Lee Romney | KALW

Lee Romney

Reporter
Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning While Black: The Fight For Equity In San Francisco Schools.”

San Francisco Unified’s graduation rate for African American students jumps to nearly 90 percent — well above the state average.

U.S. Department of Education

Federal law guarantees public school students experiencing homelessness a host of rights, to bring them educational stability. But a recent state audit found poor compliance and oversight across California.

Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning While Black: The Fight For Equity In San Francisco Schools.”

It’s been 40 years since a landmark legal ruling led to a statewide ban on the IQ testing of black students for purposes of placement in special ed. Now, the lead plaintiff in that case, known as “Larry P,” is getting a second chance at an education.

Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning While Black: The Fight For Equity In San Francisco Schools.”

The Big Lift, an original KALW documentary, follows Carver Elementary School’s family liaison over the course of a year as she works to support struggling parents and guardians — so their kids can thrive in the classroom.

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Lee Romney / KALW

A big data project led by Stanford University's Sean Reardon aims to crack the code on our nation’s stubborn student achievement gaps by mapping race, ethnicity, poverty and academic test scores.

Click the play button above to listen to the interview.

Credit: State Attorney Generals Office

The State Attorney General recently came to Marin County to announce the first settlement to desegregate a California school in five decades. Meanwhile, 65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, segregation is on the rise nationwide.

Lee Romney / KALW

In classrooms nationwide, students are learning to pay attention to the present moment. Focus on their breathing. Notice if they’re bored. And consider what that feels like in the body. One San Francisco volunteer walks kids through mindfulness practice. 

Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

San Francisco Unified Superintendent takes our reporter on a tour of his hometown — to explain why he’s so passionate about boosting the academic success of black students here.

California Department of Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond took office early this year and quickly announced a top goal: closing the achievement gap for students of color. Hear him speak about his vision and why he thinks he can succeed where others have failed.

Lee Romney / KALW

Hari Srinivasan is autistic and cannot speak. He understands everything. Until he turned 12, no one knew that but him. Then, typing gave him a voice.

Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

A new intensive SFUSD program helps kids aged three-and-a-half to five regulate and understand their emotions. The goal: to avert an “emotional disturbance” designation, a special ed category where black children are overrepresented.

Dan Morain / CALmatters

There’s been a lot of talk about charter schools lately. Public school districts are in financial crisis. And they’re blaming the competition: publicly-funded charters.

Joe R. Goyos / Support for Families of Children with Disabilities

Community members came together on Thursday, March 21, for a forum and roundtable discussion of what it takes to navigate San Francisco Unified School District’s Special Education system and to develop an action plan to support African American students with learning differences.

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

San Francisco Unified School District’s African American educators have been honoring the achievements of black students who earn a 3.0 grade point average or above for a quarter of a century. This year’s emcees say the event celebrates an often-ignored narrative of excellence.

Courtesy of the All City Council Student Union

Oakland teachers won a big pay increase. But over 40% of union members voted not to take the deal, saying it didn’t meet enough of their demands. What’s next for Oakland’s school district, and for the labor movement?

Isaac Emrick / Courtesy of Oakland Education Association

Members of the Oakland teachers union just voted to authorize a strike. The school board voted to close the first of what it expects will be a number of schools — to help keep costs down. These are tough times for Oakland Unified.

Courtesty of Center for Youth Wellness

Govenor Gavin Newsom early last week announced a new position of state surgeon general. And it’s pretty much custom made for Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the high-profile San Francisco pediatrician he appointed to fill it.  

Lee Romney / KALW

Some of San Francisco’s African American families have attended public schools in the City for three generations. They share their personal stories as part of the ongoing series, “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

San Francisco’s African American community has shrunk by half since 1970. Of the families that remain, nearly a fifth live in public housing or get a rental subsidy. Now, a city effort is turning public housing into a key front in the battle to improve educational outcomes for African American kids.

Lee Romney / KALW

This is part of an ongoing series “Learning while black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools.”

African American students across the country are much more likely than any other student group to be placed in special education, and that’s true at San Francisco Unified too. The district’s troubled history has plenty to teach us about what is and isn’t working for black students with special needs today.

Public Domain. Resized and cropped.

Oakland’s Measure AA creates a 30-year parcel tax to fund early childhood education and college readiness programs.  

Lee Romney

 

Walter Turner edges his 1989 Rolls Royce down a residential street in his Hunters Point neighborhood. It’s a white Silver Spur with a vinyl top the color of peanut butter and Turner’s just had it detailed earlier in the day.

 

University of the Fraser Valley / Wikimedia Commons

Correction: In a previous version of this post, we miswrote the average cost of infant care in California. The average cost of infant care and Preschool in California is about $1000 a month and $700 a month, not $1000 and $700 a year. We have removed the audio and will upload it again when it is correct. 

Alameda County’s Measure A is about childcare and early education. Research shows that key brain development takes place during the first five years of life.  

San Francisco Unified School District

 

Proposition G is all about pay for San Francisco Unified School District educators. Recruiting and retaining teachers, instructional aides, school psychologists and others who work with students has been tough for the district. That’s because San Francisco is a very expensive place to live.

Prop G would boost educators’ pay through a $298 parcel tax on properties in San Francisco. It would kick in on July 1 and stay in place for two decades. Senior citizens would be exempt.

CST.org

 

Proposition C is about childcare and early childhood education. Brain research shows that’s really important for kids up to five years old.

But San Francisco is a really expensive city. And lots of low and middle income families can’t afford early childcare.

 

So to help subsidize early childhood education, Proposition C would put a 3.5 percent tax on most commercial landlords — property owners who lease industrial space, office buildings and retail.

Palo Alto Daily Post, Emily Mibach

 

In June 2014, the Redwood City School District voted unanimously to approve two new charter schools within its boundaries, bringing the total to three. Hundreds of largely immigrant parents had demanded the choice, hoping for higher test scores, college access, and career-readiness for their kids.

 

But the decision came with a cost.  

 

Lee Romney / KALW News

 

An unknown number of parents across the state are using medical cannabis to ease their children’s repeated seizures, treat the symptoms of autism or relieve the pain of cerebral palsy. But cannabis is not allowed on school grounds. One North Bay family is hoping to change that.

 

Lee Romney

Research shows that missing 10 percent or more days a year really sets students back academically. And schools are finding that when they dig into chronic absenteeism, they often learn about deeper problems impacting students, like illness, family crisis, or homelessness.

Lee Romney

When the state released testing data for California’s public school students last month, results for San Francisco Unified’s African American students were the lowest in the district — again. 

Lee Romney

For students at Santa Rosa’s Anova Center for Education, the month since the devastating North Bay Fires has been really tough. The school serves high-functioning kids on the autism spectrum. They tend to be anxious and have trouble adapting to change. But their school burned down. And nine families lost their houses, too. Coping — and getting back to a calming routine — has been challenging.

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