Tuesday, December 12, 2006


No wonder few but the academic dregs are willing to teach there

Serious crime at high schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District has more than doubled in the past five years, while the number of students facing the most severe punishment -- expulsion -- has plummeted. The district expelled four students last year, according to state Department of Education records. In the same year, police responded to 274 crimes at Sacramento City Unified high schools that state law says should have resulted in expulsion. This gap between crimes and expulsions in the district has grown wider over time. In the past five years, expellable offenses have risen by 105 percent while expulsions have dropped by 88 percent.

State law requires that students who commit serious crimes be expelled, or banished, from their school and other regular high schools for at least a year. While expelled, students are supposed to attend community day school. But instead of expelling most students who carry weapons, deal drugs or assault teachers, Sacramento City Unified officials suspend them for a week at a time or put them on so-called "suspended expulsion," a form of discipline that takes offenders off campus for a few months but doesn't count them as being expelled. District administrators say they handed out more than 200 such punishments last year.

The softer approach in Sacramento City Unified stems largely from a 1997 complaint alleging racial disparities in expulsions -- in response, the district came up with alternative punishments to lower the expulsion rate overall. School districts of a similar size typically expel far more students: Elk Grove Unified expelled 248 students last year and San Juan Unified expelled 195 students.

Within Sacramento City Unified, crime last year was highest at Luther Burbank and John F. Kennedy high schools, police reports show. C.K. McClatchy High School landed square in the middle of the district's ranking of serious crimes last year. But a groundswell of fear and anger has erupted at McClatchy recently, following two high-profile crimes by McClatchy students that occurred on the same day. On Oct. 19, a 15-year-old boy shot a gun outside a pizza shop near the campus just as the school day began. The incident prompted McClatchy to go into lockdown, a safety procedure in which students must stay in their classrooms and no one is supposed to enter or exit the school. During the two-hour lockdown, another 15-year-old boy who was inside a classroom somehow shot himself in the hand.

Since then -- in parent meetings, coffee shops and interviews with The Bee -- the McClatchy community has spoken out. Teachers say they are frustrated at seeing criminal students return to the classroom. Students and parents describe a palpable sense of danger -- a feeling that school is a place where anything goes. "We're not talking about a kid not bringing a pencil to class, or somebody acting out in class," said Jennifer Cook, who has been a teacher at C.K. McClatchy High School for 11 years. "We're talking about somebody bringing a gun, somebody selling drugs. If a student is committing an offense as serious as that, we really need the support to carry through on expulsion."

At the end of September, Cook said, a McClatchy administrator told her that her biology lab assistant had been suspended for carrying a large knife to school. The administrator said he wanted to expel the student after his release from juvenile hall, Cook said. But about three weeks later, the student returned to her class, she said, and his job as her lab assistant. "You trust those people to do things for you and be a role model in your room," Cook said. "I don't feel that way about this person anymore. I'm wary."

McClatchy Principal Cynthia Clark said she didn't try to expel the student because he did not brandish the knife or threaten anyone with it. State law says principals should recommend expulsion for students in possession of "any knife or other dangerous object," and that expulsion is mandatory when students brandish a knife....

Weapons are a growing problem in Sacramento City Unified high schools, according to police reports from the past five years. In the 2001-2002 school year, police documented finding 21 weapons. In the 2005-2006 school year, they documented 47. The trend indicates that students are scared, said William Lassiter, manager of the Center for Prevention of School Violence, based in Raleigh, N.C. "When weapons are increasing on campus, it's because students have the perception that the school is unsafe," Lassiter said. That's what the McClatchy student who accidentally shot himself in the hand told police: He said he brought a gun to school for protection.

Schools are a microcosm of the larger community, so it makes sense that crime in Sacramento's high schools has risen as crime citywide has gone up. The city of Sacramento has seen a roughly 60 percent increase in violent crime over the past five years. But serious crime in Sacramento City Unified high schools has gone up almost twice as fast....

McClatchy isn't the only school where teachers have seen students commit expellable offenses and still return to campus, said Marcie Launey, president of the district's teachers union. Teachers at Rosemont High School and Will C. Wood Middle School were assaulted by students this fall while trying to break up campus fistfights, Launey said. In both cases, she said, the students came back to school after brief suspensions.

The apparent disconnect between crime and punishment at district schools "needed some attention," Launey said. "The McClatchy thing just brought it out into the spotlight."

Expulsion is a lengthy, sometimes complicated, process that starts with a principal recommending a student be expelled, then involves hearings with the district office, and concludes with the school board voting to expel.

More here


Brain-dead Leftism has the same solution to everything

Gordon Brown never likes leaving anything to chance. His shirts are always white and once he settles on a new favourite tie, he will stick with it for months on end. The chancellor, who has had more long-term plans than Joseph Stalin, planned his final pre-budget report last Wednesday just as meticulously. The morning papers had been briefed and the broadcasters squared. Brown, worried that the news later that day from Washington of the Iraq Study Group's report would wipe his statement off the front pages, had toured the TV and radio studios at breakfast time. Irritated by the fact that Tony Blair had already eaten into his week by timing the announcement of Britain's Trident replacement last Monday, he was determined to grab what he regarded as his rightful share of coverage.

The centrepiece of his lunchtime speech to MPs was, as everyone had been forewarned, education. Just as Blair had started his premiership with a commitment to the "three Es" (education, education, education), so Brown was following suit. Education, he said, "would be our number one priority; education first now and into the future". There would be special tuition for six-year-olds falling behind in their reading; a bag of books for every five and 11-year-old; and "year-by-year improvements in investment in our schools". Most of all, in Brown's drive to make Britain "the most educated country in the world", there would, it appeared, be lots of money.

By 2010, the government would be investing more than 10 billion pounds a year in England's 21,000 school buildings, together with university and college premises, compared with just 1.5 billion in 1997. By then, he said, state school pupils could look forward to facilities as good as those enjoyed by Eton, Winchester and other independent schools; a cumulative 36 billion would be spent over four years lifting spending on buildings and equipment to private sector levels. Instead of tax cuts, he goaded David Cameron, he was putting money where it mattered, into Britain's future. As a down payment, tens of thousands would be paid direct to each school - 50,000 pounds for primaries and 200,000 at secondary level.

Brown's flurry of announcements was enough to get Labour backbenchers cheering him to the rafters, which was the idea; he now has no serious rival as prime minister. But for everybody else there was a powerful sense of deja vu. Hadn't he said all this before? The Institute for Fiscal Studies, Britain's tax and spending think tank, soon confirmed that he had. In a detailed dismantling of Brown's figures, the IFS pointed out that for all the chancellor's talk, there was very little new money. The Tories tracked some of the announcements back to 2002. The only new money, said Luke Sibieta of the IFS, was the direct payment to schools, worth 20 pounds per pupil. Brown's goal, of lifting all spending per pupil to independent sector levels, was still a long way away. Before he stood up, the gap was 2,350 a year. After he sat down it was 2,330....

But despite the smoke, mirrors and tax grabs, the chancellor had clearly set out his stall. Even though cash will be tight from now on, education will be the "number one priority". For some, that was profoundly depressing. Blair, after nearly a decade in office, has finally got the message that money is not the answer to Britain's education shortcomings, says Andrew Haldenby, director of the think tank Reform. Only by changing the system will things improve. But Brown, he believes, still thinks cash is king. "Last week Tony Blair argued that better learning comes from reform, based on stronger parental choice and better teaching," said Haldenby. "Brown has ignored reform and spoken only of extra spending. The evidence is on the prime minister's side: school spending has already risen in this decade from 26 billion to 43 billion without any impact on the trend of exam standards."

So will smart new buildings and extra cash improve Britain's education standards? Or is it a case of throwing good money after bad? ... Will Brown be a reformer or just a spender? Will his relentless desire to keep things under tight control prevent him offering schools the freedoms they need to succeed? Anthony Seldon, Blair's biographer and master of Wellington College, an independent school in Berkshire, said: "Brown will not seek to row back on these changes. He will continue the policies including opening more academies."

Others are not so sure. "The idea that you pump in extra money and then standards improve has been tested to destruction and it doesn't work," said Haldenby. "Yet Brown seems to believe that if you lift state school spending to the level of independents you'll solve the problem of our substandard schools. It won't."


Lack of practical education forces Rolls-Royce to find staff abroad: "A severe shortage of skills in Britain is forcing Rolls-Royce, one of Britain’s leading engineering companies, to recruit half its key staff overseas. The maker of aircraft engines has had to turn to Germany and other European countries in its search for engineers and procurement executives as the pool of talent shrinks in Britain’s declining manufacturing sector. Yesterday Rolls-Royce blamed its plight on the erosion of Britain’s manufacturing base,which has left talented engineers with fewer opportunities. It also said that industry was not being promoted by universities and schools as an attractive career opportunity. Sir John Rose, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, is known to have voiced concern that the shrinking of Britain’s industrial sector has deterred school- leavers and graduates from entering the engineering industry because they fear that it will not support them throughout their working lives. Sir John is also understood to believe that some parts of the Government are promoting creative industries and the services sector, but failing to promote manufacturing. A company spokeswoman said: “Rolls-Royce has no difficulty in recruiting the required skills at graduate level, but our biggest challenge is finding the right skill sets at mid-career. This is a reflection of the one million manufacturing jobs lost over the last ten years and the loss of critical mass.” The disclosure that Rolls-Royce is struggling to meet its recruitment needs comes days after the publication of the Leitch review into skills, which gave warning that the UK’s international competitiveness was being damaged by a lack of skilled workers


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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