Tuesday, May 30, 2023

J.Luke Wood to become Sacramento State's President


Sacramento State’s incoming president is “Made at Sac State” and proud of it.

CSU trustees on Wednesday, May 24, announced the appointment of J. Luke Wood to lead the University as its ninth president. Wood is coming from San Diego State University, where he is vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity and chief diversity officer.

Wood, 41, will assume the presidency July 16, after the departure of retiring President Robert S. Nelsen, who has led the University since 2015.

Wood is clear about his motivation to be president.

“It’s about investing back in the community that invested in me,” Wood said. “I know what Sac State is capable of doing. I was a Black male, former foster child, first-generation college student who struggled with food insecurity and housing insecurity, and was able to graduate because of the incredible people and systems of support that were in place.

“If Sac State can do that for me, it can do that for anyone.”

Wood, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Black History and Politics as well as a master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership at Sac State, has deep roots in Northern California.

“It’s really about furthering the good work that’s been done around student success, diversity and inclusion, and seeing how we can further continue those trajectories to continue to be even better every day.” - J. Luke Wood, incoming Sac State president

He grew up in the Siskiyou County town of McCloud and was raised along with his identical twin brother Joshua (also a Sac State alumnus) in a large foster home. While in high school, he attended the American Legion California Boys State summer program at Sac State.

“I just had a wonderful experience,” Wood said. “I got to see the campus, and after that there was no other institution on my radar.”

Wood was a highly engaged student leader during his time at Sac State, serving in Associated Students Inc. as a board member and in several vice president positions.

He met his future wife, San Diego State Child and Family Development Professor Idara Essien, while they were students at Sac State.

“We met at the Hornet’s Nest. I saw her and walked up to her. I walked her to class, and we’ve been together ever since,” Wood said. “Sac State gave me two degrees and a life partner.”

They have three children, ages 7 to 14, and frequently visit family in Sacramento.

Wood attended guest lectures at Sac State, as well as Hornet football playoff games last season.

“Sac State is my home base,” he said, emphasizing his enthusiasm for his new job as president.

“For me, it’s coming home.”

Wood credits Sac State’s Educational Opportunity Program, which helps low-income and educationally disadvantaged students succeed in higher education.

“I would never have graduated if not for EOP,” Wood said.

After leaving Sacramento, Wood attended Arizona State University, where he earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an emphasis in higher education.

Wood started at SDSU as a professor in 2011. The following year, he became co-director with Frank Harris III of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL), a research and practice center aimed at reducing equity gaps between students of color and their peers.

In 2017, he became the first Black faculty member named a Distinguished Professor at San Diego State.

Wood has served as SDSU’s chief diversity officer and member of the president’s cabinet since 2018, and was named vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity in 2020.

Earlier this year, the California state Senate appointed Wood to serve on the newly established California Racial Equity Commission to address structural racism across the state.

An author of 16 books and more than 180 publications, Wood’s research focuses on racial inequality issues in education, particularly community colleges. He also studies the overexposure of suspensions of boys and students of color in K-12 schools.

“I’m a scholar, so I greatly value scholarship and high-quality teaching,” Wood said.

Wood has co-authored with Carlos Nevarez, Sac State interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, four books on leadership of colleges and organizational change.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Dr. J. Luke Wood to Sacramento State as our new president. I have worked with Dr. Wood as a scholar, colleague, and friend and I know his commitment to innovative, equity-based education will serve our students well,” Nevarez said. “Moreover, his experience perfectly aligns with Sacramento State’s strategic imperative as an Anchor University, and he will be a tireless fighter for inclusivity and belonging on our campus.

"I also want to thank President Nelsen for his service over the last eight years and for inspiring us all to put students’ success and wellness front-and-center in the work we do every day. I look forward to finding opportunities to work with Dr. Wood to build on President’s Nelsen’s exceptional legacy.”

Trustee Diego Arambula, chair of the Sacramento State Presidential Search Committee, called Wood a “champion for access, educational excellence, and student success.”

“He is an equity-driven leader with a demonstrated history of innovation, who will continue to elevate Sacramento State’s vision during its period of continued, transformational growth.”

Sacramento State has bucked a nationwide trend of declining college enrollment. Last fall, 30,883 students were enrolled at Sac State, compared with 29,000 in 2015 when Nelsen became president, making it the sixth-largest campus in the CSU system. Sac State in 2022-23 met enrollment targets set by CSU.

Four-year graduation rates have risen dramatically, jumping from 9% in 2016 to higher than 28% in fall 2022. Those improvements reflect University efforts to meet and surpass goals set in CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025.

Further, a record 9,574 students graduated from Sac State in spring 2023.

“President Nelsen has done an incredible job in increasing graduation rates and creating a sense of community at Sac State,” Wood said. “So, it’s really about furthering the good work that’s been done around student success, diversity and inclusion, and seeing how we can further continue those trajectories to continue to be even better every day.”

On becoming Sac State’s ninth permanent president (there were two interim leaders), Wood joins a list that began with Guy West, who served from the 1947 founding to 1965. Other presidents were Robert Johns (1966-69), Bernard L. Hyink (1970-1972), James G. Bond (1972-78), and W. Lloyd Johns (1978-83).

Donald R. Gerth (1984-2003) was the University’s longest-serving president. Alexander Gonzalez (2003-15) followed and ultimately handed off to Nelsen.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

DSA Issues Freedom Advisory About Florida Actions Toward Fascism


Following the lead of LULAC ( League of United Latin American Citizens), the NAACP,  California, and others.


On our blog.




MAY 24, 2023

Today, the Democratic Socialists of America is issuing a freedom advisory for the people of Florida in opposition to the fascist actions of its politicians. We recognize the travel advisory issued by Florida Senator Rick Scott as part of a continued pattern of red-baiting and attacks against Black organizations like the NAACP in our country’s history. Scott’s “socialist travel advisory” is a mocking response to the NAACP rightfully warning people about the openly hostile laws created and upheld by Florida Senator Rick Scott and Governor Ron DeSantis that target African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. 





Consistent with our resolution to Unite to Fight the Ultra- Right. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

NYT. War on education and teachers' unions


The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story that platforms the conservative war on education


Instead of unpacking this manufactured attack on public schools, the Times found its villain in teachers and teachers unions


PUBLISHED 05/09/23 1:17 PM EDT

The New York Times Magazine recently dedicated a multipage spread to the conservative war on public education, often legitimizing the political right’s advocacy for school choice vouchers and crusade against obscure concepts like "critical race theory.” 

In doing so, the magazine placed a target on the back of public education advocate and teachers union leader Randi Weingarten, gratuitously framing right-wing attacks on education as an organic result of the political climate, rather than as a manufactured onslaught spurred by conservative media.  





Monday, May 15, 2023

California Budget Proposal Increases Funds for K-!2 Schools.

 From. California Budget and Policy Project 

Revised Budget Funds a Large Cost-of-Living Adjustment for K-12 Education

The largest share of Prop. 98 funding goes to California’s school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education (COEs), which provide instruction to 5.9 million students in grades kindergarten through 12. The governor’s revised spending plan uses one-time dollars to help fund a large cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the state’s K-12 education funding formula — the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Specifically, the May Revision:

  • Provides a $3.4 billion year-over-year increase for the LCFF. The LCFF provides school districts, charter schools, and COEs a base grant per student, adjusted to reflect the number of students at various grade levels, as well as additional grants for the costs of educating English learners, students from low-income families, and foster youth. The May Revision would fund an 8.22% COLA for the LCFF in 2023-24, up from the 8.13% COLA estimated in the January budget proposal. The revised spending plan proposes to use $2.7 billion in one-time dollars to help pay for the large increase in ongoing support for the LCFF. According to the Assembly Budget Committee, the May Revision would provide an estimated $79.8 billion in funding for the LCFF in 2023-24.
  • Cuts approximately $2.5 billion from the Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant. The 2022-23 budget agreement provided $7.9 billion for a one-time block grant to K-12 school districts, COEs, and charter schools allocated based on the percentage of enrolled students who are English learners, students from low-income families, or foster youth. The May Revision proposes to reduce this funding to approximately $5.4 billion. 
  • Cuts the Arts, Music, and Instructional Materials Discretionary Block Grant by approximately $600 million more than proposed in January. The governor’s January budget proposed reducing, from nearly $3.6 billion to approximately $2.3 billion, one-time funding for a per pupil discretionary block grant provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) in the 2022-23 budget agreement. The May Revision proposes to reduce funding for the block grant to approximately $1.8 billion. 
  • Increases funding by approximately $300 million for school nutrition programs. For the 2022-23 school year, California established a Universal Meals Program that provides two free meals per day to any public K-12 student regardless of income eligibility.  The revised spending plan includes an additional $110 million in one-time dollars and approximately $191 million in ongoing dollars to fully fund increased demand for the program in 2022-23 and 2023-24. 
  • Provides $80 million in ongoing funding for COEs serving students in juvenile court. The revised spending plan states these additional resources would be used to support staffing and programming requirements for students in alternative school settings. The May Revision also proposes to increase COEs’ LCFF base grants by 50% for the additional year of assistance they would provide, based on a proposal in the governor’s January budget, to school districts with performance issues. 
  • Provides $20 million for the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP). The BTPDP was established in 2018, but it expired in June 2021. The May Revision would reinstitute the program and make funding available through 2028-29.  
  • Funds an increase in the COLA for non-LCFF programs. The May Revision increases the COLA for several categorical programs that remain outside of the LCFF to 8.22% from the 8.13% COLA provided in January.
  • Maintains $300 million for a proposed “equity multiplier” add-on to the LCFF. The revised spending plan would continue to provide ongoing funding proposed in January for LEAs with large shares of students from families with low incomes. Additionally, the May Revision states that it reflects changes to the state’s K-12 accountability system to clarify those proposed in January “including additional assurances that all LEAs with low student performance address disparities in the preparation of their educators.” 
  • Proposes to screen students in kindergarten through 2nd grade for risk of reading difficulties. The May Revision proposes to make these screenings mandatory by the 2025-26 school year and would require LEAs to provide services to identified students, including those at risk of dyslexia. 
  • Extends the deadline for spending Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP) funds. The 2022-23 budget agreement provided $4 billion for the ELOP. The May Revision extends the  June 30, 2023 deadline for spending ELOP funds received in 2021-22 and 2022-23 to June 30, 2024.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

U.S. Border Policy

antiracismdsa: U.S. Border Policy:   On  Immigration Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children. Bu...

New Corporate Party Advances



the anderson files

Corporate ‘centrist’ third party could spoil 2024

By Dave Anderson - May 11, 2023

In 2024, a new supposedly “centrist” political organization may run a
“unity” presidential ticket. No Labels is already on the ballot as a
party in Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Alaska. They have raised $70
million and refuse to name their donors. They plan to get on the
ballot in all 50 states.

No Labels insists that the two major parties are captured by crazy
extremists. A video sent out to donors and potential supporters
obtained by The New Republic warns, “With the extremes on both sides
dominating the primaries, the two parties are on a path to nominating
candidates most eligible voters will find unacceptable.” As ominous
music plays, you see Donald Trump, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie
Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Joe Biden isn’t even mentioned in the video. When leaders of No Labels
are asked if they think Biden is unacceptable to them, they have a
wait-and-see attitude.

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, the leaders of three ideologically
divergent, pro-Democratic Party groups (Third Way, MoveOn and the
Center for American Progress Action Fund) denounced No Labels for
equating Trump and Biden and argued that Biden has been responsible
for significant and necessary bipartisan legislation. They said a No
Labels candidate would most likely help elect Trump.

Actually, No Labels’ own poll shows “Democrats, liberals and urban
voters to be more open to a moderate independent candidate than
Republicans, conservatives or rural voters.”

No Labels supports balancing the national budget, reducing business
regulations and shifting federal programs to the states.

No Labels criticized the Jan. 6 committee as “a partisan exercise
about which the public is skeptical” and compared it unfavorably with
the Republican-dominated special committee that investigated the 2012
Benghazi attack on a U.S. embassy.

No Labels publicly opposed Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB)
legislation, which included efforts to fight climate change, raise the
corporate tax rate, expand the Child Tax Credit and improve

Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten
Sinema of Arizona, were able to force big cuts in BBB due to the
Democrats’ slim majority in the Senate. During the legislative
process, No Labels praised Sinema for her “heroic efforts” and ran ads
supporting Manchin “hit[ting] the brakes on BBB.” The Intercept
reported that the group hosted Manchin at a “billionaire-backed
gathering” in Los Angeles during BBB negotiations.

The BBB was killed and we got the Inflation Reduction Act, which
doesn’t go as far but provides for lower prescription drugs for
seniors, higher taxes for corporations, more IRS law and order for
rich tax cheats. It is also the biggest federal climate change bill in
history. Well, that’s a low bar. It’s the only real climate change
bill ever enacted.

This March, news website Semafor reported that some Wall Street
backers of Biden in 2020 are “holding back” on supporting him in 2024,
“citing rules proposed by his Securities and Exchange Commission that
target the financial services industry.”

Biden’s approach to financial regulation “has left a sense of buyer’s
remorse.” Financial industry lobbyists are reportedly “beyond

No Labels doesn’t have to disclose who its sugar daddies are. However,
in 2018, The Daily Beast obtained a leaked donor list including
billionaires in the private equity, hedge fund, real estate, and oil
and gas industries. Republican megadonors are courted.

The group’s CEO, Nancy Jacobson, was a fundraiser for both Bill and
Hillary Clinton, and her husband, corporate consultant Mark Penn, was
a top Clinton campaign advisor.

No Labels is co-chaired by lobbyist and former Senator Joe Lieberman
of Connecticut (who was a Democrat and then an Independent) and Larry
Hogan, the former Republican governor of Maryland. Manchin and
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine are “honorary co-chairs.”

No Labels is very vague about its stances on major policy issues.
Campaign finance lawyer Brendan Fischer told The Lever that this
leaves a lot of room for wheeling and dealing.

“At this point, No Labels isn’t saying what ‘values and commitments’
they are looking for from a major party candidate,” he said. “This
raises the specter of No Labels officials or donors using this
leverage to extract backroom concessions.”

Manchin has praised No Labels’ strategy and hasn’t ruled out running
for president in 2024 on their ballot line. Meanwhile, Manchin and
Sinema seemed to be allied with Republicans in their reckless debt
ceiling brinkmanship.

This opinion does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Oakland Teachers Go on Strike

Thousands of Oakland public school educators are walking off the job on Thursday as they call for improved working conditions and wages that would better keep pace with inflation and the high cost of living in the Bay Area.

The walkout by roughly 3,000 teachers, librarians, nurses and other staff members in the Oakland Unified School District left parents scrambling. Schools will be open, officials said, but classes are canceled for the 34,000 students in the school district, one of the state’s largest. The strike is the third that the Oakland Education Association, the union representing the educators, has authorized over the past five years. It does not have a set end date.

There have been a string of labor standoffs involving academic institutions in California. Teachers in Los Angeles went on a three-day strike in March in solidarity with bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other support staff members. Last fall, about 48,000 employees of the University of California system walked off the job, seeking better pay. In March 2022, teachers in Sacramento went on an eight-day strike before reaching a deal for higher salaries.

“This is a national crisis,” Ismael Armendariz, the president of the Oakland Education Association, said. “We have a huge teacher retention problem and recruitment problem. We are disrespected. We are not paid enough.”

Some parents condemned the strike plans, arguing that children had already missed too much school during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As Oakland district families, we are enraged by this action,” said an online petition signed by 660 people as of Wednesday evening. “Our kids’ education is too important to be used as a pawn by adults who are using bad-faith tactics in (what are supposed to be) good-faith negotiations.”

Armendariz said the Oakland Unified School District lost around 20 to 25 percent of its teachers every year to retirement and to other districts where the pay is higher. Salaries for teachers in Oakland are the lowest of any major urban district, he said.

The starting salary for a first-year teacher in the district is $52,905. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development classifies a salary under $50,000 for a single-person household in Oakland as “very low” and eligible for housing vouchers.

Continue reading the main story

The district is proposing to raise first-year salaries to $63,604, a bump of about 20 percent. Veteran teachers would receive a 16 percent raise, to $109,746.

District officials say that their offer constitutes large wage increases, and they pleaded this week with teachers not to strike.

“Following all the turmoil and disruption of Covid, the idea that our children might be out of school yet again while both sides work to reach an agreement only harms our students and families,” the district said in a statement on Tuesday. “The adults need to be adults, so that students can be students.”

The union — which has been in negotiations with the district since the fall, when the last contract expired — has made other demands on the district, including hiring more nurses, providing more mental health support for students and improving services for students with disabilities.

Continue reading the main story


Wednesday, May 03, 2023

National History Scores Decline


It’s Not Just Math and Reading: U.S. History Scores for 8th Graders Plunge 

The latest test results continue a nearly decade-long decline. Try a sample quiz to test your knowledge.

and Civics.
The dip in civics performance was the first decline since the test began being administered in the late 1990s.Credit...Joseph Rushmore for The New York Times
An empty classroom with an America flag in the corner.

National test scores released on Wednesday showed a marked drop in students’ knowledge of U.S. history and a modest decline in civics, a sign of the pandemic’s alarming reach, damaging student performance in nearly every academic area.

The pandemic plunge in U.S. history accelerated a downward trend that began nearly a decade ago, hitting this recent low at a time when the subject itself has become increasingly politically divisive.

A growing number of students are falling below even the basic standards set out on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a rigorous national exam administered by the Department of Education. About 40 percent of eighth graders scored “below basic” in U.S. history last year, compared with 34 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2014.

Just 13 percent of eighth graders were considered proficient — demonstrating competency over challenging subject matter — down from 18 percent nearly a decade ago

this is not an endorsement of so called national standards. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.