Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Worst Schools, and the Best

California has no bad schools, and if we did, we wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by pointing out that we do:
Facing a lawsuit threat, the state Department of Education has changed its position on posting a list of low-performing schools whose students could be transferred to schools with higher academic test scores.

A state “open enrollment law,” enacted in 2010, requires the department to list 1,000 “low-achieving schools” by Jan. 1 of each year and allows parents of children in those schools to move them to other schools.

Late last year, the department, which is directed by state schools Sept. Tom Torlakson, posted a notice on its website that it would not release a list of the schools because the “academic performance index” on which the list was based had been suspended.

That action, which was not announced publicly, drew fire from state Sen. Bob Huff and school improvement groups, which threatened to sue.

Last week, just days before Jan. 1 deadline, Torlakson’s department altered its notice and posted the previous 1,000-school list, based on 2013 tests, that parents could use to exercise their open enrollment option. Here is a link to a spreadsheet of the list.
At the other end of the academic spectrum, California's universities won't allow their students to smoke or even to vape anymore:
Colleges students across California would need to stub out their cigarettes and ditch their vape pens under a bill before the Legislature.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, wants to make California’s public college campuses smoke-free zones. His Assembly Bill 1594 would ban both traditional cigarettes and vaping on the grounds of California State University and community college schools.

While the University of California has had a blanket prohibition on both smoking and vaping since 2014, individual community colleges and CSU schools set their own smoking policies. Six of the 23 CSU schools currently ban smoking, and a system-wide proposal is in the works.
I'm can't stand smoking, but I'm even less a fan of a nanny state telling adults what they can and cannot do.  Prohibition didn't work in the 1920s, but we keep on trying it. 

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