Oakland’s adult ed programs take a big hit under superintendent’s budget proposal

adult education/ESL class

Oakland’s adult education programs would be slashed by nearly 40 percent in 2010-11 ($4.5 million of the $11.5 million they currently receive in state funding), if preliminary budget recommendations made by Superintendent Tony Smith are approved by the school board in January.

The recommendations, to be discussed at Wednesday’s school board meeting and voted on Jan. 27, contain few specifics, such as which services (aside from adult ed) would be cut and by how much. But the presentation does give us an idea of how the pain of a $28 million cut — Oakland Unified’s projected deficit for the 2010-11 school year — might be shared across the district.

K-12 schools would absorb $9.3 million of the $28 million reduction, which means the budgets of individual schools would shrink by less than 5 percent in 2010-11.

The remaining $18.5 million needed to balance the 2010-11 budget would be made to central office services, facilities upkeep and adult education programs. According to the proposal, central services would be cut by about $10 million, adult education by $7.5 million (see explanation below) and facilities upkeep by $1 million.

Adult education includes diploma and GED programs, English as a Second Language, parent education and career tech classes, among others.

Brigitte Marshall, director of Oakland’s adult education program, said that while the proposal was not unexpected, such a cut would mean the elimination of enrichment classes and programs for older adults, which were dramatically reduced this year, as well as a reduction in ESL and parent education classes.

“It’s going to be a huge impact on the community, there’s no question about it,” Marshall said.

NOTE: Marshall explained that the $7.5 million adult education cut referenced on Slide 13 is misleading because it includes $3 million that was originally set aside for facilities upgrades at Edward Shands Adult School. She said the district would use another pot of money to make those upgrades — and, in turn, use the $3 million set-aside (one-time money, obviously) to help balance the budget.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • harlemmoon

    OUSD has long had Adult Education on its “hit list.”
    I find it incredibly remarkable – and spectacularly unfair – that the department is taking the brunt of the budget hit while larger, inefficient, poorly managed programs have been relatively spared under this spending plan.
    If this is Tony’s best idea, then he’s succeeded in totally underwhelming me with that magnificent aura of freshness, bold vision and shake-it-up attitude on which he glided into our foolish hearts.

    I wonder, exactly, where central office will cut? Any bets that we’ll see the same high-priced administrators and consultants standing – even after the bloodletting?

  • Katy Murphy

    CLARIFICATION: I originally stated that adult ed — which makes up less than 5 percent of OUSD’s general purpose budget — would absorb more than 25 percent of the district’s $28 million budget cut for 2010-11.

    But that was based on the $7.5 million figure given in the presentation, which includes some one-time funds. If you calculate the percentage based on a $4.5 million reduction, adult ed is absorbing about 16 percent of OUSD’s budget cut for 2010-11, not 25 percent.

  • cranky teacher

    I love the idea of adult education (and preschool, too), but it would seem in a time of reductions you have to focus on the core services, which is K-12.

    I’d say, off the top:

    — Two-year freeze on all consultants, construction and textbook purchases.
    — HQ Admin staff furloughs one or two days a week.
    — Larger class sizes for grades 10-12 but hold the line as much as possible for grades K-9 on small classes.
    — Cutback on professional development at all levels for the short-term.
    — Give the teacher’s a face-saving 2-5% raise (after a ten-year de facto salaray freeze) to get a contract.
    — Trim charter school expenditures.
    — Eliminate or decrease NEXO positions.
    — Reduce legal department.
    — Aggressively consolidate/close schools with massive truancy and underenrollment.
    — Sell some property.

    Many of these are controversial, of course, and even five years ago I would have been against many, such as school closures and selling property. But to me, the money that is left has to hew as closely as possible to where the children actually spend their days. That means safe, clean facilities with adequetely supported teachers, support staff and site admin. Everything else is fair game.

  • Nextset

    Cranky Teacher sounds pragmatic. I agree with his direction. In a crisis such as the one that is just beginning to unfold here, OUSD has to figure out what is the core they want to protect – and serve notice that they are ready to throw everything else overboard.

    Adult Ed is a noble concept but it does represent spending money on those damaged goods that failed to get an education when they were younger. It doesn’t matter why. If OUSD hasn’t the money to be all things to all people they just have to decide which people they will put ahead of others.

    It’s proper to decide that the younger who have not had the chance to learn to read and write and all the rest in their formative years get preference over those who had their chance and missed the train.

    And when and if the crunch really arrives, watch grades 11 and 12 get cancelled to maintain 1 through 10.

    If we do move into Great Depression II it’s likely the federal government may resurrect Recovery Act concepts of mass employment and training camps and programs for idle adults. Let them handle Adult Ed on the federal budget where they print their own money. What little money the municipalities have should go to the younger students where the locality really wants to maintain possession and control.

  • Cranky Teacher

    I’m not an expert on adult ed AT ALL. However, I suspect it is not as much about “spending money on damaged goods” as it is about helping adult immigrants access the education they need to succeed in a new, English-language environment.

  • Oak261

    The major expenditure on class size reduction is in k-3, where we are spending $2B/year statewide to keep those classes close to 20 students (vs 30) with dubious or small causal benefits in the area of academic performance.

    What grade does Cranky Teacher teach?

  • Nextset

    Cranky: The taxpayers of CA have no obligation and no wish to subsidize immigrants, least of all invaders from Mexico who come in illegally. It is up to immigrants and their sponsors to pay all their own expenses. This is why Prop 187 passed in CA. While the CA leftist powers blocked it’s implementation, the will of the people remains very clear.

    When CA is in financial collapse the subsidies of the Mexican occupation of CA are the first things to be thrown overboard – in order to attempt to maintain basic services for the children of those who belong here. Public Schools must protect grades 1-10 at least to provide literacy and other basic skills to give these people a chance at military, industry or some higher education. Spending money on adult rehabilitation including that of state prisoners has to come second or not at all.

    Still I don’t claim to place keeping class sizes at 30 is so important that we can let everything else go. We may have to take class sizes at 50+ or whatever to find some money for certain of the adult services.

    I suspect Adult Ed will be taken over by some kind of State Welfare and Rehab Agency along with Unemployment Insurance and Massive Government Make-Work Projects. When the economic crash hits home we are going to see State Agency re-organization on a Constitutional Level to cope with the crisis.

    When and if the crash really hits home the public schools will declare bankruptcy and cease operations. Then we may suspect it’s “on”. The cuts school districts such as Detroit Unified are talking about doing are a futile attempt to operate clinging to the status quo. When the real crisis is here there will be no status quo and the question will be how to re-open the schools and on what terms.

    So I bet Adult Ed is in a death spiral until recast in some way. It’s on the way out as a function of the urban school districts.

  • Nextset

    Bad day on the typos – Para 3 To make class size at 30 so important we can let everythg else go”.

    … As I write about these issues I wonder what it must be like for the school trustees and administrators to look at their shrinking pot of money and decide who to fire and what to cut. They must be unhappy campers about now. They never took these jobs to preside over the dismantling of the school programs.

  • localed

    Nextset, you come across as very racist. Where are you from that you can say others don’t belong here? Is your ancestry Native American? Are you aware of the literacy rates in Oakland, and do you realize that a large portion of folks born and raised here in this town do not have any education to speak of?

    OUSD has to make some difficult decisions, and abandoning adult education would be a very poor choice. It’s true that we have an obligation to educate the kids in this city, but we should also give our adults the opportunity to learn. After all, the kids are not in the workforce. Eliminating adult education will further erode any semblance of middle class.

    You could probably use some history and grammar classes yourself!

  • Nextset

    Localed: Your priorities are not mine. They are your own.

    As far as abandoning Adult Ed, it hasn’t happened yet. But if it does don’t be surprised. In a perfect world we’d have free education on demand.

    You probably think money grows on trees and we are just giving it out. That is typical collectivist thought, popular amoung the young and immature. Our tax money is finite and nowadays is shrinking. One of the reasons it is shrinking is that this state funds an ever increasing number of non-workers from the taxes of fewer and fewer workers.

    You see, we killed manufacturing in CA and drove all those jobs away. We are in the process of driving away businesses and tax revenue into NV, AZ, OR, and the other states. So there is less and less money. Our retirees wiil be pushed out of state next. I will probably retire to a more tax-favorable state. OR comes to mind. Others I know are in OR, NV and AZ. They spent their working lives here and grew up with public schools.

    So we are going to shut down state services to balance the budget, including schools. Reality Bites.

    No amount of holding your breath and jumping up and down will print money for the CA budget. That’s a federal function. If the feds bail out CA it will be at the expense of the other states. And we don’t have the votes to compell that.

    If you walk around thinking that other people like me are bad people for discussing what is happening, you reveal to me what a child you are. And children don’t count when grownups are talking. Calling someone “racist” in a debate over economic policy is a typical sign of an indulged and simple-minded collectivist. You do not get to take the hardearned money of the workers and give it to your pet “social-justice” cause. Ultimately you just run out of victims. They vote (Prop 13, 187, etc) and then vote with their feet.

    This thread started a discussion of the superintendant’s budget proposal. There will be cuts. There will be priorities in the budget that goes forth. Those priorities are not going to be Adults (Adult Ed) nor benefits for Invaders. Is that wrong? I don’t think so. Tell us how you would direct differently if it was your decision.

  • JR

    Nextset made a few good points, but he is leaving out some pertinent facts as well:

    1.Many companies offshore manufacturing primarily because their profit margin is much greater(paying Asians or Mexicans pennies on the dollar and no benefits in comparison to American workers helps keep profits extremely high)taxes are not the primary consideration here.

    2. There are more ways than just collectivism to ruin a country(like going from the number one exporting(producing)country to the largest debtor nation(China produces much of our stuff now).Taxes bear no responsibility for this(wealthy people merely play the multiple residence game and voila, they can enjoy the benefits of living in California while lessening their own tax burden(did the government offshore these companies? or did the companies do that themselves.

    3. Capitalism is the best system by far, but it can be(and has been manipulated)(the free market,that is)Case in point: $2000 per gallon printer ink, did anyone wonder where Carly Fiorina made her money from(she’s just brilliant right?) Sometimes people can ascribe outrageous value to just about anything. If all your so-called competitors do the same thing, then you will all benefit handsomely.

    I’m a great believer in capitalism, but it pales in comparison to how much I believe in Jesus Christ and telling the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.

    An economy needs all people of every station in life to contribute and maintain flow of goods and services(money). When the money and resources are retained by a relatively few, that is not a healthy situation.It’s not enough to set the American worker against cheaper competition overseas, but point the finger of blame at the American worker as well is just evil.

  • David

    Capitalism is on life-support. It doesn’t look good for the patient …

  • cranky teacher

    Nextset, the argument for the government helping all weak and/or dysfunctional elements of society is pragmatic: We are an interconnected society. Uneducated and unsupported individuals cost us more in the long run both economically and in terms of quality of life issues.

    Progressivism and New Deal policies were about supporting the economy and nation as a whole, not just peforming a moral good.

    As such, adult education has the same goals as K-12 and college: Create a skilled, capable workforce that can also participate in meaninful democratic processes.

    BTW, love how you lump in illegal and legal immigrants together as if they are all some sort of tick on America’s back. Shows that you don’t care about “legality” as much as you do fomenting hysteria about a “Mexican occupation.”

  • Nextset

    Cranky: The “Mexican Occupation” you complain I invent connects to a Drunk Driving crash that nearly crippled one close relative. There was a head injury, lots of damage. It wasn’t the same after. I have a co-worker I see daily who was mangled for life by a head on crash with another Mexican invader. He wasn’t supposed to live and after a year in rehab, he just manages to support his family. His wife was managled in the same crash and had numerous spinal surgeries. You know how this goes.

    I see the result of our open border policy in the Emergency Rooms and the schools and the jails and courts. Our state prison inmates I believe are approx one third foreign nationals, Mexican for the most part.

    It is no hysteria for those who live in our California Cities who are daily subjected to the Mexican Gangs, the Narcotics distribution rings, the car crashes and hit and runs (primarily “illegals”) and the benefits of this “diversity”. Then we also can talk about the job displacement and the towers of babel in our schools.

    Your Socialism/Progressivism is mainly about people not carrying their weight and having the treasury give them benefits for nothing, benefits paid for with crushing taxes on the workers of CA. We suffer 9%+ Sales Taxes when OR has none. We pay crushing Income Taxes where NV and WA have None. And the recipients of all this largess are not becoming model citizens and taxpayers.

    Some hysteria. Your socialist state is falling apart.

    There is a revolution coming in 2012.

  • Union Supporter-But

    One the the things that adult education provides as an offshoot to the education itself is an understanding of our educational system works and why it is important to have kids in school instead of taking them out to visit relatives, celebrate birthdays during school hours or to take care of infants / toddlers / elderly relatives.

    Nextset often talks of giving students a chance to learn how to be mechanics, roofers, carpenters, etc. and the need to have these workers be on time. When we educate the parents, they understand that we are not putting them or their culture down, but that funding, learning and achievement arises from education, being on time, counted on as dependable, hard-working, able to demonstrate what they have learned from others. All of these skills are part of Adult Education.

    Just to be really, really clear – Adult Education was brought under the “Administration” umbrella, so when we say we are cutting “Administration” costs we should be asking the Board and Tony Smith how much is Administration overhead and how much is Adult Education.

  • JR

    “benefits paid for with crushing taxes on the workers of CA. We suffer 9%+ Sales Taxes when OR has none. We pay crushing Income Taxes where NV and WA have None”.

    That’s because California subsidizes them and all the rest. You are pointing fingers in the wrong direction once again.

    California pays almost 50% more in federal taxes than the next highest tax paying state. California paid more in Federal taxes in 2007 than the lowest 20 states – combined! Ca. only gets .80 cents back on each tax dollar – Mississippi gets over $2.00, Alaska gets more than $1.80. If calif just got 10cents more for each federal dollar we paid, we’d be getting another $28 Billion Annually .. Plus we’d still be the largest Federal tax contributor! If it wasn’t for California, the rest of the country might already be Bankrupt!

  • cranky teacher

    Go live in Nevada, if you like, Nextset. It’s a free country.

    What irony: All the industries that made California the richest and populated state in the nation were developed with heavy government support: From the shipyards and ports, the military contractors of the southland and Silicon Valley, the cheap-water farms of the central valley tied to the country by government built roads, the interplay between the UC system and biotech and the development of the Internet — it goes on and on.

    And all the people that developed this state were immigrants, from the reviled Chinese who built the mines and railroads, to the Mexicans who grow our food, to the Indian techies filling out the jobs in Santa Clara.

    But no, because somebody who was here illegally injured your friend in a car crash, immigration and Mexicans are evil. And because our taxes are higher than poor states desperate for somebody to come open a chicken processing plan there, California is a disaster.

    Your arguments don’t pass test of common sense.

    Nice try on the red-baiting, too, Nexie. Just because I’m not a libertarian, fascist or “conservative” does not make me a socialist!

  • David

    Nextset is irrelevant.

    its about the kids.

    opinions are easy to find… solutions are not!

  • JR

    Like I said before, people who trust getting all their information from “talk radio” can appear stunted , but the real problem is believing everything you hear from radio “sensationalists” because that’s how these “radio personalities” make their money(by being controversial,divisive,and popular finger pointers). Anyone who takes their word for anything is at the very least “intellectually lazy”.

  • Nextset

    Cranky: If you want to give your state and nation away to others it’s your choice. My choice is different. We will see if CA and the USA manages to protect its territory or not in the end. Doesn’t look so good for the moment. You will see what your open borders brings you as the near future unfolds. You might try vacationing in Tijuana in the meantime, just to get ready. And the first group impacted will be the minorities such as the blacks who are marginialized by the illegals.

    You will find the popular votes in the state and country (on what immigration policy should be) are with me not you.

    And JR: Talk radio funds my view much less than daily observations. But the noise you seem to hear from your radios as well as my comments in this forum are chants about the Emperor and the Clothes. Your leftist ideas about taxpayer money and the treasury are being mocked. They don’t work anymore.

    My point remains. CA has ever fewer producers being taxed to provide for an ever increasing number of people who consume from the treasury. Our unemployment insurance fund, CALPERS, and the CA Treasury generally are in death spirals. There will be municipal bankruptcies even without the national economic problem of money-printing. Unless CA becomes hospitable to producers and industry, the school budget problems will get worse and soon. So get ready to throw programs overboard – Adult Ed at the moment. Class size and Teacher pay as well. If the present trends continue it will be 11th and 12th grades soon enough.

    You can’t run a welfare state on top of a 3rd world nation with open borders. You have to choose which you want. When the public schools cease to function ala Detroit you will have a permanent unemployable underclass – no peace and no justice. We once had CA public schools (Such as Los Angeles Unified) that could easily take paupers to professionals. Too bad we didn’t keep it.

    Too bad about what must happen to teacher wages and jobs in this CA economic course of events. If the public schools wind down, what will happen to all the teachers and their benefits? It could be like the United Airlines pilots…

    Brave New World!

  • JR

    You need to learn that this world is not two dimensional “left Vs right”, and you are missing the mark by calling me a leftist. As usual, the labels you use are woefully inadequate. I knew you couldn’t refute the facts I gave, you could just label and mock me , and that’s what I figured. Get yourself to a no tax state(no-tax on someone elses dime)and lock yourself in a room piled with all your money and roll around in it, it will do you good.

  • Nextset

    JR: I sure don’t need approval from you, why should I? Stick to the topic of finance and economics. What do you propose the school administration throw overboard when the budget is cut and why?

  • JR

    I will make it simplified for you then. The redundant positions all through the government, and school system must be jettisoned example: Do we really need Superintendents and their multiple assistants at the federal, state and local levels? All cuts should be as far away from the classroom as possible. The children should be the number one consideration in any budgeting choices that are decided upon. Like it or not the children will one day be in charge, and we must make sure that they are prepared for it.

  • Nextset

    JR: That last sentence of yours…”will one day be in charge..”” Well, Not exactly. In this Brave New World both the ruling class and the professional class will not be coming from public schools (that was 1950s). They will be coming from private schools and church schools. And they will only marry and associate with each other.

    Even middle management will no longer be public school.

    Urban public schools are for the proletariat and the immigrants with no money.

    This is what we have done with our post Great Society policy of pacification in the public schools. We have removed those “schools” and places where middle class are socialized and turned them into prole academies, places where the products can’t read/write well and are rendered unable to pass into middle class society (wrong language, wrong dress, wrong relation to authority, wrong responsibility, alley cat mores, etc.) Running these schools this was ensures shrinking enrollment, shrinking funding and loss of political support for them.

    And the teachers who stay in these schools are about to find themselves in a situation such as the Smith-Corona Typewriter factory employees.

    JR, your suggestions about the budget cuts do nothing to stop the death spiral. (And I’m not saying mine did either – cutting back adult ed and college prep, dropping 12th and 11th grades to salvage 1-10).

    Like the Post Office, managing the death spiral requires a more fundamental change concerning mission objectives. And the question is having enough time and political will to change in time.

    I believe that there is not enough time and political will to save the CA public schools. Montana and Idaho are quite different.

  • Nextset

    JR: The Charters are wild cards in all this. At least some of them are the functioning as private schools for the poor. American Indian for example. They select their students and work them like hamsters on wheels. I need to add at least some of the Charters to my note about where the (smaller) middle class will be coming from.

    Other Charters are public schools more apparently in business to break the teacher unions and the civil service seniority system while continuing the public school destructive policy of political correctness and pacification.

    Oh, when I use the word “pacification” I mean turning out unemployable or less employable graduates who think they are educated and are not. The key here is gulling the students and their families into thinking they have accomplished anything by staying and completing the bad school.

    Beyond urban secondary schools you see this sort of thing in some of the colleges and trade schools who have an exordinarily high default rate on the graduates’ student loans. The education or the degree is worthless in the marketplace yet the foolish student thinks they have accomplished something by going into debt to finish there. This is abusive and the government is supposed to cancel such a school’s participation in the insured student loan programs. The operators usually reappear with a different “college” and do it again. Or if they are a HBC they get protection from cancellation from Congress or the Executive Branch.

  • Caroline

    Nextset, the segregated society you describe is way oversimplified. It’s not really like this at all. My kids hang out all the time with private school kids; we know families who have kids at both public and private at various times or the same time. (For that matter, I know one with twins who graduated last June, one from SFUSD public and one from a well-regarded parochial high school. The one who from SFUSD public is at Barnard and the one from parochial is not in college, and his Facebook page emphasizes that smoking pot is his main current activity. Just sayin’. Gosh, if only he had gotten to go to a decent school like his twin…

    “In this Brave New World both the ruling class and the professional class will not be coming from public schools (that was 1950s). They will be coming from private schools and church schools. And they will only marry and associate with each other.”

    Caroline again: I can see the kind of divide you refer to among social classes. But not because they went to public, private or parochial. That’s fantasyland, but it’s not what we see here in real life.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    The corporatocracy has arranged for-profit school vultures to feed on the U.S. military. From “Marine Can’t Recall His Lessons at For-Profit College” (12/15/09) @ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=anvf3qKkX.nU :

    For-profit online colleges are taking over higher education of the U.S. military, lured by a Defense Department pledge of free schooling up to $4,500 a year for active members of the armed services, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion since 2000. The schools account for 29 percent of college enrollments and 40 percent of the half-billion-dollar annual tab in federal tuition assistance for active-duty students…

    “In these schools, the rule is faster and easier,” von Lehmen said. “They’re characterized by increasingly compressed course lengths and low academic expectations.

    Several online for-profit schools have become a concern on military bases because of practices that exploit soldiers and the federal subsidies they are promised, said Songer at Camp Lejeune.

    “Some of these schools prey on Marines,” Songer said. “Day and night, they call you, they e-mail you. These servicemen get caught in that. Nobody in their families ever went to college. They don’t know about college.”

    Fighting to get access to any of the public education dollars is now a total free market inspired free for all. This mentality is the core of today’s ed reform movement.

  • Nextset

    Caroline: How old are your kids?

    Gosh, I’m not trying to say Private and Charter kids are not mentally ill, addicted, Liberal or Musically inclined. They can be all those things. But they can probably read and write and will be statistically less likely to end up in Pelican Bay or dead by 35.

    On the other hand, those who start urban public schools or are still attending at 9th grade have a different set of stats even more so if they are black or brown. Start with their likelihood to be able to read and write. Then the stat to get a high school diploma and a 4 year college degree. There are other stats like getting HIV and a felony conviction – again these differ wildly depending on using stats for whites, asians, blacks or hispanics.

    So I return to my point. The Brave New World has the lives of the population increasingly set by the circumstances of birth (reinforced and compounded by the schools). With like associating with like. Before the great society in CA – say Los Angeles and the other large urban schools – there was more social mobility.

    The reason for having our public schools is to have this social mobility. In our devotion to political correctness and comfort we are not making our public school products durable and socially mobile. If they are black we are making them prematurely dead. If their own “culture” is involved it’s not like the schools fight it.

    Back to thread. When we select what to cut we have to remember the mission priority. I put forth the notion that we may want to keep driver’s ed and dump college prep – make tradeoffs such as this. You can make a living if you can drive.

  • Caroline

    I have one college freshman and one high school sophomore.

    Both of them were aware of the fact that *correlation does not equal causation* by the end of middle school — urban public middle school — and that’s the key principle that you’re missing, Nextset.

    The kids who are likely to end up at Pelican Bay are less likely to go to private school (despite my tongue-in-cheek, though true and valid, example). It’s not that private school would keep them from winding up at Pelican Bay, or that public school that would make them more likely to wind up there. It’s that privilege — which is a key factor in steering a kid toward private school — is also a key factor in making a kid less likely to wind up at Pelican Bay.

    That’s one reason my twin example is kind of telling, since the kids are equally privileged.

  • Nextset

    Caroline: Can you elaborate?

    The problem we are having with the future Pelican Bay kiddies is that they are BAD kiddies. They really do have a genetic problem that (unimpeded) impairs functioning so much they get institutionalized. Pelican Bay and CDCR are really nuthouses. You can be a criminal and not allow yourself to get caught and given a long sentences. I see (relatively) few successful criminals and I see mainly disfunctional screwups revolving in and out of CDCR all their lives.

    The lifers have a certain profile that tends to have an early onset. We don’t typically see someone who is making a normal adjustment in life, and at age 30 does his first armed robbery in front of a camera and goes to prison for a long time. Child criminals in court have an extrordinarily high rate of Dx for mental illness (personality disorder, etc). They are the bulk of our lifetime frequent flyers.

    Nobody is going to waste the money paying to put these misbegotten kids in private school. In some way everybody understands they are going to be institutionalized – or have a high probability of that. They are as a rule fatherless boys. That is also a reflection of their lineage since abandoning your kids is a marker for the same psych issues. (As in bio-Dad &/or Mommy were ASPD, Alcoholic, unable to read, had issues etc.)

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    All of this has nothing to do with privilege. More likely bad reproduction and indiscipline.

    Our public schools previously would take in all comers and by imposing discipline, conformity and compliance with authority, would train more people to pass into mainstream life. The troubled lines would still have their issues with alcoholism or whatever, but they would do so from the vantage point of being employable in the formative stages of their lives. This is what we have carefully removed.

    Now our schools don’t give a fig about making the kids employable or ready to work at age 18. The current crop are not exactly housebroken at age 18. The experience they would get at say, Heald Business College (dressing and grooming for work while in class, diction, manners and protocol enforced, etc) is no longer taught in any way in urban high schools.

    Instead our schools waste money with unwanted college prep classes for people with zero college potential while cutting driver’s ed and training (among other classes) which is far more important to the proletariat.

    Your focus on privilege is a big part of your insistence that the poor are just like you and me. They are not. The difference goes as far as how the brain is wired. You feel that because we can all wear the same shirts and pants we are equal and the same. I can imagine where you got that notion. Of course your kids did OK. Now look at the OUSD reading avg scores at 10th grade.

    Without the structure and discipline our public schools used to impose on the lower class they are devolving into a permanent growing underclass with less social mobility than ever known in the USA history. This road to hell is paved with the good intentions of the equality dreamers.

    By not forcefully imposing structure and discipline on the lower class we have allowed them to evolve off into their own language, dress, mores, and “culture” which they do enforce on each other and grow geometrically. They should never have been allowed such freedom in the formative years.

    Paying for this decline in productivity will break the USA to (run the high risk of having) a Weimar Republic episode which will be followed by a National Socialist regime.

    You have your own well behaved kids and their immediate friends – you feel the way you do. I see crashed literacy scores in LAUSD and OUSD, growing mortality and institutionalization rates, bastardy rates, and unemployment rates – and I have my position. When I sound off on the notion of cutting Adult Ed to maintain core functions these are my thoughts. I’d cut further to protect driver’s ed and vocational training also.

    Brave New World

  • Caroline

    Nextset says:

    “BAD kiddies … really do have a genetic problem that (unimpeded) impairs functioning so much they get institutionalized.”

    I don’t really feel qualified to explore these issues. Many cite post-traumatic stress disorder and/or the general toxic effects of a violent environment that fosters an oppositional attitude toward law-abiding good-citizen behavior. Some academics who study school achievement cite high levels of lead poisoning in low-income urban neighborhoods.

    My basic point, though, is that private schools do not get the credit for the fact that their students are less likely to fall into this category.

  • JR

    The largest factor by far in a decently raised and obedient child is quality parenting(everything else is a result of that).I have personally seen Indian and Chinese and even Hispanic kids excel at low end schools(almost at the level of the high end schools in the district). A motivated child with a good attitude toward learning,good teaching and parental guidance can achieve and excel anywhere,anytime.

  • Nextset

    Caroline: It is close to a chicken or egg thing as to whether they were made bad by their bad acting parents who damaged them or they were born with the same hardwiring the parents had which is bad wiring. In the context of this discussion it just doesn’t matter. The bad runs in families.

    And no one is going to put bad kids from bad families in expensive private schools or in Charter Schools where you have to jump through hoops to gain admission. Where the bad kids will end up is dropped off at the nearest public school, and not just any school either, it will be that public school that is forced to service the bad neighborhoods where bad parents want to live.

    So it is the public school teachers – union members all – that get to deal with Frankenstein Jr. Frank will proceed to turn life at the High School into a disfunctional chaos given an environment of indiscipline where he and his female counterparts cannot be stopped or controlled.

    So I don’t blame the teachers for the bad reading and math scores and I don’t want teachers to be paid based largely on the performance of the kiddies. To do so ensures that any teacher with an ounce of self respect and self preservation will refuse to work with certain (guess who?) people. I want the administrators to create a system of schools where performing students are segregated into schools that advance their interests and the lesser students are put on different campuses and programs that advance their interests – which is in no way college prep. Frank Jr can be put to good work. After you break him.

    I was just filing away old documents and came across SAT scores for someone I’m particularly proud of. He got a 420 verbal and 390 math in 2005. He now makes in excess of $80k a year as a state licenced skilled medical technician. Those scores were before he got medical attention for hyperactivity – and getting the medical care is a story in itself. He had real difficulty finishing high school. He did vocational school and started working. Now he has his own place and is able to pay on his educational loans and live better than all of his high school friends. This is what vocational counseling, testing, a good psychiatrist & a Rx plan, a lawyer and a boot in the rear can do. A similar story involves a foster child who wound up becoming a surgical technician – after military training in operating room technical services. He was taken away by the recruiter to boot camp 3 days after graduation and stayed in for 10 years with advanced training. He now works in a hospital in Southern CA. Another person I have followed for over 12 years was living in the bushes in SF once. He has a purchased home, a wife and child and has held his current job for 4 years or more. It took 6 months of Antabuse and years of rehab and AA meetings to get him to this point in life. He will never be safe, but he’s working and not homeless. I have a couple of other people I could mention in the bay area who look like a million bucks but if you could access their rap sheets you would have seen drug/alcohol problems out of the teen years that landed them in long jail terms and rehab. Now they are in corporate america in 200K+ range.

    So I’m not ready to write off anybody. I know what can be done with people who don’t seem to have so much. It’s too bad about the adult ed decision that started this thread. But if the secondary schools are given the needed free hand in dealing with the students needs and not catering to some state fantasy about everybody going to UC Berkeley we could have a lot less poverty and a lot more security for the less gifted public school kids. Even kids who have their parents traits of aggression, dope/alcohol and short attention spans can be put to some use. But probably with less algebra and more driver’s training, more sex ed and less geography, (much) more work study programs and less foreign language, more food sciences and less Chemistry.

    The public schools are where these people (left side of the bell curve) are going to be set straight or consigned to the gutter. They are not private school material. The public schools are crucial to the well being of the proletariat and the maintenance of the middle class. Without the public schools turning out the larger numbers of middle class the private schools output is not enough to sustain the demographic of lower, middle and upper class occupation and earners we have had across the 20th Century to provide political/economic stability in the USA.

    We really don’t want to turn the USA into another Mexico. In any way. What we are doing in the schools – failing to make the proles ready for military, industry or higher education, takes us closer to it.

    And terminating Adult Ed does not harm the core mission of preparing the adolescents for military, industry or higher ed. That’s why the Adult Ed had to go and the superintendent is doing what must be done.

  • Union Supporter-But


    Saint Paul’s Episcopal School here in Oakland had several students with ADHD, severe learning disabilities, extremely gifted and with post-traumatic stress syndrome. And there were able to deal with all of them – Each one of the eight students that I know personally have all moved on to different private schools or into the public schools within the past two years.

    Please don’t get me wrong; Saint Paul’s is a very, very good school for the 70% of the students in the middle – not the lower end learners and certainly not the upper end learners – the middle learners without emotional issues.

  • Caroline

    Sure, SOME private/religious schools take SOME kids with SOME level of disability. They don’t all kick every disabled kid down the stairs. But they handpick, as we know.

  • Caroline

    And Nextset, while I might not use the same language, I agree with your general point here:

    “… no one is going to put bad kids from bad families in expensive private schools or in Charter Schools where you have to jump through hoops to gain admission. Where the bad kids will end up is dropped off at the nearest public school, and not just any school either, it will be that public school that is forced to service the bad neighborhoods where bad parents want to live.

    So it is the public school teachers – union members all – that get to deal with Frankenstein Jr. …

    So I don’t blame the teachers for the bad reading and math scores and I don’t want teachers to be paid based largely on the performance of the kiddies.”

    I wouldn’t put it quite this way about teachers, either:

    “To do so ensures that any teacher with an ounce of self respect and self preservation will refuse to work with certain (guess who?) people.”

    …but I WOULD restate the general point — paying teachers based on their students’ performance certainly does motivate them to shun the most challenging students.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    Jim Horn reviews the connections between student testing, sorting, and eugenics (the study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding) at http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2006/11/jay-mathews-and-history-of-testing-for.html

    It is most reasonable to think that today’s corporatocracy would be 100% behind the most favorite ed reform trend — using testing and “public” education, aka charter schools vs other institutions to sort offspring — because it quite naturally fits into their world view of humanity.

    Corporate philanthropies such as the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and others financed the Eugenics Records Office at Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., the center of American eugenics research from 1910 to 1940. During those years, an extensive amount of data on Americans was collected and organized, much driven by the threatening immigrant trends of those years. It is a well-accepted fact that America’s eugenics movement influenced Hitler’s thinking.

    This all might sound bizarre, but it is really quite mainstream to those who are sufficiently well-read. Learn more about the history of that era at http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/. This site is sponsored by a program of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a division of the National Institutes of Health.

    Yet another reason to be concerned and vigilant with the current ed reform movement, and the motives of the people who are pushing and funding it (Gates Foundation, Broad Foundation, Michael Bloomberg in NYC, the Walton Family Foundation, Dell Foundation, etc.).