Saturday, August 30, 2008

IN THE NEWS: Quick reads on issues teachers care about.

From United Teacher | 8/15

SCHOOL BOARD PUTS $7 BILLION BOND ON BALLOT: Last month, the LAUSD School Board voted to put a $7 billion bond measure, the largest in local history, on the November ballot. UTLA was involved in shaping some of the details of the measure. The union was successful in increasing the amount of money that will go to iDivision schools, partnership schools, affiliated charters, and magnet schools. UTLA fought off a provision that would have allowed charter schools to take permanent ownership of buildings that LAUSD paid for and defeated a push by charter school supporters to exempt charters from following Field Act earthquake safety provisions when building new sites. On the downside, the bond earmarks $450 million for charter schools and does not include a provision supported by UTLA’s sister unions, CSEA and the Teamsters, that would have added some oversight into how LAUSD contracts out certain positions. UTLA’s governing bodies, the Board of Directors and the House of Representatives, will be deciding in the coming weeks whether UTLA will endorse the bond.

SCHOOLS CUTTING BACK ON NURSING STAFFS NATIONWIDE: Medical duties have become a part of the job for some teachers as school districts have reduced their nursing staffs or required nurses to work at multiple locations, the Associated Press reported in a July story. The trend comes at a time when more students are dealing with serious medical conditions such as severe allergies, asthma, and diabetes. Federal guidelines call for having one nurse for every 750 students, but the national average is about one for every 1,150 students, according to the National Association of School Nurses. A quarter of the nation’s schools have no nurse at all, and the average nurse splits her time between 2.2 schools, according to the association.

FAILING IN SCHOOL MAY BE TOUGHER ON GIRLS THAN ON BOYS: Academic failure appears to trouble teenage girls more deeply than it does boys, according to a study by Carolyn McCarty, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. Her findings, which appear in the Journal of Adolescent Health, indicate that adolescent girls who are expelled or suspended, or who drop out of high school before they graduate, are more likely to have a serious bout of depression by age 21 than boys with similar experiences. “For girls there are broader implications of school failure,” said McCarty. “We already know that it leads to more poverty, higher rates of being on public assistance, and lower rates of job stability. And now this study shows it is having mental-health implications for girls.”

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