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Los Angeles Times – Sunday Opinion
Three Education Initiatives Make for Odd Bedfellows
Published May 31, 1998
When Kevin Gordon, governmental affairs director for the California School Boards Assn., showed up in mid-May for a scheduled cable-TV debate on Proposition 223, which would limit school-district spending on administration, the “pro” side didn’t send a representative. A few weeks earlier, at a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Gordon again appeared as scheduled. Again, the “pro” side didn’t show. “There have been many events where we’ve done it by ourselves,” Gordon says.
Whose Test Is It, Anyway?
Published July 12, 1998
As director of research and evaluation for the state Department of Education for 12 years, Alexander Law was responsible for the statewide testing of students under the California Assessment Program, or CAP. In retirement, he has continued to observe the twisted history of the state’s efforts to measure student achievement, including the furor surrounding the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) program, which utilized the Stanford 9 as the test. Alarmingly, it is a tale increasingly political, with worrisome consequences for education.
Can Another Task Force Lead Us to Education Reform?
Published November 22, 1998
The day after Lt. Gov. Gray Davis’ gubernatorial victory, Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni (D-San Rafael), a former school-board member and current chair of the Assembly Education Committee, made a telling observation. “The voters have thrown us the ball,” she said. “We’d better not drop it.”
The Elderly Health-Care Crisis Sneaking Up on Davis
Published March 07, 1999
As Gov. Gray Davis relentlessly presses his education-reform agenda, other state business is seriously neglected. State department heads remain unappointed and policy in many key areas is virtually paralyzed. Many admirers and critics alike blame Davis’ legendary propensity to micromanage for the administration’s slow pace. One story has it that Davis is so obsessed with the minuscule details of his new administration that he has been known to spend 20 minutes pondering which secretary to send out on the next Federal Express run.
The Deeper Inequality Behind the AP-Course Suit
Published October 17, 1999
A class-action suit challenging that most fundamental of equal education rights–access–may well force the state’s education establishment to examine its two-tier system of public education, one for the children of the reasonably well-to-do, the other for everybody else. The suit has been likened to the landmark 1971 Serrano vs. Priest, which forced the state to address “wealth-related disparities” in school funding.
A Success Story for Kids Who Can’t Make It in Regular School
Published January 02, 2000
For 30 years, Miles P. Richmond was a special-education teacher and administrator in some of the poorest, toughest schools in the Sacramento area, retiring in 1990 as director of special ed for the Grant Joint Union High School District. He is legendary for maintaining a model special-ed program in the impoverished, fractured, politically volatile district that, most recently, made national headlines when a popular senior was murdered in a shop classroom after school, allegedly by an ex-con working as a janitor.
Tackling the teacher tenure issue
Published May 20, 2009
Well into the 20th century, teachers in the United States were treated as school property, paid meager salaries and expected to do the bidding of boards and principals. Black teachers of either sex could teach only in substandard segregated schools, and female teachers — black or white — could be summarily dismissed for all variety of reasons: wearing skirts above the ankle, being out in the evenings or even getting married.