Monday, September 12, 2011

An independent, pro-teacher vote in the IL House? « Fred Klonsky's blog

An independent, pro-teacher vote in the IL House? « Fred Klonsky's blog:

An independent, pro-teacher vote in the IL House?

A crush of people at Cole’s for Will Guzzardi’s campaign for IL House.

I promised I would attend the opening of Will Guzzardi’s campaign for the state House seat from Logan Square’s 39th District. And I did.

I joined a crush of people at Cole’s bar on Milwaukee in the heart of Logan Square.

The incumbent is Toni Berrios, daughter

The Honeymooners | The Jose Vilson

The Honeymooners | The Jose Vilson:

The Honeymooners

Honeymooners

Everyone calls this period the “honeymoon” on purpose. We lay the ground rules for the first few periods we encounter each other, get to know each other a bit, and make connections based on things we might have already observed. From there, we play nice, engaging in a light display of tug-and-pull, a diluted version of tug-of-war, sure to appear sometime later in the episode. Now isn’t the time for that, though. Right now, we’re just understanding the rules of engagement and playing along with them. Some might prefer to stay focused on these rules for the whole first week, but I’m ballsy. Why waste time when I can just demonstrate the rules through actual content?

I’m months away from a real honeymoon. This honeymoon’s about my own students.

The leg up I have on most teachers is that I get a flavor for classes before they even get to push my door handle.While other teachers locked themselves up in their rooms (to plan lessons and grade papers, I assume), I learned some of these classes, their leaders, and some of the knuckleheads that lined up in front of the dean’s office frequently for small to large infractions. When I first found out about the class I’d have in the year, I relished the opportunity. Sure, they had a couple of kids from the previous year. They have a certain character I can’t

Schools Matter: Some NOLA KIPP Schools Lagging Behind State Average

Schools Matter: Some NOLA KIPP Schools Lagging Behind State Average:

Some NOLA KIPP Schools Lagging Behind State Average

KIPP, Inc. offers a draconian test factory model that specializes in its own patented varieties of behavioral sterilization and cultural neutering. KIPP's Madison Avenue advertising campaign focuses on KIPP test scores, which are often higher than public school scores. But then spending 60 percent more time in school drilling within a total compliance regime that regularly shoves out low performers has its own kinds of perverse rewards.

As a result of advertising, unlimited corporate cash (tax-deductible), and the Jay Mathews PR machine, KIPP is held up as the urban model to emulate, even though we know it can never be scaled up to a level that would be needed to educate the majority of American school children who reside in urban areas. What is scary, however, is that public schools are starting to take on the total compliance regime of KIPP, Inc., thus achieving the primary aim of corporate reform schoolers in cities like New Orleans, which is to supply an endless stream of work-hard-and-be-nice bellhops and laundry workers for the Disney version of New Orleans that the white men of

Peg with Pen: United Opt Out: Action for Week of September 11th - Sharing Parent Flyer

Peg with Pen: United Opt Out: Action for Week of September 11th - Sharing Parent Flyer:

United Opt Out: Action for Week of September 11th - Sharing Parent Flyer

Our action at United Opt Out for the week of September 11th is to become familiar with the parent flyer listed here, at our website and on our Facebook group page – and then share it with ten or more people (Facebook, email and/or print out). We need to be able to articulate the reasons for opting out as people begin to ask us WHY? The current narrative MUST be changed. High stakes testing destroys childhood, destroys public schools, and violates our constitutional rights. In order to change the narrative, we must understand it and articulate it with conviction. Share the flyer. Spread the word. And do not forget our long term goal for September – we need petitions on opting out for EVERY STATE. We can not sit back and watch as America’s children suffer. See parent flyer attached here. Thanks everyone!
Parent Flyer

NYC Public School Parents: Thursday's arguments in our charter co-location lawsuit, & what Tisch and Klein said to Brill about this issue

NYC Public School Parents: Thursday's arguments in our charter co-location lawsuit, & what Tisch and Klein said to Brill about this issue:

Thursday's arguments in our charter co-location lawsuit, & what Tisch and Klein said to Brill about this issue


Arguments in our lawsuit vs. charter co-locations will be heard this Thursday, Sept. 15 at 10 AM ; 60 Court St, 2ndfloor, Judge Feinman’s courtroom.
Please join us to show your support at our press conference beforehand and in the courtroom afterwards.
Where: the Plaza across from 60 Centre St., near City Hall,map here.
When: Thursday, Sept. 15 at 9AM
What: Press conference before charter co-location court hearings
Class Size Matters, along with the Parents Union and several public school parents, sued DOE this summer to block their practice of providing free space and services to charter schools, which we believe violates state law, and which has led to co-located charters receiving more per student public funds than regular public schools.
The value of these services and space is estimated at more than $100 million annually, and the amount is

The Ticking Time Bomb in San Diego School Finances - voiceofsandiego.org: Pounding The Pavement

The Ticking Time Bomb in San Diego School Finances - voiceofsandiego.org: Pounding The Pavement:

The Ticking Time Bomb in San Diego School Finances

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  • In March 2010, the San Diego Unified school board inked a deal with the teachers' union that shaved costs from the budget in the short-term but was also a bet on increased state funding in later years. Above, former school board member Katherine Nakamura, board member John Lee Evans, Superintendent Bill Kowba and board President Richard Barrera.

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Two Gambles, and a Gamble on a Gamble

The District’s Gamble
San Diego Unified's 2010 labor deal was essentially a bet on the state’s finances turning around.

The district negotiated two years of unpaid furloughs for teachers to deal with an immediate budget crunch, followed by a series of raises in the final year. But the state’s finances haven’t turned around, and now the district is tied into paying the raises, regardless of whether it gets any extra money from Sacramento.

To win the bet: The state’s finances have to turn around drastically, by more than $4 billion in tax revenue. Even then, state politicians would have to agree to carve out more money from that extra revenue for schools.

If it loses the bet: Along with other increasing costs, the raises and the furlough days ending will mean the district starts next year $57 million in the hole and would again face the prospect of layoffs.
The State’s Gamble
In the spring, Sacramento lawmakers passed a budget based on a bet that the state’s finances would improve. Legislators essentially assumed that California would bring in billions more in taxes the next year. That’s already looking like wishful thinking.

To win the bet: The state has to bring in $4 billion more in taxes this year than it did last year, or it will have to make mandatory cuts to higher education, senior care and K-12 education.

If it loses the bet: School districts lose out if the state doesn't bring in enough extra revenue. San Diego Unified could get about $30 million less than it was expecting.
The District’s Gamble on the State’s Gamble
Rather than playing it safe, San Diego Unified decided to rehire more than 300 teachers on the strength of the state’s financial promises. The district has already committed to spending that money this year, since it can’t lay off the teachers it rehired.

To win the bet: The state has to bring in at least $2 billion in extra revenue for the district to get the extra money it is hoping for.

If it loses the bet: Without the extra money, the district will have overspent this year by $30 million, which will be added to next year’s deficit, bringing the total projected deficit to $87 million.

Posted: Monday, September 12, 2011 4:57 pm |Updated: 4:58 pm, Mon Sep 12, 2011.

The San Diego Unified School District's latest labor deal is a lot like one of those interest-only loans that helped sink the housing market and brought the economy to its knees.

For the first two years, the district doesn't even have to pay what it's supposed to. Teachers and other workers agreed to take five unpaid days off, trimming about $20 million each year from the district's

The Middle Class Is Dead

The Middle Class Is Dead:


The Middle Class Is Dead

Historians tell us that the United States of America once boasted a fabled "middle" class of residents. They were not too poor; they were not too rich; they were just right. Crazy—but allegedly true.

That all seems so distant now. The socioeconomic distribution-of-wealth curve has gone from being a smooth one-hump camel to a gnarled two-hump camel. The idea that the bulk of the benefits of our nation's political and economic policies should go to a large group, rather than a small group, is distinctly foreign now. Why did we ever think that would work? I can't remember.

The mushy middle is boring. Unambitious. Non-trepreneurial. Downright unAmerican. America is about extremes—of ideology, of policy, of class. By catering to the extremities, we can starve the middle of its sustenance, and watch it disappear. The middle class is America's belly fat. Get

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