Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Enough To Make You Gag

I got the November issue of CTA's mouthpiece rag yesterday--one might call it the "we won" issue. And in last month's election California Democrats swept about as strongly as the Republicans did in the rest of the nation. I guess I can't fault them for being happy that their people won, even if I still think they're idiots.

As I so often do, I love to point out the hypocrisy and silliness I find within a single issue--and this particular issue doesn't disappoint. Let's start with the column authored by Ole Si Se Puede himself, found on page 4 of the magazine:

The new governor and Legislature will face the state’s abysmal budget deficit, which the Legislative Analyst’s Office has recently projected to be a $25 billion shortfall by the 2011-12 budget year. As they begin their work, officials will continue to hear from CTA and educators around the state, reminding them of the devastating effects that the previous cuts, already exceeding $21 billion in three years, have had on California classrooms. It will be important for all of us to remain engaged and focused on what’s happening in Sacramento, and to tell the stories of our local schools.
They recognize the problem but will squeal like stuck pigs if there's any talk of balancing the budget by cutting money from schools--even though schools make up about half of the state budget.

On page 26 we get to one of the big "we won" articles about the election. Jerry Brown is identified as someone who can "bring collaboration back to Sacramento", but just a few paragraphs later we read this:

The passage of CTA-supported Proposition 25, which does away with the two-thirds vote required to pass a budget, will make it possible for the state budget to be passed on time, saving hundreds of millions of dollars and allowing schools to plan their budgets in advance.

Allow me to translate: "Democrats won't even have to consult with the minority-party Republicans in order to pass a state budget. And we're happy about that."

I also liked reading about how we should teach "culturally sensitive holidays" such as Columbus Day. I truly enjoyed reading how a 3rd grade teacher does the critical thinking thing, (page 20 of the rag/mag):

Matthew De Lucia-Zeltzer, a third-grade teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco, enjoys the challenge of turning a lesson about Columbus into an exercise in critical thinking. He believes in teaching history in a way that’s “progressive, not in terms of the status quo,” and observes that many of his Latino students also have indigenous roots...

Next he reads aloud from Encounter by Jane Yolen, which tells the story of Columbus from the perspective of a child belonging to the Taino tribe. Columbus and his men appear friendly, but the boy sees that they are greedy for gold. The invaders attempt to enslave the boy with other Indians they have taken captive, but he escapes.

As part of the lesson, students are asked to write essays from the point of view of the Taino Indians and also through the eyes of Columbus. He wants his students to think critically about past historical events and their ramifications today.
Look at the dude's picture. 'Nuff said.

And someone in CTA wants high math standards, but not if those standards help shine a spotlight on the exceedingly poor performance of certain racial/ethnic groups (see page 33):

This is what California decided to do: Have an eighth-grade algebra core for some students and also a high-level pre-algebra core for others, which is supposed to be a powerful preparation for algebra. CTA is concerned that this could lead to tracking, however, and encourages schools to be very careful that this does not happen, especially with low-income students and students of color.
One thing I can always count on regarding the waste of trees that is California Educator--it always provides me with plenty of material about which to blog.

9 comments:

Amerloc said...

California and Texas project about the same sized deficits next year. Let's play "fantasy legislature."

maxutils said...

Let me get this straight . . . having people successfully complete pre-algebra before taking algebra is tracking? I hope these people also are lobbying for open access to French 2.

As for the budget . . . I voted to rescind the 2/3 requirement. Supermajorities should be in place only when there is an exceptionally good reason for them -- and the budget is not one PROVIDED that we don't have gerrymandered districts. I think this will likely be a problem until our districts are redrawn, but that should be coming up shortly. Once that happens, it will be much easier to vote free-spending incumbents out.

W.R. Chandler said...

Next, I want to see Mr. L-Z read to his kids about what the Carib Indians did to the Taino, long before the Europeans ever arrived on North American shores.

Don't think that will be happening any time soon.

Darren said...

Max, you're being willfully naive.

Darren said...

Mr. Chandler, you're clearly a racist.

:P

maxutils said...

I hope it's not naivete . . . I really believe that nonpartisan redistricting is the most significant, positive change to happen to California since Prop 13 . . .
if it doesn't help, I will officially give up all hope. So, allow me my dreams for at least a couple of years . . .

Anonymous said...

I really dont understand your point. What is bad about kids learning to see things from another point of view.

maxutils said...

Did you read the article? I'm all for critical thinking, and going in to more depth in history is a good thing. BUT . . .it's just as wrong to let the pendulum swing all the way to the other side -- when the kids can't do kid stuff like dress up like pilgrims and Indians (k, Native Americans) because to do so forces them to run a gauntlet of angry, yelling parents . . . something is wrong. Much of what gets 'taught' in social sciences these days is nothing more than a reflection of the teacher's values and opinions, which is neither a good thing, nor critical thinking. And, because the vast majority of teachers -- particularly in the early grades and English/Social Science fields lean left, there is also very little balance.
I remember my daughter coming home from her sixth grade class spouting stuff about environmentalism that was just absolutely factually incorrect -- but, it came from her teacher so it MUST be true.

Clay Boggess said...

Heaven forbid that students taking certain courses will lead to tracking…