An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


Feb. 24, 2014 Issue 14

Special Education

Federal government focuses on special ed students held in isolation in correctional facilities 

Special education students who are locked in isolation in juvenile correctional facilities must receive educational services, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education.  

Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall in Martinez
Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall in Martinez. Special education students housed there have filed a lawsuit. Credit:


That assertion comes in a statement filed in federal court in a class action lawsuit against the Contra Costa County Office of Education and Contra Costa County. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of three former special education students, alleges that some special education students were confined to their cells at the county Juvenile Hall for more than 22 hours a day for more than 100 days. The lawsuit charges that the students received few or no educational or behavioral interventions, such as anger management classes, during that time. For more, read the full story in EdSource Today.


School Climate

Chronic bullying has significant mental and physical health consequences 

Children who are chronically bullied by peers experience significantly worse mental and physical health over time than other children, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. The study, led by a researcher at Harvard Medical School, is one of the few longitudinal studies of the effects of bullying in elementary, middle and high school.


Bullying was associated with poor physical and mental health, depression symptoms, and low self-worth over time, the study said. Researchers analyzed data from more than 4,000 children surveyed at three time points (fifth, seventh, and tenth grades) in three cities. "The findings didn't really surprise us, but some of the results were "very striking," Laura Bogart, the study's lead author, told Medscape Medical News.  


Adults who recognize bullying when it first starts "could intervene to reverse the downward health trajectory experienced by youth who are repeated targets," the study said. 


Physical Education 

Credentialing Commission votes against proposal to let military instructors teach physical education

Oakland students doing sit-ups.
Oakland students doing sit-ups. Credit: Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource Today

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has narrowly defeated a proposal that would have authorized military instructors to teach physical education as part of their military classes.


The proposal was made by supporters of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) who felt it would encourage more students to enroll in JROTC elective classes, because they would not have to squeeze in additional classes to fulfill the state-mandated two years of physical education. 


After a heated public hearing, commission members voted 6-4 against creating a new category of physical education certification for JROTC and Basic Military Drill instructors. Read the full story in EdSource Today.
Student Health: Obesity and Nutrition Updates

The last two weeks have brought a flurry of news related to healthy eating and exercise for children.

Increasing numbers of Californians rank eating junk food and the lack of physical exercise as the top two risks to children's health, far outpacing concerns about illegal drugs or violence, according to a new Field Poll conducted on behalf of The California Endowment. 

Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, introduced Senate Bill 1000 that would require sugary drinks sold in California to carry health warning labels similar to those on cigarette packs. The label would read: "State of California Safety Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay."

Monning's measure has considerable public support, according to another finding of the recent Field Poll. Nearly three-quarters of California voters would endorse a proposal requiring beverage companies to post a health-warning label on sugary drinks. 
In addition, two-thirds of voters statewide support a soda tax with proceeds benefiting school nutrition and physical activity programs, the poll found.

Also, the Berkeley Healthy Child Coalition would like to make Berkeley the first city in the state to pass a soda tax, citing concerns about high rates of obesity among students.

Voices from the field

Community schools can help break the cycle of poverty with health and social services for students, advocate says

Ed Center of the United Way of the Bay Area
Ed Center, vice president of education for the United Way of the Bay Area.
Ed Center, vice president of education at the United Way of the Bay Area, calls California's new education finance system a "step in the right direction" toward improving education for children from low-income families. But to maximize the impact of the Local Control Funding Formula, Center advocates for the "community school" model of education to help students overcome the obstacles that poverty presents.

In the community school model, a school creates a well-coordinated partnership with local agencies to try to solve the problems of hunger, dental disease, homelessness and lack of resources that students may bring with them to school. "That way children can focus on school, rather than an empty stomach or a nagging toothache, and teachers can focus on teaching, instead of serving as a caseworker for their students," Center writes in an EdSource commentary.

Aligning Common Core State Standards with special education


Aligning Common Core State Standards with the individual needs of students with disabilities is the focus of a webinar hosted by the Council for Exceptional Children, a national professional organization based in Virginia. "Standards-Aligned Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): An Educators' Guide" will be held on Wednesday, March 5
from 1 to 2 p.m. PT. Register here.
Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter:

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 13: Trying a "trauma-informed" approach in special education
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 12: Largest districts vary in use of "willful defiance"
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 11: Trauma-informed teaching to reach troubled youth
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 10: New law increases awareness of concussions
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 9:   More teens drinking sugary beverages
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 8:   Free lunch sign-ups crucial to school funding

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