Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
The National Organization of Marriage thinks so. In response to a San Francisco Chroniclearticle "outing" District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the Prop. 8 federal challenge in California, the organization released a statement cataloging instances of the judge's bias, which include:
Charter schools are often touted as labs for novel approaches to education, but one of these innovations isn't so new at all. The Civil Rights Project at UCLA today released a report showing that charter schools have become bastions for racial re-segregation.
This Sunday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan made his first diplomatic visit to gaffe-land while discussing New Orleans' educational gains on Washington Watch: "The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." Duncan later apologized for the comment.
The statement itself isn't really a call for outrage; it was a trite way to tie test-score gains to the mythology of the city's resurgence. I see it as just another excess of the "education speak" that's bandied about, where everything's about "reform," "achievement," "accountability" -- and "wake-up calls."
The Obama administration released its 2011 budget proposal today, which includes a sweeping overhaul of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Bush-era education law was widely criticized as an "unfunded mandate" that punished struggling schools and encouraged districts to slough off poor-performing students.
Details of the overhaul are sketchy, but it seems the primary focus is to change the funding structure and accountability standards.
This week, plaintiffs in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial began presenting their case before Northern California District Judge Vaughn Walker. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has barred cameras from the courtroom, so most of the information available is coming from reporters or those liveblogging the proceedings. While the trial is not being broadcast, it is still being taped; the defense has sought to have these tapes destroyed, but the judge has refused to.