While many struggle in the shadow of COVID-19, CEO compensation has never been so good.
Frank Lara, a teacher in San Francisco’s Mission District, discusses the challenges of distance learning as the fall semester begins.
The headless-chicken days of March. Zoom crashes. Parents against PPE. And yet teacher stress levels are returning to normal.
Middle school is where many students branch out academically. Some seem to thrive online, while others have “dropped off the map.”
Teachers are trying new ways to make online learning work. Getting students to turn on their screens can sometimes be the hardest part.
This week a new series examines the fears and frustrations of teachers facing a new year of distance learning.
While some kids spend class time looking at age-inappropriate YouTube videos, their teachers search for ways to connect with them.
The billionaire’s controversial training program has found a new home at Yale University.
With the first tumultuous year of Donald Trump’s presidency winding down, Capital & Main looks back at the images and stories we presented over the last 12 months.
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This is an encore posting from our State of Inequality series
(Andy Warner’s comics have appeared in many places, including Slate, Medium, American Public Media, Symbolia, KQED, popsci.com and for the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency.)
Capital & Main: Do you see risk in Democrats running away from a populist progressive agenda?
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Absolutely. I think the biggest development we saw [in the midterm election] was Democrats not standing up for the ideals of the Democratic Party, not talking to the economic realities of our people, not being willing to offer real progressive solutions. I think there’s another model of Democrats who actually addressed these issues, who were willing to take on big corporations, who were willing to challenge the status quo, who were willing to ask those who are wealthy to pay their fair share, who were willing to talk about how we create living wage jobs and better benefits….
People are looking for answers to what is now a fundamental structural economic crisis. The middle class has been collapsing, people’s earning power has been declining rapidly…. I love that the conventional wisdom [about the recent election] is about a conservative tidal wave.
Dino Degrassi and Jason Campbell engage in dialogues for a living. They also put the electrical wiring into some of Los Angeles’ largest and most recognizable building projects. Every morning at 6:30 the two electricians ride the street level elevator down into the construction site at Wilshire and Figueroa, where the core of the Wilshire Grand hotel is emerging out of the ground. When finished, the 73-story building will be the tallest west of the Mississippi.
Degrassi is a seasoned journeyman – ostensibly a teacher of apprentices like Campbell who work their way through a five-year program, learning as they go.
Throughout the day, the men’s hard-earned craft knowledge guides their conversation. “I try to help Jason work efficiently,” Degrassi says, as he moves along a cement deck tying in conduit. “I want to make sure he paces himself and doesn’t get hurt.”
“There’s a lot of wisdom to be learned from Dino,
The latest sign that the nation’s 14-year romance with the for-profit cyber charter industry might be cooling came last week when the Board of Trustees for Pennsylvania’s scandal-plagued Agora Cyber Charter School discussed completely severing its relationship with K12 Inc., the nation’s largest for-profit cyber charter management and curriculum supplier.
The action came nearly three weeks after an August 5 vote by Agora’s board to not renew its management contract with the online learning giant beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
Agora had been the jewel of K12’s 29-state network of virtual charters, accounting for 14 percent of the company’s annual revenues of $848.2 million. So when news of the August 5 decision came to light during an August 14 K12 Fourth Quarter investor conference call, it sent K12’s high-performing stock into a nearly 13-point tailspin. The call-in’s moment of revelation can be heard here:
Large corporate lobbies have, in recent years, accelerated their push to expand private charter schools. America spends nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars on public education annually and companies such as “cyber-charter” giant, K12 Inc., Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify and Rocketship, a darling of the venture capital industry, see a pot of gold.
A new report by In the Public Interest Scholar Network member Gordon Lafer, for the Economic Policy Institute, examines recent proposals by Wisconsin state legislators to privatize schools, particularly in Milwaukee, and finds that the proposals won’t help poor kids.
How? The proposals call for public schools in the largest and poorest school district to be replaced with private charter schools that substitute online apps for teachers for a significant part of the day. This “blended learning” model primarily focuses on math, literacy and test preparation, while paying minimal attention to other subjects. Also, money earmarked for Milwaukee students is diverted to fund the company’s ambitious growth plans in other cities.
The nomination of Californian Ted Mitchell to the number two position at the U.S. Department of Education is the latest indication that proponents of school privatization are continuing to gain influence over the Obama administration’s education policy.
“He represents the quintessence of the privatization movement,” Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, tells Capital & Main. “This is a signal the Obama administration is committed to moving forward aggressively with transferring public funds to private hands.”
In education “privatization” refers to the contracting out of traditional public education services to for-profit companies or to charter schools that are set up as nonprofit organizations. In many ways, the Mitchell nomination reflects the ongoing battle being fought in Washington and in school districts across the country. It’s a battle that pits the views of teachers, their unions and community groups against a movement that is backed by wealthy philanthropists and corporations.
Sandy Hellebrand was concerned. She needed to find a school that could educate her son Gabriel, who has autism and was about to enter high school.
Hellebrand thought she had found the perfect solution: She would enroll Gabriel and her two younger children in Sky Mountain Charter School, one of a rapidly-growing number of virtual schools in California and across the country.
After all, she reasoned, the school would provide excellent online instructional materials and instructors to guide Gabriel’s individual needs. Since Sky Mountain is a publicly funded school – although not a traditional brick-and-mortar one – the state of California would pay for her children’s education. And Hellebrand and her husband Rob, a public high school teacher, would receive about $1,800 a year for each of their children to help defray their costs of educating them at home.
“The idea is fantastic,” she says in an interview with Frying Pan News.
(See full infographic at OnlinePhdPrograms)
Driving a 15-year-old car 70 miles a day between three different college campuses took a toll on my ride – and on me. I was teaching as adjunct professor at three different L.A. community colleges. An adjunct is a part-time professor who is hired on a contractual basis rather than being given tenure and a permanent position. Many universities hire large numbers of adjunct faculty members because they are flexible and cheaper to maintain than traditional full-time faculty members.
I had no health insurance, no savings and no other financial resources, so every penny went to rent, car repairs and food. I was expected to hold office hours, but the colleges where I taught did not provide office space for adjuncts – I had nowhere to meet students or grade papers on campus.
“Sometimes it seems that eliminating public education itself is the goal of this reform era,” Diane Ravitch told a cheering crowd of public school teachers and education activists who had packed Occidental College’s Thorne Hall Tuesday night.
The audience had come to hear the 75-year-old scholar, author and former Assistant Secretary of Education drive home her message that, contrary to the dire narrative now being sold to Americans by proponents of school privatization, the nation’s public education system is not broken.
Ravitch, who might have been mistaken for the latest college-radio rock sensation rather than the country’s preeminent critic of the education-reform movement, was here as part of a Los Angeles leg of a whirlwind tour to promote the publication of her latest book — and New York Times Best Seller— Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf).
Currently a Research Professor of Education at New York University, Diane Ravitch served as the Assistant Secretary of Education in the George H.W. Bush administration and later worked for Bill Clinton’s White House. A tireless critic of the public school testing standards she once endorsed, the 75-year-old Ravitch remains a clear voice against the stampede into publicly funded charter schools and other right-leaning education “reforms,” including No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
Her newest book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. Tonight and tomorrow night she will speak at two Southland colleges as part of her book tour.
Tuesday, October 1, 7 p.m.
Thorne Hall. Occidental College
1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles
Wednesday, October 2, 7 p.m.
Student Union,California State University
18111 Nordhoff St.,
Frying Pan News reviewer Vivian Rothstein called Go Public: A Day in the Life of an American School District “an antidote to the doom and gloom pronouncements of Waiting for Superman and other recent corporate-sponsored films.”
This documentary, created by Jim and Dawn O’Keeffe, memorably follows 50 individuals (students, faculty and others) during a single school day. Its filmmakers focus on Pasadena’s public school district as it struggles to head off catastrophic budget cuts to 28 schools. It’s a primer on the importance of public education and how successful it can be with the support of parents and administrators.
The film can be seen in three widely separate local venues this weekend. On Saturday it’s part of the Catalina Film Festival and screens 1-3 p.m. at the Lancer Auditorium in Avalon. Sunday, it shows at Pasadena’s Lake Avenue Church (1-3 p.m.) and at USC’s Ray Stark Family Theater (6-8 p.m.).