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


May 19, 2015

Issue 32

Student Health
Fresno County judge rules medically accurate sex education is 'an important public right'

A Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled that Clovis Unified School District violated the 2003 California sex education law by providing abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula without also providing accurate information about contraception.

More broadly, Judge Donald Black stated that student access to medically accurate sexual education is "an important public right" -- a ruling thought to be the first to address the sex education law.

California schools are not required to offer sex education instruction but if they do, the law states that the information must be medically accurate, appropriate for students of all cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations, describe both abstinence from sexual activity and effective contraception, and more.

Black found that the American Academy of Pediatrics, two parents and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network had prevailed in the 2012 lawsuit they brought against Clovis Unified alleging that the curriculum including no information or misinformation about contraception. Black said their attorneys, the ACLU of California and pro bono counsel Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, were entitled to collect legal fees from the district.

Clovis Unified continues to deny any wrongdoing in its sex education instruction and says it was in the process of revising it before the lawsuit was filed. "We continue to be confident that Clovis Unified acted appropriately," said Kelly Avants, chief communication officer for the district.
School Climate and Discipline

The Oakland Unified school board voted unanimously to eliminate willful defiance as a reason to suspend any student and to invest at least $2.3 million to expand restorative justice practices in its schools.

Community advocates who have been working statewide to eliminate willful defiance say that committing funds is key to making real change.

Read more at EdSource Today.
Physical Education

Of all the changes triggered by the Common Core State Standards, perhaps none is more surprising than an uptick in jobs for elementary school physical education teachers in California.

Back from near extinction, physical education specialists are being hired by a smattering of districts to take over P.E. duties from elementary classroom teachers, who after years of teaching physical education themselves are now being freed up for Common Core lesson planning.

Read more at EdSource Today.
Safe School Facilities

Air conditioning and bathroom facilities

Warmer temperatures can affect the brain's ability to solve math problems in the short term, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research by economist Joshua Graff Zivin of UC San Diego and colleagues.

"If you move from roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit to roughly 87 and a half degrees Fahrenheit, a child's mathematics score decreases by 1.6 percentile points," said Graff Zivin.
The Los Angeles Unified School District will replace 8,500 inefficient, dated or broken toilets and urinals to save water during the drought.

The school board voted to spend $5 million on the replacement effort, which is estimated will save 100 million gallons of water a year. Broken toilets, nonworking sinks, and unsanitary bathrooms have been an issue in the district, which last year reportedly had a backlog of 37,000 maintenance orders.

Special Education
Some California educators say the state's students with the most severe cognitive disabilities will not have the same opportunity this spring to have their learning assessed as other students taking the Common Core-aligned assessments.

Read more at EdSource Today.

The Statewide Special Education Task Force, which toiled for more than a year before producing a 220-page report in March, was recognized in Gov. Jerry Brown's May revised budget with $60.1 million in proposed funding for several of its recommendations, most prominently increasing access to early interventions for children with special needs.

Read more at EdSource Today.
Upcoming Webinar

Understanding the social status environment of school is important in preventing and intervening in incidents of bullying, says the Children's Safety Network, a project of the Massachusetts-based Education Development Center. The network is presenting a webinar focused on how social environmental factors affect distress in bullying victims.

What: "Victimization and Vulnerability: Populations at Increased Risk for Bullying"

When: Thurs., May 28, 12 noon to 1 p.m. PT

Register here.

Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 31: State vaccination bill to get 3rd hearing this week
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 30: How healthy is your county?
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 29: Measles cases continue to rise in California
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 28: Autism advocacy group states vaccination link unfounded
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 27: Schools must prove they meet physical education requirement

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