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Kate_Lenox's blog

School Choice Is A Problem, Not a Solution For Education

Ugh. The Bee editorial page has trotted out its conservative bull dog Ben Boychuk again. Just days after Martin Luther King Day, Boychuk is writing about his own dream--school choice.(1)

Voters Could Petition for an Election to Fill the Twin Rivers School Board Vacancy

The circumstances surrounding the resignation of former Twin Rivers USD board member Cortez Quinn were bad enough. Now they have resulted in an appointment for his replacement instead of an election. The Twin Rivers board made it even less democratic by choosing and approving his replacement with no public input from the voters of the affected trustee area. Appointee Cameron might have been at the top of the board's list of applicants, but that doesn't mean she would have been the voter's choice. Moreover, she is a charter school operator.

Back to School Recommendations for Superintendent Banda

It's back to school today in Sacramento and the Sunday Bee opinion page had some advice for Sac City Unified's new Superintendent, Jose Banda. The Bee editorial board are self-appointed experts on education.  After they got in a dig at Banda for his potential public retirement pay,  they offered five suggestions to start the school year off right.
I know enough to know that I'm not education expert, but I can recommend that Supt. Banda do exactly the opposite of the Bee's advice:

Cooper or Schenirer--Voters Will Decide Sacramento's Future

In his column today, Sac Bee attack dog Marcos Breton goes after Sac City teachers and City Council candidate Ali Cooper. Evidently Breton sees them as ganging up on children and keeping them from reaping the benefits of the CORE waiver. This is all part of a full court press on behalf of Council incumbent Jay Schenirer. Jay's day job is "education consultant" and his company wrote and oversees the waiver. Not only did Sac City teachers help put a dent in his income by helping to get the district to withdraw from the waiver, they are supporting Cooper, his opponent.

Sacramento City Unified's Withdrawal from the CORE Waiver is No Big Loss

       Jonathon Raymond left Sacramento last December for personal reasons.  It must gall him that since his departure, Sacramento City Unified School District has declined to continue with one of his professional goals--participation in the California Office to Reform Education waiver from NCLB. After all it's the professional goal of Broad Academy graduates to privatize public education. Raymond used the opinion pages of the Sunday Sacramento Bee to bemoan the losses and outline the consequences that the district will face without the waiver.

Community Forum on the CORE Waiver's Urges Public Action

                 The takeaway from last night's Community Forum on the California Office to Reform Education NCLB Waiver was that this waiver, and the commission that oversees it, strike at the heart of local control and local democracy. Process is important--it's not just something that career bureaucrats like to follow. It's the democratic process that was ignored and undermined by this waiver. Until last night there was no public hearing on the waiver, no school board discussion and certainly no board vote on whether the district should participate.

Hansen's Crowing About his Campaign Is a Little Premature

                Jay Hansen, California Medical Assn. lobbyist and appointed SCUSD school board member for Area 1 is running  for election to the seat he now occupies. He recently issued a press release crowing about big name endorsements and campaign donations. Through his under the dome connections he's gained the endorsements of Supt. Tom Torlakson, Senate Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assemblymember Dr. Richard Pan. He claims he's amassed ten times the money of his two opponents.

Sac City Unified Shares a Secret-the CORE Waiver Was Signed

We solved a mystery today, folks. Since there had been no public discussion of the CORE waiver at board meetings and no vote to adopt it by the board, we wondered if SCUSD had really joined the waiver after all. The Coalition made a public records request to the district and learned that J. Raymond signed the MOU back in August. Thanks for letting us know.

A Dearth of Democracy: Why Sac City Voters Deserve an Election, Not an Appointment

There has been a dearth of democracy lately here in Sacramento. Races big and small, from water board to mayor of Sacramento go begging for candidates or virtually uncontested. In some cases there is no election at all. This hasn't gone unnoticed. In his article in the Sacramento News and Review Cosmo Garvin focused on Sac City Unified board member Patrick Kennedy.  Kennedy has been the "winner" in one uncontested race for the SCUSD board and currently faces no challenger for a county supervisor seat.

The CORE Waiver--the End of Local Control

Coalition member Lori Jabloski gives us some of the details of the CORE waiver that Sacramento City Unified is a part of with a consortium of districts who applied to the US Dept. of Ed for relief from the requirements of NoChildLeftBehind.  This is an unprecented set of policies that would end the local control of our school district. The waiver would  take SCUSD out of  the state of California accountability system and put it in control of an unelected board that would meet only twice a year. This has happened  virtually without public discussion.


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