Historic Win for Labor and New Direction in University of California System

April 22, 2014 by Source

By Daniel Gutiérrez / San Diego Free Press

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

La Jolla, California — On Tuesday, April 15th, UAW Local 2865, representing graduate student-workers across the University of California system, reached a tentative agreement with UC management regarding the procurement of all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations.

UC management succumbed to the necessities demanded by UAW Local 2865, acknowledging that both all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations are a labor right to graduate student-workers. The historic achievement was reached after the union went on strike for two days early this month, in which nearly two dozen students were arrested and many others intimidated.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Reverse Robin Hood Funding Threatens San Diego

April 22, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reverse Robin Hood Funding Threatens San Diego

By Laura Barrett / Huffington Post / April 21, 2014

San Diego’s sunny beaches and beautiful college campuses can be deceptive. The city’s soaring housing costs force university students and low-income families to sleep on couches and to depend on free meals. Many, too, end up living out of cars. The waiting list for Section 8 housing is 10 years long, and as a result, families are being forced to move out of state.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a renter in San Diego’s Metropolitan Statistical Area would need to earn $26.58 an hour to afford a fair market two bedroom apartment, yet, the average renter’s wage is just $17.28. Despite this, the City of San Diego is trying to take away federal money that provides a source of relief.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Student Threatens Teacher Online at Point Loma’s The Charter School – 17 Year Old Arrested

April 17, 2014 by Source

Student was arrested Wednesday in connection with the violent online threats

By Monica Garske and Omari Fleming / NBC 7

A 17-year-old San Diego student was arrested Wednesday for posting statements on social media websites in which he allegedly threatened to shoot a teacher and open fire on a school, the San Diego Police Department confirmed.

According to police, one of the threatening messages was posted online Wednesday. In that post, the student threatened to shoot a teacher at The Charter School of San Diego in the Point Loma area. The suspect is a student at that school, police said.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Ernie McCray: Speaking Straight from the Heart

April 7, 2014 by Staff

Ernie McCray Unsung Hero

Recipient of the Phi Delta Kappa Unsung Hero Award

By Staff

On April 3, Ernie McCray was honored by the San Diego Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an international association for professional educators. The Kappan awards bestowed earlier in the evening were for individuals and organizations that have made a substantive difference for those wishing to become educators and for children within the school system.

Ernie’s award came later in the evening, after the recognition of Partner in Education, Educator of the Year, and Leadership. Those of us who know Ernie would be hard pressed to sum up his presence and contributions in just one category– he is known by thousands of students, parents and colleagues as an extraordinary educator; he has been a tireless advocate for peace and justice in the streets and in our schools; you can find him from time to time on a stage, acting and reading his poetry; and he has a following on the San Diego Free Press and OB Rag where he contributes essays and poetry. Unsung Hero is a pretty good fit and that was his award designation.

Read the full article → 0 comments

OB Elementary Crosswalk Coming In Over Spring Break

April 4, 2014 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for OB Elementary Crosswalk Coming In Over Spring Break

UPDATE: A sign on Santa Monica Boulevard says the street will be closed through April 14 between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street. So much for the project getting done by the end of spring break. Good luck to all the parents taking their kids to school this week. It should be interesting.

By Matthew Wood

It’s not all fun and games at Ocean Beach Elementary School during spring break.

Santa Monica Avenue has been closed between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street all week as workers have been frantically trying to finish putting in a much-anticipated crosswalk outside the school.

The project was supposed to be finished before students came back on Monday, but as of Friday morning, there was still a big hole in the street and a construction crew working frantically to get the job done. Rain earlier in the week helped to delay the construction.

Read the full article → 3 comments

UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

April 4, 2014 by Source

Strikers disrupt classes and block public thoroughfares in protest against unfair labor practices while upper level administrators continue to receive exorbitant salaries and enjoy a culture of lavish living

By Daniel Gutiérrez

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

Graduate students at the University of California, San Diego represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2865 initiated a two-day strike Wednesday, April 2nd, that will end today Friday, April 4th. The strike at UCSD is part of a statewide action occurring at all the campuses of the University of California for these reasons.

Read the full article → 1 comment

UCSD Grad Students Protest Controversial Employment Policy

April 3, 2014 by Source

UCSD grad students protesting.Doctoral students rally against the 18 Quarter Limit

By Daniel Gutiérrez

La Jolla, California — Students at the University of California, San Diego stormed the Office of Graduate Studies Tuesday, April 1, to protest a controversial employment policy implemented across the University of California.

The “18 Quarter Limit” restricts doctoral students by only allotting them 18 quarters to be teaching assistants, readers, or graduate student researchers. Such positions, if secured, reduce a graduate student’s tuition from roughly $5,200 a quarter to a mere $196. The action came on the eve of the two-day strike that will be held April 2nd and 3rd at UCSD.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Pioneer School Founder At Home in OB

March 21, 2014 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for Pioneer School Founder At Home in OB

By Matthew Wood

Jim Liener knew there was a better way.

Working as a special needs teacher in San Diego, mostly dealing with autistic children, he saw how the public schools system would routinely fail the kids that needed the most attention.

Then he started working with an autistic child who was being home schooled, not able to make it in a normal school environment. He turned the family’s gazebo into a one-room home schoolhouse. An epiphany hit: Why can’t we take this home-school format, which works best for kids with these needs, and make it into an actual school?

“It was kind of like I told myself, ‘Shut up and do something about it,’” Liener said.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Book Sale by Friends of OB Library – Sat., March 22

March 21, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Book Sale by Friends of OB Library – Sat., March 22

The Friends of the Ocean Beach Library are hold a Book Sale on Saturday, March 22, 9:30 to 12:30.

Please tell your friends and neighbors. Come and browse; it really feels like a party. If you have gently used books or audiovisual materials (CD’s, DVD’s, VideoTapes), please bring them to the Library by Friday afternoon.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: What’s Left Beyond More Impoverished Choices?

March 10, 2014 by Jim Miller

vote hereBy Jim Miller

The debate rages on. Last week after I spent the final part of my column addressing Adolph Reed’s provocative Harper’s piece on the dismaying state of American politics, “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals, the argument just kept going across the national progressive media landscape.

In a sharp rebuttal to …

Read the full article → 2 comments

City Left Holding the Bag as Balboa Park Centennial Group Folds Up Shop

March 6, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for City Left Holding the Bag as Balboa Park Centennial Group Folds Up Shop

Piñata formerly known as Mayor Filner blamed

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., a group empowered by former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to organize a centennial celebration of the Panama-California Exposition, is calling it quits.

Despite having $2.8 million in taxpayer-funded startup monies and a contract giving them exclusive control over the nation’s second oldest urban cultural park, the organization is dissolving its corporate entity and handing back its responsibilities to the City of San Diego.

Read the full article → 1 comment

What’s Left: Surrender or Resurgence?

March 3, 2014 by Jim Miller

education01By Jim Miller

Just when you thought the Obama administration’s education policy couldn’t get any worse, it did.

Last week Obama nominated founder and CEO of New Schools, Ted Mitchell, to the second highest post at the Department of Education.

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Benefit to Put Musical Instruments in Every OB Elementary Classroom

February 21, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for A Benefit to Put Musical Instruments in Every OB Elementary Classroom

Tonight – Friday, Feb 21

6 pm

The OB Playhouse & Arts Center

4944 Newport Ave

Read the full article → 0 comments

OB Planning Board Agenda for Wed., Feb. 5th

February 4, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Board Agenda for Wed., Feb. 5th

Here is the official agenda for the monthly meeting of the Ocean Beach Planning Board. It will be held – as usual – on the first Wednesday of the month – Feb. 5th, and will be in the meeting room at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue. The meeting starts sharply at six p.m.

The big item on the agenda is approval or denial of the design for the mid-block pedestrian crosswalk on Santa Monica for school kids.

Read the full article → 8 comments

Point Loma Kelp Forest to Be Tested for Radiation from Fukushima

February 3, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Point Loma Kelp Forest to Be Tested for Radiation from Fukushima

The U-T San Diego is running an interesting story about locals testing the kelp off Point Loma and Ocean Beach for signs of radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Local Matt Edwards and students from San Diego State University will test Point Loma’s kelp forest – which reaches 5 miles out – and includes the shores off Ocean Beach – for traces of radioactive material from the earthquake-generated tsunami damaged nuclear power plant. He is one of about 50 such scientists who will be testing kelp up and down the West Coast.

The fear is that the radioisotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 may have gotten picked up by Pacific Ocean currents that possibly would result in trace amounts to the California coast in 2014. Edwards told the U-T:

“We don’t know if we’re going to find a signal of the radiation. And I personally don’t believe it’ll represent a health threat if there is one. But it’s worth asking whether there’s a reason to be concerned about a disaster that occurred on the other side of the planet some time ago.”

Read the full article → 1 comment

OB Elementary School Crosswalk on Santa Monica Closer to Reality

January 27, 2014 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for OB Elementary School Crosswalk on Santa Monica Closer to Reality

OB Elementary Crosswalk Construction Begins – New Streetlight Added to Mid-Block Santa Monica Ave. Crossing

Slowly but surely, the crosswalk outside of Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue is coming together.

City workers put up a street light while students were on winter break, a necessity to follow city code. The next step is to put in the actual crosswalk. A discussion about the extent of this will be held at the OB Planning Board meeting on Feb. 5.

In the meantime, Joseph “Moondoggie” Pina and Wayne Simard still have their crew of volunteer crossing guards manning their posts every morning and afternoon.

“It’s coming,” said Pina. “Slowly, but it’s coming.”

They said the volunteers will still be out even after the crosswalk is (finally) built.

Read the full article → 3 comments

My Hopes for the Next 35 Years

January 14, 2014 by Ernie McCray

schoolboard_meeting_erniemccrayBy Ernie McCray

I recently was reminded that the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) has been around for 35 years; 35 wonderful years I might add. I mean they’ve worked tirelessly in society’s behalf to challenge the military establishment’s overbearing intrusions in our lives.

They, with a host of other peace groups, have kept military issues in our collective consciousness via community forums, in the streets, and through youth outreach, keeping us aware of how much the military strains our economy, how much it magnifies a negative image of our country around the world, how much racism and sexism and homophobia it nurtures throughout its hierarchy.

COMD is a big part of why I continue working with the Education Not Arms Coalition (ENAC) to counter the recruitment of our children.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Master Educator (and Basketball Coach)

January 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Steve FisherBy Ernie McCray

When San Diego State’s men’s gifted basketball players showed up at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas and rose from the 21st rated team to number 13 after destroying the Jayhawks’ dream of stretching a 68 game winning streak against non-Big XII teams to 69 – I couldn’t help but think, at the time, of how lucky those young athletes are in having Steve Fisher as their guide on this wonderful ride.

The man is clearly a wonderful coach, a master teacher if there ever was one. He knows how to connect with folks who are counting on him for guidance.

I know. I’m an educator by nature, in a way.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Work set to begin on OB Elementary School crosswalk over winter break

December 12, 2013 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for Work set to begin on OB Elementary School crosswalk over winter break

By Matthew Wood

The area around Ocean Beach Elementary School is about to get a little bit safer.

Work on the proposed crosswalk on Santa Monica Avenue just outside the school is expected to begin in the next few weeks, according to John Ly, a council representative and policy adviser for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office.

In an e-mail, Ly said construction on a street light – a step necessary to stay within city code for crosswalks – would begin Dec. 23, the first official day of winter break for the school. He said he expects work on the street light to be completed by the time students return on Jan. 6, at which time work can begin on cutting curbs for the crosswalk.

Read the full article → 3 comments

South Africa’s Role in My Evolution as an Educator

December 11, 2013 by Ernie McCray

As I reflect on Mandela’s passing I’m reminded of how the struggle of his people has played an important role in my development as an educator, starting back in ’57 or ’58 before I had taken my first “How to Teach” course at the University of Arizona.

At the time I was writing a research paper and found some essays on South Africa and the word “apartheid” leapt off the pages at me and I discovered that my struggle in Southern Arizona was so similar to what blacks were going through in the southern tip of the Dark Continent.

Of course, apartheid was more brutal. I didn’t have enough time to dwell on the subject so I just tucked my new found information away and got back to a life of pop quizzes and mid-terms and the like.

But, I didn’t know how much I had internalized what I had learned until the next year when I was in a class listening to a glowing lecture on South Africa that highlighted the country’s sparkling beaches and stunning countryside and rugged mountains and rich resources.

Read the full article → 0 comments

“The Defining Challenge of Our Time”: Four Things Obama Should Do To Really Start Addressing Inequality

December 9, 2013 by Jim Miller

Obama_inequalityspeechBy Jim Miller

Just as he did last summer during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama addressed the issue of economic inequality last week during a speech on the minimum wage and health care, which he delivered in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington D.C. His message was stark and pointed as he told the crowd that, “The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe.”

Sounding a populist note, Obama decried the fact that American workers at the bottom end of the pay scale are continuing to “work their tails off and …”

Read the full article → 1 comment

How the Kennedy Tragedy Made Me a Better Teacher

November 22, 2013 by Ernie McCray

Kennedy AF1

By Ernie McCray

On November 22, 1963, I was a twenty-five year old sixth grade teacher enjoying my second year serving students at Perry Elementary. Before recess that day we had gotten the news that the president was shot.

The radio in our classroom verified what we had heard with the words “President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is dead.”

Read the full article → 3 comments

OB Historical Society Presents: “Landscapes Rediscovered” Featuring John DeBeck – Nov. 21

November 20, 2013 by Staff

OB Historical Society Presents:

Landscapes Rediscovered

Featuring John DeBeck

—Thurs., Nov. 21st at 7PM

at P.L. United Methodist Church,

1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B.

John DeBeck, former long-time School Board Member will present a program on the recovered San Diego Unified School District art collection, an extraordinary project he accomplished that benefits historians, school children and all San Diegans.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Parents Take Up Slack Around OB Elementary School Cross-Walk While Waiting on City

November 18, 2013 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for Parents Take Up Slack Around OB Elementary School Cross-Walk While Waiting on City

Crosswalk Coming to the Mid-Block on Santa Monica Avenue – Eventually

By Matthew Wood

The city is putting in a much-needed crosswalk on Santa Monica Avenue outside Ocean Beach Elementary School, just not as soon as teachers and parents were hoping. In the meantime, a group of concerned fathers have taken up the cause to ensure safety for kids going to and from school.

According to John Ly, a council representative and policy advisor for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office, funding has been secured and the project is set to be completed by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 2014. He said part of the holdup comes from

Read the full article → 8 comments

Opening of the New San Diego Central Library: a Grand and Glorious Occasion

September 30, 2013 by Source

008 By John Lawrence

Saturday, Sept. 28, will go down in San Diego history as the day the much awaited central library opened in San Diego.

The opening ceremonies started at 11 a.m. and lasted for about an hour. All sorts of dignitaries were seated on the platform, and many of them spoke. The event was presided over by Mayor pro tem Todd Gloria.

Read the full article → 7 comments

San Diego’s New Main Library: A Benefit for All

September 24, 2013 by Source
Thumbnail image for San Diego’s New Main Library: A Benefit for All

By Joe Flynn

Odd isn’t it? The self professed “cheerleaders” for San Diego – the editors of the U-T San Diego – preview the grand opening of the new library with this article puffed up with a quote from San Diego’s Dr. No, Richard Rider, libertarian. I wanted to get the spelling right, but after reading his remarks no one will mistake him for a librarian.

Richard Rider, a local libertarian, called the new library “a monument to an era that is ending — a structure that in a few years will have little more utility value than a Pharaoh’s pyramid in Egypt. The only difference is that the library will have high operating costs — the pyramids need no such annual funding.”

-UT San Diego article “New library: Is this monument necessary?”

Read the full article → 1 comment

Governor Brown’s Betrayal of Prop 30 Funds for Schools With Funds for Prisons Instead

September 16, 2013 by Jim Miller

Photo by Charlie Kaijo via flickr.comBy Jim Miller

Finally, there was a measure of good news for schools in California with Proposition 30 creating a budget surplus that had plugged some of the gaping holes that years of budget cuts had made in our state’s public education system.

But it didn’t take long for Governor Brown to betray us. Indeed, the Courage Campaign has done a great job in recent weeks taking the Governor to task for seeking to raid the Proposition 30 surplus to fund prison expansion.

That’s right, you heard it: prison expansion.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Dispatches from the Higher Education Wars: Wins for City College of San Francisco, Outsourcing Opponents, and Adult Education

August 19, 2013 by Jim Miller

students-marching-forBy Jim Miller

Last week I outlined the plight of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) noting that CCSF had become the “Chicago of Higher Education” as the college and their community allies were engaged in a struggle to stop the loss of its accreditation at the hands of a corrupt commission that was driven by a misguided corporate education reform agenda.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Corporate Education Reform Goes to College: San Francisco is the “Chicago of Higher Education”

August 12, 2013 by Jim Miller

Photo Jorge Lopez

By Jim Miller

This summer few people outside of the Bay Area probably noted what was one of the most important stories about higher education in America: City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is losing its accreditation.

After years of wrangling, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), one of the seven regional accreditors in the western United States whose job it is to ensure the quality of higher education programs announced that CCSF was losing its accreditation in July of 2014.

Why should you care? Because ACCJC’s decision had very little to do with the quality of instruction and much more to do with imposing a new business model on community colleges that narrows their mission and opens the door to more privatization in American higher education. And San Francisco is being used as an example to intimidate other colleges to fall in line with ACCJC’s questionable “reform” agenda. Thus, what happened in San Francisco could happen in San Diego.

The reaction to this extreme punishment for CCSF, an institution that serves 90,000 students, many of them working class, immigrant, or in adult education, and had never been sanctioned before last year, was outrage.

Read the full article → 3 comments

8 Ways Privatization Has Failed America

August 7, 2013 by Source

privatizationby Paul Buchheit/ Common Dreams

Some of America’s leading news analysts are beginning to recognize the fallacy of the “free market.” Said Ted Koppel, “We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another.”Fareed Zakaria admitted, “I am a big fan of the free market…But precisely because it is so powerful, in places where it doesn’t work well, it can cause huge distortions.” They’re right. A little analysis reveals that privatization doesn’t seem to work in any of the areas vital to the American public.

Health Care

Our private health care system is by far the most expensive system in the developed world. Forty-two percent of sick Americans skipped doctor’s visits and/or medication purchases in 2011 because of excessive costs.

Read the full article → 18 comments