Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another school question for the mayor - Bill Boyarsky

Another school question for the mayor - Bill Boyarsky:

"One of the many questions Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s school plan leaves unanswered is whether all students will be allowed to attend their neighborhood schools.

The LAUSD board has approved Villaraigosa’s plan to turn over 250 campuses, including 50 new ones—to charter school organizations and other groups that can meet district qualifications. Charter schools and others run by outsiders are financed by the districts but run their campuses independently.

Many of the campuses, and most of the new ones, are in poor areas where students have been packed into old, overcrowded schools for many years. These neighborhoods supported recent bond issues that financed the new schools."

The Cesar Chavez Institute offers FREE Tutoring for CA/AZ Children.

The Cesar Chavez Institute offers FREE Tutoring for CA/AZ Children.

Please spread the word!

"A word as to the education of the heart. We don't believe that this can be imparted through books; it can only be imparted through the loving touch of the teacher." --Cesar E. ChavezCesar

Chavez believed in education and felt strongly that education developed our youth. He was born to parents who taught him the importance of hard work, respect, and education. He was born in a household that was predominantly Spanish language which made school harder. Cesar talked about being punished with a ruler to his knuckles for speaking Spanish in school. As the child of migrant farm workers he attended numerous different schools. Despite this Cesar was lucky. His parents encouraged him to learn and he went on to become an American hero as a civil and labor rights leader.

How can we ensure that children, who encounter similar obstacles as Cesar, are prepared for success, not set-up for failure? By getting them the extra help they need before it’s too late. The Cesar Chavez Education Institute can help.The Institute was established for the purpose of increasing the education opportunities available to students in schools who can benefit from extra instruction.

The Tutoring Program

Students receive 40 hours of direct instruction across the school academic year. Tutoring instruction is based on student learning plans that are set up based on the student's pre-assessment test at the start of the program.

The tutoring sessions are 2-3 hours per week (depending on students' skill/grade levels), twice a week. E.g. a K-1 session is not likely to be 1.5 hrs because of students' age and attention level.
Tutoring is in small groups of 6 to 9 students in a highly structured instructional format.
Instruction is provided for the English language learner.

Sessions take place at the child's respective school or at nearby community center, library, or other neighborhood facility.

Every 10 hours of instruction, the parents will receive a progress report on the student's progress or lack thereof. Changes in the student's learning plan are made in consultation with the parents. We are partners in their child's education.

DOES YOUR CHILD NEED TUTORING?If you have a child in K-9 and are interested in applying for a tutoring program with the Institute in your area, please contact jvalenzuela@ufw.org for more information.

We need your help to outreach to students for this important and free college prep program available at their schools or local libraries or organizations.

You can help us through: community presentations; outreach to libraries, sports teams, PTA meetings; door to door canvassing and more. If you are involved in a group that can host a presentation or help us recruit students, please let us know. "Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators.

They must learn to think and act for themselves-and be free."--Cesar E. Chavez

Free Tutoring is offered in the following counties: California: Monterey, Los Angeles, Kern, Tulare, Kings, Riverside, Fresno, MaderaArizona: Tuscon, Maricopa
Please help us spread the word about this tremendous opportunity!
Si Se Puede!

Check out the website at: http://www.ufwaction.org/ct/9dz6zF61NaAJ/ufw and keep up with the latest news.

Clinical trial: One dose of H1N1 vaccine will protect pregnant women - CNN.com

Clinical trial: One dose of H1N1 vaccine will protect pregnant women - CNN.com:

"Washington (CNN) -- Nearly all healthy pregnant women who receive a single dose of the H1N1 flu vaccine will be protected from that flu, according to just-released clinical trial data.

In a news conference Monday at the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said out of about 100 pregnant women who participated in trial studies, over 90 percent showed a robust immune response to a single 15-microgram dose of the H1N1 vaccine. And at this point, there have been no reported side effects, Fauci said.

Fauci stressed that these results should be reassuring for already-vaccinated pregnant women and this is 'vital information for those who have not yet been vaccinated.' He added that 'pregnant women have tolerated the vaccine well, and no safety concerns have arisen.'"

Sacramento Press / Whither Oak Park? Part 1

Sacramento Press / Whither Oak Park? Part 1

I am year-and-a-half resident of Oak Park. I have lived here that long, at first very reluctantly, then somewhat ambivalently, and now, finally with great enthusiasm.
The initial reluctance I blame more on myself, my circumstances in moving here, and my sluggish, even inert, bare involvement in the actual moving process. My then-boyfriend and I had been served notice by his landlord, that they were selling his townhouse in midtown Sacramento soon; we had very, very little time to find a new, comfortable, and appropriate place to live.

We are both underpaid freelancers of a sort; he is a bartender/house painter/will be-something-more-fulfilling later in life. I am an avowed, diehard, almost lifelong freelance journalist. I have lived and worked abroad, primarily in Africa, and never, ever expected to come back to my hometown, Sacramento, for any great length of time - other than the obligatory holiday and family visits. But a serious of vehicular accidents that I was involved in and seriously injured in, the first in a motorcycle accident in Uganda in 2004, then a near-death car accident at 11:30 am on December 26th, 2006, in the suburban neighborhood of my mother’s house in El Dorado Hills, left me, on both occasions, crippled, though temporarily, both physically and emotionally.

Whither Oak Park? Part 2

Continued from part one....read part one here

Well, things didn’t quite work out that way. We married then quickly divorced, but not before my husband got his green card; I worked for Wired magazine in San Francisco, then left the magazine after two years to work full time as a freelancer once again. It was a rough life, made even rougher by my crazy landlord of seven years plotting to find “legal” ways to evict me. I was in the midst of fighting her insane legal efforts, when I got word that I had been awarded the Knight International Press Fellowship to Uganda in 2003. I promptly dropped my counter-suit against my loony landlady, Manuela, moved back to Sacramento, met my long-time boyfriend while was tending bar at my new, local favorite hangout, Joe Marty’s, and proceeded to prepare for nine months in Uganda, and beyond.

Well, we already know what happened next - the bad motorcycle accident and broken ankle which dumped me back in Sacramento. Except that I made one more run at Africa in 2005; I tried to go to Zimbabwe as a foreign journalist, stay under the radar of President Mugabe, who had banned all foreign journalists, and spent most of my short time there travelling back and forth across the border to South Africa, to renew my “tourist’s” visa every two weeks. I was ignominiously kicked out of the country after less than a month.

California State PTA Health Commission

Health - California State PTA Health Commission:

"Reflections on a Healthy Lifestyle" community event

"The Health Commission works to promote effective health education programs in schools and communities that offer children, youth, and families skills to make healthy choices.

Through legislative action, the Health Commission advocates for statewide health programs for children, youth, and families.
Commission members serve on various statewide committees that address mental health, physical health, and environmental health issues.
The Health Commission supports efforts that bring together concerned people, agencies and organizations to address the needs of children, youth, and families and assist them in establishing healthy behaviors."

"Reflections on a Healthy Lifestyle" community event

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2009
Time: 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: Mitchell Middle School
Street: 2100 Zinfandel Dr
City/Town: Rancho Cordova, CA
View Google Map


This event is intended to promote the health of mind, body & spirit, by getting kids off the couch-getting them active & involved and promoting activities that families can do together.

There will be a book fair in Mitchell's library and an exhibition of the art entries in the National PTA Reflections art contest.

Fruit smoothies made and sold by Mitchell's Science Academy to raise money for their upcoming field trips!Ice cream to be sold by PTSA to raise money for classroom supplies, field trips and after-school athletics!

Face painting!!Some of the companies & organization that plan to be there are:

Mary Kay Cosmetics TupperwareFirst Covenant Church middle school ministryRancho Cordova Police Activities League (P.A.L.)Rancho Cordova Police DepartmentBody Investment Studio (doing 5-min massages & yoga demos)

Another Choice, Another ChanceRancho Cordova Parks & RecreationVibe4Health California Family Fitness (giving away trial passes & free body fat analysis)SwimstituteOrgano Gold Coffee samples & salesH20 Purified Water & Juice Plus samples & salesPLUS MANY MORE!!


Health - Introduction
Source: www.capta.org

The mission of the California State PTA is to represent our members and to empower and support them with skill in advocacy, leadership, and communication to positively impact the lives of all children.

Strong mayor proposal in Sacramento city council hot seat tonight

Strong mayor proposal in Sacramento city council hot seat tonight

So I hear the panel commissioned to explore charter reform for the mayor’s seat has determined it’s a good idea to give the mayor a few more goats, but not the deed to the farm. That will apparently be the topic of a two hour agenda item in tonight’s session. Sounds reasonable to me.

After the commission reports to the council, I challenge Mayor Johnson to rescind his strong mayor proposal, and accept the commission’s recommendations 100%. If ever there was an extraordinary opportunity for the Mayor to get humble and establish himself as a servant leader, TONIGHT is it! It would take extreme humility, but he could pull it off with a bit of courage and strong faith.

The Perimeter Primate: Obvious Conflicts of Interest

The Perimeter Primate: Obvious Conflicts of Interest

The Washington Post's Jay Mathews is the nation's highest-profile education reporter, and is a cheerful unabashed enthusiast of charter schools, especially KIPP, about which he has written one book ("Work Hard, Be Nice") and is working on a second.

Mathews made his name by writing a book that brought Jaime Escalante, the onetime miracle-working higher-math teacher at disadvantaged students at East L.A.'s Garfield High School, to national attention.Mathews also works for Newsweek, which is owned by the Washington Post Co.

His regular project for Newsweek is the high-profile annual ranking of U.S. high schools.The friendly Mathews also does the "Class Struggle" blog on washingtonpost.com.

He recently posted a question on his blog: "Are Post authors biased?" He invited readers to submit disclaimers for Post coverage that would address possible bias.

Michelle Obama's Gardening Gear: Purple Converse, 'Hope' Necklace, Giant Sweet Potatoes (PHOTOS)

Michelle Obama's Gardening Gear: Purple Converse, 'Hope' Necklace, Giant Sweet Potatoes (PHOTOS):

"FLOTUS Michelle Obama welcomed students from Bancroft Elementary School and Kimball Elementary School to harvest vegetables in the garden on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday afternoon, where she revealed how much the White House Garden cost to plant.

For the occasion, the first lady went with a purple palette: a purple t-shirt and purple cardigan with a purple studded belt, we're guessing by Sacai because it looks like a black studded belt Mrs. Obama often wears. She wore blue pants, and her trusty purple Converse. She accessorized with 'Hope' and peace symbol necklaces. Check it out below.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/29/michelle-obamas-gardening_n_339152.html"

Card clubs and other special interests give to Jerry Brown charities -- latimes.com

Card clubs and other special interests give to Jerry Brown charities -- latimes.com:

"The California attorney general has raised nearly $10 million for two charter schools, the arts academy and a military institute, that he founded as mayor of Oakland."

Reporting from Sacramento - Gambling halls and arts education may make strange bedfellows. But over the last three years, five Los Angeles-area card clubs have showered more than $100,000 on a Bay Area school for the arts some 400 miles away.The gifts offered more than a chance to help inner-city kids. They were an opportunity to please the state official who asked for the money, directly oversees the clubs and is widely viewed as the front-runner to be California's next governor: state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.

Since taking office almost three years ago, Brown has raised nearly $10 million for two charter schools, the arts academy and a military institute, that he founded as mayor of Oakland. In addition to tapping the card clubs whose licensing and operations his Bureau of Gambling Control watches over, he has held out his hand to influential industries and the politically connected.

Education.com Tip from the Teacher: Dish Out Discovery!


Tip from the Teacher: Dish Out Discovery!

Life is probably getting pretty busy these days. But that doesn't have to mean less investment in your child's education. These learning activities take only moments, but the effects of support at home can last a lifetime. Check out these tips and activities for fun fall learning!


Your Kid the Weatherman
by Sarah Richards, an early childhood teacher and child development specialist from Chicago, Illinois.

Sunny or stormy? As adults, we take the weather for granted. But for a preschooler, it can be a fascinating thing, especially when he’s the official family weather man! The calendar is a preschool classroom staple, and teachers often use it during Circle Time. Teaching kids about the days of the week, and the months of the year, helps prepare them for kindergarten. But many teachers take things a step further, by rolling weather into the mix.

Being able to make observations and talk about them is at the core of preschool science, and the weather is the perfect topic. Kids don’t need to get into the intricacies of exact temperature or barometric pressure in order to make an observation—they just need to take a look out the window in the morning and report on what they see.Turn your kid into a weather watcher with this simple activity.

Break it Up!

by Liana Mahoney, a first and second grade teacher from upstate New York.
In kindergarten, kids start to understand that words are made up of a sequence of sounds. The word “cat,” for example, is made up of the sounds /c/, /a/, /t/. Teachers have a fancy name for this: phonemic awareness.
While it may seem obvious to you, breaking up, or segmenting a word into individual sounds can be extremely difficult for young readers. Even more difficult is the ability to blend the sounds back together to make a word, something that good readers do instantaneously as they read. Without the ability to segment and blend sounds, children have a pretty big handicap when it comes to learning how to read. That’s why getting phonemic awareness down pat is a pre-reading skill, and one worth practicing.

1st Grade

Get Out the Vote!
by Vanessa Genova DeSantis, an elementary school teacher from New York City.
Voting is a sacred part of American life. In fact, with so many votes all around us, whether in local or national elections or just in our jobs or community events, it's easy to forget that for little kids voting can be a mind-blowing idea. After all, a young child's idea of decision-making frequently turns on who screams loudest, and plenty of decisions for kids that age really need to be made by adults anyway.

But by first grade, kids are ready to start learning basics about voting as part of the democratic process. It's a common topic on many state standards, and it also fits kids' keen sense of what's fair and what's not. So next time there's a group decision, whether it's the rules of an impromptu ball game or what to name a new pet, try voting on it, and give your kid an early taste of American democracy in action.

2nd Grade

Color it Fall
by Julie Williams, a credentialed elementary, middle, and high school teacher from Palo Alto, California.

The first months of the school year are usually a time of busy learning for second graders. But with the leaves turning color in autumn, you don't want to miss the old fashioned joys of outdoor science! Fortunately, there are lots of outdoor activities that won't force you to choose between fun and learning.

Take your child on a bracing hike, for example, and you can classify leaves on the way. Or rake those leaves up, measure the pile, and calculate how many feet of depth make the very best jumping opportunities. Then, for a classic artistic take on the season, invite your second grader to collect his favorite leaves in vibrant fall colors. Bring them indoors and create pressed leaf "stained glass" to adorn your windows for months to come!

3rd Grade

Pass the Torch!

by Julie Williams, a credentialed elementary, middle, and high school teacher from Palo Alto, California.

In third grade social studies, many kids start delving into local history. No matter what part of the country you’re in, you can be sure: in the not so distant past, nobody was clicking computers, texting with I-Phones, or even “going solar.”

For third graders, this “historical empathy” is a key part of social studies learning. While it’s always nice to support all this with family trips to local landmarks, you can also explore the ways of the past right at home. Try turning off all electricity, for example, for an entire day and evening, and see what happens.

And for a simple candle lantern idea, click here.

4th Grade

Harvest Some Science!

by Julie Williams, a credentialed elementary, middle, and high school teacher from Palo Alto, California.

As the harvest season moves into full swing, the natural sciences are anything but dormant. In fourth grade classrooms, you'll often find kids studying seeds, weather patterns, and soil; many schools even have a demonstration garden that students themselves tend. You can reinforce this learning with hands-on gardening projects. For example, try leaving a few plants, such as green beans, just to dry fully on the stalk. Then, harvest the seeds for spring planting, just as our ancestors did. Extend the learning with a modern twist, however: have your child plant a few storebought seeds in the spring alongside these "saved" seeds, and graph the germination rates. Which seeds thrive best?

5th Grade
A Reading Digestive

by Vanessa Genova DeSantis, an elementary school teacher from New York City.
Many fifth graders are reading more and more nonfiction—either for pleasure or for research purposes. But because they’re being hit with so much information, nonfiction readers must stop and think about what they read. This can be challenging and overwhelming for some students, so they quickly brush over important information without “digesting” what they’re reading.

Middle School
Geometry By Heart

by Brigid Del Carmen, a teacher from Chicago, Illinois.

In middle school geometry, students are required to memorize and apply several mathematical formulas. But it's often easy to confuse one formula for another, especially when students must also focus on problem-solving and identifying geometric figures. But although the task of memorizing so many formulas may seem overwhelming, there's a big payoff in the end: the ability to automatically recall a formula from memory, even weeks, months, and years after it is learned!

High School

Familiar Physics

by Lori Stewart, a middle and high school science teacher and developer of science education materials.

Many high school students fear physics, but the wonderful thing about physics is that it's very intuitive. We learn very early on in life that things fall, and we learn through experience about laws of motion. That means that kids actually have a natural understanding of a key physics concept: gravity. In fact, physics is all around us, from the bouncing of a basketball to the spilled milk in the kitchen.

Got a child between 1 and 4 years old? We developed a monthly newsletter that documents your child's development, along with tips for promoting positive growth.

Supervisors Declare Flu Emergency - Health News Story - KCRA Sacramento

Supervisors Declare Flu Emergency - Health News Story - KCRA Sacramento: "SACRAMENTO, Calif. --

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to declare a flu emergency."

The vote came at the request of Dr. Glennah Trochet, the county's public health officer, who said local hospitals have seen a dramatic rise in the number of patients admitted with likely cases of H1N1 flu.

Trochet told board members hospitalizations have increased from 36 two weeks ago to 51 last week. She said 15 people in Sacramento County have died from the H1N1 virus.

Trochet said the emergency declaration will allow her to coordinate with other county departments to fight the spread of the disease with medications and masks.

"It just eases our ability to access, for example, warehouses that may be held by other departments in which to put these supplies," Trochet said.

Trochet said the declaration will also make it easier for hospitals to set up more beds in case they see an even greater surge of infected patients.

SCUSD Observer: Neighboring Folsom Cordova Unified to close schools

SCUSD Observer: Neighboring Folsom Cordova Unified to close schools

Neighboring Folsom Cordova Unified to close schools

Last night at Mills Middle School, parents and community members came together to discuss school closures.Six schools north of Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, could shut down for good, although the focus was on three - Cordova Lane, Riverview and Williamson elementaries.

One parent suggested that homeowners in Rancho Cordova may fight back by filing a class action suit, an injunction or even a restraining order to prevent the district from closing schools.

Although often unsuccessful, school closures can lead to lawsuits. This summer in Seattle, parents filed litigation on behalf of schools targeted for closure in the poor/minority areas of the city.

Education Week: Policies Target Teacher-Student Cyber Talk

Education Week: Policies Target Teacher-Student Cyber Talk:

"Teachers in Louisiana may soon think twice before sending a text message or e-mail to a student from a personal electronic device.

A new state law requires all Louisiana districts to implement policies requiring documentation of every electronic interaction between teachers and students through a nonschool-issued device, such as a personal cellphone or e-mail account, by Nov.15. Parents also have the option of forbidding any communication between teachers and their child through personal electronic devices.

Similar policies exist in many school districts across the country, and at least one other state has considered such legislation in recent years. But critics question the measures, saying they will likely restrict appropriate communication between teachers and students and discourage the use of new technologies."

No matter the ZIP code, kids can e-x-c-e-l - JSOnline

No matter the ZIP code, kids can e-x-c-e-l - JSOnline:

"If you have ever participated in one as a child, you know spelling bees can be nerve-rattling. Even if you think you know how to spell the word, you can never be exactly sure.
Sounding the word out doesn't always work. Think about 'handkerchief.'Or 'silhouette' or 'larynx.'

See what I mean?

Spelling bees are on my mind after recently serving as the official 'pronouncer' for the ninth annual spelling bee for the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority.
About 30 young people from various housing projects in Milwaukee, including Hillside and Parklawn, participated for prizes and T-shirts in a competition designed to increase their vocabulary and deliver some personal pride."

The spelling bee was held at a north side community center at 650 W. Reservoir Ave. Low income housing projects in the central city are not usually considered the natural environment for spelling bees, but looks can be deceiving.

Darrell Finch, an education specialist for the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority, has been involved with the housing authority's education initiative that encourages better grades for students in public housing through a series of programs. He said the annual spelling bee was a large part of that initiative.

"I look at it as a form of building the kids' self-esteem," said Finch, who served as moderator. "It's also about getting more parental involvement in their lives."

The spelling bee was open to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who live in public housing. During the competition, students competed to correctly spell words from a series of reading lists in front of an audience of about 60 people. After a slow start, the spelling bee quickly turned into a pitched battle between the young competitors as they advanced with a mixture of confidence and surprise by correctly spelling words they probably were not that familiar with in everyday life.

Federal complaint: Filipino teachers held in 'servitude' - USATODAY.com

Federal complaint: Filipino teachers held in 'servitude' - USATODAY.com:

"BATON ROUGE — It has been more than two years since Ingrid Cruz aced a middle-of-the-night video interview in Manila, borrowed $10,000 from her parents and flew halfway around the world to take a job here teaching middle school science.

She was seeking that most American of dreams: a new life, and opportunities she couldn't approach back home. But along the way, Cruz says she has endured intimidation, humiliation, extortion and a long, painful separation from her young daughters."

Cruz is one of more than 300 teachers imported to Louisiana from the Philippines since 2007, a group of educators who say collectively they paid millions of dollars in cash to a Filipino recruiting firm, PARS International Placement Agency, and its sister company, Los Angeles-based Universal Placement International Inc.

Cases like those of Cruz and others prompted the American Federation of Teachers and its state affiliate, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, to file a complaint on Sept. 30 with the state Workforce Commission and attorney general. On Oct. 20, AFT filed a lengthier complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. The unions allege the companies kept the teachers in "virtual servitude" by holding onto their U.S. work visas unless they kept paying inflated fees, commissions and rents.

Valerie Strauss - The Answer Sheet: The feuding is getting in the way - washingtonpost.com

Valerie Strauss - The Answer Sheet: The feuding is getting in the way - washingtonpost.com:

"I just might scream if I hear one more person invoke what is 'best for the kids' in the growing conflict between D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and her critics.

Tension is rising over a seemingly ever-larger gap between what Rhee says in public and what she does -- and while everybody is arguing about who is right and who is wrong and who didn't call whom back, guess who is going to suffer?

(Did I just invoke what is 'best for the kids'? Okay, I'm screaming.)"

The Associated Press: School sued for punishing teens over MySpace pix

The Associated Press: School sued for punishing teens over MySpace pix:

"INDIANAPOLIS — Two sophomore girls have sued their school district after they were punished for posting sexually suggestive photos on MySpace during their summer vacation.

The American Civil Liberties Union, in a federal lawsuit filed last week on behalf of the girls, argues that Churubusco High School violated the girls' free speech rights when it banned them from extracurricular activities for a joke that didn't involve the school. They say the district humiliated the girls by requiring them to apologize to an all-male coaches' board and undergo counseling.

Some child advocates argue that schools should play a role in monitoring students' behavior, especially when dealing with minors. And the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that students can be disciplined for activities that happen outside of school, so long as the school can prove the activities were disruptive or posed a danger and that it was foreseeable the activities would find their way to campus.

But some legal experts say that in this digital era, schools must accept that students will engage in some questionable behavior in cyberspace and during off hours."

Policy skirmishing puts LAUSD reform at risk -- latimes.com

Policy skirmishing puts LAUSD reform at risk -- latimes.com:

"Disputes by charter operators over boundaries and parents over where reforms are targeted first are threatening the Public School Choice initiative."

It's back to business as usual at the Los Angeles Unified School District, and that's not a good thing. The district's potentially transformational initiative to open about 250 schools to outside management is in danger of being undermined as various interest groups stake out turf. The central goal of the program -- to radically refashion education for the district's most disadvantaged students -- could be lost in the skirmishing.

The Public School Choice policy approved by the school board in August was unfortunately vague, a strategy to overcome resistance from various quarters. Now that Supt. Ramon C. Cortines is crafting the detailed implementation of the policy, groups that sought to put their stamp on it are raising objections.Strange to say, the biggest threat to the initiative comes from charter school operators, which have the most to gain from it.

The program will allow outside organizations to bid to run about 50 new schools and 200 chronically underperforming ones over the next several years, and most of those proposals were expected to come from charter groups. But many charter operators are rebelling against a provision in the initiative that requires them to give enrollment preference to students within each school's attendance boundaries.

Fremont charter hopes to start nation's first Arabic immersion program - San Jose Mercury News

Fremont charter hopes to start nation's first Arabic immersion program - San Jose Mercury News:

"It's 8:30 a.m. at FAME charter school in Fremont, and teacher Nahil Ireiqat is explaining to her Arabic I students like-sounding words, just one of many ways the language can ambush learners. Maktab (teacher's desk), she reminds them, is not the same as maktaba (library).

Even as the high school students learn the flourishes of Arabic script and unaccustomed sounds of the spoken language, they face the sobering prospect that after this year, they've still got about 2,100 hours of class left to master what the U.S. State Department considers an 'exceptionally difficult' language for native English speakers. Its written language is a challenge even for native Arabic speakers."

Education Week: Crisis in School Leadership Seen Brewing in California

Education Week: Crisis in School Leadership Seen Brewing in California:

"In California, where school budgets are being slashed and achievement remains stubbornly low in many districts, there is mounting concern that the supply of principals is too limited to manage the financial and academic challenges facing public schools.

Complicating matters, the state is at the front end of a wave of principal retirements, as some 40 percent of school leaders are expected to leave their jobs over the next decade. Large numbers of principals are also expected to depart the profession well before retirement age, making the recruitment of replacement talent and the retention of existing talent even more crucial."

But finding the best people to lead schools with a total of 6 million children—especially those serving large numbers of poor and low-achieving children—and creating the working conditions to keep them there, has not been a top priority for California education policymakers, some scholars and researchers say. When it comes to recruiting, training, compensating, and empowering principals to manage their schools effectively, the state’s policies are falling short, they contend.

“I think there are real questions about whether the principal workforce in this state is going to have the capacity to do this increasingly complex job and do it in the kind of budget environment that exists here in California,” said Susanna Loeb, an education professor at Stanford University, who co-wrote a recent policy brief that warns that school leadership in California needs urgent attention.

Rancho Cordova calls plan for homeless at Mather poorly conceived - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

Rancho Cordova calls plan for homeless at Mather poorly conceived - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News Sacramento Bee:

"A plan to use deteriorating cottages at Mather Community Campus for winter shelter for homeless families was poorly thought out and won't mesh with an existing transitional homeless shelter at the site, Rancho Cordova city officials warned Monday night.

'Western exposures are rotting,' Vice Mayor Ken Cooley said of the cottages. 'There are premises that are appallingly filled with mold. There are no stoves or refrigerators.' Boards in play areas have nails sticking out, he said.

'It's not clear to me that anyone has actually thought that through,' Cooley said."

Updated: Wis. teachers couldn’t be fired over test scores | wausaudailyherald.com | Wausau Daily Herald

Updated: Wis. teachers couldn’t be fired over test scores wausaudailyherald.com Wausau Daily Herald:

"MADISON— Wisconsin schools could use student test scores to evaluate teachers, but they still couldn’t use the information to discipline or fire them under a bill moving quickly through the Legislature."

Lawmakers must remove a ban on using test scores in evaluations for Wisconsin to compete for about $4.5 billion in Race to the Top stimulus money for education. Race to the Top is intended to improve student achievement, boost the performance of minority students and raise graduation rates.

Republicans and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards say Doyle and Democrats who control the Legislature are still giving teachers too much deference even as they work to qualify the state for the program.

Wisconsin and Nevada are the only states that don’t allow test results to be used to evaluate teachers. A similar prohibition in New York expires next year, and California removed its ban earlier this year to compete for the federal stimulus money.

Doyle and Democratic lawmakers are moving quickly to get Wisconsin’s ban removed with a vote this week. There is urgency because applications for the Race to the Top money will likely be due in a couple of months and the Legislature ends its session for the year on Thursday.

Doyle supports a proposal that would lift Wisconsin’s restriction on tying test scores with teacher evaluations. However, it would keep in place a ban on using the scores to fire, suspend or discipline a teacher.

Election Day, here and everywhere | First Reading

Election Day, here and everywhere First Reading:

"You can rewrite the Texas Constitution today … New poll has Perry up 12 on KBH … Movement in House GOP primaries
Stephen F. Austin would have been 216 years old today (assist: General Land Office).

Austin weather from News 8 Austin’s Maureen McCann: Bright sunshine. Seasonable high of 77.

Monday highlights of the day ahead

It’s Election Day. We don’t quite have the sizzle of a race for president or governor, but there’s interesting stuff happening at just about every level of government, and no, I’m not just talking about the school bond election in Zavalla ISD.

Speaking of school districts, that’s an interesting place to start. Remember when the Legislature in 2006 put some pretty tight limits on how much local school boards could raise their tax rates unless they had voter approval? Neither do I. But the ever-helpful Joe Smith over at TexasISD.com does, and he reports that 28 school districts will hold elections today to see if they can increase their tax rates."

US School Kids Are Doing Better Than Ever – But You Never Hear It - NurtureShock Blog - Newsweek.com

US School Kids Are Doing Better Than Ever – But You Never Hear It - NurtureShock Blog - Newsweek.com:

"There is a constant drumbeat heard that America's education system is failing the nation's children. Everywhere we turn around, you hear that traditional public schools in shambles; the teachers are failing and so are the kids' scores. (The only saving grace seeming to be charter schools, which operate outside of the traditional model.) School drop-out rates are said to be stratospheric. And if, by some miracle, kids do make it to college, they don't have any real academic prowess when they get there – since we frequently hear about college students having to take remedial courses.

Last week, I was at a conference, participating in a discussion on education reform. One of the panelists – the creator of several highly acclaimed schools – essentially argued that schools are such a mess that we need to throw out the American education system and start over."

Doomsday Talk like that works to galvanize support for his programs, and it's an easy applause line.

But the trouble is that it ignores the fact the millions of kids are thriving in the traditional school system. If we only focus on the disasters, we risk being blind to this success. And the fact is that success – not failure – is actually the American educational norm.

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that there were a record number of students in American colleges and universities in 2008: an incredible 14,955,000 undergraduates were pursuing their degrees. That surpassed the historically high 2007 enrollment, and the Bureau expects that 2009's enrollment is even higher still. Since 2000, the number of undergrads and grad students has skyrocketed, adding more than 3.2 million to college rolls.

Tax-rate tinkering won't work | Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/03/2009

Tax-rate tinkering won't work Philadelphia Inquirer 11/03/2009:

"With a poverty rate of 25 percent - 36 percent among children - Philadelphia is racing toward a precipice. Unless we get a handle on the underlying challenges, poverty will continue to climb, with the potential to top 50 percent by 2050.

But rather than chart such a new course, the final report of the Mayor's Task Force on Tax Policy and Economic Competitiveness largely rehashes the recommendations of the 2003 Tax Reform Commission, propounding generic, supply-side approaches that are not fine-tuned to Philadelphia's unique challenges and opportunities.

The task force's main proposal is to restart and accelerate reductions to the wage and business-privilege taxes, as suggested by the 2003 commission, and replace some of the lost revenue by increasing property taxes. The report cites research showing that incremental wage-tax reductions have preserved 25,000 jobs since 1996. But it fails to note that the poverty rate increased during the same period, from 20.3 percent in 1990 to 24.5 percent in 2007."

Philadelphia Teaching Effectiveness Campaign

Philadelphia Teaching Effectiveness Campaign:

"All children in Philadelphia have the right to have consistently effective teaching in every content area and at every grade level, Pre-K through 12.

In too many of our schools, however, the level of teaching and learning does not meet student needs and does not ensure student graduation and postsecondary success. Furthermore too many inexperienced teachers are concentrated in high-poverty and needy schools where they stay only briefly. Subsequently, poor and minority children have the least chance of being taught by a stable, talented combination of effective new and veteran teachers. This teacher “gap” contributes greatly to the District’s stark achievement gap."

Two imperatives guide this platform:

Every child deserves an effective teacher.
Every school needs a stable workforce of effective teachers.

We believe that in order to translate these basic imperatives into reality, the District must do the following:

1. Distribute experienced and effective teachers equitably across the District.
2. Create performance standards for teachers and principals that are aligned with student success, and impplement them consistently district-wide.
3. Create an effective professional development strategy that is guided by teacher input and creates a "culture of collaboration" in schools.
4. Give school leaders the tools & resources to hire and create teams of effective teachers.
5. Create a "deep bench" of applicants for teaching positions.
6. Open school with NO teacher vacancies.

Former Education Official Pleads Guilty to False-Statement Charges - WSJ.com

Former Education Official Pleads Guilty to False-Statement Charges - WSJ.com:

"A former senior U.S. Education Department official pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest and false-statement charges over his stock ownership in a student-loan company.
Matteo Fontana, the former general manager for financial-partner services in Education Department's student-aid office, held as many as 10,500 shares of Education Lending Group Inc. when he became an department employee in 2002, prosecutors said. In 2004 and 2005, he sold shares in the company and received proceeds of almost $219,000, according to prosecutors.

Mr. Fontana's stock holdings came to light in the aftermath of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's 2007 investigation of allegedly improper payments and other inducements to colleges by Education Lending and other student-loan companies. Neither Mr. Montana's attorney nor Education Department officials could be reached for comment."

Innovation: Nine hurdles facing America as a center of tech

Innovation: Nine hurdles facing America as a center of tech:

"A few weeks ago, just before traveling to South America, I watched Eliot Spitzer and Paul Krugman on the Bill Maher show each make the case for why America’s economic hopes rest on tech. It was interesting and informative television – what a great guest pairing – but I came away more than a little nervous about how much the people who are working so hard to focus America’s hopes and aspirations on tech really understand about tech and the people who work in it.

As a journalism grad who wandered into the tech world almost by accident more than 20 years ago, and has since worked often with world-class innovators at companies large and small, here are the nine key points I think policy makers and pundits need to grasp:"

America Needs to Improve Math, Science Education | Blogs | ITBusinessEdge.com

America Needs to Improve Math, Science Education Blogs ITBusinessEdge.com:

"As a writer, you might think I'd be pleased my 8-year-old is turning out assignments that show a predilection toward writing. And sure, it's nice to see paperwork coming home with enthusiastic remarks from his teacher about his 'creativity.' But I wish he'd show more interest in math. A strong grasp of math, not writing ability, is what I think will put him on the path to success. (If the motherhood gods really want to smile on me, he'll have both.)

I'm concerned about this not just as a mom but as a business journalist covering the tech industry, who sees worrying signs that America's competitiveness could be eroding. And I'm not alone."

Corrections Corporation of America Increases Total Capacity Under Contract With California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Corrections Corporation of America Increases Total Capacity Under Contract With California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:

"NASHVILLE, TN -- 11/02/09 -- Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) ('CCA'), the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today that it has amended its agreement with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ('CDCR') to allow for the housing of 2,336 additional offenders from the state of California. Under the amended agreement California will have the ability to house additional inmates at CCA's North Fork Correctional Facility in Oklahoma and its Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona. The 2,336 additional beds provide the CDCR the ability to house up to 10,468 offenders in five CCA owned facilities located in the states of Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma. CCA currently houses approximately 7,900 offenders from the state of California.

The terms of the amendment are similar to the previous agreement, including the 90% guarantee which will be phased in over the ramp-up. CCA expects to begin receiving additional inmates pursuant to the amendment during the first quarter of 2010, with a gradual ramp-up estimated to be completed during the first quarter of 2011. CCA will provide fourth quarter earnings guidance when it releases third quarter financial results on November 4, 2009."

U.S. Asks Whether Colleges Discriminate Against Female Applicants (to Admit More Men) - The Choice Blog - NYTimes.com

U.S. Asks Whether Colleges Discriminate Against Female Applicants (to Admit More Men) - The Choice Blog - NYTimes.com:

"The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has begun a formal investigation into an issue that has become of increasing interest to male and female students alike: the extent to which “liberal arts colleges discriminate among female applicants in an attempt to minimize gender imbalances in the student body,” according to an article posted this morning on Inside Higher Ed."

The article continues:

The issue is an extremely sensitive one for liberal arts colleges, many of which in recent years have worried about their sex ratios reaching points (60 percent female is commonly cited) where they face difficulty in attracting both male and female applicants. Generally private undergraduate colleges have the legal right to consider sex in admissions. They were specifically exempted from the admissions provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

The article also notes:

Nationally, female enrollments have grown steadily; about 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women, and gender gaps have become visible not only at liberal arts colleges, but at many larger institutions, including research universities. From an educational standpoint, many observers think that the falling educational aspirations of college-age men is a serious problem.

Teacher Fired For Reporting IDEA Violations Can Sue, Court Rules - Disability Scoop

Teacher Fired For Reporting IDEA Violations Can Sue, Court Rules - Disability Scoop:

"A California educator who says she was fired for speaking out about the limited services provided to her special education students can sue for retaliation, an appeals court has ruled.

Susan Barker was a resource specialist in Riverside, Calif. in 2005 when she raised red flags about the limited services provided to students with disabilities in the school district. She made a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and says her superiors in the school district promptly began intimidating her."

Barker says her colleagues stopped communicating by phone and e-mail, excluded her from staff meetings, limited her responsibilities and changed her work location. As a result, she alleged in a lawsuit against the school district that she was “constructively terminated” in August 2006 because her employer “subjected her to an intolerable work environment.”

Study examines Hispanics' financial literacy

Study examines Hispanics' financial literacy:

"Even though less Hispanics have ever had a checking account, more express interest in bolstering their financial literacy, according to an academic study released today.

The study, 'Assessing Financial Literacy among Hispanics in the California Central Valley,' included samples of more than 1,300 people from Merced to Kings counties. It was conducted by faculty at California State University, Fresno. Among the findings:

• Almost 80 percent of Hispanic respondents reported ever having had a bank account, compared to 99.1 percent of non-Hispanic respondents."

Inside Education: Service learning alive and well in Tracy Unified - ContraCostaTimes.com

Inside Education: Service learning alive and well in Tracy Unified - ContraCostaTimes.com:

"DESPITE THE state's ongoing budget crisis, a number of programs, such as Tracy Unified's service learning, are actually thriving.
Of course, it helps to be funded by a federal grant that has nothing to do with California's budget mess.

The grant allows the service learning program to offer mini grants to participating schools to fund projects such as the community gardens at Freiler and North schools.
Those gardens give students a number of academic challenges, along with the a chance to get their hands dirty and provide fresh vegetables for the less fortunate — which is the idea behind the project, mixing academics and community service."

California Answers Call for $750 Million in Build America Bonds - Bloomberg.com

California Answers Call for $750 Million in Build America Bonds - Bloomberg.com:

"Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- California is responding to investor demand for more of the state’s Build America Bonds by offering about $750 million today after a so-called reverse inquiry that is more common for corporate issues than for municipals.

The U.S. state with the most people and lowest credit ratings, which earlier said it intended to sell $1.5 billion of tax-exempt debt this week, announced plans yesterday to answer a request by offering another taxable issue for which the U.S. government pays 35 percent of the interest. Citigroup Inc. is handling the deal.

Investors such as life insurers and taxable-bond funds already have been drawn to the $7 billion in Build America issues brought out so far by California. The bonds, backed by its general obligation pledge, carry higher yields and longer terms than most similarly rated company debt."

Alex Jones’ Prison Planet.com » Autism Spikes, Toxins Suspected

Alex Jones’ Prison Planet.com » Autism Spikes, Toxins Suspected:

"As the national focus on the H1N1 pandemic rages, additional evidence of a more insidious epidemic has emerged, with an all-too-expected shrug from the mainstream media. Results from two federal studies announced in October say parents have a 1-in-100-or-greater chance of having a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since boys are four times more likely to have an ASD, their odds are as high as 1 in 60.

On Oct. 2, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the press and about 50 members of the autism community that an unreleased Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study shows the incidence of 8-year-olds born in 1996 with ASDs is 1 in 100. The agency’s last two studies of children born in 1992 and 1994 put the chance at 1 in 150."

President Obama May Improve the Image of African Americans, but Being Black or Brown in America is Still Tough for Kids | Reuters

President Obama May Improve the Image of African Americans, but Being Black or Brown in America is Still Tough for Kids Reuters:

"DAVIS, Calif., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The media is touting new films about
image and the African American experience -- Chris Rock's 'Good Hair,' Oprah's
'Precious,' CNN's Black in America, Disney's Princess and the Frog and Tyler
Perry's films -- but talking about self-image is a mission for Sandy Holman,
director of The Culture CO-OP, Davis, California. Holman has dedicated the
last twenty years of her career to boosting the body-image and self-esteem of
the nation's youth. Her focus is on diversity and children who are
disproportionately affected by negative messages such as African Americans and

Her first book --'Grandpa, Why Is Everything Black Bad?'-- won national awards
in spite of what her critics called its 'negative title.' Holman reads this
and her other titles, 'Grandma Says Our Hair has Flair' and 'We All Have a
Heritage,' to the nation's children.

The children who read her books know exactly what they mean, and they feel
validated by the positive messages inside. Holman observes that from age
three, kids notice when their skin and hair doesn't measure up to their role
models in movies and television."

Will Privatization Create a New McSUSM? - Viewpoint

Will Privatization Create a New McSUSM? - Viewpoint:

"If the idea of a professor bidding you 'Good morning and welcome to McUniversity, may I take your order?' seems far-fetched, then the silent battle waged in Sacramento has not reached your mind space.

It is time to awaken from political slumber and join the battle. Under attack are not only your educational opportunities, but also the future of educational opportunity for a wide swath of our friends and family on the lower levels of the socio-economic strata. This is a battle to save the California State University system from privatization."

On Wednesday evening in ARTS 111, Professor Gary Rhoades, the General Secretary for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), spoke to a (too) small crowd of a few dozen about changes taking place in our University system. The AAUP is a national organization founded a century ago to protect the rights of University Faculty (http://www.aaup.org/).

University faculty exists to serve the welfare of the student body, therefore students and professors should share a strong solidarity in matters such at these. Dr. Rhoades and others voiced concern that with California's current economic state, our higher education system is an easy target for political and corporate powers seeking to dismantle the system and build in its place a corporate, for profit structure. This could potentially provide a McDonalds type corporate model in many ways. Homogenization could become the norm, with ideas handed down to professors and students by corporate managers. The result would be a single minded, cloned student body.

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