Education

Student protests shut down business as usual (VIDEO)

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By Yael Chanoff, Nena Farrell, and Shawn Gaynor

Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 15 and 16, marked galvanizing student-led protests that shut down a Bank of America branch at Davis and California streets in San Francisco, prompted walk-outs and marches through the streets of Berkeley, and fed the momentum initiated by the Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco encampments. Read more »

The growing 99 percent

Student and faculty groups take to the streets, adding to the Occupy movement

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steve@sfbg.com

In recent weeks, the Bay Area has been roiled by anger and frustration with how the rich have grown richer while the rest of us endure underemployment, foreclosures, and deep cuts to public education and services, peaking with the Nov. 2 Oakland General Strike that drew more than 10,000 people into the streets to demand economic justice.Read more »

Spike salute: Showing love for Mission High volleyball team

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When head coach Geraldine Poon and assistant coach Kris Thomas got involved with Mission High School’s volleyball program two years ago, their goal was to significantly improve the team’s attitude on the court and in the classroom. They did. 

The young women on the team made such strides on and off the court, in fact, that Thomas got in touch with the Guardian to ask if we could show them some love. We would love to! Read more »

Protesters disrupt Murdoch speech (VIDEO)

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In the Grand Ballroom of the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco on Oct. 14, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch delivered a keynote address to a crowd that included senators, businesspeople, and high-ranking education officials from throughout the country -- yet he was interrupted repeatedly by activists, some of whom were dressed as Sesame Street characters.Read more »

Artistic boot camp looking for recruits

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With an average body mass index of 24.8 (measured in 2008), SF rates as the second skinniest city in the United States. Work it out people – all those bikes, parks, and beaches paying off, or at least putting us out ahead in America's race against obesity. But next to nearly every one of our yoga studios and muscle gyms is an art gallery. It's fair to say that art appreciation is as ingrained in San Francisco culture as athletic mastery – but where does one go to buff up one's rock hard appreciation of digital art film and radical myth iconography? Enter Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' new program, “YBCA: YOU”, currently accepting applications (this means you) for a free program that'll have you doing heavy lifting of the city's creative offerings in no time. Read more »

The Free University of San Francisco kicks off teaching -- to a lot of white people

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“A piece of blank paper means anything you want can happen,” SF beat poet laureate Diane Di Prima was imparting a rare free lecture on shamanic poetry, the marquee event of this weekend's popular first Free University of San Francisco teach-in at Viracocha. She had a packed the antique store-community center's first floor showroom, encouraging in regards to the FUSF collective's run at making free education available to all. But if the Free University wants to teach the world, why are the vast majority of its students – let's not parse words here – white?

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"I guess I just want other people to solve the Rubik's cube"

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This much was clear. A conference room full of middle and high schoolers had been assembled and were now working out math problems. On a Sunday. To someone who wept through stats homework, it seemed like a game of Clue, who done this? At the lectern, a man shared formulas one might find useful in attempting a rapid solution of the Rubik's cube. A series of x's and y's to the nth power flashed before the hushed underage audience.

Were these kids really into what was going on, or was this some well-orchestrated parent plot to shut down a perfectly good weekend? It was Mom in the living room with the bribes and threats about not getting into college! But board game detective I was not. This became apparent when the young man in a hoody sitting on my left picked up a cube offhandedly. Without fanfare, his hands began to blur. He lined up the colors in well under a minute and set the cube back down. Welcome to last weekend's Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, where math, it appeared, was not just a problem to be solved.

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The problem with the Students First initiative

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I'm not surprised that there's an initiative in circulation that would set this as city policy:

The proximity of a student’s home to the assigned school should be the highest priority in San Francisco Unified School District’s student assignment system.Read more »

Yee's two-fer: Bashing Palin while promoting sunshine

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Sen. Leland Yee scored a two-fer yesterday when he blasted a California State University organization for hiding how much it’s playing Sarah Palin for a speaking gig, raising an important sunshine issue and knocking Palin’s populism-for-pay schtick in the process. And at the heart of the issue is how public education institutions increasingly use foundations to avoid accountability.Read more »

In the wake of March 4, education battles continue

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Two weeks after protests against cuts to education filled Bay Area streets (and one freeway) on March 4, employees in the public-education sector are still engaged in a fight against budgetary rollbacks. But it’s an uphill battle, as was made clear at a briefing organized by United Educators of San Francisco at City College of San Francisco March 18.

At El Dorado Elementary School in the Bayview, 11 of 15 teachers were issued pink slips, according to elementary school teacher Megan Caluza (featured in the video above). While this doesn’t mean all 11 teachers are on their way out the door, it does mean that none of them knows for sure whether there’s a guaranteed job in the school district in the coming year. Since the budget cuts hit, Caluza says she’s been spending just as much time “fighting to teach” as she has in the actual classroom. Read more »