MADD/Mothers Against Drunk Driving - writes 4LAKids:
Dear Friend: An estimated 25,000 lives have been saved by the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA), which is why we were gravely concerned to learn that the college and university presidents and representatives listed below have added their names to a misguided initiative aimed at attacking the minimum drinking age of 21..
A greater proportion of Americans think that Sen. Barack Obama would be more likely than Sen. John McCain to improve public schools as president, according to a poll being released today.
The survey, conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International and the Gallup Organization, reports that 46 percent of respondents viewed Sen. Obama as the candidate for the White House better able to strengthen public education, compared with 29 percent for Sen. McCain. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they didn’t know which candidate would be better able to handle school policy.
Silent but deadly, Prop. 6 is the ballot measure that no one has heard of, but that could have catastrophic effects on young people in California, writes Kevin Weston.
With Proposition 6 on the California ballot this November, young people in the Golden State have a reason to vote that trumps putting the first non-white man in the White House.
The Runner Initiative – or the “Safe Neighborhood Act” – is the single worst thing that could happen to California youth since the passage of Proposition 21 allowed 16 year-olds to be tried as adults. Prop. 6 does Prop. 21 one better – it would allow 14-year-old “gang members” to be tried as adults.
●●smf's 2¢: No one disputes the value of competition or the goal of strong schools. I feel strange defending Roy Romer - I miss him sometimes but he could always defend himself! What is going on here however in insidious; Rep Tancredo is using the technique of 'The Big Lie' - stating personally held belief as proven fact and arming himself and his cause with spurious and suspect proof.
THOSE WHO DO NOT STUDY HISTORY WILL INEVITABLY MISSTATE IT: Fuzzy thinking proves noting except perhaps the inferiority of fuzzy thought and the absurdity of fuzzy thinkers.
Let us begin with Tancredo's description of Romer: "Romer left Colorado to become superintendent of schools for the Los Angeles Unified School District, a job he held for more than a decade. That district's school board was controlled by the teachers union and he had a friendly City Council as well."
Really? Whatever Rep. Tancredo taught when he was a teacher - and thankfully he's not teaching now - it must not have been history! Romer was Chairman of the DNC after he left Colorado. Romer's LAUSD superintendency lasted six years. Six, count 'em: six! And he had a 'friendly city council' as well? The only three times the city council had anything to do with LAUSD (the state constitution and the city charter forbid them meddling therewith):
1. They voted unanimously to support the mayor's (illegal) takeover of the school district under AB1381 - in direct opposition to Romer.
2. They helped appoint a commission to investigate the governance of the school district.
3. They put a ballot measure on the ballot that:
· raised school board members salaries
· and limited the terms of school board.
(Wait: two things in one ballot measure? ...isn't that illegal? Oh well, another windmill for another time)
· When Romer became superintendent the school board was not 'controlled' by the teachers union; if anything the opposite was true. A majority was 'supported' by [anti teacher's union] Mayor Riordan and Eli Broad.
· And the teacher's union - it must be remembered - also broke with the board they 'controlled' and supported AB 1361.
The rest of Tencredo's argument is similarly and substantially hogwash.
► COMPETITION KEY TO EDUCATION EXCELLENCE
By U S Rep Tom Tancredo (R/CO) : OpEd in the Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
Last week, Gov. Bill Ritter and former Gov. Roy Romer wrote a column about the state of education in America. In it, I believe they've unwittingly made a powerful argument for precisely the kind of educational reform that they have publicly opposed for many years: school choice.
In 10 years, the governors want to cut the high school dropout rate in half and double the number of college degrees awarded to in- state Colorado students. These are great goals for our state but the only way to achieve them is through a competitive educational system.
► OUR GOAL: STRONG SCHOOLS
By Gov. Bill Ritter and Roy Romer: OpEd: The Denver Post
Next weekend, the Democrats will gather in Denver and one of their first priorities will be to adopt a party platform. The following week, the Republicans will gather in Minneapolis with a similar mission. The parties' final platforms will likely note rising energy costs, increasing unemployment rates and this nation's ongoing housing crisis — all important issues.
But amid this discussion, we need a clear and reasoned voice to continually make the case that strong public education is the best driver of future economic growth.
Compare and Contrast the spin: The Times and the Daily News
Caprice Young, the head of the California Charter Schools Assn. and former Los Angeles school board member, is expected to announce this morning that she is stepping down to take a new job at an education company.
Young is credited by both critics and supporters of charter schools with spearheading the movement in California, which grew during her five-year tenure to more than 300 publicly financed, independently run campuses.
By Lesli A. Maxwell | EdWeek
For the second year, the Council of the Great City Schools has released detailed data on the business performance of the nation’s largest school districts—part of an initiative designed to help urban educators improve noninstructional operations of their districts.
The report features two years of data on transportation, food services, procurement, security, and maintenance from many of the 66 large school districts that are members of the council, a Washington-based organization that created the multiyear project to identify key indicators and best practices to guide districts on how to perform more efficiently.
The report also includes first-time benchmark data on budgeting and finance, human resources, and information technology. It presents city-by-city data so that member districts can see how they stack up against high-performing systems.
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
Rising costs for fuel, food and labor are forcing school cafeterias nationwide to raise prices, cut jobs and, in some cases, dip into "rainy day" funds to put food on trays, according to congressional testimony to be delivered today.
The U.S. Agriculture Department chipped in an extra dime a meal last week to help schools pay for lunches. The new maximum rate is now $2.57, up from $2.47 in 2007.
But school nutrition directors say that doesn't keep pace with costs, which will climb 30 cents a meal this year to a national average of $2.88, the School Nutrition Association says.
"The algebra mandate is, and will always be, as pointless as it is unrealistic. But issue a stupid order and, as O'Connell almost said, you deserve a stupid response."
Last week, O'Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction, called for an additional $3.1 billion a year to allow California's middle schools to meet a three-year deadline by which all students must take (and presumably pass) algebra in the eighth grade.
That, for at least a short spell, made him the funniest man in Sacramento. And it was all done with a straight face. O'Connell called it his "Algebra I Success Initiative" and launched it with a press conference backed by the requisite spear carriers from the education establishment, a budget, and all the other paraphernalia appertaining to serious public business.
The seeds of a thousand lessons are sown in five acres of North Hollywood dirt, tended by a man named Mud.
Here in this little-known oasis, Mud Baron and urban teenagers with a heretofore unknown penchant for rare flowers toil under a blazing sun to raise lemon verbena, tomatoes, lettuce and other greenery that hundreds of Los Angeles schools will use to jump-start their gardens this fall. They also cultivate exotic plants, including exuberantly colored dahlias the size of dinner plates, to sell at farmers markets.
The California Faculty Association has launched a strategic campaign targeting Republicans in open swing seat districts that are ripe for Democrats to win in November. The goal of the campaign is to stop Republicans who seem determined to slash our public education system and burn our economic future.