Independent Study: The New Form of Distance Education in California



Hello, California. It’s Tuesday July 6.

Via an independent study

Mario Ramirez Garcia, 10, does a distance learning spelling activity at his home in Oakland on April 23, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

Distance education is dead. Long live distance learning – or something like that.

Last week, a waiver allowing California schools to engage in distance learning expired – putting the state on track to resume full-time in-person teaching in the fall. But on Monday, state lawmakers introduced an amended budget bill that would require schools to offer independent study programs to students who do not yet feel comfortable returning to class.

The bill, which lawmakers could send to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office as early as Thursday, strengthen the state’s existing independent study program setting higher standards for curriculum and teacher qualifications, requiring at least one live instruction, and requiring schools to provide devices and internet connections to students who need them. But some advocates doubt the proposal will achieve its goal of providing an educational experience equal to in-person learning.

The challenges of distance learning were clarified by a bill Newsom signed on Thursday, which allows students to make up for learning loss due to the pandemic by repeating a grade level, going from low grades to passing. / no success or by following a fifth year of high school. But even as the governor and lawmakers pledged to end distance education and said 99% of schools would reopen full-time in the fall, they wavered from a mandate, noting that many communities hard hit by the virus are reluctant to send their children back to campus. These concerns have likely increased as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes the dominant COVID-19 strain in California and rates of coronavirus cases rise again.

Even without the independent study option, schools in California would likely have been more empty than usual in the fall. Public school enrollment hit a 20-year low amid the pandemic as more than 160,000 students left the system, while the number of families filing affidavits to open a private home school soared . These trends could pose serious financial challenges for the California public school system, even as it prepares to garner record funding this year.

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The net result of the coronavirus: Monday California had 3,713,944 confirmed cases (+ 0.05% compared to the day before) and 63 141 deaths (+ 0.1% compared to the day before), according to a CalMatters tracker.

California administered 41 967 497 vaccine doses, and 59.6% of eligible Californians are fully immunized.

More: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline by tracking the state’s daily actions. We’re also tracking state coronavirus hospitalizations by county and lawsuits against COVID-19 restrictions.

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1. Could Newsom’s expedited recall backfire?

Governor Gavin Newsom reviews his notes before speaking at a press conference at Unity Council in Oakland on May 10, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

When Newsom signed a bill to postpone the date of his own recall elections, it indicates that he and the Democratic-dominated legislature are banking on the idea that an earlier election could help him stay in power. But there’s also a chance the September 14 date will turn against him: Newsom now has less time to rally Democratic voters, who seem far less excited about the election than Republicans. A recent UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll found that 75% of Republicans are very interested in the recall, compared to just 36% of Democrats, a gap reinforced by a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.


Stories, Features and Updates on the California Recall Election

2. ESD’s work spills over to lawmakers

Image via iStock

Months after the California Unemployment Agency extended its call center hours and announced plans to hire nearly 1,000 new employees, people are still having such a hard time crossing phone lines Blocked from the Employment Development Department as members of the State Assembly were recently given the green light to hire two employees. each to handle EDD issues, reports the Sacramento Bee. This is the latest sign that conditions generally do not improve at the besieged agency, which only answered 8% of the more than 3 million calls it received for the week ending June 26 – during which each person called an average of 11.4 times to pass. And while EDD’s backlog of unresolved claims shrank last week, over 1.1 million remain in limbo.

Meanwhile, the department prepares to take on another task: determining whether the estimated 350,000 Californians who are self-employed but also work part-time qualify for an additional $ 100 weekly allowance.

3. Animal crosses arrive in California

A rendering of the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing. Photo courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation / Living Habitats

Picture this: you hurtle down Highway 101 as pumas, deer, rabbits, lizards and other animals meander on trails 17 feet above your head. That seemingly fantastic vision recently came closer to reality when Newsom signed a budget that includes $ 7 million to help build the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, a bridge that would allow animals to safely cross the 10-way freeway. lanes that cross the Santa Monica Mountains. and roars with 300,000 cars every day, reports Marissa Garcia of CalMatters. The budget includes an additional $ 54.5 million for similar projects across the state, although many of these have yet to be identified. Crossing the Liberty Canyon illustrates both the challenges and the promise of such endeavors: it faces financial and architectural hurdles, but it is also probably the best way for California to bring back an isolated and inbred population of pumas from ‘almost certain extinction.

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CalMatters Events

July 13: How can California support its small businesses as they recover from a recession and a global pandemic? Join a CalMatters and Milken Institute virtual conversation with leading policy makers, including Isabel Casillas Guzman, Small Business Administration Administrator. Register here.

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: The state budget makes it clear that Newsom and lawmakers are favoring the left in a culture war over how to handle crime.

Protect our troops: California must pass a law to make it clear that sexual harassment is punishable in its military ranks, write Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and State Senator Susan Eggman, a Democrat from Stockton.

Gun shows do not belong to state fairgrounds: It is morally wrong for California to continue to promote gun violence by allowing the sale of arms and ammunition on property owned by taxpayers, argues State Senator Dave Min, a Democrat from Irvine.

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Other things are worth your time

Former Fontana city manager won nearly $ 1 million without working a day in 2020. // Daily news

Lobbyist claims $ 2 million in fees for work on behalf of insurer who donated to the state insurance regulator. // San Diego Union-Tribune

Unprecedented lobbying effort wins big victory for California Public Health. // California Healthline

Why is a San Diego teachers’ union trying to get rid of half a school board? // San Diego Union-Tribune

A bipartite resolution would study California Antitrust Laws. // Daily Paso Robles News

Federal Residential Schools Inquiry reflects the dark chapter in the history of the United States and California. // San Bernardino Soleil

Governor appoints first Indigenous woman to commission stand up for women and girls. // San Diego Union-Tribune

Firefighters continue to fight fires across California. // Los Angeles Times

Gavin Newsom has oversold California’s fire prevention efforts. A journalist has discovered the truth. // The Guardian

Why FEMA rejected 95% of aid seekers during the last forest fire in California? // CapRadio

California Reinstates Electric Car Discounts, but some environmentalists are not happy. // Chronicle of San Francisco

Hemp growers have the hint they are not welcome at Contra Costa. // Mercury news

Drought: the end of water tables in California free for all. // Mercury news

The bed of a dry stream in California looked like a wildfire hazard. Then the beavers got to work. // Sacramento bee

Joy, anxiety like the third pack of wolves enters California. // SFGATE

See you tomorrow.

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