Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Posted by Duane Campbell at 10:07 AM
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Papering Over Public K-12 School Reform By Seth Sandronsky
Private interests are busy paying for political favors from lawmakers at the state Capitol in California, writes Dan Morain, a columnist with The Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/13/5905448/dan-morain-the-investigation-into.html
According to him, what we know about Sen. Ron Calderon, a pro-business Democrat representing Montebello, and snared in an FBI sting operation recently, is just the tip of the dollars-and-politics iceberg.
The good senator has ample company, Morain continues. He mentions other actors and forces in the fetid pay-to-play of California state politics.
Yet his column omits the donor role of a leading public K-12 school reform group under the state Capitol dome. What is going on?
Al Jazeera America’s Oct. 31 unveiling of an FBI affidavit that alleges Sen. Calderon’s multiple alleged wrongdoings includes his brother Thomas Calderon’s meeting with star education reformer Michelle Rhee’s lobbyists. Her StudentsFirst group operates from a national headquarters in Sacramento.
The affidavit alleges that StudentsFirst lobbyists met with Sen. Calderon’s brother on Feb. 20. On Feb. 21, Sen. Calderon introduced a teacher-reform measure, Senate Bill 441 that Rhee’s group supports: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0401-0450/sb_441_cfa_20130423_084911_sen_comm.html
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Pressure and Passivity on Immigration
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD. NY Times. November 27, 2013.
President Obama made the case for immigration reform again on Monday, in a speech in San Francisco that seemed mostly directed to Republicans in Congress, who aren’t listening. (see http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/2013/11/barack-obama-on-immigration-reform.html)
Noting the Republican resistance to passing a single comprehensive bill, he struck an oddly lighthearted note. “It’s Thanksgiving,” he said. “We can carve that bird into multiple pieces — a drumstick here, breast meat there.” This drew chuckles. By suggesting that large-scale immigration overhaul can be done incrementally, he was retreating from an argument that has guided reform advocates for a decade: fixing the broken system requires three things at once — tighter enforcement, an improved flow of new immigrants and legalization for the 11 million living here outside the law.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Public education should be free. If it isn't free, it isn't public education.
Aaron Bady. Al Jazeera.
This should not be a controversial assertion. This should be common sense. But Americans have forgotten what the "public" in "public education" actually means (or used to mean). The problem is that the word no longer has anything to refer to: This country's public universities have been radically transformed. The change has happened so slowly and so gradually — bit by bit, cut by cut over half a century — that it can be seen really only in retrospect. But with just a small amount of historical perspective, the change is dramatic: public universities that once charged themselves to open their doors to all who could benefit by attending — that were, by definition, the public property of the entire state — have become something entirely different.
What we still call public universities would be more accurately described as state-controlled private universities — corporate entities that think and behave like businesses. Whereas there once was a public mission to educate the republic's citizens, there is now the goal of satisfying the educational needs of the market, aided by PR departments that brand degrees as commodities and build consumer interest, always with an eye to the bottom line. And while public universities once sought to advance the industry of the state as a whole, with an eye to the common good, shortfalls in public funding have led to universities' treating their research capacity as a source of primary fundraising, developing new technologies and products for the private sector, explicitly to raise the money they need to operate. Conflicts of interest are now commonplace.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
November 14, 2013 |
Somewhere along the way, nearly every teacher dreams of starting a school. I know I did.
More than once during the 30 years I taught English and journalism to high school students in Paterson, New Jersey, I imagined that creating my own school would open the door to everything I wanted as a teacher:
- Colleagues with a shared vision of teaching and learning.
- Freedom from central office bureaucracy.
- A welcoming school culture that reflected the lives of our students and families.
- Professional autonomy that nourished innovation and individual and collective growth.
- School-based decision-making that pushed choices about resources, priorities, time, and staffing closer to the classrooms where it matters the most.