California Educator

October 2016

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Page 8 of 51

Being Present P R Y I N G T H E S M A R T P H O N E S from my children's hands has become increasingly difficult. So our story on Screenagers ( p a g e 4 0 ) , a d o c u m e n t a r y o n k i d s' u s a g e o f e l e c t r o n i c d e v i c e s an d w h eth er p arent s an d t ea ch ers sh oul d limit it, struck a chord . As I learned, checking one's phone for the latest post, "like" or text, or playing video games for hours on end, releases dopa- mine into the brain's pleasure centers, resulting in obsessive pleasure-seeking behavior — an addiction, in other words. It's no wonder that kids find it hard to be present in class or at family dinner. Screenagers suggests a few solutions, including helping students build self-control. Being present in class is easier, of course, when family, health and financial issues are addressed. at is the crux of the community school movement, where schools bring together academics, health and social services, and youth and commu- nity development. Schools become places where education is primary, students can get eyeglasses and dental care, families find food pantries, parents take adult ed classes, and much more. Transitioning to such a model, as our feature "Caring for the Whole Child" (page 16) shows, has led to improved learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools are a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles' work to make schools the "heart and soul" of LA neigh- borhoods. In a fascinating look at the recent revitalization of CTA's largest chapter, "Wide Awake, Well-Organized, Fighting Mad" (page 22), UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl discusses, among other things, how to combat deep-pocketed bids to pri- vatize public education. We must fight "for our schools to be the best they can be — and be 'community schools' that parents and students feel ownership of," he says. Ownership — of a school, of a community, of a heritage — is what drove three Filipino-American educators to spearhead a successful campaign to rename a school in their district after two Filipino-American labor leaders ("Activist Educators," page 43). Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School reflects the pride of Filipino-Americans in Union City and in California, where they are the largest Asian American subgroup. It's a fitting marker as the state revises curricula to include Filipino-American history and contributions to our country. Educators have been revising curricula as needed since — well, forever. Take English teacher Jason Goldman- Hall, who uses graphic novels and comic books in his classroom at Pio- neer High School in San Jose. "For this generation, which is so accustomed to the Internet with pictures and text together, it seems natural," he says. Makes sense, and students are connect- ing to stories, which is the point. Read more in "Welcome to the Comic Core" (page 36). Finally, and most importantly, vote on Nov. 8 and urge col- leagues to do so as well (see "Get Out the Vote 2016," page 26). e issues are critical; this is not one to sit out or let pass by. Be present and vote — for our future. Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F Good Works I VA N V I R AY S A N T O S , one of three California educators honored by NEA as 2016 Social Justice Activists of the Year (see story, page 43), advises edu- cator activists just starting out: "Don't be afraid to share your truth. Don't ever allow yourself to be silenced, because when you allow that to happen, you'll see it translated into the attitudes of your students." Know another member doing great things for students or the commu- nity? Tell us at with "Good Works" in the subject line. 7 October 2016

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