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Nothing Changes

It has been almost a year since Superintendent Cindy Marten betrayed the 28,000 English Language Learners (ELL’s) and their Families, the School Site Communities, the Principals and the Teachers  by eliminating 62 English Language Support Teachers (ELST’s) from the neediest schools (some of which had over 70% ELL’s and 90% Free and Reduced Lunch) in the San Diego Unified School District.

At that time District Deeds exposed this Marten ELST Removal Blunder through multiple blog posts including

July 22, 2014:   SDUSD English Language Learners Feel the Royal Command Pain of Superintendent Inexperience

October 6, 2014:  DELAC MEETING SHOCKER – SDUSD Blocks Discussion by DELAC Members over ELST Removals!

October 15, 2014:  SDUSD BOE Meeting Result: Marten ELST Strategy Just Another Insultingly Poor Sales Job To Victimize ELL’s

March 15 , 2015:  After all was said and done, the Teachers Union (SDEA) successfully won a grievance settlement that made the SDUSD pay all the ELST’s that were inappropriately removed – outlined in: SDEA Gets a Grievance Settlement for Marten ELST Removal Blunder – Students Get Nothing

District Deeds has received a WHISTLEBLOWER Report from a deeply dedicated and highly credentialed SDUSD employee who goes by “Concerned EL Teacher”.  Here is their dispatch from the front lines of ELL Support…the Whistleblower Report from “Concerned EL Teacher”:

Dear District Deeds,

I am an individual who has had their students and classes seriously impacted  by  the massive ELST reassignment last June.  A lot has happened since that announcement by Cindy Marten and here is the story of what has been the result. 

Of the 111 ELSTs that were supporting our 28,000 English learners there are now 49. The district has agreed to “fund” those positions, but from what I understand the funds that were used at school sites to fund the positions this year will be taken by the district for next year. So they aren’t really funding the ELSTs they are just shifting the monies.

Beginning in March each area has been having meetings with the Area Superintendent, the ELSTs and an OLA resource teacher to create a plan to support the 28,000 ELs with the remaining ELSTs. I am in an Area that is participating in those meetings and we have an Area Superintendent running these meetings. 

The whole process is ridiculous as we are creating a system to replace a system that was working quite effectively. The last two meetings we spent trying to determine how the small number of remaining ELSTs will conduct and support the CELDT testing in the fall.

We are spending hours recreating the wheel!

In addition, each of us received notification that we could excess ourselves, seek a position at our site or remain as an ELST in a capacity that has yet to be determined. What has become very apparent is that:

  • The ELST will spend next to no time working directly with kids.
  • It appears that the ELSTs will work at “focus” schools, not all schools and not necessarily at schools that require the most support.
  • These focus schools also have not been identified.

Throughout this “process” the directors of the Office of Language Acquisition (OLA) have been absent from the discussions, which I find curious since they possess a vast amount of knowledge.

Part of this plan was to “survey” or interview Principals about how they intended to handle the tasks that the ELST had done in the past. Of course schools that had ELST’s had no plan since they were under the impression that the ELSTs and the district were going to be assisting with this. 

The HUGE problem is that as this “plan” is being built, the district doesn’t even know how many of us may choose to leave this position!

On top of it all, the Area Superintendent clearly has no idea what our positions entailed and could not even use the acronym for our position correctly!

I can only think that this is a grand gesture by District Senior Management to prove that the District is supporting ELLs as a response to the Uniform Complaint that the DELAC filed against the district early this year.

I’m not sure if anyone outside of the San Diego Unified Office of Language Acquisition (OLA) knows but Principals are supposed to lead the ELACs in the future, but  I am at schools where the Principal was invited to these planning meetings, but has attended none…which means that there probably won’t be ELACs as they will have their duties become a part of the SSC’s. This is how it was before the ELST program. Principals just don’t have enough time to handle that responsibility too!

There is also talk of have cluster ELACs. There are benefits to that, as it would open communication between schools, but if there aren’t also active site ELACs it will just diminish parents’ voices. 

One more thing – it appears that the Office of Language Acquisition is being dismantled. Because of the lack of transparency and the top down decisions and the culture of intimidation and fear of retaliation teachers in OLA are fairly quiet and have taken an attitude of “we can only do what we can do”. 

There is just so much about this that is unjust and further harms the neediest students.

Something needs to be done to change this madness!


Concerned EL Teacher

District Deeds wonders:

Over the last 11 months, all we have heard is Cindy Marten and the SDUSD false promises and propaganda to create the public relations illusion that BETTER  ELL SUPPORT will be provided BY REDUCING ELL SUPPORT to only 49 ELST’s for 28,000 ELL Students.

That comes out to 571 ELL STUDENTS FOR EVERY ELST!!!

How can Cindy Marten and the SDUSD Board claim that ELL’s are important and how there is a new, better “Plan” using significantly fewer ELST’s given this damning OPERATIONAL evidence provided by a SDUSD ELL Employee with direct knowledge of how this plan is actually being carried out…and with only 44% of previous ELST staffing?

When District Deeds discussed this ratio with experts within the SDUSD  Teaching and Administrative Operations community, the number of ELST’s should FAR EXCEED THE PREVIOUS 111 ELST NUMBER of Teachers.

The last hope for the ELL community is the “Uniform Complaint” that the DELAC filed against the district early this year.” mentioned by Concerned EL Teacher;

Let’s see what response the complaint from the ELL Representatives, Families, and Students receives from the Cindy Marten Administration.

Our position is the same as it was back on the first ELST blog post District Deeds published July 22, 2014 – listed above in response to a Voice of San Diego article by Mario Koran:

“The last section of the Koran article posed the question: “So is this a big, fat disaster waiting to happen?”

“My response would be: “No, this is a big fat disaster already happening…it’s called the Marten Monarchy.””

Ironically the Response by Marten to the Uniform Complaint will tell us one of three things:

  1. Will Marten take corrective action and “CHANGE THIS MADNESS!” as Concerned ELL Teacher requests
  2. Is this just a “big fat disaster waiting to happen” as Mario Koran/VOSD asks.
  3. Or “this is a big fat disaster already happening…it’s called the Marten Monarchy.” that we at District Deeds felt a year ago.

We will let you know…