Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pearson Educational Publishing: No Profit Left Behind

A POLITICO investigation has found that Pearson stands to make tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and cuts in student tuition from deals arranged without competitive bids in states from Florida to Texas. The review also found Pearson’s contracts set forth specific performance targets — but don’t penalize the company when it fails to meet those standards. And in the higher ed realm, the contracts give Pearson extensive access to personal student data, with few constraints on how it is used.
POLITICO examined hundreds of pages of contracts, business plans and email exchanges, as well as tax filings, lobbying reports and marketing materials, in the first comprehensive look at Pearson’s business practices in the United States.
The investigation found that public officials often commit to buying from Pearson because it’s familiar, even when there’s little proof its products and services are effective.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaching About Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the UFW

By Duane E. Campbell
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read.  You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.  Cesar Chávez.  November 9, 1984.
On March 31, 2015,  Eleven  states  and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating  labor and Latino Leader Cesar Chavez. Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities this weekend.  See the  post below  on the Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Conference at UCD on March 28.   A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña  as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson  as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this story and shows how Chavez was lied about and attacked by Ronald Reagan, the Nixon Administration, the Republican Party and numerous right wing forces.  This film works well in high school classrooms. Lesson plans for teaching about Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta are here. lessons
The story of Cesar Chavez, and to a lesser degree Dolores Huerta is mentioned in history books for California students, however much of the additional Mexican American history is missing.  A group of scholars, teachers, allies, activists have joined  in our campaign to improve the history textbooks in California by including the histories of  Mexican American/ Chicano people.  More than 52% of California students are descendants of Latino and Mexican people. Unfortunately they  can't they be found in the textbooks.
You are invited to participate in this effort. We need each of  you and your friends to write a letter.  Here is a guide. Here is how to write a letter :
We can each do our part.
Meanwhile,  in March of 2015  hundreds of farmworkers have walked off their jobs in Baja California, Mexico, from the agricultural fields just a few miles from the U.S. border , fields developed to provide a harvest to the U.S. markets.  Farm labor strikes and violence against strikers remains a volatile issue.  Farm workers deserve dignity, respect, and fair wages.  Achieving these goals will require a union.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Teaching About Cesar Chavez

Let me tell you about this man.  Cesar Chavez, Union Organizer.  4th. and 5th. grade. Available from man.pdf

The Schools We Deserve - Los Angeles

UTLA rally draws thousands in call for 'the schools LA students deserve'

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February 26, 2015—Today thousands of educators from across Los Angeles jammed Grand Park today in a rally for "the Schools LA Students Deserve." They arrived by rail, bus, car and on foot—wearing UTLA red to send a loud message to LAUSD that Los Angeles teachers will not stop fighting for smaller class sizes, fully staffed schools, clean and safe schools, and fair compensation. UTLA was joined in the rally by students, parents and community groups and supported by its affiliates CFT, CTA, AFT and NEA.

Last week, UTLA declared an impasse in negotiations with the District after LAUSD failed to bring meaningful proposals to the table on the key demands for the Schools LA Students Deserve. UTLA says it will continue to organize and hold actions until the Superintendent starts to listen.

Teachers life

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teach The Students Well- Their Own History !

Write Chicano/Mexican American History into California State Textbooks

By Duane Campbell
Mexican American/Chicano history is substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California- and it has been since  1986.  This year we have an opportunity to change that. 
California has the largest student  population of any state, with more than 6,236,000 students  in school in 2013.  Students who are Mexican American of Latino heritage make up over 53% of the total school population. 
Latino student political non participation  and disconnectedness is significantly caused by Latino absence from the K-12 textbooks and curriculum. 
Children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum.  Students, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S.  civics engagement in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools-  ignore the students’ own history, cultures and experiences.

California state textbooks currently largely ignore the roles of Mexican Americans and Latinos in building this state.  Students need to learn civic engagement – it is not automatic.  Students need to learn that they belong , that they are a part of the community and its history.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Vote for Eric Guerra- April 7

Eric Guerra has made District 6 his home since he first attended Sacramento State University nearly 20 years ago.
Eric and his family emigrated from Mexico when Eric was a young child. They earned a living as farmworkers in and around the Sacramento region, and Eric pitched in, working in the fields before and after school and each summer to help the family make ends meet.

Eric's Activism Started at Sac State
The lessons Eric learned from his parents – about the importance of hard work and education as a way to a better life – drove him. He did well in school, enrolled at Sacramento State University, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration. Eric also met his wife, Christina, in the Master’s program at Sac State.
As an undergraduate, Eric’s fellow students elected him Student Body President, and he successfully raised over $60,000 to fund student projects on campus. While at Sac State, Eric advocated for the community during the inception of the 65th Street Transit Village Plan to direct redevelopment funds into community improvements. He also met with then-City Councilmembers Dave Jones and Steve Cohn to address the issues of blight and improved pedestrian and bicycle paths in the region. Eric’s efforts to improve the neighborhood were highlighted in a 2003 Sacramento Bee article.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Charter Schools are Not Educational Reform

by David Hornbeck

As Philadelphia's Superintendent of Schools, I recommended the approval of more than 30 charter schools because I thought it would improve educational opportunity for our 215,000 students. The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong.
Those advocating change in Maryland's charter law through proposed legislation are equally committed to educational improvement. They are equally wrong. New policy should not build on current inequities and flawed assumptions, as the proposed charter law changes would do.
Mixed academic results: Charters, on the whole, do not result in significant improvement in student performance. It's mixed at best. In some evaluations, charter schools overall actually underperform regular public schools.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Eric Guerra for City Council

The Sacramento Progressive Alliance supports Eric Guerra for Sacramento City Council, District 6.
Special election.  April 7, 2015.
The Sacramento City Council has not had a Latino member for twenty years. Many  of the Democratic Party clubs are supporting his opponent. Eric was a strong ally of multicultural education while he was President of ASI at Sac State.
Contract the Guerra campaign on Facebook. Campaign volunteers are needed.
The decision was made at our board meeting on Feb.21. 

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Screw State Universities

But the current batch of GOP landslide beneficiaries in the states are not quite so lucky, at least so far. While the economy has slowly picked up pace since the first cohort of them took office in 2011, it’s hardly roaring. And it’s not clear who’s in a worse position: veteran Republicans in budget trouble because of tax cuts already passed, or the 2015 freshmen who took office promising tax cuts they have no way to pay for without deep budget cuts. An additional complication is the revenue crisis facing states—most of them governed by Republicans—depending disproportionately on oil and gas severance taxes, which have been decimated by the recent fall in world oil prices.
Some high-profile Republican governors and legislative leaders are in a particularly deep hole of their own making, and are taking on the state version of the political “third rail” by attacking higher education spending.
There are plenty of reasons why higher ed is an unusually tough place to cut, varying from the power of alumni to football and basketball and the perceived economic payoff of a good state university system. Still, during the depths of the Great Recession, virtually all states cut higher ed subsidies, which non-coincidentally produced a large wave of tuition increases. But some cut more than others, and are doing less to replace lost funding now that the economy’s doing better. Only eight states failed to increase per student higher ed spending in Fiscal Year 2014: Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Louisiana, West Virginia and Wyoming. And now in 2015 it generates headlines when significant higher education cuts are proposed, as in Kansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Louisiana.
You may note that these are all states with highly ideological Republican state administrations and legislatures. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback narrowly survived a reelection challenge focused on his credit-damaging tax cuts and unpopular education cuts; now, with little to lose, he’s back for more. In North Carolina, a state often matched with Kansas as a deliberate conservative policy experiment station, state legislators (guided by a conservative think tank founded by highly influential billionaire Art Pope) are seeking shutdowns in ideologically unfavored parts of the university system.
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