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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.

Smiley and West--The Conversation: Diane Ravitch

Touching upon Race to the Top, the Chicago teachers' strike and the privatization of public education, Smiley and West's conversation with Diane Ravitch points out that the struggles in public education--the "civil rights issue of our times"--are not just about race but also about class.
http://www.smileyandwest.com/this-weeks-show/the-conversation-diane-ravi...

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".
 

Campaign for Our Public Schools--October 17

Letters to President Obama
by Diane Ravitch
Great news! Anthony Cody, experienced middle school science teacher and fabulous blogger, has offered to coordinate our campaign to write President Obama on October 17.
We call it the Campaign for Our Public Schools. Anthony previously ran his own campaign called “Teachers’ Letters to Obama.” He is a champion for teachers, kids, and public education.

Chicago School Strike is Against Obama “Race To The Top” Agenda of School Privatization and Corporate Education Reform

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon - BlackAgendaReport.com

Polls say that most Chicagoans support the striking teachers. Mitt Romney says he supports Rahm Emanuel. But why do so many who say they oppose charters, educational privatization, the drive to demonize teachers and make them temps fail to connect these policies with the Democratic president who has been their most outspoken champion the past four years?

Chicago School Strike is Against Obama “Race To The Top” Agenda of School Privatization and Corporate Education Reform – Not Against the Republicans

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Despite what CNN, MSNBC and other national news outlets, and the Obama re-election campaign want you to believe, Chicago's public school teachers are not out on strike against Republican education policies. There have been practically no elected Republican officials in Chicago in more than sixty years. Chicago's mayor and the US Secretary of Education are both Democrats, picked by a Democrat president, also from Chicago. When it gets close to election time, Barack Obama is known to say a soothing word about respecting teachers and protecting public education, to keep from driving away traditional Democratic voters. But four years of Obama's corporate-style school reform speak louder than a little timely campaign rhetoric.

From day one, the Obama administration joined and has helped co-ordinate the all-out assault on public education. Obama's campaign pockets are flush with contributions from what Glen Ford called the “charter school sugar daddies,” at whose behest he and Arne Duncan
“...spent their first year and a half in office coercing states to expand charters or lose out on more than $4 billion in federal education moneys. Obama's allies on Wall Street invest heavily in charter schools, tapping into the public money stream to build their own vision of corporate education.”

Charter school group's chief blamed for 2010 cheating scandal

By HOWARD BLUME - Los Angeles Times - Published: Friday, Aug. 17, 2012
From: SacBee.com

LOS ANGELES -- The meeting at Crescendo Preparatory South was progressing as usual when the acting principal dropped a bombshell: She had been given copies of the upcoming standardized tests. The teachers were to study them, take notes - and make sure the kids got it.

Some of the eight instructors were troubled by what seemed to be an order to cheat. One burst into tears.

So began one of the most brazen cheating scandals in the nation. Ultimately, all of Crescendo's schools in South Los Angeles and nearby Gardena and Hawthorne were shut down, its teachers let go and 1,400 students forced to find new schools.

Only the rough outlines of the 2010 scandal were made public, but dozens of interviews with former Crescendo employees and officials - as well as a review of previously unreleased documents - portray an environment so poisoned by demands to excel on state proficiency tests that many submitted to a plan to boost the scores of schools that were already doing well.

Cosmo Garvin's Parting Shot at Kevin Johnson

KJ, Inc.
http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/k-j-inc/content?oid=7177019
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.

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