Education

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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‘Why I Support Public Education’

March 31, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / March 29, 2021

The original cause for my supporting public education was that my rancher father married a school teacher. Growing up in southern Idaho, I learned many philosophical and theoretical reasons for supporting the establishment and maintenance of public schools from my mother. However, it was from watching mom and her dedicated colleagues in action that I learned to truly respect and appreciate public school.

I remember stories of my father being warned that he better not treat that woman wrong. For several years in a row she won the Elmore County sharp shooting contest. She didn’t like to chop a chicken’s head off so she would pull out her rifle and shoot it off.

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San Diego County Back in the Red and Schools Are Back in the Green

March 17, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, San Diego County is back in the Red, tier that is! And San Diego area schools have been given the green light to reopen.

Dr. Wilma Wooten on Tuesday announced that San Diego County has attained a case rate low enough to rejoin the red tier Wednesday, March 17.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune:

In a biweekly COVID-19 update to the Board of Supervisors, the county’s public health officer foreshadowed the contents of the state’s weekly tier report, listing the score at 6.8 cases per 100,000 residents.

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MAGA Politics Have Arrived at a San Diego School District

March 16, 2021 by Source

Election of Mike Allman to San Dieguito Union High School Board Achieves MAGA Majority

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / March 15, 2021

One of America’s wealthiest public school districts typifies the damage MAGA Republicans are doing to public schools.

San Diego County’s San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) serves just over 13,000 students in five middle schools and five high schools. With former Republican congressional candidate Mike Allman’s narrow school board victory, a MAGA coalition has achieved a 3 to 2 majority.

This election result advances using school reopening as a political wedge issue. Normally nonpartisan school board elections have been turned into partisan political battle grounds.

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Opening Schools Amid a Global Pandemic: Plan for a Marathon Not a Sprint

March 8, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Pace yourselves and brace yourselves. The pandemic is not going away anytime soon.

Another surge is coming. Look to Europe’s opening/closing and infecting scenario, caused by a new COVID variant, soon to be dominant here.

Germany, a disciplined country, announced they are in the middle of a “third wave.” Also, in the “third wave,” is the Netherlands, where infection cases rose by nearly 19 per cent over the past seven days. Add Stockholm to the list, with a 27 per cent rise in case numbers in recent weeks; again, all due to the new mutation.

So, candor is required. Faced with the latest wave, amid a newer, more efficient strain, the current attempts at mandatory school re-openings (with financial incentives) are near reckless.

One size does cannot and should not fit all students, teachers, schools, all districts or all states.

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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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