Tuesday, September 16, 2014

California Children Living Below the Poverty line

New Census Data Show That More Than One in Seven Californians -- One-Third of Them Children -- Lived in Poverty in 2013

SACRAMENTO -- Census Bureau data released today show that the share of all Californians with incomes below the federal poverty line in 2013 remained significantly higher than in 2006, the year before the Great Recession began. More than 5.6 million Californians -- over one in seven -- had incomes below the poverty line in 2013. California's overall poverty rate of 14.9 percent in 2013 is down significantly from 16.9 percent in 2011, but is still much higher than the pre-recession level of 12.2 percent in 2006.

Nearly 2 million California children were living in poverty in 2013, accounting for one in five children in the state (20.3 percent). Although this child poverty rate is down significantly from that in 2011 (24.3 percent), children still account for an outsize share of Californians living in poverty. Californians under age 18 were less than one-quarter of the total state population (23.9 percent) in 2013, but they accounted for nearly one-third of those living in poverty (32.5 percent). 

"The new Census poverty figures highlight the fact that many Californians are being left behind by our economy, even several years after the Great Recession ended," said Alissa Anderson, senior policy analyst with the CBP. "The child poverty rate is especially troubling, since children who grow up in poverty are more likely to remain in poverty as adults."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Story on SCUSD Superintendent that the Bee will not tell you.

Thank you Cosmo Garvin for writing what the Bee will not report on.
Cosmo Garvin. Sacramento News and Review. 9/11/2014. Page 15.
The Bee is clearly still sore about the loss of the previous superintendent, Jonathan Raymond. Raymond seemed to enjoy sticking it to teachers (and the occasional principal) and generally followed the playbook for corporate-ed reform.
He left quite suddenly during the last school year. The public reason was that he wanted his kids to be closer to their grandparents back in Boston. Surely a tough decision, to leave what he described as his “dream job.” But family comes first.
This summer, Raymond took a job as president of an education nonprofit called the Stuart Foundation—in San Francisco.
The Stuart Foundation is a major funder of something called the California Office to Reform Education. You may recall that Raymond committed Sac City schools to participate in the CORE, to help fund it, and to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores as part of the deal.
This was intensely controversial—and done without public input or any vote of the Sac City school board. The board only reversed Raymond’s decision after he had bailed, and after protests from teachers, parents and community groups.
It’s not so surprising that a plum job for Raymond was waiting on the other side of the revolving door. But what about the family thing?
Carol Ting, the Stuart Foundation’s chief operating officer, told Bites, “That was his plan. But then the recruiter came along and offered him his dream job.”
Dream job, huh? Anyway, Raymond slipped out the back door in a hurry, to take a dreamier job, or to escape whatever nightmares had cropped up here in Sacramento. Either way, even in his absence he was an important presence at the school-board-candidates forum held in Oak Park last Sunday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

U.S. Teachers Work Really Hard

American teachers work hard. Like, really hard.
Rebecca Klein
This year's education report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development outlines the state of education in the world's most developed countries. It finds that American elementary school teachers spend more hours actually teaching students than peers in any other surveyed country.
The graph below details how much time elementary school teachers spend in front of the classroom:

American middle school and high school teachers spend more time educating students than peers in every OECD country except Chile, according to the report. In addition to classroom time, U.S. teachers are required to be at school for more hours than most of their international peers.
Despite the long hours, American teachers aren't well compensated, Andreas Schleicher, OECD director of education and skills, explained in a call with reporters Monday. While U.S. raw teacher salaries are high compared with the rest of the world, the pay lags behind that of similarly educated American workers.
“Teacher pay relative to other countries, in absolute terms, is quite competitive in the United States," said Schleicher. "But when you look at this relative to the earnings of other people with college degrees, actually the United States is pretty much at the end of the scale."
The OECD graphic below shows how teachers' salaries compare with other college-educated workers in each country. The report found that teachers are paid more than comparably educated workers in only seven countries.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

November elections: high stakes for teachers and students

  • November elections: High stakes for students, parents, education voters
A vital election between Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Public Instruction-  a teacher himself who has opposed the Vergara decision.  And, Marshall Tuck, a Wall Street banker who has been hired as CEO of a charter school company.  He took no position on Proposition 30 which has now restored funding to California schools. 
    In the nation. 
    by Amanda Litvinov and Colleen Flaherty/image courtesy of Stu Spivack
    A relatively small group of elected officials at the local, state and federal levels determines what educators are expected to accomplish in the classroom each year and the resources they’ll have to pull it off. This November, most of those offices are up for election, including the seats of 36 governors, 6,048 state legislators, 31 state attorneys general, and 468 members of the U.S. Congress.
    Education voters got low marks in the 2010 midterm elections. Our presence at the polls was dismal, which opened the door to scores of candidates who put the desires of wealthy corporations and CEOs before the needs of the 80 million students who attend America’s public schools and universities. The results proved devastating.
    It’s not just who we elect for president — local elections like school board seats and state elections have the most direct effect on education funding, says Beary Clark, a high school custodial worker from Erie, Penn.
    “Governor [Tom] Corbett cut a whole lot from our budget since he came into office in 2011, which left us short on resources as basic as the books we need, and it directly affects kids,” Clark says. “Our district alone closed two elementary schools to make up for an $8.8 million deficit and a lot of people lost their jobs — all because voters weren’t paying attention to who was getting into office.”
    Similar scenarios played out across the country after the 2010 elections.
    Since then, billions of dollars have been cut from state education budgets; federal education funding is lower than it was three years ago, despite the fact that public schools now serve a million more students; and educators’ ability to advocate for their students through bargaining has been severely diminished in some states and is under constant threat in others.
    Education voters are getting ready for one of the high stakes tests of their voting-eligible lives. If you’re not convinced that elections matter—or you need to convince those around you that they do—borrow our notes to review how the roles of elected officials determine what happens in your district, school, and classroom.

    Saturday, September 06, 2014

    Corporate educational "reformers"

    Corporate “ Reformers” Andrew Ross Sorkin. NYTimes.  
    Beginning with the Carnegies and the Rockefellers, billionaires have long seen the nation’s education as a willing cause for their philanthropy — and, with it, their own ideas about how students should learn. The latest crop of billionaires, however, has tended to take the line that fixing our broken educational system is the key to unlocking our stagnant economy. Whether it’s hedge-fund managers like Paul Tudor Jones (who has given tens of millions to support charter schools) or industrialists like Eli Broad (who has backed “blended learning” programs that feature enhanced technology), these philanthropists have generally espoused the idea that education should operate more like a business. (The Walton Foundation, backed by the family that founded Walmart, has taken this idea to new heights: It has spent more than $1 billion supporting various charter schools and voucher programs that seek to establish alternatives to the current public-school system.) Often these patrons want to restructure the system to make it more efficient, utilizing the latest technology and management philosophies to turn out a new generation of employable students.

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014

    Teacher Unions appeal Vergara decision on teacher tenure

    Contrary to the advocacy of the Sacramento Bee:
    Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris file to appeal  court decision.

    LOS ANGELES — The final decision rendered by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Rolf Treu today in the Vergara v. California case offered no new reasoning or information as to how stripping teachers of their workplace professional rights will help students gain a better education.  In rolling back the protections that allow teachers to educate their students and advocate for them without fear of arbitrary and capricious retaliation, the judge has set back a century of well-reasoned law.
    “This decision fails to recognize the benefits to students and society provided by the challenged statutes, including the ability to recruit and retain educators and promoting teaching as a life-long career,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “These statues provide educators with basic due process rights that allow teachers to speak up on behalf of their students and provide transparency in district employment and layoff decisions.”
    Evidence during the trial showed no link between the statutes and the retention of ineffective teachers or in the assignment of teachers to particular schools. On the contrary, the evidence showed that school districts have tremendous latitude in hiring, in assignment and in dismissal. In fact, according to testimony by several districts, underperforming teachers are remediated or removed from their positions frequently using the existing statutes.

    Monday, September 01, 2014

    Bee Editorial Board throws more bricks at Banda

    The Bee Editorial Board on Sunday continued its impolite, nasty, commentary on the new Superintendent of  Schools in Sacramento- Jose Banda. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/31/6665241/editorial-banda-needs-to-hit-ground.html
    First, they continue with their whining that when asked why he was returning to California he mentioned the pension advantages.  He said much more, but the Bee editors are fixated on this.  They can’t keep themselves from throwing stones.
    Then we learn that the Bee’s editorial board “ sat down with Banda last week to give him an opportunity to disabuse us of the notion.” Well, isn’t that nice . The royalty offered the commoner a chance to talk.
    Next they offer their own suggestions.
    1.     “Meet with the mayor right away.”  They go on to discuss Johnson’s role and that of his wife- Michelle Rhee from the perspective of the Editorial Board – none of whom work in schools.
    Why should he start here?  Banda has met with the Bee, one of the Johnson’s chief cheerleaders.
    It is far more important that he meet with teachers, students and administrators, which he is doing.

    Yes, he needs a strong start. 
    And the Bee editorial board keeps throwing bricks.  I wonder what their motives are?
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