Tag Archives: schools

ASVAB Bill passes in MD

Pat Elder sent this out today:


The Maryland Senate narrowly approved a measure today that will prohibit the automatic release of ASVAB test results to military recruiters by public schools.  The vote was 24-23. 

Opponents charged the bill was unpatriotic and anti-military, particularly in a "time of war."   Currently, thousands of Maryland high school students are tested by the Pentagon during school hours without parental knowledge or consent. The Maryland House of Delegates passed the same measure 102-37.  Governor O’Malley is expected to sign the bill into law.  Maryland could become the first state to challenge military testing in the public schools. Last year, the California Assembly passed a similar measure but it was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

To listen to today’s proceedings click here, select the Wednesday, March 24th session and go to 33:48.  The debate is 14 minutes long.  http://mlis.state.md.us/asp/listen.asp

War and Peace: Militarizing Our Youth

Today is another Blog Action Day over at Green Change.  The theme for today is War and Peace.  This is a timely connection to the 7th anniversary of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Coalition Forces and the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   I have chosen to focus my war and peace report on military recruiting in schools.  The militarization of our youth is big business and it starts in our public schools. 

To begin, here is a 2007 video made by Working Assets and Mainstreet Moms called Leave My Child Alone.

I first learned about the clause in the No Child Left Behind Act  (incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) about giving student information to recruiters when my son was still in high school.  I wrote this piece on Chlorophyll  back in 2006:

No Child Left Unrecruited

Many folks may not be aware that there is a tiny clause buried in the "No Child Left Behind" Act (NCLB) that requires schools to give military recruiters access to high school student records upon request…..or face losing funding. Here is the section in the NCLB:

Continue reading

Vouchers Voted Down – So Now What?

Yesterday’s local news reported that those for and against school vouchers will work towards improving our public schools:

After 38 percent backed vouchers, fans and foes vow to work for change
“There are 150,000 Utahns out there saying, ‘We need to change our education system,’ ” voucher backer Doug Holmes said.
Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, who opposed vouchers, said the fight lends a new sense of urgency to improving Utah education.
“The debate was great because people did get engaged in it,” Allen said. “But now it’s time to settle down and get into the hard work.”

Voucher battle opens way for improving public schools(Opinion)
In the spirit of reconciliation, I beseech those who opposed vouchers to put forth their ideas for change and improvement now, and to forcefully take them to every member of the Legislature and to the governor himself.
I also implore our state leaders to accept these ideas, to carefully consider their relative costs and benefits, and to immediately initiate the suggestions they feel will do the most good.
The time is now to push us forward. If we wait too long, the system will fall back to sleep and our recent trials and tribulations will have been in vain.

Jordan School District to be Split – Voters Decide

Being dubbed “a new era”:

Voters choose a split-up for Jordan District- The east-side district will give its parents more oversight over kids

This is another positive outcome in this year’s elections, in my opinion, for public education.  I know there are concerns about disparity between geographic “sides”, however there has always been that disparity and I feel that, as folks in the above linked article stated, that if everyone works together, this will be boost public school education for our children.

Yesterday’s Vote on Vouchers

Needless to say the entire nation was watching Utah yesterday on the voucher issue which, if passed, would have set a precedent for other states.
I’m happy to report that, not surprisingly, Utah’s voters voted AGAINST vouchers for education.

“Tonight, with the eyes of the nation upon us, Utah has rejected this flawed voucher law,” said state School Board Chairman Kim Burningham. “We believe this sends a clear message. It sends a message that Utahns believe in, and support, public schools.”

The PEOPLE have spoken.

In today’s news:
Washington Post
ABC News


Vouchers go down in crushing defeat- Vouchers’ money man says Utahns ‘don’t care enough about their kids’

More than 60 percent of voters were rejecting vouchers, with about 95 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. The referendum failed in every county, including the conservative bastion of Utah County.

Vouchers killed – Foes are elated; legislators call issue dead

“I think it shows that Utah voters care about all Utah children and they care about putting all the resources we have in the state in public schools where they can be available for all children,” said Lisa Johnson, spokeswoman for the anti-voucher Utahns for Public Schools.


Comments from a teacher on school vouchers

I am on a discusson list of citizens who discuss local issues.  One member wrote this in about school vouchers:

I’ve been flooded with claims about how vouchers will help or hurt education in Utah. Something that happened in my own
classroom a couple of weeks ago brought the dialogue into focus for me…

The parents of a student in my 6th grade class came to my room and asked how I might use $750 with my class. Trying to hide my shock at this offer, I explained I would like to take our students to various locations for more “hands-on” science experiences (curriculum-based field trips.) This amount would enable not only my class but two other

classes to take four field trips. The money was made available as a tax-deductible contribution through the Education Foundation.

These parents directly influenced the nature of the educational experience of their child. In their small way, they made a difference.
And, they will receive a direct tax benefit from the effort.

I’ve heard it argued that our current public education system won’t allow the kinds of innovation, change, etc. that we need to make it different… I disagree. When was it decided the public school system was damaged goods? By whom?

It’s your money. Do you want the state to transfer your money to a student you don’t know so they can have a ‘different’ education
experience? Or, will you get involved and make a difference of your choosing. Calling vouchers a ‘school choice’ initative is just another misleading claim. Each of us needs to step-up and take our own initative to improve our neighborhood schools. Step-up and choose where and how your money will make a difference.


Vote NO on School Vouchers


Recent local news on school vouchers in Utah:
Some Latino leaders say vouchers aren’t the answer
Latino groups come out against vouchers
Our choices, 2007: Editorial Board has weighed in, now it’s your turn–Tribune Editorial
Vouchers increase chasm between rich, poor


Not vouchers – smaller school districts

I will be voting on a measure where I live to split the Jordan School District into two smaller districts.  I think this is a good move.  Sure, there are always challenges with  running smaller districts – like perhaps not being able to have as many sports programs.   Community schools and smaller districts are a better solution to revamping our current model than school vouchers that will not benefit public education at all. 

Are small districts better?

Published: Monday, Nov. 5, 2007 12:14 a.m. MST

There is no doubt in Brian Allen’s mind: A smaller school district would be a better school district: more responsive to community needs; swifter action on parents’ input; an eagerness to try something new, to deliver a better product to kids.

There is no doubt in Betty Shaw’s mind: Jordan School District is a great school district right now: high graduation rates; top-notch programs; responsive to community and parent needs; an overall great product now jeopardized.

Who’s right?

Never before have voters gone to the polls to split a Utah school district. Advocates present research indicating a smaller school district will be better for kids and community involvement. But a University of Utah professor hired by east-side Granite District cities to review the research says the jury’s still out on whether smaller is better.

Tuesday, voters in West Jordan, Sandy, Draper, Midvale, Alta and Cottonwood Heights will decide whether to split the state’s largest school district east-west along the Jordan River and create a separate West Jordan city school district. For many, the decision will come down to philosophy and finance.

The new east district would have about 33,500 students — a far cry from the some 80,000 in Jordan District now — and become Utah’s fifth-largest. A West Jordan District would have about 21,000 students.


Tribune poll: Anti-school vouchers camp has 20-point lead

By Glen Warchol
The Salt Lake Tribune

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Posted: 1:57 PM- A Salt Lake Tribune poll found little hope for the implementation of Utah’s education voucher program that must be approved by voters in a referendum Tuesday.
    The poll, conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, asked: If you were voting today, would you vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” the voucher bill taking effect?
    Fifty-six percent of likely voters polled said they would vote against vouchers while 36 percent said they would vote in support of vouchers.
    Only 8 percent remained undecided.
    The program, which would provide vouchers for private school tuition of $500 to $3,000, depending on income level, narrowly passed in the Legislature. An opposition petition drive last summer forced it into a referendum, where it will be decided Tuesday by voters.
    The media campaign, including a blitz of TV and radio spots, to sway Utahns for or against the issue has consumed $8.5 million so far. Most of the opposition cash has come from teachers unions. Most of the supporters’ cash comes from Overstock.com chief executive Patrick Byrne.


School Vouchers

Josei Valdez, administrator of the Office of Diversity for the Salt Lake City mayor, had this piece in Friday’s Salt Lake Tribune:

School vouchers would hurt most low-income children
Josie Valdez

The pro-voucher people keep touting how Referendum 1 would help those who can least afford a private education. They represent that vouchers will provide the opportunity for low-income parents to send their children to private schools. They deceitfully call it “parental choice.”
As administrator for the Salt Lake City Office of Diversity, I work every day with residents of Salt Lake City’s diverse communities. Many of these residents fall into the category of economically disadvantaged.
With more than 30 years experience in working in our ethnically diverse community, I have learned to ask the people who will be affected by a rule, regulation or law and find out what they think and what their experience has been.
So, I asked. I asked parents in our Asian, Latino, black, Pacific Island, Bosnian, Native American, African and Russian communities how they feel about vouchers.
The majority of the parents I spoke with said they did not know much about the issue, that they work long hours or have two jobs. Most parents were bewildered and hadn’t thought that they would ever be able to afford to send their children to a private school. Continue reading