Thursday, May 30, 2013

AB 420 passes California Assembly

AB 420 will ensure that elementary students are not suspended for “willful defiance,” a vague category under education code that is the main reason given in more than 40% of student suspensions, and help promote proven alternatives to harsh discipline.
For more see-

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How History is Socially Controlled in k-12 - Rodolfo Acuña

How History is Socially Controlled in K-12
Setting Standards :Serfs and Lords
Rodolfo F. Acuña

People ask me if the banning of books is actually a blessing in disguise because it calls attention to the banned books. I respond, “Hell No!” Censorship threatens our freedom of speech, and it is the final step toward a totalitarian state. 

In the guise of security, our emails and our phones are tapped. Anyone using a Wi-Fi can be spied on at will. What is happening today pales George Orwell’s 1984; it is as insidious as the methods used by the Nazis, the Stasi and the Russians.

The fallout of the banning of books affects all of us. In the future, it will negatively affect the publication of Latino books. What makes it so dangerous is that most of us are oblivious to this threat to our liberties. We are like the serfs in the Middle-Ages who were willing surrender their freedoms and their properties to the feudal lords in return for protection.

The first fatality of censorship is the truth. In the case of the censorship of books by the Tucson Unified School District, it was not just the books that were banned, it is also what will be published in the future. The banning of books did not affect the sales of Occupied America or the other banned books – the banning certainly did not hurt Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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.

 NEA statement: A massive tornado ripped through central Oklahoma yesterday, heavily damaging Briarwood Elementary School, leveling Plaza Towers Elementary School and killing at least 24 people, including children.

“There are no words to convey our sorrow over the tragic loss that has been suffered by Oklahoma’s families,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “Our hearts are broken over the students and educators killed in the storm and we commend the educators who put their lives on the line to protect the children in these schools—every single one is a hero who will not be forgotten. We will stand with the families of those lost and injured and the communities suffering as they work to rebuild their homes and their lives.”

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the members of Oklahoma Education Association, who have lost students, friends, and colleagues. The more than 3 million members of the NEA family stand ready to help OEA and the Moore, Okla., community however we can in the days and weeks ahead,” said Van Roekel.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fix School Discipline

antiracismdsa: Fix School Discipline: Cornerstone Theater Co. & The California Endowment Present
 Talk it Out: A Community Conversation to Fix School Discipline

Census Bureau ranks California 36th in school spending

California’s  per-pupil spending was $1,421 below the national average in 2011, placing  it 36th in the nation according to a just released report Public Education Finances 2011, by the Census Bureau.
In 2007/2008 California spent $9,158 per pupil, before the economic crisis, and in 2008/2009, we  spent $7,712 per pupil. This year’s budget proposal   does not return school funding to the pre crisis level.
Gov. Brown currently  proposes  to  change  how state and local school funds are distributed in  the state budget.   He proposes to  give more dollars  to districts with large numbers of poor and/or English-learner students.  The Governor’s  latest budget proposal recommends  per-pupil spending in 2011-12 from state and local revenues at $7,175 ( not including federal funds).  The voters passed Propositions 30 and 39, which made additional state available.
There are currently active law suites challenging the adequacy of California school finance.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chicago Teachers' Union continues the struggle for equal schools

New Report Unravels the Sordid History of Racial Segregation in Chicago Public Schools

BY CTU RESEARCH  |  05/17/2013
CHICAGO—On what is the 59th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today released a report on the history of disruptive actions against communities of color by Chicago Public Schools (CPS), exemplified by school closings that intensify the harmful effects of segregated schools and neighborhoods. The study, titled Still Separate, Still Unequal, acknowledges the deep segregation that exists in Chicago, but states that segregation is exacerbated by flawed education reform policies and assaults on communities that have long borne the brunt of its harmful effects.
The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was one of the most successful victories of the modern Civil Rights Movement. The ruling declared segregation in U.S. public schools unconstitutional, saying it violated the “equal protection under the law” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Now, nearly six decades later, parents of Chicago’s African-American and special education needs students are also seeking court protection against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to shutter 53 elementary schools. On Wednesday they filed two federal lawsuits seeking a halt closures because these actions are discriminatory and will cause undue harm to their children.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Minimum funding level for schools increased in May revise

Report of the California Budget Project 5/16/2013

  1. Increased Revenues Boost the Minimum Funding Level for Schools
    Approved by voters in 1988, Proposition 98 constitutionally guarantees a minimum level of funding for K-12 schools, community colleges, and the state preschool program. Because changes in state General Fund revenues tend to affect the Proposition 98 guarantee, the Proposition 98 funding levels included in the May Revision reflect changes in 2012-13 and 2013-14 projected revenue compared to January budget estimates. The May Revision assumes a 2012- 13 Proposition 98 funding level of $56.5 billion for K-14 education programs, $2.9 billion more than the level assumed in the Governor’s January proposal. However, the May Revision assumes a 2013-14 Proposition 98 funding level of $55.3 billion, $941.4 million less than the level assumed in the Governor’s January proposal. Specifically, the May Revision:
    •   Increases repayments to schools and community colleges by $758 million by the end of 2013-14 compared to the Governor’s January budget proposal. The May Revision provides an additional $1.8 billion in 2012-13 to partially restore previously deferred payments to schools and community colleges, but decreases 2013-14 repayments by more than $1 billion. At the end of 2013-14, payment deferrals to schools and community colleges – that is, the amount still owed by the state – would be $5.5 billion under the May Revision, compared to $6.3 billion under the Governor’s January budget proposal.
    •   Provides $1 billion in one-time 2012-13 funding to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In August 2010, the State Board of Education adopted CCSS for California’s K-12 schools. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Video on Social Emotional Learning

Short video on Social Emotional Learning.
Studies show that sustained and well-integrated social and emotional learning (SEL) programs can help schools engage their students and improve achievement.  See How It Works (06:06 mins.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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 2012‐13 and 2013‐14 budgets will reinvest in, rather than cut, education funding. From 2011‐12 through 2016‐17, the Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee will increase from $47.3 billion to $66.5 billion, an increase of more than $19 billion.
For K‐12 schools, funding levels will increase by $2,754 per student through 2016‐17. As shown in Figure INT‐01, the May Revision increases funding for higher education by between $1,503 and $2,491 per student through 2016‐17.

Spending per Student 

Community Colleges
S10, 630



Funding increase


Figure INT-01
[Editor’s note.  Actual figures for prior years.  K-12 education.
2007/2008.  $9,158.            2008/ 2009.  $7, 712.]

Budget Increases Funding Per Student
The May Revision provides $1,046 more per K‐12 student in 2013‐14 than was provided in 2011‐12, with an additional $170 dollars per student to support the implementation of the Common Core—new standards for evaluating student achievement in English‐language arts and math. The upcoming Budget also provides the opportunity to correct historical inequities in school district funding. In January, the Governor’s Budget proposed an overhaul of school funding to create a more just allocation of resources and increase local flexibility. The May Revision makes modest modifications to this Local Control Funding Formula to address issues raised over the past few months—the basic approach remains the same. All California school districts can improve under this formula with new ongoing funding based on the number of students served. By committing the most new funding to districts serving English language learners, students from low‐income families, and foster youth, the formula ensures that the students most in need of help have an equal opportunity for a quality education.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Excellent new TED talk on education by Sir Ken Robinson

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 09, 2013

Sacramento Virtual Schools

Sacramento Virtual Schools
By Seth Sandronsky.

Miriam Lyons has 25 years of teaching experience and now works in a hybrid online and brick-and-mortar-classroom program, part of the Elk Grove Unified School District Virtual Academy.

When Kelly Krug’s son Ben struggled academically, the Fair Oaks mom looked for options that provided computerized instruction. Called “virtual schools,” these new classrooms allow students to learn course work entirely via online methods. Krug enrolled Ben, and he thrived—but a new study on virtual schools says that his success story is an exception to the rule.
An 80-page national report released last week on full-time virtual schools found problems with student performance and also a lack of oversight of public dollars spent on this brave new cyber world.
Some private virtual-school companies operating here in Sacramento have grown enrollment by more than 20 percent annually over the past several years. This means that tens of millions of taxpayer dollars go toward these new online classrooms, which has some critics worried.
“[There’s] lagging performance [and] lots of taxpayer money at stake, and very little solid evidence to justify the rapid expansion of virtual schools,” said University of Colorado at Boulder professor Alex Molnar, who edited the new National Education Policy Center study.
His report shows that virtual schools trail traditional brick-and-mortars in performance and graduation rates. “In the 2010-2011 school year, for instance, 52 percent of brick-and-mortar district and charter schools met AYP [Adequate Yearly Progress, the federal government’s measurement for student development based on standardized tests], contrasted with 23.6 percent of virtual schools.”
Read the entire report at Sacramento News and Review.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Defend Immigrant Rights

Defend Immigrant Rights  - Duane Campbell

International Worker's Day – May Day – 2013 took on special meaning this year, as the drumbeat for immigration reform got louder and louder. As part of an ongoing campaign, the Service Employees International Union and allied organizations – such as Mi Familia Vota, Community Center for Change and other labor unions and immigrants’ rights groups – celebrated May 1 with major actions in over 70 cities across the nation.

The current immigration bill proposed in the U.S. Senate has some positive provisions, but it falls short because it includes a guest worker program as well as an extensive further militarization of the border.  The bill being drafted in the Republican-controlled House will probably be worse.

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) favors both the permanent extension of the DREAM Act and broader immigration reform legislation that would grant immediate permanent resident status to all undocumented workers and their children and would establish an expeditious and non-punitive road to citizenship for those workers and their families.

We also oppose all workplace discrimination based upon immigration status, and oppose any and all guest worker programs because they exploit the workers and undercut all workers’ rights to secure humane wages and working conditions, especially in the service and agricultural sectors.

DSA participates in the global struggle for equitable economic development and labor rights to reduce the forces that push desperate people to emigrate. We understand that massive migrations of workers, refugees and asylum seekers are a consequence of a global political and economic system that works for the benefit of transnational corporations at the expense of the vast majority of the peoples of the world. We also believe that low-wage workers of color, including immigrants, will be central to the “movement of movements” that is critical to the development of a “new new Left.

See prior post: “A Working Class View of Immigration Reform,” by David Bacon.

Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, a union activist for over 40 years, and the chair of Sacramento DSA. He blogs on politics, education and labor at and

Sunday, May 05, 2013

What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance? | Economic Policy Institute

What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance? | Economic Policy Institute
Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein

Mexican teachers challenge the tests

By David Bacon
California Federation of Teachers website

Oligarchs should not own our newspapers

Right-wing super villains Charles and David Koch are looking to purchase media outlets in order create new mouthpieces for their propaganda. Staffers of the Los Angeles Times, one of the media outlets targeted by the Koch brothers, are not taking this lying down.

Last week, at an in-house awards ceremony for Los Angeles Times staff, columnist Steve Lopez asked everyone in attendance, "Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers."

About half the staff raised their hands, perhaps dooming the sale of the newspaper to the Kochs.

Please sign our petition supporting the journalists and staff at the Los Angeles Times who are willing to quit their jobs if Charles and David Koch purchase the newspaper.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Telling our own story

Mexican American Digital History.   Cinco de Mayo event.
Safeway parking lot.  1973.

Our next event is -  “Telling our own story,”  Sat.  May 4, 2013.   1:30- 3:30  PM  at the  Sol Collective.  2574 21st. Street, Sacramento, Ca. 95818.  The  directors of the Mexican American Digital History Project will exhibit our current work  and discuss this effort.   We will assist volunteers to scan and upload their materials.
The Mexican American Digital History project is a new online effort  to collect and assemble a digital record  of the  Chicano/Mexican American history in the Sacramento region from 1940- present.  Directors are Dr. Duane Campbell and Prof. Dolores Delgado Campbell.
We encourage contributions of news articles, written documents, and photos.
For further information contact us at
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