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Students Bear the Consequences of the School Closure Vote

Today's Bee editorial lauds the SCUSD board of education for "tough but wise" decision" on schools closures because the district needed to close schools because of shrinking enrollment. While it is true that the district has too many schools for its enrollment, the objections many had with these school closures was the process. It was too hasty, used questionable data about school capacity, had no plan in place for student safety and  engaged the public after the fact. In short, it did not follow best practices recommended by the California Dept. of Education.

The Fight to Save Our Schools Begins Today

It's not just a school, it's a community that will be lost. Parents trust that teachers and staff will act in the best interests of their children to look after them and to teach them for 6 hours a day. It's a stressful and scary situation for a parent to lose the school that is your child's safe haven.

Questions and issues for discussion at the school closure meetings:

Why is the district closing schools in the light of the passage of prop 30 and the Governor's new policy initiative to change the way schools are funded?  Sac City is 73% free and reduced lunch students. It could receive an infusion of funds.

Letter to the SCUSD Board of Education:

       For the past ten years, the Sacramento City Unified School District has closed schools piecemeal, even when attempting to put a process like a 7-11 committee in place. Now with its back against the wall financially,  the district believes it must close a large number of schools to remain solvent. To address the declining enrollment and over capacity in the district, planning should have begun by considering  the best way to serve the needs of all of the current population of students in the district.

SCUSD School Closure List Makes Some Students Winners or Losers

     The SCUSD school closure list is out and some of the criteria behind the selection of the schools on it has been revealed. Three of  the Superintendent's Priority Schools get a pass, despite the fact they are under enrolled. Oak Ridge was on a closure list two years ago because of low enrollment and  the poor shape of its facility. Now it will be a receiving school for students from Bret Harte and Fruitridge Elementary Schools.

Ginger Rutland on Michelle Rhee-Defending the Indefensible

Much as she did when reporters on her own paper revealed mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson to be a slumlord, Bee editor Ginger Rutland now feels it necessary in the wake of the Frontline episode to rehabilitate Michelle Rhee's image. In spite of allegations of widespread cheating, a campaign of humiliating teachers and administrators and wholesale closings of schools rather than attempting to improve them, Rhee gets a pass because of her "no excuses" philosophy for education achievement for children in poverty.

My Letter to President Obama--Campaign for Our Public Schools

Dear President Obama:
I'm writing to you about your education policy. Although my children are no longer in the K-12 system here in Sacramento, I remain involved in our public schools because of their importance to the future of our country. It's clear to me that our public school system is being undermined by the very policies that are supposed to improve it. I believe that the focus of federal policy should be educational equity, not "accountability".

Cosmo Garvin's Parting Shot at Kevin Johnson

KJ, Inc.
Cosmo Garvin's last article for the Sacramento News and Review is an excellent piece of investigative journalism on how Kevin Johnson is funneling private dollars into quasi-public endeavors including his astro-turf education group Stand Up Sacramento. Along with that he is also using public dollars and city office space in a self-agrandizing effort to enlarge his staff and extend his political reach.

Grades Based on Test Scores Can't Measure a School's Success

Sacramento's  Mayor Kevin Johnson has said that the city should have a greater role in Sacramento's schools.  State law, as well as the city's Council Manager form of government, prevents him from wresting control of the schools from the elected school board so he has proposed another means to put his stamp on the city's schools.   In keeping with the federal emphasis on test scores and accountability,  the Mayor  proposed  a school grading system in his "Education White Paper" made public in 2009 and announced its development  in his 2012 "State of the City" speech.

Honor the Fourth of July-Keep Our Schools Democratic!

Recently I posted about the requirements of the new Race to the Top grants for school districts. The federal Dept. of Education has doubled down on the emphasis on standardized tests by moving to use them not only to judge schools, but also to judge teachers and administrators. Even more  disturbing is the new requirement that tests for schools boards be developed.  Is this just another way to end democratic control over public education?


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