A screengrab of the California School Dashboard Reference Guide.

The State Board of Education on Wednesday launched a new website to help parents assess schools, which not only includes standardized test scores but suspension and graduation rates, how well English Language Learners fare, and a bevy of other information. The new dashboard is well timed for Oakland and San Francisco families who are receiving their school placement letters in the next few weeks. In this hour we’ll hear about California’s new dashboard for school evaluation and discuss how parents can pick the best school for their child.

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a school hallway

Palo Alto may join a growing number of towns and campuses that are renaming buildings over the troubling legacies left by their namesakes. The Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education is set to vote Tuesday evening whether to rename Jordan Middle School and Terman Middle School because they were named after prominent advocates of eugenics. As the names of important buildings are debated in Palo Alto and across the nation, should their namesakes be weighed against modern values or does doing so risk erasing community history?

UC Berkeley students walk through Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus April 17, 2007 in Berkeley, California.

More than 100 University of California faculty and staff engaged in sexual misconduct between 2013 and 2016, according to records UC provided Tuesday to KQED and other media outlets. The cases, which span UC’s 10 campuses, involve a range of behaviors, from inappropriate comments to stalking and groping. UC released the information as it moves to strengthen its sexual violence and harassment policies following scrutiny surrounding several high profile cases. We’ll discuss the prevalence of sexual misconduct on UC campuses and how the administration is addressing the problem.

The Tommie Smith and John Carlos sculpture at San Jose State University

When San Jose State University athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics Games, they made sports history and came to symbolize black power and protest in America. The two sprinters stand in a long line of SJSU sports pioneers, including Patty Sheehan, the first openly gay professional golfer, and Lee Evans, the track and field athlete who fought to exclude the apartheid state of Rhodesia from the 1972 Olympic Games. The University continues that legacy as it launches the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change. We discuss the new institute and the role and impact of protest in sport.

More Information on the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San Jose State

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be the next Secretary of Education, testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Billionaire philanthropist and school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, is among the incoming administration’s most controversial cabinet picks. DeVos favors a free-market approach to education and has long advocated for charter schools and school voucher programs. While her supporters hope that her appointment will lead to more options for students, others fear it will hurt public schools and weaken charter-school accountability. We discuss what DeVos’ confirmation could mean for schools nationally and here in California.

UC Berkeley students walk through Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus April 17, 2007 in Berkeley, California.

The UC Board of Regents will weigh a proposal later this month to raise resident tuition by 2.5 percent, or about $300. Out-of-state students would see a tuition increase of 5 percent, and most students would face fee hikes. Similar increases are proposed at Cal State University. Proponents say the increases will fund more faculty, programs and financial aid. But opponents say that the state should do more to find alternative sources of funding. We discuss the proposal.

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Children are pictured as they attend a lesson in a classroom of a primary school on January 28, 2016.

It’s clear to parents and students alike that good teaching matters, but debates continue to rage over which policies and practices work best in the classroom. Veteran Palo Alto teacher David Cohen has visited classrooms across the state to witness firsthand how over 75 teachers are engaging their students, from mindful breathing exercises between lessons to partnerships with children in Haiti to foster dialogue around earthquakes. We’ll talk with Cohen about the innovation he saw and hear from some of the teachers he met about how they inspire students. And we want your stories: Teachers, students and parents — what do you think sparks learning in the classroom?

Kristin Smith (center) reads with her two daughters, six-year-old Juliana Smith (left) and four-year-old Gabriella Smith (right) in the kindergarden classroom at Sankofa Academy in Oakland, California.

Over 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, reports show that schools have become more racially and economically segregated over the past 15 years. Even in Oakland, where diversity is a source of civic pride, schools often fail to reflect the city’s ethnic and economic mix. Fewer than 10% of students in Oakland public schools are white, yet they are a majority of the student population at a handful of the city’s schools. One expert says the segregation of black and Latinos students in Oakland is “severe.” We’ll talk to the Oakland Unified School District superintendent and others about why integrating the city’s schools has been such a challenge.

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Brown at 62: School Segregation by Race, Poverty and State (PDF of UCLA report)


University of California President Janet Napolitano is seen at an event on expanding college opportunity on January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.

The University of California has undergone some major changes in leadership this summer: In early August, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi left her post after an investigation into the university’s misuse of public funds. A week later, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks resigned amid controversy over how the campus responded to sexual harassment cases. In this hour of Forum, UC president Janet Napolitano joins us to discuss the recent leadership shake up, the state of the UC system and what’s she’s learned after three years on the job.


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Eloy Ortiz Oakley poses for a portrait.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley will take office as the new chancellor of California’s community college system in December. Oakley is a product of community college himself and will be the first Latino to serve in the role. A longtime leader in public education, Oakley comes to the state job from Long Beach Community College District, where he designed a system that provides a year of school tuition-free. We’ll talk with Oakley about managing California’s 2.1 million community college students and 113 campuses, which make up the largest higher-education system in the U.S.

A party viewed through a blurry perspective.

Stanford University announced a new alcohol policy earlier this week that will ban hard liquor at undergraduate parties because of the “dangers that arise from that misuse.” Some see this policy change as a response to the highly publicized sexual assault case against Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, who blamed his actions on the the school’s “party culture” and binge drinking. Advocates for sexual assault victims are concerned that blaming intoxication trivializes the crime and lets perpetrators off the hook. Stanford maintains that the new policy is formulated to address binge drinking and is not a response to the Brock Turner case. We’ll discuss the problem of alcohol on college campuses and its role in sexual assault.

A student on his way to school walks past a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school, in Los Angeles, California on February 13, 2009.

In a victory for teacher unions, the California Supreme Court Monday denied review of Vergara v. California, keeping in place a ruling that nullified a 2014 decision that California’s teacher protection laws were unconstitutional. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed that the education code made incompetent teachers too hard to fire and that, in effect, minority and poor students were disproportionately taught by ineffective teachers. Monday’s ruling stated that “Administrators — not the statutes — ultimately determine where teachers within a district are assigned to teach.” We’ll discuss the court’s decision and possible next steps for groups challenging current teacher protection laws.

Chancellor Dirks

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced his resignation Tuesday, as critics faulted him for his handling of the university’s $150 million budget deficit and a string of sexual harassment cases involving faculty. Most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the campus paid more than $200,000 to improve Dirks’ “strategic profile.” Dirks, a noted historian and author, will join the UC Berkeley faculty full-time once a successor is appointed. We discuss Dirks’ tenure and what lies ahead for the university.

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students in classroom

As students and teachers head back into the classroom, we check in with Ki Sung, editor of KQED’s Mind/Shift blog, which explores the future of education, technology and how we learn. We’ll discuss how some new ideas in education are being used in classrooms. And we’ll hear about Mind/Shift’s new podcast, Stories Teachers Share, which showcases what it’s like to be a teacher — and what we can learn from their experiences.

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