A Permanent Recession
a new volunteer turned in a completed petition last week,
it inspired a question: "How many people have turned
in petitions?" Here's something truly amazing: we've
now received petitions with completed affidavits from 83
volunteers! That's a phenomenal rate of participation, even
as our base has grown to over 140 volunteers!
And while we're told it's always a handful of people who
do the bulk of the work in a community effort, any way you
look at our numbers, they're good! For example, we no longer
have just a few "star" petitioners collecting
all the signatures. In 2006 our top 10 petitioners collected
4 out of every 5 signatures. But today, with more volunteers
working hard for our cause, the top 10 petitioners are only
responsible for 2 out of 3 signatures. That means more and
more people in the community are getting involved and getting
the job done. Talk about moving in the right direction!
are all these wonderful people? They come from all walks
of life and are just as diverse as the Altadena census.
Since petitioning is naturally a solitary activity, we rarely
get to see our fellow Altadena School activists. But they
are from all parts of the community and now represent almost
25% of the electorate!
Some have asked about the banners that started popping up
on Pasadena Unified School District campuses almost as soon
as the 2009 California Standardized Testing and Reporting
(STAR) exams were turned in a few weeks ago. The 2009 STAR
results won't be published until mid-August. The banners
you've been seeing fit the usual pattern of PUSD pre-positioning
their academic progress prior to the CA Dept of Education's
release of the STAR data. If prior years are any guide,
you'll be seeing more positioning activity as we get closer
to the 2009 STAR release date.
Some of these banner's assertions of academic progress are
predictably silly. Others twist well-intentioned efforts
to rank schools nationally in the absence of national standards.
PUSD's current interpretation of Marshall Fundamental's
presence in a Newsweek ranking is an example of the latter.
To explain: several years ago, Washington Post Education
columnist and Work Hard Be Nice author Jay Mathews came
up with a simple metric for ranking high schools that could
be applied to all 50 states. To summarize, this method takes
the number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate
(IB), and Cambridge exams given and divides them by the
number of graduating seniors for each school. Offer lots
of AP, IB, and Cambridge exams and keep those seniors in
their seats all the way to graduation and one can make it
onto Jay's Newsweek list.
But does getting onto Jay's list prepare students for success
in college? Does it close the academic achievement gap?
Does it provide equal opportunity? Does getting onto Jay's
list by itself prepare students for an economy that, even
before the current recession, was providing opportunities
only for people with a better education? You be the judge!
Click on this link: Marshall
Fundamental in Newsweek (5 pages, PDF).
A Permanent Recession
you ever wondered what the academic achievement gap might
be costing in terms of lower earnings, poorer health, and/or
higher rates of incarceration?
Whatever its size, common sense tells us that the economic
impact of our huge achievement gap must also be huge. In
a recent study McKinsey & Company attempted to quantify
the impact of the achievement gap. According to McKinsey
"These educational gaps impose on the United States
the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession."
To see a summary of this study, click on: The
Impact of the Achievement Gap (24 pages, PDF).
If you have not yet joined us as a volunteer, you're running
out of time to help collect signatures! We are now collecting
our last 575. Even if you can only collect a few signatures,
your participation counts! Please click: Get