Thursday, December 19, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Media Failure to accurately examine U.S. education...

Choosing Democracy: Media Failure to accurately examine U.S. education...: Fareed Zakari on CNN presents the neoliberal view of schools and the PISA results with Joe Klein, Wendy Kopp of Teach for America , Sal Ka...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Anti Teacher Initiative Filed

Choosing Democracy: Anti Teacher Initiative Filed: Matt David, a political consultant to Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst has submitted an initiative for the California ballot to remove teache...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Reclaim School Reform from the Corporate Raiders

Choosing Democracy: Reclaim School Reform from the Corporate Raiders: Reclaim School Reform  The Nation One of the greatest challenges facing American education today is a fantasy, spun by b...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dec 9, Day of Action on Public Education

“Public education is under attack,” comes the warning from Philadelphia in a riveting new video from community and youth organizers in that city.
Their accusations are that education policies are “an attack on poor children” … policy makers “don’t care about the students” … public education “is being defunded” … and “it’s not something specific to Philadelphia.”
Indeed, Philadelphia “is an early warning sign for America,” a former science teacher wrote recently at the progressive news site PolicyMic. Chronically low per-pupil spending – “behind suburban districts” – combined with a “powerful charter school movement” intent on privatizing schools, have eroded Philly schools to the state where basic supplies like paper, pencils, and books seem like luxuries.
It’s a story that mirrors what’s happening across the country.
Americans everywhere are seeing their local schools being ground into pieces between the twin political augers of government austerity and top-down, corporate-backed “reform.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

How our public schools became a threat.

Choosing Democracy: How our public schools became a threat.: How Our Public Schools Became a ‘Communist Threat’ By Paul Buchheit Heartland Institute President  Joseph Bast  called the public schoo...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Michelle Rhee involved in the California Calderon ...

Choosing Democracy: Michelle Rhee involved in the California Calderon ...: National education reform advocate sought Calderon's influence Al Jazera America.  by  Trevor Aaronson   October 31, 2013  ...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Obama is not a socialist. But, we are !

Choosing Democracy: Obama is not a socialist. But, we are !: D EMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA 75 Maiden Lane / Suite 702 / New York, NY 10038 212-727-8610 / fax 212-608-695...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Rhee's Failures- Promotion, PR, not Evidence

Choosing Democracy: Rhee's Failures- Promotion, PR, not Evidence: Jeff Bryant Without doubt the poster person for the reform movement has been ex-chancellor of the Washington, D.C. publ...

Bart Strike settled- DSA Convention on Schedule

Bart Strike settled- DSA Convention on Schedule: The Bart Strike has been settled.  We await a vote on the contract. Building the Next Left : Rebirth and Renewal A ...

Monday, October 21, 2013

DSA Supports Bart Unions: Will hold its convention in Emeryville and Oakland

 DSA, which is celebrating its National Convention in Emeryville the weekend of October 25‐27 will face some of the inconveniences faced by 400,000 Bay Area commuters. But we join with the broad Bay Area progressive community in unconditionally supporting the BART workers in their fight for a fair contract
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) joins with the broad labor and social justice community in the Bay Area (including Jobs with Justice and the Chinese Progressive Association) in supporting the strikers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
Even after the BART employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, and BART management were nearing a difficult economic agreement, management insisted that workers sacrifice long established work rules. The union negotiators offered to submit the rules to impartial binding arbitration, but the BART management team, led by a highly paid union busting attorney, refused. This precipitated the strike.

For the Bay Area Chinese Progressive Association statement on the strike see:
For the Bay Area Jobs with Justice statement on the strike see:‐10‐19/support‐bay‐area‐transit‐strikers

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Opinion: On the road to school success - Michael H...

Choosing Democracy: Opinion: On the road to school success - Michael H...: Opinion: On the road to school success - Michael Hancock and Kevin Johnson and Angel Taveras and Julián Castro - Interesting....

This is sadly how education policy is shaped.  I don't know of any improvement in schooling from the "progress" listed by Kevin Johnson.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sacramento Unified Superintendent Resigns. Why thi...

Choosing Democracy: Sacramento Unified Superintendent Resigns. Why thi...: Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jonathon Raymond has resigned.  He will leave the district in December. Raymond was ...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What if we default on our debt?

Choosing Democracy: What if we default on our debt?: “Sitting on the Pavement, Thinking About the Government” – What if we default on our debt?   (Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick ...

Thursday, October 03, 2013

California continues to underfund its schools

Choosing Democracy: California continues to underfund its schools: Valuable new report from California Budget Project. Rising to the Challenge: Why Greater Investment in K-12 Education Matters for Califor...

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

NAME Conference - Oakland

Choosing Democracy: Test Obsession is Killing Education

Choosing Democracy: Test Obsession is Killing Education: by Jeff Bryant. Scores on the SAT –  “the nation’s most widely used”  college entrance exam – made news headlines recently, and the aver...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Teaching for Social Justice Conference

13th Annual Conference

Teaching for Social Justice– The Politics of Pedagogy

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 - 9:00am – 5:00pm
Mission High School
3750 18th Street, San Francisco, CA
For directions, click here

Note: Sacramento held such a conference for 19. However, with the abolition of
Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Sac State, the conference is gone.  We encourage all to attend the S.F. event. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Diane Ravitch: School privatization is a hoax, “reformers” aim to destroy public schools

Diane Ravitch: School privatization is a hoax, “reformers” aim to destroy public schools
They assert that the best way to save education is to hand it over to private management and let the market sort out the winners and the losers. They wish to substitute private choices for the public’s responsibility to provide good schools for all children. They lack any understanding of the crucial role of public schools in a democracy.

The central premise of this movement is that our public schools are in decline. But this is not true. The public schools are working very well for most students. Contrary to popular myth, the scores on the no-stakes federal tests— the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — are at an all-time high for students who are white, black, Hispanic, and Asian. Graduation rates are also at an all-time high.
More young people than ever are entering college. Even more would go to college if the costs were not so high.
Of course some schools and districts have very low test scores and low graduation rates, and this has always been true. Most of these schools and districts have two features in common: poverty and high concentrations of racial minorities. The combination of these two factors is associated with low test scores. Children whose parents are poor and have low educational attainment tend to have lower test scores.
Children who are poor receive less medical attention and less nutrition and experience more stress, disruption, and crises in their lives. These factors have an ongoing and profound effect on academic performance.
That is why poor children need even more stability, more support, smaller class sizes, and more attention from their teachers and others in their schools, but often receive far less, due to underfunding.
Unfortunately, many people are unwilling to address the root causes of poor school outcomes, because doing so is either too politically difficult or too costly.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Teaching for Social Justice - Conference

13th Annual Conference

Teaching for Social Justice– The Politics of Pedagogy

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 - 9:00am – 5:00pm
Mission High School
3750 18th Street, San Francisco, CA
For directions, click here

Note: Sacramento held such a conference for 19. However, with the abolition of
Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Sac State, the conference is gone.  So, please attend the
S.F. event. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Choosing Democracy: California must change its history books before ad...

California must change its history books before ad...:      California  is  at an important tipping point.  I and my graduate students  participated in the 2009  efforts to revise th...

Friday, September 06, 2013

Spared schools in Chicago see few financial benefi...

 Spared schools in Chicago see few financial benefi...: Mathew Blake In pushing through the closures of 50 neighborhood Chicago schools this summer over the vociferous objections of the teach...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

For Labor Day - Thank a Teacher

Choosing Democracy: For Labor Day - Thank a Teacher: by Lois Weiner Teacher unions offer our best shot at revitalizing the labor movement. Who would have thought that teachers,...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Charter networks push 2-4 years and out for teache...

Choosing Democracy: Charter networks push 2-4 years and out for teache...:   Motoko Rich.   NYTimes. Studies have shown that on average, teacher turnover diminishes student achievement. Advocates who a...

Support Firefighters in California

Choosing Democracy: Support Firefighters in California:      This is a good time to thank all of those public workers – the Firefighters ( men and women) and their support crews...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We should all care about what is happening to Philadelphia schools

Choosing Democracy: We should all care about what is happening to Phil...: Jeff Bryant Philadelphia, the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution was written, and the site of t...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Choosing Democracy: New Data Shows School 'Reformers' Are Getting it W...

Choosing Democracy: New Data Shows School 'Reformers' Are Getting it W...: New Data Shows School 'Reformers' Are Getting it Wrong | Perspectives, What Matters Today | David Sirota. Me...

Thursday, August 08, 2013

California test scores dip -- results of budget cu...

Choosing Democracy: California test scores dip -- results of budget cu...: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Releases 2013 STAR Results Statewide scores slip slightly amid budget cuts, transition to Common Cor...

California test scores dip -- results of budget cu...

Choosing Democracy: California test scores dip -- results of budget cu...: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Releases 2013 STAR Results Statewide scores slip slightly amid budget cuts, transition to Common Cor...

California test scores dip -- results of budget cu...

Choosing Democracy: California test scores dip -- results of budget cu...: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Releases 2013 STAR Results Statewide scores slip slightly amid budget cuts, transition to Common Cor...

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

House of Cards Episode 1 - "Broad's Academy of Pow...

Choosing Democracy: House of Cards Episode 1 - "Broad's Academy of Pow...: In this, episode 1 of the Badass Teacher’s House of Card Series, Eli Broad’s ideals and his intentions for the Public School System in ...

Monday, August 05, 2013

Parents Protest over school closures - school "ref...

Choosing Democracy: Parents Protest over school closures - school "ref...: Amy Dean, The ...

Friday, August 02, 2013

Essay on Michelle Rhee which no major newspaper wi...

Choosing Democracy: Essay on Michelle Rhee which no major newspaper wi...: Michelle Rhee lobbies across the country for greater test-based accountability and changes in teacher tenure rules.  She often ap...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Teaching for Social Justice - Conference

T4SJ's 13th Annual Conference
Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy

Saturday October 12th, 2013, 9am-5pm at Mission High School - 3750 18th St., San Francisco, CA
Over 40 workshops presented in the morning and afternoon • Resource Faire and tabling • Childcare provided • FREE!

Sign-up early, get conference updates and volunteer opportunities!

Special Keynote Presentations by:
June Jordan School for Equity Justice Matters present: Visions of Transformative Teaching–Social Justice Practice - in Schools and in Classrooms
Afternoon Keynote Address:
Dr. David Stovall, Professor of Education Policy and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Co-author of Handbook of Social Justice Education and Teaching Toward Democracy.

** Join us for WORKSHOPS, RESOURCE FAIR, SPEAKERS & COMMUNITY BUILDING. Childcare is provided (must be reserved by September 27, 2013)

This conference is open and welcomes any and all of the following: Classroom Teachers,  Paraprofessionals, Administrators, Support Personnel, Parents and Youth,  After-school Youth Workers, & Credential Candidates, Aspiring Educators and the Public!!  We hope to see you there!

Choosing Democracy: Why California textbooks ignore Chicano/ Mexican A...

Choosing Democracy: Why California textbooks ignore Chicano/ Mexican A...:  And what you can do about it. Textbooks for  California schools are selected by the State Board of Education based upon ...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What do parents want from schools ?

Choosing Democracy: What do parents want from schools ?: by Jeff Bryant A mantra recited by those who pride themselves as adherents to a movement known as “education reform” is that for too lon...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sacramento District Insists on closing public scho...

Choosing Democracy: Sacramento District Insists on closing public scho...: The   Sacramento City school district is  closing  seven elementary schools, disproportionately hurting students in low-inc...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Barack Obama, public schools, and the oligarchs

Choosing Democracy: Barack Obama, public schools, and the oligarchs: The several crises in Chicago schools have been recorded here; the teachers’ strike, the closing of schools, the crisis of ...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Michelle Rhee's group takes in $28.5 million

Choosing Democracy: Michelle Rhee's group takes in $28.5 million: Michelle Rhee’s group tripled its budget By:  Byron Tau July 2, 2013 02:01 PM EDT Former Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Justice Denied for Trayvon Martin

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Justice Denied for Trayvon Martin:   Justice for Trayvon Denied:  Renewing the Fight Against Racism Statement of the Democratic Socialists of America National P...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Accreditation Issue at Community College of SF

by Rick Sterling‚ Jul. 08‚ 2013

On the second floor of a small office building in suburban Novato, California are the headquarters of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). A "For Lease" sign is out front. ACCJC office neighbors on the second floor are "1st Global Capital" and "Big Cat Advertising". The office is unassuming but ACCJC has managed to acquire the power to threaten the existence of community colleges throughout the state. The leadership of ACCJC has gone "all in" in a conflict with City College of San Francisco (CCSF). They have threatened to terminate the largest community college in the state, founded in 1935.

What are the real reasons for the conflict? Why is ACCJC so intent on shutting down CCSF as it has existed and served San Francisco?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

California School Budgets

California School Budgets: Budget Agreement Maintains the Minimum Funding Level for Schools and Community Colleges in the May Revision Approved by voters ...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Choosing Democracy: While teachers are tested, evaluated, and tested.....

 While teachers are tested, evaluated, and tested.....: New York City School Chiefs Get Informal Job Checks Top School Administrators Haven't Been Subject to Formal Evaluations ...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Chicago Mayor Emanuel closes schools, war on teach...

 Chicago Mayor Emanuel closes schools, war on teach...: CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMMANUEL'S WAR ON TEACHERS AND CHILDREN By David Bacon Equal Times, 6/25/13

Monday, June 24, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Education to rebuild the U.S.

Choosing Democracy: Education to rebuild the U.S.: An Education Declaration to Rebuild America Americans have long looked to our public schools to provide opportunities for...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Choosing Democracy: ALEC on school choice and privatization

Choosing Democracy: ALEC on school choice and privatization: See at least the first 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Problems with Common Core Standards

Choosing Democracy: Problems with Common Core Standards: By the editors of  Rethinking Schools It isn’t easy to find common ground on the  Common Core . Already hailed as the “next big thi...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sacramento District closes schools serving the working poor

Sacramento District Ignores Report Suggesting Closing Schools for Affluent White Kids, Instead Shutters Seven Schools Filled with Poor and Minority Kids

Steven Hsieh
A Sacramento city school district is poised to close seven elementary schools, disproportionately hurting students in low-income and predominantly minority neighborhoods.
In response, twelve students and their parents filed a civil rights lawsuit, asking a federal court to block the closures. The suit claims that the Sacramento City Unified District’s decision “was motivated by an intent to discriminate against the minority populations” and will result in “a disastrous discriminatory effect on the poor, disadvantaged population which is served by these neighborhood schools slated for closure."
The complaint also notes that in choosing the schools it did for closure, Unified District ignored a report by a closure committee recommending the shuttering of four different schools in “older, affluent neighborhoods,” each with a 'white' student body in excess of 40 percent of the enrolled students.”
CBS Sacramento reports that dozens of parents and students rallied outside the courthouse Tuesday. Jonathan Tran of Hmong Innovating Politics, the group that organized the rally, told the station, “The district applied an arbitrary and illegitimate standard to target schools that are predominantly high in low-income and minority populations … At the end of the day, that is unacceptable.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chicago School Closings- 4 views

Chicago School Closings: The Largest in US History
Diane Ravitch, Karen Lewis, Randi Weingarten.
by Diane Ravitch
May 23, 2013
Never in U.S. history has a local school board - or any other board, appointed or elected - chosen to close 49 public schools.
That's what the Chicago Public Schools did yesterday.
Thousands of parents, students, and teachers objected, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his puppet board didn't care.
Yesterday was a day of infamy in Chicago and in the history of American education.
School boards exist to protect, improve, and support public schools, not to kill them.
The New York Times has written about this story and twice said that the school closings were the largest "in recent memory [2]."  The Times wrote this despite my telling them - twice - that these were the largest mass closure ever. I wish the reporters would explain whose "memory" they were relying on. Just yesterday I explained in an email that no public school district had ever closed 49 schools at one time. On this issue, the "Times" is not the newspaper of record but the newspaper of "recent memory."
Why does it matter? The phraseology removes the truly historic destruction that Rahm Emanuel is inflicting on children and schools in his city. He is wantonly destroying public education. He is punishing the teachers' union for daring to strike last fall. He will open more charter schools, staffed by non-union teachers, to pick up the kids who lost their neighborhood schools. Some of them will be named for the equity investors who fund his campaigns.
Rahm and his friends will laugh about the way he displaced 40,000 kids.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The tragedy in Oklahoma

Choosing Democracy: The tragedy in Oklahoma: In Moore, Oklahoma a teacher saved children's lives by covering them with her own body. No politicians were observed doing so.  ...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Census Bureau ranks California 36th in school spe...

Choosing Democracy: Census Bureau ranks California 36th in school spe...: California’s  per-pupil spending was $1,421 below the national average in 2011, placing  it 36th in the nation accordin...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Choosing Democracy: k-12 Education Budget- The Governor's May Revise

Choosing Democracy: k-12 Education Budget- The Governor's May Revise: California. The Governor’s May Revise. Education Funding- From Dept. of Finance. With the passage of Proposition 30, the 2012...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Excellent new TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on schools and creativity

New excellent talk.
Sir Ken Robinson.  On schools, education, teaching, and creativity.
“Education does not go on in the committee rooms of legislatures.” May, 2013.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Walmart heirs invest in Rhee's Students First

Laura Clawson.
StudentsFirst has been having a rough week, what with the bad publicity around their choice of one of the authors of Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill as "reformer of the year." The organization repudiated the bill in response, but didn't disown the legislator. In the meantime they've been blasted by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and many Democrats nationally who are realizing just how poisonous Michelle Rhee's agenda is. But it's also been a good week for StudentsFirst financially: The Walton Family Foundation is donating $8 million over two years. Sorry, not donating. "Investing."
Think about that for a minute. When the Walmart heirs take a break from paying workers so little they qualify for food stamps and refusing to pay Bangladeshi contractors enough to have fire extinguishers in their factories, their philanthropic agenda is right in line with the Michelle Rhee education policy agenda. This isn't a first, either; $8 million over two years represents an increase in the Walmart investment in StudentsFirst, but the Waltons have already been a substantial source of money, giving $3 million to StudentsFirst since late 2010. StudentsFirst is also only one of many corporate education policy groups the Waltons have backed to the tune of $1 billion so far. Just what might a family whose vast wealth comes from low-wage labor and fierce anti-unionism like so much about so-called education reform? There's the obvious effort to bust teachers unions. But there's more than that. As I wrote last year:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Rhee strikes again - in California

Choosing Democracy: Rhee strikes again - in California: This morning's Sacramento  Bee has a full page ad directed at the California Senate Education Committee.  It claims to be in favor of...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Michelle Rhee's group endorses anti-gay legislator...

Choosing Democracy: Michelle Rhee's group endorses anti-gay legislator...: Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst is putting together quite the record as far as legislators it selects as "reformer of the year.&qu...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Market based reforms don't work

Market-Oriented Reforms' Rhetoric Trumps Reality
Top-down pressure from federal education policies such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, bolstered by organized advocacy efforts, is making a popular set of market-oriented education “reforms” look more like the new status quo than real reform. Reformers assert that test-based teacher evaluation, increased access to charter schools, and the closure of “failing” and under-enrolled schools will boost at-risk students’ achievement and narrow longstanding race- and income-based achievement gaps. This new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education examines these assertions by comparing the impacts of these reforms in three large urban school districts – Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago – with student and school outcomes over the same period in other large, high-poverty urban districts. The report finds that the reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from a set of other, less visible policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Education activists Opt Out

Education activists  Op Out.
Valerie Strauss. 
Education activists opposed to corporate-based school reform are converging on Washington D.C. next week for the second annual United Opt Out National event on the grounds of the U.S. Education Department. Among those who will be speaking at the event are education historian Diane Ravitch, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, veteran educator Deborah Meier, and early childhood expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige.
The four-day event — to be attended by teachers, students, parents and others — will start on April 4th and include a march to the White House in an effort to get the attention of President Obama, who has been a big disappointment to people who thought he would push progressive school reform policies. Instead, his Education Department has pushed a corporate-based reform agenda that includes an accountability system based on standardized tests — against the advice of assessment experts — and initiatives that have fueled the privatization of public education and attacks on teachers.
The Opt Out event is part of a growing revolt against standardized test-based school reform. Students have staged protests in different states; school boards across the country have passed resolutions against high-stakes tests;  teachers staged a strike in Chicago and in Seattle refused to administer a standardized test they say is flawed; principals, superintendents, researchers and others have signed petitions urging an end to the abuse of high-stakes testing; a growing number of students are opting out and refusing to take standardized tests.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Corporate education reform threatens San Francisco Community College

By David Bacon
Truthout Report

SAN FRANCISCO, CA  (3/18/13) - On March 14, the day before the Trustees at San Francisco Community College District handed in the report that may decide the life or death of California's largest community college, student and faculty marchers headed downtown to City Hall.  A sinuous line of hundreds of chanting, banner-waving people stopped traffic on Mission Street, the main artery through the city barrio. Their mood combined equal parts of desperation at the prospect of the closure of the school, and anger and defiance at the kinds of changes that authorities are demanding to keep it open.
Shanell Williams, urban studies major and president of the Associated Students at SFCC, told a rally at the march's starting point on the college's Mission campus that the required changes are part of a larger effort to turn students into commodities, and move towards the privatization of education.  "Next year students will be affected by the Student Success Act," she warned.  "Every student will have to have an education plan, there will be repeat limits, and a 90-credit cap on the Board of Governors fee waiver [that allows poor and working class students to petition to waive tuition fees].  Now is the time when they need more student services and support from the administration, but they're cutting part time counselors and taking other actions that will be even greater barriers."

Closing San Francisco Community College became a possibility last spring when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges sent a team to San Francisco, as part of a 6-year accreditation cycle.  The district, the largest public school system in California, had been warned earlier about deficiencies and knew there would be problems.  With 85,000 students and 1650 faculty, and an annual operating budget of $200 million, SFCC had never been sanctioned.  But under the impact of cuts in state funding, last year it had a deficit of $6 million.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Teacher Lay Offs Reduced

Excellent news.  Teachers lay offs have  declined.  Only 2,900 teachers received these notices this week in time for the mandatory lay off notices.  Less than 350 teachers received these notices in Sacramento county.  How did this happen?  WE – the voters- passed Proposition 30 and to a lesser extend Prop. 39 in the 2012 elections.  If you didn’t vote- you did not contribute.  Voting makes a difference.
Working together we passed Prop. 30, to fund schools, universities and social services.  This is a floor under austerity.   It raises taxes on the rich to pay for services.  It does raise sales tax by ¼ of  percent – but 90% of the tax increases are on the rich . A tax of 1-3 % on those who make over $250,000 per year.
Bad news  The number of police officers is shrinking  reducing public safety.   This is happening as a result of government austerity programs.
California, like many states,  must produce a “balanced” budget.   State governments use  public tax money for police, fire fighters, teachers, park services, nurses, doctors, social workers and health assistants. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Republican austerity campaign hurts kids/ schools

by Duane Campbell
The Republican campaign for austerity  makes educators and students, as well as millions of others,  the victims in a  strategy to make the middle class and the poor pay for the excesses of the banking /economic crisis.
California schools have just begun to recover from 4 years of extreme budget austerity and recklessness at the state level.  It would take at least 3 years to return to normal.   Now, the federal sequester will impose new cuts on school districts which receive federal funds- such as Title I, and Migrant Education.   The vast majority of schools and districts will not be directly affected until the 2013–14 school year because of the “forward funded” nature of federal education spending. However, when children have less food to eat, don't receive their vaccinations and lack medical care, schools suffer. 

From the Coalition on Human Needs
“The Sequester’s Beginnings.  Congress included sequestration – or across-the-board cuts in all but a number of exempted programs – in its deficit reduction legislation, the Budget Control Act of 2011. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

There is no democracy here !

This is an  initial analysis of some of the issues in Massive-on line education  MOOC as advocated by Jerry Brown in place of adequately funding higher education.
Geoff Shullenberger
"In the MOOC philosophy, education is understood fundamentally as a transfer of information, in line with the computational understanding of cognition in which the mind is a processing device being fed input and generating output. This is a twenty-first-century version of what Paulo Freire called the “banking method of education,” a model that Deweyan humanists and practitioners of critical pedagogy have long repudiated as reactionary and disempowering.
Open Online Courses (MOOCs) they offer. The New York Times education section dubbed 2012 “The Year of the MOOC,” and the paper’s celebrity columnists Thomas Friedman and David Brooks have been hailing MOOCs as a “revolution” and a “tsunami.” Time announced in a cover article on MOOCs that “College is Dead. Long Live College!” and USA Today assured us somewhat less hyperbolically that “college may never be the same.”

Sunday, February 03, 2013

California school budgets improve, remain below 2007-2008.

Important report on the state budget. State spending per K-12 student will rise in the current (2012-13) fiscal year and in 2013-14 due to voter approval of two revenue measures – Proposition 30 and Proposition 39 – last November, according to the Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget. Yet even with this increase, per student state support for public schools will remain much lower than the 2007-08 level, after adjusting for inflation.
The full report is at

School closings may violate civil rights

Joy Resmovits. Huffington Post.
WASHINGTON -- The standards-based education reform movement calls school change "the civil rights issue of our time." But about 220 mostly African American community organizers, parents and students from 21 cities from New York to Oakland, Calif., converged on Washington Tuesday to tell U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan he's getting it backwards on school closures.
Members of the group, a patchwork of community organizations called the Journey for Justice Movement, have filed several Title VI civil rights complaints with the Education Department Office of Civil Rights, claiming that school districts that shut schools are hurting minority students. While most school closures are decided locally, the Education Department's School Improvement Grant gives underperforming school districts money for shakeups or turnarounds, including closures.
The meeting became heated at times. "The voices of the people directly impacted can no longer be ignored," said Jitu Brown, an organizer from the South Side of Chicago. "This type of mediocrity is only accepted because of the race of the students who are being served." He called school closures "a violation of our human rights," since many communities are left without neighborhood schools after districts shut them down.
"We are not Astroturf groups," Brown continued. "We are not people who are paid by private interests to appear."
Helen Moore, an organizer from Detroit, said the current reform movement is tantamount to racism. "We are now reverting back to slavery," she said. "All the things that are happening are by design, by design, by design. They don't want our children to have an education, but we'll fight to the death."
Members of the Obama administration, including Duncan and Obama education advisor Roberto Rodriguez, were in attendance. The Obama administration has been repeatedly admonished for ignoring racial issues. Duncan opened the meeting by saying his job was to listen. "As populations go down, a lot of changes have to be made," Duncan said. He called for a recognition of common goals and intentions. But due to his schedule, he left the meeting after 45 minutes, leading to a quick "Where is Duncan? Where is Duncan?" chant.
Over the last few years, cities have used closing schools as a strategy to raise student performance or to save money. Philadelphia, New York and Chicago are among cities considering even larger waves of closures. Philadelphia, for example, is slated to close 37 schools by June. But organizer Brown argued that shutting schools hurts communities and poses major safety threats to kids who have to travel further to go to school.

The Office of Civil Rights, responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws, is investigating school closings in cities that include Detroit and Philadelphia. From Oct. 21, 2010, to Jan. 1, 2013, the Office of Civil Rights has investigated 27 school closings, finding insufficient evidence of civil rights violations in every case. Currently, the office has 33 open cases involving 29 school districts in 22 states, officials said. Tuesday's meeting had no bearing on the investigation procedure.
The protest goal is a moratorium on school closures, phaseouts and turnarounds. Brown has met with Duncan and other Education officials before, and said he wants to take his case to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama. Duncan's spokesman, Daren Briscoe, said the Education Department doesn't have the power to impose a moratorium. The department controls less than 10 percent of the nation's public school dollars, and most school closures are locally decided, he said.
Schools are closed for reasons ranging from cost to underuse. Brown argued that if Duncan suspended the School Improvement Grant program, he could stop some closures and turnarounds, while "changing the tone" surrounding closings. (School closures, though, are seldom done through School Improvement Grants.)
A Pew Foundation report on school closures found that "academic studies suggest that student achievement often falls during the final months of a closing school’s existence." And a recent audit of Washington's closures found that a recent wave cost $8 million more than originally projected.
But still, school districts are pressing forward with closure plans. Chicago is expected to decide on the number of schools it will close soon. Aquila Griffin, 17, spoke at the Tuesday event, saying she recently left a Chicago high school that was being "phased out." As the school lost students in its last days, it shed teachers, computers and classes that made it stand out, Griffin said.
"Now students are walking into the back of the school building like sharecroppers from the 1930s," Griffin said. She invoked the Martin Luther King Jr. maxim on judging people not on the color of their skin, but on the merits of their character. "My judgment of the [Department of Education] is, how do you plan to correct the wrong you let happen in the first place?" She received a standing ovation.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Governor Brown's views on school reform

State of the State. Governor Brown. Jan. 24, 2013.

Constantly expanding the coercive power of government by adding each year so many minute prescriptions to our already detailed and turgid legal system overshadows other aspects of public service. Individual creativity and direct leadership must also play a part. We do this, not by commanding thou shalt or thou shalt not through a new law but by tapping into the persuasive power that can inspire and organize people. Lay the Ten Commandments next to the California Education code and you will see how far we have diverged in approach and in content from that which forms the basis of our legal system.


In the right order of things, education—the early fashioning of character and the formation of conscience—comes before legislation. Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children. If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify.

In California’s public schools, there are six million students, 300,000 teachers—all subject to tens of thousands of laws and regulations. In addition to the teacher in the classroom, we have a principal in every school, a superintendent and governing board for each school district. Then we have the State Superintendent and the State Board of Education, which makes rules and approves endless waivers—often of laws which you just passed. Then there is the Congress which passes laws like “No Child Left Behind,” and finally the Federal Department of Education, whose rules, audits and fines reach into every classroom in America, where sixty million children study, not six million.