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tv   NBC Bay Area News Special  NBC  August 26, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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you're watching a nbc bay area special. tonight, class action. >> it's stuffy, hot, humid in a lot of the classrooms. >> reporter: poor air quality in bay area classrooms may make kids so sick they can't go to school. >> my concern as a teacher is i can't educate an empty desk. i really can't. >> reporter: but the people in charge of facilities say there's not much they can do. >> it's basically a bear minimum. >> reporter: the bathroom battle. transgender students will soon pick restrooms on their sexual identity. >> this is not people looking for a thrill by going into the opposite jen ser bathroom.
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>> reporter: but opponents are gearing up for a fight. we'll go behind the breakthrough. here's nbc bay area's jessica aguirre. >> hello, and welcome to our class action education special. it is back to school, so we have a lot to report on tonight. i'm jessica aguirre. first up, the quality of air in your child's school. now these end of summer days can be hot which can me stuffy classrooms and bad air. they examined air quality and the results surprised them. more than half of the classrooms studied are not properly ventilated. the jungle gym's no match for this child today. but on the days his asthma flares up, his mother worries about the simple act of sending him to schas. >> it's stuffy, hot, humid in the classrooms. if you're a parent of a child with asthma, that's where they spend the majority of their time
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instead of at home. sitting in a classroom and you can't breathe. it's just not good. >> reporter: she may be right. in the largest study of its kind, scientists found that more than half of california sclas rooms studied don't meet state ventilation standards. >> lower ventilation rates were associated with substantial increase in illness absence in the students. >> reporter: the scientist says indoor air pollutants can add up, it can come from the carpet, furniture, dust or even other students who may be sick. indoor pollutants should be diluted with outdoor air through ventilation systems, but for some reason that's not always happening. >> our best guess is they're being operated to save money and energy by bringing in less air. >> reporter: code says they must bring in 7.1 liters per second per person. the median estimate is 5.1
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liters per send per person. a bigger issue, the prefabricated buildings. they have a median estimated ventilation rate of 3.1 liters per second. >> my concern as a teacher is i can't educate an empty desk. i really can't. >> reporter: the california teacher's association has fought for years for healthier classrooms. and they say it's clear where the responsibility lies. >> it falls on the school district. the school district is responsible for following the laws. they should follow the laws. >> the air comes from the unit up above. >> reporter: the director for facilities says the study results don't reflect what's happening in his district, but he is frank about the challenges he faces. >> the ventilation systems are receiving the maintenance by our maintenance department, but it's basically at bare minimum. >> reporter: chronic underfunding have left school
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districts strapped for cash. they funnel everything think can for classroom instruction with little left other for maintenance. >> i think a maintenance program for a ventilation system might be visiting a unit three to to four time as year. they usually have the resources to visit it when it's broken. >> reporter: it's not a situation he sees turning around anytime soon. >> without a significant investment from the state, the systems are going to become more dilapidated over time. >> reporter: parents are holding their breath. >> something needs to be done about it. >> reporter: okay. so why not complain to your school? cal osha can be called in to investigate air quality, but only if the complaint is filed by a teacher or a staff. because there is an occupational standard that adequate ventilation must be provided to workers, but not for students. really? and get this, researchers say if
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veptslation rates were raised, there would be a 3.4% reduction in absences because of illness. schools would actually gain $33 million annually in funding that's linked to attendance. and families? they would avoid about $80 million annually in cost caring for a sick child. so clearly a lot is on the line for both families and schools. some headlines for you now. with the start of the new year, san francisco and oak hand unified will get a special reprieve from no child left behind. the two are some to get a historic waiver from the law. it frees up more than $100 million for the districts to use as they please. the department of education had previously rejected a waiver application from the state. this marks the first time that the feds will work directly with actual districts. they're getting the cash but not
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without controversy. they blasted it saying teachers were not consulted on the deal. california's teacher association said at a time when we're 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, counter-productive and divisive. up next, the bathroom battle. transgender students will soon be able to use bathrooms and join the sports teams they feel match their gender identity. that's regardless of what's on their birth certificate. supporters say it gives transgender students a chance to fully participate in school. >> this is not people who are looking to get a thrill by going into the opposite gender bathroom. these are people who truly feel like they have belonged no the opposite gender bathroom all along. >> while they must provide
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physician proof, they feel there is room for abuse. they feel the law violates the privacy of students that they perceive are from the opposite gender. and finally, more cuts to head start. last year head start shortened the year as a result of s sequestration. >> these programs are already on the shoestring budget. they get about $8,000 a year per child. and if you think about how much private preschool costs, which is close to $20,000 a year per child in places like the bay area and los angeles, that's not a lot of money. so they don't have a lot of wiggle room, and that's why kids are losing their spots. >> now the reductions will stay in place also congress reverses those sequester cuts. we're going to introduce you
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to two people from opposite sides of the negotiating table. the head of the teacher's union 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. something special is happening in san jose unified this fall. they are implepting a new teachers' contract. their is groundbreaking because it includes that controversial e word, evaluation. vincent matthews is with us and jennifer thomas, president of the teachers' union, the san jose teachers association. evaluations. let's talk about this. because this has been a hot button issue for a very long time.
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traditionally the way it was done is they'd go in and watch a teacher about 30 minutes one time a year, and that would be done. a lot of criticism that people didn't think it was enough. what are you doing different in the way you're evaluating teachers? >> one of the things that needed to change were the kinds of people who watched a professional. one of the things we've negotiated to do is to bring in classroom professionals in the form of teachers who recently left the classroom to give feedback and be part of the evaluation process with the educational professional in san jose. >> so it's not just one person it's several people viewing the teacher in action. >> at least two, with one being the teacher who has recently left the classroom with as much as guaranteed a specialty. >> you sat in this very chair with me one day doing a show. and michelle was talking about the concept of evaluating
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teachers, and you balked at that idea. what is different in the way you were doing and what she suggested. >> well, michelle and those who talk about tying test score does teacher evaluations. in san jose unified we realize that the research bears absolutely no relevant data for us in terms of improving student outcome. our focus is where it has been centered. improving education, high quality feedback to teachers and using that to determine how best to impact students. >> the obama administration has been making a big push about tying it. but you say you're using performance, but you're not going to use it as the measuring stick for how a teacher's doing. >> right. that's not the measuring stick. what we're really look is making sure that the center of the universe is what's happening in that classroom, the interaction
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between the teacher and the student. what we're doing is looking at how we improve that. the traditional way was you come in, the principal comes in with the form, goes through the evaluation, then sits down with the teacher goes over it. and the teacher determines whether they're going to reflect upon that. this process actually assists the teacher and makes it a reflective process of what's going on in the classroom and how can we effect that performance. we're continuing to look at a number of steps. we have consulting teachers. that group will work. we have a teacher quality panel. but ultimately if a teacher doesn't do well they ultimately don't end up moving forward on our step and column that we set up in the tess trick. >> can some of the teachers make more money than others? >> well, no. so under ed code we have a uniform salary schedule. teachers will still advance through the salary schedule as
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they would year by year assuming that their evaluation is positive. we've set up a tremendous number of safe guards to determine it's not just one person who determines it. but there will be the consulting teacher in the room to offer that validation and evidence and as dr. matthews said, the teacher quality panel reviewing all the documentations to make sure that evaluations are fair, highly communicative and supportive of the work in the classroom in pursuit of excellence for the students. >> one of the steps we would like to move forward with and this is discussions that we've had is a model and master type of, model/master type of situation where teachers them can begin to make more, based on the additional steps that they've taken, additional work that they would do around teaching and around assisting teachers. >> seniority make more money based on the years, it would be based on the knowledge they have? >> the knowledge and the steps that they're taking and what you're actually giving back and
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doing for the site and teachers who are there. these are conversations we've had. what we really need, in order to imflemt a model teacher is much more funding. >> money. always comes down to money. >> absolutely. >> you keep saying equitable. is it the equitable, why is it that the teachers' union isn't exactly embracing it, even though we think it's ground breaking, why isn't the larger teacher's association embracing this? >> absolutely cta has been supportive. they say if it works in san jose we're very supportive of that. our framework matches the california teacher's association and the national framework. >> so let me ask you why. i know you spoke to a panel recently. you said you're going to take a flame of trust and take a leap
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together. why is it so -- i don't want to say contentious, yu is it so 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 attacking public education come from outside our organizations. we've been told don't trust the district or the teachers can't be trusted because they're only in it to save their necks. in reality, we have to trust that we're all in it for the same reason, and as basic as that sounds, there's not been the climate in california and in the nation for that to really be possible. you can look at which ises with for the evidence of that sort of thing. >> and very quickly, last 30 seconds. do you see this, if it happens and does well here, do you see this as a model that could be moving across california and across the u.s. as well? >> absolutely. you talked about that leap of faith. when we started this process, the management and the teachers
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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. and it really is around making sure that all students have 21st corre century skills. >> stay exactly where you are. when we come back we're going to hear more from jennifer and vincent and common core. what is that? ♪
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gearing up. teachers have been in training for new academic standards called the common core. they picked up pencils as students to brush up on new standards on math and literacy. they emphasize analytical and reasoning skills. we are back with vincent matthews and jennifer thomas.
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okay. we're starting to hear common core a lot. but i don't think a lot of us understand, what is common core. >> it is a set of standards. 45 states have adopted common standards. students from texas would take an assessment and be taught a different way than students in california. and at the end of the day, you didn't know where students stood in comparing them to others. it gets us to a place where we can really look at where students are and how they're moving forward in being prepared for the 21st century. >> not everybody has doesn'ted that. am i going to notice a way my kid is being taught? >> in san jose unified you will. when i say the 21st century skills, like collaboration, much
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more problem solving, creative thinking. much more of a way instead of going wide, which the previous standards did, it's a much more focused approach, and we go deeper. >> so you're telling you're not going to teach for the test? >> absolutely. >> how much is this, how much rigorous, we saw the teachers there. how much harder is this it going to be for teacher does learn these new standards? it's got to be a little tough now to be thrown into this new way of teaching which changes the way they've been told to do it for a long time. does this give teachers more creative license do you think? >> i think you hit the nail on the head. for years the state has dictated standards, collaboration, communication. and so they've said oh, that was a huge mistake. and we're sending kids off to university and the work force unprepared. so like a lot of things that the
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government has done, in public education they've said here's this thing, now go. before we gave you parameters, gave you the books and told you what to do. now we real eye that was a mistake. that was right all along. please undo everything you've spent the last ten, 15 years doing. >> they have to have sense of bravery to go back to the water that way. >> they are very brave, that freedom is very empowering and inspiring, everybody realizes we have the most precious things in our hands, the future of our state and nation. so they put a lot of pressure on themselves. they're spending an incredible amount of time. they have spent a lot of money. >> the topic of money, that's going to require more computers, more testing programs, the smarter balance. where are we going to get the money for this? >> we have prepared -- one of the things we did was budget
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dollars. we knew this was going to take an uncredible amount of professional development to get people where they feel comfortable doing this. 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 21st century. if they're going to be able to do jobs that haven't been created yet, these are the skills they have to have. >> as a parent, what kind of support can i give my teacher now when it come does reading or math, what are we supposed to do as parents to be part of this equation to make it successful? ? i think what would be helpful is if the parents downloaded the common core standards. if they look at them in reading and math and there's literacy standards, they'll see that the progression makes a lot of sense in continuing to ask students what they learned that day and asking them to build upon that learning by asking them to reflect on it.
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those conversations at the dinner table are incredibly powerful because it reminds kids that we think at home as well as at school. >> can common core be successful if we're not giving schools the support they need with the right teachers and the right funding? >> well, it definitely 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 is to look at schools equitably, and those places that are going to need additional help, the resources need to be aimed that way. i think as the governor moves forward, i think that's one aspect that will assist also. >> all right. thank you. i got an education from you both today. thank you very much. we'll be right back. [ marco ] i'm a student at devry university.
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finally, tonight, some updates for you now on higher education. janet napolitano takes the reins of the university of california next month. the former secretary of homeland
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security was selected to be the first female president. you may recall that protesters interrupted in july. now we've been following the saga at san francisco on class action. there's a new twist this week. the city of san francisco is now defy aptly standing up for its city college and it's suing to restore the school's academic standing. the state's largest city college has been -- now they're asking a judge to block the commission from taking further action. the city attorney has also filed a separate lawsuit begins 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. so the saga will continue from there. that's going to do it for us today though.
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a quick note before we go. you can see all of our stories on our website. thanks for watching. good night.
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. >> hi everyone, welcome to "on the money," i'm maria bartiromo, coming to you from outside the new york stock exchange, a massive glitch brings trading to a halt for hours at the nasdaq. what went wrong and what does it mean for your money. and an interview with the ceo of the world's largest retailer and a company that employees more than anybody else. we will talk jobs and the economy with walmart's ceo, why lobster men are feeling the pinch, and you are still paying full price. "on the money" begins right now. this is america's number one financial news program. "on the money," now, maria bartiromo. >> here is the news as we go into a new


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