California wants to significantly expand the definition of public schools. Will this help students?

Hello and welcome to Essential California newsletter. This is friday july 22. I’m Paloma Esquivel, investigative journalist in the education team.

In April 2020, about a month after the pandemic caused schools to close, I visited an elementary school in Inglewood to write about a teacher who, in addition to preparing online lessons for her sixth graders , had spent much of his days distributing meals to families in need.

I arrived early in the morning to find hundreds of parents and children lined up around campus, waiting for food. Almost every parent I met that day had lost their job or had a partner who had lost their job. Many did not know how they would pay the rent that month.

I remember thinking about all the stressors the kids in that line were going through and wondering how they would manage to continue with math and reading classes.

I thought back to this scene many times over the ensuing years as I tried to understand the effect of the pandemic on education. For so many students, the stressors only increased after those first few months. Some have experienced the death of friends and family members, some have taken on childcare and other family responsibilities, many have felt the effects of prolonged isolation.

However, time is running out for their education.

I thought back to the scene in Inglewood this week reading my colleague Laura Newberry’s story about California’s $4.1 billion effort to expand community schools.

A “community school,” Laura writes, “significantly expands the traditional definition of a public school, transforming campuses into neighborhood centers that seek to holistically meet the needs of students. Health care, mental health services, tutoring, pediatric care, and other social supports converge on campus.

The hope is that by providing services that help address the many external stressors and barriers that can prevent children from thriving in the classroom – such as housing and food insecurity, lack of access to health care and racism – these schools will put students in a difficult situation. best position to learn.

In her story, Laura takes us inside the Social Justice Humanitas Academy in San Fernando, which has been a community school for 11 years. The school partners with outside groups to help connect families with basic needs — like temporary shelter, food, and legal help — and to provide individual, group, and family therapy.

When it comes to academics, student performance on national assessments in English and math at Humanitas exceeded district averages, though scores fell in the 2021 school year, which was largely virtual.

Despite the large influx of money, the expansion of community schools faces enormous challenges, including labor shortages and securing sustainable funding.

“It’s not clear that this will work,” Deanna Niebuhr told Laura. The California Policy Director of the Opportunity Institute has worked to establish community schools. “But we believe this is our best chance to bring about real change in education.” .

You can read Laura’s story here.

And now, Here’s what’s happening across California:

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STORIES FROM THE

An LA County mask mandate is likely within a week as COVID cases continue to rise, report Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II. The mandate would apply to people 2 years and older in offices, retail, restaurants and bars, gymnasiums, educational institutions and other indoor settings. Los Angeles Times

A lot of people shrug their shoulders, even as the mandate looms. Experts said so many people have already been infected that the fear that once prompted heightened precautions has faded. Los Angeles Times

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Sandra, a medical assistant, stands in a room where abortion procedures take place at Planned Parenthood in El Centro, California.

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

A California desert town has long been an abortion haven for Arizona and Mexico. Now he’s overwhelmed, writes Cindy Carcamo. The increase is probably just a preview of what’s to come. Experts estimate that an additional 8,000 to 16,100 people will travel to California each year for abortion care following Roe’s overthrow against Wade. Los Angeles Times

Steve Lopez examines the results of a national survey on political violence in which about half of respondents believed that “in the next few years there will be a civil war in the United States” and about 42% preferred having a “strong leader” rather than “having a democracy”. Los Angeles Times

The City of Sacramento has launched an investigation into the residence of a councilman but will not say who is conducting the investigation or when it will be completed. The investigation comes about a month after the Sacramento Bee published a report in which neighbors questioned whether Councilman Sean Loloee lived in the house he claimed was his residence. The Sacramento Bee

CRIME AND COURTS

The sun shines on the peaceful water of a luxurious marina.

Sunset in the marina of Porto Montenegro, Tivat, the destination of Richard Ayvazyan and Marietta Terabelian.

(Ranko Maras/Getty Images)

Michael Finnegan tells the crazy story of two COVID scammers of Tarzana who dodged the FBI and fled to Montenegro. Richard Ayvazyan and Marietta Terabelian were convicted by a federal jury in June 2021 of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to launder money and related crimes. Before being sentenced, they fled, leaving behind their minor children. Los Angeles Times

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HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

Is Riverside County failing to protect residents close to a A 1.8 million square foot logistics center being built in Cherry Valley? This week, Beaumont City Council wrote to the county raising concerns about the county’s oversight of the project. The controversy comes as the warehouse’s years-long expansion across the Inland Empire pushes east. The Press-Company

CALIFORNIAN CULTURE

A battle rages for control of Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, the famed high desert music venue where Paul McCartney, Los Lobos and many others played, reports Randall Roberts. Los Angeles Times

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CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: 83, partly cloudy. San Diego: 72, partly cloudy. San Francisco: 64, partly cloudy. San Jose: 81, sunny. Fresno: 105, sunny. Sacrament: 98, sunny.

AND FINALLY

Today california memory just Linda Mom:

I moved to Los Angeles from Las Vegas with my two best friends in 1965. We piled our things into our cars and arrived in “the big city” – we were so excited! We stayed in a motel on Sunset until we found an apartment. I remember driving to the top of Mulholland, parking our car and gazing at the most beautiful city ever! All three of us were amazed. There was literally no smog back then. It was crystal clear – sparkling. I’ve loved LA ever since and it’s been my home ever since (and my “best friends” too!).

If you have a memory or a story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

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