Federal and state laws require the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District to adjust its ward boundaries every 10 years in order to equalize populations following the completion of the federal census. -more-
Parent trigger laws, according to their proponents, give parents power. Gregory McGinity, managing director of policy for the Broad Education Foundation, calls them "a way for parents' voices to be heard."
Sounds good. But is the parent trigger concept a way to put parents in charge of their kids' education, or is it part of a political agenda that will rob parents of even more control? While hardly anyone argues that parents don't want, and don't deserve, a voice in their children's schools, many educators, and even parents themselves, doubt that parent trigger laws increase their involvement.
Many teachers believe parent trigger laws are a way for charter schools to gain a bigger share of the education system. For McGinity, that's not a bad idea. The Broad Foundation promotes the proliferation of charter schools, which he says simply offer parents "a different way for a school to operate." Teachers, however, are alarmed. They see the expansion of a privatized education system, and view parent trigger laws as a means for rushing the process forward.
Their concerns illustrate the big stakes behind passing and implementing these laws. Several very conservative players in national education reform have made parent trigger proposals a key part of their agenda. As they're introduced in state after state, California's experience is being watched closely. -more-
“Hot” is not what makes toys great, because “hot” gets cold fast. What is more important is play value of the toy, appropriateness for child’s age, interests and abilities plus the child’s ability to be playful, and engage with the right toy that best matches the child. Dr. Toy reminds parents and teachers that “play is children’s work” and should be respected and understood by all adults. We should be thinking: “What products or ‘tools for play’ can we obtain to provide wholesome experiences for children and plenty of positive play interactions?” -more-
Tree-Sit Resumes to Protect People's Park Trees as University Fells Nearby Tree, Threatens to Buzz-Saw Tree Hosting the Sit
At last, a new plot twist in the apparently on-going saga of People's Park tree sits.
This sit is all about protecting trees themselves. See there's actually a connection here, unlike past sits, which claimed Ohlone indians owned the park, if not "all of the known world."
It's all been staged before--two years ago. But not with such intricate plot twists.
Sit3 (it's a franchise now) began late Tuesday, less than ten hours before the university felled two small trees they said were impinging on nearby trees. Even the tree-sit host tree is a target. As the police have said in the past, the tree sit host tree was sick and had to be euthanized with a buzz-saw.
According to the latest sitter, Littlebird, 29, from Portland, Oregon, the police have wasted no time telling Littlebird that he's nesting on borrowed time. -more-
Demonstrations come and go on the UC Berkeley campus. They’re sometimes amusing, periodically profound, occasionally irritating. For half a century they’ve been a fixture of Sproul Plaza and have become so commonplace that most don’t attract extensive attention. -more-
A bake sale by Berkeley College Republicans yesterday that was aimed at satirizing race-based admissions generated heated debates and counter-protests but no major problems. -more-
Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz will retire at the end of November after 36 years as a City of Berkeley employee. He has been City Manager for 8 years, succeeding Weldon Rucker, under whom he served as Deputy City Manager. It has been widely rumored that the baton will again be passed to a City Hall insider, in this case to Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel. -more-
Report on Berkeley City Employee Costs, Proposed Savings and Action Plan Released:
An Updated Comparison of 12 Greater Bay Area Cities
The Berkeley Budget SOS organization has prepared and forwarded to the Berkeley City Council a report and updated analysis of costs for city employee salaries, benefits and overtime/other cash payments for 12 Bay Area cities, including the City of Berkeley. It is based on the Public Employees Database (PED) and data provided directly to Berkeley Budget SOS by City of Berkeley staff.
According to the report, in all categories Berkeley ranks significantly above the 12 city average, and in some cases is the highest of all cities in the survey.
The analysis estimates that the City of Berkeley could realize annual recurring savings of $68 Million to $100 Million if the aggregate of employee costs were reduced to that of the regional average.
As a means of achieving this goal Berkeley Budget SOS proposes the implementation of a 10-Point Action Plan.
The full text of the report can be seen here. -more-
Alta Bates Summit, Nurses' Union Dispute Responsibility for Patient's Death after Replacement Administers Wrong Medication
Hospital officials and union leaders traded blame yesterday for the death of a patient at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland early Saturday due to a medical error by a replacement nurse. -more-
Republican students at UC Berkeley are holding a controversial "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" on campus today to highlight their opposition to state Senate Bill 185. -more-
"Every school a garden, every child a gardener, every plant a learning experience"—Kid Grow Australia
The typical schoolyard of unappealing, hard, grey, uneven, and usually broken asphalt fosters little interaction or playfulness and does nothing to connect children with nature, play, or learning. In addition there is great concern about the substantial rise in child obesity and diabetes throughout the country and the amount of time children are bound up by electronics, and not in contact with nature. It’s vital that we help kids to be better informed and more aware of the food they eat, to get them outdoors, and be more active.
Gardening is about all of this plus it fosters imagination and optimism. The idea that you plant a tiny seed and it turns into a plant is magical in itself. Last week a new light appeared that is prominently working to shift drab grey to bright green and moving towards creating a new generation that is closer attuned to nature and the environment.
Engaging Our Grounds, the first International Green Schoolyard Conference in the United States was held September 16-18, 2011 with events held in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. The three-day conference brought together a world of designers, architects, landscape architects, teachers, administrators, parents, publishers, and gardening experts to share and learn about programs already thriving as models in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and here in the Bay Area. The sponsors for the event included Bay Tree Design—a landscape architecture and planning firm, based in Berkeley; the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance—a non-profit, focused on San Francisco schools; and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR)/New Village Press—a green building non-profit and publisher. Several dozen exhibitors provided valuable information and resource materials on the event’s opening night in San Francisco. -more-
“Park(ing) Day” came to Berkeley on September 16, 2011. The annual worldwide event originated in San Francisco in 2005 when the Rebar design studio temporarily turned a parking space into a mini-park, with turf, seating, and a boxed tree. It was a statement about creating “temporary public spaces” where the car is dominant, and/or urban outdoor space is scarce. -more-