Saturday, June 13, 2009

The news that didn’t fit from June 14

SOME L.A. TEACHERS GET A REPRIEVE FROM AX | LA Weekly | Friday, Jun. 12 2009 @ 5:42PM | By Steven Mikulan ● L.A. school superintendent Ray Cortines announced today that the LAUSD is rescinding layoff notices for 505 teachers. The breakdown, according to the L.A. Daily News, includes "271 non-permanent, secondary English teachers; 114 non-permanent, secondary social studies teachers; and 120 non-permanent, secondary counselors."

The announcement brings little cheer, however, to United Teachers L.A., the teachers union. UTLA greeted the news with a press-released shrug: "The decrease from an initial announcement of 6,000 UTLA member layoffs to the current 2,500," the union statement said, "represents some progress but there is clearly a long way to go."

The union and school board continue to clash over how to spend stimulus-package funds, with LAUSD preferring to spread out the money to cover expenses over the next two years, while UTLA is calling for it to be spent immediately to save as many member jobs as possible and to avoid expanding classroom sizes.

THE MYTH THAT COLLEGE IS FOR EVERYONE: It’s both “impolite and impolitic” to say so, but the modern idea that everyone should get a college education is, frankly, dumb, said Michael Moynihan in |

Clip from Best Columns in The Week - 6/19: Too many people are attending college these days,” said Michael Moynihan. It’s both “impolite and impolitic” to say so, but the modern idea that everyone should get a college education—emphatically supported by President Obama—is, frankly, dumb. Obama is now planning a massive expansion of the federal Pell Grant program, making a college education another taxpayer-funded entitlement open to all.

But here’s the reality: More than two-thirds of U.S. high school graduates, a recent Harvard University study found, are unprepared to enter a traditional four-year liberal arts program. Indeed, “more than 40 percent of students who enter college drop out before graduation.” Today, many young people enter college out of obligation, seeing it purely as a means to a higher salary.

College makes great sense for those who truly value a higher education, and will make use of it after graduation. But not everyone is capable of academic success, and for those destined for “a management-level job training program at Hertz,” college is just an expensive waste of time.

WHY TOTS SHOULDN’T WATCH TV | Health and Science | The Week 6/19

If you have a baby or a toddler, turn off that TV. A new study finds that when children are exposed to a lot of TV before the age of 2, they are deprived of interaction with adults, which can lead to delays in brain and language development. University of Washington researchers found that for every hour the TV set was on, even if it was just in the background, adults spoke from 500 to 1,000 fewer words to children. When the distraction of the boob tube was present, children spoke less, too, and there were fewer conversations between the adults and the children. This was true whether the show was a kid’s program or an adult show that parents were watching in the child’s presence. Speaking directly to a child, previous research has shown, is critical to brain development. In surveys, 30 percent of Americans admit to having the TV on all day long, whether anyone is watching or not. Television, researcher Dimitri Christakis tells, “is a poor caregiver substitute. My recommendation is that children under the age of 2 be discouraged from watching television.”

From UCLA/IDEA Education News Roundup for June 11


By Walter Wiliams/Oakland Press -- The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparison of 15-year-olds conducted by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that measures applied learning and problemsolving ability. In 2006, U.S. students ranked 25th of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science. McKinsey & Company, in releasing its report “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools” (April 2009) said, “Several other facts paint a worrisome picture. First, the longer American children are in school, the worse they perform compared to their international peers. In recent cross-country comparisons of fourth-grade reading, math, and science, U.S. students scored in the top quarter or top half of advanced nations. By age 15, these rankings drop to the bottom half. In other words, American students are farthest behind just as they are about to enter higher education or the workforce.”

POLL: MOST SUPPORT MORE TAXES FOR EDUCATION: Support strongest among Democrats. -- KRCA -- The majority of Sacramento-area residents are willing to pay higher taxes to fund college education, according to results of a new Sacramento State survey released Tuesday. The poll found that 58 percent of residents support the additional fees so all qualified Californians can have an equal opportunity to receive a college education. Among Democrats, 72 percent backed a tax increase, while 40 percent of Republicans favored such an idea. Among those responding, 60 percent of residents from both Sacramento and Yolo counties supported a tax increase, while 54 percent of those questioned from Placer County liked the suggestion. Another finding was that 81 percent of people consider the economy to be a big challenge, while 89 percent are concerned about the state budget deficit. Despite worries over these financial situations, 89 percent think a college education is a good long-term investment.

PUSH IS ON FOR A ‘COMMON’ EDUCATION STANDARD FOR U.S. SCHOOLCHILDREN: The state-by-state system leaves many students 'inadequately prepared,' Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday at a Monitor breakfast.
By Dave Cook/Christian Science Monitor -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan threw his weight Wednesday behind a “common” education standard for all of America’s schoolchildren, saying the current state-by-state system has produced uneven results in which some students “are totally, inadequately prepared to go into a competitive university, let alone graduate.” Mr. Duncan, who has been on a cross-country “listening tour” in preparation for submitting revisions for the No Child Left Behind Act, says he’s encountered support for the idea of a national standard. “Teachers have been really positive on this idea of common standards,” he said at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters. “That has played much better with teachers than I thought it would.” The secretary acknowledged, though, that what he calls “common higher standards, internationally benchmarked” would face hurdles and involve political pain.

TRUTH IN TEACHING - Editorial/New York Times -- Education reform will go nowhere until the states are forced to revamp corrupt teacher evaluation systems that rate a vast majority of teachers as “excellent,” even in schools where children learn nothing. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was right to require the states that participate in the school stabilization fund, which is part of the federal education stimulus program, to show — finally — how student achievement is weighted in teacher evaluations. The states have long resisted such accountability, and Mr. Duncan will need to press them hard to ensure they live up to their commitment. A startling new report from a nonpartisan New York research group known as The New Teacher Project lays out the scope of the problem. The study, titled “The Widget Effect,” is based on surveys of more than 16,000 teachers and administrators in four states: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio.

SCHWARZENEGGER THREATENS TO SHUT DOWN STATE GOVERNMENT: The governor says that if a budget deal isn't reached, he won't approve emergency borrowing to tide California over. By Shane Goldmacher/Los Angeles Times -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed Wednesday to let California government come to a "grinding halt" rather than agree to a high-interest loan to keep the state afloat if he and the Legislature do not close the yawning budget gap in coming weeks. At the same time, the governor reversed himself on a proposal to end health insurance for families of police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty. Schwarzenegger called the plan, first reported by The Times on Tuesday, a "terrible screw-up" that is being corrected. The proposed cut was tucked away in a list of regulations that would be suspended if Schwarzenegger's latest budget revisions are adopted. It would have saved the state $1 million in 2009-10. State finance officials say California coffers will be empty in late July unless the projected $24-billion budget shortfall is resolved quickly. Schwarzenegger said that emergency borrowing would be too expensive and that his threat to block it was necessary to prod lawmakers into swift action.

SCHWARZENEGGER SEEKS ONLINE REVOLUTION IN SCHOOLS - By Juliet Williams/Washington Post -- In the state that gave the world Facebook, Google and the iPod, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says forcing California's students to rely on printed textbooks is so yesterday. The governor recently launched an initiative to see if the state's 6 million public school students can use more online learning materials, perhaps saving millions of dollars a year in textbook purchases. "California is home to software giants, bioscience research pioneers and first-class university systems known around the world. But our students still learn from instructional materials in formats made possible by Gutenberg's printing press," Schwarzenegger wrote in a recent op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News. In a state with a projected $24 billion budget deficit, Schwarzenegger has asked education officials to review a wealth of sources that already are on the Internet, many of which are free, and determine whether they meet curriculum standards.

LAUSD CANCELING SUMMER SCHOOL: DO WE REALLY WANT TO GO THERE? -- By Anthony Asadullah Samad/San Francisco Beyond Chron -- 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 of Los Angeles has enough problems controlling summer youth violence when summer school is in. Now the 700,000-pupil district, with the 57% graduation rate — that annually sends a quarter of its student population to summer school — wants to send nearly 200,000 latch-key children home for the summer. Do we really want to go there? Have we finally gotten to the point where our children have become unwilling pawns in the state’s (and city’s) budget games? It appears so.


Saturday, June 13, 2009 10:04 AM
Critical highlights from Susan Ohanian, Speech by Arne Duncan          Susan Ohanian, a longtime teacher and free-lance writer whose articles have appeared in periodicals ranging from the Atlantic and Washington Monthly to Phi Delta Kappan and Education Week MAINTAINS A WEBSITE HTTP://WWW.SUSANOHANIAN.ORG THAT REFLECTS her LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE RESISTANCE AGAINST NCLB, HIGH STAKES TESTING AND

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:19 PM

L.A. SCHOOLS CHIEF PROPOSES GUTTING WATCHDOG’S OFFICE | Deficit: Inspector general would be mostly sidelined during financial crisis.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:03 PM
By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA NEWSPAPER GROUP/Daily NeWs  6/11/2009 - Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines has proposed gutting the district's watchdog Inspector General's Office with a budget cut of 50 to 75 percent, described as potentially "catastrophic" to the department's operations.   The Office of Inspector General has traditionally monitored some of the district's most

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 6:33 PM
gallows humor from 333 S. Beaudry     Next season, watch for: Dancing With The Lemons!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 12:26 PM
by Lesli A. Maxwell | Education Week  Published Online: June 8, 2009   Published in Print: June 10, 2009  California educators, already reeling from billions of dollars in spending cuts to public schools this year, are scrounging for even more ways to save money in the final weeks of the academic year as the state’s finances continue to melt down.   This time around, educators say they won’t

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 12:25 PM
Digital textbooks can save money, improve learning  By Arnold Schwarzenegger | Special to the san jose Mercury News  6/7/09 -- Today, our kids get their information from the Internet, downloaded onto their iPods, and in Twitter feeds to their cell phones. A world of up-to-date information fits easily into their pockets and onto their computer screens. So why are California's public school

OpEd: SPEND THE FEDERAL STIMULUS MONEY ON SMALLER CLASSES: The LAUSD could avoid crammed classrooms by not laying off more than 2,000 teachers.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 6:07 AM
By Maria Elena Durazo and Steve Zimmer | Opinion From the Los Angeles Times  June 9, 2009 - Supt. Ramon C. Cortines is determined to decentralize the cumbersome Los Angeles Unified School District, and that's a laudable goal. But his recent decision to allow individual schools to decide how to spend federal stimulus funds has paved the way for serious inequities.   Some schools are using the

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 11:54 AM
GRIEVANCE: Claims stimulus money is being spent the wrong way.  By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | Los Angeles Newspaper Group (Daily News)  Los Angeles teacher union officials filed 14 complaints against the L.A. Unified School District on Monday, claiming it allowed schools to spend too much federal stimulus money on out-of-classroom jobs, which they said would boost class sizes and jeopardize

Monday, June 08, 2009 8:57 PM
Archdiocese offers summer school to public school students  Pasadena Star-News - 8 June 5PM  More than 135 campuses in Los Angeles County will be open to students in grades K through12, according to Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg. ...  LA Archdiocese offers summer school - 8 June 4PM  The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is offering summer classes at local Catholic schools. "In speaking

Monday, June 08, 2009 11:57 AM
By Dennis McCarthy, Columnist | LA Daily News “Odds and ends from Around the Valley”    Sixth-grader "mathletes" from Sutter Middle School are, from left to right first row: Sergio Mares, Xavier Escobar, Clarissa Olivar, Danielle Clarke, Alejandra Rojas. Back row: math coach Dana Rosenstock, Principal Michael Smith and teachers Michelle Weiss and Hasmik Mheryan. The sixth-graders won the

Monday, June 08, 2009 10:33 AM
The Morning sixpack news blog @ the LAWeekly reports:   Monday, Jun. 8 2009 @ 6:13AM - Cardinal Roger Mahony will announce today that the L.A. Archdiocese will invite LAUSD Students to participate in summer school classes and after-school programs at local Catholic schools. City News Service (subscription required)

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