View Full Version : All SF Bay Area 2011 - Time for a New Agenda for Public Education in California and San Francisco

01-07-2011, 08:43 AM
This from BeyondChron (http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=8788) by Lisa Schiff:
2010 was a tumultuous year for public education, in keeping with the last several years and setting the stage for 2011 and beyond. From high profile but woefully inaccurate critiques in movie theaters (e.g. the film “Waiting for Superman (http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=8569)”) to unexpected new heroes (e.g. former high-stakes testing champion Diane Ravitch (http://exposureroom.com/members/Hancock/4286e981db0849e2aadafd63987dfde0/)) extremes seem to be the new condition of education.

Economic turbulence remained a familiar, scary state of affairs with already strapped schools getting closer and closer to losing any kind of safety margin. According to the Sacramento Bee, schools may just scrape by in newly inaugurated Jerry Brown’s budget (http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/04/3297230/brown-budget-will-spare-schools.html), but only if voters maintain current tax levels in the upcoming special election. This is welcome news, though given the overall poor fiscal health of the state and the continued pact among state Republicans not to raise taxes, it’s definitely not something anyone can count on.

The political environment at the state and federal levels is just as challenging. The contradictory debate around public goods and services – including education – continues to frame these essentials as wasteful excesses we can’t afford while at the same time justifying the funneling of public money and tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest among us. Mid-term elections and the history of concessions by Democrats offer little signs of hope.

At the state level, the choice of Stanford education professor Linda Darling-Hammond (http://www.youtube.com/user/PPICvideos#p/c/20/I2KdPOoM7mM) to lead State Superintendant Tom Torlakson’s transition team is a modest positive sign, but as with Obama’s limited use of such an incredible mind, this limited role is also a disappointment. A better use of Professor Darling-Hammond’s tremendous skills would have been an appointment to the state Board of Education (http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/01/comings-and-goings-on-the-stat.html), but the list of new appointees indicates that politics as usual will likely remain in that body.

Change is afoot locally too. Our new student assignment policy (http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=8448) goes into action this year, using attendance areas for entering kindergarten students but still drawing on elements of preference and choice for placement. Applications are due February 18th and can be found online (http://sfusd.ggnet.net/next-year/). Other changes on the horizon include modifications to the transportation system (http://sfusd.ggnet.net/resources/transportation.php) that are intended to support the goals of expanded access and equity that also are the goals of the new assignment system.

read more>> (http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=8788)