Education

Thumbnail image for SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

by Doug Porter 12.10.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Students at San Diego State University participated in a march and sit-in on Tuesday, demanding the school take action in response to sexual assaults and harassment. The protest was triggered by reports of people associated with fraternity houses yelling  obscenities, waving dildos and throwing eggs at a Nov. 21st  anti-rape march called Take Back the Night.

Their demands included an open forum with  SDSU President Elliot Hirshman during the spring semester, along with the resignations of fraternity members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi from various posts on the campus. The protesters cited the need for a planned Women’s Resource Center to serve as a rape crisis center and for CSU and UC colleges to release all statistical data on the investigation, adjudication and sanction of cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

As is the case with police-linked killings around the country, the protests are the local manifestation of a much larger problem, and today I’ll try to give this story some context.

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Thumbnail image for What a Difference a Few Decades Make : An Interview with Kevin Beiser

What a Difference a Few Decades Make : An Interview with Kevin Beiser

by Judi Curry 12.10.2014 Education

By Judi Curry

As a public school teacher beginning my career in the early sixties, I have seen the pendulum swing many ways in the past fifty years. (Fifty Years! My God!) Perhaps one of the biggest swings was from the professional organizations of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) to the American Federation of Teachers ( AFT) and other labor organizations.

As a member of “management” later in my career, I have been disillusioned with professionals (educators) belonging to labor organizations, because I have always felt that the “product” – read children – we deal with cannot be “recalled” to put in a missing part. We get one time to do it correctly, and God help us all if we are not successful.

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Thumbnail image for How Boundaries Separating White School Districts From Nonwhite Communities Are Becoming Flashpoints

How Boundaries Separating White School Districts From Nonwhite Communities Are Becoming Flashpoints

by Source 12.03.2014 Education

By Robert Reich

America is embroiled in an immigration debate that goes far beyond President Obama’s executive order on undocumented immigrants.

It goes to the heart of who “we” are. And it’s roiling communities across the nation.

In early November, school officials in Orinda, California, hired a private detective to determine whether a seven-year-old Latina named Vivian – whose single mother works as a live-in nanny for a family in Orinda — “resides” in the district and should therefore be allowed to attend the elementary school she’s already been attending there.

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Thumbnail image for Ferguson: America’s Heart of Darkness

Ferguson: America’s Heart of Darkness

by Jim Miller 12.01.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Along with so many people last week, I watched the events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold with profound dismay and anger while fighting a sense of despair over the intractable nature of American racism. We all knew it was coming, but that didn’t soften the blow.

On the social media, one might also have predicted the outpouring of callousness and hate toward Michael Brown and those protesting the Grand Jury verdict, but it made it no less loathsome. Even the subsequent torching of Michael Brown’s family church was not a shock, just eerily resonant.

There have been many eloquent responses to the great injustice that was the Wilson verdict last week, and I will not try to address the specifics of the case here. Instead, I offer a few observations from the longer view informed by the history of racism and exploitation in the West.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

by Source 11.24.2014 Activism

Ché Café Media Advisory

On Wednesday, November 19, UCSD administrators decided to seek a writ of possession to enforce an earlier unlawful detainer judgment and evict the Ché Café Cooperative and any students from the café space it has continuously occupied for over 34 years. Despite a resolution by the UCSD Associated Students Council (AS) asking the Chancellor to not proceed with posting a 5-day notice to vacate, and 14,000-signature petitions and open letters demanding that UCSD stop the eviction actions against the Ché Café, delivered to the Chancellor earlier this month, action by the administration to evict the Ché Café continues rather than negotiations for a new lease agreement with the Co-op.

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Thumbnail image for The Condor and the Eagle: Part 1

The Condor and the Eagle: Part 1

by Horacio Jones 11.22.2014 Activism

By Horacio Jones

The Condor and the Eagle: Part 1

“An ancient prophecy, says when the Eagle of North America and the Condor of South America unite and fly together, the spirit of peace will awaken on Earth. After waiting for millennia, many native peoples believe the time is now.”

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Thumbnail image for Shut-Peachment: The Coming GOP Drama Over Immigration. Get Your Popcorn Ready.

Shut-Peachment: The Coming GOP Drama Over Immigration. Get Your Popcorn Ready.

by Doug Porter 11.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Congressional Republicans are bracing for executive actions on immigration by President Obama in the very near future.

The GOP apparently feels some sort of sense of entitlement coming off the mid-term elections when voters repeated their usual pattern of increased support for the party not in the White House. (The last time that didn’t happen was 1998, when Republicans were busy trying to impeach President Bill Clinton.)

The President, who has lived through six years of GOP obstructionism, isn’t waiting any longer on this issue. Today we’ll take a look at what’s likely to happen politically in the coming weeks. Trust me, it’s going to be a very entertaining holiday season if you’re into politics.

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Thumbnail image for Learning About Counter-Recruitment With Project YANO (Youth And Non-Military Opportunities)

Learning About Counter-Recruitment With Project YANO (Youth And Non-Military Opportunities)

by At Large 11.13.2014 Activism

By Jesus Mendez-Carbajal / Draft NOtices

In the past nine months as Project YANO’s 2013-2014 student intern, I have learned an immense amount of information about U.S. militarism, its far reach, and counter-recruitment. I have been directly impacted on multiple levels.

I have grown mentally through the knowledge I have gained and also personally through the interactions and relationships I have built with youth, advisors, teachers, mentors, and Project YANO supporters, volunteers and board members.

I have had the pleasure of working with students who look like me, engaging low-income youth of color who have stories and backgrounds similar to my own.

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Thumbnail image for The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

by Source 10.27.2014 Business

By Peter Hart / Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

With a cover that announces “Rotten Apples: It’s Nearly Impossible to Fire a Bad Teacher” alongside an image of a judge’s gavel about to smash a fruit, you might suspect Time magazine (10/23/14) is doing some good old-fashioned teacher-bashing.

You’d be right.

There are a few problems with the story, but the biggest one is pretty familiar: It buries the lead. The Time piece, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, waits until the very end to tell readers that the teacher evaluation scheme central to argument is advancing is highly dubious.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

by Doug Porter 10.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A ruling by Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal yesterday may well mean the end of the road for the C.H.E. Cafe, a student run cooperative at UCSD.

The co-op will have five calendar days to vacate once a written order is signed by the judge and the university files a writ of possession, meaning the group could be evicted by the middle of next week.

Supporters of the C.H.E.were vague about their future plans when speaking with the news media following the court decision, saying they were considering further legal actions and promising to continue protest activity and lobbying.

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Thumbnail image for Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

by Jim Miller 10.13.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

After my column last week on the battle between Tom Torlakson and the corporate education reform machine backing Marshall Tuck, I was pleased to see The Nation magazine’s special issue on schools. The writers aptly note that the struggle in American education is not one of the “status quo” versus “reform,” but rather, it is between a kind of educational class war dressed up as reform and a more progressive vision that seeks to empower all kids equally.

As the lead editorial observes:

The havoc wreaked by so-called education reform has had the upside of crystallizing a movement of parents, teachers, school staffers and kids who are fighting for education justice. Schools . . . are still a vital social safety net for children. A truly progressive vision for public education shouldn’t focus on stories of how a few kids competed their way out of blighted neighborhoods. Instead, it should focus on taking back that stream of money going to charter chains and corporate tax cuts and redirecting it toward schools anchored in strong communities and using proven methods for teaching kids—the very methods deployed in schools where the rich send their children. Indeed, the most disadvantaged kids should get even more support for their schools than their privileged suburban counterparts. Without education equity, we don’t have an educational system at all—we have a rigged rat race that starts in kindergarten. 

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

By Doug Porter

The following analyses of Propositions 1 & 2 represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

Back in the middle of August the California Legislature worked up a plan to renumber a couple of propositions appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy political projects — a multibillion-dollar bond for water needs and a constitutional amendment to enhance the state’s rainy day budget fund — dropped the ballot numbers assigned by Secretary of State Debra Bowen of Proposition 43 (water) and Proposition 44 (budget).

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Thumbnail image for Will Hot, Hot, Hot Mean Burn, Baby, Burn? Heat Wave, High Winds Forecast for Weekend

Will Hot, Hot, Hot Mean Burn, Baby, Burn? Heat Wave, High Winds Forecast for Weekend

by Doug Porter 09.30.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s fall in San Diego, and while outsiders may not realize it, we can see some of the highest temperatures of the year while trees are turning colors in more temperate parts of the country.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the development of a Santa Ana pattern starting on Thursday. Temperatures will peak on Saturday, the humidity is expected to drop into the single digits and winds up 50 miles per hour are expected in the eastern part of the county.

Given that temperatures have already been above normal for the year and most of California is starved for water, conditions are favorable for wildfires throughout Southern California.  So it seems like today is as good as any to write about the changing of our climate in San Diego and the responses (or lack thereof) to these changes.

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Thumbnail image for Student Loan Debt: The Only Debt You Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy

Student Loan Debt: The Only Debt You Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy

by John Lawrence 09.30.2014 Business

John Lawrence

Today’s students are being crushed with John Bunyan’s proverbial burden on their backs – student loan debt. Until relatively recently this debt could have been discharged in bankruptcy.

Then all that changed when Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Association, was privatized in 2004. Albert Lord, the new CEO, and his lobbyists went to work to change the laws so that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. Today the cumulative student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

While a generation ago a high school diploma was considered sufficient for a decent middle class entry level job, today it’s a college diploma even if the job itself could be easily accomplished by a person with just a high school education.

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Thumbnail image for Gov. Brown’s Bill Signing Binge Brings Changes to California

Gov. Brown’s Bill Signing Binge Brings Changes to California

by Doug Porter 09.29.2014 Business

By Doug Porter 

Governor Jerry Brown’s been busy over the last few days, signing off on a variety of measures passed by the Legislature during its last session.

Legislation concerning sexual consent, subcontractor standards, the initiative process, degrees at community colleges and legal assistance for immigrant minors were all approved.

Today we’ll take a look at some of those new laws. The Governor vetoed additional funding for California colleges, along with a group of bills aiming to promote transparency in governance and provide greater disclosure in political campaigns.

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Thumbnail image for Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

by Source 09.29.2014 Activism

As student activists return to campus to celebrate the 1964 Free Speech movement that galvanized for social justice, big questions remain about the direction of higher education since those radical days of upheaval and hope

By Barbara Garson / Common Dreams

I’m going back to the Berkeley campus this week for the fiftieth reunion of the Free Speech Movement.  You may have heard in some history class about Mario Savio and the first student sit-in of the sixties.  That was us FSMers at Berkeley.

It will feel a bit surreal.  The university that had 801 of us arrested is welcoming us back by hanging Free Speech banners on the building we occupied.  Home like a victorious football team!  But it’s not a real victory because the people that tried to shut us up in the 1960s have a more chilling control over U.S. college students today than they ever had over us.  Today it’s not police control, its economic control.

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Thumbnail image for I’m Not the Least Bit Grateful for Being Smacked on My Behind

I’m Not the Least Bit Grateful for Being Smacked on My Behind

by Ernie McCray 09.27.2014 Culture

By Ernie McCray

It seems the NFL, of all institutions, is drawing our attention to social situations in our society that we’ve generally overlooked for far too long: domestic violence and corporal punishment when it comes to disciplining our children.

Regarding the latter of these matters, I’ve been in several conversations lately where someone expressed how “grateful” they were for their parents taking the belt to their behind. It did them no harm, they say, and it made them the person they are today – and I’m thinking the human being they have become is someone who sees nothing wrong with hitting a five year old because of who knows what, talking back, lying, stealing from the piggy bank, hitting their little sister, getting in trouble at school…?

Well, I was hit about three times when I was a kid and what I remember most about it is how utterly fearful I was and how pissed I was at my mother. If I could have, I would have strangled her and I’m not the least bit “grateful” for entertaining such violent thoughts or the ass whuppings.

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Thumbnail image for Living on the Edge in San Diego, the Nation’s Most Biologically Diverse County

Living on the Edge in San Diego, the Nation’s Most Biologically Diverse County

by At Large 09.26.2014 Culture

By Elliott Kennerson

Let’s play a game. Name an endangered species from San Diego.

Anyone say vernal pool fairy shrimp? Doubtful, because when you think of San Diego, you don’t usually think of a one-inch long crustacean that you can’t even eat.

You said panda, right?

Though San Diego is the most biologically diverse county in the nation, according to the Nature Conservancy, with 200 or so threatened or endangered species, (the fairy shrimp among them), this town is much more famous for its beloved Zoo and our lately less beloved Sea World, animal parks that host tons of diversity, of course, most of it exotic.

The county’s numerous native species of toads, fish, insects, small birds, and plants on the endangered or threatened list are pretty missable compared to Bai Yun getting her tooth fixed.

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Thumbnail image for Why I Regret My Elite Education

Why I Regret My Elite Education

by At Large 09.24.2014 Culture

By Anna Prouty

I entered the elite at age five.

From kindergarten to sixth grade, I attended The Rhoades School, a prestigious, private elementary school. In seventh grade, I started at The Bishop’s School, a prestigious, private middle and high school. In 2010, I began college at Barnard College of Columbia University, a prestigious, private college with the double bonus of being both a Seven Sisters and a de-facto college of an Ivy League university. This past winter, I graduated from college with an offer of admission to the London School of Economics (LSE), one of the “most elite” universities in the world.

On the ladder of prestige, I’ve climbed about as far as a 21-year-old can. My classmates have gone on to medical schools and law schools, finance jobs and consulting jobs at the most influential companies in the country. The more globally minded are Fulbright Scholars, the more socially minded are Teaching for America.

Me? I’m living in a trailer on my uncle’s farm in Washington. But like my classmates who WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and backpack through Chile and work in Sierra Leone, I’m only doing it temporarily. This is a gap year, a brief stint of regular life bookended by glittering prestige.

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Thumbnail image for Librotraficantes: Smuggling Banned Books back into Public Schools and Communities

Librotraficantes: Smuggling Banned Books back into Public Schools and Communities

by Anna Daniels 09.24.2014 Activism

“Arizona banned our history. We decided to make more.”

By Anna Daniels

If you can ban one book, why not ban a whole bunch of them? Back in 2012 the Tucson Arizona public school system embraced the more is better approach when it eliminated the Mexican American Studies Program from the K-12 curriculum.

The LA Times reported that “The Tucson school board voted to end the program after Arizona’s education chief had ruled the district in violation of a controversial state law banning classes designed for a particular ethnic group or that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.” The Tuscon school district stood to lose $14 million in state education funds, which no doubt squelched a more robust debate on the topic of intellectual freedom and education.

The grassroots Librotraficante (book trafficker) movement arose as a full-throated denunciation of Arizona Law HB 2281, which banned Mexican American Studies in the state. It didn’t matter to the lawmakers that Mexican American students account for more than 40% of the enrollment in Arizona schools, or that this curriculum was popular, or that it was successful in promoting literacy and critical thought–you know, educating students. It did matter to the people affected by the decision.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Post-Modern Robin Hoods

DIY Resistance: Post-Modern Robin Hoods

by Will Falk 09.23.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

For the last year, it goes like this: My phone rings precisely at 6:30 AM. I groan in bed and reach towards the shelf holding my phone. By the time I locate my phone, I’ve missed the call. It’s from an area code I don’t recognize. They’ve left a message, so I curse, roll over, cuddle a pillow to my chest, and fall back asleep. When I wake up there are three more calls from three different area codes with three more messages. I listen to the messages.

They are all the same. The prerecording plays, “Hello, this is Heather from Sallie Mae Department of Education Loan Services with a message for” and there’s a short pause, a hiss, and a mechanized voice saying “William Fawk.”

I chuckle to myself. The machines never know how to pronounce my last name. Falk, like talk with an F. And poor Heather-from-Sallie-Mae-Department-of-Education-Loan-Services will never track me down, though she has been getting rather sly lately. She calls from an area code where I have friends or family like 414 (Milwaukee) or 317 (Indianapolis) forcing me to check my messages just to make sure I do not miss a call from someone who matters.

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Thumbnail image for Crippling Student Loan Debt, Not Just For the Young

Crippling Student Loan Debt, Not Just For the Young

by Source 09.20.2014 Economy

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

The retirement crisis, hastened by the death of the pension and the great recession that decimated retirement funds along with home values, has a yet another growing cause: student loan debt. A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows how massive student loan debt is throughout the population, but how dramatically it has grown for seniors.

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Thumbnail image for Is San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law Going Under?

Is San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law Going Under?

by Source 09.19.2014 Business

By Paul Campos / Lawyers, Guns and Money

Thomas Jefferson is a big, although shrinking, ABA law school in San Diego, featuring horrible employment statistics (less than three in ten graduates have legal jobs nine months after graduation), terrible bar passage rates (over the past three years less than half of the school’s graduates who have taken the California bar have passed), and mind-boggling debt figures (the 2013 class took out an average of $180,000 in law school loans, which means its members had an average of around $215,000 in law school debt alone, not counting undergraduate debt, when their first loan payments became due in December).

A few years ago, this institution decided it would be a good thing to build a swank 305,000 square-foot eight-story building in downtown San Diego, at a cost of around $90,000,000. The project, which was completed in 2011, was beset by litigation over “alleged construction flaws and unpaid debts.”

The project has also been plagued by remarkably bad timing, as it opened just as the law school reform movement was generating the kind of major media coverage that led to a crash in applications to law schools generally, and to TJSL in particular.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido School Board Candidates on Creationism, Prayer, Tenure

Escondido School Board Candidates on Creationism, Prayer, Tenure

by Source 09.19.2014 Editor's Picks

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

Both candidates competing to represent Area 4 of the Escondido Union (elementary) School District told Escondido Democrats in a forum September 13 support teaching creationism alongside science in the classroom. Incumbent Board Member Marty Hranek said it is “important to offer different viewpoints and state the facts as they are. There’s a lot of very good research out there for multiple philosophies.” Zesty Harper, who is challenging Hranek, said “I’m a Christian and I believe God created the earth. I think we should offer both views… in a non-biased way.” Hranek later sent an email attempting to backtrack from his comments, writing “I do not agree that ‘creationism’ should be taught as curriculum in public schools.”

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Thumbnail image for There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 09.10.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Voters in the 52nd Congressional District come November will get to make their choice between the former City Councilman and incumbent Democrat Scott Peters. Today I’ll argue that this choice is more than ideological; it’s a question of character. 

What differentiates DeMaio in my mind from others who I disagree with (including Congressman Peters from time to time) is the way he does business. A couple of recent examples serve to illustrate my point. (And I’ll remind you of some past incidents that bolster my contention.) 

Having lost out on an endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce last week, candidate DeMaio sought to change the subject by rolling out what he insisted was a series of women-friendly proposals. 

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