Education

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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‘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

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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”
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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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).

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The Creeping Privatization of Public Libraries

August 6, 2018 by Source

By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

At 17,566, there are more public libraries in the United States than there are Starbucks coffee shops. And just like at Starbucks, patrons have access to free wi-fi. But unlike Starbucks, public libraries will usually provide the free use of a computer as well as internet access.

Perhaps it is their very ubiquitousness that makes them such a tempting target for libertarians like the Koch brothers and right-wing economists like the one who recently suggested a takeover of libraries’ functions by Amazon.

Forbes quickly pulled the controversial op-ed

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The Burden of Charter Schools in San Diego County

July 20, 2018 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / San Diego Free Press

The California charter school law is doing serious harm to public schools. Few counties in the state have been more impacted by charter schools than San Diego County. This past school year 75,473 of the 508,169 publicly financed students enrolled in charter schools. In other words, 14.9 percent of San Diego’s students attended privatized schools and in the San Diego Unified School District, that percentage was greater than 17 percent.

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Shedding Tears of Hope and Joy as Children Make America Great

March 29, 2018 by Ernie McCray

I’ve lived a life
among children,
as a child initially, obviously,
and who knows how many
young ones there are
with whom I’ve had the honor
of being in their company
as their teacher
or their vice-principal
or their principal

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The National School Walkout: Welcome to the Future

March 19, 2018 by Jim Miller

Sometimes just the act of standing up against injustice starts to make things right. Speaking the truth to power can be redemptive. That’s how it felt last week as I watched my own family and my students (who I love like family) take part in the National School Walkout Day. If you are middle-aged like me and have participated in too many protests and political activities to count, it’s easy to start to see activism as work, a job that needs to be done but takes its toll– particularly in these grim times. You get tired, weary of the endless fight.

Then, once in a while, something happens that gives you renewed life, helps you see the world again with fresh eyes.

That’s what watching my kid get ready for the Roosevelt Middle School Walkout did for me.

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Marshall Tuck’s Dirty Secret: How Right-Wing Money Infiltrates Democratic Politics

March 5, 2018 by Jim Miller

Recently in the lead up to the Janus vs. AFSCME case that hit the Supreme Court last week, I wrote several columns focusing on the impact of the Koch brothers’ network’s attack on the union movement, the Democratic Party, and public education. Thus, I was cheered to learn that the California Democratic Party overwhelmingly endorsed the stalwart progressive Tony Thurmond over Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

While this is a low-profile affair as statewide races go, it is important because lots of moneyed interests see it as a way to push their agenda under the radar here in super blue California.

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Oh, I Love Those Children

March 2, 2018 by Ernie McCray

Crowd of young protestors holding signs protesting gun violence

Oh, I love those children.

Those beautiful bright young
high school Floridians,
boldly taking
the leadership
so needed to dampen
our warped relations with guns,
standing steadfastly
as one,
in the faces of the NRA’s,
ne’er-do-well whores
who masquerade unconvincingly
as well meaning politicians,
demanding that they
simply do something
about the situation
or face their votes
in future elections.

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Students, Moms, and San Diego Officials Make Actions Against Gun Violence a Priority

March 1, 2018 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Students in more than a dozen local high schools have announced plans to participate in a nationwide walkout organized by the Women’s March to protest gun violence on March 14th. The 17-minute walkout at 10 a.m. in each time zone is meant to honor the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida.

The San Diego Unified School Board unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for federal background checks for gun and ammo purchases, a ban on semi-automatic firearms, high capacity magazines and bump stocks. It also called for the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban.

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Teachers, Guns, and Money

February 26, 2018 by Jim Miller

The generalized rage and indiscriminate, spectacular violence that characterized the first year of the Trump era shows no sign of abating. In the wake of yet another horrifying mass murder at a school in Florida, the President’s response is to meet senseless violence with the threat of more violence.

Speaking to justify his breathtakingly stupid proposal to arm teachers as a defense against school shootings, Trump opined that if the educators at Stoneman Douglas High School had weapons they would have stopped the attack, “A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened.”

The logic of Trump’s cartoon Western version of the world is chilling.

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Two Bad Ideas for California Higher Education in Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal

January 29, 2018 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

It’s the first week of classes in the San Diego Community College District where I teach, and, as has become almost an annual ritual, the new year comes with a number of suspect education reforms from Sacramento.

Jerry Brown released his budget proposal recently, and unfortunately, there are two big, bad ideas that the Governor would like to be part of his higher education legacy: a new fully online college and performance-based funding. What unites these initiatives is that they are both driven more by corporate education reform ideology than sound pedagogy or evidence that they will be effective in reaching their stated aim.

I’ll start with the online college.

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