Thursday, November 3, 2005
IN THE ZONE
They’re cute. They’re furry. And they are banned from migrating to Southern California.
On Nov. 3, in Monterey, the public can weigh in on the federal sea otter recovery program and controversial “no-otter zone,” in the last of two public hearings intended to give the US Fish and Wildlife Service feedback on a new sea otter report.
In October, the US Fish and Wildlife Service released an evaluation of its sea otter recovery plan, which currently prohibits southern sea otters from migrating beyond Point Conception down to the Santa Barbara and Ventura coastline. The report recommends terminating the no-otter zone, and has been lauded by scientists and otter enthusiasts who argue that the sea otter needs to move southward in order to achieve recovery of the species.
“Bringing sea otters back to Southern California will not only help put sea otters firmly on the road to recovery, it will also benefit our coastal communities,” says Defenders of Wildlife’s Jim Curland.
At the first of two public hearings, held Nov. 1, to discuss the new, proposed sea otter plan, Defenders of Wildlife, along with the Humane Society, the Ocean Conservancy and the Sea Otter Defense Initiative, told the feds to end the no-otter zone.
The next public hearing will be held Nov. 3 from 6 to 9pm at the Monterey Bay Aquarium auditorium, 886 Cannery Row in Monterey. To view the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s report on southern sea otters, visit www.fws.gov/ventura/es/SSOrecplan/seaotter_index.html. [JL]
Dr. Willard Daggett makes his living by making some people mad.
Daggett is a former high school teacher who now tours the country getting paid to speak in front of groups of teachers, administrators, government officials and business leaders. He tells them all the same thing: the nation’s education system is broken. And efforts to reform it aren’t working. And if it isn’t fixed, our country is in for some serious and long-term trouble.
Daggett, who will be in Monterey on Nov. 9 for a talk sponsored by the Monterey Business Council, blames the schools themselves, the government, teachers, unions, parents—he holds almost everyone in power responsible for the mess, except students (who end up getting the blame in most analyses).
His prescription for reform is radical, yet its aim is entirely pragmatic: He believes schools need to be reinvented in order to prepare students for a radically-changed world.
He calls on schools to bring more “rigorous and relevant skills and knowledge” into the classroom to better prepare students for the workforce and to compete in a global market.
Daggett favors creative ideas, such as the establishment of small “learning communities” inside schools, in which students are given work suited to their aptitude and interest, and work with the same teacher for a number of years.
Some teachers hate the idea of having to teach the same kids year in and year out, because that requires making new lesson plans each year for the same subject. Daggett responds that it’s easier to create a new curriculum than to learn the interests and capabilities of 30 new students every year.
Besides, he says, schools should be organized around what works best for students, not teachers.
Daggett, president of the International Center for Leadership in Education, also wants to see schools teaching “basic technology literacy.”
Daggett’s forum will take place in the Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza, on Nov. 9 from 2 to 5pm. A dinner and dialogue will follow. Tickets are $35/forum; $125/forum, reception, dinner and dialogue. 883-9443. Pre-registration is required by Nov. 4. [EJ]
DLI, NPS SPARED
At least for now, Monterey County’s two military installations are safe from the cutting room floor. Late last week, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to allow the first round of base closures and consolidations to start happening across the country.
While listed on an earlier draft of proposed base closures, the Defense Language Institute and Naval Postgraduate School were removed from the list earlier this year by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.
Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, fought hard to spare the local military centers.
“Despite the pain and worry the BRAC can cause, I know this is a critical mechanism for improving the long-term efficiency of our armed services,” Farr says.
While the Central Coast’s military schools made the cut, a total of 22 major military bases will be shut down and 33 will be reconfigured, for a total expected annual savings of $4.2 billion.
“This is very good news for California,” says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a statement released after the Congressional vote. “California’s success in protecting our important bases was the result of coordinated hard work and a unified, bipartisan effort.” [RV]