The Attack on American Education

Robert Reich: Over the long term, the only way we’re going to raise wages, grow the economy, and improve American competitiveness is by investing in our people — especially their educations.

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Villaraigosa Finally Speaks Up Against Teacher Union Reform Busting

villaraigosa

Anthony Samad: Villaraigosa said the unions are “one unwavering roadblock to reform.” He is right on that point. They have been and will be. But he is wrong to have waited so long to speak.

Reforming Parent Engagement

Los Angeles Schools

Yolie Flores: This Tuesday, December 14th, the Board of Education will have the opportunity to consider my resolution entitled Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of their Children.

Fetishizing School Chiefs Hurts Kids

Cathleen Black, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Randy Shaw: Unfortunately, the media’s excessive and irrational devotion to school chiefs as saviors for the nation’s schools ignores the reality that no school chief, can overcome inadequate school funding by running schools like corporate turnaround specialists, and fetishizing their importance distracts from schools’ real needs. Education seems to be the only field where rising to the top requires no experience. Careers spent in the profit-driven corporate world are now identified as the best backgrounds for public school leadership.

Cal State University Faculty Statement on “Fees” Vs. “Tuition”

Lilian Taiz: It is tragic for all of us to have university leaders who think it’s good enough to follow the path of least resistance. In the change from fees to “tuition,” CSU leaders send a defeatist message that, oh well, there’s no money, too bad, we’ll let elected leaders off the hook and manage by shifting the cost to the students and their families.

In Defense of Public School Teachers

Mark Naison: In a country with one of the highest rates of poverty in the industrialized world, with almost no social safety net to help struggling families, our teachers have to create a positive learning atmosphere in classrooms filled with young people under stress.

KPFK Morning Review Election Day Special

kpfk logo

Dick and Sharon of LA Progressive will be in studio on the KPFK Election Day Special with host John Cromshow along with activists Arlene Inouye and Rosemary Lee. Tuesday at 7:00 am Nov 2nd at 90.7 on your FM dial.

Los Angeles: Epicenter of High School Dropouts — Or Are They Pushed?

Attorney Laura Faer

Diane Lefer: Most kids who don’t finish haven’t “dropped out.” They’ve been “pushed out” by a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, and removal that disproportionately affects children of color.

Billionaires Unite! (Against Public Education and Teachers)

teacher and student

Shamus Cooke: If the teachers’ unions combined with other public sector unions, parent associations, and the community at large to demand fully funded public education by taxing the rich, the billionaires would find themselves without allies. Their money might then be put towards something useful.

Education is THE Economic Issue of Our Time

CoolHandLuke

Bob Letcher: In the few weeks since President Obama so emphatically linked his education program to his effort to revive the US political economy, the President has not been pressed to detail either the substance of his education program or his procedure for winning support from a public that is increasingly cynical, skeptical, frightened, and angry.

Why Johnny Can’t Think Critically

ethnic studies

Rev. Irene Monroe: A mind is a terribly thing to waste. But for conservatives and Tea Party activists who want to indoctrinate our kids rather than to educate them, a mind is a terrible thing to have. Now with far-right activists like Glen Beck pushing for more Jesus and less Darwin — working to reshape the academic landscape in schools, colleges and universities across the country — we will soon know without having to wonder “Why Johnny Can’t Think Critically.”

Delivering What We Owe Our Students: Effective Teachers and Principals

yolie flores

Yolie Flores: Because ratings based on a single measure cannot determine the effectiveness of a teacher, LAUSD is endeavoring to use several different methodologies to more effectively evaluate our teachers. We share the sense of urgency with the multitudes who have voiced qualified support of a more professional and data-informed culture of teacher and leader performance reviews.

High Stakes Teaching: The Value-Added Sham

Sikivu Hutchinson: The value-added sham won’t help parents and communities of color struggling to achieve educational equity for youth who have already been intuitively assigned a jail cell by a public school culture marching in lockstep with the teach to the test ethos.

University of Phoenix: Right Out of David Mamet

Education Refor

Joseph Palermo: Any institution that calls itself a “university” yet tells its enrollment officers to “burrow” down deep into the “pain” of its students with the aim of hooking them into government-subsidized debt to rake in the profits not only doesn’t deserve to be accredited, but should be barred from having any access to federal student aid programs.

“I Read, Therefore I Am:” Ode To Dr. Dolores Nehemiah

reading

Anthony Samad: Every author in Los Angeles knew there was no greater advocate for reading than Dr. Nehemiah. Whenever she met you, she asked you, “What’s the last book you read?” Or, “What you working on? I know you’re writing!”

Failing the Test: One Question, No Answer at High School #9

scott folsom

Scott Folsom: he meeting was chaired pretty darn well by acting PTSA President Judi Bell. There was histrionics and name calling but no furniture or fruit was tossed and the angry multitudes did not resort to barricades School Police were not called.

Are Teachers and Democrats Headed for Divorce?

Randi Weingarten

Shamus Cooke: The Democrats continue on the road to corporate-inspired charter schools, using the tried and true method of “stronger teacher evaluations” to undermine “underperforming” schools and teachers — thus opening the door wide to private charter schools with their non-union workforce.

Parents & Community Involvement at Mt. Washington Elementary School – By Invitation Only

Child with Backpack

Nina Zippay and Fernando J. Orozco: The parents in this complex and diverse system are firm believers in LAUSD’s mission: “to create critical thinkers prepared to participate in a diverse and complex society.” And it can’t get any more complex than LAUSD.

When Teachers Unions Back War Escalations

troops

David Swanson: There is nothing altruistic in the idea of peace activists helping workers and the unemployed here at home. That’s how you build a movement for any political end, and that’s how you keep our young people from becoming cannon fodder.

Margaret Spellings, Arne Duncan — What’s the Difference?

Joseph Palermo: Nobody in power seems to be listening to what teachers have to say about how best to improve public education. The Administration is telling teachers that all those envelopes they licked, and all those doors they knocked on, and all those phone calls they made to help elect Obama in 2008 were nothing but a goddamned waste of time.

Racially Biased SAT Speaks to a Broken Education System

test

David Love: Is the SAT racially biased? The College Board says score disparities are due to educational inequities but the Harvard Educational Review disagrees.

A Modest Proposal for Financing Higher Education in California

juvenile detention

John MacMurray: The brilliantly simple/simply brilliant solution: re-designate our Cal State and University of California campuses as prisons. Since a goodly number of the current student population regards them as such anyway, it should not be too big a stretch.

In Defense of Ethnic Studies and American History

Five generations of a family born into slavery on a South Carolina plantation

Simon Balto: Amidst the recent assaults on ethnic studies in Arizona and beyond that propagate a myth that such programs are divisive and exclusionary, I now find myself seeking to defend and justify their importance, and to wrestle with their place in American history.

Dude, Let Students Help Make Those Teacher Cuts

nea and jedidiah

Nea Friberg-Price & Jed Von Dielingen: Because our school makes these cuts strictly on seniority, it’s always the newer teachers who go, the ones who connect so much better with us students. Athough we like and respect our older, more experienced teachers, these younger ones are more flexible in their teaching plans and are closer to us in age, so they understand us so much better. So we’re terribly sad to see their teaching careers end, at least for now.

Respecting Teachers

food for thought

John MacMurray: If the goal is to improve our public education system–and there is no organization or institution that cannot be improved in some way–then the most straightforward way to accomplish this is to give the highly-trained, highly-motivated professionals in the classrooms the resources they need, and let them do the job they were hired for.

Thinking Globally; Contending Locally

Editor Ann Kaneko teaches the girls how to shape their stories.

Kamala Lopez: I had been doing some work with East L.A. and South Central “at-risk” girls and we agreed that it would be a good fit for me to oversee the creation of the local arm: GlobalGirl Media Los Angeles.

The Otherworldly Attack on Public Education

arne duncan

Carl Bloice: Why is it that the richest, most powerful nation on the planet, one that produces more and more billionaires each year and can spend one million dollars each on the soldiers it sends off to war, can’t afford to educate its kids? It remains a mystery to me that an administration that can spend millions of dollars to bribe states into facilitating its quite controversial school “reform” programs can’t come up with the resources to stave off the pending mass layoffs of teachers.

Why Marcy Winograd? A Personal Story

Raheem Kyle, Deva Kyle, Wade Kyle

I was a teenaged mother. Many said I was too young. Perhaps they were right. But, like any mother, I worked hard and sacrificed. It all paid off. Except for . . .

InnerCity Struggle Wins Real School Change in East Los Angeles

innercity-schools

Maria Brenes: East Los Angeles schools will have the opportunity to become a model for school transformation through the implementation of five Pilot Schools. Coordinated by the Los Angeles Education Partnership, the five Pilot Schools will work in collaboration as a Community School responsible for the academic success and emotional well-being of students.

Cheating Harvard

harvard gate

Rev. Irene Monroe: We live in a society that is hypercritical of failure and super exuberant about success. As a culture, we have developed a false and damaging dichotomy about the relationship between failure and success that success has become a public affair of celebration and failure a private funeral of condemnation.

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