Re-Creating America by eagnews.org
California Drops Out of ELL Assessment Consortium
California education officials have dropped out of a group of a dozen states that had organized around the need to develop a new English-language proficiency assessment that will measure the language demands of the Common Core State Standards.
The state had planned to be part of ELPA 21—or the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century consortium—which is led by Oregon and funded by a $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. California's inclusion in the consortium was significant because the state's public schools educate 1.4 million English-language learners, more than any other state. ELL-rich Florida is also part of the group.
Deb Sigman, the deputy state superintendent for the California department of education, told me today that the decision to take a pass on formally signing a memorandum of understanding to fully participate in the consortium was a tough one because the work of the group of states is "headed in the right direction."
California needs a new English-language proficiency test, she said, but state education officials did not want to halt the forward momentum they have created by recently adopting new English-language development standards. One condition in the ELPA 21 agreement, she said, was that all member states would have to adopt the same English-language-development standards by next fall.
"That made us uncomfortable," Sigman said. "We've already done this. We didn't want to put an artificial stop to where we were."
She said that while representatives of the ELPA 21 states had casually discussed adopting the new California standards for all members of the consortium, that idea hadn't gotten much traction.
"The consortium had to rightly acknowledge that member states have to view all of this in their own context," she said. "They have to respond to their own communities, legislatures, boards of education, and state chiefs."
Likewise, Tennessee has declined to sign the MOU, though I don't have the details yet on why. Other states in the group include Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia. Oregon's key nonstate partners in this effort are Stanford University and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
So what this means now is that California will be striking out on its own to develop a new English-language proficiency assessment for ELLs. Before ELPA 21, the state had taken a shot as the lead in a group of 15 states hoping to win a federal grant for a new exam, but that proposal was rejected by the Education Department. A separate group of states led by Wisconsin won the first federal grant for a new English-language proficiency assessment—an award of $10.5 million—and is collaborating with the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, or WIDA, to develop technology-based exams.
Sigman said California is already working on its timeline for developing a test, which she stressed will be new, and not a revision of the California English Language Development Test, or CELDT, which is the current assessment the state uses.
NEW: Bond betrayal: Did college district dupe OC Tax on PLA?
March 29, 2013
By John Hrabe
When Orange County voters approved $698 million in new borrowing for the Coast Community College District last fall, they received reassurances from the county’s preeminent taxpayer organization that the measure took a responsible approach to long-term indebtedness. That helped the district garner 57 percent of the vote on Measure M on Nov. 6, just above the 55 percent threshold for passing such bonds. The bond money will be repaid with tax increases on property owners.
OC Tax doesn’t endorse or oppose school bond measures, but it does offer an exhaustive 13-point list of criteria for the public to judge bond measures. The last item of OC Tax’s list is: disclosure of whether the agency intends to use any project labor agreements during construction. A PLA is defined as, “when the government awards contracts for public construction projects exclusively to unionized firms.”
Back in September, when the district was desperately seeking OCTax’s coveted seal of approval, Reed Royalty, then-president of the organization, directly asked the district to address the PLA issue.
“One problem: your last item says ‘The ballot language contains no reference to a PLA.’ I can’t tell whether that statement precludes, includes, or simply ignores the possibility of having the work done under a PLA,” Royalty wrote on September 19 to district spokeswoman Martha Parham, according to copies of the emails exclusively obtained by CalWatchdog.com. “OCTax doesn’t like PLAs, but we don’t insist that you refuse to hire a contractor that operates under one.”
“We simply want voters to know in advance whether or not you will do so. We want voters to know what they’ll be paying for,” he added. “OCTax will not state that Measure M meets our 13 criteria unless/until you disclose your intent.”
Two and a half hours later, the district replied with an emphatic no.
“We do NOT have PLAs in place nor do we intend to enter into a PLA,” Parham wrote. “I hope that clarifies things, please let me know if you have further questions. — Martha.”
The emails are reproduced at the end of this article.
But now, as the district begins to draft construction contracts, it appears to have changed its mind. The Daily Pilot’s Jeremiah Dobruck wrote that, at a recent board meeting, “a board member floated a broad labor agreement,” which contained support for a PLA “on how to spend $698 million in bond money.”
Notes from National Call on Education
You can find links to other resources here at City on a Hill, the radio show spends a great portion of time talking about this issue so if you also want to go listen to the podcasts please do. Diana has some incredible guests on! http://www.cityonahill.tv/education-blog/
I started the call with a slight over view of what exactly the Common Core Standards are and who it effects. I believe it is not an understatement to say it affects every child in the USA. If you home school, it will affect you, if your child is in a private school it will affect you and if your child is in government run schools ( public schools) it will totally effect you and them!
Glenn Beck did a show recently on Common Core and it was great here is a link to it. Blaze TV is offering a two week trial for free right now so you can access the show for free. It is the March 14th show
Christal Sawsy , a teacher from Utah who retired rather than teach Common Core is fighting it in her state with David Cox another teacher who also retired rather than teach this drivel. We have been in touch with her and hope to have her on a call soon.
Parents and teachers will no longer have a voice in the curriculum when this is fully implemented. The Administration I already asking teacher to support even when they have no idea what it involves, pass it and then you can see what is in it, hmmm seems familiar..
The Dept of Education circumvented Congress when sending this out and there is no Congressional approval or oversight on this. This program is not internationally approved or tested!
By the time kids get to 8th grade they will already be 2 yrs behind in Math, but don’t worry they are changing the SAT’s to match Common Core. The Gates Foundation paid the national PTA and Chambers of Commerce a boat load of money to support this program.
Our state legislators will not have heard of this as they did not approve it either so we must educate them as to the disastrous results of this kind of education. States still have the Constitutionality to fight this and say No to it, Georgia just did. http://truthinamericaneducation.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODz4X0GO-Fk- Georgia’s press conf.
Listening to the people at the State Department of Education who are charged with California’s transition to the new Common Core K-12 learning standards, as I did (twice) earlier this month, you’d have to conclude that it’s all going pretty well.
Everything’s on schedule, local districts are moving ahead to “varying degrees” to get ready, teachers are champing at the bit to be liberated from the chains of rote learning and fill-in-the-bubble multiple-choice tests, and there’ll be materials to support the new focus on analytical skills, critical thinking, problem solving and essay writing.
By spring 2015, the state officials say, the kids will be ready – many of them anyway – for the “Smarter Balanced” computer-based test assessments that will measure how well they’re doing. (Yes, Virginia, “smarter balanced” is a test, not a shoe or a brand of margarine.) Anyway, they say, local districts will have a lot of flexibility on when to get on board.
If all the foregoing resonates with a bit of skepticism, it’s meant to.
For state Department of Education officials, from Superintendent Tom Torlakson down, optimism is part of the job description. But California, one of some forty states that have signed up for Common Core, faces an enormous task not only because of the apparent magnitude of the change, but because its education system, and the state Department of Education itself, are so badly strapped in so many ways.
In the past few years we’ve laid off thousands of teachers; our average classes are among the largest in the nation; we have the fewest counselors and librarians per pupil; our per-pupil spending is near the bottom, even after Gov. Jerry Brown’s much-ballyhooed tax hike. And now we will take on this change as well.
The other day Torlakson estimated that it will cost $1 billion for California to make the change, and that, too, may turn out to be optimistic. So far most districts have been left dangling with little help other than the information – and there’s a fair amount of that – they can glean from the Department’s websites.
Even the optimism at the top – all of it from good people with good intentions – has some weasel wording. What does it mean that districts are getting ready to “varying degrees”? How many teachers are eager to change?
And a lot is left unsaid. The state may adopt texts and other classroom materials for Common Core, but the locals will have to buy them out of already strapped budgets.
Tens of thousands of teachers who have followed the same “basic skills” lesson plans – read “drill and kill” – all their careers will have to be retrained. And so, in a manner of speaking, will parents. Will there be any way to compare scores on the old California standards tests with Smarter Balanced?
And who will train the test examiners judging the essays? And what’s being done to get the next generation of teachers ready for Common Core? In reply to a query, Linda Darling-Hammond, the chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, said “there is a lot going on in ed schools to rethink curriculum in light of the common core, and the CCTC is also working to revamp its accreditation and licensing standards to incorporate Common Core.” But there’s a big difference between “rethinking” and actually turning the ed-school battleship.
There’s a lot to celebrate in Common Core, which was created under the aegis of the nation’s governors and the chief state school officers, and which may be the nearest thing the nation will ever have to national school standards. And it probably will liberate many teachers to be more innovative – to really teach and not just follow a script that asks students to memorize and regurgitate. If it’s handled right, it might even get more people from the top ranks of their college classes to choose teaching as a career.
But anyone who’s followed the pendulum swings in American education will also regard this latest change with a great deal of caution. For most of the past century, we’ve seesawed from progressive education with open-ended questions and lots of emphasis on creativity and analytical skills to “the basics.”
In the1960s, following the Soviet launch of Sputnik, there was a great swing to new curricula – the new math, the new biology, PSSC physics. I was part of a group that designed a new course in American history. But the backlash began soon enough when parents decided that with all that fancy stuff, say in math, their kids weren’t learning to add or subtract, and when employers complained their new hires couldn’t read the manuals they were hoping to train them with.
So beginning in the late 1970s, we swung back. Direct instruction, so called, replaced “discovery learning.” Phonics replaced look-say and “whole language” in the teaching of reading.
The advocates of Common Core say that students will still have to learn to read and add and multiply, though even here there have been great debates. Is it still necessary to learn your times table when everybody now has access to a cheap calculator? And what kind of facts do you need to memorize when Google is now at almost everyone’s fingertips?
Two of those at the Department of Education charged with the Common Core implementation, Deb Sigman and Barbara Murchison, say that because California’s old curricular standards aren’t all that different from Common Core, the changeover won’t be all that tough. But then why would all those teachers be champing at the bit for liberation?
The goal is worth it, but get ready for a choppy ride.
Peter Schrag is the former editorial page editor and columnist of the Sacramento Bee. He is the author of “Paradise Lost: California’s Experience, America’s Future” and “California: America’s High Stakes Experiment.” His latest book is “Not Fit for Our Society: Immigration and Nativism in America” (University of California Press). He is a frequent contributor to the California Progress Report.
February 20, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance released a long-awaited table today that shows how each K-12 district fares in his new plan to direct more money to schools with low-income students and English learners.
The table can be seen here.
The Department of Finance says that no district will receive less than it has this school year, while the "vast majority" will get "moderate to significant funding increases." The governor's future funding expectations depend on significant growth in state revenues thanks to the economy and voter-approved tax hikes.
Locally, for example, the suburban Buckeye Union Elementary School District in El Dorado County would receive $5,948 per student in 2013-14 and $8,296 per student at full implementation of Brown's plan several years from now. Only 14 percent of Buckeye students qualify for free and reduced lunch, while 4 percent are learning English.
By comparison, Twin Rivers Unified in North Sacramento would go from $7,890 per student in 2013-14 to $11,993 per student at full implementation. At Twin Rivers, 82 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, and 24 percent are learning English.
Brown last month said that he believes the state should spend more money on students living in poverty and those struggling with language barriers. Districts with such challenges generally qualify for additional federal and state aid now, but Brown and critics suggest state school funding formulas are convoluted and offer the wrong incentives.
Larry Sand: If unions do so much for members, why bully?
/ For the Register
The Michigan Education Association had its apple cart turned upside down when the Wolverine State went "right-to-work" in December. This means that, unlike California and 25 other states, a worker doesn't have to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
My introduction to union coercion came in 2005, when, as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles, I joined the Prop. 75 campaign. That initiative would have prohibited public employee labor organizations from collecting the part of union dues which goes for politics without prior consent of the employee. Sensing a disruption in their forced dues gravy train, the California Teachers Association went into overdrive. It raised union dues on its members for a three-year period and mortgaged their offices in Sacramento, then used the millions they accumulated to scare teachers and the public – ominously warning them of imaginary horrors that would be visited on them if the proposition passed.
Teachers unions are forever telling its members how much the union does for them in the way of wages, job benefits, etc. You would think that an organization that does so much for its members wouldn't have to resort to bullying to keep them in the fold. But the unions know that without forcing the issue, many teachers would just say, "No." For instance, in Wisconsin, after Act 10 came into law allowing teachers to quit their union, about 30 percent have already quit with more to follow this June when their contracts expire.
Also, typically unspoken in the unions' talking points is the fact that while union members in forced union states may make more than their counterparts in RTW states, the costs of goods and services are far lower in these states, the result being a net gain for the employee. The unions also don't tell you that workers are flocking to RTW states, which have a lower unemployment rate than in states that are dominated by unions.
In Michigan, a skittish MEA is doing what it can to intimidate teachers. First, they are scrambling to get new contracts for teachers all over the state before March when the new RTW law takes effect. Also, MEA boss Steve Cook issued a threat that any teacher who decides to bail in March will be sued. According to a Wall Street Journal editorial,
"Members who indicate they wish to resign membership in March, or whenever, will be told they can only do so in August," Mr. Cook writes in the three-page memo obtained by the West Michigan Policy Forum. "We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August for the following fiscal year."
Got that, comrade?
If nothing else, recent events have shown without a shred of doubt, the union is about maintaining its power and collecting every last penny they claim is owed to them. All the lofty talk about the children is just so much camouflage for their real agenda – accumulating money and power.
Another expression bandied about by the unions is the term "free rider." They try to gain sympathy by suggesting that those in RTW states who don't voluntarily join are getting something valuable for free. This specious argument really needs to be countered. Many teachers would happily say, "I don't want any part of the union and the perks it may get me. I think I have a valuable service to offer and want to negotiate my own contract." Seems reasonable, right? Well, that decision is not up to the teacher. As Heritage Foundation's James Sherk points out,
Unions object that right-to-work is actually "right-to-freeload." The AFL-CIO argues "unions are forced by law to protect all workers, even those who don't contribute financially toward the expenses incurred by providing those protections." They contend they should not have to represent workers who do not pay their "fair share."
It is a compelling argument, but untrue. The National Labor Relations Act does not mandate unions exclusively represent all employees, but permits them to electively do so. Under the Act, unions can also negotiate "members-only" contracts that only cover dues-paying members. They do not have to represent other employees.
Teacher union watchdog Mike Antonucci adds,
The very first thing any new union wants is exclusivity. No other unions are allowed to negotiate on behalf of people in the bargaining unit. Unit members cannot hire their own agent, nor can they represent themselves.
So those deemed free riders by the unions are really forced riders.
Having seen the union's lies and intimidating ways up close and personal, I am hardly surprised at MEA's hardball tactics. But it seems that the voters in states like Michigan and Wisconsin have awakened, perhaps signaling that worker freedom just may be the wave of the future.
Larry Sand, a retired teacher who taught in Los Angeles and NYC public schools for 28 years, is the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.
School Board Wars
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donates $1 million to reform candidates in Los Angeles school board race.
School boards are powerful entities. Within the confines of state law, they typically adopt budgets, collectively bargain with the local teachers union, monitor student achievement and pick the local school superintendent. In California, there are more than a thousand school boards that rule over 300,000 teachers and 6 million students.
As you might expect, with this kind of power, the teachers unions usually have their grubby paws all over school board races. If candidates are deemed unfriendly to the union cause – maybe they want to spend less on teacher salaries or limit teacher-friendly work rules enacted at students’ expense or try to get rid of some incompetent teachers – the local and state unions will spend huge sums of cash to defeat them.
However, things have begun to change and the teachers unions now have competition in school board election spending. As writer Jane Roberts pointed out in a piece written in August 2012,
In the new era, education reform advocacy groups, passionate about their views on public education, are harnessing millions in contributions to further their work. Because many, including Stand for Children, are registered as social welfare groups under 501(c)4 laws, they aren’t bound by campaign contributions caps can spend freely on political campaigns from the money they raise for their social missions. They also do not have to reveal their donor’s identities.
“This is a new phenomenon,” said Mike Petrilli, executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “Many of these groups are either brand new or fairly new to education reform.”
What they have figured out, Petrilli says, is that it is not “enough to publish white papers and op-eds. They need to be engaged in political advocacy.”
On March 5 in Los Angeles, there will be an election with three of the seven school board seats up for grabs. Traditionally, the United Teachers of Los Angeles gets its way and has, if not complete control, at least a majority on the board to do its bidding. But unfortunately for the union, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown a million dollar monkey wrench into the works. As Huffington Post education writer Joy Resmovits explains,
…Earlier this week, LA School Report reported that a super PAC associated with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $1 million on a group known as the Coalition for School Reform. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has supported Deasy’s efforts, released a statement calling Bloomberg “the most important voice in education reform today,” LA School Report wrote.
The Coalition for School Reform, according to KCET, is an independent expenditure group that has also received money from reform-minded philanthropist Eli Broad. The group has endorsed school board candidates Kate Anderson, Monica Garcia, and Antonio Sanchez, LA School Report wrote last month. The Coalition is sitting on $1.2 million.
The counterweight to the reform block is, naturally, the teachers union. United Teachers of Los Angeles has about $670,000 in its war-chest, according to LA School Report. “We know we’re going to be outspent five-gazillion-to-one,” UTLA veep Gregg Solkovits told the site.
Earlier in February, Solkovits told LA School Report that he wanted to boost UTLA’s coffers with help from the national and state union bodies.
However, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel has been quoted saying that the union would not get involved in this race. But what about the other national teachers union? According to blogger Alexander Russo,
A senior American Federation of Teachers official has acknowledged the request from UTLA, but has not yet responded with details about the union’s decision or the amount of funding that’s going to be shared.
Reticence on AFT’s part is understandable; it may be a bit tapped out, having just spent $6 million on advocacy groups in 2011-2012. As Mike Antonucci reports,
A $1.2 million donation to Californians Working Together, the group formed to support Prop 30, the tax increase ballot initiative, was the national union’s largest single contribution. A host of special interest groups, charities and religious organizations also received money from AFT, including the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, the Economic Policy Institute, and the University of Colorado National Education Policy Center.
These figures do not include grants and contributions made to other unions (such as Colorado WINS) or union coalitions such as the AFL-CIO. For example, AFT contributed $1,150,000 to the AFL-CIO’s State Unity Fund.
Interestingly with just two weeks till the election, the powerful and wealthy California Teachers Association has been uncharacteristically quiet on the LA election.
Also worth noting is that reform-minded LA school superintendent John Deasy has more than a passing interest in the March 5 election: an unfriendly school board can send him packing.
While the three reform candidates running for school board in LA are not reform superstars, they are certainly preferable to their union-friendly opponents. The bigger story though, is that there are people with very deep pockets who are beginning to stand up to the mightiest political force in the country: the teachers unions. And of course, when the teachers unions start losing power, the children of America are all the richer for it.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.
AB 32 CUTS 800 Students From UC Enrollment—More Than 2,800 in Future
Great news from the whacko Left. Thanks to AB 32, in the first year, 800 students will NOT be able to go to the UC system. In a few years 2800 kids will not be able to get a UC education. This thanks to Arnold and Jerry, implementing AB 32.
The cost for the UC system will wind up to be at least $28 million—enough to stop 2800 students from getting an education—all this because people take Al Gore jokes seriously. We are making our children pay for the threats and junk science of scammers and hucksters out to make a buck. Gore is almost a billionaire based on this fraud. We do not need Prop.30—we need a legitimate government spending plan instead.
“Unfortunately, this is another negative economic consequence of AB 32. As legislative Democrats continue to pile on additional costs to our universities, the ultimate impact is on our students and their parents,” Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands), Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, said. “It’s bad enough that the Governor is using only half of the new tax revenues from Proposition 30 to support education. These cap and trade requirements are making things even worse for our students.” http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/02/19/ab-32-cuts-800-students-from-enrollment-more-than-2000-in-future/
California no longer requiring eighth graders to take Algebra
2:22 AM 02/08/2013
California will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college.
Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is sponsored by the National Governor’s Association, is an effort to unify diverse state education curricula. Forty-five other states and the District of Columbia have signed on so far.
But some education experts worry that the change will further damage struggling students’ college chances, since early proficiency in Algebra I is an excellent predictor of college graduation, according to the Mercury News.
Black and Latino students in California are significantly more likely to fail eighth-grade algebra, and 80 percent of those who fail it once will fail it again when they take it in high school.
A study published by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area claims that some minority students who score well enough to place into advanced math classes are often mistakenly held back.
“School districts have been disproportionately requiring minority students to repeat Algebra I even after they scored proficient or advanced on the Algebra I California standardized tests,” said Kimberly Thomas Rapp, executive director of the committee, in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The new standard is a step back for California, and may leave students, particularly minority and low-income students, unprepared for college, said Rapp.
Jerry Brown pushes new funding system for California schools
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 - 4:13 pm
After California schools eliminated art programs and increased class sizes to survive budget cuts,they are finally on the verge of getting more money thanks to voter-approved taxes and economic recovery.
But K-12 districts may not share equally in the expanding budget pie.
Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing hard to overhaul California's convoluted school funding system. His plan has two major objectives: Give K-12 districts greater control over how they spend money, and send more dollars to impoverished students and English learners.
Studies show that such children require more public help to reach the same level of achievement as their well-off peers. But as rich and poor communities alike clamor for money in the wake of funding cuts, Brown's plan could leave wealthy suburbs with fewer new dollars than poorer urban and rural districts.
That makes perfect sense, said Michael W. Kirst, president of the State Board of Education and a Stanford University professor who co-wrote a 2008 paper that became the model for Brown's proposal.
"Low-income people have less resources to invest in their children," Kirst said. "A lot of investment comes from parental ability to buy external things for their kids that provide a better education. In the case of low-income groups, they can't buy tutors, after-school programs or summer experiences."
The Democratic governor wanted to install his plan as part of the last budget, but changes were so dramatic that education interests balked. Brown is reworking his proposal for his January budget, hoping that passage of his tax hike has given school officials confidence they will all receive sufficient money.
Brown officials held three workshops this fall to solicit input, as well as build good will with education groups.
One example from the Sacramento region shows how Brown's proposal would shift dollars to students in need.
In Brown's last proposal, Buckeye Union School District in affluent El Dorado Hills and neighboring communities would receive $7,757 per student in 2018-19, according to analysis by the Public Policy Institute of California. Robla Elementary School District in working-class North Sacramento would get $10,554 per student.
California is “Proud” Again! 49th LOWEST High School Graduation Rate
Not only do we have the highest taxes, but only two States (out of 51—D.C. is counted as a State for statistical purposes) have lower high school graduation rates than California—for the tens of billions we spend, only unions and special interests get the benefits.
We are the 15th highest in college grads—that is a good thing. At least Wendy’s and hotels will have a steady supply of workers thanks to California government schools.
“The District of Columbia, on the other hand, is the only state where more than half of all adults hold bachelor’s degrees (50.5 percent). It’s followed by Massachusetts (38.7 percent), Colorado (36.3 percent) and Maryland (36.1 percent).”
See the full story by clicking on the blue headline
The Business Journals by G. Scott Thomas, 12/27/12
Wyoming has the highest percentage of high school graduates, while Washington, D.C. has the highest percentage of college graduates.
Which state has the highest percentage of educated adults? It depends on the measurement you use.
The two most common comparisons involve the graduation rates for high schools and colleges, encompassing all adults who are currently 25 or older.
Wyoming leads the high school list, according to new figures from U.S. Census Bureau, while the District of Columbia is No. 1 on the college chart. (D.C. is considered a state for statistical purposes.)
The bureau has just released the five-year version of its 2011 American Community Survey. It found that at least 90 percent of the adults in 12 states have earned high school diplomas, led by Wyoming at 91.9 percent. The runners-up are Minnesota at 91.6 percent and Alaska and Montana at 91.4 percent each.
The District of Columbia, on the other hand, is the only state where more than half of all adults hold bachelor’s degrees (50.5 percent). It’s followed by Massachusetts (38.7 percent), Colorado (36.3 percent) and Maryland (36.1 percent).
The following database contains breakdowns for all 50 states and D.C. Click any column header to re-sort the list. Click again to reverse the sort.
On Numbers posted a similar report two months ago on educational attainment in metropolitan areas.
The new survey indicates that 85.4 percent of all U.S. adults (25 or older) have high school diplomas and 28.2 percent have bachelor’s degrees.
But the figures dip considerably in several states, especially in the South. Mississippi (80.3 percent) and Texas (80.4 percent) bring up the rear in the high school rankings, while West Virginia (17.6 percent) and Arkansas (19.6 percent) are the tailenders on the college side.
DOJ's Grant Funded Officer in Newtown from 2000-2003
Putting cops in schools is not a new idea. In fact, the federal government has already spent hundreds of millions on grants for a program called Cops in Schools. According to DOJ records, in 2000 the program gave out a multi-year grant to hire a school resource officer in Newtown, Connecticut.
Cops in Schools was a grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. A fact-sheet available on the DOJ website outlines the scope of the program circa 2005, the last year grants were made:
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has awarded more than $753 million to more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies to fund over 6,500 school resource officers (SROs) through the COPS in Schools (CIS) Program. In addition, COPS has dedicated approximately $23 million to training COPS-funded SROs and the school administrator in the partnering school(s) or school district(s) to work more collaboratively through the CIS program. This partnership encourages the use of community policing strategies to prevent school violence and implement educational programs to improve student and school safety.
The program provided grants of $125,000 over three years to offset the cost of hiring a school resource officer who would spend at least 75 percent of his or her time on campus. Newtown Connecticut received a grant to hire one officer in 2000, though the DOJ report doesn't specify where the officer was stationed. The grant was not renewed, meaning the funding would have ended in 2003.
After 19 rounds of funding grants the Cops in Schools the program was cut in 2005. However, police agencies were still allowed to apply for money for school resource officers under the broader COPS grant program. Two other programs designed to increase school security and prepare schools to handle violence were cut by the Obama administration in 2011 and 2012.
Lib Media Blasts NRA for Proposing Cops in Schools – Forgets Bill Clinton Proposed Same Thing
Posted by Jim Hoft on Monday, December 24, 2012, 10:53 AM
The liberal media is lambasting NRA President Wayne LaPierre for proposing cops in public schools, forgets that Bill Clinton proposed the same thing back in 2000.
“In our national struggle against youth violence we must not fail our children; our future depends on it,” the president said in his weekly radio address.
Parents, teens, teachers, youth workers and others will discuss research that indicates the preteen years set patterns for behavior and success in adulthood. Other subjects will include the risks, challenges and anxieties faced by young people today and what can be done to avoid dangerous or risky behavior.
“We need to talk about safety and security in every house in America,” Clinton said.
Republican critics said the federal government is a clumsy middleman in trying to cope with problems that should be addressed locally. They cast doubt on whether the teen conference would accomplish anything, accused Clinton of ignoring media violence and said he should support stiff jail sentences for anyone carrying a firearm in a violent or drug-related crime.
Clinton announced $40 million in grants for 23 school districts that he said have found successful, comprehensive approaches to help troubled young people.
“These districts are bringing school nurses and counselors together to respond to warning signs like depression or bullying,” Clinton said. “They are improving classroom security and expanding after-school and mentoring programs.”
Clinton also unveiled the $60-million fifth round of funding for “COPS in School,”a Justice Department program that helps pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to help make them safer for students and teachers. The money will be used to provide 452 officers in schools in more than 220 communities. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/12/lib-media-blasts-nra-for-proposing-cops-in-schools-forgets-bill-clinton-proposed-same-thing/
It was only natural that the mass murder of 26 children and staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, would bring out the best and worst of people’s emotions. The frenzy of accusations and name-calling from educators, teachers’ union bosses, reform leaders, policy wonks, gun lobbyists, and editorial writers has yet to subside. The reaction that attracted the most hostility, on the left and on the right, was National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre’s call for an armed guard in every school “immediately,” funded with federal tax dollars.
The denunciations were instantaneous. Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, issued a joint press release that flatly asserted: “Guns have no place in our schools. Period. We must do everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, and concentrate on ways to keep all guns off school property and ensure the safety of children and school employees.” Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, now CEO of a school-reform group, also weighed in: “I have come to the conclusion that StudentsFirst must publicly oppose legislation that would bring firearms into schools, anywhere.”
Perhaps Rhee, who now lives in Sacramento with her husband, Mayor Kevin Johnson, is unaware that the Golden State allows schools to employ armed guards if they choose. A man with a gun and a badgemight not be patrolling a school near Rhee’s home, but he’s in a school somewhere in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, San Bernardino, or Riverside. LaPierre may have thought he was proposing something radical, but the protection he recommends is already in place in many parts of California.
When I was a middle school teacher in Los Angeles from 1994 until 2009, we had an armed cop on campus just about every day. My school was hardly unique. State law has long allowed for an armed presence on any school campus “as needed.” The public has no problem with this. In a recent Gallup poll, when asked if increasing the police presence at schools would be effective in stopping mass shootings, 87 percent of respondents said that it would be “very” or “somewhat effective.” And 64 percent agreed that having at least one official at every school carry a gun would be “very” or “somewhat effective.” The idea of greater police presence in schools enjoys bipartisan support, with 55 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats saying an armed officer would be “very effective” at deterring or stopping another spree shooter.
What clearly doesn’t work is the policy of designating public schools—or any venue where large numbers of people congregate—as “gun-free zones.” After last summer’s slaughter at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, political scientist John Lott noted that the location wasn’t the closest to the killer’s apartment or the one with the largest audience. “Instead,” Lott observed, “out of all the movie theaters within 20 minutes of his apartment showing the new Batman movie that night, it was the only one where guns were banned.” In Colorado, individuals with permits can carry concealed handguns in most malls, movie theaters, and restaurants. But private businesses can determine whether permit holders can carry guns on their private property.
Though ignored by most of the media, some mass school shootings have been stopped because an authority figure with access to a firearm intervened. In 1997, at Pearl High School in Mississippi, 16-year-old Luke Woodham shot nine students and staff, killing two, before Joel Myrick, the school’s assistant principal, confronted and subdued him with a pistol he retrieved from his truck. In 2001, senior Jason Hoffman opened fire on the attendance office of Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California. Hoffman wounded five people before being shot and incapacitated by an armed school cop. Even the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, horrible as they were, could have been even worse but for the intervention of Neil Gardner, an armed Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy having lunch on campus at the time. Gardner exchanged fire with one of the shooters and summoned help, giving several students a chance to escape.
An armed presence on campus is not the only solution to spree shootings, though, and LaPierre may be overreaching with his call for federal intervention. After all, if deep-blue California can let its schools have armed guards on campus, surely other state legislatures are capable of making similar judgments without a federal mandate. Policymakers also need to consider how best to identify, confine, and treat mentally ill people who may be prone to violence. The effects of violent video games on certain personality types are worth study as well. But while our contentious society wrangles with these thorny issues, children must be protected from those deranged human beings who kill for reasons that none of us really understands. An armed presence on school campuses is but one step in the right direction.
Democrats propose using Proposition 39 for schools
By JUDY LIN Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers are proposing to spend about $500 million a year in newly approved tax revenue on energy efficiency projects at schools in California's poorest communities.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and Sen. Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles announced legislation Tuesday that they say will create jobs and help thousands of schools reduce their energy costs. They held a news conference at a 63-year-old Sacramento elementary school to highlight the need for ventilation and lighting improvements.
Democrats are relying on roughly $2.5 billion over five years in revenue from Proposition 39, which voters overwhelmingly approved last month. The initiative closes a corporate tax loophole and is expected to raise about $1 billion a year overall.
The other half of the money generated by Proposition 39 will go to the state's general fund, which pays for a variety of programs such as schools, health care and social services.
The funding is in addition to Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30, which is expected to bring in an additional $6 billion a year from increases in the state sales and income taxes.
De Leon said his bill, SB 39, best reflects the aim of the California Clean Energy Jobs Act because upgrading California schools would yield the greatest value for the public's investment.
He cited a 2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study, which found that students perform better on tests when they have adequate heating and better lighting.
"We will save energy, reduce greenhouse gasses, save school districts money to put back into classroom and just as importantly, create much-needed jobs for Californians," de Leon said as he and the bill's supporters stood beneath a stage filled with dozens of sixth-graders from Mark Twain Elementary School.
California has about 10,000 public schools in nearly 60,000 school buildings to educate its roughly 6 million students. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, a Democrat who said state lawmakers should place a new school bond on the 2014 ballot, said 70 percent of those school buildings are more than 25 years old, and a large portion of those are more than 50 years old.
Supporters say early estimates suggest the money could help as many as 5,000 schools.
Under SB 39, Democrats said the Los Angeles Unified School District could cut its energy bills by 25 percent and put an extra $28 million a year back into classrooms that have been affected by budget cuts in recent years.
The bill is being backed by billionaire investor and philanthropist Tom Steyer, who financed the Proposition 39 campaign. He said much of the money would go to improving heating and cooling systems, as well as upgrading lights in public schools.
"The number one cause of absenteeism in the public schools of California is asthma," Steyer said. "We will have a big positive health effect for the students as a result of the way this program is going to be implemented."
Other lawmakers have ideas of their own for the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund.
Assemblyman Das Williams of Santa Barbara introduced AB 29 to help colleges and universities with energy efficiency retrofits and clean energy projects.
NEW: Schools chief who tolerates bond scams wants to float own bond
Dec. 5, 2012
By Chris Reed
The use of 30-year school “construction” bonds to pay for routine maintenance and short-lived electronics like laptops is a huge, ongoing, but basically uncovered scandal in California. Since automatic annual pay raises for most teachers don’t get suspended when revenue is flat or declining, in many state school districts, California’s recent budget woes have lead to compensation eating up 90 percent or more of the operating budget.
So what do schools beholden to teachers unions do to cover costs that used to be in the operating budget? They make kids illegally pay for some school-related program, constantly pester parents with fundraising efforts and, oh yeah, use 30-year borrowing to pay for basic upkeep and electronics that aid in learning but last two years or less.
How does the state’s top educator feel about the latter practice? When I interviewed him, he all but said ho-hum.
“… state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson expressed more sympathy for the irresponsible officials who engaged in it than for the taxpayers who are brutalized by it. He cited the ‘stress’ officials faced because of the state’s budget woes and implied it was understandable and reasonable for routine maintenance becoming a ‘capital improvement’ cost paid for with bonds.
“Torlakson declined to offer the slightest criticism of the folly that is 30-year borrowing to pay for products that will be broken in four years or less. His concession to appearances: ‘I’ve asked my staff on school construction to look into this and figure out where the line is on what’s eligible.’”
And now what does Torlakson want to do? Float a possibly unaccountable bond of his own, one in the megabillions.
No, it’s not a case of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Torlakson is all for the scams. It’s more like, “Hey, I want a piece of that action!”
November 27, 2012
University of California regents drew criticism from Gov. Jerry Brown today as they hired Nicholas Dirks to be the next chancellor of UC Berkeley and agreed to pay him a salary $50,000 higher than outgoing chancellor Robert Birgeneau.
"The $50,000 increase above the incumbent, even though that incumbent has not received a pay raise, does not fit within the spirit of servant leadership that I think will be required over the next several years," Brown said during a telephone meeting of UC's governing board of regents.
Brown, who sits on the board but rarely participated in meetings until voters approved his Proposition 30 tax increase this month, voted against Dirks' compensation package which includes:
· An annual salary of $486,800, of which $50,000 will be paid by private donors
· An annual auto allowance of $8,916
· A house on the Berkeley campus
· Moving expenses
· A one-time relocation bonus of $30,425 paid in installments over four years
Brown said UC needs to create a "new paradigm...which is a university that functions at a lower cost ratio than currently is the case."
"I've just come through a campaign where I've pledged the people that I will use their funds judiciously and with real stewardship, with prudence," the governor said, adding that he would continue to press UC "for greater efficiency, greater elegance, modesty."
"We are going to have to restrain this system in many, many of its elements and this will come with great resistance," Brown said.
Regent George Kieffer said the salary was appropriate for the leader of the "number one public university in the world" and that UC has demonstrated a commitment to keeping salaries down. UC officials provided a salary survey of the nation's top universities showing that its chancellors are paid in the bottom third of the group.
"We've already begun to attempt to draw down this disparity in incomes and this growth of compensation at the executive level," Kieffer said.
Regents today also appointed Jane Close Conoley as the interim chancellor of following Chancellor Timothy White's departure to head the California State University system. Conoley will receive an annual salary of $245,600 - more than $79,000 less than White received in that job. Brown voted in favor of her compensation package.
Top donors go all in on state ballot measures Biggest contributors include billionaires, corporations, unions
If you are a small donor, $25, $50 or $100, do not bother to donate to any initiative this year. This is the year of unions, corporations and billionaires controlling the financing of ballot measures.
So far Molly Munger has donated $35 million to get you to give $120 billion to government education.
“The California Teachers Association, for example, gave nearly $8 million to Brown’s measure, according to MapLight. The union is one of the heaviest hitters in California politics. From 2001 to 2011, it gave more than $118 million to candidates and initiatives, more than any other interest group, according to a previous analysis by California Watch, sister site of The Bay Citizen.
This season, the union also has forked more than $18 million to try to defeat Proposition 32 [PDF], which would weaken the clout of unions by barring the use of payroll-deducted dues for political purposes.
The Service Employees International Union unloaded more than $20 million, also to support Prop. 30′s tax increase and oppose Prop. 32. The California Federation of Teachers added nearly $3 million to those efforts.
On the other side of those initiatives, Munger’s half-brother, Charles Munger Jr., has spent $23 million.
Your $25 is worthless against all this—save it to pay higher taxes and higher costs of products and services thanks to government action.
By Will Evans, Bay Citizen, 10/12/12
The top 10 donors to November’s state ballot measures – a smattering of extremely wealthy people, powerful unions and large corporations – have dumped more than $150 million into the fight so far, according to campaign finance tracker MapLight.org.
The mega-donors include politically opposed siblings, a 91-year-old car insurance magnate, a conservative group that keeps its donors secret and a teachers union that has outspent every other special interest in the last decade. MapLight.org tracks the top donors of each ballot initiative on its Voter’s Edge website.
At the top of the list this year is civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who has given nearly $30 million of her own fortune to pass Proposition 38 [PDF], which would raise taxes to fund K-12 education. Her father is a billionaire business partner of Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway.
“Molly Munger is investing her own money in the campaign because she cares deep