Saturday, May 08, 2010


from The Educated Guess by John Fensterwald

Governor, State Board to ACLU: We’re on your side

The lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified and the state over seniority-based teacher layoffs and massive cuts to state education funding has taken some strange twists.

Both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Board of Education ­– defendants in the case – are taking the position that they agree with the plaintiffs. Their message: Don’t sue us. We’re on the side of kids in low-income schools whose teachers have been handed pink slips in disproportionate numbers.

The latest jockeying ­ – unusual but not unprecedented – may be a sign that an initial settlement is near. A court hearing into a preliminary injunction has been pushed back a week, until Tuesday, at the request of plaintiffs attorneys, in order to conduct negotiations with the defendants.

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By John Fensterwald on May 7th, 2010

Digital textbooks coming, quickly and surely

Few high schools have yet to put them to use, but free digital textbooks keep on coming.

There are now 27 textbooks, partly or completely aligned with state standards, with two more in the wings,  following  completion last week  of the second phase of textbook review by a state agency, the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN). (Read more and comment on this post)

By John Fensterwald on May 6th, 2010

Cash-strapped districts shift their dollars

If triage is the new goal of K-12 education, then school districts can claim success.

A survey by the Legislative Analyst’s Office revealed that districts are cutting programs that the Legislature once considered essential in order to keep core classes going. Districts reported that the flexibility to spend “categorical” money as they choose helped them keep teachers on the job and make their budgets.

Impressed with the first year’s spending flexibility, the LAO is recommending lifting the restrictions on some of the remaining categorical programs, including class-size reduction, which the teachers’ unions will fight to preserve, and school transportation.

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By John Fensterwald on May 5th, 2010

Fact-checking Poizner and Whitman

Amid all of the arguing over immigration, Goldman Sachs and who’s the phonier conservative, GOP gubernatorial candidates Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman spent only a few minutes talking about education during their hour-long debate in San Jose on Sunday. That may be because both believe that local control and charter schools are the cure to much of what ails  public schools.

At least that’s the bumper sticker argument they make.

But their answers to the one question on K-12 schools got me scratching my head. So I did some fact-checking and here’s what I found.

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By John Fensterwald on May 4th, 2010

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