August 5, 2012

Huge Charter School Controversy in the RBA (tl;dr warning)

120804-bullis-cartoonWe haven’t been shy about sharing our educational “reform” position with you: we distrust the charter school movement.  We believe they are a means for private corporations to strip school boards of their resources and teachers of their benefits by providing cut-rate education under the false flag of “school choice.”  After all, corporations exist to make a profit.  Would you really want your child’s education outsourced to the lowest bidder?  Of course not!  That’s why you’ll pay anything to live in the Real Bay Area!

Charter Schools’ Negative Impact on the Educational System

120804-bullis-protestCharter schools are being implemented all across the country, whether parents want them or not.  This is happening because some very wealthy people, not one of them with any education background, see this as a way to profit at the expense school boards and teachers unions.  Much of the current “school reform” movement has been taken over by tons of money from foundations from the Walton (Walmart), Gates (Microsoft) and Broad (construction and insurance) families and, of course, the Koch brothers.  These groups have completely derailed real school reform in favor of their plan to corporatize our educational system.

All that money crowds out real reform in favor of forcing charter schools, despite their lackluster performance despite their ability to cherry-pick students.  There are stories everywhere of neighborhood schools forced to close, fire all the teachers and administrators, and then reopen as charters, despite complete opposition from the affected teachers, parents and children.  Needless to say, this is most likely to happen where parents are not well-represented in the political system.  That is, this process is most likely to happen in poorer neighborhoods rather than wealthy suburbs.  Remember Waiting for Superman (which is, of course, pure propaganda)?  The Bay Area school in the film was in Redwood City.  And look at all the corporate charter schools that have popped up in Oakland and San Jose.

Click on through to find out what happens next.


Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

August 27, 2011

Steve Jobs’ Old Los Altos House Now Apple Fanboi Destination

Steve Jobs’ Childhood Home Draws Tourists; Stepmom Laments Resignation

By Avni Nijhawan, Los Altos Patch, August 25, 2011

Jobs’ childhood home is a modest 3-bedroom, 2-bath house on Crist Drive in Los Altos, where his stepmother still lives. Credit Avni Nijhawan

The modest home on the quiet Los Altos street where Steve Jobs grew up—and where Apple was born—has long been a tourist attraction for those in the know.

But Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after one of the most iconic CEOs in the world resigned from Apple, it became an even stronger magnet, as strangers and even relatives grappled with the idea of Apple without Jobs at the helm.

That includes Jobs’ stepmother.

Hesitantly answering the door at the Crist Drive house, Marilyn Jobs lamented Steve’s resignation.

“It’s sad. It’s very, very sad,” said the 78-year-old, who has lived in the 1,793-square-foot home for 20 years.

imageThe above article includes the obligatory neighbor who gets tourists mistakenly ringing the doorbell asking to see the famous garage.  I do want to remind everyone that Jobs resigned, but he isn’t dead yet.  But if the pictures on TMZ can be believed, he isn’t looking too great, either.

Now, let’s take a look at this “modest” Los Altos home with a Zestimate of $1,208,600.

It’s in Los Altos, but it doesn’t have Los Altos schools.  Instead, if you lived here, your children would have to attend the inferior schools of the Cupertino and Fremont Union districts.  Sure, they educated both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but I bet you didn’t name any of your children Steve.

Next, it’s not on a busy street, but it’s pretty close to one: Foothill Expressway.  Just pretend the traffic noise is ocean surf!


Finally, on what planet is an almost 1800 square foot house considered “modest"?  Sure it is, in Texas, where land is cheap and construction workers can be paid in beer.  But in Santa Clara County?  And even throughout the entire United States (think cheaper land and building costs), the median square footage of new construction didn’t top 2000 square feet until the late 1990s.  By 1952 standards, this was a good-sized house.  The 9,375 sf lot is a little small for Los Altos but looks typical of the tract it’s in.  It’s certainly generous for Santa Clara County.

Oh, I know why the writer described this house as modest.  She was thinking of his current place.


Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:35 am