Saturday, March 29, 2008

The news that doesn't fit from 3/30


"Many residents say they can predict everything that will happen now. There will be community meetings, calls for reform -- for jobs programs, mentoring programs, after-school programs. Solemn promises will be made. Police will put more cars on the streets. Violence will ebb. And then, before real change can take root, the city's attention will begin to drift, and a new cycle will begin."

► NOT ON THE TEST: A musical interlude

"Thinking's important. It's good to know how.

And someday you'll learn to, but someday's not now.

Go on to sleep, now. You need your rest.

Don't think about thinking. It's not on the test."

► MASTER CHEF REINVENTS LAUSD SCHOOL LUNCHROOM: This story missed 4LAKids last December, but with the district initiative to improve food service by increasing facilities capacity by the beginning of the next school year (July or September '08) at 64 of the 138 LAUSD secondary schools approved by the board of ed tuesday — and the reaffirmation of the 1990 board directive that every child shall have twenty minutes from the time he or she is served to eat lunch this seems like the right time.

► FORD AND “EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION” PARTNER IN ECO-FRIENDLY SCHOOL MAKEOVER CAMPAIGN: A Contest. The lottery didn't pay off for schoolchildren, maybe this will

► ROMER & MEHLMAN JOIN FORCES ON EDUCATION REFORM: The Former Democrat and Republican party chairs want education to be a bigger part of the 2008 campaign.


► ACRONYMS 101 - or - AZ/EPC: A-Z Eduspeak for the Parentally Challenged: You've been there don't have a clue what they're talking about. How can you be sure they know what they're talking about if you don't even know what language they're speaking?

► NEW PROP. 39 RULES OK’D; AFFECT CHARTER FACILITY REQUESTS FOR 2009-10: The new Proposition 39 rules that significantly diminish school districts’ discretion over how facilities are allocated to charter schools.

► PUSH FOR CHARTER SCHOOL DIVIDES PALOS VERDES: Fear & Loathing as some parents want an alternative to schools they say focus on drills. Others fear the loss of state funds to existing schools.

► SAT SUBJECT TESTS ARE A VALUABLE TOOL: Particularly in the case of recent immigrants, they can spotlight students' academic strengths, but the UC Board of Admissions wants to end its requirement of SAT subject tests as a factor in admissions.

► (DE)CERTIFYING PARENTS: A California court ruled this month that parents cannot "home school" their children without government certification. No teaching credential, no teaching.


The Lowlights of "Flunk the Budget" - week two + The Highlights from UCLA/IDEA Just Schools California

SILVERADO CANYON SCHOOL’S BELL COULD RING ITS LASTTucked away in a fold of Orange County’s canyons, Silverado Elementary is an anachronism, a small-town school in a big-city district. With just 93 students and four teachers, the school is small by Wyoming standards, let alone Southern California. It’s been this way for generations. Whether it will last, though, is in doubt.


SAN DIEGO: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts of $4.8 billion from next year’s education budget during a visit yesterday at Lincoln High School in San Diego. Backed by about two dozen teachers and students who held placards with messages such as “Hey, Arnold, don’t terminate education,” O’Connell said the cuts defy Proposition 98’s voter-approved guarantee of state education funding.

SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES INTERIM BUDGET, SUPERINTENDENT SELECTION PROCESS Nothing is “set in stone,” but changes to the Amador County Unified School District budget for the upcoming school year are in the works. “It’s bare bones as it is,” said Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, following the board’s Wednesday evening meeting. “Nobody wants to cut anything.”

28 TEACHERS TO GET PINK SLIPS Of the more than 400 teachers in the Morgan Hill Unified School District, 28 of them have received so-called “pink slips” as the district prepares to deal with a projected $3 million deficit for the 2008-09 school year. According to Assistant Superintendent Jay Totter, who heads the district’s human resources department, the notices were hand delivered March 14, fulfilling the contractual requirement that certificated employees be notified of a possible layoff before March 15.

WRONG TIME FOR CUTS IN CLASSROOM  Imagine someone saying to builders who are designing and building a super highway that they are making great progress but that the next funding allotment for construction will be cut significantly. By the way, the mandate is that they continue to build better highways at a faster pace with less money, fewer workers, and greater accountability. In similar ways, California’s educational community is being asked to do more with less.

BUDGET CUTS LEAD TO TEACHER LAYOFFS The San Benito High School Board of Trustees voted March 11 to notify five teachers that they may not have a job come fall and eliminated the equivalent of 57 classes at the high school, said Mike Potmesil, director of human resources for the San Benito High School District. The reductions are due to declining enrollment in the district and 10 percent cuts to education funding in Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget.

CUTS TEACH STUDENTS TO ‘BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH’ By: Jackie Dickson, Michael Douglas, Robb Felder, Jose Hurtado, Frances Ortiz-Chavez, Tom Kensok and Alan Murray-Trustees of the Board of Education of the Napa Valley Unified School District How appropriate that March 15, the “Ides of March” — a date associated with impending doom, was the deadline the state had set for teachers to receive layoff notices precipitated by the $4.8 billion reduction in education funding proposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, who once proclaimed that 2008 would be the year of education.

SUPERINTENDENTS SNARL IN UNISON AT PROPOSED $4B IN CUTS SANTA CRUZ - After nearly 240 Santa Cruz County educators received notices of potential layoff last week, superintendents countywide handed out another slew of pink slips Thursday, but this time they were aimed at one person: the governor. “Your services will be terminated. Hurts doesn’t it?” That was the message on a fake pink slip carrying Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name, which educators and students waved while rallying on the steps of Santa Cruz High School to decry his proposed $4 billion in K-12 funding cuts.

DISTRICT SENDS OUT 62 LAYOFF NOTICES  West Contra Costa students may not see some of their favorite teachers, secretaries or vice principals at school next year.The West Contra Costa Unified School District sent out 62 layoff notices, mostly to elementary school teachers, last week as part of a plan to slice $10 million from its $300 million budget next year. The district must make the cuts to prepare for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to chop about $4.5 billion from education in California to offset the state deficit.

CALIFORNIA FRACASA EN CIENCIA Y TECNOLOGÍA  Ubican al estado en el número 45 en el progreso académico de esas áreas en EU/State places 45th in US in academic progress in these areas
By Iván Mejía/La Opinion Las escuelas de California tienen la calificación de F en cuanto al acceso a tecnología, D acerca del uso de la misma y B- sobre la capacidad de usar las herramientas tecnológicas, indica un estudio dado a conocer ayer. En el reporte titulado La tecnología cuenta 2008, se analiza el esfuerzo por mejorar el rendimiento de los alumnos en las áreas de ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas (STEM) en Estados Unidos.
California schools got an F when it came to access to technology, a D in its use and a B- in its ability to use technological tools, according to a study that was released yesterday. The study, entitled "Technology Counts 2008" analyzes efforts to improve students' achievement in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States.

FOCUS ON SCHOOL REFORM AS WELL AS FUNDING Editorial/San Diego Tribune  The battle over how much funding a deficit-stricken state should give to education – now in its second month in Sacramento – continues to be fought entirely on terms set by the California Teachers Association. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to reduce spending from $57.6 billion to $56.5 billion – a 1.9 percent cut – is routinely, inaccurately described as something far more drastic. Why? Because the governor's plan would spend about $4.8 billion less than what would be required by Proposition 98, unless the 1988 initiative were suspended by the Legislature.

CLASHING RULES BLOCK SCHOOL AID, GAO FINDS By Maria Glod/Washington Post   Conflicting requirements are preventing some of the nation's struggling schools from getting the financial help envisioned by the No Child Left Behind Act to boost achievement, according to a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office. The law calls for states to devote 4 percent of the largest pot of federal education funding -- money dedicated to help low-income students -- to efforts to turn around high-poverty, low-performing schools. But another overriding rule prevents states from using the full amount in schools with the most serious problems if that means cutting funding from other school systems.

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT FOUND TO RISE AS CLASS SIZE FALLS  By Debra Viadero/Ed Week   A new British study quantifies and confirms what many teachers have long believed: Students tend to be “off task” more often when they are in larger classes. The report, by researchers from the University of London Institute of Education, was one of several studies on the educational effects of reducing class sizes that were presented here Monday on the first day of the annual meeting of the Washington-based American Educational Research Association. The March 24-28 event is expected to draw more than 15,000 education scholars from around the world before it ends on Friday.

SIZE ALONE MAKES SMALL CLASSES BETTER FOR KIDS  By Greg Toppo/USA Today  Breaking up large classes into several smaller ones helps students, but the improvements in many cases come in spite of what teachers do, new research suggests. New findings from four nations, including the USA, tell a curious story. Small classes work for children, but that's less because of how teachers teach than because of what students feel they can do: Get more face time with their teacher, for instance, or work in small groups with classmates. "Small classes are more engaging places for students because they're able to have a more personal connection with teachers, simply by virtue of the fact that there are fewer kids in the classroom competing for that teacher's attention," says Adam Gamoran of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who analyzed the findings.

STATES SEEKING PROPER BALANCE IN USE OF ELL TEST SCORES Assessments can help decide when students should exit programs.
By Mary Ann Zehr/Ed Week   Now that they have new English-language-proficiency tests to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, state education officials are trying to come up with guidelines on how school districts use those tests to decide when English-language learners no longer need specialized instruction. States vary widely in how prescriptive they are in the use of those test scores, but most seem to be taking steps toward standardizing the process. “Is there a relationship between the scores and what is happening in the classroom? I certainly hope so,” said Ellen Forte, a consultant on ELLs for the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers. “It’s a place where people should be focusing a lot of attention—the validity of the scores and how we are using them.”

GRADUATION TESTS WILL HARM STUDENTS  By Judith A. Browne-Dianis/Baltimore Sun  Beginning next year, Maryland students will face an additional hurdle to graduate from high school - passing four state tests. Students will be unable to receive diplomas if they fail the Maryland High School Assessments (HSA), even if they pass all of their classes during the year. Fortunately, the General Assembly is considering legislation that would eliminate this one-size-fits-all graduation requirement. If we want to fix our schools, punishing students is not the answer. Instead, we must provide students with the resources they need, and rely upon other measures to assess them. Maryland already has a graduation rate problem, and an exit exam will only exacerbate it.

:PUBLIC SCHOOLS EXPAND CURRICULUM ONLINE by Larry Abramson/NPR  When senior Zack Jackson wanted to take a class in mythology, he wasn't out of luck just because his small high school in rural Virginia didn't offer it. Instead, he headed online. The course comes courtesy of Virtual Virginia, a state program that offers dozens of online classes to middle and high school students. The program allows children to take classes that aren't offered at their schools. Nationwide, programs like Virtual Virginia help hundreds of thousands of students take the kinds of unusual courses that make colleges sit up and take notice.

CHILDREN WITH HEALTHIER DIETS DO BETTER IN SCHOOL, STUDY SUGGESTS  Science Daily   A new study in the Journal of School Health reveals that children with healthy diets perform better in school than children with unhealthy diets. Led by Paul J. Veugelers, MSc, PhD of the University of Alberta, researchers surveyed around 5000 Canadian fifth grade students and their parents as part of the Children's Lifestyle and School-Performance Study. Information regarding dietary intake, height, and weight were recorded and the Diet Quality Index-International (DQI-I) was used to summarize overall diet quality. The DQI-I score ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better diet quality.

STIMULATING SLEEPY STUDENTS  Acupuncturists Show Students How to Stay Awake by Stimulating Pressure Points  Science Daily   Simple techniques inspired by traditional Chinese medicine may help students stay awake during class. Researchers report that college students were more alert if they massaged or tapped areas on the back of the neck, the hands and legs -- areas that acupuncturists believe can stimulate the release of endorphins. Whether it's boredom or just not enough shut-eye, a lot of students have trouble staying awake during class. For many students, a textbook, paper and pencil are a recipe for sleepiness.

No comments: