Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pugh to head California School Boards Association | | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA

Pugh to head California School Boards Association The Press Democrat Santa Rosa, CA:

"Santa Rosa School Board member Frank Pugh has been elected president of the California School Boards Association. He takes office on Saturday.

First elected to the Santa Rosa School Board in 1990, Pugh is the most senior board member of the county's largest school district.

Pugh has served on the CSBA Delegate Assembly for nine years and the association's Board of Directors representing the local region for seven years."

Cal State gets the wrong number in answering budget crisis --

Cal State gets the wrong number in answering budget crisis --

"Budgets have been slashed so drastically under a governor who has magnified every problem he promised to solve that the Long Beach campus shuts off the phone system to save money."

We seem to be quickly moving toward the day when the once-great Cal State system moves to a three-day week, with academic buildings rented out to storage companies and professors teaching class in parking lots and under trees.

But even so, I was taken aback to hear they might be shutting down phone service at Cal State Long Beach. I drove to the campus to see if it was true.

When I got to the office of Lisa Vollendorf, who runs the Romance, German and Russian department, I noticed that she still had a phone.

"I still have mine, too," said Jeff High, associate professor of German studies, who wasn't sure how much longer he'd be able to make or take calls.

State cuts could mean and end to classroom rehab at San Quentin -

State cuts could mean and end to classroom rehab at San Quentin -

"In a brightly colored classroom in an otherwise dismal place, Stanley Durden studies intently at a desk.

Durden, 51, says he wants to gain what he missed outside San Quentin State Prison - an education.

'I won't learn anything by sitting in the cell or watching TV. I prefer to have school,' said Durden, who has served 10 years of a 25-to-life prison sentence for repeated burglary and robbery convictions. He wants to earn his GED."

How Bad is the Budget Crisis at CSU Schools? Uh, Pretty Damn Bad. - LAist

How Bad is the Budget Crisis at CSU Schools? Uh, Pretty Damn Bad. - LAist:

"LAT's Steve Lopez takes a look at just how dire things are at 'the once-great Cal State system' of universities in his latest column, chasing the rumor that in order to save money 'they might be shutting down phone service at Cal State Long Beach.' Yeah, you read that right. Apparently 'turning off the phones campuswide was recommended by committee members as a way to avoid further cuts in instruction. The thinking was that professors could use personal cellphones to conduct school business.'

One way the CSU campuses are saving money is by shutting down two full days a month. Those are mandatory system-wide furlough days; faculty and staff are enduring a number of individual furlough days as well, in exchange for just shy of 10% less pay. Lopez explains the consequences"

School Choice and the Common Good of All Children - The Acton Institute

"The United States justifiably celebrates its pluralism. The mandate to find unity in diversity—e pluribus unum—is predicated not on the premise that all peculiarities of creed or color must be washed away; instead, it insists that all such cultural and social differences must be respected. Part and parcel of this freedom is the right of parents to educate their children as they see fit. Like all rights, this one carries with it a duty: to prepare the child adequately for participation in society by being attentive to technical and life skills as well as moral formation."

Yet, this right has been imperfectly recognized for some time. Pursuing the goal of universal education, a worthy end in itself, nineteenth-century reformers gradually concentrated in city, state, and national governments the funding and control of what had been a predominantly non-governmental, disparate, and radically local regime of education. Immediately, the move toward unitary systems fueled conflict over a neuralgic point of America’s pluralist experiment: Protestant-Catholic relations. Controversy over schooling was one of the combustible ingredients leading to explosions of violence in cities such as Philadelphia and New York during the 1830s and 1840s.

A modus vivendi was reached when Catholics determined to build their own parochial system. The Supreme Court guaranteed the legality of the Catholic parochial system in its 1925 Pierce decision, and soon Catholics in the United States would build the largest private school system in the world. At its height in 1965, the system was comprised of 13,500 schools serving 5.6 million students across primary (4.5 million) and secondary levels.

Meanwhile, battles over public school curricula continued, as constituencies of many varieties perceived that what they viewed as an appropriate education for their children was not served by a public system that inexorably drifted toward a lowest-common-denominator form of education. Some religious groups such as Lutherans and Dutch Reformed began or maintained their own schools, and parents seeking social status or demanding rigorous standards enrolled their children in private academies.

A Hybrid System

Thus, the pluralist ideal survived but in a deformed shape. The right of parents to direct their children’s education was recognized in theory, but in practice every citizen was compelled to pay for the government school system. The result was an arrangement unjust at its core. Parents devoted to a particular form of education for religious or other reasons might choose to sacrifice other goods to fund their children’s education outside of the government system. For wealthy families, the choice might come easily; for most, the decision was difficult. The incentive to participate in the government system was strong, and genuine freedom in education remained an elusive ideal.

'Weak' Mayor Seeks Assist to Reshape Sacramento -

'Weak' Mayor Seeks Assist to Reshape Sacramento -

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With California's capital city in deep economic trouble, Mayor Kevin Johnson wants to call the shots, just as he once did as a star point guard for the Phoenix Suns basketball team. But there's an obstacle: Sacramento has what is known a 'weak mayor' system, making its mayor, in effect, just another city-council member.

Mr. Johnson says Sacramento needs a 'strong mayor' arrangement -- with the mayor as head of the government -- as do a majority of big cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco. To get there, Mr. Johnson is campaigning for a controversial ballot measure that would boost his powers to lead this city of 480,000."

"If you have to do everything by committee, it gets bogged down and you miss a ton of opportunities," the 43-year-old Democrat said during an interview in his City Hall office.

But those who oppose the measure accuse Mr. Johnson of making a power grab. "This initiative, if it passes, will put only one seat at the table," says Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy. "The checks and balances are lopsided" in Mr. Johnson's proposal.

Calling the Shots in Sacramento

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson wants to see the powers of the office expanded.

Mr. Johnson says Sacramento needs a mayor with clout to deal with its economic downturn, which has been exacerbated by furloughs of tens of thousands of state workers. The city faces a 15% unemployment rate, a depressed real-estate market, rising retail vacancy rate and a budget shortfall that is expected to hit $30 million for the next fiscal year.

What Does CSA, the Principals Union in NYC Think about Dedicated funding for Arts Education? - Dewey21C

What Does CSA, the Principals Union in NYC Think about Dedicated funding for Arts Education? - Dewey21C:

"Arts education needs to be incentivized through dedicated funding. Because the NYC public school system is not meeting even the most minimal standard requirements for arts education, the arts should be treated as a 'protected class' of studies. When it comes to arts education, we need all of our schools to be winners. It is critical that the DoE create a dedicated funding line with budget allocations for schools to prevent more declines in arts education and capitalize on the benefits of arts education for children.
--Ernest Logan, President, The Council of Supervisors and Administrators

It is generally accepted that principals don't like categorical funding. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), which is the union that represents principals, assistant principals, and other administrators in the New York City public schools recognizes that categorical funding for arts education is indeed one of those rare and important exceptions."

Thoughts on Education Policy: Cincinnati Teachers: "Bad Teachers Not a Big Problem in Our Schools"

Thoughts on Education Policy: Cincinnati Teachers: "Bad Teachers Not a Big Problem in Our Schools":

"TNTP today released a report based, in part, on a survey of teachers in Cincinnati. And I have two shocking bits of information to share with you about the report:

1.) One of the questions asked of teachers was the following:

“Are there continuing contract teachers in your school who you think should be terminated for poor instructional performance, but have not been?”"

Having interacted with dozens, if not hundreds, of urban teachers over the past 5+ years I'm not sure if I can think of a single one that would say there's not a single teacher in their school who shouldn't be fired. I think teacher quality was far from the biggest problem at my school, but I would've responded "yes" to that question in a heartbeat -- there were clearly some teachers without whom the school might have done better. And I would think the vast majority of lawyers, nurses, social workers, accountants, etc. would say the same thing about their organizations -- there are some people that deserve to be fired. So I expected that the number of teachers who said "yes" would be somewhere around 90%. Maybe closer to 2/3 because of social desirability concerns. So I was surprised when I saw the actual number . . . 34%.

The number is almost laughably low. I find it almost completely implausible. I can think of three explanations:

1.) Cincinnati has an awful lot of schools without many remarkably bad teachers

2.) Teachers don't like saying bad things about each other

3.) Teachers have low expectations for one another

How Did We Get Here? | GothamSchools

How Did We Get Here? GothamSchools:

"I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and I hope I get a chance to sift through it on here over the next few days. In the meantime, there’s one incident stuck on my mind.

It happened the other day when one of my students got caught with his finger up his nose by the math cluster teacher. She sent him to wash his hands and I escorted him to the sink in our classroom to help him out. He’s a third grader who can’t tie his shoes and can’t really use scissors, so I figured he might need some help using the faucet and the soap.

As he was soaping up I thought it was a good opportunity for a quick hygiene tip: “Do you know a good way to know if you’ve washed for long enough? You can sing your ABC’s while you soap.”

“I don’t know my ABC’s.”"

Chaz's School Daze: Shame On Tweed For Closing Down Jamaica High School - Shame, Shame, Shame

"It has finally happened! Chancellor Joel Klein and his non-educator flunkies at Tweed have finally succeeded in destroying one of the great schools in New York City with a century long history, Jamaica High School. Yesterday the DOE formally announced the closing of Jamaica High School after they setup the school for failure. Under Joel Klein's tenure the school suffered from poor leadership, starved it for funds, was treated as an 'impact school' by the City in 2005, found itself unfairly placed on the State's 'most dangerous schools list' in 2007, and encouraged students to transfer out of the school or discouraged perspective students from selecting the school in the first place. The result was a school that was underpopulated while having large class sizes and only receiving the bottom feeders of the student body."

The closing of Jamaica High School was no great surprise to many who watched helplessly as Tweed dismantled the school step by step. I previously wrote about what the DOE was doing to the school Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. Still, it was shocking that Tweed ignores the community and student body and goes on their merry way to destroy the traditional large high schools while lobbying for small or Charter schools to replace them. How ridiculous is it that nearby schools like Francis Lewis is bursting at the seams while Jamaica High School can't attract enough students to fill the school.

Flypaper: Education reform ideas that stick, from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Flypaper: Education reform ideas that stick, from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute:

"This week The New Teacher Project (TNTP) unveiled its Cincinnati-focused report on human capital reform. The report’s recommendations for Cincinnati Public Schools and the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) are similar (predictably so) to client reports for other districts, like Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Chicago. That’s because problems related to teacher quality are ubiquitous in American urban education."

Read the Cincinnati findings as well as the defensive reaction of the CFT, and you’ll swear you could be reading a narrative of any city’s human capital challenges: late hiring timelines prevent districts from snagging the best teacher candidates; evaluating teachers once every five years is meaningless; single step salary structures aren’t the best way to recruit and reward excellence. It’s chocked full of a lot of common sense. But common sense doesn’t always translate into political action and policy reform.

Where TNTP’s client cities part ways is in their willingness to truly make “teacher effectiveness” the helm of the human capital ship, and to measure this with student performance data. (There are other ways that districts/states can improve teacher quality but whether they place “effectiveness” at the core of their human capital philosophy says volumes.)

State university system raises math standards --

State university system raises math standards --

"Students applying to the state university system will have to have four math courses and will be required to take math their last year in high school under new admissions requirements passed Friday by regents.

The requirements, which will take effect for those starting ninth grade in 2011, passed unanimously after a spirited debate in which several regents and university presidents questioned whether the standards would be the best fit for all students."

Skeptics expressed particular concern about students who reach a high level of math early in high school and want to try other subjects as seniors. Some also worried that the requirements might drive excellent writers and artists to out-of-state universities. Others worried that they might penalize students from less-affluent districts.

"It seems a little odd that the requirement is not to get to a certain place in math," said regent David Nevins, alluding to the senior-year requirement.

But Chancellor William E. Kirwan argued firmly that such concerns place the needs of a few over the needs of the many students who struggle with college math after avoiding the subject as seniors.

Delaware schools: Christina pilot program opens doors to preschool | | The News Journal

Delaware schools: Christina pilot program opens doors to preschool The News Journal:

"After Michael Brown was laid off from his job in September, he didn't know how he was going to be able to afford a preschool program for his 4-year-old twin boys."

National research shows children who attend high-quality preschool do better throughout school, and as adults, are more likely to go to college, get jobs and pay taxes. But with three older children to support and only his wife's income to lean on, the Browns could not afford to send Nia and Noah to a tuition-based program. They tried to enroll the boys in the state-supported pre-kindergarten program, but there were no more spots available.

"I was so worried about us not being able to afford anything," said Michael's wife, Leslie.

Thanks to a pilot program in the Christina School District, Nia and Noah now are among 30 children from low-income families attending preschool for free. Federal stimulus dollars are helping support the effort.

The children attend the program at Leasure Elementary School in Bear for two hours, three afternoons a week.

"Providing children with high quality preschool programming prior to kindergarten does make a difference in all areas of development, not just pre-academics," said Lisa Lawson, Christina's supervisor for early childhood programs.

Class Struggle - Carjacking at a top D.C. charter school

Class Struggle - Carjacking at a top D.C. charter school:

"A teacher at the headquarters of one of the District's leading charter school groups, Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), had her car stolen at gun-point Tuesday evening, leading the KIPP DC executive director to call for D.C. Police protection for her campuses.

Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso announced last week that D.C. public charter schools, which are non-profit and available to all students, will receive the same police protection as regular D.C. public schools. Officers will be assigned to the schools with the greatest need, he said, but details needed to be worked out and charters would not start receiving the added protection until January."

I have been writing about the KIPP schools since they began in the District in 2001 and published a book this year, "Work Hard. Be Nice," about the origins of the national KIPP network of 82 schools. Both nationally and in the District, they have produced the greatest gains in achievement for impoverished children, but KIPP DC's new campus at 4801 Benning Rd SE, the site of three KIPP schools, has been a target for crime.

KIPP DC founder and executive director Susan Schaeffler said one non-KIPP high school student was shot and killed on the Benning Road campus last year. Ten KIPP staff cars have been vandalized and three cars have been stolen, two owned by KIPP staffers and one by a KIPP parent.

Op-Ed Columnist - In Search of Education Leaders -

Op-Ed Columnist - In Search of Education Leaders -

"For me, the greatest national security crisis in the United States is the crisis in education. We are turning out new generations of Americans who are whizzes at video games and may be capable of tweeting 24 hours a day but are nowhere near ready to cope with the great challenges of the 21st century.

An American kid drops out of high school at an average rate of one every 26 seconds. In some large urban districts, only half of the students ever graduate. Of the kids who manage to get through high school, only about a third are ready to move on to a four-year college."

Young writers in Westwood unleash their ‘best words’ with Web tool - The Boston Globe

Young writers in Westwood unleash their ‘best words’ with Web tool - The Boston Globe:

"In an online world where language is regularly reduced to instant messaging abbreviations, a group of Westwood sixth-graders is using technology to explore traditional communication, kindling a new love of the written word."

It’s goodbye to “OMG’’ and “IDK,’’ and hello to Shakespeare and poetry.

This new tool in Neil Kulick’s sixth-grade language arts classes at Thurston Middle School is a wiki, a collaborative website that allows students to post work, make comments or critique the work of others, and make revisions in a group setting.

In the traditional approach to writing instruction, the student writes for the teacher only, Kulick said, “like a soloist with an audience of one.’’

But when a student publishes on a wiki? “The audience includes not just the teacher but all of the other students, too,’’ he explained. “And each student can ‘hear’ every other student - now there is a symphony.’’

Anti-gay right advances new smear that DOE official Jennings promoting "Child Porn in the Classroom" | Media Matters for America

Anti-gay right advances new smear that DOE official Jennings promoting "Child Porn in the Classroom" Media Matters for America:

"Conservative blogs have claimed that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings is unfit as 'Safe Schools Czar' because he supposedly promoted 'child porn' by allowing an education organization he founded to recommend for students in grades 7-12 books that included sexually explicit content. The organization, however, specifically stated on its book list website that 'some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes' and recommended that 'adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability'; further, schools regularly teach books that contain sexually explicit material."

Upbeat job report sparks debate over recovery

Upbeat job report sparks debate over recovery:

"A surprisingly upbeat unemployment report suggests that the U.S. job market is finally on the mend, but the detailed survey issued Friday will fuel debate about how quickly the economy can put 15.4 million jobless Americans back to work."

In an early holiday gift, the Labor Department said the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in November from 10.2 percent in October.

Total payroll employment declined by 11,000 jobs, the smallest loss since the recession began in December 2007.
"If the bottom is not quite here, it will be no later than the first quarter of 2010," said economist Nigel Gault, with IHS Global Insight.

But the report also highlighted the plight of the unemployed, whose average job hunt of 28 weeks is the longest on records dating back to 1948.

Read more:

Education Week: Is Education News Falling Off Front Pages?

Education Week: Is Education News Falling Off Front Pages?:

"Billions in federal economic-stimulus dollars are slated to be spent to help improve public education, but Americans relying on traditional news outlets are likely to find out little, if anything, about what that effort might mean for the schools in their communities, a new report suggests.

That’s because education coverage of any type barely registered in newspapers and on news Web sites, on television news broadcasts, or on the radio airwaves in the first nine months of this year, according to the report, released here this week by the Brookings Institution."

Readers' Forum: California deserves better than Yudof's failed leadership -

Readers' Forum: California deserves better than Yudof's failed leadership -

"EXECUTIVES REVEL in taxpayer-backed bonuses while front-line workers suffer layoffs and wage cuts. Ordinary people see their livelihoods diminished and their children's futures eroded while the corner office club gets richer. Costs increase for consumers though they get less value in return.

These were the stories you heard following the fallout on Wall Street during the meltdown of AIG and Lehman Brothers. But now they're just as applicable to result of the misplaced priorities of the University of California under UC President Mark Yudof."

A new look for the Old Globe in San Diego --

A new look for the Old Globe in San Diego --

"Reporting from San Diego - The Elizabethan theater built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in San Diego's Balboa Park was never intended to be permanent.

But as the Old Globe approaches its 75th anniversary, the company is celebrating not just longevity and survival during tough economic times, but the completion of a new theater and education complex on the same green spot where abridged Shakespeare shows were first performed."
On Monday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will join executive producer Louis G. Spisto, Globe board Chairman Donald Cohn and lead donor Conrad Prebys to dedicate the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, which includes the new Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre and the Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center.

At the heart of the handsome, steeply gabled $22-million complex is the White Theatre, a 250-seat, arena-style stage. It gets a test run Monday night when a black-tie crowd will hear Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara, stars of Lincoln Center Theater's Tony award-winning revival of "South Pacific," sing "Some Enchanted Evening" and other Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites.

L.A. venture capitalist pleads guilty --

L.A. venture capitalist pleads guilty --

"Reporting from Los Angeles and Sacramento - Los Angeles venture capitalist and philanthropist Elliott Broidy pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he paid $1 million in gifts to New York public pension officials to win $250 million in investment capital for his private equity fund.

Broidy, 52, faces a possible prison sentence of up to four years at his sentencing, scheduled for June 10."

New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo characterized Broidy's actions as bribery, saying he sent a top state official and relatives on luxury trips to Israel and Italy and paid the rent and hospital bills of a bureaucrat's girlfriend to get the investment money for his Century City firm, Markstone Capital Partners.

Broidy even bankrolled a movie production for the brothers of one official, authorities said.

"This is an old-fashioned payoff of state officials," Cuomo said. "This is effectively bribery."

California Education Crisis Sign of Things to Come | Newsweek National News |

California Education Crisis Sign of Things to Come Newsweek National News

"Whether you're an oppressive foreign dictatorship or an American state in the process of committing fiscal suicide, you know you're losing the public relations battle when encounters between armor-clad riot police with truncheons and college students are broadcast on TV. That's the sad situation California found itself in last week, after the University of California Board of Regents announced a staggering 32 percent midsemester tuition hike. Students responded by demonstrating, chanting, and occupying administration buildings. Things got unruly, law enforcement was called, and within hours it was every spin doctor's nightmare, replayed endlessly on YouTube and cable news."

As is often the case, California is leading a national trend. Higher education is becoming less affordable across the country every year. If states and universities don't make major structural changes in the way they operate, anger and frustration could start to boil over nationwide.

The UC tuition crisis is a symptom of the larger collapse of governance in the Golden State. It takes two thirds of both houses in the state General Assembly to raise taxes, while new spending programs can be created by public referendum. Tax dollars are too hard to raise and too easy to spend, leaving the state lurching from one budget crisis to the next. The young men and women rushing to the barricades on UC campuses are Ronald Reagan's children, victims of a failed antigovernment movement that managed to turn people against taxes while leaving their appetite for public services unchecked.

Something worth protesting about - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee

Something worth protesting about - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial Sacramento Bee:

"For a handful of sporadic days this fall, California's most storied university campuses appeared to be channeling the '60s era of student protests. Students barricaded themselves in buildings, pumped out lists of demands to administrators and staged what they called study-ins."

Abandoning California's commitment to education --

Abandoning California's commitment to education --

"In 1960, a committee of educators working under the leadership of the visionary University of California President Clark Kerr handed Pat Brown, an equally farsighted governor, something he'd long hoped for: a master plan for higher education in California.

Brown and Kerr shared a desire to create a system that would simultaneously encourage academic excellence and equality of opportunity for students of every class and background. They succeeded beyond even their expansive dreams and, in the process, created not simply a network of world-class academic institutions but also a great engine of social progress and prosperity for the California economy."

The plan guaranteed the top 12.5% of the state's high school graduates places in the UC system; the top one-third of graduates were assured places in the state colleges; and free community colleges were open to all. A graduate of the latter's two-year programs was guaranteed admission as a transfer student to a university or state college. Fees and books at those institutions amounted to a few hundred dollars a year.

A special legislative session passed the plan as the Donahoe Higher Education Act and, within short order, slightly more than half of all California high school graduates were attending college -- in an era when less than a third of all Americans went on to higher education. The public universities' burgeoning web of affordable professional schools amplified the system's effect. Its contribution to the decades of unparalleled prosperity that followed can't be calculated.

Officials expect higher fees at junior colleges - Daily Democrat Online

Officials expect higher fees at junior colleges - Daily Democrat Online:

"With the state budget hole headed toward new depths next year, community college students likely will pay more than ever for their classes.

Although the 2010 state budget is still months away from adoption, college and state leaders have begun discussing the new fees. Many say there's little chance students will avoid paying more.

'We're definitely going to include it as an option for the Legislature,' said Paul Steenhausen of the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. 'We've got some really tough years coming up, and the Legislature will have some difficult choices to make.'"

Brownley, Torrico Discuss Race to the Top Legislation to be Voted on Next Week | California Progress Report

Brownley, Torrico Discuss Race to the Top Legislation to be Voted on Next Week California Progress Report:

"SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, and Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico (D-Newark), discuss AB X5 8, legislation Brownley has introduced to strengthen California’s application for federal education funding under President Obama’s Race to the Top education initiative. The bill will be voted on in committee and on the floor of the Assembly next week.

Click onto the following link for the English language MP3 file. The running time is 2:59.

Click onto the following link for the Spanish language MP3 file. The running time is 2:44.

Website of Assemblymember Julia Brownley:

Website of Assemblymember Alberto Torrico:

Burbank Leader > Education

Burbank Leader > Education:

"WEST BURBANK — Little more than six months after taking over as the Burbank Unified School District’s superintendent, Kevin Jolly is expected to announce his resignation in a statement Monday, officials said.

Burbank Unified’s Board of Education is also scheduled to meet early Monday to discuss Jolly’s severance package, said district officials who did not want to be named because the announcement had not yet been made."

Latest News and Comment from Education