California Educator

September 2016

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SICKLE CELL FACTS FOR SEPTEMBER AWARENESS Many educators suffer from chronic illness, including sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder. That doesn't stop them from being outstanding educators, of course — see our pro- file of middle school teacher Ardelia Aldridge on page 16. In recognition of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, a few facts: • While 70,000 Americans have sickle cell disease, 2.5 million in America have the sickle cell genetic trait. If both parents have the trait, their child may be born with the disease. • Tests can tell whether someone has the disease and whether they might pass it on to their children. • People affected include those of African, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Middle Eastern descent. • There's no cure, but research in gene therapy (seen as the best hope for a cure) is ongoing. Source: Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Can't Ever Go Back! Devastating budget cuts during the Great Recession — at its height a mere six years ago — slashed art, music and athletic programs, shuttered schools and school libraries, forced class sizes to balloon, and decimated the ranks of educators in the state. California has restored much of what was lost, but not all. Vote yes on Prop. 55 this November to ensure public education has the support it needs to provide students with the schools they deser ve. See page 30 for more information. CAASPP Results: Just One Indicator The California Department of Edu- cation released results of the 2016 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) online tests last month. They show that the percentage of students who met achievement targets in math and English language arts (ELA) increased at every grade and in every student subgroup compared with 2015, the first year of the tests. The scores are "one measure- ment of progress in our schools while California remains in the middle of a massive transition in the state's educational system as school districts continue to imple- ment the California standards," says CTA President Eric Heins. Nearly half the students tested met or exceeded standards in ELA, and nearly four in 10 met or exceeded standards in math. In both subject areas, however, more than half failed to meet achieve- ment targets. Results also showed a continuing achievement gap: While all student groups' scores rose, students from low-income families, English learners and some ethnic groups had significantly lower scores compared with other student groups. Heins stresses the need for a system to assess student learn- ing based on multiple measures. "Educators and parents know that students will always be more than a standardized test score. This is why it is important that California adopt an accountability system that gets beyond test scores and includes multiple whole-child and whole-sys- tem factors that address student outcomes, educational opportunities and equity." 10 in the know news & notes

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