Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A tribute to Cesar Chavez

A tribute to the life and work of Cesar Chavez
American River college. Sacramento
12 noon. Thursday, March 30,2006


Duane Campbell
Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education
CSU-Sacramento


The spirit of Cesar Chavez lives on in the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California and in union halls across the nation. Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, C├ęsar created the United Farm Workers (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history and he inspired the thousands in the Chicano movement for social justice.
Today Mexican, Mexican American and Latino union leadership is common in our major cities , in government, and in several industries. For myself and others, the UFW was a school for organizing. Hundreds of activists in education, labor and community organizations owe their skills to UFW training and experience.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Politicians write teacher credentialing rules?

The last time they did this they created a mess. SB 2042. and sharply reduced multicultural education and English Language support.

In a prior posting I asked if anyone knew about an Omnibus teacher preparation bill.
The bill is Senate Bill 1209. I encourage careful reading of this bill.
Among the provisions, as I read it are:
1. Consolidating pre service testing from Rica to CSET.
2. Elimination of current restrictions that teacher performance assessment would only begin when the budget provided funding for such assessment.
3. Item 8. Eliminates the current provisions that a teacher could appeal an adverse decision by a Principal.
4. Item 16. Seems to allow a district and the collective bargaining agent to agree on a separate salary schedule not based upon current regulations. (ie. Testing, Merit?)
5. Appears to sharply limit the use of Emergency Credentials.


Among the many provisions.

(13) Existing law requires each school with a substantial population of pupils of diverse ethnic backgrounds to provide an in-service preparation program designed to prepare teachers and other professional school service personnel to understand and effectively relate to the history, culture, and current problems of these pupils and their environment as specified. This bill would delete this and the related provisions.

In the replacement

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 (c) Completion of coursework in human relations in accordance with the commission’s standards of program quality and effectiveness that includes, at minimum instruction in the following: (1) The nature and content of culture. (2) Cross cultural contact and interactions. (3) Cultural diversity in the United States and California. (4) Providing instruction responsive to the diversity of the student pupil population. (5) Recognizing and responding to behavior related to bias based on race, color, religion, nationality, country of origin, ancestry, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. (6) Techniques for the peaceful resolution of conflict. (d) The commission shall establish alternative requirements for a teacher to earn the certificate, which shall be awarded as a supplementary authorization pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 44225. (e) A teacher who possesses a credential or permit described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) and is able to present a valid out-of-state credential or certificate that authorizes the instruction of English language learners may qualify for the certificate issued under this section by submitting an application and fee to the commission.


For one thing, this looks again like politicians writing rules for the profession, much as they did in mandating the current reading programs.

I encourage others to look at this bill. What do others think?

I think politicians should do their own job, adequately fund the schoools. They are failing at this.

Duane Campbell
Sacramento

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Los Angeles March for Immigrants' Rights

More Than 500,000 Rally in L.A. for Immigrants' Rights
By Teresa Watanabe and Anna Gorman
Times Staff Writer

2:51 PM PST, March 25, 2006

Joining what some are calling the nation's largest mobilization of immigrants ever, hundreds of thousands of people boisterously marched in downtown Los Angeles Saturday to protest federal legislation that would crack down on undocumented immigrants, penalize those who help them and build a security wall on the U.S. southern border. Spirited crowds representing labor, religious groups, civil-rights advocates and ordinary immigrants stretched over 26 blocks of downtown Los Angeles from Adams Blvd. along Spring Street and Broadway to City Hall, tooting kazoos, waving American flags and chanting "Si se puede!" (Yes we can!). The crowd, estimated by police at more than 500.000, represented one of the largest protest marches in Los Angeles history, surpassing Vietnam War demonstrations and the 70,000 who rallied downtown against Proposition 187, a 1994 state initiative that denied public benefits to undocumented migrants.

The marchers included both longtime residents and the newly arrived, bound by a desire for a better life and a love for this county.

Arbelica Lazo, 40, illegally immigrated from El Salvador two decades ago but said she now owns two business and pays $7,000 in taxes annually.

Jose Alberto Salvador, 33, came here illegally just four months ago to find work to support the wife and five children he left behind; in his native Guatemala, he said, what little work he could find paid only $10 a day. "As much as we need this country, we love this country," Salvador said, waving a stick with both the American and Guatemalan flag. "This country gives us opportunities we don't get at home."

Omnibus education bill in Sacramento?

Omnibus education bill?
I understand that there is talk among lobbyists at the California Capitol of passing an “Omnibus” education bill which would bring together all the education interest groups.
This proposal may well be dangerous to students of color and teachers.
The groups discussing a grand bill, by rumor, include Secretary of Education Alan Bersin ( and Margaret Fortune), ACSA (school administrators), CTA, and more.
CTA would get full funding for Prop.98 which is tempting.
However, Bersin and Fortune have demonstrated severe anti teacher positions and their participation representing the Governor gives me cause for concern. These two, neither of whom have been teachers, represent the conservative corporate side of governance.
Bersin’s proposals a few weeks ago were anti teacher, seeking to gain in the legislature what they were defeated about in Prop. 74. See earlier posts.
I encourage each of us to watch the legislative positions of our unions, associations, etc. and to be wary of any Omnibus education bill.
There is no reason to trust these people.
It might be better to fight for separate bills, such as adequate school funding, than to join together in an omnibus bill. Does anyone know more about this?
As the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

Duane Campbell
Sacramento

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
~ George Orwell

Monday, March 20, 2006

Teachers Conference Sat. March 25

Teachers conference:
Multicultural Education and Social Justice
Sat. March 25, 2006. CSU-Sacramento
Free.

Social justice issues such as bilingual education and immigrants' rights will be at the core of Sacramento State's 12 th Annual Multicultural Education Conference beginning at 8:30 a.m. on March 25 in the University Union.

The conference, "Education Reform and Social Justice Issues: A Grassroot[Re] Examination of Race, Class and Society," is directed toward K-12 teachers, student teachers, administrators, university educators, community members, activists, parents and all others interested in multicultural education issues.

Antonia Darder, educational policy professor at the University of Illinois, will give a keynote address at 9:10 a.m. in the University Union Ballroom on motivating educators and teachers' organizations to become activists in a renewed educational vision.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in East Los Angeles, Darder is a poet and an activist whose life-long commitment has been to social justice, human rights and economic democracy.

The conference includes sessions concerning parent/community involvement, leadership and advocacy, and peace and conflict resolution. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call Maggie Beddow at (916) 278-4127 and for a complete list of topics and times visit http://edweb.csus.edu/. For media assistance contact the Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

Duane Campbell will be offering a presentation on Teaching about Cesar Chavez and a presentation on the current The anti immigrant legislation HR 4437 currently before the U.S. Senate would build a 700 mile wall along the U.S. Mexican border. ( The infamous Berlin Wall was only 46 miles long). 287 people died trying to cross it. The current U.S. wall is 70 miles long. At present some 3,500 have died trying to cross it.

This workshop will analyze the current immigration conflict and search for progressive organizing alternatives.


6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu

Monday, March 13, 2006

Alan Bersin's nomination is troubled

Education nominee hits snag

Alan Bersin's critics question San Diego fund's expenses.

By Todd Milbourn -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Friday, March 10, 2006

On the eve of confirmation hearings for his place on the California State Board of Education less than three weeks away, Alan Bersin is facing questions about expenditures from an educational fund he oversaw while superintendent of San Diego schools.
A copy of a draft report from an internal audit, dated Nov. 1, 2005, and obtained by The Bee, highlights questionable record-keeping and spending from the fund, including $35,476 for meals and $3,801 for alcoholic beverages over a seven-year period.

Bersin, whom Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named secretary of education, labeled the draft report as an attempt to thwart his confirmation and settle "old political scores."

"Every one of the expenses was approved as being in accordance with purposes of the fund," said Bersin in a telephone interview Thursday. "This was all done in terms of supporting educational reform, supporting the team effort. And it was fully disclosed."

The fund in question - the superintendent's fund for innovation - was created in 1998, shortly after Bersin became superintendent of the state's second-largest school district. The fund was a partnership between the school district and the nonprofit San Diego Foundation, which gave Bersin latitude to direct expenditures. Bersin has described the fund as support for new programs in the San Diego schools.

The foundation collected money for the fund through private donations from groups such as the Walton Family Foundation, Wells Fargo and the J. Dallas & Mary H. Clark Fund.

Bersin often used the fund to reimburse his travel and entertainment expenses so the district wouldn't have to. The San Diego school board was not involved in the fund's creation and did not have oversight over its spending. That led school board members to question the foundation's activities.

Bersin spent $574,733 through the fund during his tenure, according to the report. The report calls into question about $44,871 of that, including: $471 to attend President Bush's inauguration; $160 for the Union of Pan Asian Communities annual fundraiser dinner; and $500 to Nice Guys Inc. of San Diego for an advertisement in a program booklet at an awards ceremony.

Bersin said the money was well spent, validated by improved test scores among San Diego students. Between 2002 and 2004, scores for Latino and African American students on the state's Academic Performance Index rose 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

He said the fund allowed him to bring in consultants, offer a signing bonus for a communications director and pay the commuting expenses for Anthony Alvarado, the San Diego district's chancellor of instruction who commuted from New York for a year and spearheaded aggressive reforms of classroom instruction that upset teachers unions.

"I don't think anyone, friend or foe alike, would say the changes weren't dramatic" and for the better, he said.

The review of the fund was commissioned in August by San Diego school board member Mitz Lee, a longtime critic of Bersin, who as a former federal prosecutor had no formal education experience when he took over the district in 1998. Lee said she was concerned that expenditures weren't approved by the school board, leaving potential for abuse.

"To me, it's all about the board exercising due diligence on financial affairs of the district," she said Thursday.

Lee said she also was concerned that the foundation hasn't disclosed a contributor of more than $207,000.

"What if those people have business or any conflicts of interest with the district?" Lee asked. Bob Kelly, executive director of the San Diego Foundation, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute on Philanthropy, a charity watchdog in Chicago, said giving a superintendent his own fund is a recipe for trouble. The $45,000 in expenses questioned in the draft report works out to about $6,000 a year.

"I'm not that surprised to see these problems happening," Borochoff said. "If you're a superintendent and you want to buy alcohol for an event or go to the inauguration, the school district has mechanisms to prevent that. This gives him too much discretion beyond what his job would ordinarily allow."

Hearings on Bersin's nomination to the state board are scheduled for later this month. The fund is on the agenda Tuesday for a closed-door session of the San Diego Unified School District, said Steven Baratte, the district's spokesman. The confirmation hearing is set for March 29.


About the writer:

The Bee's Todd Milbourn can be reached at (916) 321-1063 or tmilbourn@sacbee.com.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

English Language Learners in California

Hon. Martha Escutia,
California State Senate

Dear Senator Escutia,
Thank you for your recent letter in which you and 3 other Latino legislators ask for support of one candidate for Governor. We will consider your request and his record.
In the meantime, may we point out to you in your role as Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus that the California schools are in crisis. We have a Latino drop out rate of nearly 50%. Latino high school graduates read at about the same level as Anglo 13 year olds.
Further, it is starkly noticeable that back in 1976 there were 5 Latinos in the California legislature and we were able to pass comprehensive bilingual education to assist immigrant students. Now, we have some 26 Latino legislators and you are not even able to be certain that English Language Learners have materials to assist them to learn English. Instead they are given materials designed for fluent English speakers. See the current issue before the California Curriculum Commission of the State Board of Education to provide appropriate materials for English Language Learners.
We hope that the Latino Caucus finds it voice and focuses on matters of importance to our children.

Cordially,

Dr. Duane E. Campbell Dolores Delgado-Campbell
Professor of Education Professor of History
CSU- Sacramento American River College

Friday, March 03, 2006

Collective Bargaining in Education: new book

Collective Bargaining in Education:
Negotiating Change in Today's Schools (Harvard Education Press),
edited by Jane Hannaway of the Urban Institute and Progressive Policy Institute Senior Fellow and Education Sector Co-Director
Andrew Rotherham.
This groundbreaking and timely new book takes an in-depth look at the controversial world of teacher collective bargaining and its important implications.

"It is unfathomable that, in light of recent efforts to close the student achievement gap, the body of research examining the impact of collective bargaining by teachers on public education is so scant. What are the facts and how do we find them? Hannaway and
Rotherham rightly raise the issue and put forth real alternatives"
--Andrew Stern, President, Service Employees International Union

"Jane Hannaway and Andrew Rotherham have turned a searchlight on an important and neglected subject. Collective Bargaining in Education assembles experts who often have strongly contrasting views but
whose knowledge and perspectives are invaluable. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about reforming public education."
--William L. Taylor, Chairman, Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Los Angeles dropouts from high school

From the Los Angeles Times
L.A. Mayor Sees Dropout Rate as 'Civil Rights Issue'
By Mitchell Landsberg
Times Staff Writer

March 2, 2006

The high school dropout problem is "the new civil rights issue of our time," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared Wednesday in a speech that drew a line from the efforts to desegregate the South a half-century ago to today's struggles over the performance of Los Angeles students, who are predominantly Latino.

Acknowledging that there is wide disagreement about how many students are leaving L.A. schools, Villaraigosa told a conference on dropout issues that "whatever that number is, we are in a crisis."

The mayor, who is campaigning to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District, insisted that he wasn't "throwing stones" at the school system, many of whose top administrators were in the audience at the Leadership Forum on High School Dropouts at USC. But his speech contained plenty of brickbats.

"Make no mistake: There's a culture of complacency in this school district that's got to change," Villaraigosa said.

Schools Supt. Roy Romer, who was not present for the speech, gave his own talk later, defending the district even as he said he welcomed the mayor's "aggressive" approach to the district.

Ticking off the school system's accomplishments during his tenure — the nation's largest school-construction program, a sharp rise in standardized test scores in elementary schools — Romer said: "That's not complacency, folks. That's change!"

He added: "We have real challenges going forward. But to deny what we have accomplished together would be foolish." He said the reforms the district has set in place would take years to roll out.

The dropout issue has been at the center of local school reform discussions since last March, when a study by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University calculated that only 45% of students were graduating in four years from Los Angeles schools. The rate was even lower for Latino students, and much higher for white and Asian American students. African Americans were close to the districtwide average.

The school district cried foul, saying its figures showed that roughly 70% were graduating, a figure that has since risen. The district uses a different formula to calculate its graduation rate, one that the Harvard researchers and other critics say is deeply flawed.

In his repeated calls to take over the district, which is run by an elected school board, Villaraigosa has said more than half of the district's students drop out. District officials have protested, saying recently that the dropout rate had declined to 24.6% for the 2004-05 school year.

Villaraigosa said it doesn't matter; any of the figures being discussed is too high. Charging that more than 60% of Latinos and African Americans were failing to graduate, the mayor said, "These are numbers that should put a chill down your spine…. We have numbers that are every bit as insidious as the National Guard blocking the door in Little Rock" — a reference to the efforts by Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus in 1957 to stop black students from integrating all-white schools.

Villaraigosa is not the first person to frame the dropout problem as a civil rights issue. It has been a major thrust of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard and of other academic and public policy initiatives.

Gary Orfield, head of the Harvard project, told the standing-room-only conference that turnout for the event was evidence that the issue was being taken seriously, especially in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Unified recently proposed a series of changes designed to keep students in school, several of which matched recommendations made by scholars at the conference.

There is widespread agreement, for instance, that schools need to make more personal connections with students, that they need to keep better track of attendance, and that they need to do a better job of enlisting the help of parents.

Several of the L.A. Unified proposals are aimed at accomplishing those goals.

A new survey of dropouts, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bolsters some of the arguments behind the reforms, as well as the higher academic standards that California schools are mandating.

The national survey of 467 high school dropouts, scheduled for release today, found that a majority of those surveyed thought they would have worked harder if their schools had higher expectations of them, and that the most common reason given for dropping out was that "classes were not interesting."

"The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts" also reached some conclusions that challenge orthodox assumptions. For instance, nearly 90% of the dropouts reported that they had passing grades when they left school.

Orfield, who is considered one of the foremost scholars on the dropout issue, said that figure sounded wrong "by orders of magnitude."

"All the research suggests that academic failure is one of the basic forces" behind dropping out, he said, adding that high school dropouts are not always reliable informants.

John Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic Enterprises, a Washington-based public policy firm that conducted the survey, said the researchers had confirmed with the schools that the majority of the dropouts had been passing their classes.

The survey was conducted among former students from schools in 25 cities, suburbs and small towns across the country. The respondents were not a nationally representative sample, the researchers said.

One year's class of high school dropouts will cost California $38.5 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes, another Washington-based public policy group estimated Wednesday.

"This is a very conservative estimate," said former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.