Santa Monica Observer Issue 43 : Page 1

Local Architect has plans, page 5 Local Architect has plans, page 5 Volume XI Number 43 Community, Diversity, and other Overused Words™ Big Backpack October 13 - 19, 2008 Huge backpack nearly overbalances Lincoln Middle School student. Parents would like Children to have less homework and more time for outdoor activities. Life Preserver for Homeowners Under Water From the New York Times In the government’s ever- morphing efforts to save the financial system, the moment when the nation’s homeowners get rescued seems, finally, to be getting near. John McCain has called for the Treasury Department to spend $300 billion buying up mortgages, and Barack Obama now favors a version of an idea he opposed during the primaries: a 90-day moratorium on foreclo- sures. Sheila Bair, the head of the agency that guarantees bank deposits, said last week that it was time for the government to shift its focus away from banks and do more to prevent foreclo- sures. The idea of helping Main Street has an undeniable appeal. Housing is at the root of the financial crisis, and preventing foreclosures could bring a dou- ble-barreled benefit. It would allow families to remain in their HOUSING Page 2 Rising Rents in SM could Hurt LA’s Tech Sector Rising rents in Santa Monica may hurt the L.A. tech scene As measured by two impor- tant barometers — parties and start-ups — Los Angeles now has a thriving tech community. Much of it is centered in Santa Monica, nearYahoo’s offices at 24th and Colorado, as this cool map shows. That proximity and cohesiveness, in turn, help the community grow even more, said Benjamin Kuo, who created the website (and the cool map). “The fact that there are other technology companies located near each other creates a critical mass for the technology indus- try,” he said. It creates a support- ive environment for start-ups, he said, attracts investors and makes it easier to recruit employees. But rising real estate rates on the Westside might be threaten- ing that community. Rents on office space are falling in Orange County and the Inland Empire as vacancies rise, but Santa Monica rents are still going up. That, in turn, pushes start-ups and tech companies out of Santa Monica to places farther afield. Comparison shopping site PriceGrabber and News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media are just two of the many new media com- panies leaving the area for other digs. “Santa Monica has historical- ly had a shortage of large blocks of space,” said David Toomey, a principal at real estate brokerage Cresa Partners. “As younger companies outgrow the space, they have a limited number of alternatives.” That also means less space for the social and networking events that have helped the com- munity grow. “It’s easier to have a tech scene if everyone works in the same neighborhood,” said Andrew Warner, who organizes RENTS, Page 2 Parents Circulate Homework Petition by Alyssa Erdley Observer Columnist The last time the Santa Monica School Board reviewed their policy on homework for grades K-12 was nineteen years ago. In the wake of a district- wide survey of parents regard- ing homework last spring, showing widespread discontent among the parents middle and high school students, the Board has slated a discussion on the topic for November 6. According to the District sur- vey, more than half of parents of middle and high school students think their children are receiving too much homework. Concerns expressed through the survey included lack of sleep, curtail- ment of outside interests, and too much stress. To support the Board in reviewing their homework poli- cy, parents are circulating a peti- tion asking the board to bring this policy in line with the latest research on learning and test scores. We request that the SMMUSD Board of Education review and revise Board of Education Policy and accompanying Regulation No. 6154 (adopted 1989) entitled “Homework Policy K-12” to make them consistent with the findings of the leading research studies on homework demon- strating that the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework should increase by 10 minutes as students progress one grade (i.e., a second-grader would be assigned a total of 20 minutes of homework a night, a fourth-grader would be assigned 40 minutes, a seventh-grader would be assigned 70 minutes, and so on). See, Cooper, H., Robinson, J.C., & Patall, E.A. (2006). Does Homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research. Review of Educational Research, 76, 1- 62. Excess homework does not HOMEWORK, Page 4

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