Monday, December 31, 2018

Will Los Angeles Teachers Strike Jan 10 ?

UTLA December Rally 
Bill Raden, Capital and Main
Fasten your seatbelts Los Angeles, it’s going to be a bumpy strike. That was the subtext to a tumultuous week that saw over 50,000 L.A. teachers, students and families take to the streets Saturday to support a union faced with budgetary saber-rattling by Los Angeles Unified, and that climaxed on Wednesday with United Teachers Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl setting a January 10 walkout date — unless Los Angeles Unified negotiators meet key union demands for investments in the district’s highest-poverty students.
Caputo-Pearl’s announcement came a day after L.A. Unified superintendent Austin Beutner erroneously claimed that the union had accepted the district’s six percent pay raise offer, as recommended in Tuesday’s report by state-appointed fact-finders who also urged LAUSD to kick in the modest equivalent of a one to three percent salary increase for new hires to reduce class sizes, and for both sides to work together to lobby Sacramento for more state funding.
Fact-finding panel chairman David A. Weinberg mostly punted on 19 of 21 unresolved equity demands that form the heart of what UTLA has framed as a fight to save L.A.’s “civic institution of public education.” The union won some minor points, like the allowing of teacher input on charter co-locations, and on scrapping a district privilege to unilaterally lift class size caps during fiscal crunches. But by accepting at face value LAUSD’s latest claims of imminent bankruptcy, Weinberg left unanswered a critical question: How could LAUSD annually project catastrophic, three-year deficits and still have its unrestricted cash reserves balloon from $500 million to nearly $2 billion during the same five-year period?
 Read more

Capital and Main

U.S. Falls Further Behind

Does the U.S. government’s priority for military spending explain, at least partially, the discrepancy between the worldwide preeminence of the U.S. armed forces and the feeble global standing of major American domestic institutions?

Maybe those delirious crowds chanting “USA, USA” have got something. When it comes to military power, the United States reigns supreme. Newsweek reported in March 2018: “The United States has the strongest military in the world,” with over 2 million military personnel and vast numbers of the most advanced nuclear missiles, military aircraft, warships, tanks, and other modern weapons of war. Furthermore, as the New York Times noted, “the United States also has a global presence unlike any other nation, with about 200,000 active duty troops deployed in more than 170 countries.” This presence includes some 800 overseas U.S. military bases.

In 2017 (the last year for which global figures are available), the U.S. government accounted for over a third of the world’s military expenditures―more than the next 7 highest-spending countries combined. Not satisfied, however, President Trump and Congress pushed through a mammoth increase in the annual U.S. military budget in August 2018, raising it to $717 billion. Maintaining the U.S. status as “No. 1” in war and war preparations comes at a very high price.

That price is not only paid in dollars—plus massive death and suffering in warfare―but in the impoverishment of other key sectors of American life. After all, this lavish outlay on the military now constitutes about two-thirds of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending. And these other sectors of American life are in big trouble.

Let’s consider education. The gold standard for evaluation seems to be the Program for International Student Assessment of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which tests 15-year old students every few years. The last test, which occurred in 2015 and involved 540,000 students in 72 nations and regions, found that U.S. students ranked 24th in reading, 25th in science, and 41st in mathematics. When the scores in these three areas were combined, U.S. students ranked 31st―behind the students of Slovenia, Poland, Russia, and Vietnam.

Friday, December 28, 2018

What Are California Teachers Paid ?

California teachers saw a modest pay bump in 2018, with average teacher pay exceeding $80,000, new state figures show.
The average teacher salary in 2018 was $80,680, up 2 percent from 2017, according to the data. Staffing declined slightly, falling by about 1,700, or 0.6 percent, from 2017 to 2018.

Cloud Database by Caspio
Go to the Sac Bee site to compare teachers’ salaries. 
Among other findings: The average superintendent salary in 2018, excluding part-timers, was roughly $200,000. That figure reflects base pay and does not include the stipends and bonuses incorporated into many school chiefs’ contracts.
The data also show that teacher pay continues to vary widely by district. Twenty school districts, mostly in the Bay Area, paid their teachers, on average, more than $100,000 in 2018. Another 17 districts, mostly in rural areas, paid their teachers an average salary that fell below $50,000 annually. The disparities in pay reflect, at least in part, the wide variations in housing expenses and community affluence in different regions of California.
Among large districts in the Sacramento region, the highest average teacher pay is found in Roseville. The lowest average pay is found in Natomas and the city of Sacramento.
The figures come from an annual survey published by the California Department of Education.Roughly 22 percent of districts -- most of them very small -- did not report 2018 teacher pay data to the state. Districts that reported salaries educate about 99 percent of students in California.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Facing the Border Wall

antiracismdsa: Facing the Border Wall: Two thousand years ago, a young mother and father fled for their lives and left everything behind for the safety of their child. Their na...

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Trump Imposes new asylum procedure

antiracismdsa: Trump Imposes new asylum procedure:    The Trump administration announced a new migration policy Thursday that will require asylum seekers who cross the Me...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Who Killed Jakeline ( Caal) Maquin ? The Border Patrol Did.

Trump and the Border Wall

Barefoot children. In diapers. Choking on tear gas. Mothers running in terror.

Now a 7 year old girl--Jakelin Maquin--has died from dehydration and exhaustion in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody. The ACLU blamed “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP” for the girl’s death.

This is inhuman. I can’t shake the sense that the ground is cracking under my feet. I want to share what this makes me think and feel - I hope you stick with me here.

Trump gave the order to use CS gas on families and children at the border. I saw the pictures, and felt outrage. Then Trump distracted the media with his personal reality show. The photos were knocked off the front page with the next crisis.

I’m not OK with this. I’m guessing you aren’t either. But we are not powerless.

In June, I 
went to McAllen, Texas with my then-five year old son on Father’s Day. There is another picture that seared into my soul there - toddlers looking out of the armored windows of a bus as it left the detention center and their parents behind. I will never, ever forget the fear in their eyes.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Los Angeles and Oakland Teachers Rally Amid Deadlocked Contract Talks

A Los Angeles school board meeting turned raucous days ahead of two solidarity rallies to be held Saturday in L.A. and Oakland.
Published By
LAUSD school board photo and video by Bill Raden.

Two California teachers unions, which are currently deadlocked in separate contract talks with their respective school districts, are on the verge of launching the West Coast’s biggest teacher walkout since 1989. What happens next will decide far more than fair wages for career educators. At stake are broader principles of equity, expressed as contract demands for smaller class sizes and less testing, the addition of sufficient health and social services staff, and an investment in community schooling and fair funding — aimed at restoring public education as a public good for all Californians, rather than as a private interest granted to the lucky few.
While they await the results of a state-mediated fact-finding process, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and the Oakland Education Association (OEA) have declared Saturday, December 15, a day of solidarity, and have invited all to join teachers in a rally to defend public education. The Oakland action kicks off at Omni Commons at 11 a.m., while L.A.’s march and rally begins at Grand Park at 10 a.m.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

antiracismdsa: Young Girl from Guatemala Dies in ICE Custody

antiracismdsa: Young Girl from Guatemala Dies in ICE Custody: 7-Year-Old Migrant Girl Dies From Neglect In ICE Custody Jakeline Maquin  NBC News A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who crossed th...

Friday, December 14, 2018

Sacramento Teachers Present Alternative Budget Proposal

Teachers from across the District united together to present SCTA’s Students First Rebalancing Budget Proposal to address the budget fiasco at Sac City at the December 13, 2018 School Board meeting.  You can view our video by clicking here.
Despite increase in income of over $100 million in recent years, bureaucratic bloat and financial mismanagement jeopardize our children’s educational opportunities.
We believe it our responsibility to try to offer real solutions to the sac city’s budget fiasco.
That’s why we proposed today to the school board a proposal that would save the district $60 million, balance the budget, curb bureaucratic bloat by redirecting resources back to the classroom to lower class sizes, expand arts and music opportunities, provide summer learning opportunities and to put Sac City on a path to becoming the destination district in California.  You can view our proposal by clicking here.
We sincerely hope the superintendent will accept our offer to meet and join with us to find real solutions to this budget crisis.  Our children deserve no less.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Diane Ravitch On Gavin Newsom's Three Educational Challenges

Diane Ravitch

As Gavin Newsom prepares to take office, education looms large on the list of California’s top priorities. The nation’s most populous state faces major questions on everything from the cost of higher education to growing demands for increased oversight of charter schools. Capital & Main asked education scholar Diane Ravitch what advice she would give Newsom. Here is her response.
The incoming administration of Governor-elect Gavin Newsom will not be cleaning up a mess. Governor Jerry Brown has been a good steward of the state during his time in office.

But Newsom faces three distinct challenges in the field of education. Although Governor Brown significantly increased spending for education, California has large unmet needs and much catching-up to do to maintain its edge as an incubator of talent and innovation, and of equal opportunity for all.

First, the state must substantially increase funding for K-12 education, which would enable districts to pay teachers better salaries, reduce class sizes and assure that all children, regardless of where they live, have access to a well-equipped, well-staffed school. The latest federal data (2016) show that California spends somewhat less than the national average per pupil. California’s per-pupil spending is $11,420, compared to a national average of $11,841. California is one of the richest states in the nation but spends far less than states such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wyoming and North Dakota. California spends about the same on its students as states like Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and South Carolina, where the cost of living is far less than in California.

Second, California must recommit to the long established tradition that tuition for higher education must be free to all residents of the state. This principle was reiterated in the state’s Master Plan in 1960, but ended by Governor Ronald Reagan. The low-cost availability of higher education and the large pool of educated talent it created were the principle drivers of the state’s economic development and success. The primary reason that students drop out of college is cost, not ability. The state should recommit to provide higher education to all who wish to pursue it, by removing cost as a barrier to their opportunity and ambition.

Third, California must regulate the charter school industry, whose lobbyists have defeated all efforts to hold charter schools accountable and transparent. Where public money goes, public accountability must follow.

Charter schools now enroll 10 percent of the children in the state, and their representatives should have no more than 10 percent of the seats on the state board. Charters should be made subject to open-meetings laws and laws prohibiting conflicts of interest and nepotism. The law governing charters should be revised so that they are authorized solely by the district in which they are physically located, with no appeals to the county or state board. If there is no need for them, they should not exist.

Before any charter is authorized, there must be a determination of its fiscal impact on the host district. The host district should supervise the charter to assure that it is operating in accordance with state laws and serving the needs of students in the district. Every charter should enroll at least the same proportion of students with disabilities and English language learners as the district in which it is located.

Charters should be as accountable for their enrollment, discipline policies, finances and academic performance as district public schools. Charters should complement, not compete with, district public schools. They are all working towards the same goals, which is the development of every child’s abilities, equal opportunity and preparation for citizenship.

Diane Ravitch

Copyright Capital & Main


Keeping the Dream Alive

·      Students participate in a panel discussion during the "Keeping the Dream Alive" gathering in the University Union Ballroom on Dec. 3. (Sacramento State)
Hundreds of educators and allies of so-called Dreamers filled the University Union Ballroom at Sacramento State for the third annual “Keeping the Dream Alive” conference, where personal stories of hope provided inspiration for those looking to improve the college experience for undocumented students. 
The Dec. 3-4 conference highlighted best practices to promote success, remove barriers and reduce fear for students laboring under ongoing uncertainty about the future of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the program’s protection for Dreamers, whose status remains at risk.
“ 'Keeping the Dream Alive’ is about moving forward ... education in the K-12, community college and higher-education system (for students) who are seeking to advance their lives, become educated, and contribute to society,” said Viridiana Diaz, assistant vice president of strategic diversity initiatives.
The conference provided an opportunity to share knowledge, expertise and emerging practices on topics from supporting resource centers and safe spaces for undocumented high school students to maximizing funding for college and finding legal solutions.
This year’s theme, “Rising Beyond the Unimaginable: Visionary Approaches to Promoting Success Among Undocumented and Mixed-Status Students,” has special significance in the current national political climate, University President Robert S. Nelsen said.
“With DACA still in limbo, our students continue to face uncertainty about their future," said Nelsen, a member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. "Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to intensify our efforts and show them just how deeply we care and that we plan to support them despite the actions or inactions of our government.” 
Alma Valverde, a dream center coordinator at Santa Rosa Junior College, was among more than 300 participants seeking practical knowledge to share.
“I want to bring back a lot of ideas on how to increase student activism and awareness and intercampus collaboration and relations with the high schools,” said Valverde. “The variety of interests has stood out so far to me, so it’s not just supporting a section of students, it’s also how to develop allies.”
Amanda Staack, an undocumented-center advisor at Humboldt State University, also hopes to become an agent of change within the CSU.
“Scholars without Borders is a student-run center, so we’re looking to find ways to navigate and find resources on our campus, and also to institutionalize it and to make connections with other people and what they’re doing,” she said.
Attendees heard stories about personal struggles related by speakers such as Aurora Chang, assistant professor and program chair in Higher Education at Loyola University’s School of Education.
Chang, once an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, was reared in a family of eight in Richmond. She encouraged participants to “write the text you have always dreamed of reading,” telling them “our stories are our resistance.”
Author and inspirational speaker Reyna Grande echoed that advice, telling her story of entering the United States illegally and eventually becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college.
“One of the things I thought when I succeeded crossing the border after my third attempt, I thought there would be no more borders for me to cross," she said. "And then I realized that I came to a country that loves to put up borders for its immigrant populations, so I have been crossing borders ever since.” 
In 2015, the University opened its Dreamer Resource Center that provides academic and financial guidance, access to legal immigration services, and support for 500-800 students each year. For more information, visit the Dreamer Resource Center website. - Anita Fitzhugh

-->CSU Media Services

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Migrants Have a Right to Asylum

Faith Leaders at the border on Tuesday. 

Faith leaders to U.S. authorities: Migrants have international right to U.S. asylum. NBC: “Over 200 religious leaders and advocates gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border on Human Rights Day to send a message to the Trump administration, arguing that migrants stalled in Mexico who have not been allowed to enter the U.S. have a right under international law to seek asylum. AFSC brought faith leaders from different religious denominations together for a press conference at the Border Field State Park in San Diego on Monday to call on the U.S. to respect people’s human right to migrate, end the militarization of border communities and end the detention and deportation of immigrants. Once the conference ended, the hundreds of people gathered at the park started a procession towards the San Diego-Tijuana border in solidarity with the thousands of migrants who are living in crowded tent cities and shelters after having traveled more than 2,000 miles towards the U.S.-Mexico border in a caravan that started in Central America. ‘We can do better. Our sacred texts tell us to tear down walls, to welcome the immigrant and to treat everyone as if they are God’s children,’ said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis as she walked in the procession, holding a sign that read ‘El Amor No Conoce Fronteras,’ Spanish for love knows no borders.”

Monday, December 03, 2018

Central American Exodus Caravan

Sunday, Dec 9, 12:30pm, Central American Refugee Caravan: How do we ensure a moral and lawful response? Dr. Duane Campbell and Cori Ring-Martinez provide caravan updates and background on the root causes of the refugee crisis, followed by discussion of our individual, collective, and national responsibility to asylum seekers based on human rights and international law. Refreshments. First United Methodist Church, 2100 J St. Sacramento. FMI: 916-225-8511

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Left Case Against Open Borders - A Review

A review of the article, The Left Case against Open Borders, by Angela Nagel - American Affairs Journal
Tens of thousands of Hondurans, El Salvadorans and Guatemalans are fleeing  hunger and death.  Usually they do not flee in caravans but alone or with their immediate families. Caravans are formed for protection from crimes, assault, rape and extortion. As the Exodus Caravan from Honduras has reached our borders, there is a heightened sense of fear in the nation promoted by Donald Trump and his administration.

To  begin with, the caravan of poor people at our border should not be stopped.  Instead, those eligible for refugee status should be admitted required by the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1946) and current U.S. law. 

When writers  propose an immigration policy and a critique of a movement, it is important to get the story right. People’s lives depend upon it.

In the article, “The Left Case against Open Borders”, writer Angela Nagel  gets most of the economic conditions correct, but like Trump, she argues without evidence that the problem is that  unions, the Left  and immigrants’ rights activists support  “open borders”.  

  Atossa Araxis Abrahamian,   In the Nation online on November 28,  describes the peculiar lineage of Nagel’s writing and review some of the literature she sites.
 In the following I deal with the false accusations about the role of unions  in the immigration policy  debates.  

Let’s try a thought experiment.  Imagine that no one advocated open borders. How would that change the lived conditions of these refugees?  Not at all. 
The  Angela Nagel essay has many positive features including the descriptions of how global neoliberal capitalism, including NAFTA,  causes many of  the major problems of migration.  
However, Nagel is wrong  in asserting that the left and labor favor open borders. This is accepting the false narrative of Trump and the anti- immigrant forces as an accurate description of their opponents’ views.  They are not. 

There has been a long and well developed movement for immigration reform, along with connected policy proposals – few of which argue for open borders. Progressive  policies and practices have emerged from within U.S. communities and the labor movement.  The writer seems to not be aware of this history. Instead she describes critics of the current attacks on immigrants as “Useful Idiots.”

She notes the Reagan Administration policy  known by Republicans  as amnesty without noting that the  Simpson- Mazolli Act was the consequence of a multi- year struggle for immigration reform by both corporate forces and community groups. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Number of Undocumented Declines

The study, published by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday, put the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States at 10.7 million in 2016, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007.
As Pew analyzed new data from recent years, its researchers found that “it wasn’t just that the numbers declined, but also who these unauthorized immigrants are had changed since 2007,” said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at Pew Research.
The estimates are derived from figures published by sources like the Census Bureau, which accounts for foreign-born people living in the United States, along with other demographic data including death rates and legal border admissions.

As Pew analyzed new data from recent years, its researchers found that “it wasn’t just that the numbers declined, but also who these unauthorized immigrants are had changed since 2007,” said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at Pew Research.

The estimates are derived from figures published by sources like the Census Bureau, which accounts for foreign-born people living in the United States, along with other demographic data including death rates and legal border admissions.

Monday, November 26, 2018

antiracismdsa: Conflict at the Border

antiracismdsa: Conflict at the Border: What’s happening with asylum-seekers at the border ? Nation Nov 26, 2018 6:45 PM EST. pbs newshour The busiest port of entry along th...

The Honduran Exodus

It should tell us something about her home country that a mother is willing to travel 2,000 miles with her 4-month-old son to come here. Should tell us something about our country that we only respond to this desperate need once she is at our border. So far, in this administration, that response has included taking kids from their parents, locking them up in cages, and now tear gassing them at the border.
People are leaving violent countries where they fear for their lives. Without money, they are subsisting on hope for their kids, for themselves, that they can get to safety. After being denied the ability to lawfully petition for asylum for the last 10 days, they are desperate.
We choose how to respond to this challenge.
Let’s do this the right way and follow our own laws. Allow asylum seekers to petition for asylum at our ports of entry. They must do so peacefully and follow our laws; but we must also ensure the capacity to effectively and timely process those claims (right now 5,000 waiting in Tijuana and only 40 to 100 are processed a day).

Friday, November 23, 2018

Tony Thurmond Wins Superintendent of Public Instruction

 As of Wednesday evening, the California Secretary of State reported that progressive Assemblymember Tony Thurmond has surged ahead of the former charter school operator by nearly 75,000 votes in the ongoing count of an estimated 4.8 million, mostly mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Honduran Exodus

International Call to Action for the Refugee Caravan and Central American Exodus

As thousands of our refugee relatives—children, elders, brothers, sisters, LGBTQI+ siblings and people with disabilities—make their way to the border, we are calling for an InternationalDay of Action in Solidarity with the Caravan and Exodus from Central Americaon Sunday, November 25th, 2018.We, an ad-hoc Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition, composed of migrant rights and social justice groups, invite individuals and organizations across the country and globe to organize demonstrations in their cities, and if they have the capacity, to join our rally and march to the border.  
We call for an action on November 25th to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 Honduran election stolen by the US government-backed, right-wing military dictator Juan Orlando Hern├índez (JOH). We are demonstrating on this day to acknowledge and draw attention to the current social and political crises driving the exodus from Central America. We understand that these crises—drug wars, military coups, destruction of indigenous lands for the benefit of corporations, and environmental catastrophe in the region—are all symptoms of US foreign policy, corporate profiteering and war-making. 
Moreover, we see that the Trump administration is creating a warlike atmosphere against the caravan. It should be clear that they are not just acting with the support of a cabinet of white supremacists and a majority GOP in the Senate but are also emboldened by the last few decades of bipartisan militarization of the border, mass raids, expansion of for-profit detention centers, and mass deportations—with more than 2.5 million migrants under Obama and Trump alone. Further, these policies are a continuation of a long history of anti-Indigenous colonial violence and genocide.
These attacks have been complemented by decades of pushback against the migrants’ rights movement and years of terror against all who participated in the mega marches for Migrant’s Rights back in 2006 and since. We must continue to build and consolidate our gains no matter how large or small. 
Legal precedent, “civility,” regard for life: the administration has no respect for any of it. The only thing that it responds to is resistance from below.
The US government, as with all governments, and the people of the United States have a choice: We can reject the humanity of the refugees and buy into the racist anti-migrant rhetoric of the Administration and the media. OR, we can do what humans have an obligation to do and what the US government owes the people of Central America: insist on allowing all the refugees the right to seek asylum!
  1. Respect for the right of asylum for all members of the Central American Exodus. Stop the profiling and criminalization of refugees; lift the executive order limiting access to asylum. 
  2. Process all asylum claims made at Ports of Entry with expediency. We reject Custom and Border Protection’s claim that Port of Entries lack capacity to let in refugees. We also reject the shift away from decades of international asylum agreements that allow for requests to be made anywhere on the border.
  3. The US government must publicly acknowledge a) its role in Honduran Coup in 2009, b) that the Honduran government is a US supported dictatorship, and c) recognize the political and social crises throughout Central America as caused by US foreign policy. 
  4. Call for international solidarity beyond the US and Mexico. The United Nations and Red Cross must also recognize the Humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico Border.
  5. We demand freedom for incarcerated migrants now and free movement for asylum seekers. No incarceration of migrants in shelters or for-profit detention centers.
  6. No impunity for governments that violate international asylum agreements and processes. Prosecute officials who violate the human right to seek asylum in any country of their preference.

Endorsing Organizations: 
Pueblo Sin Fronteras
Otay Mesa Detention Resistance
Union Del Barrio 
People over Profits 
QTPOC colectivo
American Federation of Teachers 
Border Angels, San Diego
Defend Boyle Heights
Yano Project
Democratic Socialists of America- San Diego Chapter
Democratic Socialists of America – Immigrants’ Rights Committee
International Socialist Organization
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