September 7

SB 1290 is another bill waiting for action from Gov. Brown.  It requires some tighter requirements for new charters and renewals that will include student test scores among other things.  SI&A Cabinet Report has the details: http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2524
   A new report released Wednesday shows that California spends substantially less than the rest of the nation on special education programs and the students’ educational outcomes are well below pupils in the rest of the U.S.  SI&A Cabinet Report again has the story: http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2523
   The sponsor of the “other” proposition (#30) on the November ballot in California that will raise revenue to aid K-12 and early childhood education, Molly Munger, is planning a massive TV advertising campaign to try to gain the advantage over Gov. Brown’s competing proposal (Prop. 38).  Ed Source has the story: http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/prop-38-sponsor-says-ed-initiative-will-upset-polls/19780
   California Controller John Chiang is looking into the problem of pension “spiking” by education executives prior to their retirement.  If you don’t know what “spiking” is this article from yesterday’s L.A. Times explains it and how the problem develops: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers-pensions-20120906,0,5743144.story
   Here’s a very rare reason for locking a school down.  A bear sighting caused a short lockdown at a charter elementary school in Altadena.  This brief item from the Times describes what happened: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/bear-sighting-altadena-school-lockdown.html
   With the run-up to the release of the  pro “parent-trigger” film “Won’t Back Down” on Sept. 28, many commentators will be writing about the movie and its impact on public education.  Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, has already previewed it and found it seriously anti-teacher’s union and anti-public education.
 In this latest blast, the author takes a look at how Hollywood has seemingly been co-opted to do the bidding of wealthy philanthropists who wish to see the privatization of education.  Expect many more previews, reviews, op-eds and commentaries as the release-date approaches: http://truth-out.org/news/item/11225-film-wont-back-down-models-hollywood-propaganda-in-age-of-school-reform
   With the Labor Day Holiday now past, most public schools throughout the country are now in session.  The “Ed News” has been closely following the dire budget situation in California as it relates to education.  How do you think this state ranks in relation to other states regarding school funding, teacher lay-offs, per pupil funding, etc.?  A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), released on Tuesday, assesses how things stand.  If you don’t have time to read the entire paper at least take at look at the numerous charts and focus in on where California rates.  The last graph shows how many jobs have been lost in education since July, 2008:  http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3825
   Dwight Eisenhower, in the farewell address of his presidency delivered in Jan., 1961, warned of the evils of the “military-industrial complex.”  Modern commentators are beginning to wonder about the evils of a growing “educational-industrial complex.”   Companies that produce standardized tests and test-prep materials stand to reap huge financial windfalls if they can convince more and more states and school districts to buy into the testing mania unleashed by NCLB.  This piece looks at the role of groups like The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and their connection to companies like ACT Inc., Pearson and other publishers of testing materials: http://truth-out.org/news/item/11361-outing-act-test-and-punish-doesnt-educate-but-is-profitable-for-testing-companies
   A recent issue of the “Ed News” mentioned that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) had filed a ten-day notice of the possible intent to stage a strike against the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as early as Sept. 10 (that’s this coming Monday).  The writer of this blog comments on the issues at hand and recounts her parents’ long-time careers with the Chicago schools: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/11365-selling-the-soul-of-public-education
   A proposal will come before the LAUSD board of education on Tuesday for a moratorium on new charter schools in the district as reported by the L.A. Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/charter-schools-call-proposed-la-moratorium-illegal.html
    And finally,  now that the national political conventions are over, the Republicans in Tampa and the Democrats in Charlotte, the Friday UCLA IDEA “Themes in the News” compares the two party’s platforms regarding education policy.  The contrasts are quite interesting: http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=599c5f330b&e=f7d7cb8d5d
Enjoy the weekend!

Dave Alpert (’71)
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