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February 17, 2005

Shrub to Leave Every Child Behind in Cali

Duke Helfand, with contributions from Joel Rubin, reports in the LAT that the USG is demanding California place more school districts on the "failing" list because their students' test scores haven't improved enough in the last two years. Get this - if you're a problem district, you can offer after-school tutoring to your students. If you're a failing district, you're S.O.L. and your students get zip. I haven't even started on how unfair standardized tests are and how they've turned schools into memorization centers instead of learning zones.

Everyone from the mostly-rich Santa Monica / Malibu district to the behomoth LAUSD will be deemed failures. No word yet how Shrub expects new immigrants to become proficient enough in English in two years to make up for poor education in their home country and the English-only requirement of the tests. Also no money given by the Feds for school construction and maintenance, nor are they offering more funds for the teacher payroll or supplies. But there's been plenty of mandate to break up LAUSD into "mini-districts," allowing the district to spend money leasing new office space and hiring new middle managers to direct principals and teachers on the proper way to teach in over-crowded schools.

More on the state of education in Cali:
In the spirit of progressive action, students, parents, and teachers in Los Angeles formed the Coalition for Educational Justice to end mandatory high school exit exams (and were a critical voice leading to those tests being set aside while the state studies their efficacy). CEJ currently works to end racism in public education and to de-militarize public schools. (Full disclosure, my sister - a teacher in LA - is a founding member of CEJ.)

Two CEJ leaders, Alex Caputo-Pearl and Kirti Baranwal, wrote an article about Brown V. Board of Education and LA Schools in an online journal from UCLA.

Posted by cj at February 17, 2005 11:39 AM

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