May 31

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”  ―    E.M. Forster
   The California Assembly sent to the Senate, on a 51-12 vote, AB 375 that would make it easier for districts to discipline and fire teachers for illegal behavior.  THE SACRAMENTO BEE describes the legislation:  http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/29/5456816/assembly-approves-bill-to-ease.html
   The HECHINGER REPORT highlights a study from the U.S. Dept. of Education that found that 60% of public schools in the U.S. qualify as “high-poverty” campuses.  The numbers came from a report produced by the National Center for Educational Statistics released last week titled “The Condition of Education 2013.”  This brief article has a link to the full report (241 pages):  http://educationbythenumbers.org/content/the-number-of-high-poverty-schools-increases-by-about-60-percent_161/
   Know what a MOOC is?  That’s a “massive open online course” and the number of schools offering them took a huge jump yesterday when Coursera, a for-profit company from Silicon Valley, signed an agreement with 10 large public university systems to offer the classes.  The San Jose Mercury News explains how MOOCs work and what this pact means for higher education:  http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_23347894/mountain-views-coursera-strikes-huge-online-education-deal?source=rss&utm_source=feedly
   Who should administer injections to students at schools in California?  That was the issue before the State Supreme Court Wednesday.  The State Nurses Association would like that to be the exclusive domain of its members.  This story from the L.A. Times reviews the cogent points in the case and records some of the comments made by the justices during oral arguments:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-diabetic-students-20130530,0,3987454.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedly
   Is the goal of some “reformers” to end public education?  The answer to that is “yes” according to this commentary from the Education Opportunity NETWORK and what schools need, it argues, is an “Education Spring.”  It uses the recent elections of Steve Zimmer and Monica Ratliff to the LAUSD school board as examples of the kinds of things that need to occur:  http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/why-america-needs-an-education-spring/
   The Common Core State Standards have elicited both strong support and opposition.  The Washington Post reports that the tea party is now getting in on the debate.  You can probably guess what their position is.  You can read about the group’s late entry into the discussion here and what states are feeling the heat:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tea-party-groups-rallying-against-common-core-education-overhaul/2013/05/30/64faab62-c917-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html?wprss=rss_national&utm_source=feedly    Valerie Strauss comments on the above article in her blog and warns about being careful regarding what critics are saying about the Common Core and why they are taking the positions they do:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/31/why-extreme-common-core-rhetoric-is-a-problem/  Diane Ravitch got in on the discussion with her blog describing how several national education organizations representing superintendents, principals and school boards offered support for the Common Core with some caveats about taking it a little slower in order to get it right:  http://dianeravitch.net/2013/05/31/leading-national-groups-support-common-core-but-insist-on-better-implementation/   Opposition to Common Core is much more muted here in California.  The SI&A CABINET REPORT describes how the legislature has cleared the way for statewide student testing based on Common Core to begin in the spring of 2015:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=3835
   The “Battle over Crenshaw High” continues between the school and community vs. Supt. John Deasy.  The latter decided to reconstitute the campus after years of low test scores and high drop out rates.  The former wanted more time to implement some reform plans.  The superintendent’s plan prevailed and after all teachers and staff were required to reapply for their positions over 50% of the educators were not invited back.  [Ed. note:  When the Chief Commissar’s school, Huntington Park High, went through a similar trauma after he retired, 70% of teachers were not rehired.]  Today’s L.A. Times describes this latest development:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0531-crenshaw-high-20130531,0,4309222.story
   The role of the police on California K-12 campuses would be limited by a bill that passed the State Assembly on Wednesday.  AB 549 would, in addition, clarify the part to be played by counselors, administrators and teachers in each school’s safety plan.  EdSource sorts out all the details about this new legislation:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/bill-would-require-school-districts-to-clarify-the-role-of-campus-police/32817#.UajSgWT5nyd
   A new report, highlighted by NPR station KPCC, demonstrates how a parents’ immigrant status impacts a child’s education and why this is the case.  It is based on research from UC Irvine and Penn State University:  http://www.scpr.org/blogs/multiamerican/2013/05/30/13829/how-parents-immigration-status-affects-their-child/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+893KpccSouthernCaliforniaNews+(KPCC%3A+News)
   And finally, the Friday UCLA IDEA “Themes in the News” revisits the concept of “community schools” and looks at the history of the idea, what it entails and where it’s headed in the future:  http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=3d10b5f3f1&e=f7d7cb8d5d
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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