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  • Thursday, August 29, 2013


    Orange International Street Fair turns 40

    Annual Orange International Street Fair this Labor Day
    Despite the City of Orange City Council failing to vote this February to increase the size of the city’s landmark event this year, the Orange International Street Fair (Greater Orange’s goodbye to summer international bash) returns this Labor Day Weekend  celebrating its 40th year as big as ever!

    Since being the centerpiece of the City of Orange centennial celebration in 1972 as a re-creation of a 1910 Orange International Fair, the celebration literally draws the world to the center of Greater Orange as world famous Orange Traffic Circle becomes the center of pedestrian traffic on the numerous international themed food streets.

    Over 1200 volunteers have been preparing to make the expected half million visitors feel welcome. More than 80 community organizations dedicated to serving the Greater Orange Communities rely on the Orange International Street Fair as one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.

    Sweet on Summer at the Plaza is this year’s theme and like the past 39 years, the fun is all about the food, music, more food, drinks…and don’t forget the FOOD…from around the world. Craftsmen will be selling handmade items around the Plaza and present and past Orange Street Fair commemorative s will be on sale to complete your Orange Street Fair collection. 

    As always no pets are allowed at the Orange Street Fair and wristbands for public alcohol consumption are required. 

    The free entertainment includes bands that will perform thought the four block downtown Old Towne Orange Plaza traffic circle center representing music from around the globe on the numerous stages all around the Plaza.

    For the Entertainment Schedule CLICK ON: ENTERTAINMENT

    Children’s Street
    The Children’s Street family oriented activities will again be offered on North Orange Street just off East Chapman Ave. No alcohol is allowed in the Children’s Street area. Children’s Street hours are:
    Friday September 2nd: 5 pm – 8:30 pm
    Saturday September 3rd: 10 am – 8:30 pm
    Sunday September 4th: 10 am – 8:30 pm

    Parking and Traveling to the Orange Street Fair
    The event draws half a million visitors over its three days. Visitors from out-of- town are encouraged to avoid the parking crunch by taking the Metrolink (at reduced weekend rates-see below) to the historic Orange Santa Fe (Metrolink/Amtrak) Depot conveniently located adjacent to the street fair. OCTA will sell you a $10 weekend Metrolink trains will allow you to ride anywhere in the regional system from 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday midnight. Weekend passes are only sold at the vending machines located at Metrolink stations (no web sales). Those wishing to brave the parking drama may try the Chapman University lots or parking on the surrounding streets. Expect to walk several blocks from where you park just to get to the Traffic Circle area where the Street Fair takes place.

    LINK to Metrolink Pass story: WEEKEND PASS

    LINK to Orange Old Town Metrolink Station Information:Orange Station

    Orange Street Fair Schedule
    The Orange Street Fair is in Orange Old Towne at the Orange Plaza the Traffic Circle intersection of Chapman and Glassell Streets in Orange. The fair runs Friday- Sunday (yes Sunday is the last day…Monday Labor Day is clean-up). Entering the street fair as always is free.
     Alcohol Sales on the street are over at 9:00 p.m. and a wrist band to purchase and drink at the fair must be purchased each day.

        Friday, August 30th 2013
        5pm to 10pm
        Alcohol Sales: 5pm-9pm

        Saturday, August 31st 2013
        10am to 10pm
        Alcohol Sales: 10am-9pm

        September 1st 2013
        10am to 10pm
        Alcohol Sales: Noon-9pm


    Link To Orange Street Fair website: Orange International Street Fair


    NCLB testing fiasco almost dead

    The Emperor has no clothes!!!!
    Dying gasp of state testing is a mixed bag of results for state and OUSD as California Superintendent finally acknowledges the truth

    The unrealistic goals of a the federally mandated testing system under No Child Left Behind continued to die a slow and painful death as the State of California released the latest numbers of its 2013 Standardized testing.

    The API (Academic Performance Index)  is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. School and student group targets are set at 5 percent of the difference between the school or student group's Base API score (posted last May, along with school ranks) and the statewide target of 800, with a minimum target of 5 points. All numerically significant student groups at a school must meet their growth targets for a school to meet its API growth target.

    Across California, the overall API declined by 2 points from last year, from 791 to 789, although a number of student “subgroups” saw some gains.

     Like the state, Orange Unified’s numbers were a mixed bag with wide numerical swings.  Overall, 18 OUSD schools (51%) the API grew and API targets were met.  Three schools (9%) the API grew, but targets were not met. API scores declined in 14 (40%) of OUSD schools. ( see links below)

    This year’s results were the last true statewide results. Starting next school year, California will be on a “two test” system, with its largest and most struggling districts receiving a federal waiver to be removed from the California Department of Education system to create one of their own. In addition, a new standards regiment called “Common Core” will be introduced. The testing system for Common Core is under development. By all indications, the “Smarter Balance” testing system that “part” of California will be participating ( yes- there is no “national” test for the “almost” national Common Core) is far from developed, or ready to implement with current state facilities. 

    The federal  Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) performance targets for 2012-13 identify all Title I schools for Program Improvement unless nearly 90 percent of students attain proficiency.  When the impossible targets were made by Educrats and federally mandated in the No Child Left Behind law, top state officials embraced the targets, while teacher groups across the state called them unrealistic, arbitrary and flawed.

    Today with the release of the dismal California AYP, Tom Torlakson, the California State Superintendent of Public Education wrote in a uncharacteristically harsh Press Release today finally acknowledging what the Emperor’s people had long seen:

    “As expected, the unrealistic federal proficiency targets set under No Child Left Behind continued to identify an even larger number of schools, including many at or above the state's performance target, for Program Improvement (PI).

    ‘It is unfortunate that officials in Washington continue to enforce a program they have acknowledged is deeply flawed, and that paints too many high-achieving schools with the same broad brush,’  Torlakson said. ‘As an elected official, I'm obliged to comply with the law. But as a teacher, I'll continue to urge Congress and the Administration to get to work, change course, and replace No Child Left Behind with a workable law that fosters rather than hinders the progress California's schools are making’ “

     In this year’s California API results, only 14 percent out of 9,861 schools met the AYP benchmarks this year compared to 26 percent last year. Of the more than 6,200 Title I-funded schools, only 10 percent reached federal proficiency (Table 10).

    Among the California schools identified for Program Improvement (PI) , 30 percent have an API of 800 or higher. This year, 741 Title I (federal lower income identified) schools are new to Program Improvement and the bureaucratic hoops associated with that identification.  

    CLICK ON: 

    Friday, August 09, 2013


    Orange H.S. one of 242 CDE "flagged" schools

    Orange High School one of 242 state-wide schools ‘flagged'  for STAR Test violation

    Orange Unified’s Orange High School is one of 242 state-wide schools that has had their STAR 2013 Testing results flagged because at least one student from the school had a STAR related posting on a social media sites.  

    Orange High and 225 other schools fall into the less sever category of  2013 Identified Schools with Images on Social Media (Not including test items).   Sixteen schools, including Anaheim Union’s Magnolia High School ( the only Orange County school)  fall in the more sever 2013 Schools with Social Media Postings of Legible Test Items list.

    Last year 216 schools were flagged because of social media postings. This year’s social media breaches increase took place despite a serious attempt by the state to stop the security breaches after last year.

    If a social media posting security breach affects more than 5% of the students tested, the schools Academic Performance Index (API) results could be invalidated. The California Department of Education will make a final determination on security breaches and how each does or does not affect each schools accountability reports when it releases.

    The warnings on the schools test results page reads:
    A security breach involving social media exposure of 2013 STAR test material has been confirmed at this school site. Caution should be used when interpreting these results.

    For a complete LIST of the 242 schools CLICK ON: CDE Press Release


    State scores drop- new CORE districts leave test

    STAR scores drop in last year before CORE districts opt out…
    California Department of Education releases 2013 disappointing STAR results

    In a press release, California Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson reported that the statewide-California 2013 STAR (Standardized Testing and Accountability Report) scores were slightly lower in math, English-language arts and science ( for OUSD STAR scores CLICK ON: OUSD ).

    This was the first state-wide drop in scores since the Great Recession started in 2007. In previous Great Recession years, the California Department of Education touted the annual rise in scores despite the budget cuts. In the first drop state-wide in the bell-weather subjects, the state chief blamed the five-year old state-wide budget cuts with the press release sub-heading:

    “Statewide scores slip slightly amid budget cuts, transition to Common Core”

    The terser that unusual press release explained:

    “Statewide, 51.2 percent of students posted a score of proficient and above in mathematics, which was 0.3 of a percentage point lower than last year. In English-language arts, 56.4 percent of students scored proficient and above, 0.8 of a percentage point lower than in 2012. In science, 59.1 percent scored proficient and above, 0.4 of a percentage point lower than the 59.5 percent achieved in 2012. Students showed gains in history-social science, with 49.4 percent scoring at least proficient, an increase of 0.6 of a percentage point over last year's 48.8.”

    ( For full text CLICK ON: Torlakson)

    STAR scores In last year before CORE districts opt out 
    The public release of STAR scores came just days after the federal government announced a waiver for eight of California’s school districts from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates. The eight districts include California’s largest districts and some of its lowest performing: Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Oakland, San Francisco, Fresno, Long Beach, Sacramento, and Sanger. Together the districts educate over 1.1 million students. The waiver is the first time the federal government granted waivers to districts with-in a state (39 states and the District of Columbia have similar waivers). In so doing, it is the first time that a two-tier system of state accountability has been established.

    The eight districts united as the CORE (California Office to Reform Education) districts. Despite the governmental sounding name, the California Office of Educational Reform is a non-governmental non-profit, privately funded organization (CLICK ON: CORE ).  With the waiver, the CORE districts now escape from the threat of sanctions in 2014 for failing to meet the NCLB mandates that all students be proficient in math and English by 2014. The re-authorization of NCLB which was passed by a bi-partisan coalition under President G.W. Bush, has been stalled in the political morass of the last two Congresses. CORE is privately funded by some top educational private reform entities.

    The federal waiver also gives the districts flexibility in how they use their federal Title 1 funding- which amounts to over $150 million between them. In exchange for the waiver, the districts had to agree to use student test scores to evaluate teachers and to devise a new system of testing- they call the School Quality Improvement Index (SQII). . That system is based 60% on student scores and graduation rates and 40% on “social and emotional factors”. Those non-score factors include 20% “school culture and climate” scores from parent and student “surveys” and 20% on factors such as “absenteeism and suspension rate”.  The CORE districts will also count subgroups of as few as 20 students (under NCLB a subgroup was 100 or more).

    While the CORE district administrators greeted the news with elation and promises of a new accountability, the waiver was criticized by Washington D.C. national educational advocacy organization Education Trust for the new piecemeal approach.

    “Moving away from a common system of statewide accountability and a state-led commitment to improving student outcomes will result in different expectations for students from one district to the next. Considerable experience tells us that for low-income students and students of color, different expectations far too often mean lowered expectations.

    To be clear, these concerns would hold even if the approved plan reflected a strong, well-developed policy framework. But it does not. Rather, the CORE plan has neither a finalized accountability system nor finalized guidelines for teacher evaluations.”

    For full text CLICK ON: Educational Trust PR

    Ironically, the two non-profits, the Educational Trust and the CORE districts share some big time educational funding sources:
    CLICK ON: CORE Funders and Ed Trust Funders

    Also critical of the CORE district's waiver was the California Teachers Association. CTA President Dean Vogel wrote in a press release titled " Divisive Waivers from NCLB Law for 8 Districts Leave Teachers Out and Students Behind " :

    As educators, we are committed to improving the conditions of teaching and learning, advancing the cause of a quality public education system and ensuring that the dignity and civil rights of all children are protected. At a time when we are working hard in California to implement positive changes that ensure all students get a fair shot at a quality education, this top-down move that excluded teacher input is absurd, counterproductive and divisive.
    “By approving this waiver, Secretary Duncan once again demonstrates how his rhetoric that educators be actively involved in education change is just that—rhetoric.  Not one of the local teachers’ associations in the eight school districts was included in the discussion or signed the waiver application"

    The CTA release also criticized the waivers as interfering with the states progress on the Local Control Funding Formula, creating a two system testing regime and creating a new bureaucratic structure for the CORE districts.

    (for the Full text CLICK ON:  CTA on Waivers)

    The consequences for future STAR testing results are that they will no longer include some of the largest and lowest performing state districts. Under the two-test California system, neither the STAR or the yet to be devised SQII will no longer give any accurate measure of state-wide accountability. This of course will eventually lead to the problem of whether an educational house so divided-can still stand.

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