Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to help your local schools - PARENT LETTER TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

Dear parents, friends and readers, we always know how much our schools are hurting, there's Billions of $$$ of bailouts to financial institutions, GM, and government keeps growing and growing, but when it comes to setting aside money for our children's future...   eh, well that's not a serious issue, at least not to politicians.

Ask anybody if they want to help our schools and everyone will tell you "of course"... but most people don't have the slightest idea of HOW they can help, and they don't even try to find out because of their busy lives, and it's completely understandable.

Well let me present to you a simple and easy way in which you can help, in this case it is just by writing an e-mail or letter to your local Assembly member or Senator, all you have to do is copy the letter bellow pasting it on an e-mail, changing the text inside the parenthesis and clicking "SEND", by putting it in an envelope or if you have some extra time you might want to pick up the phone and giving them a call.

I have included the addresses to the Senators & Assembly Members for the 91304 Zip Code, if you are outside that area you can go to http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html and enter you Zip on the search box.

More than one Legislator represents the zip code 91304. The complete list is below.
* Click on the name and then find the CONTACT ME TAB to send them an e-mail

Member                 District Number and Office        Capitol Office

Pavley, Fran           23  2716 Ocean Park Blvd          State Capitol
                           Santa Monica, CA 90405        Sacramento, CA
                           (310)314-5214                 94248-0001
                                                         (916) 651-4023

Padilla, Alex          20  6150 Van Nuys Blvd            State Capitol
                           Van Nuys, CA 91401            Sacramento, CA
                           (818) 901-5588                94248-0001
                                                         (916) 651-4020

Strickland, Tony       19  2655 First Street             State Capitol
                           Simi Valley, CA 93065         Sacramento, CA
                           (805) 306-8886                94248-0001
                                                         (916) 651-4019
                           610 Anacapa 
                           Suite B4
                           Santa Barbara, CA 93101
                           (805) 965-0862 
Assembly Members
More than one Legislator represents the zip code 91304. The complete list is below.
Member                     District Number and Office     Capitol Office

Blumenfield, Bob       40  6150 Van Nuys Blvd             State Capitol
                           Suite 305                      Room 6026
                           Van Nuys, CA 91401             Sacramento, CA
                           (818) 904-3840                 94249-0040
                                                          (916) 319-2040

Gorell, Jeff           37  2659 Townsgate Road            State Capitol
                           Suite 236                      Room 4208
                           Westlake Village, CA 91361     Sacramento, CA
                           (805) 230-9167                 94249-0037
                                                          (916) 319-2037

Letter Body - Copy/Paste and change what's inside the parenthesis

(March XX, 2011)

Dear (Assembly member/Senator__________________:)

As my elected representative I am writing to notify you of the "doomsday" budget the Los Angeles Unified School District LAUSD Board of Education is facing because of state budget cuts to education. I say "doomsday" because my child's school is really feeling the impacts at our campus. We are expected to lose (INSERT PREDICATED SCHOOL LOSSES HERE ex. three teachers, one nurse, two counselors, etc.)

Over the last three budget cycles our schools have borne the brunt of statewide spending reductions. California continues to severely underfund education with an estimated $18 Billion in cuts since 2007 and LAUSD has managed to keep the cuts as far away from the classrooms through very difficult decisions:

  • Delaying textbook adoptions
  • Reducing leases and consolidating staff locations
  • Cutting summer school for most students
  • Increasing class sizes
  • Shortening the school year
  • Reducing 5,000 employee positions
  • Negotiating with employees to take 12 furlough (unpaid) days
With all of this effort and sacrifice, the District still faces a $408 million deficit in 2011-2012 unless you and your fellow lawmakers vote to support the Governor's revenue extension proposal.

Without this extension, funding for school would fall by more than $2 Billion, or more than $335 per student. If this initiative makes it to the June ballot the LAUD could reduce its deficit by $183 million.

Please take the time now to call, e-mail or even meet with your state legislator and ask him/her to:

  1. Support Governor Brown's Revenue Initiative by voting to put it on the ballot for June 2011.
  2. Help inform other voters of this important measure once it's on the ballot and turn out to vote!
We need you to support our students and schools. The Governor's balanced budget proposal is one that really prioritizes education and it acknowledges the disproportionate cuts education has taken during the economic downturn. It is now time to reverse that trend, solve the deficit and reinvest in our students.

Please help your constituents by supporting our constitutional right to exercise our voice on a temporary revenue extension in the June special election. Your support will be really appreciated.

Sincerely (YOUR NAME HERE)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Three Steps to Learning Anything.

To lean anything in this world it is necessary to go through three steps: Instruction, Training and Practice.

look almost any education curriculum and you will realize this is well understood.

Instruction could take many forms, for example it could be a teacher that exposes new information or a book that does the same.

Training is when you take what you learn and repeat it time and time again to become comfortable with the knowledge, when it becomes like second nature.

Practice is when you use the information you've learned in a real life situation.

Go to any martial arts class, driver's ed course, and really just about anything and you will find these three steps are well observed and respected.

Using these three steps you can learn ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING.

Then why oh why don't all national school systems put these three simple steps to use?

As I've told my readers before, I teach English and Spanish privately and in small groups, and I do it using these same three steps, but traditional school are flawed because of the large class sizes. when it comes to a martial arts dojo having a large class size is not a problem, because everyone trains at the same time and the sensei simply needs to scan the room to correct those that are doing an exercise wrongly.  When it comes to a language class it becomes impossible because all students can not be speaking at the same time.

Have you ever wondered why some immigrants may have lived in the US for 20 years yet are not able to speak English? even if they go to class 5 times a week. It is because the skip the middle step, in a large classroom only the 3 or 4 students that sit close to the teacher ever receive actual training, the rest only get the instruction and then they go out and try to practice in the real world... with people that have been speaking it their whole lives.

Now imagine you are taking your first boxing lesson, the trainer tells you "ok, you have to hit your opponent, and make sure you don't get hit yourself" immediately after he says "ok, now practice with my friend Mike Tyson", what do you think will happen?   ... right, he will drop you with the first punch, and IF you get up you will probably think you will never be able to box.

So again the problem is large class sizes, I propose the following let's go to an extreme case, let's say you have a language class that is 10 weeks long and has 40 students in it, every student will benefit more if the school makes 4  2.5 week courses, even if it means the students will have 7.5 weeks without class.

What do you think?

Monday, January 24, 2011

What is Holistic Teaching?

  Hello readers, I'm back, several things have happened in my life since I started this blog, not necesarilly good or bad, but they were distracting enough that I had all but forogtten that the blog existed :), towards the end of 2010 the writing bug bit me a gain, this time it left a stronger mark, and while writting another blog I dug up this one, so I find myself today with the unavoidable desire to share stuff with you.

 Holistic Teaching parts from the idea that we learn by using in cohesion both sides of our brain, and with all of our senses... not just by mindless repetition as they teach us in school.

Traditional school is about learning to pass a grade, a lot of tension builds up just up to the point of the final exam, once that need for a good grade is met the information ceases to be important and is quickly forgotten, and even if you have recorded the information in your brain, the harsh and highly competitive process charges the memories with negative emotions, thus making it very hard to call on the information once it is needed.

  Holistic teaching is more humane, fun and involving of your natural aptitudes, it also allows you to learn your subject for the purpose of possessing and being able to use the information at any time you need it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's in it for you?

What can you hope to gain by spending your valuable time reading my blog?

Well, for one you'll have my deepest gratitude... and if that's not enough in this blog you will find information that will help you unlock your hidden potential and learn how to bring out the best in others, and how to teach them new stuff.

I have been many things in the past: Disc Jockey, Master of Ceremonies, Special Effect Technician, Accountant, Artist, etc... I have tried to excel in every job that I got into, and have garnered recognition in many, but I must say I have not found greater satisfaction than in teaching.

Someone once said "Those who CAN... DO" someone else said to that "Those who CAN and CARE TEACH"

I got into teaching almost by accident (I will post the whole story later) and I have never stopped, even if I was doing something else I was trying to teach what I was doing to somebody, I find that by teaching at least 2 people are benefiting, because one person learns but the teacher also reaffirms his or her own knowledge. And well... if the people you are teaching are your own children then there is no end to the joy it can bring you.

So once again, thank you for taking your time and keep looking into this Blog, I'm sure you will not regret it.