Eyes on the Prize

For the most part, the Democratic debates have been substantive, leaving the angry innuendo and personal attacks to the Republicans. Anyone who follows politics knows that candidates tend to be respectful until the campaign heats up. Then attacks get sharper and often personal. But this time around, we can’t afford that. There is too much at stake for Democrats to alienate their potential base so that they decide to sit out the general election.

Read more...

Proposition 30: The Elephant in the Room

On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to announce his proposed 2016-2017 California state budget. We anticipate that the Governor’s initial plan will continue to move us forward and reflect our growing economy.

However, the elephant in the room that the governor has not yet addressed is Proposition 30, the game-changing 2012 ballot initiative that is set to expire and must be renewed in order to continue to provide California’s students the best education possible.

Read more...

Kids Deserve a Good Night’s Sleep

“You should all be getting at least nine hours of sleep a night” were the words of advice coming from my daughter’s eleventh grade math teacher. “Sure, like that’s really going to happen!” was her response to me. Not only are my daughter and most of her classmates staying up late to do homework, but this has been going on since elementary school.

Much of the blame for the high stakes, pressurized caldron that America’s public schools have become can be attributed to the disastrous education policies of outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his boss President Obama.

Read more...

Published in the Orange County Register:

Teachers deserve better treatment, not denigration

A hilarious bit from comedians Key & Peele portrays the duo hosting a fictitious show titled "TeachingCenter," a sendup of ESPN’s "SportsCenter," highlighting the exploits of teachers instead of athletes.

The lead story is about an instructor in Ohio who takes her talents to New York after signing an $80 million contract. A segment later in the skit shows a teacher deftly engaging an introverted student, building his confidence.

If only we lived in a world where teachers were held in such high regard as professional athletes. Instead, the U.S. is suffering from a teacher shortage, particularly in math, science, special education and bilingual instruction.

Read more...

Published in the Sacramento Bee:

New community college accreditor needed now

State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris has released his long-awaited Accreditation Task Force report, and the news is not good for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

The report, however, is good news for California, because it puts accreditation – the process of monitoring and reporting that provides assurance to students and taxpayers that a college offers a quality education – on a path toward renewal.

The blue-ribbon task force, comprising faculty, administrators, college presidents, elected officials and other expert stakeholders, has starkly exposed the commission’s problems and recommends replacing it with another accreditor.
This is a welcome development. Unfortunately, it may not happen overnight.

Read more...

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Vigilance is needed to sustain labor’s gains

On Labor Day, we do well to remember the historic gains fought for, sometimes at great sacrifice, by union activists. We also should remember that labor’s efforts on behalf of the common good continue today. Perhaps you’ve noticed California public schools have been faring better. No longer are you reading headlines about thousands of teachers receiving pink slips because of lack of funding.

Read more...