Young Teacher Aims For Oakland

May 27, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, Oakland, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

Youth Radio profiles a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, Nessa Mahmoudi, who wants to put her Masters of Education to use in the Oakland Unified School District. Watch below to find out why Oakland Unified is both a challenging and attractive district to teach in and why they may be turning away teachers like Mahmoudi.

The Trickle Down Effect of Budget Cuts

May 25, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

Youth Radio and the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley joined forces to bring Digital Natives a video that examines how budget cuts at UCs impact students and classes at community colleges. As it turns out, one of the hottest tickets in town these days is a seat in class.

From Youth Radio: A New Type of Economics Coverage

May 5, 2010 · Filed Under arts, economy, future of journalism · Comments Off 

Youth Radio’s Noah Nelson and alldayplay.fm‘s Brandon McFarland recently launched a new podcast called Maker’s New Math. The series examines how media makers (bloggers, musicians, journalists, etc.) are making a living in the new economy — you know, the one where everyone expects everything to be free.

Nelson and McFarland do a great job capturing both the opportunities and challenges that result from readily available distribution tools like YouTube,  iTunes, and social media networks. Their best-of-times/worst-of-times analysis is some of the more accurate and honest I’ve heard. Interviews so far include Jesse Thorn from The Sound of Young America, vlogger Molly McAleer, and Fred Beneson of Kickstarter.

Listen to Maker’s New Math by visiting Youth Radio.org or by subscribing to the podcast at iTunes.

Youth Radio Video: Cal Students Rally on Day of Action

March 4, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, news, politics, school budget cuts, UC walkouts · Comments Off 

Statewide Rallies to Protect Education

March 4, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, economy, education, UC walkouts · 1 Comment 

Rallies, marches, political theater and teach-ins are taking place at schools across the state today. Protesters are hoping to send the message to Sacramento that cuts to public education need to be restored. According to one KQED story, California currently places 47 in per pupil spending in the country. Here are a few sources to get you up to speed on today’s activities:

  • Today’s Forum discussed the rallies with education reporters Lisa Kreiger and Jill Tucker as well as a few students and PTA members.
  • Youth Radio has been posting updates about every half hour.
  • Chronicle reporter Justin Berton has been tweeting about the protests.

For a bit of background on the protests, listen to KQED Tara Siler’s report from Tuesday:

And KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers look at Prop. 98:

The Art of Sign Spinning

February 1, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, Oakland · Comments Off 

By David Cruz

Sign spinning, the job of holding a sign two feet by six on a street corner for hours at a time, has developed into a display of dance and wit. A display that, luckily for advertisers, is hard to ignore. There’s even a national competition where spinners are judged on technique, style and execution. The California Report caught up with a local advertising company at a spin-off to decide which of its sign spinners would move on to the national event.

Watch a video of the competition and listen to the audio report below:

California’s Budget: Not A River in Egypt

January 8, 2010 · Filed Under California, economy, education, environment, news, politics · Comments Off 
Justin Short, Office of the Governor

Photo: Justin Short, Office of the Governor

By Molly Samuel

In a nutshell, here’s how California’s budget gets passed: Every year, the governor presents his budget to both houses of the state legislature by January 10. The State Assembly and the State Senate each pass a version of the budget by a two-thirds majority, then a committee works out the differences between the two versions. A final version goes back to the Assembly and Senate, which passes it by two-thirds again and sends it back to the governor, who signs it and voila, a new budget is born.

What I left out of that summary is political grandstanding, difficult if not downright impossible goals, disagreements that will never be resolved, and the current financial crisis. When you factor all of that in, you end up with budgets that pass weeks later than they were supposed to (the 2008-2009 budget, for instance), budgets that are impossible to balance (see 2009-2010), budgets with some really tough options (see this year’s budget), and political humor (State Senate President Darrell Steinberg’s  response to this morning’s proposed budget: “You’ve got to be kidding.” And Assembly Speaker Karen Bass : it’s “a big pile of denial.” Republicans were less sarcastic.)

All hilarity aside, Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2010-2011 budget is likely to draw controversy and may lead to lawsuits. Nothing here is final; this is the initial version of the budget that heads to the legislature. But there are a few proposals that are worth watching:

Eliminate the state sales tax on gas: The idea here is to eliminate the sales tax and replace it with an excise tax. This would lower prices at the pump, which sounds pretty good. But right now the money from that sales tax goes to public transportation, and is also linked to K-12 and community college funding. Without that sales tax, public rail and bus systems could lose a billion dollars, and Democrats are projecting that schools could lose up to two billion dollars.

Fund state parks with revenue from offshore drilling: Last year the Governor proposed allowing oil drilling in a state-owned area called Tranquillion Ridge off the coast of Santa Barbara. That idea was defeated in the legislature. Last year Schwarzenegger also suggested not funding state parks. That idea also didn’t make it very far. This year he’s linked them. Cynical or genius? Could be both.

End state worker furloughs: Last year, to save money, Schwarzenegger began requiring that state employees take three unpaid days a month off of work. Starting in July, the furloughs will end, but everyone will get a pay cut. So, basically, they’ll work more, but not get increased wages. Lawsuits from the unions will probably follow.

Right now the state is short about 20 billion dollars, which is why there are so many cuts in this year’s budget. The Governor is asking the Federal government to give California more than $6 billion that he says is owed to the state. If that doesn’t happen, there could be even more cuts down the line.

Stay tuned for more hilarity.

To learn more:

The California Department of Finance’s explanation of the budget process

The California Department of Finance’s official  summary of the proposed budget

KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers’ Capitol Notes blog

Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers explaining the budget on The California Report

Planning for College Amidst a Crisis

January 7, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

Boy With BookBy Jessica Lipsky

“If you’re a high school student at Mission right now, the possibility of going to college is going away. You’re not going to City College, you’re not going to a UC, anywhere,” Andy Lipson yells among a throng of protesters in front of San Francisco’s City College. The Mission High School teacher’s veins bulge in his skinny neck as he screams infuriating truths into a megaphone. “The little bit of hope [our students] had about advancing in this…country has been extinguished!”

The college-age crowd roars, waving signs with mildly clever phrases urging action to end budget cuts and fee increases. “Don’t let us down,” shouts a curly-haired co-ed, her voice several octaves higher than the low roar of her protesting peers.

But many students are being let down. The University of California Regents recently approved a 32 percent fee hike and the California State University system plans to slash enrollment by more than 40,000 students for the fall 2010 semester, the same semester that has seen applications increase by 32 percent from last year. The resulting crunch has high school seniors more anxious and competitive than ever, with many considering alternatives to the traditional four-year state school path.

For Evan McCann, a Berkeley High School senior whose top schools are UC Berkley and San Francisco State, the budget cuts represent a swift kick in the pants and the potential destruction of his collegiate plans. On the Thursday of the UC Regents’ decision, Evan walks into the pizza shop where he works with slumped shoulders and sorrowful black eyes. The restaurant only has a few customers and with nothing to do, Evan skulks about the restaurant, shuffling his feet between the pizza delivery and dishwashing stations.
Read more

A Modest Proposal: Bachelor’s Degrees from Community Colleges

December 28, 2009 · Filed Under California, economy, education, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

Last week, The California Report discussed Assemblyman Marty Block’s proposal to allow community colleges to award four-year bachelor’s degrees. Listen to the report below:

Black Friday Defined

November 25, 2009 · Filed Under culture, Digital Natives process, economy, news, word of the week · Comments Off 

One of the interesting things about working in a newsroom is the language (and no, I’m not talking about the colorful, expletive kind) and how a term can saturate conversation one minute and disappear completely the next. Remember, hanging chads, subprime mortgages and our most recent example– the S-curve? Those of us at In Other Words thought it would fun and well, perhaps even helpful, to define one buzzy phrase a week. We started with an easy one: Black Friday.

What terms would you like us to define?

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