Monday, April 15, 2013

[HIP] Wrong-Sizing Fall Out Forum - PLEASE JOIN US

[HIP] Wrong-Sizing Fall Out Forum - PLEASE JOIN US

Dear Parents, Teachers and Community Members,

We ask for your support by joining HIP, parents, students and other community members to share your experience in the fall-out of the school closures and map out our next steps to hold the Board accountable. Nearly two months after SCUSD voted to close seven schools in Sacramento's most vulnerable neighborhoods, families continue to struggle with the District's poorly developed transition plans. 

Wrong-sizing Fall-out Forum

Wednesday, April 17
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Lemon Hill Community Room
6000 Lemon Hill Ave, Sacramento, CA 95824

Attached is the event flyer. Please feel free to distribute widely. We look forward to seeing you there.



For more information, visit or contact HIP at or (626) 607-1897.

“Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) is a grassroots group composed of young professionals that want to strengthen the civic participation of the Hmong and other underprivileged communities.”

Special Late Nite Cap UPDATE 4-15-13 #SOSCHAT #EDCHAT #P2




Iconic L.A. teacher Sal Castro who led East L.A. Walkouts in the 1960s, dies

Sal Castro, the Lincoln High School social studies teacher who inspired students to stage mass walkouts from classes to demand better school in 1968, died in his Silver Lake home on Monday. He was 79.
Castro was an educator for decades -- and for years he ran an empowerment group for latino youth. A middle school is named after him. But few events were as important to him as the walkouts, said UC Santa Barbara historian Mario T. Garcia.
"He always believed that that was one of the highlights of his life. That he could help the students think for 

San Jose State and online education startup Udacity will offer for-credit, online-only courses in psychology and in programming for $150 this summer, the company announced Monday.  

Palo Alto High’s Verde magazine package is being hailed as thoughtful, sensitive — and disturbing. Students don’t clearly understand what constitutes rape, the story makes clear. Yet rape is not so rare, and sometimes the response of victims’ friends and families turn into a second assault.  

How To Create a Non-Existent Crisis: NJ's School Performance Reports

Andy Smarick, the reformy former #2 at the NJDOE, tells us we should be very, very worried about one of the best performing state-level school systems in the nation:
New Jersey just released new report cards for all schools in the state. The information now available, including indicators of college- and career-readiness and excellent “peer school” comparisons, is invaluable. And it is deeply discomfiting for many of the state’s complacent schools and districts.
While the reports reinforce just how tragically low-performing the state’s urban districts are, they also show that the preening of many leafy suburban communities is unwarranted. Said state commissioner 

Sal Castro, teacher who led '68 Chicano student walkouts, dies at 79

Salvador Castro, a social studies teacher who played a leading role in the historic 1968 Chicano student walkouts protesting rampant bias and inequalities in the Los Angeles Unified School District, died Monday, the district announced. He was 79

Simple Writing Exercise Said To “Narrow Achievement Gap”

Be seeing you
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Oliver Hammond via Compfight
I’ve previously posted about a simple writing exercise that was shown to particularly help African American students increase their academic achievement (see Useful Writing Exercise For Helping Students Develop Self-Esteem) and expanded that into a full-fledged lesson plan in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves.
Two new studies have now shown that it can be equally effective with Latino students.
My previous blog post and the new studies (along with my lesson plan) do a good job explaining the process but, simply put, the idea is to have students write briefly about values that are important to them.
Here’s how one of the researchers behind the new studies describes why it’s effective:
“When you look at what the students write, you see that they are generally not boosting their egos or self-

New Titles Help Children Cope With The Common Core

As students around the country prepare to take and fail a battery of state exams based on the Common Core standards, has complied a list of books to help them and their parents cope.

I Used to Like School: A Parent’s Guide to Discussing the Common Core Standards With Your Child, "A Classic. Simply worded concepts with wonderfully colored pictures - that explain the changing nature of the school day from one of joy to one of pedantic exhaustion. It is one of those great books that feels written for adults as well as kids."

Helping Children Say Goodbye to Recess and Art: Coping Strategies for Testing Times, "Few books are able to explain the need to eliminate the 'extras' to children, let alone explain what happened to their fired teachers. This book does both and does it well!

Why Is Johnny Sad All The Time? Answers To Questions Posed During Standardized Testing Season, "This book will help children and their families move forward towards acceptance, understanding and hope as 

New Glen Cove Allegation on Handling of State Test

An inquiry into whether teachers in the Long Island district improperly coached elementary students now includes an accusation that administrators changed a Regents exam grade.

A D.C. charter school asked the D.C. Public Charter School Board on Monday night for permission to raise its enrollment for a rather unusual reason — but the request was denied. My colleague Emma Brown attended the meeting, and here’s … Continue reading →

Alternatively Certified Teachers Profile...Bonnie Kohler

Alternative certification routes are vital to attracting the best, brightest, and cheapest teachers to enter the classroom.  Just because you are willing to devote your whole life to educating our country's children, it does not mean you are willing to spend 2 years taking methods classes to learn to teach. Please read this great essay by Last Stand for Children First Fellow Bonnie Kohler as she explains what being alternatively certified means to her.

In 2008, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Baraboo with a double major in social work and sociology. After graduating, I soon realized that the market for sociologists was roughly the same size as the job market for interpretive dance majors.  I was hired by Starbucks corporation in the role of barista. I served in that position for 

Family fee for half-day state preschool likely to be rescinded - by Lillian Mongeau

A much-disputed daily fee for families with children in state-funded preschool programs will likely be removed from next year’s state budget. Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who chairs the budget subcommittee on education finance, said the fee, which was added to the budget for the first time last year, was a mistake. “We did it for a year and it didn’t work,” she said. “We have the...

GoAnimate4Schools GIVEAWAY!!!!!! Animated Digital Storytelling!

How would you like to be the lucky winner of a one year subscription to GoAnimate for Schools? If you are not sure what GoAnimate is, and/or what it can do, check out the video created by one of my students! I asked them to use their Vocabulary words to create a story. No one begged to skip this assignment! You can't go wrong with GoAnimate for Schools! It is a safe environment. The videos can

One Teacher's Perspective: Curiously, George Will Joins Demolition Crew

One Teacher's Perspective: Curiously, George Will Joins Demolition Crew:

Curiously, George Will Joins Demolition Crew

Curiously, George Will, the renowned political columnist, joined the demolition crew hastily trying to tear down Wisconsin’s public school system.

Over the past two years, Wisconsinites have become accustomed to outsiders trying to raze our public school system proudly built by generations of Wisconsin taxpayers, parents, students, and educators--conservatives and liberals alike.

Will joins the ranks of corporate associations (like ALEC), plutocrats (like the Koch Brothers), right wing think tanks (like Heartland Institute), and clandestine groups (like the pamphleteers in my hometown) defacing Wisconsin’s public schools.

This wrecking ball approach to public school reform is typical of those working in concert to tear down public education. Their pseudo-reforming of public schools involves destroying everything (with no regard for existing value) in public education. The demo crews claim to be reforming public education, but actually seek to raze it and rebuild with publicly-subsidized, privately-run schools.

Will’s recent op-ed attempts to bring a sledgehammer to Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) for allegedly indoctrinating students in “consciousness-raising” about racism,

BAD WEEK FOR Failed DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee: FBI agents at HQ of Browns owner's family business - Yahoo! Sports

FBI agents at HQ of Browns owner's family business - Yahoo! Sports:

FBI agents at HQ of Browns owner's family business

 KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents on Monday locked down the headquarters of Pilot Flying J, the truck stop business owned by the family of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and his brother, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
FBI spokesman Marshall Stone told The Associated Press that the move was part of an ongoing investigation, but he would not provide additional details. FBI and IRS agents were expected to remain in the building into the evening, he said.
The FBI was keeping all traffic away from the company property, and Knoxville police patrol cars and officers could be seen outside the headquarters.
''Any details that would be released to the public would not be available for some time,'' Stone said.
The company doesn't know why FBI officials closed the headquarters but is cooperating with authorities, spokeswoman Lauren Christ said in a statement. Pilot Flying J retail operations remain open, she said.
Jimmy Haslam stepped down as company CEO after buying the Browns from previous owner Randy Lerner in a $1 billion deal in August. He was previously a minority owner of the rival Pittsburgh 

Supporting California’s Public Schools

Supporting California’s Public Schools:

Supporting California’s Public Schools

Supporting California’s Public Schools


At its annual convention this past weekend in Sacramento, the California Democratic Party passed a resolution opposing corporate education reform, specifically naming Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization and “Democrats for Education Reform”.
Resolution 13-04.47, sponsored by CTA, CFT and CFA, is being lauded by those interested in real solutions to problems in public education. Read the complete resolution:
Supporting California’s Public Schools and Dispelling the Corporate “Reform” Agenda_
Whereas, the reform initiatives of Students First, rely on destructive anti-educator policies that do nothing for students but blame educators and their unions for the ills of society, make testing the goal of education, shatter communities by closing their public schools, and see public schools as potential profit centers and children as measureable commodities; and
Whereas, the political action committee, entitled Democrats for Education Reform is funded by corporations, Republican operatives and wealthy individuals dedicated to privatization and anti-educator initiatives, and not grassroots democrats or classroom educators; and
Whereas, , the billionaires funding Students First and Democrats for Education Reform are supporting candidates and local programs that would dismantle a free public education for every student in California and replace it with company run charter schools, non-credentialed teachers and unproven untested so-called “reforms”;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party reaffirms its commitment to free accessible public schools for all which offer a fair, substantive opportunity to learn with educators who have the right to be represented by their union, bargain collectively and have a voice in the policies which affect their schools, classrooms and their students;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party send this resolution to all elected Democratic leaders in California, publicize the corporate and Republican funding of these groups and work with the authors of this resolution to dispel the false reforms and support the real needs of the classroom: trained teachers, adequate funding, safe and clean facilities, diverse and stimulating curriculum and access to pre-school and higher education.

NYC Public School Parents: Sample opt out letter and press release of NYC opt out parents.

NYC Public School Parents: Sample opt out letter and press release of NYC opt out parents.:

Sample opt out letter and press release of NYC opt out parents.

Here's a sample opt-out/refusal letter you can send with your child tomorrow. 


Media Contact: Jane Hirschmann, 917 679 8343             
Jane Maisel, 917 678 1913

Parents in New York City as well as across NY State are mobilizing for a large scale boycott of this year's state standardized tests which start tomorrow. Parents assert that based on the numbers of concerned parents attending meetings and signing petitions, there would have been thousands more participating in this boycott if the NY State Education Department and the NYC DOE hadn’t created such an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Many children across the city will not be taking part in the state tests this April. Parents from 33 schools have instructed the administration and the teachers that they do not have permission to administer the tests to our children.  Parents are determined to end the use of high-stakes testing which are now tied in with New York State’s new experimental Common Core curriculum.
 According to Chancellor Dennis Walcott of the Department of Education children are expected to do poorly on this year's tests because these tests are based on an as yet unused curriculum.  “Why put our children through this exercise? This is surely education malpractice. You can also call it child abuse,” said Marco Battistella. We know our rights as parents and we have an obligation to protect our children.  None of the top performing private schools (where Board of Regents children have attended) give these tests. Could that be why there are no consequences for their opting out?
Evelyn Cruz, a parent of a 6th grader reports that, “I have watched as my son who once loved school, now comes home complaining about all the test prep and emphasis on testing.  He doesn’t want to go to school anymore.  We parents are coming together to tell the Mayor and the Chancellor that despite attempts at fear and intimidation we say, ‘No more!’”
We have had enough of our children doing work that is developmentally inappropriate and focused on drill and kill. We see our children losing their love for learning. Something is very wrong when nine and ten year olds are so stressed out that they are crying, losing sleep and dreading going to school. A 4th grade parent reported that her son is saying that he must be ‘stupid’ because he is having difficulty with material that is at the ninth grade level.  Test anxiety makes learning impossible.
 “We have had enough of the endless test prep that comes with high-stakes testing tied to promotion decisions, teacher evaluations, school report card grades, closing of schools,” said Cynthia Copeland, a parent.
Parents have had enough of our educational system being dismantled by businessmen and politicians, not educators. We insist on a rich curriculum where teachers can teach and children will have a true pathway to successful careers and college.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: LETTER FROM A CHICAGO TEACHER

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: LETTER FROM A CHICAGO TEACHER:


Dear Friends,

Today I received a letter from my principal informing me that I will not have a job next  fall. This was after I received a letter from her dated March 12 confirming that she wants me to teach next year.

I've been effectively fired, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my performance. I have tenure and I've received a rating of outstanding" for each of the thirteen years I've been with CPS. I've been observed by principals, teachers and even principals from other schools and always the evaluation has been positive.

But the mayor has decided that our school is going to change into an IB school and apparently that means that principals can hire and fire who they want; and those decisions are all based on who these principals personally like or dislike.

Just an update. Take care.
Name withheld.

Oakland's American Indian Model Schools board members face ouster under pressure from AIMS teachers, parents to save charter - Inside Bay Area

Oakland's American Indian Model Schools board members face ouster under pressure from AIMS teachers, parents to save charter - Inside Bay Area:

Oakland's American Indian Model Schools board members face ouster under pressure from AIMS teachers, parents to save charter

Interim AIMS executive director Sylvester Hodges addresses the OUSD board at the public hearing Wednesday. Photo by Lauren Kawana.
Interim AIMS executive director Sylvester Hodges addresses the OUSD board at the public hearing Wednesday. Photo by Lauren Kawana.

Updated:   04/15/2013 05:15:03 AM PDT

OAKLAND -- An emergency meeting of the embattled American Indian Model Schools board ended Sunday night with no resolution despite looming threats to the institution's survival.
AIMS board members have until the end of April 19 to appeal the termination of its charter by the Oakland Unified School District.
On Sunday, the AIMS board had proposed the resignation of board members Nedir Bey and Jean Martinez, blamed for costing the institution its charter by holding up key reforms demanded by OUSD.
Those demands included hiring a consultant to put the institution's finances in order and severing the relationship of 

Budget cuts may harm California program aimed at getting kids into college

By Sharon Noguchi
Updated:   04/15/2013 01:11:47 PM PDT

Getting kids onto a college track is not rocket science. But it is a social science, one that takes deliberate engineering and investment and can be honed to a fine art -- as one long-standing program, known as AVID, has proven.
But with Gov. Jerry Brown's veto last year of $8.1 million in funding, some fear that AVID for middle and high schools in California could veer off track.
AVID -- Advancement Via Individual Determination -- prescribes 11 practices to steer middle-achieving students toward college success. It guides them to college-prep classes, offers tutorials and fortifies skills like critical thinking and reading, collaboration, organization and time management. The program, run as an elective course, offers test preparation, helps explore college choices and assists in seeking financial aid and scholarships. Started in one San Diego school three decades ago, when few talked about narrowing the academic "achievement gap," AVID spread 

San Jose State and Udacity expand online courses for Cal State credit

Updated:   04/15/2013 12:15:57 PM PDT

SAN JOSE -- San Jose State and online education startup Udacity are offering for-credit, online-only courses for $150 this summer, the company announced Monday.
Enrollment is capped at 1,000 each for the new introduction to programming and psychology courses and will likely grow for the existing, lower-level math classes.
The courses are an extension of a pilot project launched in January at San Jose State with Udacity that has been deemed successful. Going into midterm exams, 85 percent of students (including university and high school students) were still enrolled in the test courses, Udacity reports.
The credits for all the course are transferable to any California State University campus.
Information about the new courses is at

NYC Educator: 240 Thousand Bucks

NYC Educator: 240 Thousand Bucks:

240 Thousand Bucks

We're going to hear an awful lot about how great the Common Core is. That's because some unidentified rich person, maybe Bill Gates, is putting up a bunch of cash to advertise it as though it were Coca Cola or Ex-Lax. And that is, indeed, how to sell stuff to people. That's how they sold New Coke, the Edsel, or the great new Windows phone that everyone is clamoring for.

Is Common Core an Edsel? No one really knows, because it hasn't been tested anywhere at all. They just got a bunch of very smart fellers to whip up something Bill Gates thought would be a swell idea, like merit pay and VAM, which have never worked anywhere. But they keep brushing them off and tossing them out anyway, as
we in America all Race to the Top.

And as America increasing tries to make education a business, what we get in lieu of science (you know, where they test things and stuff before using them on millions of kids) is an ad campaign, straight out of Darin