John Fensterwald, staff writer, joined EdSource in 2012. Before that, he was editor and co-writer for The Educated Guess website, a leading source of California education policy reporting and opinion, which he founded in 2009. For 11 years before then, John wrote editorials for the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education. He worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire before receiving a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997. His wife is a retired elementary school teacher, and his daughter is a neurology resident at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine.
All articles by John Fensterwald
Newsom proposes 'literacy road map' based on ‘science of reading’; will districts follow or ignore it?
Instructional guide would emphasize proven elements of "science of reading" – decoding skills as well as comprehension. But under local control, districts can ignore it.
March 13, 2023
Legislative analyst opposes Newsom’s plan for more funding to high-poverty schools
State auditor says the priority should be fixing funding formula to make spending in high-poverty schools more transparent, not adding $300 million with an “equity multiplier.”
March 2, 2023
Orange Unified accused of 'full ambush' to fire superintendent; did it violate state's open meeting law?
A citizen complaint demands that the school board hold a repeat, legal meeting.
February 22, 2023
Newsom’s big bet on fixing California's poorest schools and narrowing achievement gaps
Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing the biggest changes in a decade to the state system of funding and governing schools.
John Fensterwald, Emma Gallegos, And Daniel J. Willis
February 16, 2023
Study of LAUSD confirms benefits of four years of math; Superintendent Alberto Carvalho embraces findings
UCLA researchers found that high school seniors who took math, whether statistics or calculus, were significantly more likely to enroll in a four-year college and return the following year.
February 7, 2023
California schools, community colleges to face slight drop in funding, first in a decade
Funding for Proposition 98 in 2023-24 would be $1.5 billion less than appropriated last year; districts and charter schools would get an 8.1% inflation adjustment – their top priority.
January 10, 2023
Orange Unified's conservative majority fires superintendent with a day's notice
Orange Unified became the second district in Orange County to fire its leader in a month. Just before Christmas, newly empowered conservatives in Capistrano Unified dismissed that district's long-time superintendent.
January 6, 2023
California education issues to watch in 2023 — and predictions of what might happen
2023's big questions: How much will TK-12 state funding be cut? What will the final math framework look like? Will districts find tutors, after-school staff? Will the Newsom administration act decisively on early literacy?
John Fensterwald And Yuxuan Xie
January 5, 2023
California’s school finance ratings: D for adequacy, B for equity, F for effort — but on the upswing
California ranks 33rd in 2019-20, adjusted for its cost of living, spending $13,686 per student in state and local funding. Its method of funding poor districts is one of the nation's most equitable.
January 4, 2023
California school districts pass $20 billion in construction bonds, but some rural areas say no to higher taxes
Fear of a recession, worries about inflation and “pandemic polarization” produced some very close votes, but in the end, 70% of ballot issues won.
John Fensterwald And Carolyn Jones
December 22, 2022
Chronic absences rise to record levels in California, but so do graduation rates
Alarming chronic absence rates are included with student data from 2021-22 accompanying a revived California School Dashboard.
December 15, 2022
Lawsuit asserts California districts illegally charge summer school fees
The lawsuit by Public Counsel said that for-fee courses offered by district-affiliated foundations violate students' constitutional right to a free education.
December 9, 2022
Does your district have what it takes to significantly improve?
Pivot Learning releases the District Readiness Index, a database for measuring how well California districts have met the conditions needed to make sustainable change.
December 9, 2022
California court decision ups the odds for passing school parcel taxes
A 2021 state Court of Appeal decision said a citizen-led parcel tax initiative needs only a majority of votes, not two-thirds, as previously assumed under Proposition 13. That could be a game changer – if tried.
December 6, 2022
LAUSD’s stunning reading score on NAEP: Illusion, real or something in between?
Was a quick computer distribution during Covid, a literacy initiative or a combination of factors, plus random error, behind a surprising 8th grade score in Los Angeles Unified?