Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vote for Torlakson - Important to vote on Tues.

From the LA Times.
In the June 3  contest to lead the state's public schools, the two front-runners represent opposing forces within education over how best to improve student achievement.
Tom Torlakson, the Democratic incumbent, champions teachers and their unions, which dislike the nation's growing reliance on standardized tests, call for more funding and fight against eroding job protections.
Marshall Tuck, the favorite of a core of philanthropists and activists, wants more limited job security for instructors as a way to weed out weak performers and improve the teaching corps. Also a Democrat, he talks of shaking up a system that has settled for gradual improvement in test scores and graduation rates. Before raising new revenue, he said, he would spend existing dollars more effectively.

"I try to channel my energy on things that can make a big difference. I'm focused on the big picture," says state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
The nonpartisan race for the state superintendent of public instruction has become a window into differing, and influential, visions for public schools.
"These fights are very much playing out in the states, between the union wing and the education-reform wing," said Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
"This is probably the highest-profile referendum that we're going to see this year," said Hess, who generally sides with the union critics he regards as reformers. See video ad below. 

Teacher Evaluation- James Popham

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day - Remembrance and Resolve

 Memorial Day - Remembrance and Resolve: "As we approach Memorial Day, we need to think not only of remembering our fallen sons and daughters, but also to resolve to protect ...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Drop Student Debt

By  Thom Hartman,
Never in the history of the developed world has an entire generation had to go into debt just to get an education and a job. Until now.
Back in January, 31-year-old Tony Muzzatti, who at the time owed around $60,000 in student loan debt to Sallie Mae and always made on-time payments, was told that he had to immediately make a payment of $10,000, or face asset seizures.
That's because his grandmother, who also happened to be his cosigner on the student loans, had just died.
Christopher Kibler was also told by Sallie Mae that he had to immediately pay back nearly $22,000 in student loan debts after his father, the cosigner on his loans, had passed away.
Muzzatti and Kibler are just two of the many victims of what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau refers to as "auto-defaults," or when banks immediately say that private student loan debts are in default after the death or bankruptcy of a cosigner.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Progressives take control of UTLA Teachers Union

For seven years, the 31,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles, the largest local on the West Coast, have gone without a salary increase. Their contract has been expired for nearly three of those. And the teachers, counselors and school nurses that make up the UTLA can still be sent to so-called “teacher jail”—housed in district offices until they’re either fired or restored to their position, a process that can take months—when they’re accused of misconduct .
All of this, activists say, has left United Teachers Los Angeles disengaged and disillusioned. This was evidenced by the low turnout for the union election in late April, in which only 7,235 members—fewer than 25 percent of the UTLA—participated.
The results of that election, however, are perhaps an even greater indication that the UTLA is ready for a change. On April 29, social studies teacher and longtime union activist Alex Caputo-Pearl was elected as president of UTLA following a run-off with incumbent Warren Fletcher.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

California Schools- The Most Segregated State for Latino Students

California The Most Segregated State for Latino Students

Date Published: May 14, 2014
State Has Little to Celebrate 60 Years After Brown v Board of Education.

Related Documents
LOS ANGELES--Marking the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v Board of Education, the UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles assessed California's progress in addressing school segregation, and found that California students are more racially segregated than ever.  In their new study, Segregating California’s Future: Inequality and its Alternative 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education, the report authors conclude that California is the third worst state when it comes to school segregation for African Americans, behind New York and Illinois.  California is, however, the state in which Latino students are most segregated.
The Brown decision challenged the legitimacy of the entire "separate but equal" educational system of the South, and helped accelerate the march toward racial and social equality across the United States, but Brown impacted California very little. According to the report, various subsequent state court decisions resulted in California having no school integration policy, which allowed segregation to grown substantially in the past two decades.

Career Tech | Tom Torlakson

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Brown V Board of Education at 60 !

Richard Rothstein
April 17, 2014
Economic Policy Institute
The Brown decision annihilated the “separate but equal” rule, previously sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 1896, that permitted states and school districts to designate some schools “whites-only” and others “Negroes-only.” But Brown was unsuccessful in its purported mission—to undo the school segregation that persists as a central feature of American public education today.

Mother (Nettie Hunt) and daughter (Nickie) sit on steps of the Supreme Court building on May 18, 1954, the day following the Court's historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education. ,Reproduction courtesy of Corbis Images,
May 17 is the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision that prohibited Southern states from segregating schools by race. The Brown decision annihilated the “separate but equal” rule, previously sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 1896, that permitted states and school districts to designate some schools “whites-only” and others “Negroes-only.” More important, by focusing the nation’s attention on subjugation of blacks, it helped fuel a wave of freedom rides, sit-ins, voter registration efforts, and other actions leading ultimately to civil rights legislation in the late 1950s and 1960s. But Brown was unsuccessful in its purported mission—to undo the school segregation that persists as a central feature of American public education today. This issue brief highlights key elements of the American education system that have evolved in the wake of Brown:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chicago Teachers Union joins opposition to Common Core Standards

by ctu communications  |  05/07/2014

CHICAGO – Today, members of the House of Delegates (HOD) of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) passed the following resolution that enjoins the city’s educators to growing national opposition to the Common Core State Standards, saying the assessments disrupt student learning and consume tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration.
Now that the resolution has passed, the CTU will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core for teaching and assessment; and be it further and will work to organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the law that increases the expansion of nationwide controls over educational issues.
Common Core’s origins can be traced to the 2009 Stimulus Bill which gave $4.35 billion to the federal Department of Education which created the “Race to the Top” competition between states. In order to qualify for funding, the states needed to adopt Common Core  with the added incentive that participating states would be exempted from many of the more onerous provisions of George Bush’s “No child left behind” program.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

More on Common Core

by Diane Ravitch

...Alexander ( a writer at Newsweek)  also seems never to have read the joint report by the American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education, which spelled out why it is wrong to judge teachers by student test scores because of the many factors affecting test scores that are beyond their control.
Newsweek writer Alexander says that some critics of Common Core are “conspiracy theorists who deem the whole project a massive payout to test maker Pearson.” That may or may not be true, but Common Core is certainly creating a huge national marketplace for Pearson and McGraw-Hill, as well as vendors of software and hardware (all Common Core testing is done online, which is diverting billions of dollars from school budgets). Perhaps Alexander has heard of the regular conferences for entrepreneurs devoted to the subject of monetizing the education industry and cashing in on the opportunities presented by Common Core.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Chicago Teachers Join National Opposition to Commo...

Schools Matter: Chicago Teachers Join National Opposition to Commo...: BY CTU COMMUNICATIONS   |  05/07/2014 CHICAGO – Today, members of the House of Delegates (HOD) of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) passe...

Funding for California schools is changing

Funding of California’s k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally.  Some schools will get much more money to educate kids.  It is critical that teachers, parents, and educational advocates get involved now. The centerpiece of the change  is the Local Control Funding Formula, designed to send additional funds to districts where  “the need and the challenge is greatest.”  The law requires that  parents, students, teachers, and other community members be involved in the process of deciding how new funds are spent. Ed Source has an excellent guide to these changes.

A recent PPIC poll revealed that over 70% of public school parents do not know that the funding process has changed and that they are invited to participate in making budget decisions.

The ACLU of California and Public Advocates have prepared materials in English and Spanish to assist community members to understand the Local Control Funding.
Sacramento City Unified’s plan for Local Control Funding is here.
·      LCAP Timeline and Process- Within a PowerPoint presentation, which the district provides on its website, SCUSD outlines its LCAP development process, Community Planning Process,  timeline, and lists potential community partners to engage with in LCFF implementation.
It tells you how you can get involved.

Other districts will have their plans up on web sites or School Board Agenda. This is an important time to get involved. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Resistance to the Common Core Mounts

While the Sacramento Bee editorial board and several corporate education "reformers" castigate local teachers for opposing the imposed Core Waiver ( see below)..

The editorial board and the partisan advocates presenting themselves as leaders ignore the fact that Common Core is encountering more resistance around the country.  It is not a local, personal agenda. Nor is it just a union campaign.  There are substantive reasons why teachers oppose the imposed Core Waiver, and many oppose Common Core until weaknesses are remedied.

From Education Week.
Resistance to the Common Core Mounts
Critics span the political spectrum, from tea partyers to union leaders

After more than a year of high-profile and contentious debate over the Common Core State Standards in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation last month to formally reverse the state's adoption of the standards. The legislation set the state on course to replace those standards with ones "written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers," the Republican governor proclaimed.
The same month, the Democratic-controlled New York Assembly approved a measure that would require a two-year delay in using assessments aligned with the common core for teacher and principal evaluations.
In some sense, the measures in Indiana and New York represent two dominant poles of the growing—and evolving—resistance to the standards. The common core has drawn criticism from both the political left and right, though much of it seems aimed not so much at what the standards say, but rather who drove their adoption or the tests and accountability policies connected with them.
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