Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two News Articles About Schools

Today's major Sacramento newspaper has two interesting stories.

Story 1: State Senate Backs Immigration Boycott

The state Senate on Thursday spoke out in favor of a boycott of schools and jobs planned by immigration activists for Monday.

Senators approved a resolution officially recognizing the nationwide protest, which will include rallies in cities throughout California and the United States.

Boycott organizers are speaking out against federal legislation that would make it a felony to be in the United States illegally and in favor of bills that would enable many immigrants to establish legal residency here.

The protests have sparked controversy, in part because organizers are asking students to stay out of school.

Need I add anymore? How does anything get done in California, with a legislature like this? Is this the kind of "critical thinking" and "social justice" and "civic activity" that we're to be teaching in our schools?

Shame on you, state Senate.

Story 2: Gay Rights Face-off

The national debate over gay rights became a divisive force on Sacramento-area school campuses this week, as religious Christian students wore T-shirts expressing their disapproval of homosexuality as others participated in a Day of Silence to honor gay and lesbian peers.

Thirteen students at Oakmont High School in Roseville were suspended Tuesday when they refused to take off T-shirts that declared: "Homosexuality is sin." The students hired a lawyer who appealed 12 of the suspensions to the district Wednesday.

Other schools in the region have disciplined students in recent weeks for refusing to remove T-shirts condemning homosexuality...

"I'm troubled by the notion that a student could perhaps come into school wearing a T-shirt that says Christian fundamentalism is shameful, and that might be OK, whereas a student wearing a 'Homosexuality is shameful' shirt is subject to discipline or suspension," he said.

Thank you, 9th Circuit, for f***ing up another ruling. The article comments:

In a section of the ruling that drew sharp dissent from Judge Alex Kozinski (dissenting judge in the case) and has troubled even legal scholars who support gay rights, Reinhardt (9th Circus idiot who wrote the majority opinion) wrote that the decision is limited to speech that "strikes at a core identifying characteristic of students on the basis of their membership in a minority group."
(emphasis mine--Darren)

And here's hope for the future, an 18-year-old who certainly has his head screwed on straight:

At Folsom High School Wednesday, expressions for and against the Day of Silence peacefully co-existed, said student Lance Chih, co-chair of the Sacramento Regional Gay Straight Alliance. Many students wore rainbow arm bands and Day of Silence shirts, while a few students wore T-shirts stating homosexuality is a sin, he said.

Chih wasn't bothered by the open expression of homophobic messages, he said, because they weren't violent or vulgar.

"If they're stating their own belief that homosexuality is wrong, that's not promoting hate or violence against us," said Chih, 18. "If I want to promote my civil rights, I can't tell another group of students that they can't do it."


Anonymous said...

So is it ok for me to wear a shirt that expresses my beliefs?

"Jesus Didn't Really Exist"

"Jesus is a Myth"


"Jesus is Satan"

Anonymous said...

Jesus Hates Darren.

Coach Brown said...

The State Senate crap makes me so pissed. We will lose 25% of our population during STAR testing and get royaly screwed by the federal government.......and that is sanctioned by the state????

Great. Another example of a pathetic California legislature at work.

Darren said...

I don't think Jesus *hates* anybody. But I'm sure he's not too impressed with the actions of some people.

Darren said...

Sure, anonymous, you *could* wear a shirt broadcasting those beliefs. But if you're too cowardly to identify yourself on this blog, my guess is you're too cowardly to actually take a stand like the one on the mythical shirts you mention.

Tom said...

On the plus side, I heard Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell on KGO radio this evening. He strongly denounced those who were calling for students to walk out of school. He made several points, including:

* Missing even one day of instruction can be harmful to student's success

* Many students from immigrant families have parents who came to the US precisely because of the educational opportunities. Students need to honor their committment.

It was a completely refreshing thing to hear. He didn't come out and call the state senators idiots (he is a politician) but he came close. I wish I could vote for him for something...

cassandra said...

They have the right, but I wish my co-religionists would get it right. It's not homosexuality itself that's a sin but homosexual ACTS. They just make us all look worse.

Darren said...

Coach Brown, how do you get royally screwed by the feds during STAR testing? Enquiring minds (well, at least mine) want to know).

Coach Brown said...

We are going to miss a ton of our NCLB targets because of a situation that is completely out of our control. The federal government tries and play that every school is the same, and then try to fund them that way. Never mind that:
-Ukiah has a 25% Hispanic population that will not take the test.
-Ukiah has a massive geographical transportation area to cover, but is still funded the same as a tiny district.
-Ukiah has lost 800 students in five years.
-Ukiah has one of the highest special education populations in the state.

All of these factors make the school massively underfunded by the state and federal governments. Of course you have ADA from the state, but that is dropping. Never mind that the buses are required to run, regardless of how many students are on them. But NCLB money (damaged by the protest), Title 1 (cut by the feds), and special education (mandated, but underfunded by the feds) are all part of the problem of not giving the necessary funds to schools.
And please don't say that the schools are wasting money, because all these programs are barely hanging on, the Super is making less, the principals are making less, and the classified staff is half staffed.
So one of two things are happening. Either the governments are not correctly funding the schools, or the money is disappearing between Sacramento and the district office.


Darren said...

Coach Brown:

1. What "NCLB money" are you talking about??? And your school's funding, *especially from the feds*, isn't impacted by your scores on standardized tests. In fact, if you do poorly enough a couple years in a row, the state will give you *more* money to help you improve. So I still don't see what you're saying here.

2. As for buses, no, they *don't* have to run--absent some court ruling in your area I haven't heard about. School districts do *not* have to provide free busing, something I learned while researching illegal fees. In fact, my own district charges students to ride the buses.

Coach Brown said...

If we do poorly enough, the feds require the state to come in and dictate the running of the school, which has shown to be a bigger financial disaster than ever (evidence Oakland).

And the federal government has cut more and more spending to education.

Buses don't have to run? You aren't going to transport someone who lives 20 miles away to the school? That could be a problem.

And you still don't answer the question regarding funding. You seem to insist that it is local control that misuse the funds. I contend that the mandates aren't funded enough, and most evidence points to my thesis. Special Ed, Title One cuts, general fed cuts, the Williams Act, pressure to pass the NCLB requirements. Come on, you can't tell me that there isn't a problem with the system when a school will be docked because 25% of the population legally refuses a test.

Darren said...

Coach, you're mistaken.

The feds have increased money to schools every year of this presidency.

Additionally, I only corrected you when you said that buses *have* to run. No they don't--or at least, they don't have to be free.

As for "most evidence" pointing to your thesis--wanting to believe it doesn't make it evidence. Exactly what 25% of funding are you saying is going to be cut? What number is this? Hell, ADA is already done, so your school won't lose a cent of ADA money from this walkout. What money are you referring to?

Coach Brown said...

After some better research, I stand corrected on the ADA. I was under the impression that it was effective for the whole year, but I was wrong. It is only for three quarters. I stand corrected.

However, the school will lose certain catagorical funding from the state because of student absences (such as lottery).

We have a district that is surveyed at 70-75% free and reduced lunch, yet we are going to tell students to pay for busing? That won't work and you know it. It will only harm the school worse because the kids won't show up.

As for the idea that the feds have increased money every year, you would only be correct if you mean actual dollar amounts, because at the same time the governments (notice the plural) have plastered mandates all across the schools to spend massive amounts of money, then don't fund them. If I give you a two dollar raise each year, and your costs go up ten dollars (forced by the government and inflation pressures), then you are not getting increased funding. NCLB has required a massive amount of money to be spent on everything from tutoring to instructional aids to textbooks that are specifically aligned to the standards (now a law in the California, a good one, but still an unfunded mandate).
I don't understand your passion for NCLB. However, I do know that your school district is much different than mine, and might influence your opinion. My opinion is that the idea is excellent (high standards and accountablity), but the implementation is totally and absolutely broken. You can't require the schools to do the job with no tools. The money is not being supplied.

Darren said...

What additional has the Bush Administration required of schools that it hasn't funded? NCLB testing? California's STAR testing predates NCLB by several years and requires testing in more subjects, more frequently, than NCLB does. The testing you were doing this week would have been done under STAR even if NCLB didn't exist.

What other requirements have the federal, state, and local governments put on our schools since 2000? You talk about new unfunded mandates, but I don't know what they are.

Anonymous said...

Books are hardly unfunded. You recieve over $7000 for each student a year. Books are simply one of the ways you are supposed to spend that money. As for your district population reporting 70 to 75 percent for free and reduced lunches. Stop being a drama queen. Your school reports 52% and the county reports 46%.

Take a walk around your school. Look down the halls. You are hardly good stewards with public money. If it was up to me I would give every teacher up their a broom and a mop and put them to work. And while your at it get off the internet and get back to work.

When do you have time to plan your lessons or even grade a paper. You are constantly posting.

Darren said...

I don't think Coach Brown, or I, for that matter, should have to plan lessons or grade papers during our own time. And there are only two comments in this post that are probably from during school, so that line of your commentary struck me as a bit off.

Also, have you been to Coach Brown's school, looked down the halls, and seen that they aren't good stewards of the public money?

The rest of your "research", however, is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I have been to Coach Brown's school on a weekly basis. It is an absolute pigsty. Quite frankly it's condition has been the topic of conversation with many parents of students at his school.

and am I mistaken or do I see a 2:30 timestamp

Darren said...

OK, just trying to establish credibility here, and since you've seen the campus, you obviously have some.

The 2:30 time stamp was one of the two that I said might be from during school hours--but I don't know what time his school gets out. The other one was mine, from right before lunch.

Anonymous said...

I know when his school gets out.Even if it was posted during prep period it is an example inappropriate personal use of the internet.

Both of you...wonderful examples for the youthful minds you educate.

Anonymous said...

I know when his school gets out. Even if you both posted during your prep periods it is inappropriate personal use of the internet.

You are both poor examples to the minds you educate. Your behavior is unprofessional.

Darren said...

Have you ever taken a personal call at work, anonymous?

I haven't.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break...You aren't really trying to equate a quick personal call with the time involved putting together these posts are you?

I work in a retail environment. If any of our employees was caught on the internet doing what you are doing they would be fired.

As a matter of fact we have a young lady who was a graduate from last year who may be facing that very fate. She has a myspace addiction and the history from the computer she works on tells the story quite nicely.

Since she is a recent grad she must have learned her poor work behavior from her teachers.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break.... You aren't really trying to equate this with a quick personal phone call are you?

The creation time alone for these posts is a little more involved than a five minute call.

As a matter of fact we have a young lady we recently hired that we may have to fire because of her inability to stay off the internet during work hours. She has a myspace addiction.

She graduated last year...Must be a learned behavior.