Education

Thumbnail image for Buy Now Pay Later: How San Diego School Districts Were Hoodwinked by Wall Street

Buy Now Pay Later: How San Diego School Districts Were Hoodwinked by Wall Street

by John Lawrence 04.14.2015 Business

By John Lawrence

In 2009 then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1388 which eliminated prudent controls over how much debt school districts could enter into. Wall Street bankers then swarmed all over the state promoting Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs), the equivalent of payday loans for school districts.

One fantastic advantage of these loans was the “buy now, pay later” aspect. School districts could get their money now and not have to raise taxes on current residents. Easy money. There would not have to be any payments made for 20 years. Current residents would be off the hook. But their children and grandchildren would enter an era of crushing debt when the bill became due.

And Wall Street is patient, very patient.

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Thumbnail image for The Volunteers of the San Salvador

The Volunteers of the San Salvador

by Judi Curry 04.14.2015 Culture

Editor: The launch of the San Salvador, the replica of Cabrillo’s ship being built alongside Point Loma, – originally scheduled for mid-April – has been postponed. Here, our Judi Curry continues her focus on the many volunteers who helped to build the ship. Cabrillo himself and what he and the Missionaries wrought here in San Diego is still controversial and the subject of a debate on our website.

By Judi Curry /OB Rag

Last year I did a story of the women volunteers working on the San Salvador. If you are not familiar with the San Salvador, it was the flagship of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 when he sailed into San Diego Bay.  Cabrillo, who sailed from Portugal, was the first European to explore San Diego Bay and the coast of California.

Construction of the 92-foot- long replica almost completed and can be seen driving down Harbor Blvd. on the south side of the street just east of the airport if you are coming from Pt. Loma.

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Thumbnail image for Teachers and Students Fight for 15

Teachers and Students Fight for 15

by Jim Miller 04.13.2015 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last February, in the lead up to the National Adjunct Day of Action, I noted in this column that, “most colleges in America run on the backs of adjunct instructors who don’t receive the same pay for the same work as do the shrinking pool of full-time faculty” and that the “Exploitation of contingent labor is not just a problem for employees at Starbucks, Walmart, and fast food chains where workers are fighting for $15 an hour; it is an epidemic in the academy as well.”

During that day of protest, Fight for 15 organizers stood with us and this week, on 4/15 at 4 PM at Scripps Cottage on San Diego State University’s campus, we will stand with them as teachers and students from across the city will come together with workers, community activists, people of faith, and others to call for basic fairness and economic justice for all working people.

In doing so we will be joining a movement that has taken root across the county.

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Thumbnail image for Photo Murals Honoring Cesar Chavez Installed in Barrio Logan

Photo Murals Honoring Cesar Chavez Installed in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.09.2015 Desde la Logan

What could have been an ugly structure will now become an important part of the community

By Brent E. Beltrán

This week photo murals depicting late labor leader Cesar Chavez have gone up on a new parking structure in Barrio Logan. The structure, located on the corner of Cesar Chavez Parkway and National Avenue, will be fitted with eight different photo murals “reflecting and honoring the life and work” of the United Farmworker co-founder.

Carlos LeGerrette, activist, photographer and originator of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, was instrumental in making the photo murals a reality through his historic and extensive photo collection of Cesar Chavez and the UFW.

“We worked with LeGerrette and other community members through a series of collaborative meetings to determine which images of Cesar Chavez should be displayed on the facility,” said Rudy Kastelic, Interim President at San Diego Continuing Education. “We have been serving the Barrio Logan community since the 70s and we’ve had ‘good neighbor’ relationships with Barrio Station, Cesar Chavez Service Clubs and other organizations in the community that we wanted to include in our building process.”

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Thumbnail image for Martinez School Board Member Feels the Heat

Martinez School Board Member Feels the Heat

by Junco Canché 04.09.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: Super-Sizing the Crawford High School Stadium

Readers Write: Super-Sizing the Crawford High School Stadium

by At Large 04.01.2015 Activism

An Open Letter to the San Diego Unified School District and the Board of Education

By Jim Zumbiel

We in the El Cerrito Community, along with other neighborhoods all around the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), have been under siege by SDUSD for the last few years and would like to respectfully pose some questions to SDUSD and Board of Education.

The proposed plan from SDUSD is to build an 18 million dollar sports complex at Crawford High School which will include a 2250 seat stadium in the residential El Cerrito neighborhood of San Diego. This school has not received any improvements, besides a new library and an internet upgrade, since its inception in 1957. It’s the last school in the district to receive upgrades of a substantial nature.

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Thumbnail image for The Spring Garden Thing!

The Spring Garden Thing!

by Susan Taylor 03.24.2015 Editor's Picks

By Susan Taylor

The flatlanders in San Diego had somewhere between 1-2 inches of rain recently and I hear the call of school gardens asking, “Can we plant something?” Of course we can, so let’s get going.

On a recent stroll along the boardwalk towards South Mission Beach, I dipped into the tiny streets between the boardwalk and Mission Blvd and saw so many interesting growing things. One idea I’ve already tried is to take a hanging succulent cutting, let it harden off for a couple of days and here’s what’s next–wrap a handful of soil around the root (to be) end and then add some coir or even a paper towel. Moisten the whole wrap and nest it into the crotch of a tree branch. I used a rubber band to tighten the whole thing. Maybe you’ll have a hanging plant growing thingy before you know it…it looks very sophisticated and like the gardener knows what he/she is doing!

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Thumbnail image for The Public Education Reporting Charade

The Public Education Reporting Charade

by Jim Miller 03.23.2015 Columns

What if it turned out that education reform, with its teacher-blaming assumptions, got it all wrong in the first place?

By Jim Miller

Recently, with “California’s Public Education Charade,” UT-San Diego shocked no one by publishing yet another anti-union, teacher-bashing editorial that attacks California’s “dominant Democratic Party” for believing that “what’s good for the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers is good for California. And what’s good for students, who cares?”

The sins of California’s Democrats, the State Board of Education, and their sinister union bosses include the decision to “suspend the Academic Performance Index [API] for a second year as the state moves to a more complex system of evaluating school and district performance” and failing to robustly follow the lead of the misguided Vergara decision which blamed tenure for the struggles of low-income minority students. California, the editorial board laments, has made it “even more difficult to fire bad teachers.”

Of course, these are precisely the kind of oft-repeated yet totally unfounded assertions one hears about public education and teachers from not just the mouthpiece of Manchester but from far too many in the media. Just because they keep saying it, however, doesn’t make it true.

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Thumbnail image for Inequality in California’s K-12 Schools

Inequality in California’s K-12 Schools

by Source 03.23.2015 Education

Thirty years of test scores have not measured a decline in public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’s child poverty and the broadening divide of income inequality.

By Bill Raden / Capital & Main

It’s been just over 30 years since war was declared on America’s public schools. The opening salvo came with 1983’s A Nation at Risk, the Reagan-era Department of Education report that alleged that lax schools and ineffective teachers constituted a dire threat to national security.

Yet three decades later, and in spite the opening of a second front comprised of school vouchers, a 2.57-million student charter school network and a classroom culture tied to test preparation, the nation’s education outcomes have barely budged, and rather than narrowing the education gap, the chasm between rich and poor appears only to be significantly widening.

But what if it turned out that education reform, with its teacher-blaming assumptions, got it all wrong in the first place? That’s the conclusion being drawn by a growing number of researchers who, armed with a mountain of fresh evidence, argue that 30 years of test scores have not measured a decline in America’s public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’s child poverty — the worst among developed nations — and the broadening divide of income inequality.

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Thumbnail image for A Deeper Examination of the Sheer Joy of Oklahoma Students Chanting About Hanging N*gg*rs from Trees

A Deeper Examination of the Sheer Joy of Oklahoma Students Chanting About Hanging N*gg*rs from Trees

by Source 03.10.2015 Culture

By Shaun King/ Daily Kos

Money, during a bad economy, doesn’t actually disappear, it just moves around into different hands and different accounts. If a whole segment of America all of a sudden doesn’t have money because of shifts in the economy, it just means that it has shifted to another group, but please understand—that money still exists—just not in your wallet.

Racism is like money. It changes hands. It shape-shifts and finds itself a new carrier, a new account, a new way to express itself in changing times, but it never actually disappears. Suppressed racism is no less real than money in a savings account, but rest assured, suppressed racism always has a way of telling on itself—sometimes in the most despicable, hurtful, and shocking ways.

Before I dig into why a group of white University of Oklahoma college students from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, clad in tuxedos and ball gowns, so giddily chanted about “hanging n*gg*rs from trees” let me clear—racism is dangerous. It’s not funny. It’s not just words. It’s not kids being kids. It’s not playful. This is shit is real and it’s dangerous.

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Thumbnail image for 5 Takeaways After Watching ‘The Hunting Ground,’ the New Documentary on Campus Sexual Violence

5 Takeaways After Watching ‘The Hunting Ground,’ the New Documentary on Campus Sexual Violence

by Source 03.06.2015 Culture

By Sandra S. Park / ACLU Blog of Rights

Agonizing. Enraging. Inspiring. These are a few words that came to mind after watching “The Hunting Ground,” a new documentary on campus sexual violence that opened this past weekend.

Like “The Invisible War,” the Oscar-nominated documentary on military sexual violence also created by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, “The Hunting Ground” makes the case that there are systemic problems at colleges and universities to addressing sexual assault that must and can be confronted, right now.

As public debate continues on how we can best respond to campus sexual violence, the film makes an important contribution by highlighting the voices of survivors, their parents, and university staff in rallying together to become advocates.

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Thumbnail image for A Call to Action on the Labor Crisis in Higher Ed: Colleges Are Running On the Backs of Underpaid Part-Timers

A Call to Action on the Labor Crisis in Higher Ed: Colleges Are Running On the Backs of Underpaid Part-Timers

by Jim Miller 02.23.2015 Columns

February 25th is National Adjunct Walkout Day

By Jim Miller

As I have noted here recently, the successful assault on public sector unionism has marched hand in hand with the surge of income inequality and the erosion of the American middle class. Of course, central to this is the ongoing war on teachers’ unions and the nationwide trend toward austerity budgets in state capitols across the country.

In the world of higher education, what this means is that as we have seen taxes go down for the wealthy and corporations over the last thirty years, budgets for education from K-12 to the university have suffered.

And while the growing student debt crisis has received significant attention, far fewer people are probably aware that in addition to gouging students, colleges across the country are increasingly relying on an exploited army of highly educated part-time teachers in the classroom to help keep their budgets in line.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Black Girls Matter': Report Exposes System Oppression of Often-Ignored Groups

‘Black Girls Matter': Report Exposes System Oppression of Often-Ignored Groups

by Source 02.17.2015 Education

Girls of color routinely punished by institutions and ignored by school-to-prison pipeline reformers, report finds

By Nadia Prupis /Common Dreams

Girls of color regularly face harsher school punishments than their white counterparts, while simultaneously being ignored by legislative and community efforts to close the school-to-prison pipeline, despite the proven negative impacts of zero-tolerance discipline which exposes minority girls to expulsion, violence, and arrest, a new study released Wednesday has found.

Punitive disciplinary policies “negatively impact Black girls and other girls of color. Yet much of the existing research literature excludes girls from the analysis, leading many stakeholders to infer that girls of color are not also at risk,” according to the report, titled Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Three Women Who Worked at Neighborhood House and Became Part of the Community

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Three Women Who Worked at Neighborhood House and Became Part of the Community

by Maria E. Garcia 02.14.2015 Activism

Miss Gertrude Peifer, Mrs. Wilfreda Brackett and Miss Julie McClure

By Maria E Garcia

Last week I wrote about three women who shaped the direction of Neighborhood House from the 1920’s to World War II. The leadership of Mary Snyder, Rebecca Halley and Anita Jones reflected the influence of the newly recognized profession of social work and the progressive era’s spirit of social reform.

There are three more women during the same time period and into the early 1950’s who deserve recognition for their contributions to Neighborhood House and the Logan Heights community.

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Thumbnail image for Community Planning Boards Have Democratic Elections Because of One Group From Ocean Beach

Community Planning Boards Have Democratic Elections Because of One Group From Ocean Beach

by Frank Gormlie 02.14.2015 Activism

The Ocean Beach Community Planning Group Was the Forerunner to OB’s Planning Board

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

On March 10, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will hold its annual election of Board members. It will take place at the OB Rec Center. Every resident, property owner and business-owner in Ocean Beach is authorized to vote – with ID proving residency.

One of the main reasons that this election is going forward in March – as it has been for the last 39 years – is because of the vision and diligence of a small group that existed back in the 1970s. It was the persistent push over a several-year period during the mid-70s for an election of this nature – a democratic election – to a neighborhood planning committee by an organization called the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group that was ultimately responsible for this democratic gain for communities.

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Thumbnail image for Kidnapped Student Teachers in México: An Inside Perspective

Kidnapped Student Teachers in México: An Inside Perspective

by Source 02.12.2015 Education

By Luis Villanueva Rodríguez / Draft NOtices

For many, the September killings of three and disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the Méxican state of Guerrero has been profoundly painful and tragic. My feelings of outrage and despair are also deep because I was educated in one of Ayotzinapa’s sister schools.

What many do not realize is that this crime was perpetrated by the Méxican government against students who had important social justice concerns and who were soon to become activist teachers. These rural teachers’ colleges are known for their progressive beliefs.

I have always understood my role as a social justice teacher and community advocate because of my education at these schools. There are important political and historical aspects to the recent events that most people outside of México are not aware of.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Social Workers and the Progressive Era Spirit of Reform

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Social Workers and the Progressive Era Spirit of Reform

by Maria E. Garcia 02.07.2015 Activism

Mary Snyder, Rebecca Halley and Anita Jones, the early years

By Maria E. Garcia

Women had a great deal of influence and contributed to the work at Neighborhood House. A number of them did so as members of the newly recognized profession of social work. Settlement Houses originated in England and by the 1880’s they had become established in the United States. Neighborhood House came into being as part of the settlement house movement.

Settlement houses were usually established in poor urban areas and provided a variety of services to the community. Those services included cooking classes, adult education, craft and sewing classes. They also did crisis intervention and provided home health care and daycare for working mothers. The settlement house movement evolved in parallel with the social worker movement in this country. Both were unique agents of social reform during the Progressive Era from 1890-1920.

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Thumbnail image for Show’s Not Over at Che Cafe at UCSD – Its Fate Likely Rests on Students

Show’s Not Over at Che Cafe at UCSD – Its Fate Likely Rests on Students

by At Large 02.04.2015 Activism

By Andrea Carter

The struggle continues to keep the historic CHE Café facility open on the University of California San Diego (UCSD) campus. This battle over a rare public, all-ages arts, food, and music venue should concern us all as it represents the canary in the coal mine for additional onslaughts of this nature to follow.

Undergraduate and graduate student government councils, respectively the Associated Students (AS) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) are set to soon issue reports and recommendations to the University as to the CHE Café, its facility and the other cooperatives at UCSD concerning the lease issues, upgrades and dispute resolution. Recently, the councils moved in favor of adopting a joint resolution rather than two independent ones. In the coming weeks then the councils will be synthesizing their input and accepting more from students on these issues as well as from the CHE and other cooperatives.

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Thumbnail image for What Republicans Don’t Want Us To Know About America’s ‘Failing’ Schools (VIDEO)

What Republicans Don’t Want Us To Know About America’s ‘Failing’ Schools (VIDEO)

by Source 02.03.2015 Education

By Elisabeth Parker / Addicting Info

Every three years, 15-year-old students around the world take a test called the PISA, and every three years Republicans and neoliberals see our kids’ scores and scream about America’s “failing” schools. Since the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last held the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in 2012, we’re due to hear that high-pitched shrieking sound in (countdown) 10, 9, 8…

The problem with our “failing” schools? Republicans love ranting about overpaid teachers who don’t work hard enough and need to be “held accountable;” lazy welfare parents who don’t care about their children’s education; and high levels of per-student spending that yield poor results.

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Thumbnail image for 5 Facts About Charter Schools the ‘National School Choice Week’ Campaign Doesn’t Talk About

5 Facts About Charter Schools the ‘National School Choice Week’ Campaign Doesn’t Talk About

by Source 01.31.2015 Education

It’s nothing more than a slick ad campaign, disguised as public service

By Laurie Levy / Alternet

Wow! Check out the fancy website for National School Choice Week. It’s polished, it’s colorful; it features kids of all races with bright smiling faces. They even have their own dance! The videos are tearjerkers, reminiscent, in emotional value, of the highly touted documentary film, Waiting for Superman, which propelled school choice advocates into the national conversation back in 2010.

I must confess that when I first watched that movie, seeing the tears of kids who lost the charter lottery and were doomed to attend terrible public schools hit me right in the gut. It struck me as so unfair that they’d have to miss out on… hold on a second. Something didn’t feel quite right. Was I being manipulated? Why did those kids and their parents have to gather in an auditorium to be publicly devastated by not being selected for their choice school, anyway? Wouldn’t a letter or email have done the trick?

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Thumbnail image for University of California Doctors Call One Day Strike

University of California Doctors Call One Day Strike

by Doug Porter 01.26.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Physicians at all 10 University of California student health centers will hold a one-day unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday.

They gave notice to the UC system on Friday, following the failure of 41 bargaining sessions over a year’s time to gain an initial contract for The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD). Over 90% of the student health doctors voted in favor of striking in meetings during December.

The union has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the  California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) saying the universities are failing to negotiate in good faith. In one instance cited, the UC administration increased pension contributions without negotiating over the issue.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Barrios, Early Years

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Barrios, Early Years

by Maria E. Garcia 01.24.2015 Education

By Maria E. Garcia

Mrs. Barrios was born in 1925. Her mother was very strict, and young Mary was not allowed to play with the neighborhood children. She says her only outings were to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Mary’s family was a blended family. Her father and her mother were both widows and came to the marriage with children. They also had children together and at one point a woman that worked at the cannery gave her mother a baby boy. This woman felt she could not return to Mexico with a child born out of wedlock. This very big family lived at 1870 Newton Ave.

At the age of 10 or 11 Mary was finally allowed to go to Neighborhood House. Her half bothers were allowed to go at a much earlier age. We have seen this double standard over and over again. Her older sister, to quote Mary, “brought English to the house.” She went to school and learned English and her young siblings learned English from her. In order to learn English her mother took night classes.

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Thumbnail image for Redefining the American Dream

Redefining the American Dream

by John Lawrence 01.13.2015 Business

By John Lawrence

The American Dream is the ideological underpinning of the middle class. Now that the middle class is disappearing, it no longer makes sense as historically defined.

Thom Hartmann (Rebooting the American Dream) and Hedrick Smith (Who Stole the American Dream) have defined the American Dream as a good job at good wages plus benefits. They bemoan the fact that this has pretty much gone by the wayside in today’s world.

Well, it’s time to get over it because the conditions that gave rise to middle class prosperity in America from 1945 to 1980 are not coming back.

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Thumbnail image for The Reality Tale of Two Education Systems: One for the Poor, and One for the Rest

The Reality Tale of Two Education Systems: One for the Poor, and One for the Rest

by Source 01.12.2015 Business

New data reveals our public—not private—school system is among the best in the world

By Paul Buchheit / AlterNet

New data reveals our public—not private—school system is among the best in the world. In fact, except for the debilitating effects of poverty, our public school system may be the best in the world.

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveal that the U.S. ranked high, relative to other OECD countries, in readingmath, and science (especially in reading, and in all areas better in 4th grade than in 8th grade). Some U.S. private schools were included, but a separate evaluation was done for Florida, in public schools only, and their results were higher than the U.S. average

Perhaps most significant in the NCES reading results is that schools with less than 25% free-lunch eligibility scored higher than the average in all other countries.

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Thumbnail image for South Carolina Legislators Want Schools to Teach NRA-Approved Curriculum on Second Amendment

South Carolina Legislators Want Schools to Teach NRA-Approved Curriculum on Second Amendment

by Source 01.09.2015 Education

By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos

As diarist MNDem999 pointed out last month, three Republican legislators in the South Carolina House have introduced the Second Amendment Education Act of 2015.

The bill, two of whose originators are members of the Koch-founded and -funded American Legislative Exchange Council, sets aside each Dec. 15 as “Second Amendment Awareness Day.” If the bill passes, schools would have to sponsor poster contests for that day, with awards given to the best submissions. The bill also requires that teachers in elementary, middle and secondary public schools spend three consecutive weeks each year studying the Second Amendment.

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