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tv   NBC Bay Area News Special  NBC  August 24, 2013 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

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>> i can't educate an empty deck, i can't. >> people in charge of facilities say there's not much they can do. >> it's basically, it's bare minimum. >> the bathroom battle. transgender students will soon pick rest rooms that match their gend gender identity regardless of the sex on the birth certificate. >> not a person looking to get a thrill. >> opponents are gearing up for a fight to overturn the new law. a bay area school district sign as landmark contract that includes new teacher evaluations. we'll go behind the breakthrough. here's nbc bay area's jessica aguirre. >> welcome to our "class action" education special. it is back to school, so a lot to report on tonight. i'm jessica aguirre. first up, quality of air in your child's school. now these end of summer days can be hot, which can mean stuffy classrooms and bad area.
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researchers examined quality in california classrooms, and the results even surprised them. more than half of classrooms studied are not properly ventilated. >> reporter: the jungle gym's no match for 9-year-old nathal. but on the days asthma flares up, his mom worries about the singe act of sending him to class. >> it's stuffy, hot, hume in a lot of the classrooms, which is disconsearching, if you're a parent of a child with asthma, that's where they spend a lot of the majority of their time instead of at home. sitting in a classroom, you can't breathe, it's just not good. >> reporter: she may be right. in the largest study of its kind, scientists found more than half of california classrooms studied don't meet state ventilation standards. >> lower ventilation rates were associated with substantial increases in illness absence in the students. >> reporter: scientist mark mandell say indoor air po
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pollutants can build up. it can from the carpets, dust, even other students. for some reason, it's not always happening. >> our best guess they're being operated to save energy and money by bringing in less outdoor air tlhrough the system >> reporter: schools are to be bill to have 7.1 liters per perk per second. classrooms studied, 5.1 leetsit. prefabricated buildings, they have a median estimate ventilation rate of 3.1 liters per second. >> my concern as a teacher, i can't educate an empty desk. i can't. >> reporter: california teachers association has fought for years for healthier classrooms and they say it's clear where the responsibility lies. >> falls on the school district. the school district is response
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ebl for following the laws, then they should follow the laws. >> the air comes from the unit up above. >> reporter: the director of facilities for the san jose unified school district says the study results don't reflect what's happening in his district. but he is frank about the challenges he faces. >> ventilation systems are receiving the maintenance by our maintenance department but it's basically at bare minimum. >> reporter: chronic underfunding left school districts strapped for cash. funnel as much money as they can into classroom instruction with little leftover for ongoing plain nens. >> in the private sector, maintenance program for a ve ventilation system might mean vitsing three, four times a year. a school district can visit a unit when broken. >> reporter: it's not a situation turning around soon. >> without a more significant investment from the state, the systems will become more delap
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tated over time. >> i'm glad the situation is being brought to light now because something definitely needs to be done about it. >> so why not complain to your school? interestingly enough, cal osha can be called in to investigate classroom air qualify but only if the complaint is filed by a teacher or staff. that's because there is an occupational standard in california adequate ventilation must be provided to worker but was not students. really? get this, researchers at berkeley lab say if ventilation rates were raised to current standards there would be i 3.4% reduction in absences, schools would gain $33 million annually in funding linked to attendance, and families, they would avoid $80 million in cost caring for a sick child annually. clearly a lot is on the line for both families and for schools. headlines for you now. san francisco and oakland
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unified get a special reprieve from no child left behind. remember that? two districts among eight in california to win an historic waiver from the federal law. what does it mean? well, it frees up more than $100 million for 8 districts to use as they place. u.s. department of education previously rejected a waiver application from the state. now this marks the first time the feds will work directly with actual districts. they gain the cash but not without controversile. the largest teachers union blasted the waiver saying teachers were not consulted. the president said in a statement, quote, at a time when we are are working hard in california to implement positive changes that ensure all students get a fair shot at a quality education, this top-down move that excluded teacher input is absurd, counterproductive, and divisive. up next, the bathroom battle. transgender students will be able to use bathrooms and join the sports teams they feel match their gender identity.
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that's regardless of what sex is on the birth certificate. it gives transgender students a chance to participates and succeed in school. >> this is not people looking to get a thrill by going into the opposite gender bathroom. these are people who truly people like they have belonged in the opposite bathroom all along. >> while transgender students must provide physician proof of gender identity, opponents feel there is room for abuse. the new law violates privacy of students who don't want to share a locker room or bathroom with kids they perceive being from the opposite gender. more cuts to head start. last spring head start shortened the school year, as a result of sequestration cuts. this fall, forced to cut seats. head start programs in california are reducing enrollment by 5%, and laying off
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teachers. >> these programs are already on a shoestring budget. they get $8,000 a year per child. if you think about how much private preschool costs, close to $20,000 per year per child in the bay area and los angeles, that's not a lot of money. they don't have a lot of wiggle room. that's why kids are losing their spots. >> reductions stay in place unless congress reverses sequester cuts. we'll introduce you to two people from opposite sides of the negotiating table who came together for a landmark school agreement. the head of the teachers union and san jose and the superintendent stand together. up next, how they negotiated a new teachers' contract unlike any other in the bay area. look at 'em.
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welcome back. implementing a new teachers contract, trust me, this is ground breaking because it includes that controversial e word, evaluation. only this is a new way of evaluating teachers. with us today, vincent matthews, superintendent of san jose unified and jennifer thomas, president of teacher union. san jose teacher association. thank you for being here. evaluations, let's talk about there is. a hot button issue for a long time. traditionally the way it was done is that they go in and watch a teacher for 30 minutes one timing a year and that would be done. a lot of criticism there that people didn't think it was enough. i want to bring you into this. what are you doing different in the way you are evaluating teachers. >> one of the primary things we needed to change the people who watched professional work in their classroom or at their work with students. one of the things weave asked and negotiated to do is bring in classroom professionals in the form of teachers who recently left the classroom to give
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feedback and part of the evaluation process with the professional in san jose. >> it's not one person either. it's several people viewing the teacher in action. >> at least two. the second being a teacher recently having left the classroom or their assignment with as much as possible a guaranteed subject area specialty or grade level expertise of the teacher who is being evaluated that year. >> i have to put you on the spot here because you sat in this very chair with me doing a show and michelle was talking about the concept of evaluating teachers and you balked at that idea. what is different in the way you're doing it? >> michelle and the people who purport to be proponents of education reform talk about tying standardized test scores to teacher evaluation and tying compensation to the results. we realized the research bears no relevant data for us in terms of improving student outcome. improving instruction, giving
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high quality and relevant feedback to teachers and using that to determine how best to impact students in the classroom. >> the obama administration has been making this big push a lot of governments have about tying it. you're using performance and looking at student performance but not use it as the measuring stick for how a teacher's doing. >> right. that's not the measuring stick. what we're looking at is making sure that the thinner of the universe, in our world, is what's happening in that the interaction between the teacher and the student. so what we're doing is looking at how can we improve that. as you mentioned the traditional way you come in, principal comes in with the form, goes through the evaluation, then sits down the with teacher, goes over it and the teacher determines whether they're going to reflect upon that. this process actually assists the teach somewhere makes it more reflective process what's going on. >> if the teacher done do well, what happens? >> as we move forward we're
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continuing to look at we have a number of steps in that we have consulting teachers, so that group, we have a teacher quality panel. if a teacher doesn't do well, they ultimately don't end up moving forward on our stepping column that we set up in the district. >> can some of the teachers make more money than others? >> no. under edco, a requirement for the uniform salary schedule. teachers advance through the salary schedule year by year, assuming their evaluation is positive. we've set up a tremendous number of safeguards, though to ensure that it's not just one individual determining if that teacher meets the standards set by san jose unified but the consulting teacher in the room to off that validation and evidence, and then as dr. matthews said the teacher quality panel reviewing all documentations to make sure evaluations are fair, transparent, really supportive of the work in the classroom in pursuant of excellence for the students. >> one of the steps we would
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like to move forward with, this is discussions as we had, model and master teacher type of situation where teacher make more based on the additional steps that they take, additional work that they would do around teaching and around assisting teachers. >> based on seniority making more money, it's based on the years, it would be on the knowledge that they have? >> knowledge, but also the steps that they're taking and what you're actually giving back and what you're doing for the site, teachers who are there. let me say, these are conversations that we've had, what we really need, in order to implement a model teacher, master teacher type system is much more funding. >> money. always comes down to money. >> absolutely. >> let me ask you this. you keep saying equitable. is it equitable, why is it that the teachers union isn't embracing it? why isn't the langua-- largers r
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association embracing it. >> they're supportive of what we're doing. saying if it works in san jose, we're supportish of that. our framework for the evaluation matches both the calf teaiforni teachers association and national education association framework for the process that supports professional development in pursuit of the end goal of student achievement. >> you said you're going to take a tiny -- take a leap together. why is it so -- i don't want to say contentious, but scary to make this change? >> i think for years in public education, the educators and leadership have been pitted against each other so perhaps we will ignore that those people attacking public education come from outside of our own organizations. we have been told, don't trust the district, they're only in it for prestige or teachers can't be trusted because they're only in it to save their necks. we have trust we're all in it
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for the same reason, and basic as that sounds, it's -- there's not the climate in california and the nation for that to be possible. you can look at wisconsin, for the evidence of that sort of thing. >> very quickly, last 30 seconds, do you see this if it happens and does well here, do you see this as a model moving across california and across the u.s. as well? >> absolutely. one of the things jen was saying, you talked about the leap of faith, when wean started this process, the management and the teachers association both got together in the room and looked at what are the core beliefs that we believe in going forward to make this happen for kids. it really is around making sure that all students have 21st century skills and close the opportunity gap. what are the core beliefs we all have to make that happen? >> stay where you are. when we come back, more from jennifer and vincent, hear about common core. what is that?
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. gearing up, teachers across the bay area have been in training for a new set of academic standards called the common core. teachers picked up their pencils, this time as students to brush up on new standards for math and literacy. common core supposed to be more rigorous than previous course work and emphasize analytical and reasoning skills. back viwith vincent and jen. we're starting to hear common core a lot. what is common core? >> it's a set of standards, 45 states adopted common standards. previously you had a student from texas take an assessment and taught in a different way than students in california. and at the end of the day, you didn't know exactly where students stood in terms of comparing them to each other. it's a common set of standards throughout the 45 states who have adopted them. and it gets us to a place where
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we can look at where students are and how they're moving forward in terms of being prepared for the 21st century. >> not all school districts in california have adopted it yet. am i, as a parent, when i walk into school, an i going to notice anything different in the way my kid is being taught with common core? >> san jose unified you will. what we're doing is teachers are beginning to implement them -- when i say the 21st skills, like clab reag, problem solve, creative thinking, it's a way as instead of going wide, which the previous standards did, it's a more focused approach and we go deeper and especially highlighting problem solving skills. >> you're not going to teach to the test? that is what you're saying to me. >> absolutely. >> jen, how much is this -- how much -- we saw the teachers there, how much harder is this for teachers to learn the new standards? it's got to be tough to be
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thrown into the new way of teaching which changes the way they've been told to do it for a long time. does it give teachers creative license? >> you hit the nail on the head. california has dictated discream standards which limited creativity, collaboration, communication. they said, that was a huge mistake and we're sending kids auch off to the university and workforce unprepared to think creati creatively. let's change that. like a lot of things that the government has done, here's this thing, go. before we used to give you all of the parameters, told you what to do, that was a mistake, you were right, but undo everything you've spent the past 10, 15 years doing. >> a lot of retraining for the teachers, too. they have to have a sense of bravery to go back into the water. they very brave. they're trep dash shus. we have the most precious thing,
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the children. they are care it'll with that. they put a lot of pressure on themselves. san jose unified spent a lot of money. >> this will require more computers in the classroom, new testing system, talking about the smarter balance rather than moving away from the start tests. where are we getting money for all of this? >> we have prepared -- one of the things we did, budget dollar, we knew this would take an incredible amount of professional development to get people to feel comfortable doing this. the exciting thing for me, our teachers are jumping in head first because they know that these are absolutely the skills that students are going to need to be successful in the 2 1st century. if they do jobs that haven't been created yet, these are the skills they absolutely have to have. >> as a parent, what support do i give my teacher now that she's
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implementing new standards when it comes to reading and platte? what are we supposed to do as parents to make it successful? >> if the parents downloaded the common core standards. they're available online. if they look at them in reading and platte and there's literacy standards in social studies and science, the progression makes sense and continuing to ask students what they learned in school that day and asking them to bill upon that learning by asking them to reflect on it add to something else, those conversations at dinner trabl powerful because it remains kids we think at home and school. >> can common core be successful if we're not giving schools, especially schools struggling,er to support they need with the right teachers and funding? >> it will make it more difficult to close the gap. and so we absolutely have to look at schools equitably. that's what we're doing as part of our strategy ex-plan, and those places that are going to need additional help, with resources need to be aimed that
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way. as governor moves forward, local control, the funding formula, that's one aspect that will assist also ha. >> i got an education today.
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tonight, updates for you now on higher education. janet napolitano takes reins at university of california next month. selected to be the first female president of the uc system. recall that protesters interrupted her confirmation in july. there are concerns about her views on immigration and deportation, according to them. we have been following the saga at city college of san francisco for you on class action. there's a new twist this week. the city of san francisco is now standing up for its city college and suing to restore the school's academic standing. the largest city college in an ongoing battle with a commission
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that threatens to yank accreditation. he's asking a judge to block the commission from taking further action. the city attorney has filed a separate lawsuit against the board of governors of the california community colleges, saying they're the ones that should be judging accreditation and not handing the job over to another agency. the saga will continue from there. that's going to do it for us today. a quick note, see all of our "class action" stories the nbcbayarea.com/classaction. hope to hear from you seen. thanks for watching. good night. . .
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previously on "siberia"... (joyce) i think we need to get out of here. (johnny) we went to that camp, and it's a complete ghost town. no one's there. we're pretty much here on our own. (daniel) there's a radio. - (static crackling) - someone's jamming the signal. what's going on here?! - why are they (bleep) with us?! - stop it! aah! - (joyce) johnny, johnny, no! - (thuds) i think what we need to do is we need to protect ourselves
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and prove that something happened here. so you guys keep filming. we want a record of it. (annie) daniel found this light. i guess it'd been there all the time. we just never saw it. (daniel) i'm going in the morning. you guys wanna go, that's fine. oh, my god. guys, what happened here? (joyce) whew. - oh. - yeah. johnny, can i have some water, please? - (shivering) - something weird had to do that to all those trees. did it have anything to do with the sky? the green sky? if there's enough debris in the air from that explosion, maybe that caused a refraction of light. thatoesn't make sense. - (joyce) like a nuclear bomb? - no. how are you so sure? we'd all be dead. (joyce) what is that? (clangs)

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