Friday, January 29, 2010

California majority rule initiative

Initiative campaign for majority rule
This would change the budget for schools and for the universities. Please join. 
The  California Majority Rule campaign is presently circulating petitions to place an initiative on the  California ballot for majority rule- that is for democracy.  And, we invite you to join us.  Author George Lakoff spoke in the last week at the University of California; S.F., Castro Valley, Santa Rosa, the North Berkeley Senior Center, the North Bay Labor Council and other sites recruiting people to join the campaign to qualify the initiative.
California is in deep trouble because it has a anti democratic limits on the legislature.  Lakoff  sent to the Attorney General a ballot proposition for the 2010 ballot called The California Democracy Act,  which simply says,
All legislative action on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.
It’s just  this one sentence.  It would change two words in the Constitution, turning "two-thirds" to "majority" in two places.
Democracy is the main issue in  here.  More democracy  is required for progress on the budget.  The two-thirds rules have an anti-democratic effect. Our legislature is currently under minority rule. One-third plus one -- only 34% -- of either the Assembly or Senate can and do  block the will of the majority.  
 Readers of the California Progress Report know well that minority rule has produced a  stalemate in the legislature and regressive budgets.   Changing the vote requirement to a majority for budget and revenue will allow  the  budget to  meet the state's needs and be passed on time.
Can this work? It can, with your  support.  Qualifying this initiative requires  a serious campaign making the case for democracy  and allowing the voters to see that minority rule is the root of the problem.
The campaign  needs county and precinct workers, fund raisers, and media workers.  All work is volunteer.
If  your are willing to help, if you want to bring more democracy to California,  go to
Duane Campbell,
Sacramento County. Majority Rule Campaign

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

State Board of Education appointments

Does anyone know more about this?

A key date on the horizon:  FEBRUARY 4TH - 1:30 pm at the Capitol.

Sen. President Pro Tem, Darryll Steinberg has set a hearing to consider the approval of Rae Belisle and Jorge Lopez for State Board of Education positions (appointed in March 2009 by Gov. Schwarzenegger).  Most of the opposition focus has been on Belisle, but Lopez is on record as an opponent of bilingual education and multicultural education, and has trampled on parent rights in Oakland.  His small charter school has shown impressive academic scores, but he openly employs intimidation and humiliation, and should not be a model for others. 

Blog of the Contra Costa Times;
Jorge Lopez, a former school dropout who directs the high-performing Oakland Charter Academy (shown here at his middle school in Fruitvale), has been appointed to the California Board of Education.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Politicians, pundits, and school reform

Teachers Should Be Seen and Not Heard

by Anthony Cody, Teacher of the Year

I am a fly on the wall sitting at a table. Seated at a round table are three state governors, one state senator, a Harvard professor and author, and a strange little man who assumes the role of group moderator. The strange little man asks the group to talk about their experiences at the education conference. The ex governor from the South begins to talk about how the traditional school model is not working and the problem of too many teachers who do not understand what they teach. Teachers, he complains, are not prepared to teach in 21st century classrooms because they possess, in his words, "only 20th century skills." He does not provide specific examples or elaborate upon his theory but the other guests at the table nod their heads in agreement.

A governor from the Midwest first pays homage to the governor from the South. He tells us that his "good friend "is "right on target" about teachers not prepared to teach in 21st century classrooms. The governor from the Midwest thanks the governor from the South for presenting "the best talk at the conference." Not to be undone, the governor from the South responds by telling the governor from the Midwest that he "presented the best talk at the conference." When both men are done patting each other's backs, the Midwest governor complains that teachers, particularly math teachers, don't know their subject materials. Again, the other guests at the table nod their heads in agreement. All is civil.
The third governor hails from a cold northern state but his words have a scorching tone. "The problem with schools, "he says, "is a lack of accountability. Schools need to be guided by specific core curriculum standards and data-driven assessment." The governor continues his diatribe. "I don't understand why schools are not managed more like businesses." This time the guests nod their heads vigorously, not unlike those small bobble head dolls seen on car dashboards.

The next education expert to speak is the professor from Harvard. He gives a mini lesson about the role of chaos theory in education. His new order of thinking-or New Age way of thinking- argues that seemingly unrelated events occurring in the classroom (the boy coughing, the girl raising her hand, and the teacher writing on the board) when taken together form a pattern of continuity and purpose rather than chaotic or random events. The 21st century teacher must be able to recognize these events as purposeful moments in time and space because education is connected to the rest of the universe. Wow. I will forever wonder if I did something to upset a time and space continuum the next time I admonish a student for not covering his mouth while coughing. Teachers do recognize that order and disorder exist in classrooms and that educating children is often an uncertain endeavor, but we do not have time to reflect on such esoteric thoughts when breaking up a spit ball fight.

Monday, January 04, 2010

ON Leadership, democracy, and schooling

Deborah Meier on leadership, democracy, and schooling.