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.

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.

College Graduation Time: Family Pride & Commitment

Howard University graduation

Anthony Samad: While graduations have become passé’ and informal for some, the older generations dress up for the occasion like they’re going to church on Easter Sunday and praise, and shake, and shout, “Thank ya, Lordie” just as much. I always wondered why my Uncle Buddy always wore a tie to everybody’s graduation. He said it was to “honor them” for achieving something very special.

The Looming Educational Catastrophe is Scary. Indeed.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)

Carl Bloice–September is four months away and one thing is certain: the public is not be adequately alerted to the seriousness of the situation and mobilized to do anything about it. We would know far less about how critical things are in the schools had not students in California – where thing are really rough – set off nationwide protests about the cutbacks. And, as soon as that happened, on cue, voices popped up to declare that the protesters were deficient because they had no real analysis of the cause of the crisis and offered no solutions. The obvious response was: so what? Isn’t it the job of professionals in politics and government to provide those things?

Creative Cuts, New Concepts for LA’s Schools

Elementary school

Alfee Enciso: Ask any teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District if they would rather take a pay cut in the guise of furlough days or have five more students in their classes next year. Without a doubt, the latter would be the choice for the majority of our classroom instructors in LAUSD.

Edukashun, Texas Stile!

Texas windmill

Tom Degan: But other than those little candles in the darkness, I’m not particularly crazy about Texas. Truth be told, I believe it to be one of the nation’s glaring shames. Molly Ivins (rest her soul) once wrote that all Texans owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mississippi. But not for that state, Texas would be dead last in everything! And to think we fought a war over the place! I would suggest giving it back to Mexico but they have enough problems as it is. Why add to their burden?

Why Teachers Unions Matter

teacher and student

Shamus Cooke: The anti-teacher hysteria looks diverse on the surface, but underneath, this public controversy seeks to dislodge teachers unions: the right-wing trashes teachers’ unions outright, while the “liberal” media takes a more subtle, sophisticated approach, blaming the state of public education on “bad teachers” who must be fired and replaced.

Education, Texas Style

Texas-ed-board

Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”

UC Swindle: California’s Apartheid Schoolhouse

sikivu hutchinson

Sikivu Hutchinson: It’s simply not acceptable to blame the university’s egregious disregard for the needs of students of color on the bigoted acts of ignorant white or “minority” students. UCSD’s gross underrepresentation of Black students reflects the UC system’s institutional neglect of recruitment and outreach to African American high schools.

Bail Out Our Schools

No Child Left Behind

Robert Reich: Any day now, the Obama administration will announce $4.35 billion in extra federal funds for under-performing public schools. That’s fine, but relative to the financial squeeze all the nation’s public schools now face it’s a cruel joke.

Education Activists Need Strategy Beyond Marches

School crunch

Randy Shaw: Activists can use mass action to pressure legislators and the Governor to redirect excessive spending on prisons and other wasteful programs to education, but there is no chance this year of getting enough Republicans to win the necessary two-thirds legislative votes.

Good News on Bullying

Schoolyard-bully

Ron Wolff: What are the consequences of not providing mature social learning environments for our children? Just observe the overgrown children who populate our legislative bodies!

The Fight to Save Public Education

duncan obama

Shamus Cooke: The first battle tactic against public education was to starve it. Politicians have consistently lowered taxes on corporations and the rich for the past three decades, thereby lowering state revenues that have created the budget crises in nearly every state. Consequently, public education is in a state of shell shock.

California’s Higher Education System Is Worth Fighting For – And We Will

Student

Joseph Palermo: Sadly, the clear winner in recent years has been the California of small things and small ideas. Through an outdated flaw in the structure of governance, one-third of the Legislature has a stranglehold on the state’s finances. The other two-thirds (the majority) knows the state is heading in the wrong direction. Yet given its lack of control over the purse strings, it’s left flailing around passing a lot of symbolic laws that go nowhere.

The Innovation of Pilot Schools

lausd students

Maria Elena Durazo and Maria Brenes: Sadly, the promise of economic and social mobility via our public educational system is going unfulfilled for the children of poor and working class parents in the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD) whose student body is over 70% Latino and 11% African American must focus on stopping the drop-out crisis and addressing the lack of student preparation for college and the 21st century workforce.

Where Has All the Bond Money Gone?

Wheelchair

Sharon Toji: Los Angeles is certainly not alone in wasting bond money. San Francisco passed bonds some years ago specifically to do ADA upgrades, an administrator used the money to upgrade his house, among other illegalities. After a federal suit was brought, because the ADA upgrades were never made, they had to go back to the public for more money, and the public gave again. This time around, we actually prefer to work in San Francisco because their paperwork demands are not as ridiculous and we can concentrate more on signs. Also, their bond work is definitely not in the luxury class. They are doing only what is necessary, with no frills and much less waste. Otherwise, the public would mutiny, after having had their money wasted once.

Going to Graduate School, Then and Now

College Graduates Jobs

Bob Letcher: Taxpayers have a right to expect more for their money, and during these difficult times, they desperately need more for their money. They have a right to expect their support of institutions of higher learning to provide higher learning.

UC Campuses Expand Assistance for Former Foster Kids

"I have worked hard to not allow my negative beginnings destroy my life." — Ashley Williams, UCLA sophomore

Harry Mok: More than 3,000 youth in California age out of the foster care system every year without having a permanent family to support them. Nationally, studies have shown that just 7 to 13 percent of foster youth pursue higher education. Of those who do go to college, only 2 percent obtain a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24 percent for the general population, according to a Casey Family Programs report.

On the Importance of Doing the Math

Math

To me, that makes education crucial to this country’s future. What will be required to avoid losing? If people detect either that they are no longer being challenged by their work, or if they find themselves reading beer bottle labels under tables, then I would suspect that the country is on its way to History’s Great Dustbin.

Plugging Pasadena’s School-to-Prison Pipeline

Learning Works! chasers Kendrik Watson and Carlos Cruz.

As Governor Arnold Swartzenegger and the Democratic-controlled state legislature strip education funding wholesale to meet California’s budget collapse, Pasadena’s public school district offers a microcosm of the woes besetting school districts that are already in crisis across the state. Recent months have seen a drumbeat of distressing reports of alarmingly high dropout rates in Pasadena’s [...]

LAUSD Canceling Summer School: Do We Really Want to Go There?

Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

The Superintendent of the second largest school district in the United States, Ray Cortines, recently announced that the Los Angeles Unified School District will be canceling summer school as a cost-cutting remedy for the district’s $400 million dollar budget shortfall. Who thought of this bright idea? Can the School Board really be serious? The city [...]

How About a Student Loan Bailout?

cost-of-college

The education bubble is going to burst. It has to happen. On a daily basis, we hear about the bursting of the housing bubble. Housing values were over inflated. Millions of people found themselves with mortgages they could not afford to pay—whether through hard times and job loss, racial profiling and predatory lending by unscrupulous, [...]

Yolie Flores Aguilar: Where Los Angeles Schools Go From Here

Yolie Flores Aguilar, Los Angeles School Board member and long-time children’s advocate, thinks that the city’s school system will implode if something dramatic isn’t done—and soon. The ouster of Superintendent David Brewer is a regrettable, but necessary part of that change, in her view. Last weekend, we reported Brewer’s views on his ouster and the [...]

Making Education a Centerpiece of Obama’s Rebuilding Plan

dunce-cap

by Tom Hall – Amidst all the talk from both conservatives and “progressives” about how President-elect Obama’s cabinet and economic-recovery choices are destroying either the nation or his own commitment to progressive ideas, it might be useful to think about Georgia Congressman, Paul Broun, who identified President Obama as a Marxist, communist, socialist, fascist.

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