Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I hope you can come out and join us!
CBS 5: More than 45 Berkeley community leaders will join in reading sections of the book "The House on Mango Street" at a community reading event on Saturday.
The event is part of the "Berkeley Reads Together" initiative launched in October with Mayor Tom Bates and Library Director Jackie Griffin.
Officials say "Berkeley Reads Together" is a program to encourage all Berkeley residents to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it with their families, friends and neighbors.
This year, Bates and the Berkeley Public Library have selected "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros.
Berkeley officials say that "The House on Mango Street," which consists of 44 short stories, is a powerful book told by a young girl named Esperanza Cordero. Each chapter tells a gripping story about the girl's childhood on Mango Street.
Readers at the community event include Mayor Bates, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock - a former Berkeley mayor who is Bates' wife - Councilmember Darryl Moore, School Superintendent Michelle Lawrence and Chamber of Commerce President Carolyn Henry Golphin, as well as city staff, teachers and many others.
The reading event will take place at the South Berkeley Senior Center at 2939 Ellis St. in Berkeley from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's an Educational Crisis!


The number of young people dropping out of California schools has reached the crisis stage. In particular, the number of African American and Latino youth who have dropped out or simply walked away from school is alarming. According to a recent Harvard Civil Rights Project Report, approximately 40% of African American and Latino students drop out of high school.

At our Select Committee on Bridging the Achievement Gap hearing in Richmond this week, we heard from researchers about the failure of California schools to graduate large numbers of students, in particular low income students of color. To further complicate the issue, the California High School Exit Exam requirement for the class of 2006 will mean that more than 50,000 current seniors who have failed at least one section of the test will not get their diploma next June. (Some estimates are as high as 100,000 students won’t graduate because of the Exit Exam.)

At the hearing we also focused on collaborative solutions to this crisis facing our community. We heard the latest research on “school to career” programs such as ACME Animation, the San Francisco Law Academy and the Berkeley Biotechnology Education, Inc. ACME Animation is a series of interactive courses linking professionals from PIXAR, Disney, Warner Brothers and other smaller companies with animation students in 27 high schools in California. The programs, most of which are offered in schools with high dropout rates, give students real hands-on skills development opportunities that can lead them to community college, CSU or the work world.

The San Francisco Law Academy and the Berkeley Biotech programs give young people internships with mentors to help them experience the work world along with the related academic classroom instruction. These two programs have been in existence for more than a decade and have graduated students capable of working in office or lab environments.

For more information about the Berkeley Biotechnology Education, Inc. go to http://www.bbei.org and for the San Francisco Law Academy to http://www.sfbar.org/charitable/lawacademy.aspx.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Assemblywoman Loni Hancock will chair a hearing of the Select Committee on Bridging the Achievement Gap:

Seeking Solutions to California’s High School Dropout Crisis
School-to-Career: A Pathway to Success

Featured panelists include Dr. Russell Rumberger, Linguistic Minority Research Institute/UC Santa Barbara and Paul Warren, Principle Analyst, Office of the Legislative Analyst, who will examine the many challenges currently facing California’s high schools and how to improve them. Other panelists will explore school-to-career programs and the state’s role in providing multiple pathways to success for California’s students.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Richmond High School (Little Theater)
1250 23rd Street, Richmond

Please call (510) 559-1406 for more information.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We Are On the Cutting Edge!

The Contra Costa Times did a great article on "new" trend towards political Blogs and how much we are able to accomplish together with this great forum.

You can read the article at Contra Costa Times.