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Monday mixed bag

By Eric Kurhi
Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 5:10 pm in Alameda County, Ashland, Development, Hayward, Odds & Ends, Schools.

Back from a week’s vacation, getting caught up with goings-on. These appeared while I was gone:

An interesting story that popped up on my Google alerter. It has to do with a Ninth Circuit decision that holds it is illegal to hire inexperienced, uncredentialed  interns as “highly qualified” to teach subjects at the neediest schools. It stems from a lawsuit filed by folks in Richmond, Oakland and Hayward.

And here’s a story on homes approved for the area by the Costco on Hesperian. The city agreed to give the developer some wiggle room on what they have to build, and when.

Here — this one was weird and certainly had people talking. It’s not often  you have a dead bear turn up outside an Ashland market.

Anyone check out the City Council meeting last week? I still have to watch the replay, but I was interested in that smoking ordinance revision workshop.

And anyone seen/heard about the Waiting for Superman film that’s in limited release? It looks like you’d have to take a trip to San Francisco to see it right now, but I’ve heard it’s an eye-opener. If you know anyone who has seen it and wants to talk about it, a colleague of mine is working on a story about it for later this week.

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  • http://None Kathi Booth

    After I read the decision regarding “highly qualified teachers” I believe that it concluded that HUSD among other districts are violating the No Child Left Behind Act…by “fudging” on the definition of highly qualified.

    According to the most recent ruling from the 9th curcuit….HUSD and other districts cannot continue to put “teachers, who are not fully credentialed, in classrooms of predominantly low income/low achieving schools….the claim that these teachers are obtaining further specialized training does not wipe out the fact that they are not fully credentialed teachers.

    With that said, it was interesting to see that Ms. Heredia, our board member, was one of the plaintiffs in this matter. I must assume she joined the suit prior to her election to the board.

  • qodrn

    A question. Does this mean that any district who has these teachers filling positions has to terminate them?
    How many of these does Hayward have?

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    I am not sure how that will be handled…From what I know there are many teachers in HUSD that would fall into this category. There are many options for dealing with this problem…the vfery worst being that the Federal Government could withold money to any district that violates the No Child Left Behind Act in this way. I doubt that will happen. I think we will have to wait and see how HUSD will choose to deal with it.

  • Lucy’s Mom

    The DO supposedly has a sub with only a CBEST for 29 of the 30 days that they can teach in a classroom, then they get another sub for the following 29 days, and so forth. They still comply with the law, and cheat on the students.
    Maybe Ms. Heredia can look into that, one can only hope!

  • Sherry Blair

    Good for Mrs. Heredia! Suing the schools is whistleblowing in action. It takes a lot of courage and perseverence. It is bottom up action at its best.

    Check out the interview with Arnie Duncan:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/04/open-questions-education-what-you-missed

    It’s the same problem being attacked from the top down.

    Both approaches are needed.

  • Sherry Blair

    Good for Mike Sweeney. We simply cannot allow the developers to decide our plans for us. These developer initiated changes create a lot of problems for our neighborhoods. Their motivation is not always in our best interests.
    We need to serve the people who are here first and then think about creating new housing.Barbara Halliday had the right intuition, but she didn’t take the action it called for.

  • Michael Moore

    Eric, it is nice to see you back in the Hayword. It is a tragedy that you seem to be the only one able to add to the blog. I had hoped that there would be some change. Anyway, nice job. I will comment on your points separately.

  • Michael Moore

    Eric, are you sure that the ruling prohibits the hiring of inexperienced and uncredentialed teachers as interns and teachers? I take issue with your precis of the court’s decision.

    What the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco did was to reverse the 2002 decision that enabled school districts to hire cheap, inexperienced and uncredentialed teachers and to assign them to schools as experienced teachers. The finding allowed the school district to ‘certify’ these ‘teachers’ as being in process. The thinking at the time was that schools needed more teachers to bring the children up to speed. Quantity, cost and availability were the key words and not the quality. The original decision was the easy way out for poorly performing school districts, like HUSD.

    The new ruling doesn’t require school districts to fire interns or bar them from teaching core subjects. It does require districts to alter their assignment policies so that the least-prepared teachers are not routinely placed in the neediest schools. That Trustee Herredia was a successful plaintiff in this action speaks to an underlying rightness of her position and leadership.

    The problem of lousy teachers paid poorly continuing to teach without effective direction in an impoverished district that has consistently performed below the mean for the state is unchanged. That the Trustees and Superintendent cannot behave in session is evidence enough of the problems.

    A clean slate, directed by the state, is needed if the schools in the HUSD are ever to rise up from the banality of their tested results.

  • Michael Moore

    The Hayward City Council is gutless when dealing with the hostage situation of the Costco property by Legacy Partners. The vision by the electorate and the Council was solid when times were good and now it has petered out.

    Mayor Sweeney’s pricipled stand opposing the change to residential construction by Legacy is the lone well thought voice. That he alone is willing to stand up to Legacy Partners is testimony to why he was the leading vote getter and moral leader of the city.

    That Legacy Partners is hurting is well understoond. Allowing them to build without the infrastructure is terrible. This will be a repeat of all the previous poorly executed mixed use plans in the Bay Area.

    The City Council should move to require Legacy Partners to clear the area, and turn it in to a green space until the original vision is enacted. Setting up more housing without the commercial part of a neighborhood will result in marginalization of the vision and eventual failure.

    The City Council should stand firm and united in this. That they did not is not a wonder. Look to see how much influence Legacy Partners has spread amongst the five who voted for their position.

  • Michael Moore

    The key issue to me on the great Ashland dead bear was not the terible waste of a fine harvested bear, which this was. I was dismayed by the lack of local flavor. This was certainly a big story for a couple of days. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has a permanent Fish and Game Committee. The Alameda Sheriff responsible for that is Brian Cook at 510-268-7759. Seth Kaplan is the District 4 staffer for Nate Miley responsible for Fish and Game. Annette Thompson is the District 4 member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Instead, the story pointed questions to the State Fish and Game Department or the generic sheriffs number. It is a shame that all of this was missed and that there has been no follow up.

  • Michael Moore

    It looks like the smoking discussion is the same as the Costco Housing discussion. The City Council is clearly split on the same lines as it was on Housing.

    That the City of Hayward has enacted the severest anti-smoking policy is true. That the local bars and smokers hate it is also true. That our elected representatives would consider changing the stand is reprehensible. Anyone who really thinks that no smoking is the cause of lousy business is nuts. That smokers are not tolerated and that they are discriminated against is also true.

    The City Council needs to grow some and stand firm against smoking. If they want to enable smoking, perhaps they will follow Councilman Henson’s recommendation and provide financial support to a smoking area within one of the available unoccupied store fronts. That the Lung Society was not a part of the discussion and not invited is another examble of end runs by special interests on the Council. Let us hope that there is no change to the policy.

  • Michael Moore

    I saw Waiting for Superman on Saturday in the City. Their point of view, and the film definitely has a point of view, is that there is no hope for public education within the guise of the traditional public schools.

    The only hope is in Charter Schools. Before everyone takes off on this, you really should see the film. It is persuasive.

    Then the conversation should be enjoined and I think that the consensus will be that strong, directed and committed school leadership with a well compensated teacher with parents and a small group will result in better results.

    The best solution that I have seen and heard in some time has been said repeatedly by Dave Ellison. All you have to do is read his blog. He is pretty clear on the issues and the solutions.

    Of course HUSD has done nothing to implemement his recommendations. That is not really a surprise. That the HUSD needs to be transformed from what it is by the State is also clear. Let us hope that this happens.

  • Sherry Blair

    Now “Michael Moore” is my hero of the day! Are you coming to the HUSD meeting at Burbank tonight? I would like to meet you. I’m on Facebook under my name. (I decided if I didn’t have the courage to put my name to it, I probably shouldn’t say it.)

  • Michael Moore

    Sherry, what is the timing? I am going to the County Planning meeting at 1 PM in Oakland today. Michael

  • Michael Moore

    Sherry, Look for me at the meeting. I will be dressed in black with a goatee. Michael

  • Sherry Blair

    OK also, join the Facebook group:

    “The People of Hayward, CA”

    Eric, you too!

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    To Lucy’s Mom,
    I think you are correct…these “teachers in training to become highly qualified” cannot be assigned a permanent position in a low performing school..so the DO uses them as subs, transferring them around every 30days or so to technically meet the NCLB/state requirements. Is it good for children? I am not so sure. Perhaps some of the ones they pink slipped last year would have met the standard of having a credential and being highly qualified, we will never know for sure. Either way the students suffer, as far as I am concerned.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    To all,
    I don’t know how many of you were listening to the noon news on KGO today but I was shocked to hear that there was a 200 student riot at Hayward High. As far as I can ascertain, the board of education was not notified of the circumstances. Since they are very often the people that news people seek to interview it would have been a very poor image for a board member to have to admit they knew nothing about it. I do know that one member was told by a member of the community and they went immediately to Hayward High to see what was happening. Any parents of Hayward High students looking at this blog? If so how was the situation handled by the district office????

  • qodrn

    From the city of Hayward site, one lane on southbound Mission Blvd between Fletcher and beyond Harder will be closed between 8 and 4 for the rest of this week.

  • Sherry Blair

    I wasn’t there. Just reading your posts ,it seems to me that Hayward must wake up to what’s happening in the world today. Violence in schools has been around a long time, whether it’s in the form of bullying (both in schools and online) or abuse by authorites of one kind or another or outright terror as in Columbine. We need to have an all out approach. (Again, it takes a village.)Also, these students are a lot more connected and informed than we were, mainly because of technology. The language of the internet is a lot more inciting and masses of young emotional students can be manipulated into action in a minute. I would suggest a city wide approach with representatives from all the stakeholders, especially the students. We all need to do our part and not waste time blaming others.