October 30

Office of the Commissar of Current Events
   On Friday a group of about a dozen school superintendents from around Southern California discussed what specific cuts would be made in their districts if Prop.30 is defeated on Nov. 6:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1027-schools-prop30-20121027,0,6376448.story  What with Halloween and the election rapidly approaching a group of community college students held a “zombie walk” on Friday in downtown L.A. to protest possible budget cuts at their campuses.  The L.A. Times has the “gruesome” details:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/students-stage-downtown-zombie-walk-to-support-education.html
   Ever wonder what happened to high school auto shop classes?  Many were axed when budgets and classroom space got tight.  However, there  now seems to be a revival going on.  This story in Sunday’s Times focuses on several new and state-of-the-art programs in San Diego:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-auto-shop-20121028,0,7262871.story
   An extended article in yesterday’s Times revisited the entire issue of the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teacher-evals-20121029,0,592261,full.story
   Speaking of standardized tests, an item in the same paper reports that 23 schools in California lost their API results for what were described as “adult irregularities” (read: cheating).   The piece reports on particular schools and what teachers were doing to improperly assist students:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-tests-cheating-20121029,0,6753685.story
   Education Week has a profile of the new president of the College Board who wants to have his organization focus on closing the achievement gap by stressing social justice issues:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/10/new_college_board_president_te.html
   Want a concise (in chart form) look at what the educational “reform” movement is offering as ways to improve public education?  Check out this offering from Schools Matter:  http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2012/10/the-insanity-chart-of-no-excuses-reform.html
   The LAUSD was unable to get UTLA to sign-off on a $40 million federal grant application for Race to the Top funding reports today’s L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-grant-20121030,0,2685749.story  Several other California districts, including San Francisco, Oakland and Long Beach, also failed to get union buy-in for their grants according to the San Francisco Chronicle:  http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/S-F-Oakland-drop-bid-for-U-S-school-funds-3991884.php#ixzz2AoMN1E00
   With the election just one week away the issue always arises as to what types of political advocacy may teachers, professors, districts, school boards, etc. engage in?  This timely analysis from EdSource takes a look at what types of political activity is acceptable:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/boards-teachers-must-be-careful-to-toe-the-line-on-advocacy/22179#.UJAl2WnuUl9
   And finally, as related in the blog Good, should Ann Romney become first lady she says she’d like to become an advocate for education.  Unfortunately, her ideas include charter schools and doing away with teachers’ unions.  The blog includes a link to the full interview in Good Housekeeping:  http://www.good.is/posts/uh-oh-ann-romney-wants-to-champion-education

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar

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