Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 14, 2014

Raises, Common Core, and sites

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Tonight’s School Board meeting is a big one with lots of super chunky agenda items.   First up, public hearing on considering the 1.75% raise for teachers.   The increase for all AEA (teacher’s union) members would total $750K.  However because of the “me too” clauses there are additional costs for other bargaining groups once one group receives a raise.   So the AEA raise would mean that the cost to raise CSEA 27 members the same percentage is $167K.   For CSEA 860 members an additional $71K. And for all unrepresented employees $147K.   This is a public hearing so no votes tonight, that will come at the next meeting.

The next big item will be an information item on the implementation of Common Core.   I have to say, Common Core is one of those things that I find really frustrating.  One, because there is a lot of information out there but a  lot of it conflicts one another.   Groups against Common Core are not not typically groups you see aligned with one another on issues.   Same with groups for Common Core.  At this point regardless of what people necessarily feel about Common Core, hate or love, it’s has to be implemented.   It’s such a huge question mark right now, I feel like it moves the standard benchmarks forward for on some levels but it also moves it backward for others from the little that I know about certain standards for the grades my kids are in.  While I know that the powerpoint that accompanies the Common Core implementation agenda item is for implementation for teachers and staff, I know that I, as a parent would love to understand better about how the Common Core standards are changes or stays the same by grade level.

And finally the Prop 39 Charter Facilities options for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.   There are really good slides explaining that the Academy of Alameda can be accommodated at its current location.   Wood Middle School is going through program restructuring so it will probably need to use up more classrooms and so ACLC will probably not fit there any longer.   Nea wants to use the entire Longfellow site in order to consolidate their program on to one site.  Currently Nea is split between Longfellow and the Chipman (aka Academy) site.   There was a third option offered up that could consolidate Nea and ACLC to the Woodstock campus but that would mean relocated Island High School and the Adult Education classrooms.   Personally I think the consolidation of Nea and ACLC to the Woodstock campus makes the most sense.  But there is also an option to relocate ACLC to Woodstock and move the Adult Education else where.  And another option to relocate ACLC to Woodstock not move Adult Education, but make available classrooms at Encinal and at Wood.   I would imagine that splitting up the program to three different sites would be the least desirable of all the options.



  1. Lauren, it is imperfect but it just occurred to me that roll out of Common Core has comparisons to roll out of Affordable Care Act. We all want better education and high standards and we all want everybody to be insured, but how? Lots of kinks in both.

    Comment by MI — January 14, 2014 @ 9:06 am

  2. From the todays’ Superintendent’s letter…

    In closing, I would like to share some very personal news about a new beginning. Over the winter break, my husband and I adopted a baby girl, Ivy Mary Vital, who was born on December 13, 2013 in Florida. As those of you who are parents and guardians know, this is a profoundly joyful and transformative time for my husband and me, as we navigate the world of parenting and explore the deep bond between parent and child. My husband will be caring for our daughter full-time so that I continue to serve as AUSD’s superintendent. I appreciate this chance to share this exciting news with all of you who care for, plan for, and work for the very best educational opportunities for all our children, and I want you to know how much I appreciate all that you do.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 14, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

  3. Hi Lauren. Just to clarify: Nea’s K-12 cannot fit at Longfellow because the Woodstock Child Development Center is also there (and needs to remain there), so I don’t think relocating the entire program there is a viable option. But Nea could be reunified at Woodstock. I agree with you that having Nea share a campus with its sister school (ACLC) makes the most sense.

    Comment by MostlyLurks — January 14, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

  4. Calm down about the common core- your kids will write more, develop analytical skills, and synthesize information from real world scenarios while encouraging teachers to work collaboratively to sequence skill development. Yes, all these things happen now, but only sporadically. There will be a transitional period where students and teachers struggle with the change from No Child Left Behind, but the change is truly profound if implemented properly.

    Comment by commonsense — January 15, 2014 @ 6:37 am

  5. If you are interested Diane Ravitch thoughts on Common Core here is a recent speech she delivered:

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 18, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

  6. #5 Thank you. This was an excellent read. I am troubled by ‘result oriented’ education standards. I have two in-laws who both taught for over 30 years and each retired early overwhelmed by NCLB. My own experience as a student (many decades ago) was that everyone doesn’t respond to the same narrow curriculum. Education is about stimulating young minds. By casting a broader net of stimuli we involve a greater % of students. Over the course of our education it only takes one class/one teacher who will change a students life.

    Comment by frank — January 19, 2014 @ 6:44 am

  7. I agree with Diane Ravitch. We will spend millions on the Common Core and in a few years some one will come up with something else. Our children and teachers will suffer, but big business will make millions.

    Comment by Cturner — January 19, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

  8. 4. your comment sounds like you are speaking from the experience of having seen the implementation of Common Core somewhere and it was a great success. But we are only starting. If you read authoritative criticisms of people like Ravitch just about the misrepresentation on the front end about the wonderful collaborative effort of states incorporation of teacher input in creating the curriculum, etc., there is room for cynicism. One of the biggest disappointments of Obama administration had been education policy. Choosing Duncan over his transitional adviser Linda Darling-Hammond was a pretty good indication that he wanted a cabinet secretary who wouldn’t be more than a mouthpiece. I keep advancing the theory Bill Gates and others like him have been pulling the Arne dance.

    I can’t believe Tom Friedman actually suggested Duncan as Secretary of State. Here is his op-ed from Friedman yesterday with a response on Ravicth’s blog

    Comment by MI — January 20, 2014 @ 9:02 am

  9. Article on how Common Core will affect teaching and learning in the classroom:

    The good news is Alameda Unified has been shifting its focus on Math instruction for the past four years so the transition will be easier.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 21, 2014 @ 7:37 am

  10. thanks Mike. the second like was taking forever to open and my computer indicated a possible problem with how it was posted???

    The edsource article sounds very hopeful. The biggest rub currently seems to be teaching to the test. Common Core changes emphasis and method but since it’s all about achieving a common goal, testing for that achievement is still going to be part of the bargain, right?So on top of other changes we get changes in testing. I was interested to note that in one case a teacher was relieved to be able to employ methods she was taught in training 20 years earlier instead of in tense wrote learning. Hard to pejoratise that teacher as a “dinosaur”. In another example of teaching fundamental addition children where using poker chips. I don’t have precise memory, but I seem to recall twenty years ago when our kids were at Paden teachers employed what were then called “manipulatives” like blocks to teach math concepts. Guess they were up on current methods. Can you see from this how a person outside education could be confused about what is going on? I guess this isn’t another unfunded mandate since part of why districts are scrambling to cooperate is to get the money. I’m not fighting this one but have to reserve judgement and leave it to administrators and educators to sort it out, hoping there is not too much wasted energy to possibly arrive close to where we are starting.

    Comment by MI — January 21, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  11. Not exactly on topic of Common Core but relevant to how we need to teach and learn about math.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 21, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

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