Education

Trying to Help Children Create a Peaceful World

October 29, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Trying to help children create a peaceful world is difficult, to say the least. The reason being, I suppose, is because war seems to be the default way human beings have chosen, over time, to solve problems between nations.

Children are groomed to accept armed conflict in such a world.

I mean I grew up in the 40’s running around with my buddies, loudly mouthing the whistling and booming noises of bombs exploding and the rat-a-tat-tat sounds of war we learned how to playfully mimic at the movies on many a Saturday afternoon.

We were grunts and swabbies and jarheads and flyboys all wrapped in one, anchoring aweigh and flying off into the wild blue yonder and storming beaches and rolling those caissons along, practically every day.

Nobody ever said “Hey, haven’t you children ‘play killed’ enough people today?”

Read the full article → 4 comments

A Boy’s Dream Come True

October 16, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

It was a dream come true when I first stepped into a classroom of my own in 1962.

A dream born on my first day of kindergarten, as I sat at a desk going out of my mind, as there’s only so much “See Spot run” a five-year-old, who can already read, can take, for goodness sake.

Not to mention that school had barely begun when I heard a loud “Whack!” which was the sound of the school principal, Sister Mary Benedict, grand slamming my knuckles to kingdom come with a yardstick, like Willie Mays hitting a game winning homerun – because I had dozed off at my desk.

Needless to say that woke me up. Talking about “not seeing it coming.”

But how do you not cop a nod in a non-air-conditioned classroom in late August or early September in Tucson – freaking, Arizona?

Read the full article → 4 comments

Is Inspire Charter School the Next to Be Indicted?

October 15, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Oct.9, 2019

Inspire Charter School mirrors the methods of A3 Education. It employs practices strikingly similar to those that led to the 67-count indictment in May against A3’s leaders. Furthermore, the California Charter School Association (CCSA) took the unusual step of sharing concerns about Inspire and A3 with California authorities.

Both are virtual schools that concentrate on obtaining authorization from small school districts. These systems have a similar structure in which a central organization controls the schools that are contracting with it and they transfer funds among multiple organizations making it difficult to monitor their activities. Students at Inspire and A3 struggle academically.

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Town In Need of a Public Library

October 10, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

There is a little town about 772 miles from the southern border of Ohio. The people there have been poisoned, and I am writing to warn that the poison has spread. You must take precautions. It can be fatal.

In Clinton, Arkansas, a rural community of about 2,500, in which almost one-fourth of the residents live below the poverty line, the majority of voters have become blind to the economic, social, civic, or spiritual sense of spending taxpayer money on endeavors that help their fellow human beings.

The people of Clinton don’t want a public library. It’s a waste of money. They don’t want government services even for the very poor.

Read the full article → 11 comments

Restoring Justice Heart to Heart After the Racial Taunts From San Clemente High

October 7, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

If there is an American tradition that has lasted longer than “racial taunting” I’d like to know what it is.

It’s truly as American as apple pie.

And it often comes out of nowhere, rising at any time and at any place, as the Lincoln High Hornets Cheerleaders found out not too long ago at an away football game against the Tritons at San Clemente High.

Oh, they were just bouncing and dancing and prancing and chanting on behalf of their guys, trying, by the way, to hold their heads up high as the other guys were winning the day, big time, and the home crowd was feeling it, big time, having a grand old time, hugging each other and high fiving and dancing on their feet, their marching band tapping away with snappy victorious drum beats, the brass section blasting their horns until the cows come home…

Read the full article → 3 comments

Let the Children Play

October 2, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Sept 25, 2019

Two education experts and fathers have issued a clarion call to “Let the Children Play.”

Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle co-authored Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive. These two fathers with young children were both shocked by the education system they found when the American scholar Doyle took his family to Finland and Finland’s Education Director General, Sahlberg, brought his family to the United States. Their book is a tour de force about play practices globally and the research supporting the developmental need for children to play.

The authors document the stunning reduction in authentic outdoor self-directed play children in the United States and around the world are experiencing.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Relay Graduate School: a Slick ‘MarketWorld’ Education Fraud

September 24, 2019 by Staff

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / September 18, 2019

Relay Graduate School of Education is a private stand alone graduate school created and led by people with meager academic credentials. Founded by leaders from the charter school industry, it is lavishly financed by billionaires.

Contending that traditional university based teacher education has failed; Relay prescribes deregulation and market competition. Relay does not offer “coursework in areas typical of teacher education programs—courses such as school and society, philosophy of education, and teaching in democracy ….” Rather, Relay trains students almost exclusively in strict classroom management techniques.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Teaching About the World

September 24, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ll always remember my first year of teaching, back to the very first day.

There I was standing before close to 40 sixth graders and I don’t recall at all what I had planned to say to start the day.

But before I could say anything I noticed that my students were looking me up and down like somebody assessing a used car at “U Can Trust Us Autos.”

I could tell they had questions on their minds, and then it dawned on me what they wanted answers to and I answered their questions before they asked me to:

“Six-five. Size fourteen. And, yeah, I play basketball.”

That set the tone for that year and for the rest of my career, a career well chosen because it fit me to a T, allowed me to totally be myself: to teach the way I wished my teachers had taught me.

Read the full article → 3 comments

The Invisible Hand of Democracy Wins Two Small Victories Over Colt and the University of California

September 20, 2019 by Source

By Niall Twohig

Free marketeers want us to believe their rationale for halting assault rifle sales and divesting from fossil fuels. We don’t buy it.

Don’t be misled. We, the people, have won two small victories in the struggle for democracy: We forced Colt to stop selling assault rifles to the public. We forced the University of California system to divest from fossil fuels.

Reading statements from Colt and UC financial planners, however, you might think another hand was at play. For them, the invisible hand of the market dictated their decisions. The market compelled them from unprofitable sectors to more viable and equally profitable ones. For them, the choice to halt sales and divest just makes sense, economic sense.

But that’s all nonsense.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Global Climate Strike this Friday, September 20th

September 16, 2019 by Jim Miller

Find a San Diego Action to Support

By Jim Miller

It seems a day can’t go by without more dire news on the climate crisis. Last week as the President shamefully demonized climate refugees desperately fleeing the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the UN warned that the climate crisis represents not just a threat to our environment but also to human rights. As the Guardian reported, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the human rights council that, “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.”

Why? Because, as Bachelet explained, “The economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all your people, and future generations, will be impacted.” Only two days after that, the Washington Post reported that “Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world” causing historically warm ocean temperatures that have prompted mass die-offs of marine life.

Read the full article → 1 comment

The World We Want

September 13, 2019 by Source


The University of California Has Been Shaped by Market Value
By Niall Twohig

One thing I noticed in my decade studying and teaching at UCSD is that we—students, teachers, and our academic programs—rarely define the principles we want to live by in our university and society. By principles, I’m referring to what critic George Monbiot calls a “description of the world as we would like to see it.”

I see a risk in not defining our principles. If we do not describe the world we would like to see, we risk accepting the world we see as the only possible world. We risk accepting what is valued in that world as what is most valuable to us.

What is valued most in our current world is market value. This value is determined by how much profit one makes when one sells one’s product on the market. All that matters in the marketplace is whether

Read the full article → 2 comments

Billionaire Eli Broad’s Academy Is All About the Destruction of Public Education

September 10, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

In 2002, the billionaire, Eli Broad, established his own education leadership training program. Although he is the only person ever to create two Fortune 500 companies, Broad, who attended public school, has no other experience or training in education.

However he is so rich, he can just institute his opinions such as his belief that education knowledge is not needed to run large urban school systems; consultants can be hired for that knowledge.

Read the full article → 7 comments

Much Needed Prop 13 Reform Is on It’s Way with ‘Schools and Communities First’ Ballot Measure

August 26, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

There is a movement afoot to reform Proposition 13, with community organizations aligned with labor promoting the Schools and Communities First ballot measure. Why would anyone want to touch the third rail of California politics? The answer is simple: we can keep its central benefit to homeowners while closing an unnecessary corporate loophole that will help our schools, cities, and counties across California.

Ever since its passage in 1978, Proposition 13 has starved California’s schools and local governments of funding. While the measure was pitched as a way to keep individual homeowners from being buried by taxes, the real beneficiaries of Prop. 13 were not elderly folks or other vulnerable groups struggling to hang on to their homes, but super rich corporate property holders.

What most voters don’t know about Proposition 13 is that it gave huge commercial property owners like Disneyland the same tax break as your grandmother.

Read the full article → 11 comments

‘Teach for America’ Is Bad for the Nation

August 22, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 19,2019

Teach For America (TFA) has become the billionaire financed army for privatizing public education. It is the number one source of charter school teachers and its alumni are carrying a neoliberal ideology into education leadership at all levels.

TFA undermines education professionalism and exacerbates teacher turnover. Its teachers are totally unqualified to run a classroom yet their political support caused the US Congress to label them as highly qualified teachers. Big money and its political power have elevated TFA to being the nation’s most effective force driving the privatization of public education.

Defining TFA Neoliberalism

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Billionaire Drive to Privatize Public School

August 16, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 10, 2019

The New Teachers Project (TNTP) is one of several organizations that only exist because billionaires have financed them. Wendy Kopp founded TNTP in 1997. She assigned Michelle Rhee, who had recently finished a two year Teach For America (TFA) tour, to run TNTP. Along with TNTP and TFA there are also the uncertified Broad Superintendents Academy and the fake school for professional educators called Relay Graduate School forming a significant part of the infrastructure instilling a privatization mindset into the education community.

TNTP says it mission is to partner with educational entities to:

  • “Increase the numbers of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers; and
  • Create environments for all educators that maximize their impact on student achievement”
Read the full article → 0 comments

Five Decades of ‘MarketWorld’ Education Reform

August 7, 2019 by Source

By T. Ultican / Tultican / July 27,2019

There has been a fifty-year push to reform education using business management principles. In the period, Harvard Business School has trumped Columbia Teacher College concerning pedagogy. Unfortunately, the results are an unmitigated disaster for most communities and students.

This market based endeavor – financed by billionaires – has transformed public schools into non-democratic profit centers. It is the precursor to the ultimate goal of dismantling universal free public education.

The radical right is pushing to privatize everything from policing; to prisons; to schools. They have spread the gospel that governments are incapable of solving problems but businessmen can. In his first inaugural address, Ronald Reagan declared “…, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Viewing society as consisting of “makers” and “takers,” these apostles of privatization fear the tyranny of democratic majorities. They strive to make property rights the paramount civil right.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Reforming California’s Dysfunctional Charter School Law

July 19, 2019 by Source

By T. Ultican / Tultican / July17,2019

Members of the California legislature have engaged in an internecine battle over charter schools. Even the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has expressed concern over lawless cyber charters and filed the first known complaint with the California Department of Education over A3 Education and Valiant Prep which were recently charged with stealing a stunning $50 million.

California State Sen. John Moorlach (R) is warning that 85% of school districts in California are running deficits. Governor Gavin Newsom has stated “rising charter school enrollments in some urban districts are having real impacts on those districts’ ability to provide essential support and services for their students.” The drive to privatize schools in San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles has been fueled

Read the full article → 0 comments

May 5, 1970 Was One of the Most Explosive Days in American History

May 5, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Those of us long in tooth and gray in hair remember the tumultuous days of the May 1970 national student strike and the murder of four students at Kent State by National Guardsmen on May 4; those younger know the song “Four Dead in Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young about the Kent State shootings.

The deadly clash was part of the student response to President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia, which he announced on April 30.

But what most of us don’t realize is that the day following the Kent State killings, May 5th – was indeed one of the most explosive days in American history as literally hundreds of university, college and high school campuses blew up in response – and for that day at least, the American educational system broke down.

Angry, tearful young people across the nation reacted with an intensity and in numbers not witnessed before or since.

Emergency meetings, rallies, protests, mid-night marches, letter-writing, impeach Nixon petitions, sit-ins, flag-lowerings, leafleting downtowns, confrontations with local police and guardsmen, teargas, rocks, road blockades, memorials for the dead, fires in ROTC buildings – all of these were part of the response of thousands upon thousands of American students across the land.

Read the full article → 38 comments

Beiser’s Back! (and He’s Still Running for City Council)

April 24, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / April 23, 2019

San Diego Unified Board Trustee Kevin Beiser reappeared at a school board meeting on Tuesday night after several weeks of laying low following accusations of sexual misconduct by four men more than a month ago.

One of the accusers has filed suit. Thus far Beiser has issued only a brief statement declaring his innocence. The San Diego Democratic Party, the SD Education Association, and even his colleagues on the board have all called on Beiser to resign. Sen. Toni Atkins, Assemblyman Todd Gloria

Read the full article → 0 comments

After Months of Complaints and Health Concerns About Noxious Fumes SDSU President Holds Meetings

April 11, 2019 by Source

by Brad Racino, Lauren Mapp & Bella Ross / inewsource / April 3, 2019

More than 75 faculty members, staff and students at San Diego State University packed an open forum Wednesday, April 3, to demand answers of campus leadership about noxious odors that have sickened many since January.

Editordude: From an earlier post:

The odors arose from a chemical used during roof repairs to the Professional Studies and Fine Arts building, which was closed on March 13 — six weeks after the university was told of the problem and began air monitoring tests. Students and professors who occupied the building despite the smells said the university did a poor job of notifying them or giving them options. inewsource.com

Read the full article → 0 comments

The College Admission Scandal Shows Us Who We Are: A Plutocracy Posing as a Meritocracy

March 25, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

This is who we are now: a country where the criminal rich brazenly buy their kids’ ways into elite colleges while the sons and daughters of ordinary Americans scrape and claw to gain admission and then struggle to pay for the skyrocketing costs of higher education. As a recent Public Broadcasting Service story on the college admissions scandal put it:

The multimillion-dollar bribery scheme unveiled by the Justice Department this week has sparked equal parts outrage and incredulity over the astonishing lengths some wealthy parents have gone to get their children into the prestigious universities of their choice.

Read the full article → 1 comment

2 Wealthy San Diegans Charged in Elite College Admission Bribery Scandal

March 13, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Two wealthy San Diegans have been charged in the elite college admission bribery scandal that is rocking the country’s academia community.

One is Elisabeth Kimmel, former owner of KFMB-TV, San Diego’s CBS affiliate, who was arrested Tuesday at her La Jolla home. The other is Toby MacFarlane, a businessman from Del Mar and a former executive of a title insurance company.

From 7SanDiego:

Kimmel is accused of participating in an illegal conspiracy to get her daughter into Georgetown University and her son into USC.

Read the full article → 7 comments

Lessons from the LA Teachers Strike

January 28, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

After a little more than a week of striking, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) captured the public’s imagination, helped transform the national narrative about education, won a solid new contract, and positioned themselves well for the battles to come.

For those of us in education this was an inspiring moment that showed the potential for smart organizing and activism to change the game in important ways.

As I wrote last week, UTLA was taking a lead from both the social movements of the sixties and other, more recent examples of militant protests and strikes by fellow educators elsewhere in the United States from Chicago to West Virginia.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The United Teachers of Los Angeles: Walking the Picket Line in the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

This year the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday falls in the midst of one of the biggest teachers strikes in recent American history. And Dr. King, who gave his life while supporting a public sector sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tennessee because he saw it as a model for his Poor People’s Campaign, would recognize the spirit of this strike.

By the end of his life, King, who had long supported labor, came to question not just racial injustice, but also the economic and political struggles he identified as the edifices which produce beggars in the marketplace. His call for questioning the evils of racial, economic and other forms of institutionalized exploitation led him to challenge the American power structure and the unjust business as usual of our society.

That is precisely what the teachers in Los Angeles are doing.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Sweetwater Union – the Largest High School District in California – Is Under Attack by Charter School Proponents – Including the San Diego U-T and Voice of San Diego

January 16, 2019 by Source

Editordude: Here’s the latest post from Thomas Ultican about the latest shenanigans from local charter school supporters in their quest to undermine public education…. In delving into the details, Ultican takes on the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Voice of San Diego.

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

The newly hired Chief Financial Officer of Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD), Jenny Salkeld, discovered a significant problem with the budget she inherited. She presented her findings to the Sweetwater leadership team in early September which forwarded her report onto the County Office of Education (COE).

Read the full article → 6 comments

Those Wishing to Destroy Public Education Are Retooling for 2019

January 4, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

The destroy public education (DPE) national coordinating organization, Education Cities, has been closed, with its assets and personnel distributed to three new organizations; The City Fund, School Board Partners and Community Engagement Partners.

And there is more. In an interview with The 74, City Fund’s Managing Partner, Neerav Kingsland, revealed the establishment a new political action committee under IRS code 501 C4 called Public School Allies.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The How and Why of Measure YY, the San Diego Unified School District Bond Ask

October 18, 2018 by Doug Porter

Back in the old days before Proposition 13, local schools were funded locally. School boards had the authority to raise property tax rates, constrained by the understanding that the electorate would vote them out come election time if they went too far.

In practice, this meant school districts with lower property values ended up with inferior education facilities and programs. Court cases in the 1970’s began the erosion of local control in the cause of rectifying these inequities; Prop 13 put the state in the driver’s seat.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Why Electing Tony Thurmond as Superintendent of Public Instruction Is the Most Important Race in California

October 2, 2018 by Jim Miller

Andrea Gabor’s After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform, thoroughly exposes the fact that over the last twenty years or so, “the billionaire boys club has favored a punitive, hierarchical, undemocratic, one-size fits all approach that has hurt students more than it has helped them.”

These corporate education reformers come to the table with an endless supply of money and a set of prejudices that favor:

Read the full article → 0 comments

After the Education Wars: Someone Needs to Save Us from Our Billionaire Saviors

September 24, 2018 by Jim Miller

After failing to prop-up Antonio Villaraigosa’s flagging gubernatorial campaign last June, Michael Bloomberg apparently spent the summer pondering whether it would be wiser for him to personally save the United States rather than waste his time trying to rescue California by proxy. Last week the New York Times reported that Bloomberg was mulling a run for the Presidency as a Democrat because that represented the most viable path to victory. As the Times story observed, while Bloomberg has engaged in some good work on guns and the environment, many of his other positions might not be very likely to win over the liberal base of the Democratic Party.

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Layperson’s Guide to the ‘Destroy Public Education’ Movement

September 21, 2018 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

The destroy public education (DPE) movement is the fruit of a relatively small group of billionaires. The movement is financed by several large non-profit organizations. Nearly all of the money spent is free of taxation. Without this spending, there would be no wide-spread public school privatization.

It is generally recognized that the big three foundations driving DPE activities are The Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation (Assets in 2016 = $41 billion), The Walton Family Foundation (Assets in 2016 = $3.8 billion), and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation(Assets in 2016 = $1.8 billion).

Read the full article → 7 comments