Education

San Diego Unified: Teachers and Staff to Return Week of April 5, Students the Following Week

February 23, 2021 by Source

After nearly a year of campus closures and at-home learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, the San Diego Unified School District on Tuesday announced its target date to reopen its campuses.

San Diego Unified school board member Richard Barrera told NBC 7 that staff members are slated to return to campuses the week of April 5, with students at all grade levels returning the following week, dependent upon whether the county had returned to the red tier and vaccines being fully available to staffers.

The county will begin making COVID-19 vaccines available to school employees March 1.

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Teachers Are Not the Problem, They Are the Solution – So Work With Them

February 10, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Time to be blunt. Teachers, students and children are the new electoral battering rams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just as I wrote in June of last year, the 2020 Presidential election it was “not Biden v. Trump, but COVID-19 v. Trump).” And the GOP’s own confidential postmortem report (as quoted on Politico), confirms it.

“The autopsy says that coronavirus registered as the top issue among voters, and that Biden won those voters by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. A majority registered disapproval of Trump’s handling of the virus.

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Locals – Including NAACP – Oppose Biden’s Pick of Cindy Marten

January 19, 2021 by Staff

Ken Stone over at Times of San Diego published a piece Monday that included critiques and opposition to President-Elect Biden’s choice of San Diego Unified schools chief Cindy Marten for a federal education post. Marten was nominated for a Deputy Secretary of Education post.

Locals who are not happy with Biden’s nomination include the NAACP’s San Diego chapter and community activist Tasha Williamson, the former mayor candidate.

Amidst the wide-spread praise for Marten, Stone writes – and he ticks off praise from everybody from Mayor Gloria to Assemblywoman Weber to former mayor Faulconer – he adds that the NAACP and Williamson oppose her nomination:

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The Biden Team and Education

January 19, 2021 by Source

Editordude: The following column by Thomas Ultican was written before the announcement that President-Elect Biden had chosen Cindy Marten for his education team.

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Jan. 16, 2021

Joe Biden has garnered wide spread praise for his choice of Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education; maybe too wide. The co-founder of Bellwether Education, Andrew Rotherham says Cardona is “a Goldilocks on charter schools.” However, Goldilocks was a fairy tale and Rotherham is a well known neoliberal who campaigns for “school choice.”

At the Democratic convention in 2008, the largest groups of delegates cheering the loudest for their new standard bearers were teachers.

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Democracy and Education

December 23, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tulican / Dec. 19, 2020

Democracy and free universal public education are foundational American ideologies. They have engendered world renowned success for our experiment in government “by the people”. Two new books – Schoolhouse Burning by Derek Black and A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door by Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire – demonstrate that these principles which were integral to the American experiment are shockingly under serious attack by wealthy elites.

After his father Fred died in 1967, Charles Koch took a disparate set of assets – a cattle ranch, a minority share in an oil refinery and a gas gathering business – and stitched them together. Today it is the second largest privately held corporation in the world. In the excellent 2019 book, Kochland, Christopher Leonard states, “Koch would eventually build one of the largest lobbying and political influence machines in US history.”

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Selling ‘Personalized Learning’ Disguised as Philanthropy

December 1, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Ultican / Nov. 27, 2020

“Personalized learning” is being driven by foundations derived from companies that stand to profit by its implementation. Last year, George Mason’s Priscilla Regan and the University of Ottawa’s Valerie Steeves wrote the peer reviewed paper “Education, privacy, and big data algorithms: Taking the persons out of personalized learning” in which they state, “Other than the Carnegie Corporation, the private foundations who have been most supportive of personalized learning are those supported by the technology companies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Google Foundation.”

In the case of the Carnegie Corporation, the authors note that the philanthropy has been supporting education causes since its founding in 1911. Recently, Carnegie has given monetary support to “personalized learning” but “typically in partnership with one of the tech foundations.”

Based on a listing of the fifteen largest education spending philanthropies in the first decade of the millennium,

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Helping Black Students Shine

November 30, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Lately I’ve been thinking of Black kids, Black students, specifically. Thinking of all the teachable moments out in the universe that I would call on to help them shine if I were in the classroom during these times.

And the first thought that came to mind is I would turn them on to what it means to be Black at this very time.

We’d talk about what we’d all just seen this past NBA season, superstars flying through the air slamming monstrous dunks and shooting rainbow 3’s with “Black Lives Matter” sewn into their jerseys.

We’d talk about the significance embedded in a Black woman taking on the role of Vice-president of the United States, the first of her gender to serve in such a capacity.

We’d talk about how Black voters showed up in large numbers, essentially rescuing a drowning democracy.

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School Board Elections 2020: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

November 17, 2020 by Source

School Board Results From Los Angeles, Oakland and Indianapolis

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Los Angeles, Oakland and Indianapolis are routinely targeted by pro-public school privatization billionaires. Local school board races that a decade ago required less than $10,000 in order to mount a credible campaign now require ten times that amount. Billionaires again spent lavishly to take control of school boards in these three cities.

The Good

For two decades Oakland has been California’s petri dish for school privatization. Eli Broad has placed four superintendents in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Mayor Jerry Brown between terms in the Governor’s mansion helped establish the first charter schools in Oakland.

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Students’ Experiences With COVID-19 at Point Loma Nazarene

October 29, 2020 by Source

By Katie Morris and Charis Johnston / lomabeat.com / October 26, 2020

Auggie Lam woke up on a Monday morning to an email stating he tested positive for COVID-19.

Lam, a first-year mechanical engineering major, said, “I immediately contacted every person I had been in contact with for the past week.”

Ashley Portillo, a first-year psychology major, awoke to a screenshot of the email confirming Auggie’s positive result at 7:30 a.m on Monday, which Lam had sent in a group chat.

“Auggie is a funny person so I was waiting for the ‘Psych! Gotcha!,’” she said. “[My friends and I] didn’t know how to respond. We just stood there with our phones. He was in all of our rooms; he was around us all the time. I hugged him. We were just in shock.”

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Education Is on the Ballot in San Diego this November 3rd

October 26, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

What can you do to help education in a time of crisis? Well, as I’ve written here in a couple of other columns, the most important thing is to vote Yes on Proposition 15, which would bring in $12 billion a year statewide and around $700 million to our region.

Given the lack of any new revenue from the state and federal levels, our schools and colleges are about to get hammered by budget cuts and years of austerity if we continue to do nothing. And that, in turn, will be bad for the economy and the social fabric of our communities.

Proposition 15 is the only game in town in terms of answers at this point. In my columns, I’ve noted that Prop 15 would leave homeowners untouched and (corporate talking points aside) it only affects commercial properties valued over $3 million. But far more important than the anti-15 campaign’s diversionary argument is the devastation that awaits our educational institutions if Proposition 15 fails.

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The Over-Hype of Students’ Learning Loss Due to COVID

October 16, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / October 15, 2020

Warnings about learning losses due to the pandemic dominate education media; especially the media created and financed by billionaires. Based on a briefing by NWEA, McKinsey & Company claims “the average K–12 student in the United States could lose $61,000 to $82,000 in lifetime earnings (in constant 2020 dollars) … solely as a result of COVID-19–related learning losses.” The Hoover Institute’s CREDO warns “the findings are chilling.”

One of my favorite education bloggers, Nancy Flanagan, says it well,

“Test-data estimates, alarmist language and shady research do nothing to help us with the most critical problem we have right now: keeping kids connected to their schoolwork and their teachers. However that’s offered and as imperfect as it may be.”

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Surf Studies Course Coming to Point Loma Nazarene

October 7, 2020 by Source

By Lauren O’Brien / Lomabeat.com / October 5, 2020

Year after year, PLNU appears on numerous websites as one of the top surf colleges in the nation. That recognition is a no-brainer, given PLNU’s killer surf team and the university’s main attraction: the Pacific Ocean.

In fall 2020, PLNU launched a new elective titled The History and Culture of Surfing. Professors Ben Cater and James Wicks co-teach the course, which can be taken for two upper-division history or literature credits. Between the immediate success of the class (30 students from a variety of majors are enrolled) and PLNU’s vibrant surf culture, rumors surfaced of a surf studies program coming to the university.

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‘Best Education Improvements Come from Teachers and Classrooms’

October 6, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Oct. 1, 2020

For more than two decades, bureaucratic style top down education “reform” has undermined improvement efforts by professional educators. For budding teachers, beginning in college with the study of education and their own personal experience as students, an innate need to better education develops. However, in the modern era, that teacher energy to improve education has been sapped by the desperate fight to save public education from “reformers,” to protect their profession from amateurs and to defend the children in their classrooms from profiteers.

Genuine advancements in educational practices come from the classroom. Those edicts emanating from government offices or those lavishly financed and promoted by philanthropies are doomed to failure.

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7 Billionaires Pouring Money into Pro-Charter School Candidates for Los Angeles School Races and California Legislature

September 25, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Sept. 20/ 2020

Unlike 2018, fewer of the wealthy class appear to be spending so freely to control California school policy, but their spending still dominates campaign spending.

Large amounts of money are being spent in an attempt to regain political control of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and there appears to be a concentration of money directed at key county school boards. They are also spending liberally on California state senate and assembly races.

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School Choice Is a Harmful Fraud

September 16, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Birthed in the bowels of the 1950’s segregationist south, school choice has never been about improving education. It is about white supremacy, profiting off taxpayers, cutting taxes, selling market based solutions and financing religion. School choice ideology has a long dark history of dealing significant harm to public education.

Market Based Ideology

Milton Friedman first recommended school vouchers in a 1955 essay. In 2006, he was asked by a conservative group of legislators what he envisioned back then. PRWatch reports that he said, “It had nothing whatsoever to do with helping ‘indigent’ children; no, he explained to thunderous applause, vouchers were all about ‘abolishing the public school system.”’ [Emphasis added]

Market based ideologues are convinced that business is the superior model for school management. Starting with the infamous Reagan era polemic,

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Center for Reinventing Public Education – the Billionaires’ Advocate

August 28, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 26, 2020

In 1993, Political Science Professor Paul T. Hill established the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs on the University of Washington campus. The research group Hill founded is steeped in public school failure ideology. On their web site Hill let it be known “The Center has a definite point of view.” Among the points listed are:

“The ineffectiveness of big city public schools clouds the futures of millions of children.”

“Incremental efforts to improve urban public education without disturbing the school boards, unions, and central office administrators have failed, largely because roles, missions, and interests of those organizations are incompatible with effective schooling.”

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Charter School Myths and Promises

August 19, 2020 by Source

Charter School Experiment Failure Documented Again

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 17, 2020

Marketing and lack of oversight have obscured the failure of the charter school industry. The latest research reported by Carol Burris and her team at the Network for Public Education (NPE) documents the atrocious going out of business rate among charter schools.

The United States Education Department (USED) has invested more than $4 billion promoting the industry but has not effectively tracked the associated fraud, waste and failures. After 25-years of charter schooling, Broken Promises is the first comprehensive study of their closure rates.

Former American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union President, Albert Shanker,

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Going Back to School in the Midst of a Global Pandemic:  Fear, Loathing, and ‘Virtual’ Learning

August 17, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

It’s hard to imagine a worse way to start a school year, from top to bottom. As with his dreams of a glorious economic “reopening,” President Trump’s authoritarian fantasy of forcing the nation’s return to school has backfired in a big way, with polls everywhere showing a majority of parents and students unhappy with the idea of being bullied into the classroom whether that be in K-12 or higher education.

Also, it turns out, that many local school districts have refused to play along, listening to public health experts rather than the go-back-to-work-and-die crowd. In places where schools have reopened, we were immediately greeted with outbreaks of COVID-19.

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School Choice and White Supremacy Like Two Peas in a Pod

August 11, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 9, 2020

In Overturning Brown, – as in the US Supreme Court case “Brown v Board of Education” – , Steve Suitts provides overwhelming evidence for the segregationist legacy of “school choice.” He shows that “Brown v Board” has been effectively gutted and “choice” proved to be the white supremacists’ most potent strategy to defeat it. In the 21st century, that same strategy is being wielded to maintain segregation while destroying the separation of church and state. (Note: In this article references to Overturning Brown given as Suitts page#.)

Defeating Brown

On May 17 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in the case of Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Chief Justice Earl Warren stated, “In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” He added it is “inherently unequal” and plaintiffs were “deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.”

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More Than 97,000 American Children Tested Positive for Covid-19 in Last 2 Weeks of July

August 10, 2020 by Source

By Christina Maxouris / CNN / August 10, 2020

More than 97,000 children in the US tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report says.

The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, said in those two weeks, there was a 40% increase in child cases across the states and cities that were studied.

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Reopening Schools: Issues and Evidence

July 22, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / July 21, 2020

The President of the United States and his Secretary of Education have demanded schools open with in-person classes five days a week. Many parents are not confident their children will be safe and significant numbers of teachers are profoundly frightened. How does the rhetoric square with credible scientific evidence concerning the Covid-19 pandemic?

President Trump has tweeted,

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

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The Widder Curry: ‘Opening the Schools During the Pandemic Is Absolutely Insane and Is Child Abuse’

July 15, 2020 by Judi Curry

As a former educator – Teacher, Principal, Inservice Director, Assistant Professor, Deputy Director, etc., I cannot understand all the controversy about opening or not opening the schools during this pandemic.

I also cannot understand why the schools have to be opened in August – one of the hottest months of the year. I remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day, and why it was changed is a mystery to me. If I had my druthers, I would suggest that school end June 30th, and not begin again until October 1st. The reason for that is also some of the reason that I think opening up the schools in a few weeks is ludicrous.

Number one is that when it is hot students do not learn as well.

Granted that some schools are air conditioned; but an equal number are not.

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Jiving Kids by Reopening Schools Just Would Not Be Cool

July 14, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

The orange faced man in the White House is talking about reopening schools and, in my way of thinking, that just would not be cool.

Jiving aka bullshitting children is something we should never do and opening their schools would be saying to them that everything is cool.

It seems like my work in this area is not yet done as I spent 37 years in San Diego City Schools opposing shining young folks on.

It wasn’t my intention to take on such a task when I began teaching. It was something that came to me out of the blue one day back in the early 60’s when my sixth graders and I were sitting at a school assembly.

A South African exchange student from a high school nearby had us literally “oohing and aahing” as she showed us slides of breathtaking mountains and glistening coastlines and splendid waterfalls and forests and deserts and grassy savannas.

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‘America Is Not Ready to Open Schools. We Blew It.’

July 8, 2020 by Source

Don’t Sacrifice Teachers and Students to the Neoliberal God

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / July 8, 2020

The US is not ready to open schools. We blew it. Let’s face reality squarely and quit making outcomes in our country even worse.

New York’s Michael Flanagan Ed. D. wrote,

“The pressure to reopen schools, and return to work, will continue to intensify, no matter how many new cases of Covid-19 there are each day, and the numbers are growing. Businesses, politicians and even health professionals are in the process of trying to convince us that sending our kids back to school will be safe.”

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Fraud at Sweetwater? Maybe But Unlikely

July 2, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tulican / July 1, 2020

For the past week, local San Diego TV and Print media have been filled with damning headlines like the NBC affiliate’s, “Audit of Sweetwater Union High School District Finds Evidence of Fraud” or the online publication Voice of San Diego’s “Audit Finds Sweetwater Officials Deliberately Manipulated Finances.” Every local news outlet published the story with some version of these headlines.

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Reopening Schools and Debunking Demagoguery

June 23, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 21, 2020

Education professionals throughout America are feverishly engaged in preparing for the first school year in the unprecedented Sars-Cov-2 era. Simultaneously, demagogues are pushing an often uninformed agenda.

For example, congressmen Jim Banks of Indiana and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin have introduced legislation to force all schools to open with in-person classes by September or else lose federal funding.

At the same time McKinsey and Company, the 74 and other school privatization friendly groups are loudly proclaiming that an education gap disaster will devastate Black and Brown children if we do not reopen brick and mortar schools immediately.

Education Leaders are Getting Ready for Fall

Across California and the whole of the US, parents, students, teachers and administrators are involved in intense school reopening discussions with less than two months to go in some cases. County Health Departments in both Los Angeles and San Diego have indicated that masks will be mandatory for all students and school personnel.

California’s second largest school district, San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD),

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Our San Diego Schools Must Reopen in August Despite Real Fears Amid Coronavirus

June 18, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor / Times of San Diego / June 16, 2020

The warnings are dire. The options limited. The fears real. But keeping schools closed the remainder of the year may be a mistake.

Why open up in August? The reasons are obvious and many.

First, San Diego education leaders warn of financial calamity. If even a small number of parents choose not to send their children back to traditional schools, it could trigger a funding crisis and threaten the link between neighborhoods and schools.”

Public schools, as libraries, are often the cornerstones of safety in many neighborhoods.

Yet, some parents will seek out alternative education sites: private schools, charter schools, academies, tutors and home-schooling options — further eroding the tax base allotments for the public ones—as those funds are calculated on a daily head count in every district. No one can blame parents for wanting to keep their children safe.

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Billionaires and the Origins of California’s Charter School Movement

June 17, 2020 by Source

Organized to Disrupt

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 10, 2020

The New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF) is the Swiss army knife of public school privatization. It promotes education technology development, bankrolls charter school creation, develops charter management organizations and sponsors school leadership training groups.

Since its founding in 1998, a small group of people with extraordinary wealth have been munificent in their support. NSVF is a significant asset in the billionaire funded drive to end democratically run public schools and replace them with privatized corporate structures.

1990’s Silicon Valley was a Happening Place

Like elsewhere in America, every little strip mall in San Jose, California had a Blockbuster video rental store. In 1997, Reed Hastings and Netflix co-founder Mark Reynolds came up with a disruptive idea that put Blockbuster out of business. For a monthly fee, they offered DVD’s by mail with no late charges. Blockbuster did not adapt fast enough and went bankrupt.

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CREDO’s New Study Biased against Public Schools

May 19, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / May 14, 2020

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) started releasing the results of its new Cities Study Project in mid-2019. It is not a coincidence that the cities chosen for the study have long been targeted for public school privatization.

The ten cities selected are: Indianapolis; Baton Rouge; Camden; Kansas City; Memphis; New Orleans; Oakland; St. Louis; San Antonio; and Washington DC. This CREDO study is even more opaque and biased than its previous efforts.

Who is CREDO?

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‘I was in a sit-in at UCSD when we heard about the killings at Kent State.’

May 4, 2020 by Source
Thumbnail image for ‘I was in a sit-in at UCSD when we heard about the killings at Kent State.’

Originally posted May 4, 2009.

By Dr. Anonymouse

May 4th, 1970, is forever etched in my brain and memory cells. I was a student at UCSD, and we had just taken over the 5th floor of Urey Hall – a Science building – in protest of the University’s complicity in the Vietnam War, when we heard the bad news from Kent State. It came over a small radio someone had perched on a chair out on the balcony overlooking the Quad. …

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