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Alleged by the ACLU is racial bias against African Americans and Native Americans – Ryan Burns reports.

The claims of assault and sexual assault (“titty-twisting Tuesdays” and and “slap-ass Fridays”) , are very disturbing, as are the claims of disproportionate discipline.

The lawsuit, which names as defendants the members of the Eureka City Schools District Board of Education and the district’s superintendent, among other school officials, charges that blatant racial harassment occurs regularly as white students frequently use racial slurs to refer to Black students and commit violence against Native American and Black students without ever being disciplined by school staff.

Native American and Black students are also disciplined differently and much more harshly than white students. According to school district data from the 2011-2012 school year, Black students were suspended from some Eureka schools at a rate as much as five times higher than their enrollment rate while Native American students were suspended from some schools at a rate three times higher than their enrollment rate. Comparatively, white students are suspended at or about their rate of enrollment in district schools. Additionally, Native American students are pushed out of mainstream schools and into county-run community schools designed for high-risk youth and which do not appropriately prepare students planning to attend college. The Native American population at the Eureka Community School was three times higher than their overall district enrollment rate in 2011-2012, district data shows.

District curriculum also ignores or actively affronts the racial and cultural history of Native American and Black students by utilizing materials that use the word “savage,” “negro,” and “nigger” without examining the offensiveness or historical context of those terms.

I would however, like to know more about the last paragraph there – some specific context.  Are we talking about Mark Twain?  I do think that some adults fail to give children and teenagers credit for being able to sort the historical issues out.  I assume that more information will be forthcoming after the districts try to get the suits dismissed and the depositions begin.

I had heard last spring that this lawsuit was underway, and as a parent of nonwhite children attending the city schools I am very concerned and I will be watching this story closely.  And I will discuss these issues with them tonight.

Addendum:  Lost Coast Outpost is also on the story.

Assessments and Real Education

Eureka Teachers Association is supporting Lisa Ollivier for the upcoming November School Board Election.

WHAT:  “Meet and Greet” our ETA, CLC, HCDCC endorsed school board candidate, Lisa Ollivier.

WHEN:  This Friday between 4 and 7:30.

WHERE:  The Labor Temple, 840 E St., Eureka

WHO:  All friends of Labor and Education are invited.

WHY:  Meet the candidate, free food/drinks!  Get a yard sign, sign-up to help!   Meet friends!

I may have some more thoughts about this later, but apparently statistical analysis indicates cheating across the nation.

Since funding is based upon these tests and teachers evaluated based on them, what do you expect?

For the record, when I attended UC Santa Cruz in 1982 the tuition was in the hundreds of dollars per quarter.  The big cost was housing.  Now, if the budget cut-obsessed have their way, the tuition for a UC education will be $20,000.00 per year.  Once they’re up, they’ll probably stay up.  I don’t think public school tuition has seen a decrease since shortly after the war – when we believed that an educated public was a good thing, and when we believed that those not in the aristocracy should benefit from a university experience.  Now middle class students attend junior college either hoping that they will be able to find some funding to transfer after two years, or they’re just focusing on trade development – becoming nurses, paralegals, etc.

The Bay Guardian thinks there’s another agenda at work.

Think about it: You graduate with $80,000 in debt, it’s much harder to work at a community-based nonprofit, or even as a teacher. God forbid you decide to go to law school or medical school; by the time you’re out, there’s no way you’re doing public interest law or working in a community clinic.

That, of course, is part of the hidden agenda here: The people who want tax cuts and small government also want to get rid of those pesky social change organizations and povery lawyers.

Of course, we’re exporting raw materials now in lieu of industrial manufacturing which in the post-Reagan military industry growth era is half of the government labor force – diametrically opposite the figures of 1960.  Basically, we are headed for third world country status.

An HSU staffer commenting on Rollin Richmond and the decision to nix the university’s nursing program:

He’s a f—-ing idiot!  Why is he terminating the only program with a one-hundred percent placement rate?  What is he thinking?!

He wasn’t getting an argument from his fellow staffer.

I just heard that Sue Ivy’s fourth grade class at Redway will consist of 42 students this year.  You can’t teach a class that crowded, no matter how good you are (and by all accounts Ms. Ivy is excellent).  Many of those kids are going to lose the year, and obviously it won’t be any better for them next year.

The alternative I suppose, in lieu of what should happen which is to have the money to hire another teacher, is to take some of them out and create a combination class.  But I did that in the fourth grade, and I feel that the teacher should receive double pay since he or she is teaching two classes at once.  One level could also lose the year.

This is very sad.

And no, I’m pretty sure Prop L money cannot be used to hire a teacher.

Addendum: I heard from a good source this morning that the chemistry class at the high school had 40 kids as of yesterday.  At least one transferred out.

Guest essay by Bruce Brady.

The social history of Laytonville High School is of interest to almost no one except (maybe) Beva. Beva, it is said, owns a copy of every yearbook that ever chronicled the exploits of a senior class at Laytonville High. Beva graduated in 1941 and went on to marry a redwood logger when he came back from the war, had two girls (who both died before they started school) and was the president of the Garden Club for years. At this point, Beva can’t hear and can barely move without hurting and so watches her snowy old TV without the sound as she forever, it seems, strokes Smokey, her cat, and takes little nips from her other constant friend, the bottle of Old Grand Dad tucked-in close to her hip.

The school Beva graduated from was new the year she tipped her tassel and stepped daintily down off the stage. These days it broods over its slow deterioration across from the junk yard and beside its low-slung replacement beyond the wire fence. With updated earnestness, the new school, like the old, and like most of its ilk, somehow suggests a medium security prison. The gym looms over everything, its cost presently a few thousand dollar a win, but this will doubtless drop over time.

On the whole, Laytonville High School remains an unlikely place for revolutionary change, and, indeed, none ever happened there. But happen it nearly did almost a generation ago.

To judge by the standard of the sheer amount of energy, emotion, and money expended, it would not be unreasonable for an outsider to conclude that the purpose of the contemporary public high school is to turn out kids who excel at sports, especially the traditional American sports of football, basketball, and, to a lesser extent, baseball, softball, soccer, track, and wrestling. When you add salaries and transportation to the requisite equipment and the necessary expenses of the needed facilities, the amount of money expended per student is startling: at Laytonville, it usually amounted to about twenty percent of all the money the high school ever had. But this extravagance just so Shelly can play shortstop and wear a uniform is not precisely the subject here: education and its purposes are. Besides, high school sports provide training for patriotism of the proper sort.
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An aside on Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Back in the early 90s I worked my way through law school by substitute teaching in the SF School District.  One of the more troubled schools was actually located in an affluent part of the city just to the south of Mount Davidson north of Ocean Street.  Aptos Middle School gave me some of my worst memories (ironically, the schools in more troubled neighborhoods like Woodrow Wilson High and Horace Man Middle were very well run and presented very easy and enjoyable sub experiences).

Anyway, this kid in the sixth grade named Rashad was one of those very bright students who could do much better, but clearly undermotivated.  When engaged he produced very good work, but if there were problems in the classroom he was often right in the thick of it.  But we actually had a pretty good relationship and he genuinely seemed happy whenever he walked into the classroom to find me there in place of his teacher.

On this particular morning he wasn’t actually in any of my classes, but just before lunch he paid me a visit.  After the preliminary greetings he puffed up his chest and said, “you know Kirk, I’m going to leave the school grounds.”

“Is that so?” I responded without looking up from my papers, trying to avoid whatever bait he was setting up for me.  I think he just wanted to tell me that he was going to break rules by leaving campus and daring me to do something about it.

“Yep.  He said.  I’m going over to KFC and I’m gonna get me some hot wings.”

Now, at the time I didn’t know what hot wings were and I had no idea that Kentucky Fried Chicken had gone to the trendy initials to de-emphasize the word “fried” during the oat bran wave of health trends.  So I responded, “Rashad, that’s nice.  But what is KFC, and what are hot wings?”

It was probably only five seconds, but it seemed like about 30 seconds of an extremely demonstrative expression of incredulity.  Sort of like people around here get when a tourist from the midwest tells them that the best stuff isn’t really grown here, but can be found in the fields of Indiana.  And then he came out with the kicker.

“Man, you’re so caught up in the sixties, you don’t know what’s happening around you!”

Of course, I completely missed the sixties.  When some of you reading were attending Woodstock and the various marches on Washington, I was pretty much in class reading Janet and Mark, There and Back Again, and watching Paddle to the Sea or The Red Balloon on a shaky old projector just blocks away from our conversation at what was then West Portal Elementary School.  And my hair was short.  Had more of it then I have now.  But it’s been short since high school.  Still, the comment reflected a unique perceptiveness on the part of the kid.  Never figured out exactly where the comment came from.


The memory was triggered by a story on the latest offering from KFC, and if they want to de-emphasized “fried” in their marketing, they’re sure not doing it for the food no matter how many roasted alternatives they offer.  The last time I think I ate at KFC was about a decade ago right in Eureka on Broadway.  I bit into a thigh and the grease squirted across the table.  Killed the mood even for the perpetually melted butter with biscuit and cole slaw.  I’ve many weaknesses for food, but that just doesn’t appeal to me.  Neither does the latest offering – the Double Down sandwich which puts bacon, cheese, and some kind of sauce in between two fried chicken breasts as in the promotional photo to your right.  I’m often tempted by food which is horrible for me, and I even have a weakness for fried foods.  But this photo grosses me out.

Nate Silver says that the sandwich might not be as bad for you as it looks.  It only has the amount of calories of a Big Mac, which is like a celery stick on today’s scale apparently.  Silver explains that by some measures it may be one of the worst sandwiches (sodium, every kind of bad fat, and cholesterol).  At least it wouldn’t be too high in carbs.

Has anybody with an iron stomach reading this tried it?

Rashad would be about 30 now, and probably has to start thinking about what he’s eating.  I wonder how many of these things he’s already downed.

A Maryland teenage student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the teacher had her basically arrested for it.  On the first day she refused, the teacher sent her to the office (one wonders why the principal didn’t rectify the situation immediately).  On the second day the teacher called the school police to have her removed from the classroom as the teacher insulted her and allowed other class members to taunt her.

The ACLU is involved and quite frankly I don’t think they should let the district off with just an apology.  The district recognizes that she had the right, but there really should be zero tolerance for this.  Give the girl credit for her courage, but this teacher’s actions have probably made the duration of the girl’s high school time a living hell.  Quite frankly, having this teacher wag his/her finger at the kids he/she has already whipped up is a remedy which will do more to aggravate than mitigate.  And personally I think the teacher should be required to attend a high school civics class and pass it.


July 2020