School is half white. That’s why students walked out.

Eliza Shapiro, The New York Times
Naia Timmons, a junior from Harlem, stood surrounded by classmates in the middle of the street outside Beacon High School as hail began to fall. She shouted into a bullhorn: “I continue to recognize the privilege I had of escaping the system that many of my friends could not.” Naia identifies as black and white. Her classmates chanted “End Jim Crow” and “Education is a right, not just for the rich and white.” Roughly 300 students walked out of Beacon on Monday to protest its high-stakes admissions process, which they said has exacerbated segregation in the nation’s largest school system.

Multiple school transfers contribute to high absenteeism among foster students

Ashley A. Smith, EdSource
As many California foster students struggle to succeed academically, they face multiple obstacles just getting to school. Foster students miss the most school days of any group of students in the state. But school districts and county agencies are trying to improve attendance by eliminating transportation barriers and ensuring that students don’t change schools too frequently, among other efforts.

California’s schools are among the most segregated in U.S. What can be done about it?

Paul Kitagaki Jr., The Sacramento Bee
Before Brown v. Board of Education, there was Mendez v. Westminster. In 1943, Orange County’s Westminster School District told Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez their children couldn’t attend their neighborhood school, but had to go further away to a segregated “Mexican school.” “It was a terrible little shack,” the couple’s daughter Sylvia Mendez said in a 2002 PBS segment.
Her parents sued for discrimination and won.

Public Schools and Private $

University to students on Medicaid: buy private coverage, or drop out

Sarah Kliff, The New York Times
Emily and Kullen Langston were enrolling in classes for the winter semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho when they hit an unexpected roadblock. The school, like many others, requires all students to have health coverage. But this month, the university made an unusual announcement: It would no longer accept Medicaid. Ms. Langston, 20, enrolled in the free government insurance program last year after becoming pregnant with the couple’s daughter, who is now 4 months old. Mr. Langston, 22, was planning to sign up for Medicaid in January, when it is set to expand in the state.

More than 400 UCLA medical school students get a free education thanks to major donation

Sonali Kohli, The Los Angeles Times
Medical school had put Allen Rodriguez in debt before he was even accepted. The testing, applications and interviews alone cost Rodriguez thousands that he’s still paying off on his credit cards. So it was a relief — and a deciding factor — when his 2014 UCLA medical school acceptance came with more good news: a full scholarship, funded by a $100-million gift from billionaire David Geffen. The UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine announced Monday that the DreamWorks co-founder, who gave the school $100 million in 2012, has donated an additional $46 million to continue to fund merit-based scholarships so medical students do not have to take on weighty loads of debt. His UCLA donations total nearly half a billion dollars in the last two decades, much of it to the medical school.

Minority voters chafe as Democratic candidates abandon charter schools

Erica L. Green and Eliza Shapiro, The New York Times
The night before Democratic presidential candidates took to a debate stage here last week, black and Latino charter school parents and supporters gathered in a bland hotel conference room nearby to make signs they hoped would get the politicians’ attention. “Charter schools = self-determination,” one sign read. “Black Democrats want charters!” another blared. At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.

Other News of Note

Venezuela’s ravaged schools lack food, books and students

Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg
A generation of Venezuelan children is missing the chance for an adequate education amid mass absenteeism, decaying buildings and an exodus of qualified teachers. Education was a priority for the government of President Hugo Chavez, who boosted spending on public schooling and expanded literacy programs for the poor. When Chavez took office in 1999, he pledged to eliminate illiteracy in the country. Twenty years into the nation’s socialist experiment, classrooms are half-empty as the school system falls apart amid a spiraling economic crisis and hyperinflation.