San Francisco Public Schools Under Attack

January 21, 2022 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is leading a recall effort to replace three of the city’s seven school board members. Her neoliberal supporters would prefer to replace all seven but the four board members elected in the last election cannot be recalled. If they are successful, Mayor Breed will appoint the replacements. Along with board member Jenny Lam who Breed appointed previously, these new appointments would make four of the seven school board members Breed appointments rather than elected representatives.

The excuse for the recall is that the board did not open schools for face to face instruction in the spring of 2021. An open schools now campaign was initiated by the former president in May 2020 and became a winning Republican issue. In her ongoing effort to wrest control of public schools from the elected school board which was established in 1851, Mayor London Breed sued the school board to open schools. The February 3, 2021 suit claimed a “violation of administerial duties,” for not preparing for a return to school.

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Teacher Complaints, Burn-Out and Turn-Over Roil High Tech Charter School in Point Loma

January 18, 2022 by Source

We’d heard things weren’t going well at High Tech High charter school and network in Point Loma for the teachers or students. And today’s San Diego Union-Tribune article by Kristen Taketa confirmed it.

6th grade teacher Ryan Luz spoke with Taketa and explained the teachers’ view. Here, in brief, are those complaints and issues:

  • High Tech’s ideals have been overshadowed by chronic issues of under-staffing and teacher burnout that were only exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Until last fall High Tech High did not provide substitutes for teachers who were absent, so teachers had to cover for them — having to teach as many as 60 kids at once or to use their planning time to cover a class.
  • High Tech Middle didn’t have enough special education staff, so some students whose disabilities required the use of a one-on-one educational aide were not getting one, or they had to share one with other students.
  • Teachers feel exhausted and some have resigned; four teachers and the school principal left the middle of December.
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OB Elementary Teacher Spotlighted

January 3, 2022 by Source

By Rory Devine / 7SanDiego / December 31, 2021

During the pandemic I have been covering education, one of the most important issues of this time. When the pandemic started, I was privileged to be able to follow teacher Joanne Ensign through her experience, from when schools closed and on-line learning kicked off to when schools re-opened and in-person learning began.

It was inspirational.

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Trolley Extension Has Already Changed the Lives of UC San Diego Students

December 21, 2021 by Source

By Manu Agni / Op-Ed San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 13, 2021

The Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley rolled into campus for the first time just a few weeks ago, but it’s already making a huge impact.

For decades, UC San Diego has been a sleepy hollow for students — up on a mesa in La Jolla, isolated from the rest of San Diego. Since the founding of campus, the way to get up to the mesa was always to meander up La Jolla hills on old roads that date back to the time of Camp Matthews and when “biotech” wasn’t in San Diego’s lexicon. More recently, this has meant spending hours in a car, stuck in crippling traffic congestion, or crawling along on a bus subject to the very same traffic.

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Teacher Walk-Out at High Tech High School in Point Loma

December 9, 2021 by Staff

Apparently, on Wednesday 15 teachers and three education specialists walked out of their classrooms at High Tech Middle School in Point Loma.

Teachers have recently formed a union called the High Tech Education Collective and have been in contentious meetings with the administration over pay, late paychecks and other issues.

The CEO of the schools had a meeting with staff on Wednesday before school started and it did not go well.

The school claimed the walk-out was an “unlawful work stoppage” and that school kids were left unattended

The CEO of the schools had a meeting with staff before school started and it did not go well.

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The Pandemic and the Continuing Attack on Democracy and Public Education

December 6, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / November 30, 2021

Nancy MacLean’s amazing book Democracy in Chains documents Charles Koch’s anti-democratic and anti-public education agenda plus his relationship with Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan (Democracy in Chains page 184).

She quotes Buchanan speaking about their shared libertarian agenda, “The project must aim toward the practical removal of the sacrosanct assigned to majority rule.” MacLean writes of Buchanan, “The collective enemy he was constructing included nearly everyone in education except academic economists” (Democracy in Chains page 119).

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Kudos to San Diego Unified for Naming New Mission Valley Elementary School After Kumeyaay Village

November 12, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Kudos are certainly due to the San Diego Unified School District and its leadership for naming a new elementary school opening in 2022 in Mission Valley after the Kumeyaay village that was located in the vicinity long before the arrival of the Spanish.

The new school will be named Nipaquay Elementary (Nipaquay is pronounced ni-puh-kwai) and will open within the Civita development. Construction is 75 percent complete for the school that will have 500 students and 23 classrooms.

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Manipulating the Discourse Over Dyslexia in Public Schools

November 3, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

An intricately connected network of organizations is controlling dyslexia discourse in the US and taking over dyslexia screening and remediation. Thirty-nine states now have adopted dyslexia laws. Most of these laws contain the International Dyslexia association’s (IDA) remediation recommendation of being “multisensory, systematic, and structured.” Researchers Jo Worthy et al state, “This approach is not well supported by research, but it is officially sanctioned through legislation in many states and has had a profound effect on policy and practice.”

IDA, the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA), and the International Multisensory Language Education Council (IMSLEC) are three big players.

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Dunbar: A Grand Old School Was She

October 12, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I just ran across an article about an old friend from when I was growing up in Tucson.

Among so many things I found interesting in the piece was something he said about a place I hold dear:

Dunbar. The “Colored” school.

He said: “I’m sorry I didn’t get a good education.”

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Building an Infrastructure to Take Over the Public School System

October 6, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Educating children is expensive. Wealthy people like Charles Koch do not mind paying to educate their own children but they detest the idea of being taxed to pay for educating other people’s children.

In the dystopian market driven system libertarians such as Koch espouse, people should only receive what they pay for. They believe almost all government programs should be ended including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the FAA, the EPA, the Department of Energy, the FDA, The Consumer Product Safety Commission and more. Libertarians contend that mail, schools and roads should be privatized plus personal and corporate taxes should be abolished (Kochland Pages 113 and 114).

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No Excuses Schools: Bad Theory Created by Amateurs

September 16, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Vanderbilt Professor Joanne Golann recently published Scripting the Moves. It is a book which expands on her research into no-excuses charter schools. Beginning in March of 2012, Golann spent 18-months doing an ethnographic study of a representative school employing the no-excuses approach. She discovered many unintended consequences.

In 2019, the leader of the Ascend Charters, Steven Wilson, wrote,

“And even when No Excuses was best realized at Ascend, its ceaseless structure was doing little to prepare our students to function autonomously in college and beyond.”

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California Community Colleges a Step Closer to Offering More Baccalaureates

September 14, 2021 by Staff

California lawmakers have passed a bill to expand and make permanent a program that allows a select group of community colleges to offer baccalaureates in specific programs. The measure now heads to the governor.

Currently, 15 community colleges in the state offer bachelor’s degrees in workforce fields with high demand and unmet needs. However, the pilot program is set to expire in 2026. Assembly Bill 927 would make the program permanent and allow up to 30 community colleges to offer similar bachelor’s degree programs.

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The Delta Variant Meets ‘Open Schools Now’

August 23, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

It is not possible for schools in most states to open safely. Well respected Dr Jorge A Caballero wrote in the Guardian, “school reopening plans that hinge on universal mask mandates and frequent testing are doomed to fail.” At this perilous time, there is also a political movement demanding that schools be fully opened. Because the delta variant is so much more transmissible, only mandated vaccination and masking will make it possible for schools to safely operate.

This weekend the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, accepted reality and in a Meet the Press interview called for mandatory vaccination of teachers. The leadership at the National Education Association (NEA) also reversed their opposition on Thursday (8/12/2021) and joined with AFT’s call for vaccine mandates.

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PLNU President: In-Person Learning at Point Loma Nazarene

August 12, 2021 by Source

Our COVID-19 plans will be under constant review and evaluation before and during the semester.

By Bob Brower /Op-Ed San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 11, 2021

Brower is president of Point Loma Nazarene University. He lives in Point Loma.

“What is fall semester going to look like?” has been my most frequently asked question at Point Loma Nazarene University over the past few months. It’s a question I’ve been answering with hope as we anticipate a return to a more traditional educational model.

However, our planned full return still requires a caveat.

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Dyslexia Industry Scores California Court Victory

August 10, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

In a court settlement, Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) agreed to implement inappropriate dyslexia remedies. The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) claimed the district failed to identify students with reading disorders, including dyslexia, and did not provide them adequate services.

To end the litigation begun in 2016, district leaders agreed to implement a universal screening program for reading disorders and adopt new reading intervention programs. BUSD also agreed to hire a nationally recognized outside consultants.

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Pro Charter Schools Academic Department ‘Debunks’ Public Schools

August 4, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Masquerading as a serious education research paper, “Making it Count: The Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Seven U.S. Cities” is little more than a flawed propaganda screed. The authors from the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions claim the superiority of “public charter” schools over traditional public schools (TPS) by employing thoroughly discredited methods.

They repeat the same data manipulation malfeasance that has been debunked multiple times over the past decade.

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Public School Privatization Advocate and Billionaire Eli Broad Opens His Center at Yale

July 27, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

December 5, 2019, the LA Times reported “Broad Center to move from L.A. to Yale along with $100-million gift.” On that occasion, the well known blogger Mercedes Schneider described the Los Angeles-based “Broad Center,” which includes the “Broad Academy” and “Broad Residency” as a “pseudo-credentialing mechanism for would-be leaders espousing market-based ed reform…” The new Ivy League center has adopted Eli Broad’s philosophy while giving it a sheen of academic respectability.

On July 1, 2019, Kerwin K. Charles was selected as dean of the Yale School of Management (SOM). Evidently, while looking around for a way to secure his Broad Center legacy, Eli Broad found the new leadership at Yale SOM a comfortable fit.

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Will Point Loma High School Be Ready for its Opening on August 26? – Updated

July 22, 2021 by Source

School begins August 26. Will the “new” Point Loma High School be ready?

The principal is optimistic.

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A Book that Influenced Me: ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’

July 21, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Since the age of three every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way as I’m very much an empathizer.

But no book has resonated with me more than Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

As I absorbed his words I felt as though he was writing directly to me. I mean his declaration that education systems were designed to produce passive non-critical thinking learners, especially those relegated to the lower classes in our society, validated my very thoughts as an educator, making me feel not so alone in a school district that was standardized to its very core.

My man, Paulo, let me know that I was on to something as I indulged my students with notions of justice, wanting them to know how their country operates so they could transform it.

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Radical Right Opposes Another American Institution – the PTA

July 19, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Founded in 1897, the ubiquitous PTA has been a long time powerful voice in legislative halls. With their many victories, they have developed enemies especially among school privatization advocates. However, the reports of their imminent demise have proven inaccurate. PTA’s robust 2019 tax form (EIN: 36-2169155) and a reported membership of more than 4 million indicates they will be viable for some time to come.

Radical Right Opposes another American Institution

One of the first big hit pieces on the PTA came from the Brookings Institute in 2001. Thomas Toch claimed that the PTA was floundering because they were “out of step with many parents’ demands for change in public education.” Toch also claimed that the PTA was working with teachers to slow the pace of reform,

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Sacramento Democrats Complicit in School Privatization Agenda

July 12, 2021 by Source

By Thomas ltican / Tultican

Two pieces of legislation are racing through California’s state legislature both advancing the school privatization agenda. A third piece designed to protect taxpayers from the ravenous charter industry has been squashed. Public schools and sound pedagogy are being harmed by a radical market based ideology. Democrats continue their complicity in this conservative agenda.

The Charter School Give Away

A few weeks ago, Oakland school board Trustee Mike Hutchinson raised alarm bells about Governor Newsom’s education budget trailer bill.

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Selling Education Snake Oil

July 2, 2021 by Source

Edtech is Business First – Part 2

By Thomas Ultican / Tulican Blog

The pandemic brought a bonanza for online content providers and classroom organizing software. Programs like Google Classroom and Class Dojo which previously seemed superfluous performed a needed service during the crisis. Unfortunately, some of the edtech companies whose businesses spiked were taking advantage of the situation to sell profitable but harmful products based on bad education theory.

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Edtech Is Business First

June 23, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 17,2021

Not all edtech is negative but it is important to remember that private companies are in it for the money. Giant corporations and private equity firms require return on investment. Improving education comes in second to making profits and everyone in the business knows that the real edtech gold comes from data mining.

Dr Velislava Hillman is a visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). In a post on the LSE blog she writes,

“It is hard, perhaps impossible, to go to school and not be registered by a digital technology. Cameras wire the premises; homework is completed using one business’s software application (eg Microsoft Word) that may be embedded onto another business’s platform (shared via Google);

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Dyslexia Testing for Public School Students a Cloak for Privatization

June 10, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 2, 2021

This January, California Democratic State Senator Anthony Portantino introduced SB237 mandating dyslexia testing and intervention.

It is similar to a spate of bills across the US requiring a privatized approach to intervening with reading difficulties. Unfortunately, contrary to their claims,

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A Scholarly Masterpiece: ‘William Frantz Public School’

May 26, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

My wonderful friend from New Orleans, Mercedes Schneider, said of this meticulously researched book, “Intense, captivating, and horrible in its reality, William Frantz Public School is a story overdue for the telling – a must read for those seeking to understand New Orleans’ history and the lingering impact of White racial superiority upon the Black community and city infrastructure.” I concur. It is a captivating read.

At its 1938 founding, speakers proclaimed the new William Frantz Public School (WFPS) a “protection for democracy” and a “fortification against encroachment of those terrible ‘isms.’” (WFPS page 3)

However, racism did not just encroach; it dominated.

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Testing Industry Scores Big in California

May 17, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / May13,2021

At 1:45 PM Wednesday, May 12, the California State Board of Education (SBE) adopted a “student growth model” to evaluate student learning. It is a method fans of standardized test based accountability have been trumpeting. The big winner here is the testing giant Education Testing Services (ETS) who created the model to be used.

Board member Sue Burr who was appointed to the board by then Governor Jerry Brown made the motion for using the growth model. She carefully presented her motion directly from the state’s California Department of Education (CDE) staff report which recommended:

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Billionaire Laurene Jobs Continues to Pitch Privatizing Public Education

May 6, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Laurene Powell Jobs and Amplify Education are hosting a “Virtual Summit” which is what they’re calling this May’s sales event. Jobs is very confident that her billions qualify her to shape education policy.

In her drive to privatize public education, she has accumulated and created several pro-edtech and anti-teacher organizations.

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Billionaires Continue Their Efforts to Privatize Public Education

April 26, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / April 22, 2021

Twenty years of studying education policy, politics and practices has been awakening. Seeing billionaires inflict their often misguided and unpopular beliefs on our nation’s public schools has made it clear how undemocratic and dangerous extreme wealth is.

They have established voucher programs routinely sending taxpayer money to religious schools even though these programs have lost decisively whenever submitted to voters. In her book Slaying Goliath, Diane Ravitch labeled these 0.1% of Americans as disrupters. She asked and answered the question “what do disrupters want?” They want:

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Cato Indoctrination for Educators

April 13, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

The Education Week Advertiser just notified me about an opportunity to be indoctrinated into the Cato Institute’s culture and education views. The ad proclaims, “The Cato Institute and the Sphere Education Initiative are excited to announce the return of Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together for the Summer of 2021!” They generously offer impressive full scholarship programs for educators and administrators.

The money for all this comes from Charles Koch and associated libertarians. It is funneled through the Cato Institute which was originally called the Charles Koch Foundation, Inc. when he and fellow libertarian Edward Crane founded it in 1977. It is one of the many organizations and businesses that Charles Koch uses to advance his personal interests which are often referred to as the Kochtopus.

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America’s Founders Believed in Publick Education

March 31, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican

The second and third presidents of the United States advocated powerfully for public education. Thomas Jefferson saw education as the cause for developing out of common farmers the enlightened citizenry who would take the rational action a successful republican democracy requires. Jefferson contended,

“The qualifications for self government are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training.”

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