Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 24, 2012


Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Something to watch at tonight’s school board meeting, as mentioned by a potential Transitional Kindergarten student’s parent , depending on how the Governor’s budget shakes out, Transitional Kindergarten may not be offered for incoming Kindergartners with birthdays between November 1 and December 2.   As mentioned by the parent, it appears that if Transitional Kindergarten remains unfunded in the state budget, then AUSD will not offer it next year, leaving a lot of Alameda students in a state of limbo for next year until the state budget is finalized and AUSD can make a decision.

However, in the best case scenario, if Transitional Kindergarten is offered, it appears that AUSD intends to place them at scattered sites — it appears that two classes will probably be the magic number —  and not at all neighborhood schools.   In order to maximize funding, it would probably make sense to site as many in Title I schools to be able to collect that money from the Federal government in addition to state money, off the top of my head I would say Paden, Haight, and Washington appear to be good candidates because of capacity.

Just as an aside, a new change in the Kindergartern Round-up process, rather than drop off all paperwork to the neighborhood school, parents will now drop off the packets to the district office.   I’m not really sure how I feel about that, given that not all of the packet can be turned in at the same time.   In my experience last year, as organized as I was, I had to make drop offs a few times because of the medical and dental paperwork.  I remember that the medical and dental paperwork couldn’t be filled out too early or it wouldn’t be accepted.   So schlepping down to the district office will definitely not be as convenient as popping in to your neighborhood school.

But back to Transitional Kindergarten, Gilroy Patch has a good summary of what happened with the state budget which has left Transitional Kindergarten in limbo:

…Gov. Brown’s budget proposal puts transitional kindergarten on the chopping block, leaving the placement of these children in limbo.

“Parents and school districts are being held hostage,” says Debra Weller, a kindergarten teacher in attendance at the Jan. 13 press conference held by [State] Senator [Joe]  Simitian. “Parents now have to figure out if they want to put down those nonrefundable deposits at preschools or wait it out.”

As for the school districts throughout the state that have already begun the process of planning and coordinating the new program at their campuses, they too are at a crossroads.

“Districts have spent time and money, money that’s hard to come by, to make this a success for children,” she says. “It’s so disheartening that something so good for teachers and students … and now to have the rug pulled out from them.”

According to the released proposed state budget, “a decrease of $223.7 million Proposition 98 General Fund to reflect the elimination of the requirement that schools provide transitional kindergarten beginning 2012-13. These savings will be used to support existing education programs.”

The immediate savings of removing 25 percent of the students from traditional kindergarten (those that are not 5 years old by Sept. 1) go directly into the creation of the TK program to serve these younger students. By removing the $223.7 million from the state budget but implementing the date change for enrollment, the state will be leaving thousands of students either back at home or in preschool and school districts losing 25 percent of their ADA funds for incoming kindergarteners.

The governor’s proposed budget as of Jan. 5 leaves about 125,000 children out of the classroom in 2012,  Simitian says.

“This would be the largest displacement of children from public schools in our nation’s history,” he says.



  1. The push to put four-year olds in the public education system is being driven by the desires of parents who either think having their child in early indicates that they are gifted in some way, or just want to save the cost of pre-school and by the district which is looking for bodies to swell its numbers with an eye to funding. None of these reasons serves the core value of providing what is best for the child. Even those with exceptional ability struggle socially when they start early, and it’s the social part they’re stuck with long after grades cease to matter. Either we include pre-school for everybody in the funding (ha ha ha) or stick to the old formula. I know a couple of parents who opted out of starting their kids in kindergarten at 4 and were really pleased with the choice. In the long run, since their kids were slightly older rather than slightly younger, they had a developmental edge over their classmates. The result was a happier, better adjusted child. I’m not against the idea of transitional kindergarten but if the money isn’t there, it’s not the tragedy one might have us believe and for some kids, it might even be a blessing.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — January 24, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  2. Ms. Shelton, I think what’s the most frustrating thing for parents is not the new age cut-off or the potential elimination of transitional kindergarten, it’s the prolonged uncertainty. As mentioned in the above quote from Debra Weller, the deadlines for preschool enrollment are coming up, but the district likely will not have made a final decision about TK before then. My child’s preschool, like many others, is requiring a non-refundable deposit for next year by mid-February. The outcome of this whole thing could be anything from allowing the 4-year-olds to attend the regular kindergarten classes with modified curriculum (as some districts in California have announced they will be doing next year), taking a gamble and going forward with the TK as planned, or enforcing the new age cut-off and sending kids back to preschool. That’s a pretty wide range of outcomes! It seems as if the final decision may not be announced until late spring, which is a long time to be waiting (and holding on to a preschool spot which could go to someone else who needs it).

    Comment by Stacy Lorish — January 24, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  3. AUSD continues to show no appreciation for the difficulties its policies impose upon parents. Too busy scrapping over where to spend all that lovely extra cash while the homeowners scramble to meet their higher property tax bills. Once again, the kids lose.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — January 24, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  4. A Chronicle article explains that SF has decided to stop planning for transitional K next year. The state is changing the cut off date for K entry, the legislature passed a law requiring districts to provide traditional kindergarten for affected students, but the governor’s proposed budget cuts funding for this new, required program. So the state is saying you must educate these students but we’re not going to give you any money to do so. Or maybe we will but you won’t know until late June. And if we don’t give you money to do it, we probably will change the law scrapping the program. But again, you won’t know until late June even though fall registration is happening now. I’m extremely frustrated with the state, not our district. After talking with one of the (fabulous) teachers who is on AUSD committee to develop the currently-legally-required-but-not-funded K transitional program, I am grateful for the work our district is doing during this incredibly difficult time.

    Comment by Jen Laird — January 27, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  5. Jen

    When your not pulling your hairout trying tp deal with the system. This site might give you a few ideas.

    Steve Wood, shared his wife Cullen’s project with us. It’s called Cullen’s abc’s. She’s a preschool teacher in California and in her spare time she records what she calls “idea videos” on YouTube. Cullen gives simple information of interest to preschoolers in a clear and friendly way. It’s a great use of current technology to share her passion for teaching with the world. What we find fascinating is that, according to Steve, a Chinese news agency has published an article about the videos.

    Comment by John — January 28, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  6. You can find out how proficient your Child or Student is for free on many subjects and classes.

    What a fabulous tool.

    Khan Academy Exercise Software : Walkthrough of the software

    Comment by John — January 28, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  7. Sad, but not suprising, Jen puts her faith and hopes for the future of her kids in fickle fingers of the state and is frustrated.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 28, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

  8. 5. exceptional! just hand cuff your kid to a table, give ’em a laptop with and magic man Khan’s YouTube videos along with a cup to piss in and off to work you go! Instant home school, with no teachers. almost as helpful as Jack 7.

    BTW- The Chinese have also perfected factory cities which supply our ipods are record profits for Apple, along with high suicide rates among workers there, so I wouldn’t be too invested in the factoid about a Chinese news agency picking up on Cullen’s videos, at least without knowing a lot more.

    The following article sites specifics from the state of Ca and focuses on federal programs, but it is all relevant. The author Linda Darling-Hammond was Obama’s advance person doing transition work for his education department after his election, but instead of appointing her as Secretary of Ed, we get Arnie “the Empty Suit” Duncan. My bet is that Arnie’s appointment was to appease Obama’s contributors among the Billionaire Boyz Club like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, who are the actual guys pulling policy strings at Department of Education or have plenty of clout with those who do.

    from the article on current federal programs: “There is no major investment in preschool or in wraparound services that will address the many needs of children for extended learning time, healthcare and social services so they can learn. While a recent Race to the Top initiative offers some preschool funding, it is minuscule in relation to the need and will not make up for the huge cuts in these services occurring in communities across the country. (After widespread cuts, preschool spending at the end of 2010 stood at almost $700 per pupil less than in 2001. Meanwhile, state cuts to education spending reached more than $7.5 billion this year on top of $3 billion in cuts last year.

    here is a simplistic but practical solution which can actually be instituted immediately- tax the 1%

    Jack, love to hear how this article squares with your extensive knowledge of history.

    Comment by M.I. — January 28, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  9. Handcuffs and a Cup to piss in ….Brown 25 spreading his Love.

    I think these were suggested as Idea Videos………..These are for Preschool Parents and Some people don’t have all the answers and maybe could use some suggestions…

    Sal Kahn’s was suggested as a Tool for learning….If you spent anytime watching any of Sal’s stuff and all the tools he is giving Teachers and Students you might get a Clue.It requires an open mind so some can skip this.

    The real threat to the MI’s Teachers Defense League is a Student has to actually become proficient and actually learn to move on. You can actually Idenify where students are strong or weak at any level and in every subject at any point in the School Year. I don’t think the District or the teachers want any accountability.

    When the Students start being treated like Customers buying an Education they might be looked at differently then the ME First Mentality Of the Administrators and Teachers. Some people are doing it alot better for alot less money and getting alot better results.

    Comment by John — January 29, 2012 @ 4:55 am

  10. Regarding the Swedes

    Some 40 years after becoming the only continental European country to switch its motoring from left to right, Sweden is making a similar political shift. By 2014 Mr Reinfeldt will have been in power for eight years. Given the economy’s strength, few would bet against his winning again. To many on Europe’s left, Social Democratic Sweden was once a statist paradise. Now it is the right that looks north for inspiration.

    Comment by John — January 29, 2012 @ 5:27 am

  11. I’m not just defending the need for classroom teachers. I am pushing back against suggestion that video s speak to the real dilemma of working parents who need a responsible place to leave their kids all day.

    The future is here and it’s powerful.

    Criticize my attitude toward you all you want John, but the Brown 25 coming stuff posted anonymously is sort of self negating . get some balls John.

    Comment by M.I. — January 29, 2012 @ 9:59 am

  12. 8.
    Mark, of all the people on the planet that you could have chosen for a link you had to go and pick George Lakey. But rather than dump on the messenger too much about Norway and Sweden (which I know very little about other than I highly recommend Swede Stieg Larrson’s millennium trilogy) I’ll just mention that I went through Lakey’s whole article and still got no clue who the 1%’ERs he keeps talking about were. I guess they were somehow in charge of Norway and Sweden until the good guys took over.

    What’s even more interesting is Lakey’s take on Cambodia and the 1% in that country in this video clip:

    If you bothered watching his video clip, did you notice how he extolled Prince Norodom Sihanouk as the head of the bucolic kingdom of Cambodia during the 1960’s and how Cambodia would have remained as such had those nasty Americans just kept their bombs to themselves? Lakey says he-himself watched the bombing of Vietnam right across the Mekong river (technically, though the Mekong doesn’t border Cambodia) and rained devastation on Cambodia. It’s too bad Lakey didn’t return to Cambodia when Saloth Sar and the Khmer Rouge took over and watch what really happens when his 1%ERs take over.

    The facts surrounding Prince Sihanouk and the French colonization of Indochina previous to the American presence in the sixties are way too complicated to discuss here (though it would be fun with someone who’s been there and studied the history). Suffice to say, concerning Lakey, he’s an activist, not a historian…I’m neither, so my opinion’s not worth spit.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 29, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  13. good one Jack. I was serious in my question to you and I got something to work with though I can’t watch the video now. I grew up in Philadelphia which had “Rocky” and Frank Rizzo on one hand and also Quakers. I agree that the U.S. destabilization of S.E. Asia set the stage for Killing Fields. Not unlike what Bush has unleashed with current wars in many respects and I can’t pursue that discussion here or now either.

    The Norway article was interesting even if it didn’t give good background om who exactly the power brokers were in the period discussed. The point for me was about shifts in power and the paths taken. A population of 3 million makes the comparison of limited use anyway.

    The pendulum swings in all politics and Norway or Sweden are no different , but the fact that the global economic problems reach all the way to Scandinavia where they are raising retirement ages doesn’t dissuade me from looking to their example of the up side of progressive politics. The Economist article notes that Sweden, like Germany, has retained manufacturing. Germany has a lot of regulation to protect it’s manufacturing base and work force. Last week’s Sunday NYTimes article about Obama asking Steve Jobs how Apple could keep jobs in U.S. and Jobs said it couldn’t which is was only true from his point of view where his highest priority was to get glass ipod screens as fast and cheap as possible ( There are middle ground for solutions on economy and education. Ron Paul’s 3 trillion in cuts would cripple the economies of the world, but continual debt is no solution either. We won’t solve economic or logistical problems in education by replacing teachers with videos.

    I’m all over the place this morning trying to leave the house, but here’s another link about education and jobs.

    Comment by M.I. — January 29, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  14. MI………Your Bullying tactics make you look like a complete fool. It might work on the neighbor Kids you have had run ins with and a few others in the community. Sorry I can’t oblige you.

    You can listen to MI or Hear what Bill Gates has to say about the Kahn Academy

    Kahn Academy

    A free world-class education for anyone anywhere.The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.

    All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

    Coaches, parents, and teachers have unprecedented visibility into what their students are learning and doing on the Khan Academy.

    Ability to see any student in detail
    A real-time class report for all students
    Better intelligence for doing targeted interventions

    Teachers and coaches can access all of their students’ data. You can get a summary of class performance as a whole or dive into a particular student’s profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic. The class profile lets coaches glance at their dashboard and quickly figure out how to best spend their time teaching.

    We’ve put a lot of energy into making sure that the Khan Academy empowers teachers by giving them access to the data they should’ve had for years. You’ll know instantly if a student is struggling in multiplying fractions…or if she hit a streak and is now far ahead of the class


    I also find it interesting that your link also uses videos as a tool for preschoolers.

    So I guess they are also in your words just handcuff to table and give them cup to piss in.

    Heres a few comments of the 33 Million who have downloaded the Preschoolers Videos that I linked to.

    thanks to your channel, my students can speak english a bit more fluently.

    One of the best if not the best at videos for kids!

    Your work is very funny and very helpful for an stranger english teacher like me .
    Thank you so much !!!!!!!!!!

    brilliant childrens learning channel

    You have a fantastic channel, thanks for so many ideas and you have inspired me to make my own! I learn so much from you. Please if you have a chance stop by, i just uploaded my first ever video about bargain kinder activities! Thanks, Merry Christmas from Australia!!!

    I wanted to thank you so much for posting these. My 3 year old autistic son loves watching you. I love playing your movies to him because they are so positive and full of love. May God bless you.

    Comment by John — January 29, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  15. 13 Mark you wrote:
    “I agree that the U.S. destabilization of S.E. Asia set the stage for Killing Fields.”

    That’s your sentence, not mine. I do not know what you mean by “set the stage”, maybe it’s Lakey who believes it, I don’t. However, if you change ‘destabilization of’ with ‘leaving’ so your sentence reads, “I agree that the U.S.leaving S.E. Asia set the stage for Killing Fields”, I think you’d be on the right track.

    The exit of the United States from SE Asia left a power vacuum in the region which was quickly filled by the winners…Russia and China. Russia and China, at that time, were not on friendly terms with each other. Mao had asked Stalin during the Korean war, if he would supply air support for Mao’s Red Army crossing of the Yalu. Stalin said sure, then hedged and pissed Mao off. Their surrogates, Khmer Rouge and Viet Minh reflected that animosity (plus long time disagreements on other issues).

    One could also argue the Khmer Rouge and their eventual victory in Cambodia resulting in the ‘killing fields’ stage was set by the peace activist movement which coalesced in Berkeley in the late sixties and eventually led to the US withdrawal.

    But that’s only the recent stage setting. One could argue that French colonization of Indochina ‘set the stage’ (but the French did leave remnants of greatness…delicious ‘Baguettes’ throughout all their ex-colonies) maybe, after that, it was set by the Japanese in WWII.

    Maybe, though not on an international scale, inside Cambodia the stage was set when a middle class Cambodian became part of a group of middle to wealthy class Cambodians who were sent to France to study at the Sorbonne where Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) and many of the rest came back to Cambodia as confirmed Marxists and put Stalin style Marxism into play. So maybe France set their own SE Asia stage for the killing fields.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 29, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  16. John, where do you get off accusing anybody else of bullying tactics? (rhetorical)

    I actually think the Khan academy is great but it can’t replace classroom teachers no matter how efficacious it is. You suffer from magic bullet syndrome. posting Curriki was just to make the point that yes I’m aware of how the Internet can enhance education and I’m not closed minded. I don’t really give a shit what you think and I imagine I have a lot of company.

    Comment by M.I. — February 1, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  17. still on the run Jack so I’ll be brief. The Lakey tape didn’t really have any content that impressed one way or the other. He didn’t make a really clear claim about how our bombing lead directly to Pol Pot. You are chasing your tail as far as I’m concerned. My opinion is that, as in Afghanistan, we meddled and destroyed infrastructure and then left a power vacuum as you stated paving the way for Taliban and Khmer Rouge.

    Comment by M.I. — February 1, 2012 @ 10:07 am

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