Wednesday, December 10, 2014

David Loy of ACLU says San Marcos school raising funds illegally

San Diego ACLU legal director David Loy objects to a religious organization involved in raising money in public schools in San Marcos Unified School District. (See story below.)

I share Mr. Loy's concern about the charity for two reasons.

First, I don't like a charity that has the goal of merely passing out meals in Africa, without addressing underlying economic problems.  I would urge citizens of San Marcos to give to Oxfam rather than this charity.

Oxfam teaches people how to fish rather than giving them a fish to eat.  They create better economic conditions, giving jobs to parents rather than meals to children.  They let the parents feed their own kids with the money they make.

The San Marcos charity simply serves meals to kids.

Well, actually, I suspect that's not all they do.  Which brings me to my second criticism: the violation of the First Amendment.

Second, I suspect that the charity is serving meals for a limited time because it wants to give religious training to kids.  After they're converted, the charity's goals have been achieved, and the feeding of the kids is no longer a priority.

I can understand that Mr. Loy would be worried about the slippery slopes that surround enterprises like this one, but if he's going to worry about the dangers of everyday activities that threaten the First Amendment, he should worry first about his own actions quashing free speech.  Why should he hold San Marcos Middle School to such an exacting standard when he is so lax about the First Amendment in other situations?

ACLU says San Marcos school raising funds illegally

San Marcos Middle School may be breaking state law by raising money with a religious group to feed children in East Africa, according to the San Diego and Imperial counties chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The school is partnering with a local nonprofit called Friends and Family Community Connection, with the support of Illinois-based Kids Around the World, to raise $3,500 to provide 14,000 meals for children in Tanzania..

David Loy's interesting history regarding free speech and open government

 ACLU legal director David Loy didn't want the First Amendment to be enforced in an anti-free speech lawsuit against this website, perhaps because of loyalty to someone he worked with.  But I doubt that Mr. Loy was involved in an effort to deface a California Court of Appeal opinion on the website  The Aug. 5, 2014 opinion, which stated that I am allowed by the Constitution to mention the names of attorneys who work for schools, was seriously defaced.  I sent the following message to on December 8, 2014:

Who defaced this decision?  This page was perfectly legible for several years after the 2011 decision.   On December 8, 2014, I find that a large amount of the decision has been overwritten, making it indecipherable.  Was this page hacked, or does want it to be largely unreadable?
10 minutes later had fixed the defaced Stutz v. Larkins page.

Here is part of the hacked page:

On December 8, 2014 I was reading David Loy's biography on the San Diego ACLU website, and I was struck by the irony of his claims to fame.  Freedom of speech?  Open government and public disclosure? 

David Loy was indeed chosen as a Top Attorney in 2009 and 2010, but I suspect the reason was NOT that he defended free speech, but that he crafted a couple of agreements with schools regarding student speech.

Those agreements generated some nice media attention for Mr. Loy.  But what was he doing behind the scenes?

He was pressuring me to remove the names of public entity attorneys from my website.  He wrote to me telling me that I must remove every mention of certain public attorneys he had worked with!

The Court of Appeal disagreed with Mr. Loy that I must remove those names.  See story in Voice of San Diego.

The Stutz v. Larkins decision on the Leagle website was largely unreadable for some time in 2014. It was fixed on Dec. 8, 2014.

Here's the decision that somebody didn't want you to see.  Clearly, David Loy didn't want this case to be heard by the Court of Appeal, so I assume he wasn't happy with the decision.

So how does David Loy get off claiming to be an expert in free speech and a champion of sunshine in government?  He most certainly is NOT a supporter of transparency in public entities, as shown by his efforts to silence public discussion of public attorneys.

Legal Director, David Loy
After graduating law school, Loy clerked for Judge Dolores K. Sloviter of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He worked as a staff attorney with Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City and public defender and civil rights attorney in Spokane, Washington before joining the ACLU in 2006. He previously served on the Southern District Lawyer Representative Committee and the board of California Appellate Defense Counsel. Loy was named one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys 2009 and 2010 by San Diego Daily Transcript. He supervises all legal advocacy at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and has particular expertise in freedom of speech and religion, open government and public disclosure, police misconduct, and constitutional criminal procedure. Loy has a law degree from Northwestern and a B.A. from Brown, and is licensed to practice in California and New York (with inactive licenses in Illinois and Washington).
--from ACLU website 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Why don't we get real reform in schools?

 I was astounded a few days ago to learn that Promise Neighborhoods is not revealing the results of the $60 million grant it made to the Castle Park neighborhood in Chula Vista two years ago.  I attended Castle Park Elementary as a student and worked there as a teacher, so I'm quite familiar with the culture of the school.  I had a feeling that the Promise grant wasn't going to help much because the people in charge were basically the same people who had driven Castle Park Elementary into the ground ten years ago.

Here's my recent post on the problem.

Below is an article with some thoughts about why we have inadequate leaders most of the time in most areas of endeavor.

The problem?  Hypocognition.  We just don't know enough, and we don't know what we're missing.  It's the "unknown unknowns" that Donald Rumsfeld talked about.

Why are these clowns winning?  Neuroscience explains incompetence of all sides 
Paul Rosenberg

...[W]hen a very smart idea or very smart person comes along, the organizations are not necessarily very skilled at recognizing that person’s genius,” Dunning said.  “We have lots of data showing that very top performers, their top performances are very much missed. The genius of their ideas are just missed by the group.”

...University of California, Berkeley, cognitive linguist George Lakoff, whose work illuminating the cognitive and communicative differences between liberals and conservatives—”Moral Politics,” “Don’t Think of An Elephant,” “Whose Freedom,” etc.—has found a wide audience centered in the progressive activist base, but has yet to seriously impact the political professionals whose collective failure I alluded to in this story’s first paragraph.

When I interviewed him recently for Salon, Lakoff even highlighted the concept of hypocognition—that “we don’t have all the ideas we need.” One example he cited was the concept of reflexivity, “the fact that thought is part of the world. That when you’re thinking, it’s not separate from reality, it’s part of reality. And if your understanding of the world is reflected in what you do, then that thought comes into the world through your actions,” which helps to explain, in part, the power of conservative mythos, even when it’s mistaken as a matter of fact, a matter of logos.
Lakoff also pointed out that “Hypocognition itself is an idea that we need.” There are things going on in our social and political world that we don’t have names for—and because we don’t have names for them, we can’t think and talk about them coherently.  So, we have conservatives on the one hand acting on their mythos, mistakenly believing it’s true as a matter of logos—which is one kind of incompetence—and yet, nonetheless reshaping reality through the power of reflexivity. (Think of how invading Iraq in response to 9/11 helped bring ISIS into existence, for example.) On the other hand, we have liberals seeing things only in terms of logos, who can’t understand how wildly mistaken conservatives can nonetheless reshape the world to reflect their paranoid fantasies, because they’re missing the crucial concept of reflexivity (and even the very concept of missing concepts, the concept of hypocognition)—which is another, very different, but very real form of incompetence.
So, when Dunning told me, “The genius of their ideas are just missed by the group,” Lakoff’s discussion of hypocognition naturally came to mind.  What could be a worse idea to miss than the very idea of missing ideas?  If you don’t think they’re out there, you’ll never go looking for them—never believe anyone who claims to have found one of them, either.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents

See previous post: Los Angeles Unified halts $1 billion contract for iPads after revelations about shenanigans in the bidding process

FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents
FBI agents seized 20 boxes of documents related to Los Angeles Unified School District's beleaguered $1 billion iPad project, officials confirmed Tuesday.
Agents confiscated documents at the district's offices Monday regarding procurement practices involving the Common Core Technology project, LAUSD's plan to equip all schools with 21st century learning devices.
The FBI confirmed an investigation into the district, but would not provide any further information, citing the ongoing probe.
"The L.A Unified School District will offer its full cooperation to federal authorities during the course of the investigation," Interim Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement.
The FBI action was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.
The initiative to provide all 650,000 students in the nation's second largest school district with iPads has been plagued with problems from the start. Hundreds of students initially given the iPads last school year found ways to bypass security installations, downloading games and freely surfing the Web. Teachers complained they were not properly trained to instruct students with the new technology. And questions were raised after emails were disclosed showing that then-Superintendent John Deasy had been in communication with vendors Apple and Pearson before the contracts were put to bid.
"The idea of providing first class learning technology to all the kids in the district, not just the kids who could afford it, is certainly a worthy educational goal," said Charles Taylor Kerchner, a professor at Claremont Graduate University. "That worthy goal runs up against problems of organizational feasibility, and it did from the beginning."
It was unclear exactly what aspect of the iPad project ? one of the biggest technological undertakings by an urban district in the U.S. ? the FBI was investigating, though legal experts and education observers immediately focused on Deasy's relationship with Apple and Pearson and the use of construction bond proceeds to spend money on a short-term device purchase.
Ariel Neuman, a former federal prosecutor, said the government is probably investigating possible fraud involving the contracts.
"If someone doesn't disclose a relationship they have with Apple," he said, "those could be material omissions that could lead to a wire or mail fraud case."
Deasy resigned in October, in part due to the troubled iPad rollout and problems with the district's new computerized scheduling system, which left some students unable to enroll in needed classes.
Interim Superintendent Ramon Cortines had planned to move forward with equipping an additional 27 schools with learning devices, but said Tuesday he canceling the contract and starting another. Cortines said he made the decision based on "identified flaws" in the L.A. Unified Inspector General's report on device procurement.
He added that the district would continue with a different contract with Apple to provide iPads and another vendor, Arey Jones, to provide Chromebooks for a new set of exams in the spring aligned to the Common Core, the new academic benchmarks being implemented in California and other states around the nation.
"My intent is that the students attending these schools will receive devices under a new contract at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year," Cortines said.
To date, the district has spent $70 million on the project, purchasing a total of 90,713 devices.
News of the probe immediately drew rebuke from United Teachers of Los Angeles, a frequent Deasy critic. Union president Alex Caputo-Pearl said Deasy, "cannot simply resign and leave a mess for others to clean up."
Deasy did not immediately return a request for comment.
Associated Press writer Brian Melley contributed to this report.

Promise Neighborhoods conceals results of its $60 million grant to Castle Park neighborhood and schools

Promise Neighborhoods conceals Castle Park from search results from its website--so what's the truth about its $60 million grant to Castle Park?
December 2, 2014
by Maura Larkins

The Castle Park area in Chula Vista, CA was granted $60 million in Promise Neighborhood money two years ago, in December 2012.  What improvements in student performance have been seen since the money started being spent in early 2013?  Strangely, Promise Neighborhoods took credit for improvements in the spring 2013 test scores at Castle Park Middle School though some think that the new principal, not Promise Neighborhood, deserved credit for the student progress.
But I'd be willing to give Promise Neighborhoods some of the credit if test scores had gone up again in spring 2014.  But strangely, Promise Neighborhoods is silent about those scores.

In fact, Promise Neighborhoods doesn't seem to want people to see the June 2013 article announcing the spring 2013 scores.

Today I tried to search the Promise Neighborhood website for "castle park elementary" and that article didn't even show up in the results!  I also searched for "Chula Vista" and got no results.

What kind of a search tool do they have that would leave out their own article?

I clicked on the tag "chula vista" at the bottom of the article and discovered only one other article that mentions Chula Vista Promise Neighborhoods. This last article is dated Aug. 22, 2013.  It's now December 2014.  Why no follow-up on the $60 million investment????

The links in the Castle Park article are not so great either.   The link to the Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood’s South Bay Community Services resulted in this message: "Not Found--The requested URL /services/promise-neighborhood/ was not found on this server.

I'm guessing that things aren't so great in Castle Park!  But if a
$60 million grant isn't working, shouldn't Promise Neighborhoods be honest about it?  Who is gaining from their secrecy?

Here's the June 2013 article:

Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood Gets Results with Innovative School Turnaround Model
June 7, 2013
By Samuel Sinyangwe
Promise Neighborhoods Institute

Groundbreaking research from Dr. Robert Balfanz establishes that middle
school is a “make or break” period for children. Children who fail math or
reading, are suspended or expelled, and/or are chronically absent during these
critical years often drop out when they get to high school. To keep children on
the path to success, Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood’s South Bay
Community Services has collaborated with Principal Robert Bleisch to
implement the Granger Turnaround Model (GTM) at Castle Park Middle School.
This innovative model has produced immediate, dramatic results in ELA and
Math proficiency scores and attendance in all five schools that have adopted
the model to date.

How do they do it? Through a well-defined, data-driven system that intervenes
immediately to keep students from falling behind. When students are absent,
they make up that learning time during the weekend. If a student fails a quiz,
they are re-taught after-school and re-tested the following week.

The system works through collaboration. South Bay Community Services
provides staff who collect daily achievement and attendance data before the
bell rings to identify students who need support. They then distribute folders to
these students at the end of the school day telling them where to go for
appropriate intervention. Students are re-taught until they succeed, teachers
feel more empowered when they see their students improve, which leads to a
culture of success for the entire school.

During the first year of GTM implementation (2011-2012), Castle Park Middle
School dramatically increased math and science proficiency scores, reduced
incidences of misbehavior and achieved a remarkable 99% attendance rate!
Given these impressive results, Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood is
replicating the GTM model at
Castle Park Elementary School and Hilltop Middle


  please help me understand why stories like this never hit the mainstream
media. in our part of the country, we are trying to change the downward curve,
and it is perfect time for info to get before people who are trying to save public
education. the other piece is that patents and caregivers need to get the same
info in an appropriate way so that THEY WOULD BE MORE PRONE TO
COOPERATE ! i guess that only so much can be done at one time. keep up the
great work and collaboration!!

  Comment by don speaks — June 10, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

  Hi Don,

  We agree!

  If you think these stories should get more coverage, help us spread the word
by sharing this post via email to your networks, posting on social media, etc! If
we show interest, reporters will take note.


  Comment by Shantha — June 10, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

[Maura Larkins' comment: It would be appropriate for Promise Neighborhoods to share its 2013-2014 results.  Where are they????]

  Just a couple of comments from a teacher at Castle Park Middle, although
aspects of this model have merit it must be said that the way the model has
been portrayed here does not reflect what is actually happening at CPM. The
data that is being used to show growth is from the 2011-2012 school year, that
was the year Principal Bleisch took over as principal, the school did not start
implementing these reforms until the 2012-2013 school year; the growth is from
the hard work of teachers not from Principal Bleisch’s reforms. Interesting this
starts with a statement of the need to keep students in school since for the last
month of school many students (low scoring, attendance issues, behavior
problems) were forced onto independent study contracts to keep them out of
school and then were removed from our attendance rolls the last week of
school to take their grades and scores off of the books. Principal Bleisch is
attempting to gain notoriety and make money off his “system”. That is why he
takes credit for everything good, blames teachers for anything wrong, and has
no qualms forcing students and parents to sign away their rights.

  Comment by CPM Teacher — June 12, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

Update: Promise's 2013 report states: "CVPromise Staff who live or grew up in Castle Park or surrounding neighborhoods--98%"

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything (2014)
AUDIENCE SCORE 83% liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 19,161

 'Theory' of attraction: Hawking movie a test of art house films' staying power

Eddie Redmayne is shown in this Nov. 19, 2014 photo.
The Explorer Society of New York
Eddie Redmayne is shown in this Nov. 19, 2014 photo.
Hollywood is being overtaken by mutants and meta-humans, making it hard for a garden-variety astrophysicist to catch a break in the movies.
With that in mind, even producing a vehicle about one of the world's most recognizable scholars was certainly no easy feat. That assessment comes directly from the man who wrote the script of author and scholar Stephen Hawking's biopic, "The Theory of Everything," which has been showing in theaters for nearly a month.
"It took 10 years to get this film off the ground," Anthony McCarten told CNBC in a response to emailed questions.
The difficulties of moving "Theory" from script to screen underscore the challenges facing art house movies, which are colliding with certain economic realities, he said. For scripts that don't feature well-known characters or A-list actors, the road to a green light can be even tougher, as big budget super heroes crowd out independent flicks.
"This was partly to do with the assumption that, no matter how compelling the central characters or how unprecedented their journey, physics and the travails of [Hawking's] disease…were almost certainly not going to be a recipe for big box office numbers," McCarten said.
Read MoreArtificial intelligence could end mankind: Hawking

The Explorer Society of New York
The screenplay charts Hawking's development as a young physics student at the University Cambridge—where he is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and given an initial prognosis of two years to live—to his marriage and the penning of his definitive tome, "A Brief History of Time."
When it debuted early this month, "Theory" arrived at an inauspicious time at the U.S. box office. The Thanksgiving to Christmas stretch normally gets swallowed by large budget, special effects heavy "popcorn" movies that serve as tentpoles for the major studios.
"Theory" was forced to share its premiere weekend with two movie juggernauts, "Interstellar" and animated film "Big Hero Six," which combined for a debut of more than $100 million.
Meanwhile, the fortunes of indie movies, even those with cultural icons like Steve Jobs at their core, are becoming prohibitively daunting as Tinseltown promotes a blitz of tentpoles. The 10 top-grossing independent movies of 2013 combined to earn more than $230 million, according to figures from
Read MoreSony Pictures drops Steve Jobs film
Still, that amount is barely a tenth of the $2.3 billion this year's box-office behemoths have reaped—all of which were science fiction, cartoon and comic adaptation spectacles like "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Captain America," and "Maleficent."
Conversely, independent movie makers are burdened with the task of challenging "the myth that audiences seek only spectacle," McCarten told CNBC.
"What they want, and have always wanted, is an immersive, emotional experience that surprises, delights and educates. How seldom these experiences involve airborne men in tights with special powers," he quipped.

Hawking his own super hero?

Hawking—a theoretical physicist and globally renowned author—is certainly no ordinary mortal. Given a wealth of accomplishments and a life story that personifies overcoming long odds, one could easily make a case for Hawking being a superhero himself.
The emotional plot of "Theory" illustrates how a physically slight, brilliant academic who's self-confident enough to delve into the universe's deepest mysteries—not unlike Reed Richards of the "Fantastic Four" (also coming to a theater near you in 2015).
Simultaneously, Hawking conquers the ravages of a debilitating disease (Wolverine's healing factor, anyone?) while capturing the affections of his own version of Superman's Lois Lane. In the movie, Jane Hawking, played by Felicity Jones, seems to be one of the most comely women on Cambridge's campus.
"He's continually defied expectation, and there are many heroic qualities to him for sure," Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking in "Theory", told CNBC in a brief interview in New York last week. "It was a real treat to get to enter his orbit."
But in an environment where even the story of Margaret Thatcher, the world bestriding former U.K. prime minister, can barely crack $100 million in movie ticket receipts, does a Cambridge scholar stand a reasonable chance to earn both accolades and ticket sales?
Read MoreEven 'Big Heroes' need big hearts: Disney

Although "Theory" has pulled in a scant $4 million in sales domestically, McCarten insists indie films can still carve their own niche—and stand alongside the computer generated images of their big-budget counterparts.
"Of course there is a market, and every year the point is made again and again, in people's hearts and at the Oscars and at the box-office, that people want inspiring true stories," he said.
"My job, and the job of everyone interested in grown-up film-making, is to make sure we get it to them: certified fresh, dazzling, remarkable and…true," McCarten added.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Los Angeles Schools Win Teacher Sex Suit By Blaming 14-Year-Old Girl

The LAUSD school board members are pretending that they were clueless as to how a lawyer would defend the school district in a teacher-sex-with-a-14-year-old lawsuit. No, it's worse than that. They're acting as if they're morally superior: they removed the lawyer for doing exactly what he understood he was hired to do. The Council of School Attorneys has very uniform standards about how to conduct litigation. Education attorneys understand that schools hire them to keep secrets and to disregard the basic rules of decency in their efforts to win cases.

The board itself should have resigned en masse.

The board's decision to remove the lawyer was purely political. It wouldn't have happened except for public criticism. Usually school boards get rid of lawyers who are too decent during court cases.

Los Angeles Schools Win Teacher Sex Suit By Blaming 14-Year-Old Girl
Huff Post

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles school district on Friday removed a lawyer who successfully defended it in a sexual abuse lawsuit in which he told jurors that a 14-year-old girl who had sex with a male teacher shared responsibility despite her age.
The trial victory spared the cash-strapped district a potentially pricey verdict, but news of the trial strategy and remarks by attorney W. Keith Wyatt that it was a more dangerous decision to cross the street than to have sex with a teacher drew criticism.
"Mr. Wyatt's comments yesterday were completely inappropriate, and they undermine the spirit of the environment we strive to offer our students every day," Dave Holmquist, general counsel for the school district, said in a statement. "Our deepest apologies go out to the young woman and her family, who were hurt by the insensitive remarks of Mr. Wyatt."
Wyatt, who had worked with the district through an outside firm for 27 years and had 18 cases pending, would not comment.
The girl who lost the case is appealing because the judge allowed evidence of her sexual history to be presented and because Wyatt blamed her for consenting to the sex even though she was too young to do so.
"She lied to her mother so she could have sex with her teacher," Wyatt had told KPCC, which first reported the story. "She went to a motel in which she engaged in voluntary consensual sex with her teacher. Why shouldn't she be responsible for that?
The teacher in the case, Elkis Hermida, was sentenced in 2011 to three years in prison for lewd acts against a child.
The Los Angeles Unified School District claimed it was unaware of the relationship between the teacher and student and was cleared last year of wrongdoing by a civil jury in Los Angeles Superior Court. The girl was not awarded damages for the emotional trauma she said she suffered during a five-month relationship with the teacher.
The case exposed an apparent inconsistency in the standard for sexual consent in California criminal and civil cases.
In criminal cases, a 14-year-old girl is too young to consent to sex with an adult. Wyatt, however, cited a federal court decision that said a minor could consent to sex in some circumstances.
The federal case cited by Wyatt relies on a California Supreme Court decision about jury instructions in an incest case, said Mary Fan, a law professor at the University of Washington. The creative application of the language was probably never envisioned by the state's high court.
"Some language plucked out of the original case has grown to monstrous proportions," Fan said. "Pretty soon it looks like a viable argument. When a court accepts it, it just grows into its own beast."
Lawyers and advocates for sexual abuse victims said the legal tactic was surprising.
"I was shocked. I've done sexual abuse cases against school districts before and I've never seen the persistence of this argument," said Holly Boyer, who filed the appeal for the girl. "I've never seen this at all that the victim willingly participated in this and that they should bear some responsibility in their injuries."
While Wyatt had argued that the teacher and girl went to extreme lengths to hide their relationship, Boyer said there were enough warning signs that the school should have been aware of the teacher's conduct.
He was seen hugging other girls and began to groom the victim at age 13 through texting, phone calls and exchanging photos, Boyer said, adding the sexual abuse began when the girl was 14 and some of it occurred in the classroom.
Boyer also plans to argue that the girl's sexual past should not have been allowed into evidence. Typically, such evidence is barred in criminal cases by rape shield laws, but not always in civil actions.
"It's terrible, but not unusual that a school would try to muddy the waters" by presenting such evidence, said Fatima Goss Graves, a vice president at the National Women's Law Center. "The law on whether and when that sort of evidence is permitted is sort of murky and one of the reasons why Congress is looking at additional law ... that looks more like a criminal rape shield law."

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Teachers grade Common Core: C+ and room for improvement

Teachers grade Common Core: C+ and room for improvement
A survey of teachers on Common Core education standards showed mixed results. Half of teachers surveyed think Common Core standards help students with critical thinking, but their enthusiasm has waned.
By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo
CS Monitor
OCTOBER 3, 2014

"Teachers feel more prepared to teach the Common Core State Standards and are already starting to see students improve their critical thinking skills. But the enthusiasm has dipped since last year, and only half say the new standards will be positive for most students.

Those are some key findings in a survey of 1,676 K-12 teachers in the 43 states that have adopted Common Core, released by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation...

The survey found clear progress on implementation of the standards. Twenty-five percent of teachers said implementation is complete in their schools, and another 39 percent said it is mostly complete (up from 13 and 33 percent last year).

In schools where implementation was fully complete in 2013-14, most teachers agreed somewhat (62 percent) or strongly (24 percent) that implementation was going well.

Seventy-nine percent of teachers said they feel somewhat or very prepared to teach the new standards, up from 71 percent a year ago.

In schools where implementation is under way or complete, 53 percent of teachers said students have already improved their ability to think critically, use reasoning skills, and present their ideas based on evidence; 50 percent said students are better able to comprehend informational texts; and 46 percent said students are working more collaboratively with peers.

However, the percentage who said they are enthusiastic about the standards declined from 73 percent to 68 percent. And the percentage who said implementation is or will be challenging has climbed from 73 percent to 81 percent.

Teachers are split on the impact on students: 48 percent said Common Core will be positive for most students, 17 percent said they will be negative, and the remainder said they won’t make much difference. Last year, 57 percent said the standards would be positive and only 8 percent said they would be negative.

Teachers are concerned with what will happen to students who have the longest road to travel to meet the standards and how student scores on new assessments will affect teacher evaluations.

But “the teachers who were more negative were also less involved with implementing the Common Core,” and tended to get information more from the media than from their own districts, says Margery Mayer, president of Scholastic Education. The survey findings suggest that when it comes to Common Core implementation, “the more you do it, the more you love it,” she says.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Drop the Assault Charges Against Bullied Teen, Eric Martin

Drop the Assault Charges Against Bullied Teen, Eric Martin
Petition by Lindsay Ryan
Kingston, United States

Early this fall, Eric Martin was a ninth grader about to begin the next chapter in his life, high school.  Before the school year had begun, Eric's parents visited with school staff to discuss concerns over years of documented bullying Eric had endured since first grade.  Highland Spring High school administration assured the Martins the school had active and effective zero tolerance bullying prevention policies, and not to worry about their son's safety.
Described by his family as a "soft-spoken, creative 'still waters run deep' personality," his transition into high school was not safe and made difficult when he became a target for bullying and harassment from fellow students.  On September 4th, after repeated bullying, including gay slurs and inaction from school staff, a fellow student called Eric an abusive word, then moved closer to him to continue to harass him.  Eric asked him to leave him alone, but the bully continued to verbally harass him and then threateningly postured near him.  Eric felt intimiated and that he needed to protect himself.  Eric admitted to lunging first, but only because he could sense that the bully and his friends were going to physically attack him.
What followed was not a fight, but a horrible beating that left Eric in the hospital for nine days and his assailants with little injury. Eric's attackers viciously beat him, causing him to have a broken hand and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), leaving him unconscious by the end. This brain injury will permanently impact Eric's life. He continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries seven weeks later.
Most surprising is Highland Springs High School, because of their Zero-Tolerance Bullying Policy, has decided to file assault charges against Eric for his behavior, twelve days after the incident occured. Also, they allege that he has made threats against the school and will not permit him back on school grounds without him signing a student threat document. His mom, Mary Martin refused to allow Eric to sign the document. Recently, Eric has been allowed to attend another high school in the district. The Martin family has hired a lawyer to fight against the charges brought against Eric. His first court appearance was earlier this month with his trial date set for November 21st. They have also started a GoFundMe campaign account to help pay for the medical, legal, and education fees. 
The Martin family, Tammy Motola, their family advocate, myself and many others do not think the school has chosen the right path. We demand justice for Eric Martin!  We are asking the school to drop the charges against Eric and discuss another course of action for addressing the situation.

See petition.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Results for Nov. 4, 2014 election CVESD and Sweetwater Union High School District

SWEETWATER UNION High School Trustee Area No. 1
Vote for: 1
ARTURO SOLIS 3060 45.42% [winner]
 BURT GROSSMAN 2628 39.01%
JEROME O. TORRES 1049 15.57%

SWEETWATER UNION High School Trustee Area No. 2
Vote for: 1
 KEVIN J. PIKE 3587 27.32% [winner]
KEVIN O'NEILL 2257 17.19%
DANA TOOGOOD 2095 15.95%
BERTHA J. LOPEZ 2071 15.77%

SWEETWATER UNION High School Trustee Area No. 3
Vote for: 1
FRANK A. TARANTINO 3124 35.05% [winner]
RICHARD F. ARROYO 2017 22.63%

SWEETWATER UNION High School Trustee Area No. 4
Vote for: 1
 NICHOLAS SEGURA 36.50% [winner]

 SWEETWATER UNION High School Trustee Area No. 5
Vote for: 1
 PAULA HALL 40.88%  [winner]

Precincts: 171
Counted: 171
Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1













Precincts: 171
Counted: 171
Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1







Precincts: 171
Counted: 171
Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1










from San Diego Registrar of Voters

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sign the petition: Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage

Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage.

Nov. 2, 2014
Sign the petition: Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage.

National Public Radio just made the baffling decision to drastically reduce its staff dedicated to covering climate change and the environment, leaving just one part-time reporter on the beat.1

It’s unacceptable for one of our major sources of journalism in the public interest to essentially abandon it’s coverage of climate and the environment by reducing the staff covering it from four full-time journalists to one part-time reporter...
NPR’s decision is part of a disturbing anti-science trend within the news media. According to a study released last year, the number of newspapers that included a weekly science sections has shrunk from 85 to just 19 in the past 25 years.3 That’s why it is so crucial for NPR to provide meaningful coverage of climate change that is honest with the American people about the scope of the problem and what must be done to address it.

Tell NPR: One part-time reporter is not enough. Reverse the decision to slash your team of reporters covering climate change and the environment...

"One part-time reporter covering climate and the environment is not enough! Reverse your decision to radically reduce your coverage of climate change and the environment."

NBC News
Nov. 2, 2014

Pollution and climate change due to human influence is “clear,” and the observed effects are “unprecedented,” according to a report released Sunday by a United Nations panel.
The 116-page report is the fifth since 1990 prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The latest installment synthesizes the findings of the previous four reports and presents new conclusions that environmental scientists arrived at since the fourth report was released in 2007.
Economic and population growth have contributed to greenhouse emissions, which are “higher than ever,” and caused the earth to warm, the report concludes.
“The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen,” the report said, adding that this has caused extreme weather all over the world. “It is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions.” The risks that these extreme weather conditions present affect a wide range of people but are most devastating to disadvantaged populations, the report said.
The report recommends allocating finances to encourage people and governments to come up with new ideas to tackle climate change. IPCC vice chair Jean-Pascal van Ypersele wrote on Twitter that “ordinary people” can make choices that reduce climate change, “but policymakers have responsibility to facilitate.”
Still, the report warns that “even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally.”
“We can't prevent a large scale disaster if we don't heed this kind of hard science,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday in response to the report. “The longer we are stuck in a debate over ideology and politics, the more the costs of inaction grow and grow.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

Shame on California Teachers Association (CTA) for opposing Prop 46; is CTA in the pocket of the Medical Association?

The California Medical Association has been wining and dining Democrats.  California Teachers Association seems very vulnerable to such attentions.  CTA has been campaigning to protect negligent doctors, keeping shamefully low caps on damages for extreme harm to patients.  Prop 46 is a positive step in the right direction for protecting patients in California.  Why is CTA opposing it?  CTA is playing politics and ignoring basic principles of fairness.

We test kids who play basketball.  We test pilots.  Why don't we test doctors?  Think of how many lives would be saved if more doctors were thinking clearly when they see patients, and if doctors had to pay a reasonable amount when they ruin lives.  See below Consumer Watchdog press release and LA Times article.

Doctors That Harm - The Real Stories Insurance Companies Against Prop 46 Don't Want You To Know: Dr. Carl Bergstrom
Lisa Cohen

 CARMEL, CA: Dr. Bergstrom was arrested based on a report of sexual assault after a night of drinking.

During the trial, the prosecution produced an audiotape which Dr. Bergstrom had accidentally created when he left his office dictation machine on. Dr. Bergstrom was heard buying cocaine, using cocaine, and trading cocaine for sex on the 5.5 hours-long audiotape. Dr. Bergstrom admitted at trial that he traded prescription drugs for cocaine.

The audiotape also recorded Dr. Bergstrom issuing medical orders, dictating patient chart notes, and providing telephone consultations to patients after using, and while under the influence of, cocaine.
During the trial, two other women testified that they were similarly assaulted by Dr. Bergstrom. Both testified that they believed that they may have been drugged.

Dr. Bergstrom was ultimately sentenced to prison for felony sexual battery. As a result, Dr. Bergstrom's medical license was revoked.

Proposition 46, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, will enact the first law in the nation to require random drug and alcohol tests of physicians in hospitals, modeled after the Federal Aviation Administration testing program that has successfully reduced substance abuse by pilots. Doctors found to be impaired on the job will have their license suspended. If Prop 46 had been in effect, Dr. Bergstrom's drug abuse may have been detected, possibly preventing threats to patient safety in the process.

Hall of Shame: Insurance Companies Backing No on 46

NorCal Mutual Insurance Company    $11,000,000.00
The Doctors Company    $10,500,000.00
Cooperative of American Physicians    $10,161,489.04
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan    $5,000,000.00
Medical Insurance Exchange of California    $5,000,000.00
The Dentists Insurance Company    $1,620,000.00
The Mutual Risk Retention Group    $1,000,000.00

All Insurers:     $44,613,583.22

Total:     $59,169,984.79

Insurance companies have spent nearly $45 million dollars to oppose Prop 46 in order to shield dangerous doctors like Dr. Bergstrom from punishment, at the expense of patient safety, in order to protect their already substantial profits. In total, the opposition to Prop 46 has over $59 million dollars in their warchest, outspending consumer and patient safety advocates more than 8:1.

Learn more about Proposition 46 and the campaign for patient safety at:

Your Neighbors for Patient Safety, a Coalition of Consumer Attorneys and Patient Safety Advocates - Consumer Attorneys of California Issues
Initiative Defense Political Action Committees
Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP

A voter guide to California's boring but important ballot propositions
George Skelton Los Angeles Times
Oct. 30, 2014

...Prop. 46 would return the limit on medical malpractice pain-and-suffering payouts to the same dollar value it was in 1975. Inflation has greatly eroded it.

Doctors, hospitals and insurers have raised more than $55 million to kill the measure. They claim it would cause healthcare costs to skyrocket. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, however, calculates the increased cost as practically infinitesimal: less than 0.5%.

Back in 1975, then-Gov. Brown and the Legislature set the cap on noneconomic damage awards at $250,000. If that had been adjusted annually for inflation, it would be $1.1 million today. That's where Prop. 46 would reset it.

Opposition ads are demonizing trial lawyers, contending Prop. 46 is all about enriching them. But it's really about securing justice for malpractice victims, who now have difficulty hiring lawyers because the potential awards are so low.

The measure also does two other things. It would require drug and alcohol testing of hospital doctors. And to fight pain pill addiction, it would force doctors to use a state database that tracks patients' prescription histories.

It's long past time to bring the medical malpractice cap into the 21st century. And there's nothing wrong with requiring hospital doctors to undergo drug testing, as pilots and bus drivers do. Controlling pain pill addiction through modern technology also makes sense...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pope says God is not a magician who waves a wand

Pope says evolution, Big Bang are real

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has waded into the controversial debate over the origins of human life, saying the big bang theory did not contradict the role of a divine creator, but even required it.
The pope was addressing the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which gathered Monday at the Vatican to discuss "Evolving Concepts of Nature."

"When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so," Francis said.

"He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment."

Francis said the beginning of the world was not "a work of chaos" but created from a principle of love. He said sometimes competing beliefs in creation and evolution could co-exist.

Pope Francis tells an audience that the Big Bang does not contradict the "creative intervention of God". He says, "on the contrary, it requires it". Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Newslook
"God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life," the pope said. "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve."
Unlike much of evangelical Protestantism in the U.S., Catholic teaching traditionally has not been at odds with evolution. In 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed there was no opposition between evolution and Catholic doctrine. In 1996, St. John Paul II endorsed Pius' statement.
Some wondered if Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wanted to change that when he and some acolytes seemed to endorse the theory of intelligent design, the idea that the world is too complex to have evolved according to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, a close associate of Benedict, penned a widely noticed 2005 op-ed in The New York Times that said "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense — an unguided, unplanned process … is not."
Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics, welcomed Francis' comments, saying he had buried the "pseudo theories" of creationists.
"The pope's statement is significant," Bignami told Italian news agency Adnkronos. "We are the direct descendants from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation."
Giulio Giorello, professor of the philosophy of science at Milan's University degli Studi, said he believed Francis was "trying to reduce the emotion of dispute or presumed disputes" with science.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Did UCSD deal in good faith with C.H.E. Cafe?

October 22, 2014

SAN DIEGO – On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal issued a ruling in favor of UCSD in the eviction lawsuit filed by the Regents of the University of California/UCSD at the behest of a select core of administrators (“Administration”) against the C.H.E. Café Collective over the use of the iconic 34-year old, vegan, student-controlled venue and creative space, the C.H.E. Café.
Upholding the Collective’s main legal theory, Judge Bacal rejected the Administration's claim that the dispute resolution provisions of the lease did not apply to the termination at issue in this case. However, she also found there was insufficient evidence that a formal request for dispute resolution had been made by the Collective, thus permitting the Administration to terminate the lease at will. Yet, the Administration had acknowledged a request for dispute resolution had been made but had argued it was mooted by a previous lawsuit filed by the Collective that was later dismissed.  In addition, the Collective was reassured in various conversations that it was protected by a ‘holdover status’ provision in the lease and that it did not need to worry about an eviction. 
Completely disregarding these earlier reassurances, the University filed its eviction lawsuit and argued in court that dispute resolution was never formally requested by the Collective.  
Ignoring the true facts and history of negotiations, the Administration was able to convince the Judge that the formal requirements for invoking dispute resolution had not been followed by the Collective, and the Court ultimately held that thus the Administration had a right to terminate the lease with the Collective.   
"I am glad the judge sided with our position that the dispute resolution provision portion of the lease applied to this termination," stated Bryan Pease, attorney for the Collective. "I am just a bit perplexed that the basis for ruling in favor of the University was lack of evidence that dispute resolution had been requested, when there was evidence before the Court that it had been, and when both parties addressed it in closing arguments. The University misled its own students throughout the last several years by consistently asserting that dispute resolution did not apply, and that the Collective did not need to formally request dispute resolution as part of the lease terms. Unfortunately, apparently applying the same tactics, the University was able to convince the Court that it had the right to evict the Collective at will.”   
Katherine A. Bacal is a judge for the Superior Court of San Diego County in California. She was appointed by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in January 2008 to succeed Thomas C. Hendrix. 


Bacal received a bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

New Jersey school cancels football season amid criminal bullying probe

New Jersey school cancels football season amid criminal probe

The football season at a storied New Jersey high school has been canceled amid "significant and serious" allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
Sayreville Schools Superintendent Rich Labbe made the announcement late Monday during a meeting with the parents of football players. The development follows word of a criminal investigation by the county prosecutor, which Labbe said he could not discuss. Labbe says Prosecutor Andrew Carey told him there is credible evidence to indicate pervasive, wide-scale and generally accepted forms of harassment, intimidation and bullying within the program.
"We can set the standard right now for all kids, for all school districts in Middlesex County, in the state and in the nation that we are not going to stand around and allow kids to do this to one another," Labbe said. "We are going to start holding our students responsible for doing the right thing and reporting these kinds of behaviors."
"We are going to start holding our students responsible for doing the right thing and reporting these kinds of behaviors."- Schools Superintendent Rich Labbe
Sayreville's team has won three sectional titles over the past four years and is widely regarded as one of the state's top public school football programs. The Bombers string of 20 consecutive playoff appearances will now come to an end, The Home News Tribune reports.
The district canceled and forfeited a game that was scheduled last Friday. A criminal investigation is ongoing and details will not be released until its completed, authorities said.
Labbe said he could not discuss the future of the coaching staff, some of whom may face criminal charges. He announced last week that prosecutors were investigations allegations of a "significant and serious nature" within the program. The alleged victims and perpetrators have not been identified, he said.
"Right now our focus is on several things," Labbe said. "First and foremost, our focus is on the victims involved in this case. We want them and their parents to know that we are here for them and willing to do anything and everything to help so that they feel safe once again in our schools. Secondly, we do have to remember that this is a criminal investigation in which all parties are innocent until proven guilty. We also have to do everything in our power to cooperate with law enforcement, which primarily included staying out of their way."
Sayreville Athletics Director John Kohutanycz reportedly discussed the level of supervision school district officials provide for children before, during and after competitions and practices. Counselors have also been made available for any student who may have been impacted by the situation.
"We are standing up together as a Board of Education and as a district in saying no to bullying in Sayreville," Labbe said. "And we are inviting others to join us in our stance."
Also last week, an assistant football coach at the high school resigned amid allegations that he possessed steroids. Labbe said the allegations against the former defensive coordinator were the focus of a separate investigation and were not related to the cancellation of last week's game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ninth Circuit says Sweetwater fired coach for demanding equal treatment of girls

Sweetwater board members got in trouble for having dinner with contractors, but who's going to hold them accountable for firing a coach because he demanded that the law be obeyed?

Monday, September 22, 2014

     (CN) - A San Diego high school must face claims that it fired the softball coach for demanding equal treatment in the girls' sports program, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday.
     The ruling stems from a 2007 class action filed by five girls on the softball team at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista. Among other things, the girls contended that Sweetwater Union High School District discouraged girls from participating in athletics by giving boys more opportunities to play sports; gave boys better practice facilities, locker rooms and equipment; publicizing boys' events more than girls' events; and giving boys' sports programs more funding.
     They also claimed the school district fired Chris Martinez, the girls' softball coach, after two of the girls' parents filed complaints under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sexual discrimination in education.
     U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz concluded      in February 2012 after a 10-day bench trial that Sweetwater had discriminated against female athletes and had retaliated against Coach Martinez in violation of Title IX.
     A three-judge panel with the 9th Circuit affirmed Friday.
     Sweetwater had claimed in its defense that the discrepancy between female and male participation in Castle Park athletics correlated to the school's lower female enrollment generally. It also said that girls' participation in sports was on the rise, but that Castle Park girls were not interested enough in certain sports to merit permanent teams.
     In siding with the girls Friday, the 9th Circuit highlighted that the disparity between girls' enrollment at Castle Park and girls' participation in sports was never less than 6.7 percent, and was often as high as 13 percent.
     As such, 47 girls could have played sports if opportunities were available to them, according to the ruling.
     Since Sweetwater could not explain why 47 girls were not enough to maintain at least one competitive team, its defense fails, the court found.
     Equal proportionality also would not help Sweetwater pass Title IX's "effective accommodation" test because it lacks a steady history of expanding girls' sports programs at Castle Park, the court found.
     In fact, it cut the girls' field hockey team twice despite active interest in the sport and enough athletes to sustain a team, the ruling states.
     Sweetwater also failed to show that testimony from two of its expert witnesses - retired superintendant Peter Schiff and assistant principal Penny Parker - had been improperly excluded. Neither could support their opinions with clear, reliable methodology, according to the ruling.
     "Schiff and Parker based their proposed testimony on superficial inspections of the Castle Park facilities," Judge Ronald Gould wrote for the court. "Even if a visual walkthrough, without more, could be enough in some cases to render expert testimony admissible under Rule 702, it certainly does not compel that conclusion in all cases. Moreover, as the district court found, Schiff and Parker's conclusions were based on their 'personal opinions and speculation rather than on a systematic assessment of [Castle Park's] athletic facilities and programs.' But personal opinion testimony is inadmissible as a matter of law under Rule 702, and speculative testimony is inherently unreliable." (Emphasis and brackets in original.)
     As for the exclusion of 38 Sweetwater witnesses, the court found that Sweetwater improperly waited 15 months after the conclusion of discovery to disclose them.
     "The theory of disclosure under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to encourage parties to try cases on the merits, not by surprise, and not by ambush," Gould wrote.
     "That another witness has made a passing reference in a deposition to a person with knowledge or responsibilities who could conceivably be a witness does not satisfy a party's disclosure obligations," he added. "An adverse party should not have to guess which undisclosed witnesses may be called to testify."
     It was neither justifiable nor harmless to spring a long list of new witnesses on the plaintiffs a mere eight months before trial, and the District Court did not abuse its discretion by excluding them, the ruling states.
     Pointing to the trial court's finding, after reviewing some contemporaneous evidence, that improvements to the softball facilities were still inadequate, the appellate court said Sweetwater could not show an abuse of discretion.
     In light of the "systematic problem of gender inequality" still present in Castle Park's sports programs, "an injunction based on past harm" was reasonable, Gould wrote. Sweetwater likewise could not show that the students did not have standing to bring Title IX retaliation claims for its firing of Coach Martinez.
     This argument "misunderstands plaintiffs' claim, which asserts that Sweetwater impermissibly retaliated against them by firing Coach Martinez in response to Title IX complaints he made on [their] behalf," Gould wrote (emphasis in original).
     After firing Martinez, Sweetwater took away the team's assistant coaches, canceled their awards banquet and "forbade them from participating in a Las Vegas tournament attended by college recruiters," injuries that affirm the girls' standing, the ruling states.
     The timing of when the girls complained about sex discrimination, Coach Martinez's firing and the canceling of the awards banquet is enough to show requisite causation, the ruling also states.

     Moreover, Sweetwater's "shifting, inconsistent reasons" for firing Coach Martinez imply that the reasons it gave for firing him - including that he allegedly allowed an ineligible student to play and that it wanted to replace him with an on-site coach - were pretextual, and the district court correctly identified them as such, the court found.

     "We reject Sweetwater's attempt to relitigate the merits of its case," the ruling states. "Title IX helps level the playing field for female athletes. In implementing this important principle, the district court committed no error." [p. 46 last graf]
     Paul Carelli IV with Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz of San Diego argued the case for the school district.
     Elizabeth Kristen with Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center of San Francisco represented the plaintiffs, and Department of Justice attorney Erin H. Flynn, Fatima Goss Graves with the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C. and Kristen Galles with Equity Legal filed amicus curiae briefs in support of the plaintiffs.
     Judge N.R. Smith and Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison England, sitting by designation from Sacramento, concurred. 

How much did San Diego County Office of Education-JPA pay to delay girls' softball field?

(This article is being republished after editing.  It was originally published in 2009.)

Legal fees from losing Title IX suit prove costly
By Brent Schrotenboer
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 28, 2009

...The Ramona school district has been scrambling to find a way to pay almost $325,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to Ramona High softball parents who sued in 2007 because boys had a better baseball facility...

* * *

Here's another article about the case written by Marquette University Law School:

"During previous proceedings, Ramona Unified School District (RUSD) was required to provide softball facilities that are comparable to the boys' baseball team. The parties were involved in a mediation process to come up with a proposal. The parties were able to come up with four different proposals, which included building a new softball field. The court had originally told RUSD to remedy the disparity prior to the 2008 season opener, but the court allowed the district to have the girls play on the middle school field until the new field was finished as long as the middle school field was renovated to fix drainage and irrigation problems. However, the court held that RUSD must provide an expected timeline to the court as well as provide monthly updates to ensure that it remains on schedule."