- Weakening Winds
- PSPS Update
- Mike Hulbert
- Weapons Cache
- Hospital Meeting
- Allegaert Art
- McCowen's Retirement
- Impeachment Hearings
- Lindy Speaks
- FB Voting
- Unreal Service
- Cat Hotel
- Farm Report
- Musical Taste
- Grumpy Dylan
- Gobbi Commons
- Yesterday's Catch
- 1970s SF
- POTUS Manual
- Caspar Breakfast
- Facebook Bingo
- Holiday Gifts
- Obama's Sip
- Criminal System
- Tax Code
- Vulgar Minds
- Edu Data
- Found Object
WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO WEAKEN across the higher terrain and become much lighter for the rest of the week. Mostly clear skies will continue through Friday, with freezing overnight low temperatures in many of the interior valleys. (National Weather Service)
UPDATE #2: PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Scheduled for November 20, 2019 through November 21, 2019
Post Date: 11/20/2019 9:04 AM
The County of Mendocino has been notified by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) that power may be turned off in our area due to high risk weather conditions on November 20, 2019. The following updated information was provided by PG&E:
The scope remains the same for Mendocino County as stated in Update #1. The coastal areas are no longer in the scope.
PSPS footprint is along Hwy 175 east of Old Hopland and the Pine Mountain area near the Sonoma County line.
Total Customers have been reduced from approximately 1300 to 173.
The Community Resource Centers (CRC) will be open today. The resource centers will be located at 1775 N State St, Ukiah and 13101 Nokomis Rd. outside of Hopland. A CRC will also be located at the Citrus Fairgrounds in Cloverdale.
De-energization initiated by PG&E began at 7:00 am on November 20, 2019, prior to the start of the 8:00 am wind event.
All clear from outage producing winds is forecast for Thursday November 21, 2019 at 2:00 am.
PG&E estimates power lines will be re-energized within 24 hours.
The County will release any updated information on the power outage and re-energization timelines as they become available.
For more information, please contact the Executive Office at 707-463-4441. For updated County information on the public safety power shut off, please visit www.mendocinocounty.org/psps or follow the County on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mendocinocounty and twitter https://twitter.com/countymendocino.
MIKE HULBERT, 60, has died. Mike was found dead at Motel 6 in Ukiah of apparent alcohol poisoning. Mike and his brother Steve, who died in 2017, grew up in Boonville where both are fondly remembered.
UNIDENTIFIED FORT BRAGG OCCUPANT ARRESTED WITH HUGE WEAPONS CACHE
On November 19, 2019, at approximately 11:55a.m. Officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department were informed that a potential threat had been made directed at Fort Bragg High School. Officers quickly verified the information via witnesses, and began a work up on the suspect’s information. At 1:25p.m. the suspect’s vehicle was observed on the 700 block of Maple Street and a “Felony” stop was conducted. The lone occupant was taken into custody and his vehicle was impounded. Officers prepared and served a search warrant at the suspect’s house in the 400 block of Harold Street where numerous firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, high capacity magazines and ballistic equipment were confiscated. This investigation is continuing as the evidence seized is being inventoried. The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for filing considerations at the conclusion of the investigation. This action was made possible by the systems put in place by the school district and the quick actions of all involved so that no one was hurt during this incident. The quick resolution to this investigation avoided anyone at the school from being put at risk. Anyone with information regarding this incident may contact Officer Chris Awad at (707) 961-2800 ext. 180, or the Fort Bragg Police Department (Anonymous) Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049.
A BIG ONE
IMPORTANT Special Coast Hospital Board Meeting Nov. 22
This upcoming meeting will determine the future of our hospital. A resolution to approve the terms of a new lease with an affiliate of Adventist Health System/West is on the agenda. Also, a resolution requesting Consolidation of Election and Ordering of Election in preparation for a March vote on the affiliation.
The meeting is at 6pm on Friday, November 22, in the registration area of the hospital.
Please make every effort to attend.
Margaret Paul, email@example.com
THE MOST HONEST MENDO ART EVER….
McCOWEN'S RETIREMENT. Trying real hard to be fair to the sonorous Ukiah solon, I think he can claim full credit for straightening out the loss to the County via Brooktrails and the Teeter Plan, whose details, on the off chance you're interested in obscure, complicated fiscal schemes, you'll have to look up yourself because even typing Teeter Plan puts me to sleep. McCowen's commitment to at least trying to keep the "homeless" from trashing the Ukiah Valley's streamside ecology is also both noteworthy and praiseworthy. And he seldom missed a meeting, so give him a merit badge for attendance. Otherwise, he was simply one more signator to whatever County boss Carmel Angelo put in from of him.
THOSE FACEBOOK KUDOS for McCowen congratulating him for "your service" seem to confuse him with Mother Theresa. McCowen, a wealthy Ukiah landlord, enjoys an $84,000 annual salary, plus perks most Americans don't enjoy, and a pension which, in his case, works out to about $25,000 a year. Put these stats against the 6,731 Mendolanders on food stamps, who include more than a few County line workers, and McCowen's "service" doesn't seem of the hair shirt variety. (On Tuesday, McCowen, typically, signed off on a truly profligate scheme that would pay a Sacramento architect to "evaluate and design" three Measure B structure projects worth $3.3 million. That staggeringly lush contract passed 3-2 with Supervisors Haschak and Brown joining McCowen in Yes votes. At the mo, the only responsible Supervisors we have are Williams and Gjerde, and Gjerde has only lately re-awakened from his prolonged, elected slumber.)
SO FAR, only two persons have signed up to fill McCowen's size two loafers: Mo Mulheren, mayor of Ukiah, and Joel Soinila. Soinila's facebook page says:
“WHY I'M RUNNING — To assist Mendocino County's 2nd district in achieving forward thinking with result-based accountability. Main areas of interest: Community, Financial Transparency/Integrity, Mental Health, Unsheltered Population Awareness, and Environmental Advocacy. — Member: Chamber of Commerce, Mendocino County Historical Society, Mendocino County Farm Bureau, Young Farmers and Ranchers, Ukiah High Alumni Association, Ukiah Elks Lodge, Cal Poly Alumni.”
NEITHER SOINILA nor Mulheren seem to know much about the job, which puts them securely in the local tradition of zero prior knowledge of County affairs prior to election. You could grab the next five people off the street, install them as Supervisors and, for job performance, they would do as well as three of the five persons presently occupying the position.
ALTHOUGH candidates have until December 5th to sign up to run for Supervisor, it looks like Mulheren and Silent Soinila will battle it out for the 2nd District seat. Mulheren has the edge in that there's a large angry woman vote in Ukiah (and on the Mendo Coast) that is instinctively and aggressively for any woman over any man no matter how testosterone-free and/or emasculated the male appears to be.
IF THE IMPEACHMENT hearings were a tv show its ratings would be zero. I asked five people Wednesday if they were listening or watching. Answers ranged from No to Of course not. Despite MSM hype that the Demo's inquisition is fascinating and has Trump on the ropes, all the posturing yobbos have established is what we already know — Trump wanted dirt on the Bidens in trade for arms to the Ukranians, who apparently had no idea that they were being held up. Is that an impeachable offense? Was Clinton's sordid dalliance with Monica an impeachable offense? No and No. From here both shows look like the vipers investigating the snakes, and simply more evidence that this sucker is going down. (A little bit of Neener-Neener Schiff goes a long, long way. If anybody can make Trump look like a victim, it's Schiff and Co.)
LINDY PETERS VS. INCUMBENT GJERDE. LINDY SPEAKS:
I have served the City of Fort Bragg for over 17 years. I have served a term as your Mayor on two occasions in two different decades. I have raised a child here, sent him through college, bought a house and paid a mortgage. I have worked more than one job to make ends meet. I know firsthand the struggle it is to get by in the 4th District and I have worked hard in my political career to help make things better. First off, we need to ensure the hospital remains open and solvent. Whatever help we can foster at the Supervisor level to accomplish this goal is imperative. Let’s get going on cannabis regulations. The State has made it difficult enough on this burgeoning new industry. They need help not hindrance. I have spent over 12 years on the Fire Protection Authority Board and am familiar with the needs of our volunteer Fire Departments. We need to continue and enhance their funding as the real dangers of increasing wildfire activities threaten our rural County. A tax measure will help. Let’s explore ways to be more self-sufficient. I will continue to explore the possibilities of a small power source or micro grid to wean us from the greed and the grid we are so dependent on PG& E to provide. I will push for a desalinization plant to provide the coastal region with the vital water source to take us into the future. The County’s IT department is disjointed and unreliable. We need to make funding available to bring it up to speed. The County CEO may be wielding too much power. The Grand Jury is looking in to this. I will ask questions and do homework so that I am not solely dependent on a staff report recommendation. I have done this my whole political life. I will treat county employees and retirees with the respect they deserve for working to make this a better place to live. I will help direct and negotiate a new solid waste contract due to expire in my first term, looking out for the ratepayers best interests. I look for solutions from the greatest resource we have. You the people. I will be active all the time, not just prior to an election. I hosted a weekly Monday Morning Meeting with the Mayor every Monday except Holidays for 2 years. I promise to do the same if elected Supervisor. You will have access in a more relaxed setting to bring your problems and ideas to me. This will move around the 4th District accordingly. And remember this: Holding on to what appears to be good for you now may be the very reason you don’t have something better.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
Background: In May 2018 the City of Fort Bragg received a letter accusing the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which requires communities to form Districts when there is racially-polarized voting.
That allegation was based on a theory that a lack of Latinos running or winning a seat on the Fort Bragg City Council happens because voting at large causes "racially polarized voting" in favor of the non-Hispanic majority. Districts which concentrate Latino voters might produce more Latino candidates.
Compromise: A settlement was developed requiring the city to establish a committee to look at the need for (and possibility of forming) districts, and to also review various different electoral systems which may better enfranchise minority voters. At the public forum, the committee will summarize their findings to date and open it up for discussion. The committee will present their final recommendations to the city council at a meeting in December.
Come express your ideas! The Elections Review Committee is seeking public input about preferred electoral systems. What kind of voting system would you like to have in Fort Bragg? Attend tonight's meeting, learn about the city's demography and various election systems, and let the committee know your thoughts.
HOPLAND'S REAL GOODS was mostly bought up by Flow Kana, and ever since the sale Real Goods Solar Center customers complain that trying to get technical assistance for their Real Goods solar gear has been nigh impossible.
PETIT TETON MONTHLY FARM REPORT - OCTOBER 2019
Surviving PG&E Outages…
We're on the eve of yet another power outage scheduled for tomorrow (as we write this) which means it's a good time to bring up the previous one. Power outages are easier to survive than fires so we're not complaining about the lack of electricity for over four days. What we will say is that the electric grid is outdated, not upgraded on any regular basis and needs complete replacing. More power in this country is coming now from wind and solar than from coal, thank goodness. We should be rapidly moving to advance the storage of solar and wind power for use at any time of day or night. That requires big money and much of it should come from the federal government. Since our present "leaders" are more interested in dismantling democracy, putting money in their pockets and a denial of reality, nothing is happening. We have heard that some wealthy private persons are supporting research into more powerful solar arrays capable of powering heavy industry, e.g., concrete and steel production, and the storage of the energy they produce. We can be a bit encouraged by this.
We continue to create wonderful products from our farm's bounty which varies from year to year. That people are more aware now of the importance of wholesome food has helped our business grow, albeit slowly. Our new motto should be "Food is ingested; anything ingested is a drug; make it illegal and we could make money."
Cheers everyone. Take care of yourselves and others.
Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Kreig
I KNOW THERE ARE GROUPS at the top of the charts that are hailed as the saviors of rock 'n roll and all that, but they are amateurs. I wouldn't even think about playing music if I was born in these times. I wouldn't even listen to the radio.
— Bob Dylan
WEST GOBBI HOUSING APPROVED - PROPOSAL ON CONSENT CALENDAR FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S UKIAH CITY COUNCIL MEETING
by Justine Frederiksen
A new housing project proposed for West Gobbi Street will be considered for final approval by the Ukiah City Council today, as it is on the consent calendar for that meeting.
The project called Gobbi Commons includes eight single-family, market-rate homes being proposed in the 200 block of West Gobbi Street, just east of Yokayo Elementary School.
At the City Council’s previous meeting where the project was approved unanimously, one neighbor said she was pleased that the project was for houses, not apartments, but she did express concern about the increase in traffic it will bring.
“There is a traffic problem on West Gobbi already (because) we have a school down at the end and in the mornings it is like a freeway,” said Carrie Barnett, who lives directly across the street from the proposed project. “People seem like they want to run over the children rather than drop them off, or both. We’ve asked a (Ukiah Police Department) officer to sit there, and have had (traffic) trailers literally clock people going 55 mph.
“And now we will have 16 more cars going in and out, with at least 32 trips a day,” continued Barnett. “So we need something — humps, bumps, or people. I don’t know. But we want our neighbors to be safe.”
When Council member Steve Scalmanini asked for clarification on which trees would be removed from the site, Planning Manager Michelle Irace said that the “large oak tree on the northwest side” will be removed for safety reasons at the recommendation of the city’s Electric Utility, but that “the remainder of the large oak trees on the perimeter will remain, while some smaller shrubs and trees within the center may be removed.”
Scalmanini said that another item people had expressed concern to him about was “light trespass,” asking “what is preventing lighting from the parking spaces,” especially from vehicle headlights, trespassing on the neighbors? Irace said her understanding was that there was existing fencing near the parking spaces, and that additional fencing was planned.
Now that the project has been approved by the city’s Design Review Board, Planning Commission and City Council, it is on the council’s consent calendar for final approval today at the meeting that begins at 6 p.m. in the council’s chambers at 300 Seminary Ave.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 20, 2019
CASSIDY BAKER, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER BRAGA, Fort Bragg. Assault with firearm, organic drug sale, controlled substance while armed, armed in commission of felony, criminal threats.
DION EAGAN, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
DAVID FRAWLEY, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RICARDO HOAGLIN, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Parole violation.
JAVIER MENDEZ, Ukiah. Vandalism, protective order violation, disobeying court order.
BELINDA SCHAFER, King Vale/Ukiah. Suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
ELIZABETH SIMMONS, Calpella. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic abuse.
MALISSA WARNER, Ukiah. Parole violation.
TONI WHIPPLE, Covelo. Evasion, resisting.
THE 1970S ARE A SLIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD DECADE. People think of “the ’60s” as this wild decade. In fact, the 1960s was NOTHING compared to the 1970s when it came to “sex and drugs and rocknroll.” People think of the ’60s and they think of all these wild hippies. But in truth, that whole business really didn’t catch on until the ’70s. The hippie counterculture was really just a tiny fringe thing in the ’60s. In fact, I don’t remember seeing a single long-haired hippie guy in my entire town in the suburbs of New Jersey until around 1970. It wasn’t until Woodstock that the hippie thing first really started to catch on with mainstream American culture, and that was in late 1969 when the so-called “60s” was almost over.
The watershed moment was when Nixon resigned in the summer of 1974. It was as if the cultural war that had been “the 60s” was finally over. And the hippies had been declared the victors. Nixon had resigned in disgrace, the Vietnam War had been exposed as a collosal failure and — whaddaya’ know? — the Hippies had been right all along! So naturally it was Party Time!!!
I think another slightly misunderstood aspect of that period is this. When people think of “the ’60s” they think of the hippies and the counterculture and the Civil Rights Movement and all that. But basically, what it was, it was a Liberal Revolution. Nixon, and all he represented (white, middle-class, heterosexual, Christian, Republican males) had lost. And the Liberals had won. And when you look at it, when you look at virtually every social change in American society from the ’60s to the present (and there have been plenty of these changes) almost all the changes have moved America in a more and more liberal direction (which I guess is why American society keeps getting better and better every year, he says, sardonically).
And believe me, San Francisco at that time was Party Central. I remember hitting San Francisco for the first time in the summer of ’76 as a wee lad of 19. And I’ll never forget that first Gay Freedom Parade I went to (well, I didn’t actually go to it, I happened to be living on the streets so I was there in the midst of it whether I went to it or not). I remember this open-air, flat-bed truck going down Market Street with all these half-naked men chained to crucifix-like boards while big, beefy leather boys whipped them on their backs. And everyone seemed like they were wired out of their minds on speed. It had the air of a frantic party that had been going on non-stop for weeks, with no end in sight.
All that would change — San Francisco’s smug sense of itself — a couple years later in 1978, when ex-San Francisco supervisor Dan White snuck into City Hall with a loaded gun and gunned down Mayor Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk in cold blood.
This incident, too, is slightly misunderstood. I heard they recently made a Hollywood movie about this incident. And Dan White is portrayed as a raging homophobe. I’m sure this makes for an exciting Hollywood villain, but the truth (as usual) is slightly different. In fact, Dan White’s campaign manager, business partner and close friend was gay. And in fact, White had generally sided with Milk for most of his tenure as supervisor. It wasn’t until White got into a non-gay issue dispute with Milk and Moscone that White went ballistic. And its worth noting, White gunned down the decidedly un-gay Moscone first. But I guess that’s neither here nor there. Harvey Milk was the first openly-gay elected politician in America. So his place in history was already secure. And his martyrdom cemented it. Though its likely Dan White wasn’t so much a homophobe as just your garden variety flaming asshole.
I remember I was hitching from Berkeley back to San Francisco on the night they announced the Dan White verdict. If I remember right he only got sentenced to about 7 years, thanks to the famous “Twinkies defense” (White claimed he had been binging on junk food prior to the shooting and his blood sugar went hay-wire causing temporary insanity).
Anyways, that night hitching to the city, I got picked up by a station wagon full of gay guys. They were going to San Francisco for a quiet, peaceful, dignified candle-light protest, to voice their displeasure over the White verdict. Which quickly escalated into a mass riot, with City Hall set on flames and dozens of cop cars burned to a crisp. The cops responded in kind by storming into a Castro Street gay bar armed with billy clubs and beating the holy crap out of any gay-looking person they could find. It was like a night of city-wide warfare. The famous White Night riots. (When a reporter asked some gay guys why they were destroying the city, one of them famously replied: “I guess we ate too many Twinkies.”)
The City had already been reeling from the Jonestown Massacre, which had happened just a week before Moscone and Milk had been murdered. So it was like a double whammy. Like a one-two punch in the gut.
Like Moscone and Milk, the Rev. Jim Jones had been another San Francisco institution during those times. And the murder/suicide of 900 people (a good many of them former San Francisco citizens) was truly mind-boggling. Jim Jones, himself, was practically a liberal wet-dream. He claimed to be of Native American Indian ancestry (falsely), he adopted numerous children of different races and ethnicities, and he ministered to the black community in the inner city. His whole act had been pulled directly from the Heroic Civil Rights Leader handbook. And in fact, I don’t remember hearing one single bad word about the Rev. Jim Jones from a single Bay Area media outlet in all those years, pre-Massacre. In fact, I remember several hugely laudatory articles in the SF Bay Guardian — that muck-rakin’, truth-seekin’ Progressive tabloid. (Though, in typical Guardian blowhard fashion — they had the gall to run a big article after the massacre blaming the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner for “misleading” the public about Jim Jones).
Overnight, San Francisco went from being the Hip Cool city to “the Whacko Capital of America.” San Francisco would never quite regain its equilibrium. And, as they always say at the end of portentious blogs like this: “It was the end of an era.”
CASPAR'S SUNDAY BREAKFAST
Caspar's 4th Sunday breakfast is coming up this Sunday, November 24th and those that appreciate the camaraderie and country gourmet menu will be gathering at the Caspar Community Center starting at 9am. Breakfast will be served by friendly and efficient volunteers until 11:00am.
During & after the breakfast there will be a sale in the north room of the center featuring the Mixed Metal Jewels of Carlie & Jima Abbott, a large selection of high quality used books presented by the Caspar Bookster and Annie Lee's collection of colorful Guatemalan imports, jewelry, an array of textile goods, clothes and items for kids & babies. Proceeds support the vendors, artisans and student scholarships. The sale runs from 9am to 2pm.
This month's menu features:
Chilaquiles verdes topped with two over easy eggs, served with black bean chili $13
Two over easy eggs with hash brown potatoes and choice of house made bread or GF cornbread. $13
Tex Mex cornbread pudding served with black bean chili $12
Baked apple, stuffed with chicken apple sausage stuffing, served with cottage cheese pancakes and maple syrup $13
Pumpkin ginger polenta with stewed fruit and cashew cream (vegan and GF). $12 Thanksgiving coffee, teas and juice
You're invited & encouraged to come and enjoy good food, nice people, a special place. For out of towners, the community center is located half way between Mendocino and Ft. Bragg. just west of Highway One. All are welcome. The breakfast is an important fund raiser for the center. This is the 14th year for the monthly breakfast.
Information at 964-4997 firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out other things happening at the center at casparcommons.org/home.php
MAKER SPACE: HOLIDAY GIFT JARS
Join us at the Ukiah Library on Saturday, December 7th from 2:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M., for a hands-on maker space. Check off your list some of those hard-to-shop-for friends and family by making cocoa and cookie gift jars to give away for the holidays.
This event is for ages 10-to-adult, free to the public, reservations required. This event is sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library and the Mendocino County Library.
For more information and to book your reservation for this maker space, please contact the Ukiah Library at 707-463-4490, or email email@example.com.
TAMMY BARBOUR SAYS; DRINK UP!
The new narrative is Bernie is TOO far left. Now it's even being touted by President Obama, himself! I miss President Obama. But I'm no fool. The establishment will run any line to save itself.
In 2016, when Flint residents were getting rashes from taking showers in the filtered water, President Obama came to Flint, and took the Official Presidential Sip, declaring Flint water was safe to drink. In a grand show of respect for him, stunned residents sat in pin-dropping silence.
They did not boo. They did not hiss. Some say they wondered whether President Obama's being the first black President handicapped his ability to do more. They were appreciative he bothered to come, but they were hurt.
If only every Flint resident had access to the same source of water that touched President Obama's lips. After his visit, it was revealed there was not only disparity in the use of filters, but that those filters did not filter out everything. Residents already knew this.
Democracy had been imperiled in Flint and in Detroit for a long time before it came to light in the national media. Flint residents had to fight for years for exposure. Detroit teachers were ignored for two decades under Betsy DeVos' shadow guidance. Obama's sip of water was a "problem solved, nothing to see here," moment so that the national media could turn the page to something else.
There are two America's.
President Obama's glass of water had the benefit of the very best reverse osmosis filtration which most residents of Flint could never afford. Obama's a nice guy, but the Haves can afford to stay in the middle because they have no risk, they are not the ones who are imperiled. The Bidens, Klobuchars and Bloomberg's of the world may be content to simply kowtow to Trump supporters to find any GOP voter who might budge.
It is possible for us to have two different experiences. For many of us, reality of climate change, wage inequality, health care, and college loans are obstacles that aren't fixed by MSM waving a magic wand and telling us, "problem solved, nothing to see here." The common man and woman's experience in America aligns with Bernie's observations that all our problems aren't yet solved, and people deserve positive change.
ONE DOESN’T HAVE TO CONSIDER the Democrats heroes in order to agree with the desire to see Trump face impeachment. Indeed, it is almost impossible to do so. Nor does one have to agree with the Pentagon to understand their role in putting the trumpists on notice. I know the resumes of those who testify. They don’t deserve tears or cheers. However, their participation in the crimes of the Empire don’t make Trump’s protofascism okay. The combination of the crimes of Congress and the White House proves the criminality of the entire system.
— Ron Jacobs
SO LITTLE PAINS do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand.
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION—USING A DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH
by Michelle Hutchins, County Superintendent of Schools
One of the most effective ways to solve problems is to include the following steps. 1. Define the goal as specifically as possible. 2. Make sure you can measure progress. 3. Collect and review relevant data frequently. 4. Iterate. 5. Return to step 3 until the goal is reached.
At the state level in education, we often struggle to gather, review, and respond to data in a timely manner and it’s hurting our schools. When we do state-wide benchmark testing, schools do not receive results until after the following school year has already begun, so we do not get the opportunity to rethink which classes we should offer or which students would benefit from various types of curriculum. It feels like we’re always a year behind. In this age of technology, I cannot fathom why this remains the case.
I recently attended a meeting with fellow county superintendents of schools and many of us feel frustrated. The good news is that the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (pronounced “see-ses-uh”) has been supporting a continuous improvement approach and if enough superintendents carry the messages of our districts to the state level, change should follow.
Using a data-driven approach to problem solving would allow us to reach better conclusions and to model improvement science for our students. Every day in education, we make decisions about logistics, administration, academics and social issues. When we do so using a formal problem-solving model with access to relevant data formatted so decision-makers understand it and can integrate it, we do better. To be clear, many educators make great decisions every day. My point is that our process would be enhanced with access to data. Seasoned educators and administrators can only do so much in the absence of information.
Think about the last time you learned a new skill. If you got timely feedback and helpful instruction, you probably progressed quickly. If it became clear you didn’t have the tool you needed to succeed, you probably went and got it rather than continually trying to achieve without it. Feedback is important.
We need to know how our students and teachers are faring compared to statewide norms so we can build on our strengths and make up for our weaknesses. The Carnegie Foundation defines Improvement Science as “explicitly designing to accelerate learning-by-doing. As the improvement process advances, previously invisible problems often emerge, and improvement activities may need to tack in new directions. The overall goal is to develop the necessary know-how for a reform idea ultimately to spread faster and more effectively. It is an iterative process often extending over considerable periods of time.”
In this age of information, it’s time for us to start thinking differently, to figure out how we can gather and use data so our students have the skills they need to succeed in a changing world.