Index
Sunday
Jun262016

POLITICS/EDUCATION (National, State, Local): School graduation rates, achievement? fudging the numbers?: Editorial, "In the search for better graduation rates, schools are fudging the numbers" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "In the search for better graduation rates, schools are fudging the numbers" - From the LAT:

In 2014, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a spectacular improvement in its graduation rate: Fully 77% of students who had come in as 9th graders four years earlier were now going to graduate as seniors. But there was a bit of a trick behind the number: It included only students who attended what are called “comprehensive” high schools. Those who had been transferred to alternative programs — the students most at risk of dropping out — weren’t counted. If they had been factored in, the rate would have been 67% — still good, but not nearly as flashy a number.

Here’s another example of a misleading number: In May of this year, the California Department of Education reported a rise in the statewide graduation rate, to 82%. But one reason for that was the cancellation of the high school exit exam, which used to be required for graduation and which students could pass only if they had attained a modicum of understanding of algebra and English skills.

In a time when most middle-class jobs require at least some training beyond 12th grade, raising the number of high school graduates is considered essential. Dropouts are not only more likely to be unemployed, but more likely to be imprisoned. That’s why the newly passed federal education law, optimistically titled the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires states to hold high schools accountable for improving graduation rates.

The question, though, is whether schools will bring those numbers up the hard way, by improving the quality of education – or by falling back on shortcuts and gimmicks. Early indications suggest that they’ll do a combination of both. States and school districts, not just locally but across the nation, have already come up with a wide array of ways to make graduation rates look good on paper:

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The federal No Child Left Behind Act, which never did much to encourage higher graduation rates, might be dead, but its successor will have little chance of succeeding if policymakers aren’t realistic about the work and patience required to raise standards, test scores and graduation rates. It’s slow, hard, incremental work without magic solutions, and improved numbers aren’t always evidence of better-educated students.

Sunday
Jun262016

INTERNATIONAL: Britain, Brexit vote: "Britain Rattles Postwar Order and Its Place as Pillar of Stability"; "Great Britain reckons with possible future as Little England"; "Confusion and division resign as British ponder reality of EU exit"; "How Brexit Will Change the World" ....

Sunday
Jun262016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Los Angeles, "L.A. take step toward new rules on short-term rentals"; Oakland, "Coal terminal plan pits jobs against environmental concerns"; Orange County, "County's Top Technology Officer Quits"; Sacramento, "Reports of elder financial abuse surge in Sacramento County" ....

***various items relating to local issues/local government -- Northern California, Southern California....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. takes step toward new rules on short-term rentals"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "Coal terminal plan pits jobs against environmental concerns"

* Voice of OC:  "County's Top Technology Officer Quits"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Reports of elder financial abuse surge in Sacramento County"

Sunday
Jun262016

SACRAMENTO: Regulation, ride-hailing companies, "Uber, Lyft leave fingerprints on Sacramento ride-hailing legislation"; state budget/finance, commentary (Dan Walters), "Jerry Brown's bucket list doesn't include vital reform of taxes"; AB 385, editorial, "The madness of daylight saving bill. And how not to fix it." ....

***Various items relating to doings in and/or around the Capitol....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Jerry Brown's bucket list doesn't include vital reform of taxes"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Uber, Lyft leave fingerprints on Sacramento ride-hailing bills"

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "The madness of daylight-saving time. And how not to fix it."

Sunday
Jun262016

POLITICS (National, Local/Orange County): Anaheim, Airbnb, short-term rentals, tourist hotel without owner's permission: "'I don't want my home used as a hotel': Anaheim condo becomes tourist lodging without owner's permission" ....  

* Orange County Register:  "'I don't want my home used as a hotel': Anaheim condo becomes tourist lodging without owner's permission" - From the Register:

“Beautiful 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo next to Angel Stadium. Only 2.5 miles from Disneyland. Secured parking structure, pool, jacuzzi, gym and sauna. Plenty of restaurants within walking distance.”

That Anaheim listing on the travel lodging website Airbnb – offered by “Marc” – screamed perfect Southern California vacation rental. The condo sits near two of the region’s most popular attractions. It’s less than a half-hour from the ocean. And at $110 to $150 a night for an entire apartment with cool amenities, it’s a good deal.

What the listing doesn’t say is that the property owner is not “Marc,” but Kathy Marchetti, and that Marchetti had no idea her property was being used as a by-the-night rental to tourists from as far away as Victoria, Australia, and New York City. It also doesn’t say that the tenant, Giuliana Molinari, signed a one-year lease with Marchetti in January, at $1,475 a month, apparently specifically to run a short-term rental.

Molinari did not respond to multiple interview requests. And whether Marc is an online persona or someone who worked with the tenant isn’t clear from the online listing or other interviews. But Airbnb’s website does list Marc as a “verified” host, which involves connecting your profile to other personal information, such as your Facebook profile, phone number, email address or photo ID, according to Airbnb’s website.

Marchetti, a retired Los Angeles police lieutenant who lives near Dallas, was outraged when she learned her condo was listed online. “I don’t want my home to be used as a hotel,” she said.

The situation is a new twist on an old real estate scheme – tenants making money by subletting properties without their landlords’ permission. Instead of subletting the properties by the month or the year, tenants now can use Airbnb, VRBO and other websites to peddle lucrative day-to-day deals to tourists in need of vacation rentals ...................