Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SFGate: Excellent education: a right or a privilege?

SFGate City Brights columnist and SFUSD parent Erica Sandberg wrote a blog post about the budget cuts and the upcoming Town Hall meeting at Marina Middle School on February 25. Here's an excerpt:

Being deeply entrenched in all things money, I see first-hand the link between quality education and real, lasting economic success. The better schools you attend, the greater the chance you'll find and prepare for work that will provide satisfaction and financial stability. This is not to say that other factors (such as parent involvement) don't count or that some people don't overcome the odds and attain wealth and happiness without attending or graduating from college, but I'm talking the basics here: kindergarten though high school.

The sad fact is that California public schools are in jeopardy. Many are wonderful now, but as the Chron's Jill Tucker reports, 113 million in funding cuts over two years will change all that. Teachers are facing lay-offs, class size will swell to unmanageable numbers, and programs that make schools appealing to students will be slashed. Want to make kids dislike and devalue formal learning? This will do it. And as a society, we can't afford to have children reject education. Those who do are more likely to make poor financial and lifestyle choices when they reach adulthood, draining the resources of the population at large.

Every child in San Francisco (and the Bay Area, California, America, the world) needs and deserves high-quality education. Excellent schools with classes that go beyond bare-bones fundamentals, enough books and materials for each student, a safe and pleasant learning environment, and passionate, well-qualified teachers should not be only reserved for children with affluent parents.

Do you agree or disagree? Speak your mind at the Town Hall meeting, Public Education: Funding our Future on February 25th, at Marina Middle School in San Francisco. Moderated by Michael Krasny, host of KQED's radio show Forum, the panelists include:

Mark Leno, California State Senator

Fiona Ma, California State Assembly

Tom Ammiano, California State Assembly

Carlos Garcia, SFUSD Superintendent of schools

Debbie Look, California State PTA, Dir. of Legislation

Jim Lazarus, SF Chamber of Commerce, Sr. V.P. Policy

13 comments:

  1. Is there anyone on the panel who would disagree with "Every child in San Francisco (and the Bay Area, California, America, the world) needs and deserves high-quality education"? What is the point of this town hall? To restate the obvious? The battle front is in Sacramento.

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  2. I thought the purpose of the meeting was to bring together concerned citizens from all walks of like to brainstorm creative ideas for addressing the funding shortfall in education near and long term.

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  3. If you found the root reason of the underperforming schools, you would find the solution. Hint: comparing the attendance rate of students and parents involving time between high API schools and low API schools.

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  4. "If you found the root reason of the underperforming schools, you would find the solution. Hint: comparing the attendance rate of students and parents involving time between high API schools and low API schools."

    Hint: Trying reading the last two chapters of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell to get some real data and causes of the achievement gap. I don't have time to summarize - but his major conclusion: "Summer Vacation"

    To which I would add (being the spouse of a teacher myself and listening to my long suffering wife): Lack of schema for concepts and academic language.

    When my wife has to spend time explaining what a "pasture" is or a "cart" or a million different things that higher income kids are exposed to, and these are the things that are subsequently tested for, then you get some idea of the problems involved.

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  5. Attendance probably is an issue. I teach at a school where most of the students live in substandard public housing. Several have severe asthma, which is sometimes so bad they cannot come to school. The pollutants from the nearby Superfund site, vermin infestation and mold over which they have no control impact their asthma.

    So is the issue attendance or poverty?

    I could go on with this theme. It is easy to simplify issues, but it is dishonest and gets us no closer to the solutions we need to close the opportunity gap.

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  6. 2:45 - You hit the nail on the head.

    It is a fact that noone wants to accept ..

    I don't think that people want to fix the problem, they just want to send kids to "high performing schools".

    It has been proven by many "charter schools" that low achieving students can change if their if a year long school and all day school for them. Recognize their home environment is undesirable and force these kids to go and stay in school.

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  7. Thank you for your support, 9:05. Low income parents have less time and ability to help their kids on academic study. It is sad to say this fact. What could the SFSUD to do to change it? Providing free afterschool programs at low API schools would be a solution.

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  8. The goal of the town hall is to start change here in San Franciso *and* Sacramento. We all understand the funding problem; we need solutions. We need to hold our elected officials accountable. We need to mobilize parents and reduce school silos. We need immediate funding solutions and long term reform.

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  9. I found the website EdSource to have a lot of good information about possible funding options. look under "school finance".

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  10. I found the website EdSource to have a lot of good information about possible funding options. look under "school finance".

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  11. No need to post everything twice... and under each shadow-puppet.

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  12. The point of the town hall is to rally public support for change in Sacramento. But we need change at home,too. The question is - what kind of change? Those that require more taxes to support schools appropriately, and those that require a new spirit to remake schools in a new image. We have to have both reforms to appeal to the public at large.

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  13. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alena

    http://grantsforeducation.info

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