, , , , , , ,

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


The Hole in CA’s Attendance Data

Quote from Article:

Woody Allen once famously observed that 80 percent of success in life is showing up. For students in California public schools, the bar is much lower—they only need to get to class a fraction of the time to still qualify as having perfect attendance.

How is that possible? A glaring flaw in the state’s new school accountability system calls on schools to count as absent only those students who miss entire days. Thus, students not counted are those in high school who skip a period here and there, as well as children in primary grades that come in late or leave early.

This is a big problem and should be corrected immediately.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article exposes a huge hole in attendance that is negatively affecting the education of a large number of Students in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).

District Deeds recently reviewed attendance data for a number of SDUSD clusters.  NOWHERE did we see any information on how many Students miss a period during a week, month, semester or year.

Absentee rate and chronic absenteeism is regularly tracked by the SDUSD because it directly impacts State and Federal funding.  Many SDUSD schools address unexcused single period absences and tardies via Saturday School.

Unfortunately a few hours in Saturday School with a teacher “babysitter” cannot take the place of a period lesson plan delivered by a credentialed Teacher in that subject.

And most Students with “excused” period absences for Sports, Performances or other extra-curricular activities do not have to attend Saturday School for that missed classroom time.

This article exposes a major gap that ALL SDUSD schools should track, measure, publish and address.

Empowering Parents to Help Schools

Quote from Article:

In 1970, the celebrated economist Albert O. Hirschman published Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. A few years ago, the Hoover Institution’s Williamson Evers explained its argument on the Education Next blog:

Hirschman discusses how individuals react when services they rely on deteriorate. The basic responses available to us are “exit” and “voice,” Hirschman points out, where exit means turning to a different provider or leaving the area, and voice means political participation.

We tend to think of these responses as stark alternatives. Hirschman, as a social scientist, wanted us to consider the interplay between them. Exit usually has lower costs than voice for the individual. With exit, you can avoid the long slog of politics and simply turn to someone else or move somewhere else.

But there is a limiting case: Exit can have high costs when individuals are loyal to institutions—thus the third component in Hirschman’s trio of exit, voice, and loyalty.

I’ve been thinking about exit, voice, and loyalty lately, and how they pertain to parents of school-age children, myself included.

Those of us in education reform have generally viewed parents as either choosers or helpers—in terms of exit or loyalty. Under the former rubric: If kids are stuck in failing or mediocre or “bad-fit” schools, we parents should be able to vote with our feet, “exit” the school, and go someplace else. That is the great promise of school choice—it gives parents real power and thus makes the needs of our kids a priority while providing beneficial competitive effects for everyone else.

Under the latter rubric comes the role of parents as loyal helpers in the work of school improvement and educational betterment. This is important to many educators and some reformers and is surely a form of “loyalty.” There’s “parental engagement,” i.e. getting parents to excel as their children’s first teacher, for example by reading to them every night. There’s helping them with their homework, etc. And then there’s parents helping to improve schools by raising money, volunteering at events, pushing public officials to make education funding a priority, and more. “Loyal” parents that we are, we generally comply.

But what about giving more parents greater “voice”—and heeding it? Has anyone sincerely tried that as part of a reform strategy? Some of us talk about “parent power,” but that mostly refers back to school choice, i.e., exit. There are an increasing number of grass-roots organizing efforts in ed reform, but again most of them, like those led by Innovate Public Schools, are about pushing for systemic change or more school choice options.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article hits close to home for many SDUSD Parents.  All SDUSD Parents have faced the wrenching decision to be “choosers or helpers”.  All SDUSD Parents have gone through the “exit, voice and loyalty” dilemma.

Any SDUSD Parent, Teacher, Staff, Administrator or Stakeholder who has been a member of an SSC, Goverance Team, Principal Selection committee, DAC, DELAC, CAC, Calendar Committee or other SDUSD sanctioned group has felt the insulting betrayal of SDUSD Supt. Cindy Marten and Board members Richard Barrera, Kevin Beiser, John Lee Evans, Mike McQuary and Sharon Whitehurst Payne IGNORING all Stakeholder time, effort, and recommendations and making a decision only meeting their personal political or career objectives.

The evidence of the insulting betrayal perception of SDUSD Stakeholders is the defection of SDUSD Families and Employees to Charter Schools and other School Districts.

District Deeds has been writing of this insulting betrayal by Marten and the Board for the last 3 1/2 years.

Maybe this article will serve as a wake up call to the SDUSD senior leadership that ALL the SDUSD Stakeholders have the capacity to be “helpers” and not “choosers”…but only if the Board has the courage to hire a new EXPERIENCED Superintendent to lead the effort.

When I Set Up My Classroom Now I Only Think About Which Bookshelf Can Stop a Bullet

Quote from Article:

I’m going there.

When I started teaching setting up the room was so much fun. What set-up would benefit learning? Where would the bookshelf and the reading table go? How can I make my room their room where they felt at home and happy to learn.

That wonder and fun has been robbed from my profession.

Ask a teacher where the heavy bookshelf goes and it is almost the same answer everywhere. By the door. Where does the reading table go? By the door. Anything big and heavy that would stop a bullet goes by the door. Do you get what I am saying?

I don’t know a teacher who has not looked at the faces of Sandy Hook and wondered, “What if?”

Do I have the courage to be that principal? Will my students be found behind me like those teachers who took their last stand praying to a God who didn’t listen that day?

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article was written by a Teacher but it reflects the fears of ALL Stakeholders concerned about the safety of our schools.

District Deeds is not wise enough to make any suggestions on how to prevent the horrors of Sandy Hook.

All we can say is that we ALL must be vigilant that if we see something we say something  and do everything within our power to identify any form of danger at SDUSD facilities.


Here is the Quote of the Week:

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

– President Barack Obama, December 14, 2012

Have a Great Week!



  • 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!

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!

  • You want to be sure you don’t miss an issue of District Deeds, click the “follow” button below and you will get an email automatically when an article is published on District Deeds.