Weekly roundup: California’s lone ballot measure, the science of superheroes, and more

Proposition 13 is the only statewide measure on the March 3 ballot, and while it happens to share a name with California’s landmark property tax initiative from the late ’70s, there’s no relation.

Cover of Voter Information GuideThe 2020 version of Prop. 13 would authorize a $15 billion bond for school modernization and construction projects. That breaks down to $9 billion for K-12 campuses, $2 billion for community colleges, $2 billion for CSU schools and $2 billion for campuses in the UC system.

According to this recent primer by CalMatters, funding would be prioritized to schools with mold, asbestos and lead in their drinking water. The measure would also “allow districts to use bond funds for preschools, help with schools affected by disasters and let districts add larger school bonds to local ballots.”

CalMatters offers a concise snapshot of the costs, the impacts and the arguments for and against the initiative. The site also features a one-minute video called, well, “Prop. 13 Explained in 1 Minute.”

And here are some other stories we’ve been tracking this week:

  • As singer Demi Lovato belted out the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV, former OCDE student Christine Sun Kim stood on the field about 10 yards away, powerfully delivering her own rendition in American Sign Language. The experience brought both joy and frustration.
  • The Orange County School of the Arts is asking the Orange County Board of Education to renew its charter following a dispute with Santa Ana Unified, which has been the authorizing agency for 20 years. The popular arts charter school was recently granted a five-year-renewal by Santa Ana, but it came with a number of conditions that OCSA considers tantamount to a denial.
  • In response to questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus, the Orange County Health Care Agency has issued interim guidance for schools, colleges and universities.
  • Angela Platon, a teacher at Laguna Road Elementary in the Fullerton School District, was inspired to turn kindness into a weeklong assignment for her sixth-grade class during the Great Kindness Challenge. For homework, she asked students to perform and document one act of kindness on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and so on.
  • More than 1.5 million public school students in the U.S. said they were homeless at some point during the 2017-18 school year, according to a new report. The rate was the highest number recorded in more than a dozen years.
  • High schoolers fielded rapid-fire questions during day two of the Academic Decathlon, cheering and high-fiving with each correct response — and groaning at the ones that got away.
  • The California Department of Education is expected to unveil a revised ethnic studies curriculum proposal in the spring. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond reportedly agrees with advocates who want courses to focus on four ethnic and racial groups whose histories have been largely overlooked: African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, and Native Americans.
  • A Huntington Beach High School senior designed a training to teach campus staff the basics of bleed control and CPR. Hands-on instruction was provided by representatives from the Huntington Beach Fire Department and Marine Safety Division, as well as doctors and nurses from area hospitals.
  • Students in the Mandarin Immersion Program at Marian Bergeson Elementary School ushered in the Chinese New Year with a morning of music performances and festivities.
  • Coronavirus fears and misinformation have gripped the Alhambra Unified School District, where more than 14,000 have signed a Change.org petition to cancel classes. District officials are working to communicate to students and parents the realities of the respiratory illness, and that seasonal flu is still considered the bigger threat.
  • In his State of the Union address, President Trump expressed his support for school choice, calling on Congress to pass a bill that would provide tax credits to individuals and businesses that made contributions to scholarship funds that could be used to underwrite tuition at private and parochial schools.

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