Friday, November 27, 2009

I Guess They Don't Actually Want A 2/3 Majority | California Progress Report

I Guess They Don't Actually Want A 2/3 Majority California Progress Report:

"'The 2/3 requirement that we have in this state. I know it's a tired old saw. But when you really think about, that is the cause of so much of the dysfunction in the legislature. you have a minority party that obviously worked in tandem with the governor that cost the state 6-7 billion dollars tonight for no good reason. To somehow improve your negotiating position.
It is without question the most irresponsible act that I have seen in my 15 years of public service...I hope that the significance will truly capture enough attention that the people will decide it is time to change the system that allows the minority to essentially rule the day. That's not just the Senate Republicans, it was the Governor too, who was apparently out to prove a point. And he proved a point.'"

State Senate leader casts doubt on lieutenant governor nominee Abel Maldonado | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times

State Senate leader casts doubt on lieutenant governor nominee Abel Maldonado L.A. NOW Los Angeles Times:

"State Sen. Abel Maldonado’s nomination as California’s next lieutenant governor may already be in trouble.

Minutes after a Los Angeles event this morning, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hailing the moderate Santa Maria Republican as his pick for the office, state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) released a statement expressing “grave doubts” about the choice. Maldonado needs the approval of the Democratic-dominated Legislature to take the post."

Get Schooled | Handing out Bibles at a high school: Why do we keep doing this in Georgia?

Handing out Bibles at a high school: Why do we keep doing this in Georgia?

"The zest with which Georgia schools test the church-state divide never fails to stun me.

I wonder if other states grapple with this issue or is this unique to the Bible Belt?

With the threat of litigation, public schools ought to think very carefully about allowing any religious group access to students and the possible charge of proselytizing on school grounds."

L.A. Unified school choices are a confusing maze --

L.A. Unified school choices are a confusing maze --

"Pamela Krys, who moved to Woodland Hills a year ago, made a confession during a school fair this month at Sutter Middle School in Canoga Park.

'I don't understand the points,' she said, referring to one aspect of the application process for magnet programs. 'They don't do points in Florida.'"

Understanding the points system is just one of the complications surrounding school choice in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Although its "choices" website is improving, the school system provides no central location -- online or off -- to help parents manage all their options if they don't want their children to attend their neighborhood school.

Separate programs have different application forms, processes and deadlines. Nor does the district supply some key information, such as student test scores for most magnets. Budget cuts led to the cancellation of districtwide magnet fairs, although some regional administrators have staged smaller events.

The district's "choices" application brochure offers bare-bones magnet descriptions. It does, for example, classify a magnet as a police academy or a math-science-technology program but doesn't go into detail. It also includes how many students applied last year, along with the number of openings this year.

Class Struggle - Too hard to pick the right high school

Class Struggle - Too hard to pick the right high school:

"Near the end of her struggle to find the right high school for a son who did not always share her tastes, Tracey Henley was overjoyed to discover that some of her son’s best friends had endorsed her choice, and his resistance had vanished. “So now we don’t have to forge his signature on the form, always a plus,” she said.

Where had this painful sifting of options occurred? Was it some struggling urban district? No, Henley lives in Montgomery County, like much of suburban Washington a mecca for those seeking the best in public education. Her story illustrates that in even the best possible circumstances, parents often have to work very hard to find the place that fits their child. I, like Henley, wonder if there is a better way to do this."

Sacramento Press / Hmong New Year celebration

Sacramento Press / Hmong New Year celebration:

"Thanksgiving Day usually means eating turkey. But for thousands of local Hmong, it means eating Hmong sausage, grilled pork and sticky rice while attending the Sacramento Hmong New Year celebration at Cal Expo.

More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the four-day celebration which begins Thursday and ends Sunday, said John Thao, Hmong New Year Committee board member. The board formed six years ago and consists of one representative from each of the 18 Hmong clans which make up Sacramento's community of approximately 26,000 to 28,000 Hmong. Hmong come from the mountainous regions of China and other countries Southeast Asia."

City Hall Memo - Bloomberg and Teachers Wrestle Over 4% Pay Raises -

City Hall Memo - Bloomberg and Teachers Wrestle Over 4% Pay Raises -

As he sought to persuade wary voters that he deserved a third term as mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg sold himself as a no-nonsense financial watchdog who was ready to swing the budget ax.

The powerful union is asking the city for 4 percent annual raises for its 87,000 teachers, the same pay increase that the Bloomberg administration gave municipal workers throughout the mayor’s second term.

A year ago, the teachers’ raises seemed inevitable. In fact, the city has already set aside enough money to give teachers 4 percent increases over the next two years.

But the economic landscape has changed drastically, and Mr. Bloomberg is grappling with a tricky question: In a severe economic downturn, can the city justify giving $700 million in raises to teachers?

The decision is rich in symbolism, and will reveal much about how Mr. Bloomberg intends to govern in his third term.

If he snubs teachers and hurts their morale, he risks jeopardizing his signature policy initiative: overhauling the city’s once-troubled schools. If he demands no serious concessions, organized labor may decide he is weak and resist his spending cuts for the next four years. If he is overly combative, he could alienate unions that paved the way for his re-election, either by endorsing him or staying neutral, as the teachers’ union did.

Chicago News Cooperative - To Pay for Longer School Days, Some Parents Try Raising Money -

Chicago News Cooperative - To Pay for Longer School Days, Some Parents Try Raising Money -

"After raising $35,000 for gym mats, musical instruments and other extras last year, parents at Disney II Magnet School in Chicago now face a more daunting price tag — $100,000 — to keep their children in class an extra hour each day."

The city’s public school students have some of the shortest days in the country, as both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are encouraging educators to extend school time. The Obama administration is even dangling $4 billion in new education money in front of states that innovate in different areas, including class schedules.

Historically in Chicago, the conversation about extending the school day has been short. To do so for all 417,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools would cost around $280 million, said a system spokeswoman, Ana Vargas, making such a move virtually impossible at a time when the school system faces a deficit that could reach $900 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“Most people would absolutely say more time is better,” said Erica L. Harris, head of the school system’s Office of Extended Learning Opportunities. But, Ms. Harris added, “That conversation ends before it starts.”

The $100,000 fund-raising drive at Disney II shows how parents at one magnet school are scrambling to make it happen. The cost estimate runs to $385 per student at the 260-student school, but the hours add up to an extra month of school over the course of an academic year.

The Signal - Santa Clarita Valley News - Film bus poses possibilities

The Signal - Santa Clarita Valley News - Film bus poses possibilities:

"With a smile on his face, Clifton Parish stood in front of about 20 Bowman High School students and called on them to give him their best Facebook and MySpace poses.

“What would that look like?” Parish asked the students Tuesday as a fast-paced dance song pumped through the packed RV-sized mobile classroom parked outside the continuation high school.

The students turned to their Apple workstations and channeled their inner models — out came smiles and giggles, pouted lips, hand signs and funky poses."

Sit-in has students fearing Hotel California |

Sit-in has students fearing Hotel California

"Seventy UC Santa Cruz students occupied an administrative building last Thursday after the university approved a 32 per cent increase in student fees. In June, UC’s board of regents had raised fees by 9.3 per cent effective immediately, after an earlier 10 per cent hike in the same fiscal year.

The University of California is the fourth largest public university system in the U.S. Its 10 campuses have suffered massive budget cuts, resulting in tuition hikes and reduced student services."

The Militant - December 7, 2009 -- Education and the working class

The Militant - December 7, 2009 -- Education and the working class:

"Thousands of students and workers across the University of California system are protesting the imposition of a 32 percent tuition hike and the refusal of the university to negotiate a contract with the campus workers’ union. They deserve the support of all working people.

In the current capitalist economic crisis many of the attacks on the living standard of working people are being carried out by state and city governments. Four months ago California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a “budget balancing” package that included unpaid furloughs for state workers, closing of parks, and massive cuts in health and welfare programs."

Capitalist politicians in the state—Democrats and Republicans—are preparing a new round of cuts, which they justify on the basis of a budget deficit. From the Schwarzenegger administration in California to that of Gov. David Paterson in New York this is a fake and a fraud to protect the wealthy holders of the states’ bonds. The government in California

paid out $41 million in cash in July to its bondholders, who by law are the first creditors to be paid. In June the California treasurer promised that short of “thermonuclear war” the bondholders would be paid in full.

The sweeping tuition hike at the University of California system highlights the fact that the capitalist rulers don’t think that workers need, much less have a right to, education. The broader access to a college education by the working class was a concession wrenched from the rulers by mass social struggles— most recently as part of the fight for Black civil rights in the 1960s and ’70s.

Under capitalism there can be no meaningful education. As Socialist Workers Party national secretary Jack Barnes explains in the pamphlet The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning: The Fraud of Education Reform Under Capitalism, “The purpose of education is to give ‘the educated’ a stake in thinking they are going to be different—slightly better off, slightly more white collar—than other people who work all their lives. In the process, the rulers hope to make those who manage to get a college degree more dependable supporters of the status quo.”

The opposite is the case for workers. “They need us to be obedient, not to be educated,” Barnes says.

As the U.S. capitalist rulers face the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, they aim to resolve it on the backs of working people around the world. They must roll back the social wage won by our class, from schools to Social Security to Medicare and Medicaid and to health care more broadly. This is the logic of the rule of the billionaire families, the dictatorship of capital. We must answer their dictatorship by taking political power out of their hands and establishing the dictatorship of the working majority where education is a universal right, a human activity from cradle to grave.

My View: 'Race to Top' funds would carry strings - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee

My View: 'Race to Top' funds would carry strings - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial Sacramento Bee:

"Beware educrats bearing gifts. The U.S. Education Department is dangling up to $500 million in 'Race to the Top' grants in front of a cash-strapped California. That has desperate legislators debating a bill that would enact certain reforms in exchange for the money. But though the reforms may be laudable, and a half-billion dollars isn't something to scoff at in tough fiscal times, some skepticism is in order."

Popular Comment

Raising the cap on charter schools is BAD idea. These charter schools are run by corporate interests with one thing in mind - hand picking their students while leaving others behind. These charter school boards are also not accountable under the Brown act and do not have to hold public meetings, therefore transparency is non exisistent. It is shameful that so called Democrats like Al Sharpton and others side with Newt Gingrich in the name of so-called choice when in fact the only thing on the agenda is to dismantle public education. This one time shot in the arm is not worth risking our public education system over. Furthermore, all you have to do is take a look at St. Hope. Hear the sound of the toilet flushing? It is the sound of 4.3 billion dollars going right down the commode in the name of reform SB x5 should be rejected by the Assembly Education in california is going to end up like being employed at wal mart low wages no benefits with no future.

-- The_Ghost_of_Belle_Cooledge

California faces $20.7 billion deficit, again | billion, california, deficit - Local News - Victorville Daily Press

California faces $20.7 billion deficit, again billion, california, deficit - Local News - Victorville Daily Press:

"SACRAMENTO • Four months after closing a $26 billion budget shortfall, California lawmakers are faced with another $20.7 billion budget gap through 2011 — and tens of billions of dollars more until revenue rebounds in 2014, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

“Our problem is, rather than making the hard decisions 18 months ago, we keep putting it off and so it only makes it that much more difficult,” said Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster. “Hopefully we’ll just get a plain, old reality check, because we’re running out of options...”"

Educational Results Partnership Welcome

Educational Results Partnership Welcome:

"Welcome to

A free school improvement system
for actionable data and

best practices to raise student
achievement and close achievement gaps."

Welcome to A free school improvement systemfor actionable data and best practices web site -

My Word: Awful school funding formula plagues Alameda County - Inside Bay Area

My Word: Awful school funding formula plagues Alameda County - Inside Bay Area:

"CALIFORNIA'S FISCAL outlook continues to worsen.

Concern is mounting over the impact the state's budget deficit will have on education funding.

The California Teachers Association (CTA), along with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, claims California's per-pupil funding now ranks 47th nationally. In reality, most experts agree California is around the middle of the pack when it comes to school funding, including the CTA's own parent organization, the National Education Association.

But what matters to most California parents isn't how much other states are spending — it's the results their children's school districts are getting compared to other school districts in California."

On that front, California must do better. It's not because there's too little funding. It's because the state's school financing system is illogical and inequitable.

The California School Finance Center database — a new project from the Pacific Research Institute and the Educational Results Partnership (formerly Just for the Kids-California) that compiles data from a dozen California Department of Education sources — helps shed some much-needed light on this reality.

The data show some troubling discrepancies among similar school districts.

GOODMAN: Education cuts spur student organization

GOODMAN: Education cuts spur student organization:

"California campuses have been rocked by protests this past week, provoked by massive student fee increases voted on by the University of California Board of Regents. Following a year of sequential budget cuts, faculty and staff dismissals and furloughs, and the elimination of entire academic departments, the 32 percent fee increase proved to be the trigger for statewide actions of an unprecedented scale.

As President Barack Obama's anticipated Afghanistan war strategy is soon to be announced, which, according to one leak, will include a surge of 35,000 troops, the juxtaposition of education cuts and military increases is incensing many, and helping to build a movement."

Cassidy: Elmo and Intel, helping kids learn - San Jose Mercury News

Cassidy: Elmo and Intel, helping kids learn - San Jose Mercury News:

"Anytime you recruit both Elmo and Craig Barrett to help you with a problem, you know you've got a big problem.

And so it is with the poor performance of American school kids when it comes to math, science and technology. The Obama administration this week announced that the world's most lovable Muppet and the former CEO of the world's largest chipmaker would be among those joining in a vast effort to keep the United States competitive when it comes to building the world's future."

Op-Ed Columnist - The Other Education -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Other Education -

"Like many of you, I went to elementary school, high school and college. I took such and such classes, earned such and such grades, and amassed such and such degrees.

But on the night of Feb. 2, 1975, I turned on WMMR in Philadelphia and became mesmerized by a concert the radio station was broadcasting. The concert was by a group I’d never heard of — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Thus began a part of my second education.

We don’t usually think of this second education. For reasons having to do with the peculiarities of our civilization, we pay a great deal of attention to our scholastic educations, which are formal and supervised, and we devote much less public thought to our emotional educations, which are unsupervised and haphazard. This is odd, since our emotional educations are much more important to our long-term happiness and the quality of our lives.

In any case, over the next few decades Springsteen would become one of the professors in my second education. In album after album he assigned a new course in my emotional curriculum."

BBC News - War of words over teacher numbers

BBC News - War of words over teacher numbers:

"Scotland's education secretary has clashed with local authorities over a drop in the number of teachers north of the border.

The figure fell by 1,348 over the past year, a drop which was described as 'unacceptable' by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

However, her claims were rejected by local authority umbrella body Cosla, which expressed 'surprise and disappointment' at her comments.

Here are their statements in full."

Half of Scotland's councils have delivered improvements in primary school class sizes.

Half have not. What is more, there has been a sharp fall in the number of teachers. That is simply unacceptable.

Letters: On retooling of education | Viewpoints, Outlook | - Houston Chronicle

Letters: On retooling of education Viewpoints, Outlook - Houston Chronicle:

"In response to professor Charles Meisgeier's article about the need to retool education to teach how children learn (“America must make effort to retool education system,” Page B7, Saturday), if he looked around his community he would know there is a highly reputable and successful tool right here in Houston, The Neuhaus Education Center. NEC has taught thousands of teachers a method of teaching any subject, called Multi-Sensory Training."

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