For daily  updates on issues of schools and democracy, please go to our blog at www.choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com

Why no measure of student progress for English Learners in state dashboard ?


My name is Dr. Duane E. Campbell.   

              June 6, 2019

I serve as co-chair of the Education Committee for LULAC, - The League of United Latin American Citizens. LULAC Council No. 2862. Sacramento. The League of United Latin American Citizens is the oldest and largest Latino membership organization in the county with some 130,000 members. We are a national civil rights and service organization. 

Here in Sacramento, we have been trying for some 3 years to get clarity on the achievement of English Language Learners in our schools and the use of supplementary LCFF funds to assist these students

When we look  at the Dash Board for specific schools in Sacramento City Unified,we find the number of English Learners in each school.  We  then find the English Learners by Level.  Level 1, 2, 3 .  Each is followed by a number.  What is this number?  It appears to be the number of English learners at each level.

Each of the bar graphs for each level are blue.  Does the blue graph have a measurement significance?

Our  goal is to be able to describe and compare the progress of English Learners from year to year. There does not seem to be a measure  on the Dashboard that is useful for this.  Is there ?

When  we look at the Dashboard’s own definitions of English Learner Progress we  find  a note saying English Leaner Progress is not available this year. 

 Under the category English Language Proficiency Assessments for California Results is the explanation, 

“With the transition to an assessment, the 2018 Dashboard is unable to report a performance level (color) for this measure.  However, the percent of students performing at each level of the new assessment will be reported. “

We respectfully request that the Dashboard be revised to provide a measure of performance for English Language learners in the district and at each school site.  We suggest that having such a measure would bring the Dashboard into compliance with the purposes of LCAP and the LCFF legislation.  

For more information see:

Dashboard and System of Support Fail to Address the Needs of English Learners


RE:  Item 4: CCEE Update


System of Support:  Consequences of The English Learner Definition for the ELA Academic Indicator


In 2016 the State Board of Education (SBE) decided to include two years of English Learners Only (ELO) and four years of Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) student data in a composite English Learner (EL) subgroup for the Academic Indicator on the Spring 2017 Dashboard.  Although unintended, this definition has proven to be greatly problematic by masking the results for English Learner Only students by calculating the average of the data from both groups. The combined ELO +RFEP subgroup resulted in the vast majority of districts falling within the Yellow, Green, or Blue bands in the Academic Indicator for ELs.  

Available from California Together.

With the transition(color) for this measu


SCUSD and its Budget Crisis 4/17/19


The problem of the SCUSD budget crisis is not a problem of teacher health benefits. Rather It is the failure of California School Finance.


Present funding, including LCFF is substantially unfair, inadequate, and unequal. 

The report, “The Adequacy and Fairness of State School Finance Systems,’ from Rutgers University shows that California ranks 41stout the 50 states in state fiscal effort, and 47thin adequacy of funding

These shortages produce the strikes in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and more to come. 

Teachers are insisting that their districts provide at least adequate funding for the students. This inadequacy is seen more clearly in out of control class sizes. 


You would think that California, the richest state in the nation, could at least get to average.

 We need a new tax structure – like the Schools and Communities First proposal, to fix the budget problems and properly educate our children. 

See California Rankings in this report.


WASHINGTON – Most states’ education finance systems do not target resources at districts that serve high-poverty students, and funding systems in virtually all states fail to provide adequate support to all but the most affluent districts, according to a new report released today by researchers at the Albert Shanker Institute and Rutgers Graduate School of Education

Over the past decade or so, a political consensus, backed by high-quality empirical research, has started to emerge about the importance of adequate and equitable funding for U.S. public schools. While there is plenty of important debate about how money should be spent, virtually all of the best policy options require investment. The idea that “money doesn’t matter” in school funding is no longer defensible.

This new consensus, however, is not reflected in most states’ school finance systems. The report, “The Adequacy and Fairness of State School Funding Systems,” evaluates states’ systems using three “core” indicators: 

  1. Effort: How much do states spend as a proportion of their total economic capacity? 
  2. Adequacy: Do states spend enough to meet common outcome goals? 
  3. Progressivity: Do states target more resources at the districts with the most need? 

These three measures are calculated using data from roughly a dozen sources, and control for various factors – such as Census poverty, labor market costs, population density, and district size – that affect the value of the education dollar. The data presented in the report apply to the 2015-16 school year. 

The authors find, predictably, that states vary widely on all three measures. There are states, such as Wyoming, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, in which education funding is relatively adequate and distributed progressively. In most states, however, the results are disappointing and, in some cases, deeply troubling. 




  • On average, states devote about 3.5 percent of their gross state products to K-12 education. 
  • These effort levels vary between roughly 2.5 percent in Hawaii and Arizona to over 5 percent in Wyoming and Vermont. 


  • Virtually all states spend far less than what the authors estimate would be required for students in their higher-poverty districts to achieve national average test scores, which the report uses as a common “benchmark” to assess states’ funding levels. 
  • Although our estimates are state-by-state, a rough calculation of U.S. average adequacy indicates that actual spending on the 20 percent of districts with the highest poverty levels in the typical state is approximately 67 percent of estimated adequate levels. In other words, the typical state would have to increase spending by 50 percent to reach the adequate level. 

In 32 states, spending on the highest-poverty districts is 70 percent or less of estimated adequate levels. In 7 of these states, spending is less than 50 percent of the adequacy level. 

There are a handful of exceptions, however. In five states – Vermont, Nebraska, Delaware, New Hampshire and Wyoming – spending on the highest-poverty districts is actually above estimated adequacy levels. 

  • The situation is only marginally better for districts in the second highest-poverty quintile (the 60-80 percent of highest-poverty districts in each state), which would, on average, have to increase spending by 45 percent. 
  • In contrast, spending on the most affluent districts (the 20 percent lowest-poverty districts in each state) is above adequacy levels in virtually every state. Affluent districts can and do spend generously, while high-poverty districts cannot and do not. 


  • On average, across all states, the relationship between revenue and student poverty is almost perfectly flat – neither progressive nor regressive. 
  • In several states, revenue is distributed in a highly progressive manner. For example, in Alaska, Wyoming, and Utah, revenue in the highest-poverty districts (30 percent Census poverty) is over 50 percent higher than it is in the lowest-poverty districts (0 percent Census poverty). 
  • In most states, however, revenue is either essentially non-progressive (roughly the same regardless of district poverty) or regressive – with higher-poverty districts actually receiving less revenue than affluent districts, in some cases shockingly less. For example, in Nevada, revenue in the highest-poverty districts is less than half of what it is in the lowest-poverty districts. Illinois’ highest-poverty districts receive revenue that is 69 percent of what it is in the lowest-poverty districts. 
  • Given the well-established fact that districts serving higher-needs students require more resources to provide the same quality of education as districts serving lower-needs students, these findings are a cause for serious concern. 

In short, there are a few bright spots on the school finance landscape, but, on the whole, most states’ systems fund schools in a manner that is inconsistent with well-established findings from the school finance literature. 

“How states fund their schools is not an accident, it is a deliberate policy choice,” says Rutgers University Professor Bruce Baker, one of the report’s co-authors. “When states fail to provide schools serving high-needs students with the resources they need to improve, that is a choice. Yes, money must be spent wisely, but districts can’t do that when there isn’t enough money to spend.” 

The authors do not assign ratings or grades to each state, as the interplay between effort, adequacy, and progressivity is complex and difficult to boil down to a single rating. They do, however, offer recommendations for how researchers, policymakers and the general public can use these results to inform school funding debates and improve finance policy in the U.S. 

All of the data presented in this report, and much more, are part of the School Finance Indicators Database, a free collection of state and district measures of school revenue and spending, and how those resources are spent (e.g., teacher salary, class size, etc.). The database is designed to be accessible to journalists, policymakers, and the public. The datasets, a non-technical user’s guide and customizable visualizations are all available at: http://schoolfinancedata.org



Sac State Celebrates 25 Years of Effort Toward Multicultural Education



 Community Priority Coalition 


 4625 44th Street, Rm 5 Sacramento, CA 95820 


 March 6, 2019 

Jessie Ryan, President 

Darrel Woo, First Vice President 

Michael Minnick, Second Vice President 

Christina Pritchett 

Lisa Murawski 

Mai Vang 

Leticia Garcia 

Rachel Halbo 


Superintendent Jorge Aguilar 

Re: SCUSD financial crisis   2019.

Dear SCUSD Board Members: 

The Community Priority Coalition (CPC) is very concerned about the Sacramento City Unified School District's financial health and deficit spending that will negatively impact students in the District. The Community Priority Coalition members consist of Black Parallel School Board, Building Healthy Communities. Hmong Innovating Politics, La Familia Counseling Center. Making Cents Work, League of United Latin American Citizens (Lorenzo Patiño Council #2862), Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Democracy and Education Institute, and Public Advocates Inc. Since 2016, the Community Priority Coalition has submitted to the Sacramento City Unified District Board an alternative budget that reflect the following Coalition priorities: 1) Class Size Reduction (24 to 1); 2) Professional development in cultural proficiency and restorative justice; 3) Additional instructional assistance for English Language Learner and increased efforts to involve their parents in their education programs. including bilingual counselors, teachers, social workers and other staff; and 4) After-school/early intervention programs. Although, CPC clearly understands that the District will make very difficult decisions; we are most alarmed that you are unable to address the key concerns of the Coalition given the District history and current financial crisis. 

On December 12, 2018, the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), released the Sacramento City Unified School District's Fiscal Health Risk Analysis report. The purpose of the report is to evaluate SCUSD fiscal health and risk of insolvency in the current and next two fiscal years. The report indicted the District’s financial health by stating “that the district will be cash insolvent in November 2019 (estimated to be October 2019 at the time of FCMAT’s fieldwork) unless significant action is taken.” 

Historically, the District’s mis-management in the accounting department, poor budget development process, poor board decisions, and failure to address the structural deficit have placed the quality of education for the SCUSDs' students in jeopardy. Moreover, the current financial crisis will undermine the Local Control Accountability Plan process and shut out key stakeholders in the process. 

We understand that the District doesn’t want receivership nor do the Coalition, but the historical practices of the District gives us much pause. Therefore, we are urging the district not to use the  District's budget shortfalls in a way that will balance the budget on the backs of students, teachers and staff. 

The Community Priority Coalition sincerely wants to work collaboratively with the Superintendent and SCUSD Board for the betterment of our children. 


Community Priority Coalition

Community Priority Coalition 

4625 44th Street, Rm 5 Sacramento, CA 95820 

Interesting and valuable article.  The Tech Ed Con.

Excellent example of Education, Democracy, and organized labor: The Albert Shanker Institute. http://www.shankerinstitute.org

Nov. 7, 2018
Tony Thurman Won !


With nearly 4 million ballots left to be counted, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond thanked his supporters and the voters of California.

California – Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Assemblymember Tony Thurmond is thanking his supporters and the voters of California as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction election remains too close to call with an estimated 4 million ballots left to be counted. The race was the most expensive education election in American history, with total spending topping $60 million. Thurmond was outspent two-to-one.

“With millions of ballots left to come in, we are digging in and waiting for every vote to be counted,” said Thurmond. “The kids of California are in it for the long haul and we are too. I’m so proud of the broad coalition we built, and I thank the thousands of educators, students, and public education advocates who communicated directly with voters until the polls closed yesterday.”

Thurmond was supported by Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democratic Party, and California’s teachers. 

“I ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction because I want to deliver to all Californians the promise that public education delivered to me – that all students, no matter their background and no matter their obstacles, can succeed with a great public education,” Thurmond vowed.

“We talked to voters across the state, and told them what this election means for each of us: It means giving every kid the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century, not just the ones that show the most potential. It means funding our public schools at the levels they deserve, not pouring money into our jails and prisons. It means providing mental health treatment for kids, not arming them with guns. It means supporting our teachers, not demonizing them. And it means stopping Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos’s anti-education agenda from coming anywhere near California’s public schools.”

The Community Priorities Coalition in Sacramento announces that the Sacramento City Unified School District will have its regular meeting on Thursday, May 17, 2018, to consider the district budget for 2018/2019.

This budget has significant implications for how Local Control Funding monies will be spent. The Education and Democracy Institute is a participating partner in the Community Priorities Coalition.


SCUSD receives about $367 million each year under LCFF.  Of that money some $6.7 million is generated for English Learners in the schools.  In each of the last 3 years, only a small portion of these funds have been spent on EL learning.  The remainder apparently has been allocated to the district reserve fund.  The district claims it will be spending into a deficit next year.  They hide the money.

 Teachers, parents and interested persons are welcome at the Board meeting at the Serna Center starting at 6 pm. 


I will be addressing the board as  Co- Chair of the Education Committee of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. Here is a draft of what I will say.  You are invited to come and give your view also.


I speak tonight in support of the alternative budget presented by the Sacramento Community Priorities Coalition.

 In 2017, members of our LULAC  Education Committee including experienced budget analysts  have met with Superintendent Aguilar and budget staff.  We have examined your current budget in detail.


Under the LCFF program, for each ELL student the district receives a supplemental grant of 20 % of the base grant.


The district will then receive about $ 6,748,000  of the $393 million specifically to serve the Ell Students. They received a similar amount last year.


AS your Board Executive Summary from the Continuous Improvement Office says,


Education Code 52061  says that the LCAP  Update must include a “Listing and description of expenditures that serve pupils designated as high need as defined by LCFF and the Education Code ( low income, English Learners, homeless and foster youth. ”


In our reading, you have not done this in prior years, and the new LCAP proposals do not do this completely this year.   You do not specify where you are spending the money.  And, to the best we can tell, you are not spending a substantial amount of the funds allocatedl


The documents before you describe where about 30 % of the LCFF monies for English Learners would be spent in 2017/2018. The remainder are not accounted for.  We insist that you document where the remaining funds will be spent.


This is not an issue of lack of funds.  You receive the funds each year from the state. – but you have not been spending them on ELLs


As a recommendation, we suggest that the funds received for the education of English Learners be allocated and spent to educate English Learners not stored away in a reserve fund.


Our proposal in the Community Priorities Coalition budget is that 6 additional bilingual resource teachers be hired to provide services to these students and to their teachers.  That would be an excellent start.


The entire LCAP proposal is on line at

The Community Priorities Coalition alternative budget  for 2028/2019 will be available at the Board meeting.

Duane Campbell.  Director.


California State University Sacramento has formed a Task Force to examine and improve teacher preparation at Sac State.  April 25, 2018.

More on the teacher shortage here.



Duane Campbell, Director of the Education and Democracy Institute filed this comment with the Task Force.


Task Force on Improving Teacher Preparation April 25, 2018


Congratulations on forming a task force on the important issue of developing a response to the state teacher shortage.  I read about your efforts on the Sacramento State News.   I want to add a perspective to your tasks.

In addition to seeking to increase the number of persons in teacher preparation and credential programs, the task force should also seek to increase the diversity of this future teaching force so that it begins to resemble the public school student populations.  Latino students presently make up more than 50 % of the California K-12 public school students. ( See, The Majority Report: Supporting the Educational Success of Latino Students in California.  Nov.2017.  The Education Trust – West)

I know that It can be done.  I  know because the College of Education at CSUS  between 1980 and 2010 was able to recruit, prepare, and graduate a diverse new teaching force.  Graduations of minority students grew significantly between 1980 and 2006.  By 1994 Latino students were usually about 35 % of the total teacher preparation students each year. 

As you know, there was a significant decline in student enrollment in all teacher preparation programs during the recent great recession.  Students found that there were few teaching positions available after graduation.  The College decided to eliminate the Bilingual/Multicultural Education department.

Since then Latino students are less than 10 % of the total students in the programs. The decline was a direct result of the termination of the successful effort to build a program responsive to the needs of the students. 

To be clear, the Bilingual Area Group and the later BMED department were not particularly successful in recruiting and supporting African American students- although we tried.  We had some notable individual successes.  Some form of a focused effort will need to be designed to change the low enrollment of African American students in teacher preparation.

Building a system of supporting Latino and Hmong students, along with a number of Anglo students who were interested in this emphasis and experience, contributed a direct and effective response to the state’s major demographic challenges.  The university should now  invest resources in a new effort that builds upon and improves  these prior experiences.

This was not an issue of having an academic department.  The unit that created the successful program was an area group in the Teacher Education Department from 1980 – 1994, not a department, and we organized to produce this dramatic increase in the preparation of bilingual teachers.

The success came by having an academic unit or working group organized with the specific goal of recruitment, retention and graduation of students representative of California’s diverse populations along with the support of two Deans of the era.

California is once again in dire need of bilingual teachers and Sac State should be responding to that need. A program responsive to the present shortage of new teachers could well be organized now. In this era when districts are clamoring for new hires and proposing programs that go around teacher preparation in order to meet the current teacher shortages, a new program could be created. 

In their undergraduate years, Latino and other minority students are most often isolated finding only a few other Latinos in their academic classes. The current teacher preparation program continues this approach. We reversed the demographics during our successful years by creating a center where Latino students were in a majority or near majority status. This provided the students with an experience similar to that most Anglo students enjoy and benefit from throughout their undergraduate career – majority status in the classroom.   The strategy is called equal status interaction. It worked for well over 25 years and Sac State became a leader in the preparing large numbers of well prepared bilingual teachers.

Currently, the university lacks an organized program of teacher preparation where students of color are recognized, encouraged, and supported in a positive environment that recognizes their own cultures, languages and skills. It is not enough to encourage and support a few individual students.   Substantial evidence across student service areas indicates that it is not enough to have a recruitment process, you need to recruit students into a specific program that responds to their goals.  For a program to reverse the current deplorable trend, it will need to reduce the isolation and minority status that many Latino and other minority students feel their university preparation.

Like myself, many of the original faculty in the program have left or retired from the university, but new faculty have been hired.  Creating a dedicated unit would be simplified since the academic credential programs and recruitment processes still exist.  There are also now new sources of financial support provided by the legislature for the students in bilingual teacher preparation programs.

I encourage you to reject the idea that there are no alternatives to the present low enrollment of minorities in teacher preparation.  Of course there are alternatives. We had an alternative for almost 30 years at Sac State - and it worked.   I encourage you to develop recommendations for a program that will assist the university to better serve California’s new majority.

I wish you well in your efforts.

Dr. Duane E. Campbell

Professor Emeritus, Education CSUS

A detailed description of the creation and demise of the the prior department of Bilingual/Multicultural Education is here. https://sites.google.com/site/chicanodigital/home/the-creation-and-demise-of-bilingual-education-at-csu-sacramento-2



“The Majority Report: Supporting the Educational Success of Latino Students in California” provides an extensive look at how the state’s largest ethnic group is faring at every level of California’s education system. The report finds that while the over 3 million Latino students in K-12 schools are the majority of California’s 6.2 million K-12 population, and nearly 1 million Latino students are in California’s public colleges and universities, these students continue to face troubling inequities from early learning through higher education. California’s Latino students:

·       Attend the nation’s most segregated schools;

·       Are often tracked away from college-preparatory coursework;

·       Are sometimes perceived as less academically capable than their White or Asian peers; and

·       Have insufficient access to early childhood education;

·       Are less likely to feel connected to their school environment;

·       Are more likely to be required to take remedial courses at colleges and universities.

The study also highlights bright spots throughout the state where promising practices are helping Latino students advance academically, dispelling the myth that these gaps cannot be closed, and reiterating the need for more action and urgency from state leaders.

The Majority Report includes a policy timeline and infographic and is accompanied by a data tool looking at achievement gaps by county.

Produced by Ed Trust – West.  Nov. 2017. https://west.edtrust.org/resource/the-majority-report/


Budget crisis in SCUSD and the strike. Nov. 6, 2017. 
Update: The Strike was averted in last minute negotiations.

 In the current conflict in SCUSD, the District’s discussion of the budget and the Bee’s coverage are incomplete and lacking.

Yes, the District has at least $80 million in reserves.  The taxpayers passed Prop. 30 and 55 to adequately fund the schools.  Since 2013 the district has received an increase of revenues of   more than $67 million.

First, the professionals in the district deserve respect and a significant raise in pay. Second, what is missing?  Over $10 million per year of this increase is funded by the state taxpayers under the Local Control Funding Formula. LCFF.

By law, these funds must be spent to improve the education of children by lowering class size, and focusing on low income, English Language Learners, foster children, and Special Education. The district has refused repeated requests to spend the funds as required. Requests and alternative budgets have been submitted each year by the Community Priorities Coalition. The Institute is a member of the coalition. 

     Now, the chickens have come home to roost. 

                                                                   Dr. Duane E. Campbell

Tell No Lies.

Defense of democracy is essential !  July 2017,

On every one of his first 40 days in office, Trump made false statements in public. They ranged from assertions that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, causing him to lose the popular vote, to claiming that the United States has a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada. (We had an $8.1 billion dollar trade surplus with Canada in 2016.) 

The New York Times has compiled a list of his lies and provided fact checking sources. 

This is a great service to the public.  I encourage you to read the list.

I, along with the Moyers Report think the Times should receive a Pulitzer Prize for this public service.

It is over. We Won !

 At 2:45 PM  on July 14, 2016,  the California State Board of Education unanimously endorsed a new History /Social Science Framework for California’s public schools that includes a substantial addition of Chicano/Latino history, improved history of LGBT people, and improvements in several other histories.

This completes a 6 year effort against substantial opposition  to revise this Framework.  As a result textbooks in California in 2017 will be the most inclusive ever required, and all students will be taught an inclusive history.

More details at www.antiracismdsa.blogspot.com


For more on the campaign: 

The Challenge of Writing Chicano/Latino History Into California Textbooks

 June, 2016.

History and social science textbooks in public schools in California and most of the nation are racist, class biased, and ignore LGBT history. This condition will change in California in 2017 when new textbooks are adopted.

Under a decision made on May 19, 2016, the  students of California will finally be encouraged to know the history of Latino civil rights leaders, like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, Filipino labor leaders like Larry Itliong,  as well as an accurate and inclusive history of LGBT activists  as a part of the history of California and the nation. These topics are currently substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California. A final decision by the California Board of Education is scheduled for July 13 and 14. 

The Quality Instructional Materials Committee of the  California State Board of Education decided to include these long ignored histories in their re-writing of the History/Social Science Framework for the state.  The Framework  document sets the parameters and the minimums required of textbooks used  in the schools.  Because of California’s large size and market, what goes into California textbooks  frequently also gets written into textbooks around the nation.


In the current books, when the 51 %  of students who are Latino , and the 11.5 % who are Asian, or the estimated 11 % of students who are LGBT  do not see themselves as part of history,  for many their sense of self is  marginalized.   Marginalization negatively impacts their connections with school and their success at school. School marginalization also contributes directly to low level civic engagement.   It contributes to an nearly 50% drop out rate for Latinos and some Asian groups  and LGBT  students.  An accurate history  would provide some of these  students with a  a sense of self, of direction,  of purpose. History and social science  classes  should help young people acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.   


 As a consequence of the current  outdated history texts for California public schools, most schools, most teachers,  fail to teach an accurate, complete, complex  history of the Chicano- Latino people, of Asian Americans and of LGBT youth, among others.   This essentially means that the writers are choosing not to recognize reality. – not to tell the full story.  

And, while it is accurate that  California and the nation has a general problem of civic engagement of the young,  it is also true that the state  has  a very specific problem with the rate of Latino and Asian voter participation and  civic engagement.

 Rates of voting and voter registration provide a window into civic engagement.  The proportion of state voter  registration that is Latino and Asian has remained far below the proportions of these groups in the state’s overall population. In 2010, Latinos in the state made up 37.6% of the general population while they were only  21.2 % of the registered voters. The Asian population was 13.1 % of the state population but  only 8.1 % of the registered voters.

We know that we can do better.   California has the largest school population of any state, with more than 6,226,000 students  in school in 2015.   California students make up more than 11 percent of the United States total. California, along with some 16 other states, adopts textbooks for use by the entire state instead of  purchasing books district by district . This makes the California  textbook adoption the largest single textbook sale in the nation. Gaining  this market is an important goal for textbook publishers. Many publishers write and edit their books in a targeted attempt to win a piece of the large and  lucrative California and Texas markets.   Publishers promote and try to sell books developed in California and Texas throughout the nation in an effort to increase their profits.   In recent years as Republicans gained control of state governments, Texas, Arizona and  several other  southern states have moved their textbook histories sharply to the right.

 The 1980’s were the age of Ronald Reagan.  As Governor of California he appointed members of the State Board of Education.  His influence continued long after he became President of the U.S. The view of history that won the textbook battles  in California in 1987  was crafted by  (then) neoconservative historian Diane Ravitch  and former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig.


 The 1987 Framework, for History and the Social Sciences  is  still in use today with minimal modifications.  It   expanded African American, Native American, and  White women’s history coverage but remained  totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians. The only significant change between the 1987  and the currently  adopted Framework was the addition of a new cover, a cover letter, and additions of photos such as of Cesar Chavez .  Advocates term this photo shop curriculum reform.


The then  dominant neo conservative view  of history argued  that textbooks and a common history should provide the glue that unites our society. Historical themes and interpretations were  selected in books to create unity in a diverse and divided society, a unity from the point of view of the dominant class. This viewpoint assigned  to schools the task of creating a common culture and of accepting the current unequal political/ economic system as democratic. ( In reality, television, mass media, and  military service may do more to create a common culture than do schools and books.)


Conservatives assign the task of cultural assimilation to schools, with particular emphasis on the history, social science, and literature curricula. As scholars such as Michael Apple and J.W. Loewen have well argued,  historians promoting consensus write textbooks that downplay the roles of slavery, class, racism, sexism , genocide, and imperialism in our history. They focus on ethnicity and assimilation rather than race, on the success of achieving political reform for the White majority, representative government, and economic opportunity for European American workers and immigrants. They decline to notice the high poverty rate of U.S. school children, the crisis of urban schooling, and the continuation of racial divisions in housing and the labor force. In California they declined to notice that Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and Latinos as well as Asians contributed to the development of this society and that they have become a near majority of the residents.


This consensus conservative viewpoint history dominates textbook publishing in California until 2017.  These partial and incomplete histories do not empower students from our diverse cultural communities. By recounting primarily a consensual, European American view, history and literature extend and reconstruct current White supremacy, sexism, and class biases in our society. When texts or teachers tell only part of the story, schools foster intellectual colonialism and ideological domination.


As I argued in a prior book,  marginalization of students from their own history  negatively impacts their connections with school and their success at school. It disempowers.  While an accurate history  can provide a sense of self, of direction, of purpose and make schooling more relevant, realistic, and worth pursuing- lack of history of self, does not commit students to democratic participation in the society.


Based upon the changes we made in the  new 2016  document students will now  not only read the conservative view, they will also read material to explain mandates such as the following that are included in the new Framework.


“Students may study how Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and the United Farm Workers’ movement used nonviolent tactics, educated the general public about the working conditions in agriculture, and worked to improve the lives of farmworkers. Students should understand the central role of immigrants, including Latino Americans and Filipino Americans, in the farm labor movement. This context also fueled the brown, red, and yellow power movements. The manifestos, declarations, and proclamations of the movements challenged the political, economic, and social discriminations faced by their groups. They also sought to combat the consequences of their “second-class citizenship” by engaging in grassroots mobilization.


For example, from 1969 through 1971 American Indian activists occupied Alcatraz Island; while in 1972 and 1973, American Indian Movement (AIM) activists took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C. and held a stand-off at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Meanwhile, Chicano/a activists staged protests around the country, like the famed Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles in 1970 that protested the war in Vietnam, and formed a number of organizations to address economic and social inequalities as well as police brutality, and energized cultural pride. Students should learn about the emergence and trajectory of the Chicano civil rights movement by focusing on key groups, events, documents such as the 1968 walkout or “blowout” by approximately 15,000 high school students in East Los Angeles to advocate for improved educational opportunities and protest against racial discrimination, the El Plan de Aztlan, which called for the decolonization of the Mexican American people; El Plan de Santa Barbara, which called for the establishment of Chicano studies; the formation of the Chicano La Raza Unida Party, which sought to challenge mainstream political parties, and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzelez’s “I am Joaquin,” which underscores the struggles for economic and social justice. California activists like Harvey Milk and Cleve Jones were part of a broader movement that emerged in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots, which brought a new attention to the cause of equal rights for homosexual Americans. “

Page 562, lines 1204- 1214, Feb. draft, as adopted.


Organizing Matters

I have spent more than  six years working on this project- and it was well worth it. The important changes we achieved were produced by years of collective advocacy, lobbying, letter writing and organizing.  After being blocked in our efforts in 2008,  we created the Mexican American Digital History site, ( www.MexicanAmericanDigitalHistory.org)then organized a state wide network of scholars and community activists to pressure the State Board of Education.   At each stage we had to explain why changing the textbooks was important ns why this tedious process was important.  We received assistance from  civil rights groups and Latinos in the Democratic Party.  Similar and parallel campaigns were organized within  the  Filipino,  Hmong, South Asian, and LGBT communities.

A  conflict remains unresolved  in the new framework’s description of the   6th and 7th grade world history and geography courses on the appropriate terminology and description of the  history  and cultures of the region that includes the modern day nations of India, Pakistan, Sri Lank, Afghanistan, and more. 

Interestingly we received no help from directly impacted professional  organizations such as the California Council for Social Studies (teachers)  nor from  academics in university history departments. History and social science departments in in colleges and universities that prepare  teachers will now have to find  faculty prepared to assist  future teachers to  understand and to present this “new” material.

The next steps will be to monitor the adoption of new textbooks to be certain they respond to the new Framework as amended.

I would be happy to work with scholar and  activists in other states and districts  seeking to revise their  textbooks to be more accurate and  inclusive.

Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, author of several books including Choosing Democracy: a Practical Guide to Multicultural Education, a union activist, and past chair of Sacramento DSA

Important opportunity to pursue equity in teacher preparation and hiring.

Kevin McCarty,  May 16, 2016

California State Assembly.

I watched today the hearings on the Education Finance subcommittee of the Budget Committee and the testimony on the May Revise in particular relationship to the recognized approaching shortage of teachers. 

It is good that the Governor’s proposal and the Dept. of Education response recognize this rapidly approaching problem, however their responses are inadequate. 

Outreach strategies and recruitment web sites are fine, but the proposals fail because  they fail to recognize that future teachers from the currently under represented Latino and Asian communities will not be there.  During the Great Recession the teacher preparation programs focusing on resolving the problem of under representation were cut back and eliminated. 

I will use Sacramento as an example, although the problem is state-wide. 

In Sacramento the Funds from the  Local Control and  Accountability Plan  were to be targeted to low income schools.  This increased funding has led to a dramatic need for new teachers.  Sacramento City Unified plans to hire 100 new teachers, and many other local urban districts will do the same.  This faculty growth will continue for from 3-5 years.

A more complete story of the Sacramento experience is here. http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/2016/01/latino-teacher-shortage-in-area-created.html

Significantly  credentialed teachers from the Latino community and several Asian communities will not be available to hire because the Sac State pipeline for minority teachers  has been broken.  A new generation of mostly Anglo teachers will be hired which will continue the past failure to integrate the teaching profession in this region. Ending the pipeline will shape the nature of the local teaching profession for decades. Latino students make up 37 % of Sac City Unified students, Asians 17.4 %, African Americans 17.7 %, and White students 18.8 %. Latino families now make up over 37 % of California residents and Latino descent children now make up over 50% of public school students.

What should you do?

It is too late to create new programs for teacher preparation for Fall of 2016, or to recreate programs that have been terminated.

Therefore I recommend that funds designated for improved teacher recruitment include a measure so that programs that have a history of providing a diverse teaching force receive a dedicated portion of the funds.

The programs designated in the Governor’s revise and the Dept. of Education proposals should be required to adopt strategies that will provide a diverse and representative teaching force.  If not, this teaching shortage “emergency” will be used by the specified institutions to re create the existing inequalities of opportunities.  The question facing the committee is are you going to recreate the past failure or begin to have teacher recruitment and preparation lead to a diverse teaching force? This proposed change is not on the stated agenda of the Governor’s revise, of the response of the Department of Education, nor is in included in the several bills currently proposed in the legislature. 

I encourage you to act to bend the arc of change toward justice. I am available to clarify this problem. 

Thank you for your consideration.   


Dr. Duane E. Campbell

Education and Democracy Institute.

Improving Civic engagement of Latino Students

Mexican American/Chicano history is substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California- and it has been since  1986.  This year we have an opportunity to change that. 

California has the largest student  population of any state, with more than 6,236,000 students  in school in 2013.  Students who are Mexican American of Latino heritage make up over 53% of the total school population. 

Latino student political non participation  and disconnectedness is significantly caused by Latino absence from the K-12 textbooks and curriculum. 

Children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum.  Students, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S.  civics engagement in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools-  ignore the students’ own history, cultures and experiences.

California state textbooks currently largely ignore the roles of Mexican Americans and Latinos in building this state.  Students need to learn civic engagement – it is not automatic.  Students need to learn that they belong , that they are a part of the community and its history.

California schools and history teachers should lead the way in preparing  young people for civic life in our  pluralist society.   They  are not. Incomplete and inaccurate history, along with incomplete and inaccurate economics harms not only Latinos and Asians, but the Anglo students as well.  When Anglo students  are taught an inaccurate view of Latino /Mexicano history in the state, they fail to accurately understand the major demographic shift presently occurring  and this lack of knowledge   contributes  to fear, misunderstanding  and conflict such as that promoted in the current anti immigrant campaigns.

For more see:  https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg/Home/latino-students-and-civic-engagement

Co director Duane Campbell co authored an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee on School Choice. Jan. 28,2015.

School Choice Does Not Respond to Problem of Poverty


Excellent essay by Leo Casey.  Democracy, Schools and Teachers' Unions.

Changing Teacher Unions to build a Democracy.


If we don’t transform teacher unions now, our schools, our profession, and our democracy—what’s left of it—will likely be destroyed. I know. I am from Wisconsin, the home of Scott Walker and Paul Ryan. ( Bob Peterson).

In 2011, in the wake of the largest workers uprising in recent U.S. history, I was elected president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA). Unfortunately, that spring uprising, although massive and inspirational, was not strong enough to stop Gov. Walker from enacting the most draconian anti-public sector labor law in the nation.

That law, known as Act 10, received support from the Koch brothers and a cabal of national right-wing funders and organizations. It was imposed on all public sector workers except the police and firefighter unions that endorsed Walker and whose members are predominantly white and male.

Act 10 took away virtually all collective bargaining rights, including the right to arbitration. It left intact only the right to bargain base-wage increases up to the cost of living. The new law prohibited “agency shops,” in which all employees of a bargaining unit pay union dues. It also prohibited payroll deduction of dues. It imposed an unprecedented annual recertification requirement on public sector unions, requiring a 51 percent (not 50 percent plus one) vote of all eligible employees, counting anyone who does not vote as a “no.” Using those criteria, Walker would never have been elected.

Immediately following Act 10, Walker and the Republican-dominated state legislature made the largest cuts to public education of any state in the nation and gerrymandered state legislative districts to privilege conservative, white-populated areas of the state…

Under these conditions, public sector union membership has plummeted, staff has been reduced, and resources to lobby, organize, and influence elections have shrunk…

Fortunately, teacher union activists across the country are revitalizing their unions and standing up to these relentless attacks. And this growing transformation of the teachers’ union movement may well be the most important force in our nation to defend and improve public schools and, in so doing, defend and improve our communities and what’s left of our democratic institutions.

The revitalization builds on the strengths of traditional “bread and butter” unionism. But it recognizes that our future depends on redefining unionism from a narrow trade union model, focused almost exclusively on protecting union members, to a broader vision that sees the future of unionized workers tied directly to the interests of the entire working class and the communities, particularly communities of color, in which we live and work.

This is a sea change for teacher unions (and other unions, too). But it’s not an easy one to make. It requires confronting racist attitudes and past practices that have marginalized people of color both inside and outside unions. It also means overcoming old habits and stagnant organizational structures that weigh down efforts to expand internal democracy and member engagement.

From Bread and Butter to Social Justice

Meanwhile, by the late 1980s and into the ’90s, teacher activists in Milwaukee were connecting with other rank-and-file teacher union activists through Rethinking Schools and the newly formed National Coalition of Education Activists (NCEA). In 1994, 29 teachers’ union activists from both the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) met at the Portland, Oregon, NCEA conference and issued a statement: “Social Justice Unionism: A Working Draft” (see sidebar, p. 18).

Social justice unionism is an organizing model that calls for a radical boost in internal union democracy and increased member participation. This contrasts to a business model that is so dependent on staff providing services that it disempowers members and concentrates power in the hands of a small group of elected leaders and/or paid staff. An organizing model, while still providing services to members, focuses on building union power at the school level in alliance with parents, community groups, and other social movements.

Three components of social justice unionism are like the legs of a stool. Unions need all three to be balanced and strong:

   We organize around bread and butter issues.

   We organize around teaching and learning issues to reclaim our profession and our classrooms.

   We organize for social justice in our community and in our curriculum.

We are now paying the price for defining our unions as contract bargainers and enforcers.

Bob Peterson.  Editor.  Rethinking Schools.

Read the extended analysis and the resultant changes in public schooling.



On Tuesday, Los Angeles Unified Board voted to require Ethnic Studies courses in all of their high schools.

 On Tuesday, the LAUSD board voted to require courses to offer ethnic studies classes at all of the district high schools.  A few courses had already been offered, but this provides a substantial increase in offering.

San Francisco Unified will consider a similar decision at their December meeting.

 Children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum.  Students, particularly students of color, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S.  civil society  messages in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools- ignore the students own history, cultures and experiences.

A fundamental way to engage students in civic culture is to engage them in their own schools and communities.  That is where the students most encounter civic opportunities.

 When the 51  % of the California students who are Latino , and the 9  % who are Asian do not see themselves as part of history,  for many their sense of self is marginalized.   Marginalization negatively impacts their connections with school and their success at school.  It contributes to an up to  50% drop out rate for Latinos and some Asian students.  A more accurate, more complete  history  provided in Ethnic studies courses  would provide some students with a  a sense of self, of direction,  of purpose, even a sense that  they should stay in school and learn more.  And, ethnic studies would provide Anglo  students with an informed, accurate history of the political and cultural development of our society. Ethnic studies classes should help young people acquire and learn to use the civics  skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.   

Add their history to the textbooks.  Add their literature to the literature books.  Include all students in Ethnic Studies classes.  These students are are California’s children.  You can start by revising the California History/ Social Science Framework to include their history.

In 2014 some California policy “leaders” called for a renewal of civic learning in order to promote civic education.  Unfortunately, but predictably, they have not proposed increasing ethnic studies.  Instead, they have written a report, Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning in California, and they call it a Blue Print for Action. http://www.powerofdemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CLTF-Final-Report.pdf


The report even recognizes  the diversity of California students.  They say,

“Civic learning is also vital for our increasingly diverse California society. In 2012-2013, our 6.2 million K-12 students were 53 percent Latino, 26 percent white, 9 percent Asian and 6 percent African American, with the remaining 6 percent comprised of other ethnicities. In addition, an increasing number of our students are not native speakers of English. Almost 4 in 10 kindergarteners are English language learners. This diversity, and the attention it requires, is now acknowledged in our school funding model. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) recognizes

the necessity of investing in the reduction and ultimate removal of inequitable outcomes in California public schools. Revitalizing civic learning opportunities, in an equitable manner, can contribute to meeting these goals.”


While it is beneficial to recognize the need to “revitalize civic learning opportunities, in an equitable manner,” it is not equitable to continue to impose an inaccurate and deceptive view of  history on the students.

While it is accurate that we have a general problem of civic engagement of the young,  it is also true that we have a very specific problem with the rate of Latino and Asian voter participation and  civic engagement.


The report, as is common, is well illustrated with compelling photos of very pleasant multi racial and multiethnic student faces.  They  even note  that the current History Social Science Framework and Standards are over 15 years out of date- a  reminder that the State Board of Education and the California Legislature should heed.

Regretfully the curricular directions they propose take little or no account of the diversity of the students in our schools.

What happens when students and teachers are not considered- just policy insiders?

Two recently passed legislative bills  in California provide avenues through which communities and advocates can work with schools to increase youth voter participation:

Assembly Bill 700 (2013) requires the Instructional Quality Curriculum in all California high schools. This bill was developed to increase civic participation and education

Assembly Bill 1817 (2014) encourages voter participation among high school students, allowing students to register or pre- register qualified classmates on high school campuses to vote in upcoming elections. This bill amends current Education Code §49040 which established “High School Voter Education Weeks” during the last two weeks in April and September of a school year.

 The report and these new laws miss the single most direct and clear issue.   The 1987 California History Social Science  Framework still in use today to guide the selection of  California textbooks   expanded African American, Native American, and women’s history coverage but remains totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians. The only significant change between the 1985 and the 2005 adopted Framework was the addition of a new cover, a cover letter, and a photo of Cesar Chavez.

A more accurate, more complete  history  provided in Ethnic studies courses  would provide some students with a  a sense of self, of direction,  of purpose, even a sense that  they should stay in school and learn more.  And, ethnic studies would provide Anglo  students with an informed, accurate history of the political and cultural development of our society. Ethnic studies classes should help young people acquire and learn to use the civics  skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.   

Add their history to the textbooks.  Add their literature to the literature books.  Include all students in Ethnic Studies classes.  These students are California’s children.  We  can start by revising the California History/ Social Science Framework to include their history and joining LA Unified in requiring Ethnic Studies Classes in high school. This would be much more effective than the required voter registration efforts of the report on Civic Competence.


Tom Torlakson won re-election as California Superintendent of Public Instruction on Nov. 4, 2014.

This post explains why we worked for the Torlakson re-election.

 If you believe that to live and work in a democracy is an important role for state government- then this election was  important.  The election will set the direction of school improvement for the next four years.

You and I have a choice.  It is not a perfect choice, but the options are stark. We can continue with the current improvements in k-12 education (Torlakson), or we can move the state down the road of test driven, corporate neoliberal model of schooling (Tuck).  Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana, Texas, are following this route- and their schools are failing.

Current scores on achievement tests for California students are too low.  This is primarily a result of California’s underinvestment in children, its lack of support for children in poverty, and California’s low investment in  k-12 schools for the last thirty years.

We can not improve the schools without improving funding for schools and support for children living in poverty.  That argument being made by Marshall Tuck is a fraud.


Special issue of The Nation Magazine with emphasis on education. Excellent. http://www.thenation.com/article/181742/our-public-education-system-needs-transformation-not-reform

Another missed opportunity.  Civic Education "reform" in California Schools. August 2014.

California education policy makers have once again written and published a nice looking report on school curriculum – this one on the need for improved civic education.  As is the norm for these tasks, a group of “well respected” civic leaders have participated.

They have written a report, Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning in California, and they call it a Blue Print for Action. http://www.powerofdemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CLTF-Final-Report.pdf

When will they ever learn?

If they had engaged  teachers working with diverse voices in the committee, they would have heard more useful ideas.

Or, as Barack Obama is said to have directed members of his cabinet, “Don’t do stupid stuff.”

Corporate “ Reformers” Andrew Ross Sorkin. NYTimes.  

Beginning with the Carnegies and the Rockefellers, billionaires have long seen the nation’s education as a willing cause for their philanthropy — and, with it, their own ideas about how students should learn. The latest crop of billionaires, however, has tended to take the line that fixing our broken educational system is the key to unlocking our stagnant economy. Whether it’s hedge-fund managers like Paul Tudor Jones (who has given tens of millions to support charter schools) or industrialists like Eli Broad (who has backed “blended learning” programs that feature enhanced technology), these philanthropists have generally espoused the idea that education should operate more like a business. (The Walton Foundation, backed by the family that founded Walmart, has taken this idea to new heights: It has spent more than $1 billion supporting various charter schools and voucher programs that seek to establish alternatives to the current public-school system.) Often these patrons want to restructure the system to make it more efficient, utilizing the latest technology and management philosophies to turn out a new generation of employable students.

For many teachers, Weingarten explained, this outside influence has become off-putting, if not downright scary. “We have a really polarized environment in terms of education, which we didn’t have 10 years ago,” she said. “Public education was a bipartisan or multipartisan enterprise — it didn’t matter if you were a Republican or Democrat or elite or not elite. People viewed public education as an anchor of democracy and a propeller of the economy in the country.” Now, she said, “there are people that have been far away from classrooms who have an outsize influence on what happens inside classrooms. Beforehand, the philanthropies were viewed as one of many voices in education. Now they are viewed — and the market reformers and the tech folks — as the dominant forces, and as dissonant to those who work in schools every day. She took a deep breath and softened her tone: “In some ways, I give Bill Gates huge credit. Bill Gates took a risk to get engaged. The fact that he was willing to step up and say, ‘Public education is important,’ is very different than foundations like the Walton Foundation, who basically try to undermine public education at every opportunity.”

From:     Bill Gates has this idea for a History Class. NYT. Sept. 8, 2014. 

UCLA Report Finds California The Most Segregated State for Latino Students State Has Little to Celebrate 60 Years After Brown v Board of Education


A community based budget for Sacramento City Unified  June 2014. 

RE: Local Control Accountability Plan Draft (LCAP)

Dear Boardmember,

June 5, 2014.

We, the undersigned organizations, write to respectfully request your support for the consideration of these community needs into the district’s draft LCAP. These issue areas represent the concerns of our community members as found in our conversation with them through community town halls and our own surveys.

The Sacramento City Community Priorities Coalition is pleased to submit to the Sacramento City Unified School District for its 2014-15 Budget. We, the Coalition members: Black Parallel School Board, Building Healthy Communities, Hmong Innovative Politics, Hmong, Mein Lao Community Action Network, La Familia Counseling Center, Making Cents Work, People Reaching Out, Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Sacramento Council of PTA, and the Democracy and Education Institute have worked to obtain input from our communities and there results are the three main priorities for both the LCAP and the LCFF.  They are:
  • Class size adjustments/reductions in select high need schools- beginning with k-3 and gradually progressing to higher grades after three years of LCAP implementation.
  • Culturally competent professional development to enhance school clime and ensure the use of effective and restorative discipline policies for all students.
  • After school and/or other early interventions support programs designed to improve classroom performance. 
Our Budget reflects our community's priorities and we request that you consider our budget along with the District's staff budget in making the important decisions on providing the highest quality of education for all children. 

While we commend the work that the SCUSD has done to gather parent input in their draft LCAP, we urge SCUSD to go even further in engaging parents, especially those who are limited English speakers and those who have been impacted by the school closures. SCUSD's Public Education Volunteer program collected 1,291 survey responses from an abundance of sources across the district. While this number is noteworthy, it is important to point out that our SCUSD has more than 43,000 students overall and many of their parents remain disenfranchise.

Further changes to state standards, Academic Performance Index (API) and school evaluations make it even more urgent and incredibly important that the LCAP is done correctly this first year.

Sacramento City Community Priorities Coalition.  June 5, 2014.


Ethnic Studies in California Schools

Assemblyman Luis Alejo, California Assembly

Re: Support AB 1750 (Alejo) 

Dear Assemblyman Alejo:                                        April 28, 2014

As Director of the Democracy and Education Institute, I write in support of AB 1750 –Ethnic Studies, and to offer our  assistance in this work.

Given California’s increasing diversity, it is vitally important that students receive knowledge of the various ethnic groups in our state and that they learn to work together toward building our democracy.

California has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the country. In fact, traditional ethnic minorities account for over 71 percent of the student population—with Latinos alone accounting for over 52 percent. Given California’s annual increase in diversity, it is especially important that students build knowledge of the various racial and ethnic groups of our state. Incorporating ethnic studies courses into standard high school curriculum is a means to accomplish this.


The Democracy and Education Institute has been working on this issue since 2009, and I have been working on the issue since 1986.

As a part of the effort to include Ethnic Studies I encourage you to concentrate on expanding  Ethnic Studies in the History/Social Science Framework for California public schools.  This state document determines what is taught in our schools and what is included in the textbooks.  There is almost no Mexican American history in the document.  There is a 9th grade elective course that could be offered.  Your bill should assist in that the CDE should report on the number and the nature of Ethnic Studies offerings.

The current Framework was written in 1986 and published in 1987 after a great deal of controversy. The Framework is  supposed to be revised each 7 years. The Framework, along with the standards, provides the guidelines for what is to be taught and what is to be included in the history and social science textbooks in California. In 2009, the History /Social Science Framework was  up for re consideration but the process was halted by the budget crisis.

The 1987 History  Framework still in use  in our schools today  expanded African American, Native American, and women’s history coverage but remains totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians. The only significant change between the 1985 and the 2005 adopted Framework was the addition of a new cover, a cover letter, and additions of photos such as of Cesar Chavez .  As you know descendants of Latinos currently make up 50.1 percent of  students in California schools.

During  the winter and spring of 2009, a committee of educators appointed by the State Board of Education met in staffed working sessions to review the current History-Social Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria and to recommend revisions to the document. The committee met in a series of two-day public sessions which were well attended by professionals and civic advocates concerned about the content of  history and social studies education in California.  I and others gave testimony.  My own effort, and that of my colleagues, was to focus on the failure of the current framework to adequately describe the history and contributions of the Mexican American people to California history.

The state fiscal crisis of 2009 stopped all work on this revision.  Your bill AB 1750 should assist in re-opening  the discussion.

I can tell you that the Curriculum Framework Committee listens when legislators make suggestion.

 Based upon my own experience of following this issue for decades, I am concerned that you bill as amended only asks the State Department of Education to commission a report on model programs and standards.  For your information, the SDE frequently creates committees that lack substantive diversity and particularly expertise in ethnic studies.

The 2009 review committee, which performed in a professional manner, had a total of two Hispanics on a committee of 22.  It was clear that they did not invite well informed members.  However, they did listen and make positive recommendations.

It is particularly important to act on ethnic studies before new national common core standards are adopted, predicted for 2016.   Common core standards have been established in Math and Literacy and are producing major changes in curriculum textbooks and teaching in California.  There are no  (national) Common Core standards in History or Social Studies at this time.

The process for developing common core standards has been to look at existing standards in the states and adopt one’s state’s work or to integrate several states. 

History standards in Texas, Arizona, and California, among others, lack the inclusion of even the most minimal history of Mexican American people.  When the profession gets around to writing Common Core Standards in History and Social Studies, if they turn to our state standards, unless we amend these standards, we can anticipate that they will adopt the current standards that fail to include Mexican American history.  Adoption of such standards would put in place starkly inadequate standards for the nation for the next decade.

I served as a professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at CSU-Sacramento for over 35 years.  I have written and published curriculum.  I would be pleased to work with your office in developing plans for advancing your bill AB 1750. For example, I could recruit articulate local teachers to testify for the bill.  Please let me know if  we  can be of assistance.

Cordially,   Dr. Duane E. Campbell ,Democracy and Education Institute

California School Budgets Change 

 Funding of California’s k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally as a result of Assembly bill 97,  the Local Control Funding Formula, designed to send additional funds to districts where Gov. Brown believes “the need and the challenge is greatest.”  The law requires that  parents, students, teachers, and other community members be involved in the process of deciding how new funds are spent. Ed Source has an excellent guide to these changes. http://edsource.org/wp-content/publications/10-questions.pdf

  Some schools will get much more money to educate their  kids.  It is critical that teachers, parents, and educational advocates get involved now. The centerpiece of the change  is the Local Control Funding Formula.  . Ed Source has an excellent guide to these changes.


Protect Public Education

Students at Franklin High in Elk Grove, California made a video on school reform that won a CSPAN award, including Duane Campbell, Director of the Institute for Democracy and Education. Here is their video. 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Ukgy2IUbeFE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Corporate "news" about schools.

 The apparent “news site” the Hechinger Report, http://hechingerreport.org carries a post  alleging that the current law suite on teacher tenure is a good thing.  http://hechingerreport.org/content/californias-students-get-their-day-in-court_14786/  Feb. 19 date.

They are in part funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Their self description is Informing the public through quality journalism.

If you follow the link on the story, it goes back to tntp and Michelle Rhee. New Teacher Project


This is how our news is manufactured. 

See posts on the Vergara case on the blog; www.choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com

For an alternative view of corporate constructed reform, see the Economic Policy Institute student by Gordon Lafer. April, 2014. http://www.epi.org/publication/school-privatization-milwaukee/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=0abab57900-EPI_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-0abab57900-55956753

July, 2014.NEA outgoing Presiden Van Roekel describes the corporate "reformers"


Important essay. What is Wrong With Common Core ?  Stan Karp. in Rethinking Schools.


An excellent video explanation by Dr. Wayne Au

"Recolonizing Our Classrooms: 
The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform"


His talk starts at 27 minutes. 


How can we work to oppose the corporatization of pubic education?  Here is a start. Class Action.

After many delays, Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook is finally ready. Backers of the initial Kickstarter (and those who order within the next week) should receive their print copies by the end of the month. The booklet will be distributed to educators and school support staff in Chicago, New York, Portland, Newark, Washington DC, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in March to help support rank-and-file activity.

Our project with the Chicago Teachers Union’s CORE Caucus and other allies ran long — the final supplement is 118 pages, more than the 50 we had budgeted for. But it was so fantastically designed by Remeike Forbes, and the photography by Katrina Ohstrom and written contributions by CTU President Karen Lewis, economist Dean Baker, Jacobin editors Megan Erickson and Shawn Gude, Joanne Barkan, Lois Weiner, and many others were so strong, we couldn’t bring ourselves to cut it down more or reduce our planned run.

For those who can’t afford to contribute — feel free to enjoy and distribute the digital edition of the booklet. We hope it’s of some use.

Download .PDF (free) / Purchase Print Booklet ($9.95)


The Paucity of Dan Walters’ Commentary on School Issues.  Dec.20, 2013. 

The column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee entitled “California’s School Wars Heat Up” in the print edition for Dec.20, and “Powerful Factions Go to War Over Direction of California Schools,” http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/20/6015661/dan-walters-powerful-factions.html in the on line version  seriously and deliberatively misinforms.  Walters’s columns are reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.

 He frames the conflict between the School Establishment ( school administrators, elected officials, CTA]  vs. the “School Reformers”.   These are indeed two of the powerful factions, but not at all the complete story.

To understand the distortion lets see who these “reformers “  See additional posts on this website.

The cadre Walters’ calls reformers  are not reformers.  They  are a corporate financed  advocates of a system that uses scores on high-stakes tests to  punish students and teachers while generating profits for corporations such as Pearson. They are  well financed salepeople. In most cases they do not work in schools, rather they work in lobbyist offices financed by the Waltons, the Gates, and others.   See here https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg/Home/corporate-funded-reform

There is at least one additional group who Walters ignores- the social justice equity oriented based school reformers who have been working in schools for decades to  improve school opportunities for low income and minority children for decades.  

There are numerous examples of this groups, here https://sites.google.com/site/chicanodigital/home/the-creation-and-demise-of-bilingual-education-at-csu-sacramento-2,  and here https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg/and CABE, Ca-Name, Raza Educators,  and the movement within both CTA and CFT known as social justice unionism.

 On the national level these approaches are well represented in the Broader, Bolder Approach,  Rethinking Schools, the Shanker Institute and others.  Diane Ravitch has been writing well about some of these efforts.

Walters’ essay reflects the  similar  narrowness in the media as it portrays the U.S. political struggles as only between the Democrats and the Republicans . This media  narrowness- created and funded significantly by corporate ownership of media functions to move the society in the direction of restricting democracy.  See, Democracy Inc. Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon Waldon, (2008) and Digital Disconnect; How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy,  by Robert McChesney (2013) .

 Digital Disconnect readers benefit from McChesney’s long critical scholarly record of studying corporate journalism as an imbedded form of corporate capitalism  and its challenge to democracy.  As he says, “capitalism imposed its logic” ( p.89).

 Most  media,  as  illustrated by Dan Walters in today’s column with reporting and opining on “inside baseball’ at the state capitol, are not objective observers. Walters is in fact an integrated and important part of the campaign to turn public schools  (and other public institutions) over to even more corporate influence and corporate control. This narrow frame of media coverage corrupts our democratic system and needs to be opposed.  

I have been fortunate to have  served to prepare over 600 new teachers and educational leaders who are currently working in Sacramento area  schools and educating  children. Some are becoming administrators and college professors.  These teachers and educational leaders are not considered in the narrow framing of opinions presented by  Walters’, but they constitute a significant  cohort of persons immediate knowledge of the school reality and who are working for substantive  educational reform.

Duane Campbell is the Director of the Democracy and Education Institute. Sacramento.

What Does PISA Tell US? Dec. 3, 2013

Note particularly the evidence by Carnoy and  Rothstein

By Tim Walker NEA. Dec.3, 2013.

The 2012 results for the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released on Tuesday and the standing of U.S. students changed little since the last time the test was given in 2009. The United States ranked 26th in math, 21st in science and 17th in reading. PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). More than 510,000 15-year-olds students in 65 countries and education systems took part in the 2012 test.

Students in Shanghai-China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea scored the highest in all three subjects. Switzerland and the Netherland also ranked near the top. Finland continued to perform well, although it’s standing slipped from 2009.

The fact that the United States hasn’t mustered any better than a barely average ranking has always triggered alarm among many policymakers, who see the performance as irrefutable proof that our schools are failing to prepare students for the 21sst century. Exaggerating the significance of the PISA results unfortunately feeds the agenda of proponents of market-based “reforms.”

While it’s tempting to look at top line numbers and draw dramatic conclusions, the PISA data is enormously complex and can take months to evaluate and analyze properly. Many experts caution against overreaction and urge policymakers to treat the rankings with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The PISA test can still tell us many things, says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, but the results are certainly not proof that we need to accelerate voucher programs, continue ineffective high-stakes testing, and scapegoat teachers. U.S. students won’t rank higher on PISA, Van Roekel explains, until the nation properly addresses poverty and its effect on students.

“Our students from well-to-do families have consistently done well on the PISA assessments. For students who live in poverty, however, it’s a different story. Socioeconomic factors influence students’ performance in the United States more than they do in all but few of the other PISA countries,” says Van Roekel.

In 2012, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute analyzed the 2009 PISA data and compared U.S. results by social class to three top performers—Canada, Finland and South Korea. They found that the relatively low ranking of U.S. students could be attributed in no small part to a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. After adjusting the U.S. score to take into account social class composition and possible sampling flaws, Carnoy and Rothstein estimated that the United States placed fourth in reading and 10th in math – up from 14th and 25th in the PISA ranking, respectively.

In defense of public schools   2014

 There are few institutions more directly rated to our state and national prosperity and our democracy than public schools.  Now, a few states, primarily in the South, are dismantling public funding in order to create for profit options for private schools. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/education/states-shifting-aid-for-schools-to-the-families.html.

It is not surprising that this rejection of  public education as a route to  prosperity for all comes from the South and states dominated by Republican legislatures.  In my opinion, Arizona, Indiana,  Texas, and Alabama can go ahead and decline if they so choose, however we need to set up some borders and tariffs, and perhaps trade agreements to prevent their move to “free market” choices from imposing vast new costs on the states which continue to want democracy and prosperity.  Remember, free market ideology is what brought us the economic crisis since 2007.

Public schools have  significantly contributed to U.S.  prosperity for the last 100 years  and they have fostered  our national unity.  It is accurate that some public schools are failing- particularly those serving low income and minority children.  But, there is no evidence that privatizing will improve these schools.  The  managerial models brought into public education from the corporate world have failed. They  have not improved student well being, student achievement, nor democratic opportunity.  

The arguments for privatization are based upon the myths of a “rational market”, or the rational market hypothesis.  Loyalty to this ideology  created the recent economic crisis.  There is no evidence that more competition leads to more equality.  It only leads to improved opportunity for selected groups – now funded at state expense. It doesn’t even seem to lead to improved schooling for the great majority of students.  There is no evidence that more competition leads to more democracy nor more democratic institutions. This is the neo liberal myth.

The current era  is time for a change for  our society and  in our schools.  This generation must  renew our democratic society.   We face  marked crises in government, politics, families, communities and in the schools.  Business interests promote a neo liberal agenda that provides them with more profits while starving the public sphere of the society. Public schools have a particular responsibility to reverse these crises and to renew our democratic society.  The first mission of pubic schooling is to equip all students for the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship – and  many of the schools in low income areas  are presently not fulfilling this mission. If we do not solve the problems of low performing schools our democracy is endangered.  For  our  democracy to survive we  need to create schools  that value  all of our children and encourages  their educational achievement.

 All children need a good education to participate in our democracy and prepare for  life in the rapidly changing economy. Making schooling valuable and useful is vital to prosperity for all.   Lack of  quality education is a ticket to economic hardship.  The more years of school that a student completes, the more money they are likely to earn as adults  and the better  their chance to get and keep a good job. Unemployment is highest among school dropouts as is incarceration for crimes.  When we fail to educate all of our children, the high costs of this failure come back to hurt us in unemployment, drugs, crime, incarceration, violence and social conflict.

We need to invest in urban schools, provide equal educational opportunities in these schools, and recruit a well prepared  teaching force that begins to reflect the student populations in these schools. We must insist on equal opportunity to learn, without  compromise.  When we do these things, we will begin to protect the freedom to learn for our children and our grandchildren, and to build a more just and  democratic society.

 Many  schools serving urban and impoverished populations need fundamental change. These schools do not open the doors to economic opportunity. They usually do not promote equality. Instead, they recycle inequality.  The high school drop out rates alone demonstrate that  urban schools  prepare less than 50 percent of their students for entrance into the economy and society. A democratic agenda for school reform includes insisting on fair taxation and adequate  funding for all children. We cannot build a safe, just, and prosperous society while we leave so many young people behind.

   At present there is not a political agreement to make the necessary investments to bring about substantial school reform in public schools.   The U.S. government  and your state  government will not make the necessary investments to improve education, nor to improve health care or to rebuild the economic infrastructure.  The proposals to shift public funds to private schools is not reform.  It is a major move in the wrong direction. Their  plan is to  fix  public education by giving the  money to private education.

Really ?

Note; July, 2013.  New York State is currently preparing  a new Social Studies Framework. Like California's 1998 Framework, it does a disservice to Mexican American students and Mexican American history. As we argue below, it is urgent that California rewrite its History/Social Science Framework now. If we wait until  2016, the current outdated and biased framework will be included in efforts develop common core standards in History and Civics.  That is what is happening now in the New York effort. 

Note: Sacramento advocate Michelle Rhee is implicated in the developing influence buying scandal at the California State Capitol with Senator Calderon.


Also see: http://choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com/2013/11/papering-over-public-k-12-school-reform.html

How Wall Street Power Brokers Are Designing the Future of Public Education as a Money-Making Machine

Ana Simonton, Alternet.  December 5, 2013  |  

Given that Arthur Rock has a net worth of $1 billion, lives in California and spends his time heaping money on tech startups (with the mantra, “Get in, get out,” as his guide), a local school board race in Atlanta, Ga. seems an unlikely candidate for his attention.

Yet there is his name, on the campaign finance disclosure reports of four candidates—two of whom were elected in November, and two who won a runoff [3]on December 3—for the board of Atlanta Public Schools. On each report, two columns over from his name, the sum of $2,500 is listed, the maximum allowable amount.

The APS race was a pivotal one for Atlanta, a city still dealing with the fallout of a cheating scandal [4] that thrust its public school system into the national limelight. Only two incumbents were re-elected to the nine-seat board.

The biggest question facing the board of newcomers is to what degree they will embrace charter schools. Last year, Georgia voters passed a constitutional amendment that enabled the creation of a state-appointed commission authorized to bypass local and state school boards in approving new charter schools. Critics say the measure passed because the text on the ballot, written by governor Nathan Deal, referenced “parental involvement” and “student achievement,” but not the specific authorities of the commission. In this climate, APS, which already has the most charter schools of any Georgia school district, will only avoid becoming the next laboratory for corporate education reform with significant pushback from the new school board.

That’s where Arthur Rock comes in. And a lot of other rich people, too.

Rock is not the only name on the reports with financial power and a less than obvious connection to Atlanta Public Schools. Greg Penner [5] of the Walmart empire, Dave Goldberg of the Sheryl Sandberg empire (they’re married), and Kent Thiry of the DaVita kidney dialysis empire (it sounds inglorious, but he pulls in $17 million annually), are among the names that had some Atlantans scratching their heads this election season.

See section on corporate funded school "reform" efforts. 


America’s Union Suppression Movement (And Its Apologists), Part One

Posted by Leo Casey on April 17, 2013

Last week, in “Is There A ‘Corporate Education Reform’ Movement?”, I wrote about the logic of forming strategic alliances on specific issues with those who are not natural allies, even those with whom you mostly disagree. This does not mean, however, that there aren’t those – some with enormous wealth and power – who are bent on undermining the American labor movement generally and teachers’ unions specifically. This is part one of a two-part post on this reality.

The American union movement is, it must be said, embattled and beleaguered. The recent passage of the Orwellian named ‘right to work’ law in Michigan, an anti-union milestone in the birthplace of the United Auto Workers and cradle of American industrial unionism, is but the latest assault on American working people and their unions.[1] Since the backlash election of 2010 that brought Tea Party Republicans to power in a number of state governments, public sector workers have faced a legislative agenda designed to eviscerate their rights to organize unions and bargain collectively in such states as Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Fueling these attacks is an underlying organic crisis that has greatly weakened the labor movement and its ability to defend itself. Union membership has fallen from a high point of 1 in 3 American workers at the end of WW II to a shade over 1 in 9 today. [2] At its height, American unions had unionized basic industries – auto, mining, steel, textiles, telecommunications – and had sufficient density to raise wages and improve working conditions for members and non-union workers as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report for 2012, organized American labor has fallen to its lowest density in nearly a century. Today, American unions have high density in only one major sector of the economy, K-12 education, and in that sector unions are now under ferocious attack. [3]

Even this stark description understates the true depth of the crisis. At the end of WW II, public sector workers in the ranks of organized labor were a small fraction of their private sector counterparts. Today, that relationship is dramatically reversed: 4 in 11 American public sector workers belong to a union, while only 1 in 15 private sector workers are unionized. Public sector workers are organized at more than five times the rate of private sector workers. The explosive growth of public sector unions in the late 1960s and early 1970s took place just as private sector industrial unions were beginning to hemorrhage from a ‘race to the bottom’ fueled by technological change and a deeply flawed model of economic globalization dominated by corporate interests (see here, here, and here).

These trends were reinforced by weak labor law that was increasingly tilted against the rights of workers and poorly enforced, a development condemned by Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and Amnesty International. In this context, the emergence of the leading public sector unions – the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – masked a great deal of the blood-letting to the industrial unions that had been the heart and soul of the American labor movement from the New Deal onward.

For decades, public sector unions have decried the harm done to American working people as a result of the decline of private sector unions. Others have pointed to the long term economic damage done to the U.S. by this anti-union campaign.  The mounting economic inequality that has plagued the United States since the 1970s is, in significant measure, an artifact of the shrinking political and economic power of the American labor movement, a phenomenon that tracks with the decline of the once mighty industrial unions. [4]

But, until recently, public sector unions believed that the nature of their members’ work provided important protection against the economic globalization that has decimated private sector unions. It is not possible, after all, to offshore the nursing of critically ill patients, the policing of communities, or the teaching of reading to children in the same way that unionized manufacturing jobs have been sent abroad to low-wage, authoritarian settings that deny workers the right to organize into free, independent unions. That difference was sufficient, many believed, to prevent public sector workers from being drawn into the ‘race to the bottom.’

The great economic downturn of the last five years has shown this belief to be an illusion. The loss of union density in America’s private sector, with the resultant decline of salaries, benefits and working conditions, has left public sector workers and their unions vulnerable to a politics of fear and resentment, which seeks to cast them as a privileged class.

One telling example can be found in the attacks on public sector workers’ retirement plans. The decline of industrial unions has been accompanied by the systematic dismantling of private sector workers’ “defined benefit” pension plans, which had guaranteed retirement security to generations of America’s unionized workers. Unionized public sector workers, who for the most part still possessed such plans, were then exposed to a right-wing campaign arguing that government could not afford such ”rich” retirement plans. A demagogic appeal was made to private sector workers: “why should a teacher, a nurse or a firefighter have such retirement benefits, when you, who finance that retirement with your taxes, do not?” Similar attacks were launched on public sector salaries and health insurance, in hopes of fueling a backlash movement that would weaken public sector unions and leave their members with diminished real income and living conditions. [5]

In a coordinated campaign, corporate-financed advocacy and “think tank” groups launched an attack on the due process rights of public sector workers, such as teacher tenure, with the objective of forcing workers into nonunion, ”at will” employment. If successful, this campaign against public sector unionization would leave workers in the same diminished condition as their private sector brethren.

The campaign against public sector workers and their unions reached a crescendo in the aftermath of the 2010 elections that swept Tea Party Republicans to power in numerous states. Fearful that the demographics of 21st century America were stacked against them (and the long-term electoral prospects of the Republican Party), Tea Party activists opened up two major fronts in their fight to retain power:  On the one hand, they advocated for “voter suppression” laws, designed to make it more difficult for core Democratic constituencies – people of color, immigrants and the poor – to vote. On the other hand, they pushed forward on “union suppression” laws, designed to undermine the core strength of the American trade union movement in the electoral arena – public sector unions. In the wake of the 2010 midterms, as the nation followed the gripping struggle of public employees in Wisconsin to retain their right to free association and collective bargaining, similar battles were being waged in state capitols across the nation. In each and every state, the theme of public employee privilege was played out with a strategy to incite fear and resentment.

To appreciate the full power of the forces now arrayed against American unions, consider that, at the height of the Wisconsin struggle, 9 of the 10 individuals on the Forbes list of the top ten richest Americans were actively financing part of the campaign against public sector unions. With U.S. income inequality at the highest levels since just before the Great Depression, it appears that the nation’s corporate elite are intent on delivering a coup de grâce to what remains of the American labor movement.

- Leo Casey


[1] Research shows that there is no evidence that “right to work” laws enhance productivity, encourage innovation or create jobs; they do, however, tend to lower wages and labor standards. Unions, on the other hand, can serve to generate higher wages, which leads to higher consumption and demand, and thus greater economic activity.

[2] This and subsequent data on union membership trends is drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report on the subject. For the latest report, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Union Members – 2012” available here. The high point of the American trade union movement preceded the 1947 passage of the Taft-Hartley Act by a Republican-Dixiecrat dominated Congress that overrode a veto by President Harry Truman. Among other things, Taft-Hartley authorized the passage of state “right to work” laws, with the goal of keeping multiracial unions from gaining a significant foothold in the Jim Crow South. The CIO’s Operation Dixie, a post-WW II campaign to organize unions in the South, was thwarted in significant part by right to work laws passed in the Deep South. The recent passage of right to work legislation in Indiana and Michigan is significant in the extension of right to work laws into what had been labor’s heartland.

[3] For measures of union density, see the chart at UnionStats. The only comparable rates of density to K-12 education are found in considerably smaller sections of the public sector, such as fire fighters, and parts of the transportation industry, such as flight attendants.

[4] See Timothy Noah, The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2012. See also Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld, “Unions, Norms, and the Rise in American Wage Inequality” available here.

[5] These charges do not stand up to scholarly examination, see here, here, here, and here, but they remain part of the standard attack on public sector employees.



See. America's Union Suppression Movement - Part Two.  Here.   


How Walton and Broad Foundations direct Sacramento School "reform".

See the excellent analysis by Seth Sandronsky following:

Last December 3, the California Fair Political Practices Commission recommended fining Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a Democrat, $37,500 for improperly reporting donations to his multiple nonprofit groups. The political watchdog agency agreed to this penalty at a Dec. 13 meeting. The donations included a total of $500,000 between Jan. 19, 2012, and June 5, 2012, from the Walton Family Foundation to Stand Up for Sacramento Schools, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit school reform group that Johnson founded in 2009 with a commitment of $500,000 from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

The money trail, however, goes beyond Mayor Johnson’s untimely reporting of donations to his nonprofits. His local education reform efforts illustrate a broader national trend: corporate funding of education reform via nonprofits to alter public schools. In an era of a growing income gap between corporate America and the general public—the one percent and 99 percent, in the words of the Occupy Wall Street movement—the power of corporate-funded philanthropy to shape public policy has become part of the social landscape. In the case of school reform, breaking public-sector unions is high on this elite agenda. Consider the Walton Family Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nonunion behemoth based in Bentonville, Ark. This family had a net worth of $115.5 billion in 2012, according to the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America. Its foundation “invested” close to $160 million in K-12 education reform across the U.S. in 2011: http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/about/2011-grant-report. Read the detailed and valuable report.

Victories for schools in California elections.

We defeated the billionaires efforts to  crush organized labor and to continue the anti tax radicalism.

We defeated the anti labor proposition 32.

We passed Prop. 30, to fund schools, universities and social services.  This is a floor under austerity.   It raises taxes on the rich to pay for services.  It does raise sales tax by ¼ of  percent – but 90% of the tax increases are on the rich . A tax of 1-3 % on those who make over $250,000 per year.

Democrats for Educational Reform.

Gloria Romero -- The former Senate leader  remains bitter from her loss in the Supt. of Public Instruction race two years ago. Formerly favored by labor, a member of CFA. Her harsh videos and ads against Prop 32 joined with others in the anti union effort. She actively campaigned for Prop.38, the anti teacher union effort on school funding.  Prop. 38 – the Munger Inititative- was qualified and funded substantially to take resources and votes away from the effort to fund education in Prop.30.  She lost.

Former California State Senator Gloria Romero is the State Director of Democrats for Education Reform. 

The anti union nature of Democrats for Education Reform  were also demonstrated by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.  He is the Chair of the Obama Administration’s Mayors Committee on Education and husband of Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of Washington D.C. schools.  He remained silent on the effort to pass Prop.30 to fund California Schools.

On the other hand.  DSA Chair Dolores Huerta was an active pro-union voice for No on Prop.32 and Yes on Proposition 30. She made videos and ads and spoke at rallies with  the campaigns.

It is valuable to know who are your allies, your opponents, and those critics who drain campaign energy.

Also: See, What was Mayor Kevin Johnson doing during this election.  http://choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-was-kevin-johnson-doing-during.html

An important issue seeking democratic analysis.

 An initial analysis of some of the issues in Massive-on line education as advocated by Jerry Brown in place of adequately funding higher education.

Geoff Shullenberger


In the MOOC philosophy, education is understood fundamentally as a transfer of information, in line with the computational understanding of cognition in which the mind is a processing device being fed input and generating output. This is a twenty-first-century version of what Paulo Freire called the “banking method of education,” a model that Deweyan humanists and practitioners of critical pedagogy have long repudiated as reactionary and disempowering.

Open Online Courses (MOOCs) they offer. The New York Times education section dubbed 2012 “The Year of the MOOC,” and the paper’s celebrity columnists Thomas Friedman and David Brooks have been hailing MOOCs as a “revolution” and a “tsunami.” Time announced in a cover article on MOOCs that “College is Dead. Long Live College!” and USA Today assured us somewhat less hyperbolically that “college may never be the same.”


Editor’s note. I am an ardent advocate of the use of technology in promoting quality education, but that is not the same as MOOCs.   To examine the differences I took one of the MOOCs courses from Stanford.  It was clearly pre collegiate in nature.

In my own professional life and in my book, Choosing Democracy, I argue for both critical thinking and the development of strong democracy.  MOOCs courses promote neither.  They are best suited to a very fixed nature of learning, usually able to behaviorize  such as math or other sequential learning.

In 2010, the U.S. college graduation rate ranked 34th. out of the 34 countries in the OECD survey . In 2010, the U.S. high school graduation rate ranked 21st. our of the 26 countries in the OECD survey. OECD is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  ( the advanced, industrialized countries.)
In 2011, the average Canadian citizen was wealthier than the average U.S. citizen, and all residents of Canada have government insured health care.

One of the things the right wing does is keep organizing.  While we rest and recover from an election such as California Prop. 30, they are off on their next campaign.  They do this by having hundreds of advocates. So that while some recover, others launch their next campaign.

The Common Core: Educational Redeemer or Rainmaker?

  by Julie L. Pennington ,Kathryn M. Obenchain ,Aimee Papola & Leia Kmitta — October 12, 2012

 The Common Core State Standards are poised to guide U.S. educational practice and assessment for the coming years. This commentary examines the framing of the argument for the new standards by the constructors of the CCSS and how the alignment of resources during the implementation phase is tightly ensconced within the organizations who drafted the standards.

 Framing education as in need of additional rigor and collective cohesion, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are now promoted as a redeemer for educational reform while No Child Left Behind quietly fades into the background.  As states are currently invited to pursue “relief from provisions of …(NCLB)” (http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility), the CCSS are poised to preside over a movement to (what are self-described as) more rigorous, more communal and more state-led standards and assessments (http://www.corestandards.org/).

This important  article is at  Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 12, 2012
http://www.tcrecord.org <http://www.tcrecord.org/Home.asp>  ID Number: 16902, Date Accessed: 1/2/2013 1:12:19 AM


The California Budget Project does excellent work in analyzing  the state budget.  They say  state spending per K-12 student will rise in the current (2012-13) fiscal year and in 2013-14 due to voter approval of two revenue measures – Proposition 30 and Proposition 39 – last November, according to the Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget. Yet even with this increase, per student state support for public schools will remain much lower than the 2007-08 level, after adjusting for inflation.

The full report is at

Selling Schools Out - A Viewpoint.

By Lee Fang
Posted on November 17, 2011, Printed on January 9, 2012
. An excellent piece.hereSelling Schools Out | Corporate Accountability | The Investigative Fund
If the national movement to "reform" public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of "virtual schools" — charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet — as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits.


See: Kevin Johnson and the selling of school reform. 

Who are Democrats for Education Reform?

Joe Williams heads Democrats for Education Reform and its sister organization, EJoe Williams heads Democrats for Education Reform and its sister organization, Education Reform Now.DFER advisory board member Joel Greenblatt is a protégé of fallen junk-bond iconDFER advisory board member Joel Greenblatt is a protégé of fallen junk-bond icon Michael Milliken.Hedge-fund manager John Petry, a DFER board member, co-founded the Harlem SuccesHedge-fund manager John Petry, a DFER board member, co-founded the Harlem Success Academy Charter School with Eva Moskowitz.


 Waiting for Superman – a film review  Jan. 2011. by Duane Campbell.

Obama Administration proposals for ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act)

Read the report (download) at http://edgov/policy/edsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint/edu

Excellent teaching resource. Fighting for Democracy: Who is the "WE" in "We The People"? See the teachers' resources.  Provided by The National 

Center for the Preservation of Democracy.  http://www.ncdemocracy.org/  Uses the diverse perspectives of seven 

different participants in World War II to illustrate the impact of the war on struggles for democracy here at home. 

Historic Lawsuit Challenges California’s Unconstitutional Education Finance System

A historic lawsuit was filed in May  against the State of California requesting that the current education finance system be declared unconstitutional and that the state be required to establish a school finance system that provides all students an equal opportunity to meet the academic goals set by the State.

The case, Robles-Wong, et al. v. State of California, was filed in the Superior Court of California in Alameda County. Specifically, the suit asks the court to compel the State to align its school finance system—its funding policies and mechanisms—with the educational program that the State has put in place. To do this, plaintiffs allege, the State must scrap its existing finance system; do the work to determine how much it actually costs to fund public education to meet the state’s own program requirements and the needs of California’s school children; and develop and implement a new finance system consistent with Constitutional requirements.

 The lawsuit was filed by a broad coalition, including more than 60 individual students and their families, nine school districts from throughout the State, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), California State PTA, and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).

The Institute applauds this initiative. 

California Education Statistics

Staffing ratios 

California’s ranking:

• 49th among all states in student-teacher ratios. (Digest of Education Statistics 

[DES], 2007-08)

Source. California School finance lawsuit. http://www.fixschoolfinance.org/

See page. Historic Law Suit

Why there are few funds for schools - the economic crises of the states 

          The current  economic crisis has forced the cutting of higher education, of k-12 education, and of social welfare systems. What caused this crisis ? It was caused by the greed and avarice of the financial class and aided by the politicians of both major political parties.

Major banks and corporations looted the economy creating an international meltdown.  Now, they have been rewarded with bail out money.  The crisis was not caused by students, teachers, public employees  nor recipients of social security.   Now we have cuts in parks,  in universities, in nurses, libraries.  School children did not create this crisis.  Foster care children did not create this crisis.

The major bankers, finance capitalists in the U.S. robbed the bank last year  – and the federal treasury.  They took hundreds of billions of dollars – and you and I will have to pay for it.    Goldman Sachs alone took $10 Billion.  For example,  Ken Lewis of Bank of America received an 81 million dollar pension.  They have not even been punished.  One thing we should do is arrest the top 100 executives and CEO’s of these companies, give them a fair trial, and throw them in jail.  Until we arrest some people – there will be no real changes.”

Our financial system as a whole crashed not because of one bank. Goldman Sachs certainly played a major role as did JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and CitiCorp, along with the many corporate finance institutions  like Bear Sterns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, WaMu, Depfa.  We had a systemic breakdown because nearly all of our policy makers, academics, politicians, and pundits promoted  a failed, self serving  ideology of self-correcting financial markets.

(Including specifically the econmics profession ) Finance  profiteers walked off with big bucks while contributing to the  crash  of the system. The looting continues to this day.

So, the financiers robbed the banks and created the Great Recession.  – and the government allowed them to do so.  Government policy, including the work of Geithner, Summers, and both the Bush and  the Obama Administration, regularly placed the interests of Wall Street ahead of the interests of working people.  Our economy was looted –we  lost $11 Trillion.   Now, working people are losing their homes.  Over 10,000,000 jobs have been lost.  Over 15 million people are unemployed. .  Nationally, unemployment  for African Americans  is over 15.4%,  for Latinos  it is over 12.7%. For African Americans and Latinos under 25 years of age; it is over 25%.  That is young people in the   African Americans and  Latino communities are in a Depression.


            42 of the states have financial crises.  We will have fewer teachers, fewer police officers, cuts in needed health care, cuts in school spending—all because a small cadre robbed the banks.  Today, this same group is making millions in bonuses and special payments, while the economy remains stuck in a recession.

            If you want some detail on how this was done, see:

Paul Krugman.  The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008.  (2009)

Dean Baker,  Plunder and Blunder; The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy.  (2009)

Nomi Prins.  It takes a Pillage; Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals         from Washington to Wall Street.  (2009).



Advocate for teachers voices to be heard.

I was giving a speech on the political control of public schooling  to a forum here in Sacramento.  A teacher in the conference asked, “  I understand your points on NCLB, on multicultural education, on Race to the Top, and on testing, but what can we do about these things?”

What a great question.

  We need to propose alternatives.   There are numerous clear voices to explain the education crisis, the economic collapse and the health crisis.  We  need to magnify and extend these voices. Unfortunately money buys access and power both in Washington and in Sacramento. 

The appointment of Arne Duncan was symptomatic of the problems.   He represents the kind of corporate/media approach to reform.  Where do these policy proposals come from?   The Race to the Top proposals come from legislators and lobbyists whose own self interest guide their recommendations, not the interests of students in schools.

  Why then in schools do we allow politicians, lobbyists, and other “experts” who are not teachers and have not worked in classrooms for over ten years, and who have not taught children, to make the basic decisions about schooling.  As a starting point, clearly those establishing our policies do not understand testing and its limits.  (See Bracey, 2009).

  A major problem with our campaigns for a democratic approach to schooling is that most of the media has been sold a mindset or framework of accountability.    Corporate sponsored  networks and “ think tanks” such as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Bradley Foundation,  the Olin Foundation, the Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation   and their access to the media is not likely to change.  The domination  of the accountability frame within the media and political circles  must be opposed.  

            In the current era of media downsizing and consolidation, when corporate domination of the news “business” has increased, the remaining reporters and editors rely more and more upon press releases, public relations campaigns and advocacy organizations. Public relations campaigns- including those of the government-  are regularly passed off as news.  ( See Robert W. McChesney, Digital Disconnect, 2013) The reduced number of journalists depend upon a narrow range of opinions of people in power with a bias toward seeing the schools through the eyes of the corporate elite.  The children of the corporate elite rarely attend public schools. 

There are many advocacy  strategies.  However, the most important is to share and magnify teacher voices.  Politicians make bad decisions – such as the current budget cuts, or an over reliance on testing- because they are not listening to teachers voices.  Instead they are listening to paid consultants, and “experts” from the corporate establishment.

Newspaper writers and other media writers make the same mistake.  They call their favorite “source” which just happens to be a corporate promoter like Arne Duncan, Michele Rhee,  or one  of the “experts” at elite universities.  Note:  few professors in the elite universities work with  teachers.  They are several steps removed from the classroom.  You can read more about this on the blog Choosing Democracy http://www.choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com and  searching for PACT. Or here: http://sites.google.com/site/assessingpact/

The most basic  strategy is to insist on teacher participation in the development of policies.  Get the politicians and the corporate shills out of the classroom. – they have failed our children.

Why California students do not understand Chicano/Latino history

The Institute has  been working for the last  two years to change the California History/Social Science Framework for California Public Schools to include the significant contributions of Mexicans and Chicanos to the history of the state.  The Framework, along with the standards,  provides the guidelines for what is to be taught and what is to be included in the history  and social science textbooks in California.  The current Framework, written in 1987, has virtually no inclusion of Chicano/Mexican/Latino history and little inclusion of Asian American history.  Frameworks are to be revised each 7 years.

More on this in the Chicano / Mexican American Digital History Project site. 

Chicano / Mexican American Digital History Project

Our Story: 

  We have worked in a variety of schools and universities since 1969, always working with some of the most disadvantaged students.  Our efforts have been to improve schooling for the oppressed.

    California public schools are in crisis- and they are getting worse. This is a consequence  of massive budget cuts imposed on the schools by the legislature and the governor in the last four years.  Total per pupil expenditure is down over $1,000 per student. The result is significant  class size increases.   Students are in often classes too large for learning.  Supplementary services such as tutoring, art, and drop out prevention  classes have been eliminated.  Over 14,000 teachers have been dismissed due to the budget emergencies. (see above) 2008- 2012. 

         Over 48% of the children in California public schools are Chicano/Latino or descendents of  Mexican/Latino parents.   The Chicano drop out rate has not significantly changed in 30 years.  All children need a good education to participate in our democracy and prepare for  life in the rapidly changing economy.

     We need to invest in urban schools, provide equal educational opportunities in these schools, and recruit a well prepared  teaching force that begins to reflect the student populations in these schools. We must insist on equal opportunity to learn, without  compromise.  When we do these things, we will begin to protect the freedom to learn for our children and our grandchildren, and to build a more just and  democratic society.

     The many voices for corporate designed school reform fail in part because they  do not include a strategy for addressing the effects of poverty. We need strategies to address poverty and strategies to engage parents and  teachers to take responsibility for student learning.  The fake reformers claim poverty is not an issue but it is – and budget cut backs make it worse.

       We are necessarily political.  That is where the money is.



  The Institute for Democracy and  Education (Sacramento),  is a network of  scholars and students, professionals in schools and public agencies, advocates, community activists, and  youth. We use research and advocacy as tools   to empower individuals, build relationships, and create knowledge for civic participation and social change. We seek to link our  public  university with committed educators and supportive community alliances to challenge  the pervasive racial and social class inequalities in  the Sacramento region and in  California.

   Our task is  to preserve and extend a vision of  democratic possibility in education.  Central to this task is preserving quality public schools.

  We seek  to provide a clear analysis of economic issue in the schools and in our society  in their real world context- not from the perspective of the corporate elites and their loyal servants in the media

  The institute’s  work advances a complex understanding of the causes and costs of underfunding our schools and of educational inequality. We  begin  with the premise that all students have a fundamental right to a quality  public education that enables them to graduate from high school prepared to become active citizens.  

     We believe that teachers are part of one of the most valued professions we have in educating future generations in the discourse, values and relations of a democratic society. 

  The campaign of the right, and of  the anti teacher efforts are to weaken the autonomy and the authority of teachers by controlling salaries, tenure, unions  and decision making.  These must be resisted to preserve quality schools.

 The Institute for Democracy and Education is an independent, non partisan research and advocacy  organization  established in 2009  to promote debate on the important issues of democracy, education and schools.

The Institute’s advisor board includes Duane Campbell, director, author of Choosing Democracy, Dolores Delgado Campbell, historian and senior scholar, and Paul Burke, sociologists, and research scholar. 

Dr. Duane Campbell- Director.  The Institute can be reached at  campd22702@gmail.com .

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