District Deeds Sunday Reads – December 8, 2019: Billions of California Ed Dollars Lost; Minority Voters Chafe Against Dem Candidates; “Can I Get a Ride” Choice

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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…

ENJOY!

California Can’t Account for Billions of Education Dollars

Inexcusable that, six years after K-12 spending revamp, audit finds needy kids aren’t getting help they should

Quote from Article:

It’s been six years since California lawmakers revamped the state funding formula for local schools.

It was heralded by then-Gov. Jerry Brown as a way to simplify K-12 education spending and close the state’s achievement gap by giving more money to districts that disproportionately serve needy kids.

Since then, state spending on schools has increased about 50%. But, as state Auditor Elaine Howle explained in a troubling report last month, there is no way to track whether money is being spent as it should.

School officials across California have co-mingled billions of dollars of state money that was supposed to be used for children who fall into one of three categories: English learners, low-income or in foster care.

And…

LCFF is pretty simple. School districts receive a base amount determined by students’ attendance figures and grade levels. In addition, they receive a supplemental 20% for students falling into one of the three needy categories. And in districts with concentrations of more than 55% needy students, per-pupil funding increases 50% for each kid beyond the 55% threshold.

The so-called supplemental and concentration funding is supposed to be spent to provide additional help for those targeted children. But when Howle audited a sample of three school districts — Oakland, Clovis and San Diego — only Clovis tracked how the money was spent.

That’s because there are no state regulations to ensure districts separately account for the extra funds. Moreover, if the districts don’t spend the money on those needy students the year they receive the funds, they can spend it on anything the following year.

And…

The idea behind LCFF was to provide more local control. Parents were supposed have input into how the money is spent — something that’s meaningless if they’re not provided useful data — and school districts were supposed to be freed from the restrictions of hundreds of categorical spending programs.

But LCFF was never intended to be a giveaway of funds without obligations. Our neediest students were supposed to be better served. There’s no way to know whether that’s happened.

The lack of accountability — for how the money is spent and whether it’s producing results — is no longer acceptable.

District Deeds Synopsis:

We wrote a month ago about this report in District Deeds Sunday Reads – November 10, 2019: State Audit Features Corrupt SDUSD :

Although this audit report is only for the 2018/2019 LCFF it confirms what District Deeds has identified as the Standard Operating Procedure of incompetent and corrupt San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten and her equally corrupt Board of Edcuation Trustees controlled by Trustee Richard “Tricky Dick” Barrera for the last 6 years.  We urge our readers to review the  full K–12 Local Control Report.

The report shows that the disgracefully corrupt Marten, Barrera and their acolytes use every loophole in the California deployment of the LCFF to their corrupt advantage.

Since that time, according to an article from Voice of San Diego (VOSD) article titled “How San Diego Unified Blew Up Its ‘Balanced’ Budget” by Ashly McGlone. it appears that the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is facing a potential $58 million shortfall for the 2020/21 school year

The information provided by VOSD combined with the report by California State Auditor Elaine Howle clearly exposes two key facts regarding the corrupt and financially incompetent ESS Marten and “Tricky Dick” Barrera that have made the SDUSD an educational wasteland for thousands of Students:

  1. Total “lack of accountability — for how the money is spent and whether it’s producing results” which allows rampant cronyism and financial corruption
  2. Gross financial mismanagement of that money that has produced over $200 million of budget deficits since the illegal, Brown Act violating assignment of illegitimate ESS Marten by Tricky Dick Barerra and his Trustee cronies.

Given these irrefutable facts about the current state of the SDUSD, why would any Stakeholder vote for any of the current School Board Trustees – or for any bond or budget measure providing more money to this SDUSD senior management cesspool?

The front-runners for the presidential nomination are moving away from the charter school movement, and black and Latino families ask why their concerns are lost.

Quote from Article:

ATLANTA — The night before Democratic presidential candidates took to a debate stage here last week, black and Latino charter school parents and supporters gathered in a bland hotel conference room nearby to make signs they hoped would get the politicians’ attention.

“Charter schools = self-determination,” one sign read. “Black Democrats want charters!” another blared.

At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.

But this year, in a major shift, the leading Democratic candidates are backing away from charter schools, and siding with the teachers’ unions that oppose their expansion. And that has left some black and Latino families feeling betrayed.

And…

“As a single mom with two jobs and five hustles, I’m just feeling kind of desperate,” said Sonia Tyler, who plans to enroll her children in a charter school slated to open next fall in a suburb of Atlanta. “They’re brilliant; they’re curious. It’s not fair. Why shouldn’t I have a choice?”

Charter schools, which educate over three million students, are publicly funded and privately managed — and often are not unionized. Nationally, the schools perform about the same as traditional neighborhood schools. But charter schools that serve mostly low-income children of color in large cities tend to excel academically. And bipartisan support in Washington has allowed charters to proliferate, with their waiting lists swelling into the hundreds of thousands. ​

And…

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the two leading liberals, have vowed to curb charter school growth if elected. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., have raised questions about the role of charters and make no mention of the schools in their education platforms.

Each is chasing both the powerful endorsements of national teachers’ unions and the support of black Democrats who tend to be more supportive of charter schools than their white counterparts, according to polling.

In contrast, one of the black candidates in the race, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, is using his support for charter schools to distinguish himself, writing in The New York Times, “As Democrats, we can’t continue to fall into the trap of dismissing good ideas because they don’t fit into neat ideological boxes or don’t personally affect some of the louder, more privileged voices in the party.”

And…

Richard Buery, the chief of policy at KIPP, the nation’s largest charter network, called the Democratic shift “a reflection more broadly of the lack of respect for black voters in the party.”

“These are folks that should be champions of black children and allies of black educators,” said Mr. Buery, a Democrat.

The Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools, started by Howard Fuller, a longtime school-choice activist and former Milwaukee schools superintendent, was formed in July after Mr. Sanders announced his plan. It gained momentum after Ms. Warren began signaling her skepticism of federal funding for charter schools.

Outside the Atlanta studio where the candidates were assembling for Wednesday’s debate, more than 300 people chanted “Our children, our choice” to the drumbeats of a marching band from a KIPP school. The next day, black and Latino charter school parents shouted the same refrain at Ms. Warren as she tried to start a speech about race in Atlanta. Representative Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, who has endorsed Ms. Warren, pleaded with the protesters to let the candidate speak.

After the speech, Ms. Warren met with the protesters, concluding with a prayer and hugs. The candidate vowed to review her education plan to make sure she “got it right.” But the exchange ignited another controversy when Ms. Warren told an activist that her children had attended public schools. Her campaign clarified in a statement that although her daughter attended public school, her son completed the majority of his education in private school.

And…

“The establishment, run by white people, their strategy was, ‘Let’s be quiet and hope it goes away,’” he said in Atlanta. “We decided, no, we’re going to fight.”

Tariq Abdullah and his wife are planning to open a charter school in the Atlanta suburbs next year in part so their son can go to a school close to home without attending a failing school.

“We look at it as a burning ship going down with thousands of kids in it, and we’re trying to get kids on lifeboats,” Mr. Abdullah said.

Ricardo Mireles, the founder of the Academia Avance charter school in Los Angeles, said his predominantly Latino students could not wait for school districts to fix their problems.

“If we wait around for them to address these things, we’re writing off years, if not generations, of kids,” Mr. Mireles said.

And…

Margaret Fortune, the president and chief executive of Fortune School of Education, a nonprofit that operates seven charter schools in California, said the $2 million she has received from the program helped fund three schools.

“What would be happening in a fair society is we would be asked for our opinions, rather than having candidates saying, ‘I have a plan for you — to shepherd you into the very schools that you left on purpose,’” said Ms. Fortune, a black, lifelong Democrat.

The Democratic shift has already had consequences. Charter school growth was halted in New York City, home to some of the highest-performing charters in the country. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a Democrat, recently approved new restrictions and oversight over charter schools. Michigan’s new Democratic governor recently cut a $35 million spending increase for charter schools.

And…

Max Lyttle, director of instruction at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., argued that pitting schools against one another misses the point.

“It shouldn’t be about what’s better: charter schools or neighborhood schools,” he said. “It should be about what schools will help our children succeed.”

At the school’s campus in southeast Washington, where more than 90 percent of students are black, Eagle Academy seeks to provide the same resources that white, affluent children have: a swimming pool, a chef who serves fruits and vegetables and a “sensory room” modeled on private medical facilities where students can calm down. The school was recognized this year for its improvements on standardized test scores.

On a recent morning, Ja’hari Dixon was asked if he knew what a charter school was. The student proclaimed, “Yes!”

“What is it?” Mr. Lyttle asked.

“A charter school,” Ja’hari said, “is a school.”

District Deeds Synopsis:

The more we watch the Democratic debates and compare the national election with local school board and city council elections it shows how important it is for SDUSD Stakeholders to become political party neutral on issues directly relating to Pre K-12 education.

As this article points out, learning which candidate is supporting what initiatives, and why, is extremely important.

For example…

Does any voter in San Diego think that Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera has constantly pushed educational bond measures for any other reason than to pay back his trade and teacher’s union political fundraising backers?

Obviously not…pushing bond measures pays for all the improper raises for the Teachers Union and the construction projects he can route that creates annual budget deficits and ensures his reelection.

Does any voter in San Diego think that Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera has fought against any form of term limits in order to keep his trustee job paying less than $20,000/yr plus benefits because he likes being underpaid?

Obviously not…in fact prolonging his term as Trustee enables him to prolong his non-SDUSD gravy train.

Barrera is a microcosm of the risks and damage of “party line” voting.

District Deeds encourages all our readers, especially those employed by the SDUSD, to vote as an informed electorate…please say NO to party-line voting at any level!

‘Can I get a ride?’ Removing an Obstacle for Families Using School Choice

Quote from Article:

Some critics of school choice say that because not all families can take advantage of it to the same degree, it ought to be cut back. They are correct about this: Some families can’t make the most out of their available school choice options because they have trouble transporting their children to school. The solution to that inequity is not to dismantle those options, but to help needy families find their own transportation solutions. Choice should be more universal, not just the domain of those who can afford it.

For many families of means, getting their child into a better school is a matter of paying private school tuition or relocating to a new community. Those methods, however, limit school choice based on ZIP codes and bank accounts. While most states have made school choice more broadly accessible by creating more tuition-free educational options, some foes of choice want to dial back opportunity.

And…

Berkshire’s observation holds some weight. The vast majority of districts accepting nonresident students offer no assistance beyond maybe picking up students at one of their established bus stops. Further, only one-third of Michigan public charter schools provide transportation to the school door. As a result, most Michigan families who exercise choice must drive, carpool or find another way to convey their child. In short, choice programs have not given everyone the same level of opportunity — especially to those in high-need urban areas.

And…

Yet critics err in concluding that politicians should close the doors on families seeking better schools. A much better answer is to level the playing field by offering transportation scholarships to the neediest families. A limited-use digital debit account, for example, would expand the range of available option for them. Several parents could pool funds together to help their chosen school provide targeted transportation services. A scholarship also could cover fares for public transit, or even the costs of a state-approved, child-friendly ridesharing program. 

And…

Building systems to safely and reliably transport large groups of students is a logistical challenge. As families look in different directions for quality educational options to meet unique needs, the challenge becomes greater. Rather than giving up on the benefits of choice, policymakers also can give parents the power to get their children to and from school. 

States should look to expand low-income families’ mobility, giving them a better shot at reaching a school that brightens hopes for their children’s success. There’s no better place to start the engine for this movement than the home state of the Motor City.

District Deeds Synopsis:

As our readers know, District Deeds beleives that Busing and School Choice are critical success factors, especially for financially disadvantaged Familes.  Reading this article reminded us of the assault the SDUSD has had against busing and choice in every budget since ESS Marten has been in charge.

However the anti busing/school choice strategy has backfired on mental midgets Marten and Barrer.

By reducing Busing and School Choice Marten and Barrera has forced economically disadvantaged families to choose between the “Underperforming SDUSD School in every Neighborhood” and accept the busing and school choice that the local “Quality Charter School in Every Neighborhood” provides.

How dumb can Marten and Barrera be?

The annual loss of thousands of SDUSD Students to Charter Schools and the loss of a good education to the thousands of SDUSD Students who remain is direct evidence of Marten/Barrera overwhelming ignorance that will continue as long as they remain in power.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”  – Frederick Douglass

Have a great week!!!

__________________________________________________________

IF

  • Your family has been injured by the San Diego Unified School District, go to the District Deeds Complaint Forms page to find instructions to fight for your Civil Rights!
  • YOU ARE TIRED OF THE COVER UPS AND LIES BY SUPT. CINDY MARTEN…

Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!

FIRE San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten Immediately!

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