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Posted on November 13 at 12:11 a.m.
Geeber, for the sake of accuracy, probably no more than 60,000 people voted in the district (probably less). Therefore, it is reasonably certain that more than one of every three voters voted for me. The 15% is the percentage of the total votes (each voter had three selections).
I am waiting for the precinct returns to see what effect the UCSB students had on the election. A record number of them voted this time. It is well known the Democratic Party pays them to register students. It is nice to know that many students, who have no intention of staying here after they graduate, are having a disproportionate influence on local elections and levying parcel taxes on property owners in the district.
On Real Americans
Posted on November 12 at 10:06 p.m.
Well Ken, I did get over 20,000 votes but you're probably right about not many of them coming from UCSB or Isla Vista.
Posted on November 12 at 3:59 p.m.
I think John is a UCSB student, which might explain some of these harebrained views. It would be nice if his statistics were at least accurate. Solar accounts for far less than 50% of the electrical grid, although in one weekend last Spring it did get that high. It only accounts for 4% of the country's energy needs.
If you want to know how renewables are affecting their grid, read this:
Posted on November 4 at 2:18 p.m.
Bill, good post. You raise many good points. I will say that we don't have to look far to find inner city schools around the country with very low socioeconomic populations that are getting much better results than the SBUSD.
Typically, they are charter schools that share some common characteristics. They have a culture of no-excuses, high expectations and high standards of accountability. These schools have little or no bureaucracy, are not hindered by counterproductive labor rules and have great principals who have the expertise to identify great teaching and know how to develop and nurture it.
The teachers work collaboratively to identify academically weak students and develop strategies to attack their weaknesses. They use technology to individualize instruction for students who need it. Although many of these students do not have strong families, teachers work very hard to reach out to these parents. These schools are not burdened with mandates and useless rules that interfere with classroom instruction and impede the adaptation of innovative pedagogical techniques to facilitate learning.
I would like to see our schools adopt many of these reforms. Why reinvent the wheel, when the model already exists.
On Schools' Success Not About Funding
Posted on November 4 at 10:09 a.m.
I am not suggesting we eliminate the centralized purchasing and payroll operation. It could easily be run by a committee of officials appointed by the districts.
Many of the other functions, like teacher development, should definitely be folded into the districts. It makes no sense to have duplicative teacher development programs run by an agency that is not involved in teacher hiring, training and evaluations. Teacher training/evaluation needs to be integrated, if it is to be truly effective.
Since the districts already have their own special needs programs, I don't know why we need the county to run this one school. It's not like the county is doing a bang-up job. The SBUSD special needs budget far exceeds outside revenue sources, so I am sure they would welcome the additional funding.
The bottom line is that we have a $60 million operation, an enormous amount of money, which is not justified considering the number of students and the range of redundant activities already performed at the districts. BTW, have you seen their facilities; they are much nicer than the SBUSD buildings.
Posted on November 4 at 3:52 a.m.
In my response to gsjoh, I should have said few graduates go directly to 4-year colleges and a low percentage are transferring from our community colleges to 4-year colleges. These numbers have to be inferred from data I collected from the Ca Dept of Education and the National Center of Education Statistics. The vast majority of our high school graduates, who pursue postgraduate education, go to SBCC and other community colleges. A study was done a few years ago which showed the percentage of graduates from our 3 high schools, who are full-time students at Ca colleges (mainly community colleges) and completed one full year of credit within 2 years of post-secondary education, is around 38%. I then took a look at the graduation and transfer rates at SBCC and found that 36% and 23% of the full-time students graduate and transfer to 4-year colleges, respectively, within 150% of "normal time" to completion of the program. Obviously, the number will probably go up some if you extend the time period to graduation. Now it is impossible to know the exact numbers of students graduating 4-year colleges, but I believe it can be reasonably inferred from this data that it is not high. As I mentioned in my letter to the editor, The California Colleges Student Success Task Force recently concluded that up to 90% of students attending community colleges in California need remedial instruction in English and/or math.
The County Education Office is a waste of money. They perform payroll and centralized purchasing services for the schools. You don't need a Superintendent of County Schools and a vast bureaucracy to perform what is essentially a clerical service. The teacher training programs should be administered by the districts, where they hire, train and evaluate teachers. What the County Education office is doing in this area is duplicative and redundant. I have talked to a number of people in the district and no one is willing to say anything nice about these County programs.
Their main function is to provide schooling for around 650 to 700 special needs and juvenile court students. BTW, according to the Ca. Ed-Data website, these schools compare unfavorably to comparable schools in Ca. The have been given a "F" grade by this entity. So you have a $60 million bureaucracy and well over a 100 administrators and many more employees overseeing 3 very small schools and other administrative functions which are either redundant or could easily be done by the districts.
California is the only state in the country that has this added layer of bureaucracy between the districts and the State Department of Education. It may have been needed in 1870 but I think it can be dramatically downsized today. Remember, every school in the county already has a local superintendent and school board. You really think we need a county superintendent without line authority for any district.
Posted on November 3 at 10:54 p.m.
Ken, I am not sure it is possible to have a rational discussion with you.
No, I am not trying to privatize our public schools, although I would like parents to have more choices than their neighborhood school, which is why I favor charter or magnet schools.
An example of ineffective curriculum are the poor writing skills of many of our students. Ask some of the English teachers at SBCC how many of our high school graduates write well. We need to change the curriculum for writing, particularly in our elementary schools.
Posted on November 3 at 10:10 p.m.
Gsjoh, this has nothing to do with my son; he did very well, went to a fine college and has a great job. I am running because there are too many children not being well served by our schools. I will rely upon the publicly available information regarding our 13,000 students, as opposed to your anecdotal observations of your children's friends from many years ago.
Posted on November 3 at 7:27 p.m.
Than you, gsjoh, for your comment.
Like you, I have had a child go through the public schools and was very fortunate that he had many capable teachers. Unlike you, we witnessed many mediocre teachers, too.
Because there are some very good teachers, does not justify many of the archaic and counterproductive union rules. I think it would be very difficult to rationally justify lifetime tenure, seniority, lack of merit pay, ineffectual teacher evaluations, and last in first out rules, which led to the dismissal of the County Teacher of the Year in 2010.
I base my poor assessment of the schools on the voluminous publicly available less-than-stellar data on student educational outcomes in our schools. I won't bore you with all the details, but the results are not encouraging. For example, very few of our students (all ethnic groups and races) go to college, and the ones that do, are generally not "college ready". Although some would like to blame it on the achievement gap, only around 45% of our white high school students are proficient in math. Up to 90% of the students who go to our community colleges need remediation in English and/or math.
Surely you are not suggesting that our public schools are perfectly fine and don't need many of the reforms I have suggested. Anyway, thank you for perspective. I trust we both want all students who attend our schools to receive the best possible education, and, at the very least, to be proficient in the core academic subjects.
Posted on September 30 at 2:54 a.m.
Binky, you are incorrect regarding your facts relating to SB 1350, except for me calling it AB 1350. See the following media report:
"A bill designed to make it easier for school boards to fire teachers embroiled in misconduct cases, was defeated late Wednesday by the Assembly Education Committee, effectively killing the legislation for the session.
SB 1530, proposed by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, was introduced in response to the sex-abuse scandals at Miramonte Elementary and other campuses in Los Angeles Unified. It would have streamlined the process for terminating teachers in cases involving sex, drugs and violence against children.
The measure was supported by Los Angeles Unified officials, including several board members who testified during the hearing. However, the powerful California Teachers Association, as well as United Teachers Los Angeles, lobbied against it, saying it would have violated due process for teachers.
The vote of the 11-member committee was 5-2, with four abstentions. The measure needed six votes to advance."
Here are the facts:
Das Williams was one of the legislators who abstained. If he had voted yes, the bill would have gotten out of Committee.
The school district had to pay the pedophile teacher at the Miramonte School $40,000 to induce him to voluntarily resign. Otherwise, it would have taken years to exhaust his appeals.
Das Williams abstained because his biggest campaign contributors are the teacher unions.
All the other nonsense and rationalizations we hear from him are totally bogus and insult the intelligence of anyone who has a lick of intelligence.
On Colleges and Universities Unify Us