University of California Bans Tobacco Products from All Campuses

eight cigarettes unlitFor students who attend any of the 10 different University of California schools, quitting smoking will soon become much easier. Why? Because the schools’ president, Mark Yudof, recently announced that all tobacco products will soon be banned from school campuses.

“As a national leader in healthcare and environmental practices, the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke,” Yudof wrote in a letter. “Offering a smoke-free environment will contribute positively to the health and well-being of all U.C. students, faculty, staff, and our patients and visitors.”

There are not any known specifics concerning the ban yet, except that it will apply to everyone who is on a University of California campus. In addition to banning the products, advertisements and the sale of tobacco products will also no longer be allowed.

“This is a very important milestone in California,” said Colleen Stevens. Stevens is the chief of the tobacco control branch of the California Public Health Department. “In other states, most young people start smoking in their teens, but in California, that start date is getting older. This policy will help protect the next generation from suffering the horrible impacts of tobacco.”

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The Majority of California High School Students Earn Higher Levels of Education

California State FlagGood news for those who live in California: a recent study showed that almost 75 percent of high school graduates go on to pursue a higher education.

This statistic was determined from data collected during the 2008-2009 school year and found that these students were enrolled in a college or university in the USA. The names of students were cross-checked with the National Student Clearinghouse to determine if they were actually enrolled in a higher education establishment. The data can be analyzed by district, county, school, and even by personal demographic categories, such as race and gender. The students are identified in the study by their names, dates of birth, and other factors.

More than half of the students studied attended a school in either California Community College, California State University, or the University of California systems. More than 25 percent of the students who attended these schools earned at least one year’s worth of college credit within their first two years of enrollment.

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Gay Education Becomes Mandatory in California Schools

Although California was not the first state to legalize gay marriage in the USA, it will be the first to require gay history in its public schools as part of the social studies curriculum.

On July 14, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will require schools to include the contributions of American gays and lesbians in their instruction and textbooks. Schools must start implementing this new change in curriculum in their schools by January 2012; however, textbooks probably will not be updated for several years.

“This is definitely a step forward,” said Mark Leno, an openly gay state senator from California. “I’m hopeful that other states will follow. We are failing our students when we don’t teach them about the broad diversity of human experience.”

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University of California Experiences Another Tuition Hike

Students of the University of California can expect to pay more in tuition for the upcoming semester. The Board of Regents voted 14-4 to approve a tuition increase of 9.6 percent last Thursday. That’s a spike of $1,068. The increase follows an 8 percent jump that was previously approved for the 2011-2012 school year.

“I hate that we have been forced by our state’s politicians to raise tuition, but I hate even more the possibility of letting UC slide into becoming a second-rate institution,” regent Bonnie Reiss said.

With the two recent hikes in tuition, students will pay $1,818 more than they did last year.  In-state tuition costs $12,192 a year, and averages $13,218 when other campus-related fees are configured.

Government officials cut funding by $650 million to both UC and Cal State University, and the school hopes that an increase in tuition will make up for some of the shortfall. Though, with a deficit of nearly $1 billion, the increase will only cover one quarter of the shortage.

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Despite Negative Media Coverage, California’s Academic Achievement Is Rising

Former California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas at Biola UniversityFormer California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas gave the keynote address last week at an education symposium hosted by the Biola University School of Education. Thomas identified budget cuts, legislative hurdles, lack of parent involvement and negative media coverage as the top four challenges faced by the educational system today.

Thomas, a Biola alum, said that some of the negative comparisons of the U.S. school system to other first-world countries may not be altogether accurate. He explained how some statistics showing the U.S. lagging behind other countries in reading and writing skills did not make for an accurate comparison, because many of the tests conducted in other countries use data from just one region, rather than reflecting the entire population.

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Tri-Valley University Accused of Immigration Fraud

TriValley University, Pleasanton CollegeFederal officials are investigating Tri-Valley University, accusing the institution of being a front to provide immigrants with fraudulent student visas. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Pleasanton, California, College has accepted millions of dollars in exchange for obtaining visas under false pretenses. The school’s founder, Susan Xiao-Ping Su is under investigation for fraud.

According to Pleasanton Weekly, Tri-Valley claims to offer a master’s and doctorate degrees in a number of subjects and is housed in a two-story office building. Calls to the college have gone unanswered and the school has not been open for business since Friday. Xiao-Ping Su described Tri-Valley as “a Christian Higher Education Institution offering quality academic programs in Engineering, Business, Art, Law and Medicine with live synchronous virtual classroom instruction.”

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School Pride Ends 1st Season with Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles, California

NBC concluded their travel around the country renovating America’s schools for their first season of the hit show School Pride at Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles, California.

Comparable to previous episodes, Former Miss USA and Designer Susie Castillo, Comedian Kim Whitley, Political Journalist Jacob Soboroff and Team Leader and Voice Over Host Tom Stroup come together to spearhead the restoration project of the school.

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Illegal Immigrants Eligible for California In-State Tuition

California FlagA California Supreme Court decision ruled students who are illegal immigrants may continue to receive in-state tuition. The court voted unanimously, overturning a lower court ruling.

The Los Angeles Times reports that there are about 25,000 illegal immigrants who currently receive in-state tuition rates. The ruing was written by Justice Ming W. Chin, who is one of the most conservative members of the panel. The new law will apply to students who attended a California high school for at least three years and graduated. The new law will also extend the in-state tuition to U.S. citizens who attended California residents but reside legally in other states. “It cannot be the case that states may never give a benefit to unlawful aliens without giving the same benefit to all American citizens,” Chin wrote.

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School Pride Restores Needles High School in California

NBC continues to travel around the country renovating America’s schools on their hit show School Pride. This week, the team headed to a high school in California that was in need of a lot of restoration work.

Comparable to previous episodes, Former Miss USA and Designer Susie Castillo, Comedian Kim Whitley, Political Journalist Jacob Soboroff and Team Leader and Voice Over Host Tom Stroup come together to spearhead the restoration project of the school.

Built in 1903, Needles High School has been a generational school. Students told viewers that the school was the same high school their siblings, parents and grandparents all attended. Read the rest of this entry »

Dakota Fanning Crowned High School Homecoming Queen

Dakota Fanning, who’s real name is actually Hannah Dakota Fanning, is no stranger to winning awards and being crowned a starlet, in fact she’s been a Hollywood household name since she was seven years old.

This past weekend however, the young actress known most recently for her work in the Twilight Saga mega hit movies added another notable American girl’s dream to her list of accomplishments.

Recently a Marie Claire cover model, 16 year-old high schooler Fanning was announced as the Campbell Hall Episcopal High School’s 2010 Homecoming Queen in North Hollywood, California. Home of the Vikings, the private school’s football quarterback, Henry Aleck, was also crowned as the Homecoming King.

Boasting a bouquet of roses, a blue sash, and a tiara in a white dress covered in gold studded hardware with tights, Fanning looked to be beaming with pride as she walked alongside her king at the announcement ceremony.

Fanning is also currently on the school’s varsity cheerleading squad. Read the rest of this entry »


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