July 27

theguardianUK is reporting that over 90% of teachers in Chicago voted to authorize a strike against the city school district.  If the educations do, indeed, hit the picket line the ramifications of the outcome could be huge for the union movement in general: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/16/chicago-teachers-strike-blow-organised-labour
   An L.A. County Superior Court Judge ruled last month in a suit brought by a group of parents that the LAUSD had violated the Stull Act by not including student achievement results as part of individual teacher evaluations in a story covered closely by the “Ed News.”  Attorneys for both the district and the union in a court hearing on Tuesday agreed that those performance reviews could include things like student test scores beginning this year.  One major stumbling block is how that’s to be implemented as detailed in a story in Wednesday’s L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0725-teacher-eval-20120725,0,5808473.story  The L.A. Daily News reported on the same story in this brief item: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_21149662/lausd-faces-dec-4-deadline-launching-new-teacher?source=rss
   A statewide bill to revamp teacher evaluations and possibly use student outcomes is making a comeback up in Sacramento amid negotiations between the Brown administration and legislative leaders according to this piece from SI&A CABINET REPORT: http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2471
   Are there corporate-related groups that are trying to reform (privatize?) education.  This expose looks at several organizations that try to influence education policy by writing and distributing model bills to various state legislatures.   Their bogeymen include ineffective teachers and the unions that support them: http://truth-out.org/news/item/10435-the-other-alecs-k-12-education-agenda-exposed
   The California School Boards Association (CSBA) will be making a major push in support of the two measures on November’s ballot (Propositions 30 and 38) that will increase funding for schools in the state as detailed in this SI&A CABINET REPORT:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2474
   A series of across-the-board federal budget cuts that are set to take effect in January could do serious harm to school programs nation-wide.  Why the cuts are coming and what they will mean to schools are explained in this item from Education Week: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/07/lawmakers_explore_impact_of_tr.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29
   Southern California PBS station KPCC describes a new initiative in the LAUSD that moves away from “one-size-fits-all” teaching techniques and allows schools wide latitude to design their own assessment systems and select their own curricula: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2012/07/26/9144/lausd-tries-move-away-one-size-fits-all-approach-t/
   Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) addressed the union’s annual convention that opened today in Detroit.  Valerie Strauss published Ms. Weingarten’s full speech in her blog for The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/randi-weingarten-calls-for-new-approach-to-unionism-and-support-for-obama/2012/07/27/gJQAqfJuDX_blog.html?wprss=rss_education
   Amid all the slashing of education budgets the issue of the poor quality of many school facilities in the state rarely gets addressed.  A new report from UC Berkeley, highlighted in this article from EdSource, details where the problems are and what it might cost to bring things up to an acceptable standard.  This article contains a link to the executive summary and the full report (85 pages) from the “Center for Cities & Schools:”  https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#drafts/138cbb31cf83d47c
   A lawsuit has been filed against formed LAUSD Supt. Ramon Cortines alleging sexual harassment of another district employee: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/07/former-la-schools-supt-cortines-sued-for-sexual-harassment.html  The employee who levied the charges recently returned to work at the district: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/07/la-unified-employee-who-filed-harassment-claim-returns-to-job.html
   And finally, the UCLA IDEA Friday “Themes in the News” revisits the victory of parents in Adelanto and their use of the “parent trigger” law but questions how the education of the children will improve if the severe underfunding plaguing the district, and many other statewide, continues: http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=45ee8b4df1&e=f7d7cb8d5d

  Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar   

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