Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CTA on the budget deal

Latest Democratic Budget Plan Best Option for Students, Public Education and California

Contact: Sandra Jackson, 916-325-1550
SACRAMENTO – Dean E. Vogel, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association, released this statement about the 2011-12 Democratic State Budget plan:
“This is certainly not a perfect budget plan, but it is what Democratic lawmakers and the Governor were able to do in light of the Republicans’ refusal to work with them to pass a budget that would temporarily extend revenues to protect our students, schools and our state. We commend Democratic lawmakers for engaging in the work they were elected to do. 
“While this new plan is far from what our schools and colleges need to provide all students a quality education, it protects them from much worse cuts and will help local school districts and colleges plan for the coming year.  The proposal defers nearly $3 billion in funding to K-14 schools and cuts $300 million from higher education.  This year as thousands of educators were laid off, class sizes pushed higher, the school year shortened, student programs eliminated, and college tuition fees increased, Republican lawmakers simply watched and offered no honest solutions that would even maintain California’s current level of funding to public education.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Republicans won the California budget battle today

The Republican minority won the California budget battle.
California is a Democratic controlled state; in the Senate there are 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans, in the Assembly there are 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans, the Governor and most state offices are Democrats.
In spite of these majorities, the Republicans won the budget battle of 2011.  They got a cut in the sales tax by 1 %, and a cut in the vehicle license fee.  The result will be further cuts in the Univ. of California, further cuts in the California State University system, and further cuts ( called deferrals) in the K-12 schools.
California is presently 47th. out of the 50 states in per pupil expenditures, we are among the very poor in funding our schools.  In prior years, as described by the California Budget project, “Lawmakers cut the overall annual funding level for K-12 public schools by $6.3 billion, from $50.3 billion in 2007-08 to $44.1 billion in 2009-10.3 Lawmakers cut schools’ general purpose dollars as well as funds earmarked for specific school programs, often referred to as categoricals.”
What remains?  The proposed budget uses overly generous estimates of future tax incomes.  If the projections  fall short, there will be mandated further cuts to the universities and to k-12 education.
By imposing this mostly cuts budgets, the economic crisis flows down to produce cuts in police, fire protection and local budgets.
The Democratic leadership will not admit the truth.  They lost.  Jerry Brown claimed he could negotiate with reasonable Republicans.  He failed.
To be certain, the school budget crisis was not caused by the Democrats.   Finance capital collapse and theft in housing and  on Wall Street produced this crisis, not police officers, firemen, nurses, librarians and teachers.  The recession took sales taxes and property taxes which normally fund safety and public services.  Now Wall Street has recovered, but the states and the cities and counties are left with the destruction. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Please Test Us too.

S. Krashen

The US Department of Education is planning the most massive and expensive testing program ever seen on the planet, far exceeding the already unacceptable level of testing demanded by NCLB. 

The Department of Education will require, as before, summative testing at the end of the academic year, but will also require testing several times during the academic year (interim testing), and the plans include the option of pre-testing in the fall to be able to measure growth during the school year.  

The Department will, as before, test students in math and reading, but is also encouraging testing other subjects as well, and the National Science Council is eager to cooperate, recommending new standards and tests in science ("Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics," National Science Council, 2011).

All this is in response to a STEM crisis that may or may not exist (e.g. David Berliner, in Pereyra et. al. (Eds), PISA Under Examination. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers.)