I’ve been busy of late and the “stuff to blog about” list is getting longer. Here it is, without my usual editorial finesse or opinions. Hopefully, others will find these links of interest until I have time to write about some of them:
- Is Bill Gates the real secretary of education? ;
- SBX5 1 (Romero) is not the reform California needs;
- Crisis in school leadership seen for California;
- A new, if pushy, idea to improve special education;
- Students remaining in English language classes too long, study finds;
- Mapping state proficiency standards, 2005-2007 (Federal study), and a NY Times article that provides a great summary of the somewhat dense and statistical report – essentially, the study found that most states “dumbed down” their curriculum standards in order to score better on state assessments. California, thankfully, did not.
- A flurry of stuff on student nutrition: The Chronicle’s Michael Bauer reviewed school lunches, and I know you’re shocked, but the review wasn’t all that positive. So mommy blogger Amy Graff filled in some of the background on our nutrition program’s extreme budgetary constraints, and then wrote a follow-up post on where the food comes from. Yes, the food could be better, but I maintain that we have made good progress in recent years on making it more nutritious – the meatballs might be small and the green beans might be mushy, but they’re not corn dogs or taco pockets and we serve actual vegetables, rather than ketchup! But if you, like me, are still not happy with the status quo (even taking into account recent improvements), then you need to suggest to our Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, that perhaps the Federal government could take one or more of these steps when it re-authorizes the Child Nutrition Act next year:
- Increase the amount of money the Federal government reimburses districts for meals served to low-income students (currently $2.68 per meal; after labor and overhead, in SFUSD that means we have only about 90 cents to spend on actual food).
- Index the reimbursement amounts to take into account higher costs in areas with higher costs of living (e.g., San Francisco).
- Back off on some of the crazy rules for qualifying children for free or low-cost meals. Complying with these rules costs school districts lots of money, and . . . why, exactly? I’m not seeing students who are dying to eat the school lunch without paying for it. Generally, if students are in the lunch line, they’re hungry and they have no other option for lunch. All of the time and the millions of dollars we are spending on compliance is simply taking away money that could go towards better food.