Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tom Torlakson-

This election is important !

Most States ( including California) Still Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession

States are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did seven years ago — often far less.  The reduced levels reflect primarily the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession.  At a time when states and the nation need workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, this decline in state educational investment is cause for concern.
Our review of state budget documents finds that:
    At least 30 states are providing less funding per student for the 2014-15 school year than they did before the recession hit.  Fourteen of these states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent.  (These figures, like all the comparisons in this paper, are in inflation-adjusted dollars and focus on the primary form of state aid to local schools.)
    Most states are providing more funding per student in the new school year than they did a year ago, but funding has generally not increased enough to make up for cuts in past years.  For example, Alabama is increasing school funding by $16 per pupil this year.  But that is far less than is needed to offset the state’s $1,144 per-pupil cut over the previous six years. 

Read the report.  Get a pdf of the Report.  Oct. 16, 2014.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coalition of Pastors are urging greater investment in the future of 5 million Texas schoolchildren.

Published: 19 October 2014 08:04 PM
Updated: 19 October 2014 08:06 PM

“Love your neighbor.” This commandment is at the core of most world religions, and is certainly at the heart of Christianity. Though the commandment is simple, living it out in daily life can be challenging, particularly in the public sphere.
Eighty-four percent of children in this country attend public schools. Slightly more than 60 percent (over 3 million of our 5 million Texas public school students) are identified as poor. These children in our public education system are our neighbors, and we are called to love them by providing a vibrant and thriving school system. That’s why Dallas-area pastors are calling on elected officials and leaders in the business, faith, parent, labor and neighborhood communities to support the public schools of greater Dallas.
Pastors for Texas Children is a statewide organization mobilizing the faith community for public education. We are focused on supporting great public schools for all Texas children. While money alone does not solve the challenges of public education, they cannot be solved without it.
According to the Texas Kids Count Project 2013 report, Texas ranks 43rd in the nation in per-pupil spending. In 2011, the Texas Legislature cut funding by more than $500 per child and forced school districts to lay off teachers, increase class sizes and reduce prekindergarten programs. We witnessed the cost of these cuts here in Dallas in the closure of 11 public schools, including recognized and exemplary campuses. In 2013, Texas legislators put back only a portion of these cuts — about 60 percent, leaving a continuing and debilitating deficit in public education funding. This means the typical Texas elementary school has $300,000 less per year. Little wonder then that state District Judge John Dietz recently declared our state school funding system unconstitutional.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Corporate so called "reformers" throw millions into the effort to elect an anti union Superintendent of Schools

Your vote will make the difference.  

Corporate school  “reformers” have raised over $4 million from the very rich during the last week to contribute to the campaign to elect  anti union leader Marshall Tuck as Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.   According the Sacramento Bee The fund includes $1 million each from Los Angeles businessmen Bill Bloomfield and Eli Broad, a major financier of efforts to overhaul public education. The Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and Laurene Powell Jobs, philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs, have each contributed $500,000.

Incumbent  Tom Torlakson is a former teacher and is  supported by both major teacher unions.  He supports extension of Prop. 30 taxes passed in 2012 which have restored funding to California schools after the devastation of the national  economic crisis when over 30,000 teachers were dismissed in the state.  Schools in other states without new taxes currently continue to reel from austerity budget cuts.

This effort by many anti - union  philanthropists and a group of  Democrats,  to gain control of this office  raised in just one week  dwarfs the $2 million raised by teachers’ unions in favor of Torlakson.
Corporate advocates want Tuck in office to  support the anti tenure decisions and anti teacher due process  procedures of the Vergara  v. California case.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola, Republican budgets, and our safety

The Republican hysteria machine is at full throttle on the Ebola case.  Texas Governor Rick Perry and Congressional candidate are practicing the campaign of “Look over there !”  They focus on a campaign to denounce the White House for not banning flights from West Africa.  ( There are few  direct flights from West Africa to the U.S.). the campaign is designed to get readers to look at the flight’s as the fear issue.  That is, to look away from the Congressional action that cut the CDC budget by almost 50 % last year. This budget cut  produced a CDC that did not have the funds to adequately train hospital workers and nurses for infectious control and did not provide infection control equipment. See the statement by the Nurses here

We should keep some basics in mind.  Last year some 32,000 people died in the U.S. of influenza while some 40% of Americans have not yet received their vaccine for the flu.

Friday, October 17, 2014

LA district Superintendent Resigns after months of turmoil.

Marshall  Tuck could apply for this job!

From EdSource,  
In a statement issued jointly by Deasy and the board, the board stated that “at this time it does  not believe that the superintendent engaged in any ethical violations or unlawful acts.” Deasy has been at the center of a controversy regarding a $30 million contract awarded to Apple computer that distributed iPads to students. According to the statement, Deasy will remain “on special assignment” with the district until the end of the year.

From Hechinger Report-  an advocate of the corporate “reform” network.
Note. There are three links on this post to three different news sources of this story.  Readers are encouraged  to compare the coverage.

Take the Vergara v. California trial, which in June overturned state’s laws governing teacher tenure, seniority and dismissal. Deasy was the prosecution’s star witness. According to Zimmer, who supports some of the changes in teacher-protection, Deasy never even discussed the case with the school board. Zimmer was particularly disturbed that Deasy seemed to enjoy taking down laws that were put in place to protect the 28,000 teachers he leads.

His friends. ..
“Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa brought Deasy into the district with backing from billionaire Eli Broad, with the hope of growing the charter school system, confronting the teachers union, and changing the terms of teacher employment in Los Angeles
He is a 2006 graduate of a superintendent-training program funded by Broad, who favors teacher evaluations based on test scores.”

 Ed Note. These are the same bakers and financiers of the campaign of Marshall Tuck for California Superintendent of Public Instruction. See below.

 This is not guilt by association.  This is recognizing the network of supporters for this group of “alleged” school reformers. Perhaps if Tuck looses the election, he can apply for this open job. 

For a news report on his departure, not a corporate  "reform" promotion piece, see

Thursday, October 16, 2014

We Need the Representative Democracies of Unions in our Schools

 October 16, 2014

Leo Casey of the Albert Shanker Institute replies to Deborah Meier again today.
Deb: To practice genuine democracy in our schools, our unions, and our communities, we need a different understanding of what it means to be political.
When I taught at Bard High School Early College in New York City, one of my favorite questions on my mid-year exam was: What did Aristotle mean when he wrote that "man is a political animal?"
For most Americans, the term "political animal" would invoke the worst of American political culture: the paranoid ranting of talk radio, the political television shows modeled after wrestling entertainment, the election campaigns dominated by negative attack ads, and the gridlock of a Congress where narrow partisan advantage is everything. No wonder so many Americans run in the opposite direction when they hear "political."
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