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Education (90)

Twenty-Seven Los Angeles Unified School District-West Students Receive ‘Instant’ or ‘Early’ Admission to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Under New Joint Agreement

Second partnership between CDU and LAUSD enables qualified LAUSD-West students to receive priority admission to CDU, along with varying levels of scholarships.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 30, 2017) — Twenty-seven Los Angeles Unified School District-West students were granted “instant” or “early” admission to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) as a result of the second partnership between CDU and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in the past 13 months.

“Instant” admissions are given to graduating seniors, who are accepted for the Fall 2017 term at CDU, while “early” admissions are given to current juniors, who are accepted for the Fall 2018 term.

The agreement, which will enable qualified students from LAUSD-West to pursue careers in medicine and science at the South Los Angeles University, was announced at a signing ceremony at CDU on May 30, 2017, and is similar to the arrangement offered to LAUSD-South students in April 2016. CDU has also signed “instant” or “early” admission memorandums of understanding with Compton Unified School District, Verbum Dei High School and West Los Angeles College, and expects to sign additional agreements with Los Angeles County schools, school districts and community colleges in the coming year.

“One of our most important goals at CDU is to help reduce health disparities and create more access to quality health care in under-resourced communities,” said CDU President and CEO Dr. David Carlisle. “According to a 2015 survey, more than 80% of our alumni go on to practice in underserved communities following graduation. So when we’re able to provide an opportunity to high school students from underserved areas to enter the medical field, we are directly addressing that critical goal.”

LAUSD-West schools covered by the agreement include:

§ Crenshaw High School

§ Dorsey High School

§ Fairfax High School

§ Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA)

§ Hamilton High School

§ Hawkins C: DAGS

§ Hawkins CHAS

§ Hawkins RISE

§ Helen Bernstein High School

§ Helen Bernstein HS: STEM

§ Hollywood High School

§ Los Angeles High School

§ Middle College High School

§ University High School

§ Venice High School

§ Washington Prep. High School

§ Westchester Magnet High School

“We’re very excited to be able to expand our partnership with LAUSD,” said CDU Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Steve O. Michael, PhD. “We share a vision with LAUSD leadership that all students deserve an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate education. And it’s part of our commitment to the communities we serve, and particularly, the medically underserved communities of South Los Angeles, to help provide those academic opportunities in the medical field.”

“This is about promise, hope and the future,” said LAUSD-West Superintendent Cheryl Hildreth. “It’s an important step toward increasing opportunities for inner-city students to pursue STEM fields starting right here in their own community. It’s a step toward changing belief systems about what these students are really capable of doing and helping them do it.”

Added LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer, “We’re talking about changing health care in America. These students here could be the ones who, five or 10 years from now, are summoning a combination of science, technology, training and compassion to serve a public in need of their care. It is their rightful place at this university, and it could be their rightful place in a career in medicine.”

For more information, visit http://www.cdrewu.edu/, and follow CDU on Facebook, Twitter (@cdrewu), and Instagram(@charlesrdrewu).

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CSUSB Celebrates Class Of 2017 At Commencement Exercises June 15 & 17

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — It’s their time.

After years of hard work in classrooms, a seemingly endless number of papers to write and nights of little sleep from studying for midterms and finals, Cal State San Bernardino’s Class of 2017 has one more hurdle to make before getting a degree — graduation.

And that will be accomplished when the university holds its five commencement ceremonies on Thursday and Saturday, June 15 and 17, where more than 3, 200 graduating students will be participating.

This year the university will bestow honorary doctorates to CSUSB alumnus Lou Monville and Rabbi Hillel Cohn. Monville will be honored during College of Arts and Letters ceremony at noon June 17, and Cohn during the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences ceremony at 8 a.m. that same day.

The first graduation ceremony will be for the CSUSB’s Palm Desert Campus on Thursday, June 15, at 6 p.m. at The Show at Agua Caliente Spa and Resort, 32-250 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage.

The PDC ceremony will have its largest number of participants in the campus’ history as 308 students will be in cap and gown, which will include graduates from its first freshman class.

During the PDC ceremony, special awards will be given to Nicole Phillips for Outstanding Undergraduate Student and Barbara Katic for Outstanding Graduate Student. Phillips, who lives in Palm Desert, will receive a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, and is graduating magna cum laude, or with high honors. Katic, who also lives in Palm Desert, will receive a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, as well as a PPS credential.

Commencement ceremonies then move to Saturday, June 17, when CSUSB’s five colleges will honor their graduating students at Citizens Business Bank Arena, 4000 E. Ontario Center Pkwy., in Ontario. Parking at Citizens Business Bank Arena will be $5 in lots A, B, C and D. Patrons are encouraged to bring exact change.

All of the ceremonies at Citizens Business Bank Arena will be webcast live on the Creative Media Services webcast page at http://acm.csusb.edu/services/videoproduction/livewebcast.html.

Now in its third year at Citizens Business Bank Arena, the university moved its commencement ceremony to the Ontario location from the university’s Coussoulis Arena due to the increasing number of graduates and their guests.

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will start the day with its graduation ceremony at 8 a.m. as 1,039 students are expected to participate. The college will honor Diana Robinson of Fontana, who will receive a master’s degree in psychology, as its outstanding graduate student, and Janhavi M. Dhargalkar of San Bernardino, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology, will be recognized as its outstanding undergraduate student.

Rabbi Cohn, will be honored during the ceremony for his years of service to the community. Cohn has led the Jewish community in the greater San Bernardino area for more than 50 years and has been a leader in a number of civic and charitable organizations and committees.

At noon, the College of Art and Letters and the College of Education will hold their joint commencement ceremony with 475 students at Arts and Letters and 115 for the College of Education. Arts and Letters will honor Monville for his leadership and volunteer efforts with CSUSB, the California State University system and in the community. Monville served on the CSU Board of Trustees for 10 years culminating with two terms as the board chair.

The college will also honor Derek Mkhaiel of Moreno Valley, who will receive master’s degree in English composition and literature, as its outstanding graduate student, and Luis Esparza of Colton, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, as its outstanding undergraduate student.

The College of Education will honor Eyad Alfattal of Redlands, who will graduate with a doctorate in educational leadership, as its outstanding doctoral student, and Sharaya Tran of Ontario, who will graduate with a master’s degree in counseling and guidance in education, as its outstanding graduate student.

The Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration will hold its commencement ceremony at 4 p.m. with 661 students expected to participate. The college will honor Julia Rodriguez Fuentes of Adelanto, who will graduate with a master’s degree in accounting, as its outstanding graduate student, and Jordan Gallinger of Barstow, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, as its outstanding undergraduate student.

The College of Natural Sciences will close out the day’s celebration at 8 p.m. when it holds its commencement ceremony with 617 students expected to participate. The college will honor Teresa Urbina of Corona, who will graduate with a master’s degree in biology, as the outstanding graduate student, Amylee Martin of Ontario, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and Jonathan Foreman, who graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is now a science policy advisor for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as the college’s outstanding alumnus.

For more information about the June 2016 graduations, visit the CSUSB Commencement website at http://commencement.csusb.edu/index.html or contact the Office of Special Events and Guest Services at (909) 537-7360.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

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Assemblymember McCarty Gun Free School Zones Legislation

(SACRAMENTO) – The California State Assembly approved AB 424 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D- Sacramento), which will update California’s Gun Free School Zones law to make schools truly gun free. The measure was approved on a vote of 43-23.

While civilian possession of a gun on a school campus is prohibited, a school district can currently authorize an armed civilian with a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit to enter a school campus. A number of California school districts including Folsom Cordova Unified, Kingsburg Joint Union, Anderson Union, and Kern school districts have begun to issue these authorizations, increasing the number of guns on K-12 school campuses and the risk of an on campus shooting.

AB 424 would eliminate this loophole, reducing the number of guns on school campuses, making school campuses safer and fulfilling the original intent of California’s Gun Free School Zones law.

"Nothing that was important to me before Chris was killed is as important to me now,” said Richard Martinez, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network and Senior Associate for Everytown for Gun Safety, whose son Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez was shot and killed in Isla Vista, California in May of 2014. “The only thing that’s important is the work that I do to help prevent other families from experiencing the same loss. That's why I support Assembly Bill 424."

Since 2013, over 200 school shootings have taken place in America — an average of nearly one a week.

“A safe learning environment is essential for our children to be successful in the classroom,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento). “That’s not possible if a school district allows armed civilians to roam California school campuses. Today’s approval of AB 424 by the State Assembly is the latest example of California leading the nation’s efforts to reduce gun violence and keep guns out of our schools.”

AB 424 now moves to the State Senate for further consideration.

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San Gorgonio High’s Black Student Union Celebrated 10th Anniversary

The Black Student Union (BSU) at San Gorgonio High School celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Friday, May 26 with a reunion at the Double Tree Hotel in San Bernardino.

The BSU is a club that promotes enrichment activities of common interest, as well as cultural and educational benefits, for African-American and minority students.

One of the main focuses for BSU members is reaching out to elementary and middle school students to empower and inspire them to excel in school. More than 600 students have participated in the club since San G’s BSU was founded in 2006 by then student Darryl Drake, who returned for the 10-year celebration.

Drake, a millionaire entrepreneur and network marketing expert, founded the BSU at San G with the help of teacher Melanie Sypherd. Drake was one of the event keynote speakers along with fellow Class of 2006 graduate Edward Hewitt, who now works for the California Department of Transportation.

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SBVC Graduates One of the Largest Classes in Its 90-Year History

An aerial view over SBVC’s Henley Field during Commencement 2017, one of the largest graduations in the college’s history. Photo: Sergey Astakhov

SAN BERNARDINO, California—On Friday, May 26, San Bernardino Valley College celebrated the graduation of one of the largest classes in its 90-year history.

The Class of 2017 had an exceptionally high university transfer rate, as well as an impressive number of associate’s degrees awarded to students, a 48% increase over the prior year.

In total, 1,468 students received 2,056 degrees and certificates, with 55% of graduates being the first in their families to graduate from college, and 28 seniors from Middle College High School graduating concurrently with high school diplomas and associate’s degrees.

“I am deeply impressed by the tenacity and brilliance of our 2017 graduating class,” said President Diana Z. Rodriguez. “Many have earned multiple degrees and certificates, making them prime candidates for the most in-demand and rewarding careers in the Southern California job market. We are extremely proud of their achievements.”

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Life Center Church Adopts Emmerton Elementary School

On Wednesday, May 24, Life Center Church proudly adopted Emmerton Elementary School, formalizing a mutually-beneficial partnership that began last year.

Last Thanksgiving, the church donated 20 food baskets for Emmerton’s needy families, and plans are underway to provide free haircuts in August for students returning for the new school year. In turn, Emmerton will hold a book drive for the church, which will distribute the new and used books to children in foster care.

Emmerton is grateful for the support, said Principal Tasha Lindsay-Doizan.

“We welcome every opportunity to strengthen long-lasting ties with our community,” Lindsay-Doizan said. “When our community takes an interest in supporting our school, it sends a message to our students that education is important and valuable.”

The Adopt-a-School program is a partnership between the San Bernardino City Unified School District and the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce. The program partners SBCUSD schools with local businesses and institutions to create opportunities for student success.

The community is invited to join the Adopt-a-School celebration, which begins at 1:30 p.m. on May 24. All school visitors are required to check in at the main office immediately after arriving on campus. Emmerton Elementary School is located at 1888 Arden Avenue, San Bernardino. For more information about the school, visit www.sbcusd.com/emmerton. For more information about Life Center Church, visit mylifecenterchurch.com.

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Howard Commencement Honors Ground-Breaking Women Prestigious Institutions Celebrates 149th Graduation Class in its 150th Year

WASHINGTON - Howard University, one of the nation’s premiere institutions of higher learning, will honor four ground-breaking women during its annual commencement, including an award-winning journalist, the first African-American woman Episcopal priest, an acclaimed scholar and critic and the first African-American U.S. Senator from California.

Journalist Maureen Bunyan, the Rev. Anna (Pauli) Pauline Murray, scholar Eleanor W. Traylor and Sen. Kamala Harris will receive honorary doctorate degrees May 13 at the university’s 149th commencement.

“These remarkable honorees embody the spirit and aspiration that guides Howard’s mission of excellence in truth and service,” said Howard University

President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. “We are pleased to honor for the first time a distinguished panel comprised of all women. We also embrace and recognize the sterling contributions of women all over the world and certainly here at Howard University. These women dedicated their talents and lives to improving the world and all lives.”

Harris, who will also be the commencement speaker, Bunyan, Traylor will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters while Murray will be posthumously awarded with an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Howard University celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. A private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.

Its students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Over the past 20 years, the University has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, over 60 Fulbright recipients, 22 Pickering Fellows and one Schwarzman Scholar.

Harris, was the first African-American and first woman to serve as attorney general of California and the second African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. As attorney general, helped secure the National Mortgage Settlement against five banks that gave $12 billion of debt reduction for the state's homeowners and $26 billion overall. Other parts of the funding would go to state housing counseling services and legal help for struggling homeowners and forgiving the debt of over 23,000 homeowners.

Harris served two terms as district attorney of San Francisco. As D.A., Harris started a program that gives first-time drug dealers the chance to earn a high-school diploma and find employment. In 2009, Harris wrote Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer. She was elected to the U.S. Senator in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1986.

Bunyan is an award-winning journalist who spent more than 40 years an anchor for newscasts on Washington television stations WJLA and WUSA. She is a founder and board member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.

She was named a "Washingtonian of the Year" in 1992 and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, "The Silver Circle" of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Broadcast Pioneers Club of Washington. Ms. Bunyan also attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she earned a Master's degree.

Traylor is a graduate professor of English at Howard and acclaimed scholar and critic in African-American literature and criticism. Her work has appeared in the form of chapter essays, biographies, articles, and papers on such writers as Larry Neal, Henry Dumas, Toni Cade Bambara, Margaret Walker, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright. She is the author of Broad Sympathy: The Howard University Oral Traditions Reader, The Humanities and Afro-American Literary Tradition and cultural scripts for the Smithsonian Institution’s Program in Black American Culture. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Spelman College, a Master’s degree from Atlanta University and a doctoratefrom Catholic University, where she pursued her interests in African-American literature and mythology. She later received a Merrill Scholarship to the Stuttgarter Hochschule in West Germany and a research fellowship to study at the Institute of African Studies in Ghana and Nigeria.

Murray, was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, and author. who became one of the first women ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977. She was a quiet force behind some of the most iconic civil rights and social justice events of the 20th century. Thurgood Marshall regarded her book, “States’ Laws on Race and Color,” as the “bible” in crafting his arguments for famous Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case that ended legal segregation in public schools.

Along with Betty Friedan and 30 others, Murray was a founding member of the National Organization for Women. Murray was graduated first in her class, but she was denied the chance to do post-graduate work at Harvard University because of her gender. She was the only female in her Howard University Law School class in 1944 and graduated first in her class. She earned a master's degree in law at University of California, Berkeley, and in 1965 she became the first African American to receive a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Yale Law School. She died in 1985.

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Women Leading The Way – Salute to Women in STEAM Pop-Up Live Museum

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – Mobile Commerce Digital Technology Alliance and Girls Got Geek will host the 2nd Annual Women Leading The Way Pop-Up Museum: Salute to Women in STEAM. This edutainment event will feature a magnificent living museum to inspire and motivate young girls and ignite their interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and other non-traditional careers. Honorees will share personal stories of what it takes to be successful in areas where women are underrepresented.

Women continue to advance in education and the world of work. Yet in spite of these advances, women still lag behind in non-traditional fields.

“I believe we are what we see,” said museum Curator Cynthia Frazier. “What is a girl to do when she doesn’t see herself in a career field?” she continued.

This is a unique, fun, educational event where history will magically be transformed into life by local students and adults. Guests will enjoy an interactive, hands on, multidimensional art exhibition, performances, a video gallery, an elegant conversation reception, and special recognition by local elected officials.

In addition, a special monologue tribute from the play Ashbury Tree, written over five years ago by the late Richard O. Jones will be presented by Martha Brantley Jackson, Director and Monica McMurtry, Actress. The play is a story about Henrietta Lacks.

WHERE: San Bernardino Valley College 701 South Mt. Vernon St. B100 (Lot 11) San Bernardino CA 92410

WHEN: Sunday, May 7, 2017 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

PURPOSE: To inspire curiosity about the contributions of women in STEAM through the enjoyment of visual and performing arts

AUDIENCE: Youth and their parents, educators, business and community leaders

HONOREES: Arlene Garcia, Director at Job Corps, Andrea Jones, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dispatcher, and Dr. Deborah Small

For more details, or to RSVP, visit www.WomenL eadingTheWay.EventBrite.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 219 S. Riverside #193 Rialto CA 92376

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Broad Coalition of Legislators, Educators and Parents Back 3 Bills to Stop Waste, Fraud and Abuse, Ensure Equal Access for All Students at California’s Charter Schools

SACRAMENTO – Lawmakers, educators, parents and a broad coalition of community supporters joined for a news conference today in the State Capitol to shed light on a very important package of bills that must be enacted to ensure California charter school accountability and transparency and to also ensure unbiased access to all students.

SB 808 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, AB 1478 by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer and AB 1360 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta would address many of the injustices and fraudulent practices that are negatively impacting California’s students.

SB 808 would ensure local control by allowing charter schools to be authorized only by the school district in which the charters would be located. “It is important, especially as an educator, to have people engage in open discussion about ensuring that our children’s educational system continues to improve. Part of ensuring that our education system advances is to make sure that all schools – charter and traditional – are held accountable for the concerns of parents and students,” said Senator Mendoza, author of SB 808.

AB 1478 would require charter school governing boards to comply with existing laws rightfully demanding transparency and accountability to parents and the public in the operation of taxpayer-funded schools.

“Evidence shows that this lack of accountability has led to financial gains for for-profit corporate charter operators, has too often been disastrous for thousands of California students and has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse,” said Terri Jackson, California Teachers Association Board Member and fourth-grade teacher in Contra Costa County. “Public education should be about kids, not profits. Instead of subsidizing corporate charter schools run by for-profit companies with taxpayer dollars, we should be using the money to strengthen our local neighborhood public schools for all California children.”

The California Federation of Teachers also co-sponsored the bills urging lawmakers and the governor to enact them to stop the fraudulent and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. “By creating non-profit shells, charter corporations are able to hide behind a technicality to skim off profits from public dollars. AB 1478 will help put an end to this practice, and this package of bills will make charter schools more accountable overall,” said Gemma Abels, a CFT Vice President and president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers.

AB 1360 would set new requirements for charter schools’ admission, suspension and expulsion policies, bringing them more in line with traditional schools. “AB 1360 provides equal opportunity for our students by ensuring they have fair access to learning opportunities in all publicly funded California schools,” said Assembly Member Bonta. “Our young people must not be disadvantaged or pushed out of learning environments through unfair admissions policies or disciplinary rules. AB 1360 puts our children first.”

The impact on California’s students has raised many red flags for community supporters around the state, causing heightened attention, concern and action to ensure social justice, equity and consistent application of policies for all students regardless of ZIP code.

"The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color is co-sponsoring AB 1360 because we are committed to ensuring all schools have nondiscriminatory admissions policies and procedural protections for students in place guaranteed by the right to due process that are clear and consistent,” said Jordan Thierry, Senior Associate, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. “This legislation will help ensure decisions related to admissions or disciplinary actions are not arbitrary, but rather based on established guidelines aligned with state and federal law."

Support for these bills is widespread. In fact, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, at the helm of the district where there are many recent cases in which the FBI is investigating fraud and fiscal mismanagement at charter operations like at Celerity Educational Group, adopted a resolution April 18 in support of this legislation that would provide much relief for the students in LAUSD schools.

“These bills reflect the idea that all publicly funded charter schools must adhere to the same accountability and transparency standards as district public schools. In Tuesday’s vote, the School Board signaled that the Trump/DeVos ‘anything goes’ agenda to privatize our public schools is not welcome in Los Angeles,” said United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl about the school board’s action. “We applaud George McKenna, Steve Zimmer, Scott Schmerelson, and Richard Vladovic, all veteran classroom teachers, counselors, and school administrators, who led the charge in this important vote.”

During the 2016 statewide campaign and, once again, in the school board election in Los Angeles, corporate billionaires with a coordinated agenda to privatize public schools are spending millions of dollars to elect candidates whose agenda is aligned to theirs. A concerned group of educators, parents and community supporters launched Kids Not Profits. The campaign exposes privately managed charter schools, their impact on students, the billionaires behind them and urges supporters to take action to demand that state lawmakers create stronger charter regulations, more accountability, transparency and equal access for all students.

Recent news headlines and academic studies have documented the waste, fraud and abuse by privately managed charter schools that have cost taxpayers millions while hurting students. A new report from national nonprofit In the Public Interest finds that much of this public investment, hundreds of millions of dollars, has been misspent on schools that do not fulfill the intent of state charter school policy and undermine the financial viability of California’s public school districts.

In a report released earlier this month, Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning in California’s Charter School Facility Funding, In the Public Interest reveals that a substantial portion of the more than $2.5 billion in tax dollars or taxpayer subsidized financing spent on California charter school facilities in the past 15 years has been misspent on: schools that underperformed nearby traditional public schools; schools built in districts that already had enough classroom space; schools that were found to have discriminatory enrollment policies; and, in the worst cases, schools that engaged in unethical or corrupt practices.

An ACLU report, “Unequal Access,” found that more than 20 percent of California’s charter schools deny access to students with disabilities, English learners, or students who have lower grades and test scores. The NAACP recently called for a ban on privately managed charters.

Charter school scandals continue to make headlines, while another report shows that an expansion of privately run charter schools would cost the Los Angeles Unified School District more than $500 million this year alone.

And important to note, research by In The Public Interest shows Californians overwhelmingly favor proposals to reform charter schools—proposals that include strengthening charter school accountability and transparency, improving teacher training and qualifications, preventing fraud, returning money to taxpayers when charter schools close, and ensuring that neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected.

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A lesson for the nation’s Education Secretary: Serve public, not private interests

This year’s swearing in of a new Congress and President signaled a surge of new ideas and approaches to government. However, no elected or appointed official should ever depart from or diminish the primary role of government: service to the American people. Ours was, is and must remain a democracy that affords every citizen the opportunity to become a productive and contributing member of society.

Yet in recent weeks, the Department of Education has taken a series of specific actions that depart from our creed and duty. By disregarding the needs of 40 million debt-laden student loan borrowers who collectively owe more than $1.2 trillion, it seems one of the Education Department’s top priorities is to respond to concerns of student loan servicers hired and paid with taxpayer dollars.

Where is a DeVos plan to address these still-growing concerns? With more philanthropic than administrative expertise, hearing from student borrowers, higher education officials and consumer advocates would provide insightful benefits to the new Education Secretary.

In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received 12,300 student loan complaints. Of these, the vast majority – 67 percent – concerned either their lender or their servicer. Another 30 percent of student loan complaints focused on fees, billing, credit reporting, defaults and fraud.

“More frequently than other issues, non-federal and federal student loan borrowers expressed their concerns relating to trouble with how payments are handled,” states CFPB’s report. “Borrowers complained of misapplied payments and inaccurate accounting of payments. Some borrowers complained of misapplication of payments and reported that payments were not applied to specific accounts, but rather applied to all accounts managed by the servicer.”

Ironically, servicer complaints made many mortgage borrowers frustrated too, especially during the housing crisis. Whatever the loan financed, borrowers were pleading with servicers to act responsively and fairly.

Despite minimal standards of accountability, on April 4 the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER), the organization that represents student loan servicers, wrote the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House Appropriations Committee and its Education subcommittee. In part, the letter wrote, “the amount that is paid to servicers is not sufficient to cover the currently requested services or the expected services that borrowers need to begin paying their student loans.”

In everyday language, that concerns sounds a lot like, ‘you don’t pay me enough to do this job’.

Add to that interpretation the Trump Administration’s proposed $6 billion budget cut to the Department of Education, more money for servicers doesn’t seem likely anytime soon. Further, negotiations for new servicing contracts are expected to start this year. The NCHER letter could be interpreted as an unofficial start to those negotiations.

Just one week after NCHER wrote federal lawmakers, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote James W. Runcie, the Chief Operating Officer for Federal Student Aid, rolling back important guidance on student loan servicing. The now retracted guidance protected borrowers in three key ways:

1. Providing borrowers access to accurate information and consistent service;

2. Regular audits of both records and complaints to be used in compliance reviews; and

3. Connecting servicer compensation to measurable actions such as payment processing time, length of response time to inquiries, and errors.

By reversing steps designed to assist student loan borrowers and safeguard taxpayer investment, servicers will also have less accountability. Before the Education Department turns away from fair treatment of enforcement and loan regulation, officials should know that research and data have consistently illustrated broad borrower mistreatment at the hands of servicers. Should the Department fail to monitor itself, borrowers can still seek enforcement and protection from state officials and the CFPB. Both entities have demonstrated an interest and willingness to act on behalf of consumers, even if the Department of Education will not.

CFPB is the consumer’s federal cop-on-the-beat. But it too is facing challenges as President Trump has publicly vowed a regulatory rollback in general and a haircut specifically for the CFPB. As some have maintained in public policy debates, regulation has gotten in the way of private enterprise.

No one should dismiss or forget that the private sector has always been guided and motivated by profitability. In state capitols across the country and on Capitol Hill, private interests bank roll lobbyists to cut their taxes, reduce regulation, and appoint officials who will support policies that increase their respective bottom lines. For example, Robert Eitel, senior counselor to Secretary DeVos, previously served as an attorney for Bridgepoint Education, Inc., that operates multiple for-profit colleges.

By contrast, the public sector, i.e. government, should be guided by the duties and obligations of public service. School children have been taught for decades that government is ‘for, by, and of the people’. That pledge should include consumer protection and fiscal accountability. The American people should never be denied or shortchanged for the sake of private entities looking for more lucrative contracts.

It’s a lesson that the Education Secretary needs to learn.

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