When politicians and the corporate advocates (lobbyists) choose one set of policies over another, they make important decisions. When they select accountability ( testing, common core, PACT assessments) and market-based privatization they are selecting policies that enrich their benefactors, not policies selected to improve the school lives of children. They avoid policies based upon evidence based practices.
Kevin Weiner, in Kappan says,
“In doing so, politicians seem willfully ignorant of the direct connection between opportunity and achievement. Our national opportunity gaps lead inexorably to our achievement gaps. Yet the test-based accountability policies still advocated by politicians dis- regard the opportunity side of the equation. Capacity building and supports are relegated to a small footnote within a long diatribe about mandated performance.”
Inequality in funding and resources have an effect on students’ experience of school: the ratio of students to teachers; the number of experienced teachers, the number and quality of books, and instructional materials; the condition of the physical plant. Most schools in low-income are in bad shape, the students are suffering, and the politicians and the corporate lobbyists are looking to make money off of “reforms efforts. “
See the video below- Protecting Public Education.
California’s k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally. Some schools will get much more money to
educate kids - others will not. 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.
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
·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. S School boards in most districts are adopting plans and budgets for LCFF in April- June.
It tells you how you
can get involved.
See the post below with Diane Ravitch on the challenge to democracy in public education.
a feature film on the farmworker leader, was previewed in Berkeley on
March 5 prior to its March 28 national release. Based on the audience
response, the film will help inspire a new generation of young activists
to push for social justice, and will particularly resonate with
Dreamers and others pushing for immigration reform.
was electric in Berkeley’s California Theater as a full house waited in
anticipation for Diego Luna’s new film, Cesar Chavez. A block long line
of people were turned away, reflecting an interest in the movie that
Luna hoped would return when the film is released in three weeks.
Having spent years researching and thinking about Cesar Chavez for my book, Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century,
I was intrigued by how a feature film would handle the long and complex
story of the farmworkers movement. And I think it covered the story of
Cesar Chavez himself remarkably well for the years covered in the movie.
Chavez’s Remarkable Life
Chavez’s rise from a young boy carrying cantaloupes in the fields to
one of the nation’s leading labor and social change leaders is a story
that almost defies belief. Among the film’s great strengths is its focus
on how Chavez overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to build
California’s farmworker movement.
"It would be very scary to me, if this lawsuit succeeds, to think that I might not have a job next year, not for anything I'd done in the classroom, but because my principal didn't like me, or my clothing, or something I'd said." —Laura Lacar, Gahr High School, ABC Unified School District
The lawsuit ignores the real problems of public education
Education Code rules to protect teacher rights from administrative mismanagement are not "unfair" to either students or new teachers. What harms students? Economic inequality, poverty, their parents' joblessness, and underfunding are unfair to students. But this lawsuit ignores these barriers to educational success. The premise of "Vergara" is that public schools are failing, and bad teachers are the reason why. Get rid of the “bad teachers,” and the schools will succeed. This simplistic idea is wrong in a number of ways. Most public schools are successes, by most reasonable measures; and while the role of the teacher is always an important in-school factor, external factors like poverty and underfunding have the greatest impact.
Funding of California’s
k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally as a result of Assembly
bill 97. Its centerpiece is the
Local Control Funding Formula, designed to send additional funds to districts
where Gov. Brown believes “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. http://edsource.org/wp-content/publications/10-questions.pdf
The Governor’s proposed 2014-15
budget includes Proposition 98 spending per K-12 student of nearly $9,200, an
increase of almost $1,800 – or nearly one-quarter (24.2 percent) – from
2011-12, after adjusting for inflation. With this significant increase,
spending per student would nearly return to where it was before the recession.
( See the California Budget Project below )
Districts now have more money, and a new process for deciding how and
where to spend the money.
A goal of the Local Control
Funding Formula is to give local school districts more authority to decide how
to spend education dollars, and hold them accountable for getting results. Districts are now deciding on how to
spend these increased dollars. And, districts are required to get parental and
community sign off on the plans.At a talk last week at Sac State I made
the point that this is a time to insert yourself into the discussion. Find out what is happening in your
district and attend the meetings.
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.
Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present.
Yet there is no shortage of material that can bring these dramatic events to life in the classroom. In my own high school social studies classes, I begin with Sinead O’Connor’s haunting rendition of “Skibbereen,” which includes the verse:
… Oh it’s well I do remember, that bleak
The landlord and the sheriff came, to drive
Us all away
They set my roof on fire, with their cursed
And that’s another reason why I left old