Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Posted on Echo Park-Silver Lake Patch on May 18, 2013
The June 15, 2013 reopening of the park can't come soon enough after the seemingly endless rehabilitation.
My long fondness and fascination with our intriguing body of water goes back decades. On the weekends during the mid nineteen eighties and early nineties I used to ride my VFR to Lago de Echo Parque to escape the city just north of Los Angeles proper. The soothing sound of Spanish speakers, the city skyline, the ubiquitous waterfowl, and the lotus beds were all important sources of solace.
When I was finally able to move to Echo Park in 1994, I was overjoyed that the lake was only a few minutes away. The park was a nearly daily destination, including weekend basketball pickup games on the other side of Bellevue. In those years I began teaching Catechism at St. Teresa's, became fully immersed in the immigrant rights movement, and started researching and writing about the privatization of our public school system.
The lotus beds in full bloom were always harbingers of summer. Attendance at each day of the Lotus Festival was a given. A cultural celebration, the festivals reflected the diversity of the community. In fact, I took Yoon Jung to the 2005 Festival for our first date. We married 2008, and bought our house in Historic Filipinotown right before they drained the lake.
A lot has changed in the past twenty years, and as a transplant myself, it's not my place to remind lifelong residents of those changes. However, the hardest thing for me witness was the slow death of the lotus beds. It felt like the community was loosing one more thing that gave it its unique character. I remember commenting on a LA Times article discussing the issue. Bitter over the rapid changes in the neighborhood that included the park being overrun by fixie bikes and impromptu skinny-jean croquet matches, I wrote something to the effect that the lotus were dying off in direct proportion to the gentrification.
The years without the lotus beds were depressing. While there was some confort in the announcement that the rehabilitation would restore the aquatic plants, the lengthy time frame was daunting. Finally the lake will be returned to the community for all of us to enjoy — even fixie bike riders.
Yoon Jung and I still live within walking distance of the parque, albeit a bit longer walk than before. We can't wait for the reopening, and in anticipation are posting a few old photos.
END RACIST SCHOLARSHIP! DEMAND A PUBLIC APOLOGY TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY BY JASON RICHWINE AND HIS HARVARD DISSERTATION COMMITTEE!
Sign the Online Petition:
INTRODUCTION Jason Richwine in his capacity as a Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation, co-authored a controversial report arguing that immigration reform will cost about 6.3 trillion more in benefits than the country can collect from undocumented immigrants in taxes, attributing the gap to lack of human capital while cynically noting that the cost would be lower if the workers remain undocumented as this would keep them from accessing public benefits.
In his Heritage report, Richwine builds on the same arguments found in his 2009 doctoral dissertation, “IQ and Immigration”, from Harvard University. Based on outdated and repudiated research and methods, which we consider irresponsible and racist, the dissertation argues:
“Hispanic immigrants and their children have a low average IQ, which prevents the second generation from achieving equality with the native majority. Parental expectations for their children are not met, because they cannot be, given the level of intelligence present in the community.”
This kind of pseudo-science disguised as “scientific scholarship”, employs deficit reasoning that positions ethnic “minorities” and the working class as deficient rather than viewing people in dignified ways. We believe that Harvard University needs to apply stricter criteria in assessing not just the merits of scholarship but weigh its ideological content and effect.
DEMANDS: WE DEMAND A PUBLIC APOLOGY TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY BY JASON RICHWINE AND HIS DISSERTATION COMMITTEE, DR. GEORGE J. BORJAS, DR. RICHARD J. ZECKHAUSER, AND DR. CHRISTOPHER JENCKS.
WE DEMAND HARVARD UNIVERSITY CHANGE ITS RESEARCH POLICIES.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Support this cause by signing on to this online petition and help us reach our goal of 5,000 signatures. We call on all progressive scholars, community members, educators and students, to denounce this kind of work and pressure universities so that they are responsible in their research.
You can contact directly members of Jason Richwine’s committee, who we believe are just as responsible for this kind of scholarship as Jason Richwine, and Harvard’s Institutional Review Board.
George J. Borjas, firstname.lastname@example.org http://email@example.com , 617-495-1393
Richard J. Zeckhauser, firstname.lastname@example.org http://email@example.com , 617-495-1174
Christopher Jencks, firstname.lastname@example.org http://email@example.com , 617-495-0546
Harvard University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB):
Fanny Ennever, Senior IRB Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org http://email@example.com, 617-495-1775
Organizational Endorsements of This Campaign: Send organizational endorsements of this online petition campaign to RACE.firstname.lastname@example.org<http://RACE.email@example.com>
Access Jason Richwine’s dissertation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/jason-richwine-dissertation_n_3240168.html
Monday, May 20, 2013
"What's happening at Crenshaw is representative of the death of the large, urban comprehensive high school all across the country." — Dana Goldstein
From the organizers:
If you have time to attend one after school thing for the remainder of the year, May 28th in support of Crenshaw, has to be that event. This will be a student led event, co-sponsored by CEJ, Community Rights Campaign, Sierra Club and Schools LA Students Deserve. The event should gain major media attention, and is part of our grassroots and legal strategy challenging LAUSD on this destabilizing attack upon one of our schools.
Event will be at Brotherhood Crusade at 5415 Crenshaw.
First published on @TCFKSM on May 20, 2013
"Teachers could stop #CommonCore tomorrow—if they joined hands and said 'Hell, No!' The alternative is loss of profession—and soul." — Susan Ohanian
A local university professor I'm friends with through The Association of Raza Educators (ARE) wrote me yesterday with the following message:
I hope you are well... You might be familiar with the work of Wayne Au. He has developed solid critical work around curriculum theory and practice... Attached is his latest article, a critique of CCSS..
Interestingly and predictably, Bill Gates is setting up "training" with teacher educators across the CSUs; I just got invited to attend and "learn" about "teacher effectiveness measures" and how they inform CCSS!
The last paragraph is terribly frightening. The paper he attached by Professor Wayne Au is outstanding. For those who don't know, Au is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. His widely cited Unequal By Design: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality is an excellent source for connecting the standardized testing with the eugenicist project. Au's newer book Critical Curriculum Studies: Education, Consciousness, and the Politics of Knowing also comes highly recommended.
Au's latest paper Coring Social Studies within Corporate Education Reform: The Common Core State Standards, Social Justice, and the Politics of Knowledge in U.S. Schools is certainly worth reading and sharing. I'm reproducing the abstract here to whet intellectual appetites.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted in 45 U.S. states. Driven by a wide coalition that includes both major U.S. political parties, the business elite, for-profit education corporations, cultural conservatives, and both major U.S. teachers’ unions, the CCSS have mainly garnered glowing praise in mainstream U.S. media and widespread acceptance amongst political figures and public school districts nationwide. This paper undertakes a critical analysis of the origins and political tensions found within the CCSS, arguing that the CCSS will inevitably lead to restrictive high-stakes, standardized testing similar to that associated with No Child Left Behind. Further this paper specifically examines the treatment of the social studies within the context of CCSS and questions the likely outcomes of the recently drafted College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards within the current political and cultural context of the United States.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
This image and introduction are courtesy of my favorite Social Justice Educator. Nothing like a Superintendent and School Board that place profits before pupils!
Please share with others. Don't let Monica Garcia and friends fool people into thinking they are ending the school to prison pipeline when they don't spend money on the classroom and Health and Human Services. Nothing helps end criminalization like great schools! That is where resources need to go!
Follow the money and you will see the LAUSD School Board's priorities.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Yet another day of spoiled and inedible food pushed on LAUSD kids courtesy LA Fund's Breakfast in the Classroom
We will be hearing from Lori Yuan, a parent in Adelanto who fought the Parent Trigger at her school, and Parents Across America Founding Member Rita Solnet who, along with other organizations, defeated the Prent Trigger bill in the Florida State Senate on March 9, 2013.
Parents Across America is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from around the country to share ideas and work together to improve our nation's public schools.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
YouTube Introduction What's really happening in education politics? Would you believe it's a battle between greedy school teachers and corporate CEOs who want what's best for the children? Well, not so much. Charter schools backed by these so-called "education reformers" aren't necessarily better than standard public education - it's actually been proven that they aren't. Charter schools do however make sense as a business strategy, allowing corporations to make big money off school children. How does this strategy work? David Sirota explains.
Published on Monica Ratliff's campaign site on Thursday, April 25, 2013
At a time when the fate of public education hangs in the balance, the urgency of electing Monica Ratliff cannot be overstated. Ms. Ratliff left a lucrative law career in order to become an educator at a school that straddles the line between skid row and South Central Los Angeles. I can't think of a more honorable thing to do. Her choice to teach the most vulnerable is the epitome of the type of authentic reforms our district so desperately needs. Ratliff's experience and insight garnered from working with, rather than talking about, impoverished inner-city children provides a glimmer of hope for a district beholden to an incumbent board and Superintendent that have placed developer and corporate profits above the needs of students.
Her opponent, on the other hand, is a political opportunist supported by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Philip Anschutz, Michelle Rhee, Michael Bloomberg, and Eli Broad. The millions of dollars these plutocrats have bestowed on Ratliff's opponent must be seen for what they really are — a shrewd business investment. A day after Rupert Murdoch announced his quarter million dollar contribution to Coalition for School Reform supported candidates, his firm Amplify announced a new education tablet product which he expects CSR backed candidates to purchase. Moreover, Ratliff's opponent has no experience in education, nor even a grasp of education policy. He sees LAUSD as a stepping stone to the California Assembly or City Hall.
We need a break from the LAUSD status quo of corporate giveaways and school privatization. We need a school board member who will prioritize pupils over profits. We need a woman who has dedicated her life to giving students the education they deserve. There's only one thing to remember for the May 21, 2013 District 6 General Election — Vote for the Teacher! Vote Monica Ratliff for Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education!
Robert D. Skeels, 2013 Primary Candidate District 2
For more on the The Network for Public Education, see their website. Be sure to check out all of Professor Diane Ravitch's posts regarding educator Monica Ratliff for Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education as well.
The Board of Directors of NPE has voted to endorse Monica Ratliff in her runoff election for Los Angeles school board. The election will happen on May 21st.
We asked both Ratliff and her opponent, Antonio Sanchez, to complete a detailed candidate questionnaire. Monica Ratliff’s responses revealed someone who is a working 5th grade teacher, well acquainted with the challenges faced by the schools of Los Angeles. Sanchez did not respond.
Ratliff understands that testing has gotten way out of control. She told us:
Teachers constantly check for understanding. LAUSD spends too much money on periodic assessments and other tests that waste money and, more importantly, precious instructional time. We need less purchased standardized testing. One standardized test at the end of the year is acceptable – depending upon its use.
She opposes merit pay based on test scores, and the sharing of student data without explicit parental permission.
Her opponent, Antonio Sanchez, has received the full backing of corporate reformers, including donations from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and billionaire Eli Broad. According to the Los Angeles Times, which endorsed Ratliff, Sanchez lacks educational expertise and his positions are unclear. He tends to speak in political platitudes about key issues rather than offering specifics.
Students of Los Angeles need school board members who are independent of the corporate reform machines. They need people who understand education issues in depth, and that is why we are endorsing Monica Ratliff.
NPE President Diane Ravitch endorsed Ratliff last week, writing:
Monica will be overwhelmingly outspent. She can win if friends of public education turn out to vote. She needs our help. If everyone who loves teachers sends Monica a gift of any size, she would be the best-funded candidate in the race. Send whatever you can afford.
It is of vital importance that we elect independent candidates like Ratliff. Please visit and donate what you can to her campaign here.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Gilberta Gonzalez of United Adult Students speaking at CCAE 2013 Conference in Sacramento. She is introduced here by CCAE Conference co-Chair, Branka Marceta. Holding the 10,000 petition signatures is Teacher and Evans Adult School graduate Juan Noguera.
KB: BIC supporters say more LAUSD students are taking food, they don't mention it goes to straight the trash.
PESJA: Breakfast in the Classroom, a tax shelter for firms to dispose of rancid, rotten & otherwise spoiled food
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Corporations have even found a way to co-opt words like urban "gentrification" to deflect attention from what they do twitter.com/rdsathene/stat…— Robert D. Skeels (@rdsathene) May 14, 2013
First published on Schools Matter on December 26, 2012.
"...the impending shortage of scientists and engineers is one of the longest running hoaxes in the country" — Gerald W. Bracey
Schools Matter's Professor Stephen Krashen has been a long time critic of the media promulgated mythology that there's a shortage of qualified workers, particularly those in the Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) fields. A quick survey of his posts here reveal his ongoing work to counter the skills/STEM propaganda that is most often used to justify some of the most pernicious corporate education reforms.
Whenever I see more evidence proving these skills/STEM myths wrong, I'm quick to forward them to Dr. Krashen for him to add to his burgeoning catalog of documentation. NPR's recent Are There Too Many Ph.D.s And Not Enough Jobs? is an example of the evidence contradicting all the outrageous lies by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, David Welch, Reed Hastings, Arne Duncan, et al. The NPR piece, which cites The Atlantic, contains gems such as:
"numbers released by the National Science Foundation show that people with doctoral degrees in those technical fields are struggling to find work in their industries."
"Worse yet, as of 2011, approximately one-third of people graduating with a doctoral degree in science, technology, math or engineering had no job or post-doctoral offer of any kind."
Krashen posted the above piece on his facebook page, and several of us commented. Still exhausted from the LAUSD election, I had forgotten what I wrote until I saw myself quoted by Peggy Robertson and Patsy Bain Wolf. Looking at the quote, I'm sure glad they preserved it, since it gets to the heart of the matter:
The manufactured STEM crisis. Robert D. Skeels states "The manufactured STEM 'crises' has from the onset been a means to drive down the salaries of those professionals who often don't see themselves as being working class. Starting with Bill Gates' drive to grant more H1B visas to certain workers under the guise of "not enough qualified candidates." What this really means is not enough candidates willing to work on the cheap. Ultimately the same market forces that allow the owners of the means of production drive wages down are at work. Sadly, since many professionals aren't class conscious, the only things that could reverse this trend — working class push-back and unionization — aren't being discussed."
Another recent article by In These Times entitled Study Demolishes the Myth That U.S. Workers Lack Skills further puts the lie to the notion that U.S. workers are lacking in the education or skills department. The piece, which discusses a paper by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Professor Marc Levine, contains powerful quotes like: "There are still three unemployed people for every possible job opening."
The article proper enumerates the points of Levine’s report, only the headings of which are reproduced here.
- False: The skills of the workforce somehow dropped sharply between 2007 and 2009.
- False: There is a vast pool of high-skilled jobs waiting to be filled.
- False: Employers are trying in vain to attract skilled workers.
- False: Understaffed employers must make do with the skilled workers they have.
- False: New high-skill jobs have been created.
- False: Workers with advanced degrees are more highly sought-after.
- False: The American job market will increasingly demand higher-skilled workers.
Globalization has allowed the ownership class to increasingly pit workers against each other in ways the Robber Barons could have only dreamed of. When workers compete, their boses win! A major part of the impetus behind corporate education reform is the same momentum that's created a job market were workers are increasingly expected to work harder and harder for less and less, while being required to have ever more education and training (at their own expense, of course). Nearly all of Silicon Valley's plutocratic elites' whining about a skills shortage is part and parcel a cry to drive down wages and squeeze ever more profit out of workers who are expected to "lean in."
This race to the bottom for workers is accelerated by those same forces turning teaching into an act of Taylorism as well. Race to the Top and Common Core State Standards are part of a corporate consensus intended to create compliant workers ready to accept ever more abject working conditions. The daily experience in schools today is a grim reminder of what student's adult life will most likely look like. Brian Jones' recent commentary looks at this in depth and provides inescapable analysis. The byline, which couldn't be more apropos, reads 'When Karl Marx described the despotism of the modern workplace, he could have been describing schools in the era of education "reform."' Jones' essay is replete with insights like:
"The bourgeoisie," Marx noted, "cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society."
In those words, Marx put his finger on precisely what's happening in education--the relationship between teacher and student is being revolutionized. The student is, increasingly, evaluated not by the human being he or she speaks to every day, but by a harried, low-wage test scorer (sometimes hundreds of miles away) paid per test or worse, by a machine that scans the student's bubble sheet.
It's no small irony that the selfsame students whose tests are being graded by "harried, low-wage test scorer[s]" are being prepared for such futures as well.
The neoliberal project encroaches from every side and can only be defeated by collective resistance. My heart goes out to all those at the Occupy the Department of Education 2.0: The Battle for Public Schools event right now. I am there with you in spirit. We must continue organizing against these seemingly unstoppable forces, in hopes that eventually we can get our fellows in struggle to realize the meaning of Rosa Luxemburg's famous passage "those who do not move, do not notice their chains."
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
United Adult Students (UAS) to rally against Governor Brown's plan
Los Angeles, California - April 16, 2013 - United Adult Students (UAS) have announced that they will hold a student rally and present petitions containing thousands of signatures opposed to Governor Brown's plan to move adult education to the Community College system.
The details for the event are as follows:
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Evans Community Adult School
717 N Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
UAS released the following statement.
"We are against Governor Brown’s plan to transfer the Adult Education program of LAUSD to the Community College system. We want our Adult Schools to remain open and accessible in our communities, and with dedicated funding streams.
Estamos en contra del plan del Gobernador Brown de trasladar la Educación de Adultos del Distrito Escolar (LAUSD) a los Colegios Comunitarios. Queremos que nuestras Escuelas para Adultos se mantegan abiertas y acesibles en nuestras comunidades, y con fondos dedicados."
The petitions and ten reasons provided by UAS for signing it can be found on their website at http://www.unitedadultstudents.org/petition_against_governor_brown_s_plan
Founded by students in response to Mónica García and John Deasy's threatened elimination of LAUSD Adult Education in 2012, United Adult Students (UAS) successfully defended much of the program. Through organizing, activism, and lobbying, UAS has proven the collective power of adult students. UAS is the voice of adult education.
United Adult Students (UAS)
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Attacks on our schools continue, but the fight is stronger than ever as exemplified by the Schools L.A. Students Deserve Campaign. Parents, students, teachers, community organizations have come together to not only build a vision for schools but to think about a strategy to win.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Monica Ratliff for LAUSD School Board
The Empress Pavilion
Thursday, April 18, 2013 from 5:30—7:30PM
988 N. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Hosted by Ed Burke, Mario Cano, Hon. Bennett Kayser, Hon. Julie Korenstein, Connie Moreno, with special guests Hon. Jackie Goldberg and David Tokofsky
I am happy to let you know about a marvelous young candidate, a teacher, for LA School Board in a run-off in the area I served for 8 years in the East San Fernando Valley. She grew up with a single mom who went back to school to help her daughter go to College at Columbia University. Well her daughter, Monica Ratliff, won a National Hispanic Scholarship to Columbia and then went on to Columbia Law School. After law school she went to work both at the NAACP and Neighborhood Legal Services in the SF Valley. She then decided and has now taught for 11 years at a downtown garment district poverty elementary school earning honors for her commitment to students. She won the LA Times and the LA Daily News Endorsement. I would very much like you to support her as her opponent received 1.2 million dollars to her 14,000 dollars. I hope you will join us or send your support for her campaign.
Some Thoughts on the District 6 Election
One other thing about Ms. Ratliff that Mr. Tokofsky failed to mention above: she's NOT supported by Rupert Murdoch, Eli Broad, Philip Anschutz, and Michelle Rhee like some other District 6 candidates are.
When United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) House of Representatives (HOR) was voting on endorsements, I was with a group of Adult Education Students supporting my candidacy (when you work with the community, you get community support) passing out our literature to voting HOR members. I was standing next to a young man who I assumed was an intern or working on another candidate's campaign. I introduced myself as a District 2 candidate and he said his name was Antonio Sanchez, a candidate for District 6. I asked him my stock question that I ask all political candidates, "what is your stance on school privatization." I was taken aback by his response, especially given we were in an union hall. He said "I don't like that word, we need to get away from using that word." Next morning I read in the LA Times that he came out of the Villaraigosa camp. That made sense in light of his political affiliations. Sanchez didn't want to talk about school privatization at the UTLA building because he's in favor of school privatization. At the Stonewall Democratic Club endorsement meeting I had the temerity to bring up Antonio Sanchez's connections with the arch-reactionary Coalition for School Reform (CSR), including Philip Anschutz, who was a major player in the passage of Prop 8. That truth made for a close vote, but afterwards I was told I was being unfair for "tarring Sanchez with the brush on an IE" (independent expenditure).
Let's be clear. Had I ever been endorsed by or learned that a Coalition for School Reform IE had been established on my behalf by fringe-right reactionaries including: Rupert Murdoch, Philip Anschutz, Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, Jamie Alter-Lynton, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Michael Bloomberg, and others, I would have immediately held a press conference denouncing their politics and disassociating myself from both them and their vile ideologies. Of course, that's because I believe in public education and oppose privatization and neoliberalism.
Photos from 1010 Wilshire Fundraiser Hosted by Suzie & Sean Abajian and Reynaldo Rivera on March 15, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thank you for this thoughtful and informative video exposing The Heartland Institute, Parent Revolution, and ALEC's corporate charter trigger law. We're hopeful that videos like this will counter the lies the trigger proponents promulgate, and that communities will resist when these outsiders come to steal our schools. — rdsathene
The video tells the story of Adelanto, California where a well-funded, outside group "Parent Revolution" came to town and instead of working to improve the schools tricked parents with false promises, bitterly divided the community, and disrupted the education of young children.
"The video makes clear that that parent trigger laws, pending in 14 states, are not a magic wand that improves education -- there is no magic wand," said Roger Hickey of the Education Opportunity Network. "Schools need better resources, engaged parents, good teachers and a supportive community. What schools do not need is divisive campaigns that mislead parents and disappoints parents," he said.
The Education Opportunity Network is part of a new movement that is building in America aimed at assuring that all children and youth have the opportunity to learn. The Education Opportunity Network is a project of the Institute for America's Future, in partnership with the Opportunity to Learn Campaign.
"We need to work together for student success. Let's give our teachers and students the tools and resources they need to succeed," said Jeff Bryant -- education writer and editor of the Education Opportunity Network. "We also need to invest in the priorities that build the foundation for student learning: small classes, early childhood education, up-to-date textbooks and computers, and classes like history, art, PE and music," he said.
Parent Trigger laws are about pitting parents against each other instead of everyone in the community working together on real solutions for educating all children," said Bryant.