Saturday, August 29, 2009

CTA's Jim Groth asks to slow down educational reform as Schwarzenegger visits Chula Vista Learning Center

Jim Groth, my former colleague at Chula Vista Elementary School District, should be suggesting effective methods for evaluating teachers instead of nixing Obama's efforts to allow schools to include student scores in teacher evaluations.

But apparently the California Teacher Association is taking a page from extreme right-leaning Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford in thumbing its nose at stimulus funds.

CTA doesn't want California to participate in the Race to the Top at this time because it wants to protect the current inadequate teacher evaluation system. Longtime loyal Democrats are getting sick of CTA's opposition to school reform.

Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford were overruled by their legislatures. But who will overrule CTA?

Chula Vista Teachers Protest Schwarzenegger Visit
Voice of San Diego
Emily Alpert
Aug. 27, 2009

The Chula Vista teachers union used a visit from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a platform to protest his education plans, chiefly the push to link standardized test scores to teacher evaluation so that California is eligible for added stimulus dollars from the federal government.

Schwarzenegger was scheduled to visit Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School this morning. The union held a press conference at the school to explain their opposition to his plans. I couldn't make it to their meeting, but I phoned Jim Groth, a Chula Vista teacher and a board member of the statewide California Teachers Association, to talk about their announcements.

"What we are saying is, 'Let's slow down,'" Groth said as he left the Chula Vista school. "Changing the laws at the state would affect all districts. We're talking about local control. Local school boards would not have that control -- it would be dictated by Washington, D.C."...


Embattled South Carolina governor vows to finish term
Aug 26, 2009

Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a conservative once seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2012, rejected a call from his deputy to resign Wednesday in the wake of a sex scandal...

Sanford was a prominent opponent of Democratic President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill and rejected $700 million of South Carolina's portion of the funds on grounds it would undermine the state's fiscal stability...the state Supreme Court later overruled his opposition...


Sarah Palin won't stop complaining that the media has portrayed her unfairly. Apparently this is because the media talks about things that Palin herself would prefer not to discuss, such as Palin's using the fact that Russia is within sight of Alaska to prove that she is ready to handle international foreign policy.

Chula Vista Educators' Peg Myers won't stop complaining that this blog has portrayed her unfairly. Again, this seems to be because this blog talks about things that Peg herself would prefer not to discuss, such as her actions against teachers at Castle Park Elementary when Peg was working on behalf of administrator Richard Werlin and some of her other friends.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

He might not be punctual, but Phoenix taxi-driver saves woman's life

Are some things more important than being on time? This woman thinks so.

Woman's Taxi Driver Is Kidney Match
August 24, 2009
Rita Van Loenen had no idea that a trip in Thomas Chappell's taxi cab could end up being the ride that saves her life.

...But even more shocking to her was that doctors found they had the same blood type, that they were compatible.

"...If we were a closer match, we would've been siblings. I was ready to fall off the floor," Van Loenen said...

Last year, Van Loenen, an instructor in special education methods, began feeling ill and experiencing water retention in her legs. She went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with kidney disease. With kidney failure setting in, friends and family were tested but there was no match.

In February, she received her cousin's kidney but that transplant failed. One day, Van Loenen, 63, found herself telling Chappell, 56, about how her son was now going to get tested. Chappell decided to add his name to the list.

"I said 'Rita, your son's a whole lot younger than me. He's got a lot more years. I'm gonna go down and go through the process and see if it will work.' I don't think she really believed I was going to."..

It wasn't an auspicious beginning.

Chappell was half an hour late picking Van Loenen up for a dialysis appointment.
"When I got there she was not happy," Chappell said...

Why do schools (and teacher unions) have so little regard for gifted teachers?

When a Gifted Teacher Has to Jump Through Hoops Just to Keep His Job, Change Is Needed
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post
August 24, 2009

I am not a big fan of merit pay for high-performing teachers unless the entire school staff is rewarded. But I have no doubt that our current teacher pay upgrade and certification system, based largely on education school credits, is dumb and should be changed.

You disagree? Then let me introduce you to Jonathan Keiler, a social studies teacher at Bowie High School in Prince George's County, where school starts Monday.

It is difficult to argue that Keiler, 49, is anything but one of his county's best teachers. He is the only member of the Bowie High faculty with National Board Certification, having passed a competitive series of tests of his classroom skills that has become a gold standard for American educators. He has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and history from Salisbury University and a law degree from Washington and Lee University. He served four years as an Army Judge Advocate General officer, then was a partner in a private law firm in Bethesda until, as he puts it, he "got sick of law and became a social studies teacher at my alma mater."

He teaches a survey course called Practical Law, as well as Advanced Placement World History and AP Art History. More students signed up for his classes this year than he had periods to teach them. He coaches Bowie's Mock Trial team, the most successful in the county. He has published articles on military history and law in several magazines.

He hates the education school courses teachers must take to be certified and qualify for pay increases. He says they "are generally no more useful or interesting than watching paint dry." But he dutifully accumulated three credit hours at Bowie State University, six through the county's continuing professional education program and three for going through the National Board process. That was more than enough, he was told, for his standard certification.

Then earlier this month, the county's teacher staffing and certification office informed him that previous officials counted his credits wrong. If Keiler didn't somehow produce three extra credits by the end of September, he would be decertified and any pay increases he received associated with certification would be retroactively revoked...

Friday, August 21, 2009

CVESD teacher Ric Ramirez takes Park View Little League all the way to the championship of the World Series


August 30, 2009: Little League World Series Chula Vista wins, 6-3 By Jason Owens, SDNN Kiko Garcia finished the game off in relief as Chula Vista's Blue Bombers secured the Little League World Series championship over Chinese Tapei on Sunday -- without hitting a home run.

August 27, 2009: Park View wins 11-10 after being down 10-5 "against the undefeated team from Robbins, Georgia. It was the first elimination game, meaning the losing team is out of the tournament's championship bracket."

August 25, 2009: Park View lost 6-3 to San Antonio’s McAllister Park
San Antonio upends Chula Vista’s Park View Little League in Tuesday’s final game of pool play. While both teams had already secured a berth in the U.S. semifinal round of play, the win gives San Antonio (3-0) the top seed out of pool B.
--By Jason Owens, SDNN

Sunday Aug. 23, 2009: Pitching its second straight Little League World Series shutout, Park View tops New England's Peabody LL, 14-0 to advance to the semifinal round of the LLWS U.S. bracket.

On August 22, 2009 the Park View Little Leaguers won 15-0 against the Great Lakes champions from Kentucky.

Park View Little League coach Ric Ramirez talks with catcher Junior Porras during the Little League Western Region finals at Al Houghton Stadium.

March to Williamsport
Something to cheer about
San Diego Union Tribune
August 2009

Chula Vista's moment in the spotlight has been delivered by a dozen 11- to 13-year-olds who have parlayed years of practice on the rough diamonds of Oleander Avenue into a Little League World Series berth in South Williamsport, Pa. At 5 p.m.Saturday, the Park View All-Stars take the field in their first game of the tournament.

Link: Interview with coach Ric Ramirez


Isaiah Armenta,
Oscar Castro Jr.,
Nick Conlin,
Kiko Garcia,
Bulla Graft,
Seth Godfrey,
Markus Melin,
Jensen Petersen,
Daniel Porras Jr.,
Luke Ramirez,
Andy Rios,
Bradley Roberto.
Manager: Oscar Castro.
Coach: Ric Ramirez.

This Teacher is also a Student of the Game
Finney’s Ric Ramirez Guides Park View LL On and Off-Field
by Scott Hopkins

Myrtle S. Finney Elementary teacher Ric Ramirez has been lifted from his classroom, swirled around in a euphoric tornado of peak experiences and awe-inspiring good fortune, and dropped gently in the middle of Pennsylvania.

However, it’s the location in The Quaker State that has Ramirez gushing with excitement and anticipation—South Williamsport, the world headquarters of Little League baseball.

Ramirez is the coach of Park View Little League’s All-Star team, a talented and dedicated group of 12 and 13-year-olds that has won the hearts of Chula Vista and Southern California by earning a trip to The Big Time, Little League Baseball’s annual World Series tournament.

But he’s also taking time away from his “other team,” a group of 31 fifth-graders at Finney School. A 10-year veteran teacher in the Chula Vista Elementary School District, Ramirez has also taught at Castle Park School...

Former Triton Ric Ramirez Set To Coach Chula Vista Park View At The Little League World Series
Courtesy: UCSD
Release: 08/20/2009

Ric Ramirez and current UCSD head coach Dan O'Brien helped guide the Tritons to the Division III National Championships in 1994.
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Former UC San Diego third baseman Ric Ramirez, a key member of the 1994 Triton baseball team that advanced to the Division III College World Series, continues to make headlines in the sport 15 years later. Ramirez is a coach with Chula Vista Park View and helped the squad reach the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. after claiming the West Region Championship with an 11-4 victory over Northern California on Sunday.

Ramirez was the starting third baseman on UCSD's 1994 squad that went 33-8 overall and lost 5-1 to Wesleyan University in the D-III Championship Semifinals. The Chula Vista High School product led the team with six home runs that season, while batting .303 with 11 doubles, 24 runs, and 27 RBI.

He was a teammate of current Triton head coach Dan O'Brien, who played first base in 1994.

"Ricky was an impact player much like his son," said O'Brien. "When Ricky transferred to UCSD, we knew we had a chance to win the World Series... He was that kind of player. Now he's making an impact coaching."

Ramirez and Park View will open the 2009 LLWS on Friday, August 21 when pool play begins. One of eight teams from the United States competing in South Williamsport, Park View is in Pool B along with Peabody, Mass., Russellville, Ky., and San Antonio, Texas...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Park View Little Leaguers to go to World Series

Click HERE for updates.

Luke Ramirez is literally head and shoulders above his Park View teammates. (John R. McCutchen / Union-Tribune)

Big, friendly giant
Park View player Ramirez's legend, like him, just keeps growing
By Don Norcross
San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer
August 20, 2009

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — In this sleepy little town tucked between the Bald Eagle and Allegheny mountains, the legend of Luke Ramirez grows...

When the 6-foot-2, 200-pound, 13-year-old Ramirez walked about the dorm cafeteria Tuesday, one rival player looked at him and asked in all seriousness, “Why is the coach wearing a uniform?”

Ramirez, a good-natured sort, shrugs off the attention.

“I don't let it bother me,” he said yesterday, swatting gnats off his face after a humid morning practice. “I'm kind of looking forward to some new lines from people here.”...

Said Ramirez's mother, Kasey, “It used to make me quite angry. I felt like people were calling us liars (about his age) and that used to frustrate me to no end. Since then, I've learned it comes with the territory. Deep down, I know he's my son. I know he's just a special boy.”

Every August some kids show up here looking like they shop in the men's department. Three years ago it was Aaron Durley from Saudi Arabia. At 6-9, 245, Durley is the biggest player in Little League World Series history.

Ramirez isn't even the biggest player at this year's tournament. That distinction goes to Durley's little brother, Cameron, who dresses out at 6-2, 233. The smallest player is Japan's Kenya Kawashima: 4-6 and 72 pounds.

After the Danny Almonte incident in 2001, Little League Baseball has tried to tighten its age-verification process. Almonte pitched the first LLWS perfect game in 44 years and helped eliminate Oceanside American 1-0. Though Almonte was not large in stature, he later was determined to be 14, two years over the limit. Players must be no older than 12 as of April 30. Ramirez turned 13 on May 15.

Since the Almonte flap, Little League has required leagues to submit players' original birth certificates rather than copies. At the first round of All-Star playoffs, the tournament director and each team's league president sign an affidavit, verifying the ages have been checked.

Ric Ramirez, Luke's father and a Park View coach, took extra precautions during the team's playoff run. Manager Oscar Castro kept Luke's original birth certificate. Ramirez carried one in his coaching bag and kept a third in his truck...

“For his size,” said Kelley, “he's got agility. He's not clumsy by any means.”

As big as he is, Ramirez is not Park View's most prolific home run hitter. At the West Region tournament in San Bernardino, pitcher/outfielder Kiko Garcia (5-6, 140) clubbed 12 home runs. Ramirez hit four.

But some of Ramirez's long, towering blasts have taken on mythical proportions. In a game at Park View's field, one sailed over eucalyptus trees estimated to be 75 feet tall.

“It was just manly,” said Kasey Ramirez.

At San Bernardino, one cleared a Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes concession stand at least 100 feet beyond the 200-foot outfield fence...

Local Little Leaguers headed to World Series
Chula Vista team wins West Region title, will go to S. Williamsport
By Don Norcross
San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer
August 17, 2009

SAN BERNARDINO — Three hours before Park View Little League's showdown with Northern California yesterday, fans of the Chula Vista team filled a parking lot, painting their faces green and white.

Two hours before the first pitch, the locals began filling Al Houghton Stadium.

“I'm getting a good seat for my brother,” Eduardo Garcia said.

Five pitches into the game, shortstop Andy Rios scalded a line-drive home run to right. Three batters later, Kiko Garcia, Eduardo's little brother, lofted a two-run homer over the scoreboard.

“It's over,” said one fan.

Soon enough, it was.

In a nationally televised game on ESPN2 and in front of an overflow crowd of 13,350, Park View erupted for eight runs in the final two innings and buried the team from Granite Bay-Loomis outside Sacramento, 11-4, to win the West Region title.

Park View's reward: a trip to South Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series.

“Oh my, this feels great,” Rios said. “It's every little 11-and 12-year-old boy's dream to go there.”

Back in June, more than 6,500 leagues worldwide fielded All-Star teams in the Majors division. Only 16 make it to South Williamsport. Only eight of those represent the United States...

Jesus Gandara contract renewed at Sweetwater Union High School District and teachers aren't happy

Sweetwater Teachers Protesting Today
August 17, 2009

Teachers are planning to protest at the Sweetwater Union High School District offices this afternoon as bargaining grinds on over their contract, more than a year after their last one expired. Their union is planning to start "work to the rule," which would limit their work outside of the school day, in early September unless the school district makes progress toward an agreement with them. Many teachers typically work beyond the school day to meet with students, talk to parents and prepare lessons.

It is only the latest stage in the ongoing saga in Sweetwater, where the teachers union has petitioned to get rid of Superintendent Jesus Gandara.

Sweetwater Superintendent Gets Contract Extended
July 28, 2009
Voice of San Diego
Emily Alpert

The Sweetwater Union High School District board narrowly approved extending the contract for Superintendent Jesus Gandara until 2012. Board member Greg Sandoval, who voted against the extension along with Pearl Quinones, said he felt the existing contract was "valid and good enough." If the board had not approved the extension, the contract would have gone until 2011.

The new contract also includes a provision that seems to arise from Gandara having been eyed for a superintendent's job in Texas earlier in his Sweetwater tenure: If Gandara is solicited for another job or if he looks for one, he must report that news to the entire school board, not just the board president.

The proposal brought out both fans and foes of Gandara -- a controversial figure in Sweetwater -- to the Monday night school board meeting. Jose Preciado, president of a political action committee called the South Bay Forum, said he was concerned by the animosity being directed at Gandara and argued that the debates over what Gandara had spent on meals and travel were silly...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bejarano is new Chula Vista police chief, ends quest for San Diego Sheriff job

I wonder if David Bejarano will resign from the Chula Vista Elementary School District board. My guess is that he didn't much enjoy working with board members Pamela Smith, Larry Cunningham, Bertha Lopez or Patrick Judd. But his loyalty to them and Cheryl Cox (whom he replaced on the CVESD board) seems to have paid off. Now that Cheryl Cox is mayor of Chula Vista, her support probably was helpful when he applied for the police chief job.

Bejarano: Will reimburse campaign contributors

By Tanya Sierra
San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer
August 12, 2009


David Bejarano

Age: 52

Residence: Bonita

Previous jobs: San Diego police chief, from 1999 to 2003; U.S. marshal for San Diego and Imperial counties

Elective office: Won a four-year term on the Chula Vista school board in November.

CHULA VISTA – David Bejarano, Chula Vista's new chief of police, said Wednesday he would reimburse those who contributed to his campaign for sheriff 80 cents on the dollar.

Since he incurred about $22,000 in campaign debt that he must first pay off, donors won't get 100 percent of their contributions back, he said.

“We've run a very frugal campaign,” Bejarano said during a news conference outside Chula Vista City Hall. “I talked to a lot of donors and they are fine with that.”

His campaign raised $100,402, far more than any of the other candidates.

Bejarano said he could not endorse any of his former competitors in the sheriff's race because of his new position. Instead, he said, he will focus on making Chula Vista one of the safest cities in the state and country.

Major issues in the city continue to be traffic, auto theft and spillover drug crime and violence from Mexico. He also wants to enhance the Police Department's image in the city.

“I'll be out every day meeting with the community,” he said. “We truly want to engage the community.”

In the last 50 years, Chula Vista has had only three police chiefs. Bejarano, 52, is the first Latino, a status he also achieved during his time as San Diego police chief, a job he held from 1999 to 2003.

He is excited to be returning to a police department, he said.

“I feel like a rookie going out to academy again,” he said.

After leaving the San Diego Police Department, Bejarano was named U.S. Marshal for San Diego and Imperial counties. He currently runs a private security firm and sits on the Chula Vista Elementary School District board of trustees.

He collects one public pension from the city of San Diego for his 24 years with the city's Police Department...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

"Hasta los Gatos" blog tells it like it is regarding universal healthcare

Photo: James Galloway

A terrific local blog is Hasta los gatos quieren zapatos. It's a family-friendly blog by two sisters with common sense thoughts. I can't link directly to the health care post, only to the front page of the blog, so I copied the entire post here.

Common Sense in Congress? When Pigs Fly. Common Sense in America? When Pigs Tap Dance.
Hasta los Gatos Quieren Zapatos
August 9, 2009

Joseph L. Galloway over at McClatchy Newspapers wrote a thoughtful column about the lies, fear-mongering and distortions being fed to the American public by the corporate forces that feel that reforming health care would be ruinous to the country. It turns out that only THEY would lose. The rest of this highly enlightening and straightforward commentary is here. Also, do yourself a favor and go read about Mr. Galloway, linked above. You'll discover that he's not some crackpot picking on the right wingnuts, he has more credibility and is thinking much clearer than some of the bought and paid for muddle-headed people that have been elected to Congress. More is the pity.

If ever there were a time for comprehensive health care reform, it's now, and yet the forces of darkness are lining up against this urgent need, buttressed by lies, mobs inflamed by those lies and millions of dollars changing hands and changing votes in Washington, D.C.

The idea that doing nothing and going on without changing the way this country's health care is delivered works to the benefit only of the insurance companies, the giant health care providers and the big pharmaceutical companies.

That industry is now pouring $1.4 million A DAY into lobbying — read that buying or renting members of Congress — to water down or delay or preferably kill health care reform and hope it goes away for another 20 years or so.

Part of that high-dollar industry budget is going to the low end of Washington's K Street lobbying corridor, the firms and the folks who specialize in dirty tricks, panicking the uninformed and most vulnerable citizens, financing the creation and spread of lies written, spoken and spread like viruses by robot dialing machines.
The Republican Party, on life support itself, somehow sees an opportunity in encouraging and participating in this flim-flam operation. It ought to, and should, seal the GOP's fate.

Each night for the past week, we've been treated to the sight of mobs screaming and ranting and shouting down town hall meetings where congressional representatives had come to answer their constituents' questions.

No questions got answered. No information got provided. No one left more informed than he or she was when he or she arrived.

That's because they and their organizers were following on-line playbooks that are telling them where to go, where to sit, how to make it appear as if there are more of them than there are and, above all, to stop the program and allow no discussion of this issue.

They scream that any government-run health care is socialism or Communism. But look at them; look at their gray hair and thickened waists. At least half of them probably depend entirely on Medicare, a government-run program and a damned good one, for their own health care.

They scream that the bills still being written and amended in Congress will deny vital treatments for older Americans and doom them to an early and unnecessary death. Some dare call it euthanasia.

What utter, unadulterated BS.

The only outfits in America that have the right to refuse you treatment for an illness or deny you an organ transplant are the health care corporations, if you're unlucky enough to have to depend on that wonderful private insurance the right wingnuts are so loudly praising and defending.

This is the same wonderful health coverage that's driven hundreds of thousands of American families into bankruptcy because their private insurers refused to pay for urgently needed surgery or cancer treatment, or simply canceled their coverage.

All of us need some people in Congress who haven't been bought or rented by the pirates, liars and thieves to speak out in favor of filling those real needs.

What we need right now is a huge outburst of common sense and enlightened self-interest.

Those gray-haired Medicare recipients who're playing angry mob need to stop screaming and start listening and reading, separating fact from fiction and learning who’s manipulating them and why.

Common sense is difficult to come by for some when idiots with microphones feel that their useless and uninformed blather is important enough to bring to the table, when in reality it's nothing more than ignorant lies and distortions.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Peg Myers, meet Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin won't stop complaining that the media has portrayed her unfairly. Apparently this is because the media talks about things that Palin herself would prefer not to discuss, such as Palin's using the fact that Russia is within sight of Alaska to prove that she is ready to handle international foreign policy.

Our own Peg Myers won't stop complaining that this blog has portrayed her unfairly. Again, this seems to be because this blog talks about things that Peg herself would prefer not to discuss, such as her actions against teachers at Castle Park Elementary when Peg was working on behalf of administrator Richard Werlin and some of her other friends.