Proposition 30


Michelle Rhee, Once More, Fast and Loose with the Truth

By Joshua Pechthalt

"When will the Teflon wear off?" is a question many have asked about Michelle Rhee, self-proclaimed public school advocate, but in practice, tip of the spear for the school privatization industry.

According to the L.A. Times last month, Rhee's claim that her children attend public school proved "misleading" at best. This is consistent with her challenged relationship with telling the truth in general. Overseeing a staff of 120 on a lavish budget funded by anti-public education billionaires and their foundations, Rhee talks like a progressive but walks like a disciple of Ayn Rand and free market competition.

The California Budget: Back in Black

By Robert Cruickshank

Last week's big news was the announcement from Governor Jerry Brown that the state budget is out of perennial deficit and looking at several years of surpluses. We'll talk more about what those surpluses mean and how they ought to be used, but it's worth taking a moment to remember how we got here.

Since 2001 or so, California's budget seems to have been in perpetual deficit, with less money coming in than was needed to fund existing public services. While the deficit pressure eased in 2005-06, that didn't last, and by the summer of 2007 the deficits had returned as the housing bubble popped and the country slid into the worst recession in 60 years.

It's a New Year, Let's Build New Schools

By Lisa Schiff

The New Year marks the half-way point of the academic year for students in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). With a dramatic election finally over, January finds us without the threat of immediate financial catastrophe (thank you voters, for passing Proposition 30), a postponement of the federal funding cliff-hanger until March, three returning incumbent school board members (Rachel Norton, Sandra Fewer and Jill Wynns) and one new commissioner (Matt Haney), and a re-elected President Obama who has committed to staying the course with the existing pernicious federal education programs.

Governor Proposes Pivotal 2013 Budget, Boosts to Medi-Cal, Schools

By Christopher Allen
California Progress Report

California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his 2013-14 budget proposal yesterday, declaring that the state's lean years of budget deficits are over. In place of dramatic spending cuts, the governor's $97.6 billion dollar plan instead offers modest boosts to school funding, along with an expansion of the Medi-Cal program as the state transitions to its Covered California health benefit exchange in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act.

California's Environmental Leadership: Making Progress Amid Economic Recovery

By Ann Notthoff

What California does makes a difference. When President Obama increased national mileage standards last year, he built on the pioneering work that Senator Fran Pavley started here in 2002. We dream big, we take big steps and when it comes to environmental and public health protection, nobody does it better. With his new budget proposal today, Governor Brown has a chance to build on our state's strong record of environmental and public health protection.

New Political Terrain Holds Promise for California Schools

By Lisa Schiff

My daughter came home from school the other day frustrated and angry. She had been excited the evening before because she'd learned that having finished The Odyssey her ninth-grade English class was now going to tackle Beowolf. We discussed the different translations and decided to compare the version we had at home with the one her class was going to read once she got the book. The next night she handed me, with a gesture of disgust, a used double-sided photocopy of the classic; no "real" book, just a set of rather worn stapled pages.

Ammiano Seeks New Moral Compass for California's "Failed" Prisons

By Dan Aiello

In the wake of California's election last month where voters passed two propositions aimed at reducing the number of inmates in California's overcrowded prison system, the State Assembly's Safety Committee Chair says he will introduce major prison reform this session targeting a correctional system failure rate that persists as the highest recidivism rate in the nation.

"With voters approving both propositions 30 and 36, I believe we are in a position to achieve significant prison reform to reduce our failure rate and begin decreasing our prison population," San Francisco Democrat Assembly member Tom Ammiano told the California Progress Report recently.

New Legislature, New Year for Health Care in California (and a Special Event)

By Anthony Wright

Yesterday, a new California legislature got sworn in for the 2013-14 legislative session, with new members, new margins, and a renewed mission to implement health reform and improve health care in general.

Both Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez mentioned health issues in their opening remarks after being formally re-elected to their leadership posts.

In talking about the budget, Senator Steinberg specifically highlighted the cut of dental coverage in Medi-Cal as a major cut that was made in bleaker budget days, and one he will work to restore. He recalled going to a free dental clinic at Cal Expo, and seeing endless lines of people (mostly working families) requiring root canals and dental surgery, who had put off basic care for years.

Election 2012 Could Mean a Brighter Future for Education

By Lisa Schiff

California's public education community has been breathing sighs of relief following the results of last week's voting extravaganza. Not even considering the historic re-election of President Barak Obama and the related repudiation of the Republican Party's effort to further restrict our civic and social rights, the results for California were immense. For our public schools, the most critical result was the passage of Proposition 30, which through leveraging a sales tax increase and raising income taxes on the wealthy will raise revenues to the General Fund and stop the automatic budget cuts to all levels of public education that were set to be enacted come January if Proposition 30 had not passed.

The Democratic Supermajority: Use It or Lose It

By Robert Cruickshank

Democratic control of the California State Legislature is nothing new. Since 1970 Democrats have dominated the Capitol, with Republicans having only a narrow majority in the Assembly for a short 2-year period in the 1990s and never having control of the Senate in that time. But since 1978, Democratic majorities have been essentially meaningless. Proposition 13 required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes, a conservative attempt to seize power they had failed to win at the ballot box. In November 2012, Democrats finally won the two-thirds majority in the Legislature that had been so close in recent years.