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:
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.
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.
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...Look at the dude's picture. 'Nuff said.
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.
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.