Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Unionized UC Berkeley students occupy Provost’s office

Go to college?  Close down the college.  Just like in the 1960’s when the Viet Nam shut down schools, this is about lazy students not willing to debate and discuss issues—instead prefer to be bullies and stop the free speech rights of others.

“The University of California, Berkeley student workers’ union staged a sit-in Tuesday to demand higher wages, the disarming of campus police, and financial support for illegal immigrants.

According to The Daily Californian, members of the UC Student-Workers Union – UAW 2865 (UCSWU) occupied Sproul Hall to protest expensive on-campus housing and low wages, as well as in support of numerous social justice initiatives.

“Whose university? Our university!…No justice, no peace!”    Tweet This

The UCSWU, which represents more than 17,000 student workers from UC campuses, claims that roughly 60 members participated in the protest, about half of whom occupied the office of Fiona Doyle, vice provost for Graduate Studies and dean of the Graduate Division.

Those involved need to be expelled from all UC campuses—permanently.  They should have been arrested for trespassing.  We allow these violations to exist because Administrators are weak kneed and afraid of standing up for the rights of the majority when bullies try to shout them down.

student sit in

Unionized UC Berkeley students occupy Provost’s office

Grace Gottschling, Campus Reform,  8/9/18

  • About 60 members of the UC Student Workers Union staged a sit-in at the University of California, Berkeley on Tuesday, with about 20 protesters occupying an administrator’s office to read their list of demands.
  • In addition to higher wages, the union workers are demanding that the school guarantee them free tuition and childcare, subsidize their housing costs, disarm the campus police, and provide financial support to illegal immigrants.

 

The University of California, Berkeley student workers’ union staged a sit-in Tuesday to demand higher wages, the disarming of campus police, and financial support for illegal immigrants.

According to The Daily Californian, members of the UC Student-Workers Union – UAW 2865 (UCSWU) occupied Sproul Hall to protest expensive on-campus housing and low wages, as well as in support of numerous social justice initiatives.

“Whose university? Our university!…No justice, no peace!”    Tweet This

The UCSWU, which represents more than 17,000 student workers from UC campuses, claims that roughly 60 members participated in the protest, about half of whom occupied the office of Fiona Doyle, vice provost for Graduate Studies and dean of the Graduate Division.

UCSWU, whose slogan is “Agitate! Educate! Organize!,” is currently negotiating a new contract with the University of California system, and at the time of the protest had already scheduled negotiations for Thursday and Friday.

During the occupation portion of the sit-in, about 20 union members read their demands to Doyle while crowding into her office wearing matching red shirts.

According to its “Bargaining Goals,” the union has 12 demands, which include full off-campus childcare coverage, dismissal of mandatory tuition and fees, improved cost of housing, and the provision of housing and legal support to illegal immigrant student workers affected by “immigration law, travel bans, and/or Executive Orders.”

A June social media post from the union features an image of numerous UCSWU flyers demanding support for additional various social justice policies, which include banning ICE from campus and a call to “disarm & demilitarize UC police.”

The organization claims on social media that only “1% of the UC’s budget [is used] for workers who provide >50% of all instruction at the university,” adding that new university housing costs “$2,100 a month or 106% of student worker salary.”

Images and video of the protest, published by UCSWU, show students sitting and standing in Doyle’s office, as well as in the halls of the Sproul building, wearing matching red shirts featuring the organization’s logo, a raised fist closed around a pencil.

According to the Daily Cal, students began chanting “Whose university? Our university!” and “No justice, no peace!” as they left the building.

Although Doyle listened politely to the group’s demands, which even included calls to “divert her $317,000 salary to student workers,” some UCSWU members aren’t convinced that their demonstration made an impact.

“I’m disappointed that we weren’t heard here today by Fiona Doyle, but I’m not surprised,”  union chapter chair, Maggie Downey, told the protesting students. “But I’m really heartened by everyone being here today.”

In May, the group organized a similar protest, during which they demanded that the university “immediately impose a freeze on rent at UC housing complexes, remove discriminatory language from lease agreements across UC, and bargain with the Student-Workers Union to establish affordable housing across the UC system,” according to a press release.

“Our goal is to reach a multiyear agreement that recognizes the significant contributions of academic student employees by providing fair pay, family-friendly benefits, a safe workplace, and good working conditions,” Danielle Smith, a UC spokesperson, told the Daily Cal.

Neither UC Berkeley or UCSWU has responded to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

 

City of Mountain View tells Facebook Its Employees MUST Use Local Restaurants

One of the benefits of working for law firms, financial companies and in the tech industry is that the businesses try to keep the employees at their desks for as long as possible.  One way is to feed them, provide lunch and snakes for them, so they are not waiting in line to order lunch or pay the bill.  San Fran is about to outlaw tech companies serving food to employees.  Now Mountain View is about to do the same.

“Currently, Facebook’s main campus in Menlo Park is the stuff of lore. The 430,000 square foot compound offers perks like an onsite cleaners, a dentist and free food — basically a smorgasbord of anything your heart desires — custom omelets, braised beef, handmade sushi and desserts often made to order by trained chefs.

For the company’s employees, you really never have to leave the office. It’s what lured Ben Werner to California all the way from France to get a tour of the campus. He wanted to see for himself all of the perks he’s read so much about.

“I’d like to have those things taken care of,” Werner says. “I guess it would mean I’d spend more time at work, but then I guess it’s a two-way street that benefits us both.”

But about eight miles away, in Mountain View — also the home of Google — free food, at least at the new Facebook campus — won’t be on the menu.

I am not a fan of Facebook.  But, they have the absolute right to negotiate with employees for wages, working conditions and benefits, without government interference.  In this case, Facebook wants to provide food for employees—why should government interfere?  Because local restaurants are not getting the business.  That is called the Free Market.    Feed the Facebook Employees!!!

Whole_Foods_Markham_Canada

For Some Facebook Employees, Free Food Is Coming to an End

Tonya Mosley, KQED,  8/13/18

For years, tech employees of companies in Silicon Valley have enjoyed free meals around the clock. That’s changing — at least in Mountain View, where the city is banning the social media giant Facebook from offering free food in its newest office building.

Currently, Facebook’s main campus in Menlo Park is the stuff of lore. The 430,000 square foot compound offers perks like an onsite cleaners, a dentist and free food — basically a smorgasbord of anything your heart desires — custom omelets, braised beef, handmade sushi and desserts often made to order by trained chefs.

For the company’s employees, you really never have to leave the office. It’s what lured Ben Werner to California all the way from France to get a tour of the campus. He wanted to see for himself all of the perks he’s read so much about.

“I’d like to have those things taken care of,” Werner says. “I guess it would mean I’d spend more time at work, but then I guess it’s a two-way street that benefits us both.”

But about eight miles away, in Mountain View — also the home of Google — free food, at least at the new Facebook campus — won’t be on the menu.

“We believe these companies are part of our community,” says Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel. “A growing number of their employees live in our community, and we want them to be a part of our community.”

Siegel, a Democrat, says that for years, restaurant owners have complained that employees of Google never come out to eat or shop. So when the city learned that Facebook would be opening a new office in the fall of 2018 at a building project known as the Village at San Antonio Center, the city passed a project-specific requirement that bars the company from providing free daily meals to employees at any in-house cafeteria. The company is also prevented from providing deeply discounted meals.

Along with the internal cafeterias, corporate catering companies have also come to rely on serving food to big tech companies.

Under the agreement between Mountain View and Facebook, meals within the Facebook offices can’t be subsidized by more than 50 percent on a regular basis. However, the company can fully subsidize meals if employees go to restaurants that are open to the public. Mayor Siegel acknowledges there are still a few kinks that need to be smoothed out.

“Facebook is a global company and some of their people work in the middle of the night,” Siegel says. “If all the restaurants are closed, maybe I would be open to considering food service in the middle of the night.”

Facebook spokesperson Jamil Walker says the company is still working out the details of what this new arrangement will look like. “We found the location attractive because of its proximity to public transportation, housing and public-serving amenities like shops and restaurants,” says Walker.

Siegel says Facebook has suggested ideas like turning the ground floor into a food court with local restaurants that are open to the public.

Erika Rasmussen, the manager of Milk Pail Market, an open-air grocery store next to the new building, is looking forward to figuring out the best way to serve the 2,000 employees expected to converge on the area when the new office opens. “We don’t want Facebook to overwhelm this area, but we do want Facebook to support this area, because we will need their patronage to survive,” Rasmussen says.

Deepak Rao, a tech employee at a startup in Silicon Valley, says perks aren’t the defining reason he and his colleagues do the work that they do. But sometimes, he says, when you’re working long hours, perks like free food, feel like a necessity.

“To go out and drive, eat whatever, that could take an hour and a half, which you might not have,” says Rao. So for tech companies, it’s been worth it to keep employees at work, for as long as they can stay, by providing food in-house. These new laws will change what’s become a given in Silicon Valley work culture.

The city of San Francisco is considering a similar measure that would ban cafeterias in all new office buildings, forcing tech employees to venture out and share a bit of the wealth outside of their walls.

 

California taps paraprofessionals, non-instructional staff as teachers

There is a teacher shortage.  LAUSD has quietly been importing teachers from Mexico.  Now we have Districts giving teacher training to janitors, bus drivers and other staff—bringing them into the classroom, with proper training.  Actually that is a great idea—moving people up the ladder.

  • “A variety of California school employees — from bus drivers and secretaries to yard supervisors and instructional assistants — are getting state grants to earn their teaching credentials, The Sacramento Bee reports.
  • The California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program aims to address the dearth of teachers in the state, especially in special education.
  • The grants pay $4,000 annually per participant for up to five years to help them complete a bachelor’s degree and earn a teaching credential, with participants taking classes in the evening as a group, and the first cohort is expected to be fully credentialed by 2020.”

Of course, government schools are losing enrollments.  But, many teachers are retiring—and after five years up to half the new teachers leave the profession.  Still this is a great movement, to train teachers—maybe this crowd will be interested in education instead of indoctrination, that would be an added bonus.

Teacher

California taps paraprofessionals, non-instructional staff as teachers

Christina Vercelletto, Education Dive,  8/13/18

Dive Brief:

  • A variety of California school employees — from bus drivers and secretaries to yard supervisors and instructional assistants — are getting state grants to earn their teaching credentials, The Sacramento Bee reports.
  • The California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program aims to address the dearth of teachers in the state, especially in special education.
  • The grants pay $4,000 annually per participant for up to five years to help them complete a bachelor’s degree and earn a teaching credential, with participants taking classes in the evening as a group, and the first cohort is expected to be fully credentialed by 2020.

Dive Insight:

Almost every state has a shortage of special education teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, or both, according to the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services. The organization lists insufficient funding for programs to lure new graduates and lack of support for their professional training as reasons.

Recruiting paraprofessionals as special-education teachers is a method increasingly relied upon by district leaders to meet the growing need. Grants obviously ease a main hurdle for those prospective teachers. But aside from the cost of tuition, the expense of textbooks and fees for the licensing tests and the accompanying test-prep instruction are barriers, as well.

Plus, getting teaching credentials can be logistically time-consuming and overwhelming. A valuable type of support administrators can extend is coaching paras through all the red tape. For aspiring special education teachers, the crucial individualized education program process can be particularly daunting. Training and support specific to IEPs can go a long way to easing the pathway to certification, as can district-provided training in positive behavior interventions and supports.

Since instructional support staff usually live in the community, transitioning those in assistant roles to lead teachers comes with a unique benefit: A more diverse and bilingual group of teachers, who likely have existing relationships with their students to build on. Also, many paraprofessionals already work with special education students, so they’re an obvious pool from which to seek special education teachers.

But they also face unique difficulties that teachers who took the traditional route often don’t. They may not command respect from colleagues who are used to thinking of them as support staff, and they may already be parents, thus juggling childcare and other responsibilities. School leaders who anticipate such challenges and are prepared with supports to address them will be most successful in turning paras into fulfilled lead instructors they’re able to retain for the long-term.

Recommended Reading:

In wake of Supreme Court’s anti-union ruling, nonmembers seek repayment of dues

It is time for unions to give back to citizens they forced to give them money in exchange for holding jobs.  It took a long time, but the Supreme Court made it clear—stealing from workers is illegal.  Now the money needs to be returned.

“Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who won the Supreme Court case in June, became the latest to demand repayment from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for what he estimates is roughly $2,000 in dues he is owed.

All told, billions of dollars could be at stake for hundreds of thousands of government workers. But first they will have to prove they’re entitled to collect on the old payments.

“It’s quite clear workers can go and get refunds for whatever the statute of limitations is in their state,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who represented Mr. Janus.

Others aren’t so sure, saying the justices didn’t say anything about repayments.

Seriously, does the Supreme Court have to tell criminals they must return the stolen money?  That is part of the deal—you stole, you return the money.  Of course, if the unions returned the money they stole they would not have the funds to buy elections, so they can steal more money.

SEIU-California-340x250

In wake of Supreme Court’s anti-union ruling, nonmembers seek repayment of dues

By Alex Swoyer – The Washington Times, 8/12/18

The labor movement unions suffered a major hit to the pocketbook after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions could not force nonmembers to pay dues — and now some of those who had paid for years say they want their money back.

Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who won the Supreme Court case in June, became the latest to demand repayment from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for what he estimates is roughly $2,000 in dues he is owed.

All told, billions of dollars could be at stake for hundreds of thousands of government workers. But first they will have to prove they’re entitled to collect on the old payments.

“It’s quite clear workers can go and get refunds for whatever the statute of limitations is in their state,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who represented Mr. Janus.

Others aren’t so sure, saying the justices didn’t say anything about repayments.

“In my view, it’s very unlikely that there will be any retroactivity with respect to this decision, and the reason for that is the Janus decision overruled 41-year-old precedent,” said Mitchell Rubinstein, a New York based lawyer. “It changed existing law.”

The high court overturned a 1977 case when it ruled 5-4 in Mr. Janus’ favor. The justices said Mr. Janus was right to complain about being forced to pay dues to a labor union that then used his money to advocate for public policies on education or health care that he disagreed with.

The court said the dues were an infringement on Mr. Janus’ free speech rights.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said losing access to non-members’ money could be “unpleasant” for the unions but Americans’ First Amendment rights needed to be maintained.

“It is hard to estimate how many bil-lions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” Justice Alito wrote.

Even before the ruling, Mr. Semmens‘ organization was battling on behalf of Debora Nearman, an Oregon state employee who objected to her union’s dues. She recently settled with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 for roughly $3,000, the amount permitted under the statute of limitations in Oregon for claims brought when civil rights are violated.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation also is representing a class-action lawsuit of more than 30,000 employees in California who are suing the SEIU over its policies, and seeking reimbursement in light of the Supreme Court’s latest ruling.

“We actually estimated for them that the over 30,000 workers could be entitled to over a $100 million in refunds,” Mr. Semmens said.

The class-action appeal is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which held off issuing a decision until the Supreme Court settled the Janus case.

But the union may be more apt to fight the class action all the way to the high court on the issue of repayment, rather than settle a dispute that could cost more than $100 million.

SEIU did not respond to a request for comment.

Another class action in Washington state following the Supreme Court’s ruling also is pending against the Washington Federation of State Employees, according to Fox News.

Mr. Semmens‘ foundation is representing six people seeking a refund from their unions. There are about 20 cases across the country in which nonmembers are seeking repayment.

A Cautionary Tale for Politicians Pushing Universal Preschool

Every study shows, after a generation, that after 3-4 years “Head Start” and other pre-school programs being mandated by government have no effect on education for the children—these programs are pretending to be educationally, when they are baby sitting efforts.

“In a study published in the current edition of The Economic Journal, the researchers found that  “the policy led to small improvements in attainment at age 5,” yet “the effects are short-lived for all groups, becoming essentially zero by age 7.” This finding echoes those of many U.S. studies, which consistently find that any educational gains from preschool fade out over time.

Nevertheless, U.S. preschool advocates from President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio continue to press for the adoption of universal pre-K, or “UPK” in the lingo, as a way to elevate student achievement.”

If government didn’t create artificial business requirements, made it hard for people to survive due to permits, regulations and taxation, maybe more families could take care of the children.  Instead government has an earlier opportunity to indoctrinate kids—is that what we want?

School-education-learning-1750587-h

A Cautionary Tale for Politicians Pushing Universal Preschool

By Red Jahncke, National Review, 6/20/16   

Yet another study has found that preschool yields no significant educational benefits. After spending £2 billion annually for almost a decade to fund an expansion of preschool to cover all three-year-olds, the United Kingdom had no lasting improvements in educational achievement to show for it, researchers have found.

In a study published in the current edition of The Economic Journal, the researchers found that  “the policy led to small improvements in attainment at age 5,” yet “the effects are short-lived for all groups, becoming essentially zero by age 7.” This finding echoes those of many U.S. studies, which consistently find that any educational gains from preschool fade out over time.

Nevertheless, U.S. preschool advocates from President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio continue to press for the adoption of universal pre-K, or “UPK” in the lingo, as a way to elevate student achievement.

Well, the only thing “universal” about preschool is its failure to produce educational gains. Preschool programs of all shapes and sizes, both in the U.S. and in the U.K., have failed in this goal. Preschool programs do, however, serve an essential function in providing day care so parents can work.

When the U.K. program was introduced in 2000, about 82 percent of British parents already were placing their three-year-olds in preschool or day care, and about half of them were in private programs for which parents paid in full. Self-funders in the private sector took advantage of the program’s offer of government funding (£1,130 per child in the initial year) with the result that government-funded places increased from 37 percent to 88 percent of total enrollment by 2007, the end year of the study period, when national preschool attendance by three-year-olds hit 96 percent. There was no expansion of publicly run preschools, only of publicly subsidized private programs.

Obviously, a mere change of the source of tuition funding wouldn’t generate educational benefits. A modest and gradual 14-percentage-point increase in participation would be unlikely to change the average achievement of the group, especially since it didn’t involve much change in the schools themselves — none in the public sector and only incremental increases in enrollment in the private sector.

Accordingly, while a central aim of the program was to elevate educational achievement, it is not surprising that it did not. Indeed, the lead researcher, Dr. Birgitta Rabe, told me that she was not surprised that it did not.

Unfortunately, advocates of preschool generally refuse to accept evidence contrary to their beliefs.

Unfortunately, advocates of preschool generally refuse to accept evidence contrary to their beliefs. They usually complain that programs fail because of insufficient “quality.” They argue that, if “quality” programs were provided, it would enable preschool to achieve its inherent, but heretofore unrealized, potential to deliver real educational impact.

Even Rabe and her co-authors fall into this trap, blaming the failure of the studied program on its exclusive reliance upon an “increase in private provision, where quality is lower on average than in the public sector.” They posit that preschool’s efficacy should logically be assumed: “A priori, one might think that early education has benefits for children’s development.”

Acting on this supposition, they undertook an additional study of children who attended preschool in the academic years 2008–10, as distinct from the 2000–07 cohort that was the subject of the main study. This additional study, using a key data set unavailable before 2008, is covered in the Economic Journal article as well.

In the additional study, the authors find that “quality,” defined as the “presence of staff qualified to degree level,” raised children’s performance at age five on the U.K.’s national academic performance test, the Foundation Stage Profile, “by around 2-3% of standard deviation.” The authors characterize this as “statistically significant.”

The authors’ finding is hardly a slam dunk. First, not all statisticians would consider 2 to 3 percent of standard deviation to be meaningful. Second, there’s no later-age data yet available for children who were three-year-olds in the years 2008–2010. There’s no telling whether the gain would survive the famous “fade-out” effect found in most studies of preschoolers, including the authors’ main study. The authors acknowledge elsewhere in the article that “fade-out is a common empirical finding in many studies analyzing early educational interventions.”

The authors reference other research allegedly supporting their belief that preschool  can improve school achievement, but they do not mention the $9 billion-per-year U.S. Head Start preschool program for low-income kids. During the Bush and Obama administrations, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a multiyear study of Head Start, concluding in December 2012 that the program had “no significant impacts” on educational achievement.

Instead, the authors cite the so-called Perry preschool project as “the strongest evidence in support of early years interventions.” Indeed, Perry is mythic in the pre-K advocacy community. It is cited frequently — and wrongly — as evidence of pre-K efficacy. It is so legendary and so foundational in the UPK movement that no discussion of pre-K is complete without comment on Perry.

Perry was an extremely small (too small to be statistically valid) 1960s experiment (too old to be relevant today) involving 123 “at risk” low-IQ (70–85) children from one poor minority neighborhood in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The kids were divided into a study group that received two years of “high-quality” preschool and a control group that did not.

The Perry study group had the same 2.5 hours of preschool instruction each weekday as was funded by the U.K.’s UPK program. However, it employed four certified public-school teachers for 20–25 kids — the highest “quality” imaginable and something patently unaffordable on a larger scale. Also, there were weekly 1.5-hour teacher visits to the home and monthly teacher meetings with the parent group.

So what did Perry achieve? A large claimed gain in IQ of 15 points, but the gain disappeared by the end of third grade.

So what did Perry achieve? A large claimed gain in IQ of 15 points, but the gain disappeared by the end of third grade. The famous “fade out” again.

There was a vast difference between the Perry study group and its control group. Perry pre-dated Head Start. The control group experienced no intervention, just life in a poor minority neighborhood. One would have thought that the Perry study group’s intensive enrichment should have achieved some lasting educational advantage compared with a control group that was left so destitute Rabe et al acknowledge as much, writing, “One would expect the effects of the policy to be positive if the quality of the counterfactual is low and/or if the quality of the additional childcare is high.”Given this standard, one wonders why they cited Perry as evidence of the educational efficacy of preschool. The only educational gains found in the Perry study group were less time spent in special education at unspecified grade levels and a lower high-school drop-out rate. These are imprecise measures at best, occurring randomly and/or many years afterward. The only credible evidence of preschool efficacy would be better educational test scores consistently thereafter: better scores in elementary, middle, and high school.

The U.K. researchers are self-contradictory also with respect to the effects of “quality,” which they define as having three basic elements: more hours per day, a lower child-staff ratio, and more “qualified” staff. They claim “quality” is important, yet they also refer to “the school effectiveness literature where interventions such as class size reductions and improvements in teacher quality are found to diminish over time.”

Comments

Most troubling is the researchers’ comment about the Conservative Party’s announced plan to expand the U.K.’s decade-and-a-half-old universal preschool program to fund 30 hours per week for working parents The researchers say the plan “is unlikely to generate substantial positive impacts for affected children’s outcomes.” This is absolutely correct. Expanding the program might, however, enhance parents’ employment prospects, since most jobs require that parents work at least 30 hours per week.

In fact, Dr. Rabe and her colleagues are now engaged in a study of the impact of longer school hours for young children on parental labor-force participation. Unsurprisingly, the initial findings are that longer hours do lead to increased participation. Given the lack of evidence that preschool generates any measureable and lasting improvement in educational outcomes no matter the setting, the format, or the “quality” level, perhaps emphasis should be placed on its role in assisting parents to work, rather than on its ever-elusive educational benefits to children.

Trump Administration Begins ‘Denaturalization’ Effort for Immigrants in L.A.

Donald Trump took an oath of office.  Unlike Obama, he meant it.  Part of the oath was to uphold the laws of the nation.  Now, the Trump Administration, using the law is DENATURALIZING bad people that became citizens via lies or misrepresentations.

““We’re receiving cases where (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) believes there is fraud, where our systems have identified that individuals used more than one identity, sometimes more than two or three identities,” Dan Renaud, the associate director for field operations at the citizenship agency, told The Times. “Those are the cases we’re pursuing.”

The move comes at a time when Trump and top advisors have made it clear that they want to dramatically reduce immigration, both illegal and legal, according to The Times. The administration granted fewer visas and accepted fewer refugees in 2017 than in previous years.”

Democrats seem to have no problem with people coming into this nation illegally.  Nor do they have a problem with folks lying to become a citizen.  Thankfully, President Trump will enforce and obey our laws—think he should denaturalize those that lie to become a citizen?

US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) applaud as US President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017.  / AFP / POOL / JIM LO SCALZO        (Photo credit should read JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump Administration Begins ‘Denaturalization’ Effort for Immigrants in L.A.

Posted by Contributing Editor, MyNewsLA, 8/13/18

 

 

Denaturalization, a complex process once primarily reserved for Nazi war criminals and human rights violators, is on the rise under the Trump administration, and a Citizenship and Immigration Services team in Los Angeles has been reviewing more than 2,500 naturalization files for possible denaturalization, it was reported Monday.

The team is focusing on identity fraud and willful misrepresentation, and more than 100 cases have been referred to the Justice Department for possible action, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We’re receiving cases where (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) believes there is fraud, where our systems have identified that individuals used more than one identity, sometimes more than two or three identities,” Dan Renaud, the associate director for field operations at the citizenship agency, told The Times. “Those are the cases we’re pursuing.”

The move comes at a time when Trump and top advisors have made it clear that they want to dramatically reduce immigration, both illegal and legal, according to The Times. The administration granted fewer visas and accepted fewer refugees in 2017 than in previous years.

Recently, the federal government moved to block victims of gang violence and domestic abuse from claiming asylum. White House senior advisor Stephen Miller is pushing a policy that could make it more difficult for those who have received public benefits, including Obamacare, to become citizens or green card holders, according to multiple news outlets.

Dozens of U.S. mayors, including L.A.’ Eric Garcetti, signed a letter sent to the citizenship agency’ director in late July, criticizing a backlog in naturalization applications and the agency’s commitment of resources to “stripping citizenship from naturalized Americans.”

“The new measure to investigate thousands of cases from almost 30 years ago, under the pretext of the incredibly minimal problem of fraud in citizenship applications, instead of managing resources in a manner that processes the backlogs before them, suggests that the agency is more interested in following an aggressive political agenda rather than its own mission,” the letter stated.

But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports tighter controls, said that “denaturalization, like deportation, is an essential tool to use against those who break the rules.

“It’s for people who are fraudsters, liars,” he said, according to The Times. “We’ve been lax about this for a long time, and this unit that’s been developed is really just a question of taking the law seriously.”

Prop. 5: Sells Homes and Saves $$ for Seniors!!

Prop. 5 has been needed for years.  One reason there is a lack of inventory of homes for sale is because senior stay in their homes to save property tax money.  By allowing them to sell, but keep the Prop. 13 protections there would be more homes for sale—and even if the seniors move out of State, it allows for more homes for inventory.  This is a win for everybody.

Proposition 5, which California voters will decide on this November, allows homeowners age 55 and up to receive a major break on their property taxes when they move homes. Sponsored by the California Association of Realtors, the initiative attempts to address a problem familiar to many Californians of a certain age: You want to move from your empty nest, but you’re scared of the new taxes you’d have to pay on a downsized property.

That dilemma is a byproduct of Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 initiative that capped how much local governments can levy homeowners on escalating home values. If you bought your home in 1988, you’re still paying property taxes based of the value of your home when the Soviet Union was still in existence. It’s a pretty great deal. But try to move into a different—and invariably more expensive—home at today’s prices, and your property taxes will jump dramatically. Those property tax bills could be tough for older homeowners on fixed incomes to afford.”

This is the proper extension of Prop. 13—the ballot measure that for a generation has saved homes for the middle class.

jarvis

Should Baby Boomers get a property tax break to move? The pros and cons of Prop. 5.

By Matt Levin, CalMatters,  8/10/18

Would it be a merciful end to the “moving penalty” or a giveaway to rich homeowners and real estate agents?

Proposition 5, which California voters will decide on this November, allows homeowners age 55 and up to receive a major break on their property taxes when they move homes. Sponsored by the California Association of Realtors, the initiative attempts to address a problem familiar to many Californians of a certain age: You want to move from your empty nest, but you’re scared of the new taxes you’d have to pay on a downsized property.

That dilemma is a byproduct of Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 initiative that capped how much local governments can levy homeowners on escalating home values. If you bought your home in 1988, you’re still paying property taxes based of the value of your home when the Soviet Union was still in existence. It’s a pretty great deal. But try to move into a different—and invariably more expensive—home at today’s prices, and your property taxes will jump dramatically. Those property tax bills could be tough for older homeowners on fixed incomes to afford.

“These are largely larger family homes,” said Steve White, president of the Realtors association. “If these folks were able to sell, then folks in (younger) generations would be able to purchase.”

The Realtors argue that Prop. 5 will induce more senior homeowners to sell their homes and buy new ones. Obviously that’s good for their commissions. But beyond allowing older homeowners to perhaps move closer to their children, the Realtors argue it would bring a flood of new homes to the market perfect for younger households starting their families.

Prop. 5 is opposed by local governments and public employee unions such as teachers and firefighters, who say the initiative is a costly giveaway to wealthy homeowners and the real estate industry. There are plenty of property tax protections already in place for senior homeowners who truly want to downsize. Because of a similar proposition passed decades ago, homeowners age 55 and up can buy a new home of equal or lesser value to their current property anywhere in their own county and retain their Prop. 13 property tax savings. Prop. 5 would allow senior homeowners to buy more expensive homes anywhere in California and still get a large tax break.

“What the real estate industry is really trying to do with this measure is turn the market and drive up prices so their end profit is really to their benefit,” said Dorothy Johnson, an advocate for the California State Association of Counties, which oppose the measure.

The Realtors could not have been pleased with the analysis Prop. 5 received from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which voters will see included in their sample ballots this fall. It concludes that Prop. 5 would eventually costs local governments and schools $2 billion a year in revenue, and that the vast majority of Baby Boomers who would benefit from the initiative were likely going to move anyway. In other words, the initiative was not likely to induce a lot of people to move or result in lower home prices.

That’s partly why the Realtors have pursued a somewhat odd political strategy—while pushing for Prop. 5’s passage this fall, they’re already planning to put a very similar initiative on the ballot in 2020. That initiative would provide the same property tax breaks for older homeowners, but would also close some Prop. 13 loopholes to lessen the cost on local governments.

In this episode of Gimme Shelter,  Matt and Liam delve into the politics and policy of Prop 5. They interview Steve White, president of California Association of Realtors, and Dorothy Johnson, an advocate for the California State Association of Counties.

Public Agencies’ Secret Sexual Harassment Settlements Cost South Bay Taxpayers Millions

Government agencies are pout of control.  Now that the #metoo movement is in full swing, lots of folks are demanding money for harassment, perceived harassment and for being inconvenienced.  Some are real instances of bad behavior.  While there is a report on the financial settlements, why isn’t there a report on who has been FIRED for bad behavior—if any?

“Prosecutors say Caparra raped one other youth ward of the Santa Clara County correctional facility. Attorneys for one victim say she molested at least three. Her attorney declined to comment. The Sheriff’s Office arrested Caparra last fall on 17 counts of sexual assault, but only after the victim sued.

The cost to taxpayers to settle the case: $205,000.

At the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a female project manager reported that a supervisor would rub her thighs, graze her breasts, hug her and try to kiss her. In 2013, the agency paid $130,000 to settle her claim.”

For years these issues have been hidden.  Now that they are out in the open we need a complete report—are those who caused the abused of women still on taxpayer payrolls?  Why?  If not, did the agency sue the perpetrator for the cost of the settlement—if not, why not.  We need all the information. Not just some of it.

ShakingHandsWithMoney

Public Agencies’ Secret Sexual Harassment Settlements Cost South Bay Taxpayers Millions

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside, 8/1/18

 

Tricia Caparra allegedly groomed a boy half her age by urging him to share intimate, painful details about his life. Police say the staff counselor at the William F. James Boys Ranch, a youth correctional facility in Morgan Hill, put the 17-year-old at enough ease for him to open up about his feelings of abandonment and isolation.

Weeks into their daily conversations, Caparra allegedly told the teen to call her “Lotus,” a Buddhist symbol of love and compassion, and soon began calling him “babe.” Over the ensuing five months and even after the boy’s release in August 2016, he says the counselor sexually assaulted him. When he asked to end the encounters, the boy says she resorted to emotional manipulation and threatened to cut herself.

Prosecutors say Caparra raped one other youth ward of the Santa Clara County correctional facility. Attorneys for one victim say she molested at least three. Her attorney declined to comment. The Sheriff’s Office arrested Caparra last fall on 17 counts of sexual assault, but only after the victim sued.

The cost to taxpayers to settle the case: $205,000.

At the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a female project manager reported that a supervisor would rub her thighs, graze her breasts, hug her and try to kiss her. In 2013, the agency paid $130,000 to settle her claim.

Three women in the county’s Public Health Department records division complained about the same colleague groping, kissing, stalking and even growling at them. Despite repeatedly notifying personnel staff, the women said his behavior continued unchecked for months in 2015. The county paid $55,000 to three victims to eschew trial.

A police dispatcher in Milpitas accused her boss of sexually harassing her verbally and physically from the day she got the job in 1999 through 2015. At least one other higher-up witnessed the abuse, she says, but turned a blind eye. It cost the city $585,000 to settle—one of the region’s highest sexual harassment payouts in the past decade.

The list goes on with allegations that range from off-color innuendos and unwanted touching to sexual assault. The accusers include 9-1-1 dispatchers, records clerks, a fitness instructor and jail guards. Alleged offenders comprise mostly men but a couple women and run the gamut from middle managers to high-ranking bureaucrats, a police chief and even a personnel boss.

While the California Legislature and state agencies have undergone a drawn-out reckoning over sexual harassment, their local government counterparts in the South Bay have largely escaped scrutiny.

The very nature of the crime, frequently unwitnessed, along with shoddy record-keeping and legal mechanisms to keep settlements secret, such as arbitration and nondisclosure agreements, make it difficult to assess the extent of the harassment scourge. Meanwhile, efforts to shed light on the problem by requiring annual reporting, such as the Ending Secrecy About Workplace Sexual Harassment Act introduced in 2017 by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), remain parked in committee.

Signed and Settled

San Jose Inside/Metro Silicon Valley has determined that the South Bay’s largest government agencies collectively paid at least $2.5 million to settle 18 sexual harassment lawsuits before trial in the last dozen years.

How much they spent in other legal costs remains a unclear. As does how it compares to other points in time, since there’s no official inter-agency tally and San Jose Inside/Metro only obtained records from 2006 to last year. A review of documents from every South Bay city as well as the Santa Clara County Office of Education, Valley Transportation Authority, water district and county identified more than 50 sexual harassment lawsuits involving eight agencies. That doesn’t count internal claims or those submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which would number in the hundreds.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest public entity in the valley accounted for the bulk of those cases. Records show that only 125 of the county’s 17,000 or so workers filed internal sexual harassment complaints from 2006 through the end of last year. Of those claims, 11 escalated to state or federal regulators, 28 resulted in litigation and eight ended with a collective $1.5 million in payouts.

San Jose, an agency with some 5,000-plus employees by comparison, counted 173 allegations of sexual harassment in the past 12 years. Six of those claims resulted in litigation and three in monetary settlements that collectively amounted to $253,600.

Still, context is hard to come by.

A Sacramento Bee investigation earlier this year found that California’s 230,000-employee executive branch—the state’s largest employer behind the federal government—spent $25 million to settle sexual harassment claims since 2015. The state’s 198,000-employee University of California system paid only $3.9 million in that same timeframe.

Florida, which has a state-employed workforce half the size of California’s, paid $11 million in the past three decades to settle such claims, according to an Associated Press report. The state of New York shelled out the same amount for settlements in the past decade. California outpaces both those states in the number of cases and the cost of settling them. But with no region-to-region comparison, it’s hard to tell how the Silicon Valley stacks up to other parts of California.

In all the agencies reviewed by San Jose Inside, the smallest settlement amounted to $10,000, which San Jose paid in 2014 to termed-out Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio’s former chief of staff, Denelle Fedor, who accused her old boss of verbal gender-based harassment. The largest payout in a single case went to former jail guards Jona Trbovich and Shonda Santos, who in 2016 split a $600,000 settlement over a claim of rampant and egregious sexual misconduct at the San Jose Main Jail.

System Failure

For as long as Trbovich worked at the Sheriff’s Office, she says she endured sexual harassment. In the academy back in 1995, she recalls colleagues making incessant remarks about her sexual appeal.

Over the years, according to her legal claim, Trbovich overheard male jail deputies talk about wanting to have sex with her. Fellow officers confessed their fantasies to inmates, per the lawsuit, and even encouraged them—some of whom were locked up on charges of rape and child molestation—to try to have sex with her.

Some officers told her directly that they wanted to “fuck her,” Trbovich says. One asked her to send him a photo of her breasts. Others harassed, ostracized and ridiculed her because of her relationship with a black man, which prompted remarks that were both racist and sexist.

“When will you give us white guys a chance?” some officers allegedly teased her.

Trbovich singles out two superiors in her lawsuit: sergeants Douglas Ulrich and Michael Morin. Ulrich wrongfully accused her of sleeping with black inmates, she says, and would stalk in and out of the jail and sent coworkers to spy on her. The unwanted attention irked Trbovich’s female colleagues so much that they’d often leave her to eat lunch and work out alone during her breaks, the lawsuit claims. With officers “on the prowl,” she says she began hiding during her breaks in the women’s bathroom.

In 2014, she filed a sexual harassment complaint. That only made matters worse, she says. Ulrich allegedly retaliated by ramping up his bad behavior, giving her “dirty looks,” calling her sexually suggestive names and egging on inmates to treat her disrespectfully.

Ulrich then accused Trbovich of sneaking drugs in the jail and having sex with inmates. She says she was only under fire because she didn’t respond to his advances. According to Trbovich and her fellow plaintiff, their mistreatment was symptom of a broader cultural problem at the agency that predated her own tenure.

In 2005—five years before the county placed jails back under purview of the Sheriff Laurie Smith and her jails chief, Undersheriff John Hirokawa—veteran officer Lorie Sills says she was forced to have sex with multiple superiors during an assistant chief’s retirement party. She reported being told to sleep with numerous assistant chiefs and captains if she wanted to earn her promotion from acting to permanent lieutenant. The Trbovich claim characterizes the harassment Sills faced as relentless and pervasive.

“This meant that Sills came to work each day—knowing that other male and female officers were watching—expecting at least one of her male superiors to summon her to their office or some other location for sexual favors,” the lawsuit alleges.

Despite enduring the alleged abuse, Sills never secured that promotion. According to court records, Sills complained about the discrimination to the agency’s Internal Affairs unit. Lt. Jose Santiago, who ran the division, reportedly took her word for it and bypassed then-jails chief Ed Flores by bringing the Santos complaint directly to the county Board of Supervisors. Santiago had to litigate his own defense a short time later, claiming he was “blackballed” for reporting Sills’ complaint to the board and denied promotions from that day forward. He died before reaching a settlement in his case. And while the county paid Sills to sideline her lawsuit, none of her abusers were disciplined for how they treated her, the Trbovich lawsuit claims.

Santos, who joined Trbovich’s claim against the county, says she was subject to similar treatment for years before reporting it. In 2000, she says Morin pulled her into an office and demanded that she expose her breasts. For the ensuing decade and beyond, she says Morin assiduously harassed her, calling her “hot,” saying how much he wanted to “fuck her” and how good he was at “licking pussy.” He also allegedly showed Trbovich photos of his penis. In July of 2014, Morin allegedly walked into the women’s locker room to ogle Santos while she changed out of a “hot white dress” into her uniform. That same month, he also reportedly told her he was retiring anyway, so she should at least let him “lick her pussy” since she wouldn’t let him “do her.”

Ulrich allegedly harassed Santos, too, prompting her to file a complaint against him in 2013. The Department of Corrections, however, failed to respond to the claim, her lawsuit alleges, and did nothing to hold Ulrich accountable. That wasn’t the first complaint from Santos, and it wasn’t the first time the county displayed indifference to women reporting abuse at the hands of male officers, she says.

Their attorney Na’il Benjamin says he’s disappointed by the outcome because they deserved more compensation for what they went through.

Hidden Tax

It’s fair to say that big-money settlements reflect the egregiousness of the allegations, County Counsel James Williams acknowledges, and what his attorneys saw in the case brought by Trbovich and Santos indicated that “there was definitely merit to the claims regarding these particular sergeants,” one of whom—Ulrich—was reassigned to patrol.

“We’ve been working on the entire culture in the jail writ large,” Williams says. “And that’s involved … training people how to interact with each other, how to interact with inmates and how to treat each other in a respectful, courteous and decent manner.”

The jail reforms coincide with a countywide push to raise the standard of sexual harassment prevention. In 2015, before the #MeToo movement swept the nation, the Board of Supervisors voted to expand mandatory training from just managers to every single employee. The county also routinely revises its training curriculum to include contemporary cases pulled from the headlines.

Williams says the county never compiled the total number of sexual harassment claims until San Jose Inside requested it, and that he was surprised to see relatively small numbers for such a large agency.

Veteran civil rights attorney Larry Organ, who represented Cappara’s alleged victim in his case against the county, says a few factors prevent sexual harassment claims against government agencies from rising to the level of litigation. “Well, for one thing, employment lawyers don’t like to sue public entities because you can’t get the same kind of punitive damages against them, so the cases have less value,” he says. “Then there are more hurdles because you have to exhaust all these administrative remedies.”

Things have to get pretty bad for a public employee to resort to litigation, he says.

Unlike sexual harassment cases that have toppled Hollywood moguls and political kingmakers and rocked some of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile tech firms and philanthropic foundations, lawsuits against government entities come at a direct cost to taxpayers. Legal fees and settlements become a hidden tax to cover the tracks of people who fail to moderate their sexual urges in the workplace.

Publicly funded institutions like the county should be held to a higher standard, Williams tells San Jose Inside. “Our goal—and I want to be very, very clear,” he says, “is that there ought to be zero sexual harassment, whether it’s with our employees or the countless interactions we have with the public.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the News Editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper.

 

Another appeals court agrees: Accusers must be cross-examined in campus rape

There is good news for abused males on college campuses—when accused of rape they now have the right to cross examine the person making the charges.  Currently, the person is charged on the campus and not allowed to ask questions—sounds like the Soviet Union or Cuba.

“Not even a private college can get out of its obligation to “assess” the credibility of a student accuser before finding the accused student responsible, a California appeals court ruled last week.

“Jane Roe” should have been required to answer questions posed by “John Doe” or the sexual-misconduct review committee at Claremont McKenna College, according to the three-judge panel.

The ruling is notable because the judges cited a precedent from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is not binding on California state courts, that concerned a public university, unlike CMC.

The judges seemed to lean toward the accused student in the CMC hearing during oral argument last month, before ordering his suspension to be overturned last week.”

Equal rights for all—even men on campus.  What do you think?

stanford university

Another appeals court agrees: Accusers must be cross-examined in campus rape cases

 

Allegra Thatcher, The College Fix,8/13/18

Not even a private college can get out of its obligation to “assess” the credibility of a student accuser before finding the accused student responsible, a California appeals court ruled last week.

“Jane Roe” should have been required to answer questions posed by “John Doe” or the sexual-misconduct review committee at Claremont McKenna College, according to the three-judge panel.

The ruling is notable because the judges cited a precedent from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is not binding on California state courts, that concerned a public university, unlike CMC.

The judges seemed to lean toward the accused student in the CMC hearing during oral argument last month, before ordering his suspension to be overturned last week.

‘Excessive sex,’ not sexual assault

According to the judges’ summary of the CMC case, Doe and Roe had a sexual encounter that started with condoms but ended unprotected because of Doe’s physical inability to continue with protected sex. (She attended Scripps College, which is part of the Claremont Consortium along with CMC.)

Roe claimed she withdrew her consent for intercourse when it became unprotected, and the CMC investigation and trial revolved around that claim.

Doe and Roe continued to joke about their frustrating sexual encounter for three months after it happened, however.

His friends didn’t believe Doe when he said their sex was so intense that Roe had to go to the hospital, so he asked Roe to send him the report she had filled out at the campus medical center, and she agreed.

She had written that her injury was caused by “excessive sex,” which Doe and Roe agreed was “hilarious.” He called himself the “Bone Hammer” in front of Roe, who also knew he was using the crude nickname in front of mutual friends, but she did not seem bothered by it. (Roe denied at the medical center that she was assaulted, and an “urgent care” doctor later wrote that her exam was “unremarkable.”)

Roe seemed to change her mind after Doe forwarded her a crude Valentine’s Day card that his friends had sent with her name on it. After Doe declined to talk to Roe about the card at the time she requested, she reported to Scripps that she was sexually assaulted.

Because CMC violated ‘core principles,’ judges ignore other issues

Most of Doe’s legal claims were not considered by the appeals court. For example, he had claimed that the university’s failure to show him detailed charges in a timely manner – for a sexual encounter months earlier – led him to testify in a vague manner. Officials held his lack of detail against him.

The primary issue in the Title IX adjudication was credibility in a he-said, she-said situation. But the ruling by Justice Helen Bendix, joined by her two colleagues, said CMC had violated the “core principles” required in a case where an accused student faces a “severe penalty” on the basis of a credibility determination.

The university uses a “single investigator” model, which means one person interviews witnesses and writes a report and recommendation that is reviewed by a committee.

Though the private CMC “generally” does not have to follow the “constitutional requirements of procedural due process,” Bendix wrote in a footnote citing another ruling, “due process jurisprudence nevertheless may be ‘instructive’ in cases determining fair hearing standards for student disciplinary proceedings at private schools.”

Not satisfied with California case law alone, Bendix looked at how the 6th Circuit judged a similar case.

Due process came into play because Roe did not testify against Doe at the CMC trial, merely writing a testimony of her side.

Under those circumstances, “[a]llowing [the accused student] to confront and question [the complaining witness] through the panel would have undoubtedly aided the truth-seeking process and reduced the likelihood of an erroneous deprivation,” Bendix wrote, quoting the 6th Circuit.

Not enough for the investigator to judge credibility

CMC had argued that this case did not actually turn on credibility because the review committee relied on several “facts” that “corroborated” Roe’s version of events more than Doe’s.

But Bendix said that evidence did not “by itself” prove that Roe withdrew consent during the encounter. The committee still needed to evaluate Roe as she made her allegations.

It also wasn’t enough for Doe to submit questions to the investigator to ask Roe, as the university claimed satisfied due process. Not only did the investigator not ask her the questions, but the committee should have assessed her “demeanor in responding to questions” posed by John, even indirectly, Bendix wrote.

The structure of the university’s adjudications was also a problem for the appeals judges: The investigator is also a member of the review committee.

CMC had claimed that the other committee members could evaluate Roe’s credibility by simply asking the investigator for her demeanor during interviews. All three members judge “findings of fact,” though, Bendix wrote: “Fairness required, therefore, that all three hear from Jane before choosing to believe her account over John’s.”

During oral argument last month, Bendix had remarked that cross-examination was particularly needed in this kind of Title IX adjudication. Since “94 percent of communication is non-verbal,” an interrogation would aid in the review committee’s decision, she said.

“If the only perspective of the information is through the investigator,” Bendix told the university’s counsel, “the judges are seeing things through a filter rather than from the original source.”

The judges acknowledged in their ruling, as have other courts, that Roe would be in a potentially awkward position in the context of cross-examination.

“We are mindful … of the concerns raised in [previous California rulings] that a complainant’s participation in the hearing may be traumatic or intimidating for him or her,” Bendix wrote.

However, testimony by other methods, such as behind a screen or even over a video call, removes the need for the accused student to “physically confront his accuser.”

As in the 6th Circuit ruling, CMC has an obligation to provide the fact-finder a means of evaluating an accuser’s credibility, Bendix said.

 

Why Preschool Doesn’t Usually Do Much Good For Small Children

This is how poorly children care, ur, early education, programs work in Tennessee—they work as poorly in California.

“Regarding the VPK results, critics could claim that a whole multitude of other factors besides preschool caused the kids to decline in performance later on—bad parents, poverty, disability, incompetent educators, systemic prejudice, etc. Or, they could claim that the preschool actually prevented even worse performance that would have followed without it. Or, they could question the study’s values and criteria and maintain that the kids actually benefited. Or, as they did in this case, they could suppress the study by refusing to publish it, and ignore it after it is published.

Without a good explanation of why these studies work out the way they do, they will inevitably fail to make much of a dent in education policy. On the surface, giving kids a head start with their education should help them. Placing kids in the care of trained professional with abundant resources instead of an uneducated parent with bad habits should reverse their downward life trajectory entirely. Why doesn’t this work? Common sense screams that it should.”

At some point we need to take back our children from government—socialist believe in from womb to the tomb control of humans—early education—child care by government—is an extension of that doctrine.  Isn’t time parents fire government?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image793529

Why Preschool Doesn’t Usually Do Much Good For Small Children

Placing kids in the care of trained professionals with abundant resources instead of a parent with bad habits should reverse their downward trajectory. Why doesn’t it?

 

By Auguste Meyrat, The Federalist,  8/13/18

 

As Federalist editor Joy Pullmann recently reported, a new study of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program (VPK) showed that preschool failed to help students succeed in elementary school and even hindered them in some cases. While the kids enrolled made academic gains at the beginning, these gains disappeared by the time the kids reached second and third grade. Moreover, the VPK students got into trouble more often, and more of them required special education services.

Other studies on preschools have shown the same discouraging pattern: students in preschool seemed to make greater learning progress than kids who stayed at home, but this advantage dissolved. Preschooled children eventually sink to the middle or towards the bottom of the class a few years later—their preschooling just “faded out.”

Clearly, this indicates pre-K programs do not help children enough to justify their time and expense, but that does not stop political and educational leaders from insisting otherwise. They can simply reject the evidence.

Regarding the VPK results, critics could claim that a whole multitude of other factors besides preschool caused the kids to decline in performance later on—bad parents, poverty, disability, incompetent educators, systemic prejudice, etc. Or, they could claim that the preschool actually prevented even worse performance that would have followed without it. Or, they could question the study’s values and criteria and maintain that the kids actually benefited. Or, as they did in this case, they could suppress the study by refusing to publish it, and ignore it after it is published.

Without a good explanation of why these studies work out the way they do, they will inevitably fail to make much of a dent in education policy. On the surface, giving kids a head start with their education should help them. Placing kids in the care of trained professional with abundant resources instead of an uneducated parent with bad habits should reverse their downward life trajectory entirely. Why doesn’t this work? Common sense screams that it should.

Human Beings Are Not Machines

In reality, common sense shows why preschool does little for a kid’s learning and may even inhibit it. What seems to elude the experts and partisans for universal daycare is that children are developing human beings, not circus animals or computers. A child learning to perform a trick like saying the alphabet or counting to ten in does not equate to actual human learning, nor does a child become smarter from having additional time to “download” knowledge.

Rather, a child’s cognition develops over time, and he will learn whatever his growing brain allows him to learn at that moment. Particularly in the early stages of life, nature will dictate how much an individual can learn, and no strategy or setting can really change this—except for the worse.

Parents of young toddlers can attest to this. They may have a one-year-old who cannot walk yet while another couple has a one-year-old who can. While it seems like a big difference at the moment, something that might give a huge advantage to the child who can walk earlier and explore more, it means nothing of the sort. In most cases by the time the two children reach two, they will both have the same mobility and same knowledge of their respective settings.

The same happens with learning to speak. A child who learns to speak earlier than another does not continue to have this verbal superiority forever afterward. The other will eventually start talking as well, and there will hardly be a difference in their verbal skills by the time they are four-year-olds. The habits they develop by that time will determine how much the progress they continue to make, not the point at which they started.

In both cases, the child’s brain reaches a point in its maturation that allows for a milestone like walking or talking. This process cannot be accelerated or enhanced; it will happen when it happens. A mother can waste money on Baby Einstein and all sorts of “educational” toys and programing, but her little toddler will not walk or talk until his cognitive development allows it.

Maturity Doesn’t Come on a Rigid Schedule

The great psychologist Jean Piaget explained this phenomenon in great detail nearly a century ago. He identified the stages of cognition that a person experiences from birth to adulthood. As the brain matured, its sensory input would change, its reasoning would change, and its whole understanding would change.

This means that people at different levels of cognition experience things completely differently. A one-year-old watching a television program sees colors, shapes, movements, and sounds while a three-year-old sees characters, a storyline, a song, and a lesson. The one-year-old has no way of understanding the content on the screen and will easily confuse it for reality—which is probably why pediatricians discourage babies watching television before they are two years old.

Piaget’s work goes a long way to explain the futility of most preschool programs, which tend to teach kids the wrong things at the wrong time. Unfortunately, most educators will favor Pavlov over Piaget and continue using behavioral conditioning techniques to force visible results. Thus, a preschool student will be given treats to sing songs about numbers and shapes, which looks like evidence of learning, but his mind will only understand these concepts properly later on—usually around second or third grade.

Even if he had not memorized these songs and did these activities in preschool, he would still learn them just the same when he reached the appropriate age. This explains why preschool students ultimately have the same success as students not in preschool after a few years.  They essentially performed tricks that looked like learning (like Pavlov’s dog, who slobbered when hearing the bell), but they did not actually learn concepts and skills that could assist them in future classes.

Conditioned Responses Are Not Substantive Learning

Some might argue that learning tricks with a teacher can still help a child with basic skills like listening to directions, following a schedule, cultivating discipline, and socializing with peers. This is debatable for two reasons: (1) children learn these “skills” without schooling, and (2) they usually learn them much better without schooling.

Like an athlete who learns a sport better by playing it than watching it played, a child learns basic manners and chores better through practicing them freely and naturally than through passively listening to a teacher talk about it. Later on, when the basic skills are established, the athlete might learn to perfect his technique through watching professionals play, just as an older child might learn abstract concepts through by taking notes and listening to a teacher.

The restrictive environment of preschool also accounts for an increase in misbehavior and learning disabilities. By hindering the acquisition of basic life skills in favor of skipping to advanced academic concepts, it smothers natural curiosity and creativity.

Such a student becomes like a man who hates his job because he never had a passion for it and thus never learned how to do it well. This man will complain, need extra supervision, and dream about his upcoming vacation. Similarly, the student will act out, need extra support, and dream about his upcoming vacation.

Mandating more training and education for early childhood teachers and forcing more regulations on daycares and preschools will not change this outcome. Children in their early years need more love from their caretakers, not more certificates.

Montessori Works for Little Kids Because It’s Like Home

A loving mother can do more with her toddler than a paid professional can. She can let her child explore freely; she can effectively discipline his bad behavior; she can motivate him; she can personalize instruction; she can control his environment and keep him safe from bad influences; and most importantly, she can interact with him and make him happy.

Insofar as they imitate the home environment and respect Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, preschools can actually work quite well.

The trained professional is frequently limited in all these regards: she cannot let the toddler explore; she cannot discipline him effectively; she cannot truly motivate him, except with the help of external incentives; she cannot personalize instruction; she cannot control what he might encounter; and she cannot really interact with him or make him happy. The stay-at-home mother is living out her vocation, whereas a preschool teacher is doing her job, and this makes all the difference.

This is not to say that all preschools are necessarily detrimental, but many, if not most, end up being a waste of money and effort. Insofar as they imitate the home environment and respect Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, preschools can actually work quite well.

In terms of early education, Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke truly when he said, “the whole theory of school is on the nurse’s or mother’s knee.” Montessori schools, which have sprouted up all over the country, incorporate this wisdom by allowing kids to explore and inquire like they would at home. Finland’s preschools also try to maximize freedom and play for children before they begin formal schooling at seven years old.

In the short-term, this model doesn’t look as impressive as the model that drills kids on colors and countries right as they begin to speak, but in the long-term, it sets a much better foundation for future learning.

Older Kids Need More Structure and Brain Food

As children grow older and their thinking matures, they will undoubtedly benefit from more structure and abstraction.  Stay-at-home parents and Montessori schools work well in the beginning, but their teaching effectiveness wanes as a child moves past acquiring basic skills and needs to learn more advanced skills to function independently.

Stay-at-home parents and Montessori schools work well in the beginning, but their teaching effectiveness wanes as a child moves past acquiring basic skills.

At this level, he will progress much faster with well-trained teachers with an expertise in pedagogy and their subject matter. Some parents may be able to assume this role and attempt to homeschool, but the majority of parents would do much better leaving this work to professional educators.

As one can observe, this debate over preschool can expand into a larger conflict in education where two extremes predominate. One side, usually progressive and statist, believes in the power of experts and standardization and disparages the home as the source of every evil. The other side, usually traditional and libertarian, believes in the power of loving parents and the natural desire to learn and disparages all public institutions as the source of every evil.

Both sides easily become too idealistic (and ideological), and frequently disregard what is best for the child. The best path, as with most issues, lies in the middle with parents and teachers coordinating together to best meet children’s needs where they are. This is not only the most natural approach, but as each successive study suggests, also the most effective.

Mr. Meyrat is an English teacher and department chair at The Colony High School in the Lewisville Independent School District. He has BA in arts and humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas, an MA in humanities from the University of Dallas, and an MEd in educational leadership at the University of North Texas. He lives in The Colony, TX with his wife Rita and daughter Bernadette.