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


Parents Can Stop Guessing If Their Kids Are Ready For the Academic Year With A New Interactive Tool That Gauges School Readiness

Quote from Article:

Most parents think their kids are ready for the next grade. In fact, 90 percent believe their child is academically on par with or above their peers in their grade. However, only 39 percent of teachers believe their students are at grade level when they start the new school year.

The reality is that only about 1 in 3 eighth-graders read and do math at grade level, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. For Latinos, it’s less than 1 in 5.

To help teachers and parents assess a child’s academic achievement level, the nonprofit education research group Learning Heroes this week launched a new “readiness check” interactive digital tool to close that perception gap.

“We have been really focused on trying to bridge what we call this perception gap because our research also found that parents hold themselves responsible, they want to be involved,” said Windy Lopez-Aflitto, Learning Heroes’ vice president of content. “We believe that by having a more accurate picture, parents can more effectively support specific skills and best partner with their child’s teacher from the beginning of the school year.”


Here are the group’s tips for parents, The Super 5: Back-to-School Power Moves:

  1. Get a gut check: Use the readiness check to see how prepared your child is for their new grade. Pay attention to how easy or hard it is for your child to do grade-level tasks, and look at the annual state test results from last year. If you haven’t received the results yet, ask your child’s teacher.
  2. Partner up: At your first teacher meeting, bring your child’s state test results and ask what they mean for this year. Find out what’s expected of your child and how you can help at home. Help the teacher get to know your child by sharing their interests and strengths.  
  3. Make learning fun: You are the expert on your child and can make learning exciting. Read together on topics that interest your child. Find math in everyday life and turn it into a game. These small learning moments add up to a lot.
  4. Celebrate effort: Help your child see that hard work is what leads to success. Focus on effort and what your child is learning. This will help your child feel less nervous with new tasks or subjects.  
  5. Support life skills: Strengths such as communication, problem-solving, and confidence will help your child in school and life. Talk openly with your child about how they feel and how they handle situations, especially tough ones.

Here is the link: “Super Five Back To School Power Moves”

District Deeds Synopsis:

The FREE interactive digital tool by Learning Heroes described by this article from LA School Report provides a quick evaluation of Students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade in both Reading and Math.

The tool is available in both English and Spanish

It is a great tool for both Parents AND Teachers to use to quickly assess the strengths of the Student and devise a plan from the very begining of the school year to meet the unique needs of that Student.

We wish we had this tool when our kids were going through Elementary and Middle School…we highly recommend this to all pre-K through 9 Parents and Teachers!

How Elite Schools Stay So White

Quote from Article:

Who deserves to get an elite education?

That question is being debated in Massachusetts, where court papers argue over Harvard’s use of race in its “holistic” admissions process, and in New York City, where politicians are trying to increase the number of black and Latino students at top public high schools.

But the answer has always been obvious: only the elite.

While standards of merit shift over time, prominent schools and even their critics usually take for granted admissions systems that uphold the privileges of elite groups. In the United States, “elites” are mostly white people. That means Asian-Americans and underrepresented minorities — Latinos, Native Americans and African-Americans — are pitted against one another for coveted spots at elite schools.


In our highly unequal society, education systems have consistently found ways to favor elite, white applicants, whether it’s through slippery definitions of “merit,” giving added weight to athletes or children of alumni, or fighting to change admissions policies to schools in which Asians are more overrepresented rather than those where whites are.

Admissions policies continue to push people of color to the margins while ensuring that a quorum of white students always have a place. To move toward a more equitable system, we must reject efforts to sow dissent between minority communities, as Mr. Blum is doing.

But we also must reject educational systems that, behind a supposed commitment to equity, quietly perpetuate the status quo. Instead of focusing on who from the margins is able to get in, we would do better to direct our attention to the fundamental ways selective admissions and educational institutions maintain the privileges of whiteness.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Reading this article made us think of the haves and the have nots in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).

Based on the “School Choice” numbers, thousands of families decide to choice their children to schools “north of the 8”.  A few years ago it was a fairly open process in the SDUSD that even included a special “choice” category for students who were identified as Gifted through Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) testing.

Nowadays, just like the elite Colleges that favor “elite, white applicants”, Superintendent Cindy Marten (who as a child was moved from SDUSD schools south of the 8 to the exclusive La Jolla Country Day) has severely restricted the movement of Students “south of the 8) to the more “exclusive” schools “north of the 8”.

As as we described in “FINAL 2016/17 BOARD MEETING DISASTER DUMP – Part 5: New SDUSD Motto = “Quality CHARTER School in Every Neighborhood”, among the items Marten has changed to make schools “north of the 8” more White and Elite includes the narrowing of the Choice application window from 8 months to 5 weeks along with reducing SDUSD busing routes and charging parents for bus service. 

Essentially the “Choice” restrictions are the SDUSD/Marten version of what was described on the New York Times article:Admissions policies continue to push people of color to the margins while ensuring that a quorum of white students always have a place.”

These restrictions have achieved the purpose of Marten to prevent primarily students of color to “choose” their preferred SDUSD school north of the 8…but with an unexpected result.

Instead of forcing families to send their kids to underperforming SDUSD schools south of the 8, they instead are sending their kids to Charter Schools south of the 8.

Like we said in the article…Marten incompetence has created “A Quality Charter School in Every Neighborhood” and the SDUSD is losing hundreds of students to those schools every year.

SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten:  Charter School Innovator of the Year! 

It’s Not Standardized Tests Educators Hate, It’s Accountability

Quote from Article:

There was the superintendent in Bedford, New Hampshire who said: “I would love to get away from this obsession with standardized testing.” The problem he says is how being “locked in” to doing annual assessments makes it difficult for his district to “try new forms of instruction.”


Because he says, it takes time to “prepare students for statewide tests.”

There was also the superintendent from Ohio who added that the annual tests “don’t give us much meaningful information”

Of course, there was a quote from FairTest, the anti-testing group that might as well rename itself Teachers’ Union Grantee.

This word “obsession” that anti-testing folks use trivializes the importance of giving parents and the public a way to trust and verify their schools are making forward progress. That word evokes a sense of unjustified mania and discounts the valid reasons many American populations might want to see actual numbers in addition to the happy talk about schools.

Is expecting schools to do a summative test annually so the public and lawmakers have some sense of school performance and progress so unreasonable that it rises to the level of “obsession”?

Only if you have no interest in knowing who and where education is failing.

I understand that it’s not the actual testing part that causes strife, but what people do with the test results. In my view, a big value of test scores is to give third-party verification and to shine a light on schools that are working so parents can make informed choices. The response from educators and school leaders to that might say test scores give a false sense of how good a school is, and, instead, give a clearer picture of which students are in a school and the education levels of their parents.

Fair enough, but I disagree and find the idea that poor kids with parents who aren’t white and college educated ensure a school cannot have passing test scores insulting, racist, classist, and in breach of anything approximating progressivism.

I see how educators in failing schools (or those without an Earthly clue on how to educate poor nonwhite children) might construct for themselves a rationale different than mine.

It’s one colossal reason why I distrust the middle-class white education system so much that I want annual numbers to keep them honest so long as the participation of our kids is compulsory and funded mostly in one limited system.

You demand my kids. I require your receipts. Any other arrangement is war.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This content of this article should be very familiar to many SDUSD Stakeholders.  Back on May 4, 2016, incompetent Elementary School Superintendent Cindy Marten cut standardized testing in the SDUSD

The Propaganda News Release claimed it was for “student well being and achievement”.  In other words testing that held Marten and her cronies accountable was summarily replaced with totally unmeasurable and vague aspirations of well being and unmeasurable achievement.

The SDUSD News Release talks about replacing “irrelevant district-wide data collection requirements” with totally unaccountable, untrackable and random “real time reporting on student progress for teachers to use when and where they need it to support student learning”.

So it is apparently OK to randomly test and categorize students but NOT OK to test and categorize students in a way that can be tracked and reported to Parents and other SDUSD Stakeholders.

As the article said about the standardized testing that creates “irrelevant data” that Marten eliminated:

Testing doesn’t give teachers the information they can use.

Really? Which tests?

The weekly formative tests that they do, the end of unit tests that they do; their quizzes; their district created tests that they help create; or, just the annual tests that are meant to be benchmarks for people outside of schools that hold schools, their staff, and their leaders to account?

It’s the last one.

So instead of getting our “receipts” through standardized testing for entrusting our kids to the SDUSD like the author of the article demands, we get an IOU from a group of flimflam con artists exposed recently by the San Diego ACLU

Welcome to the Unaccountable, Dysfunctional SDUSD Education World of Incompetent Superintendent Cindy Marten! 

Now for our Quote of the Week: 

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.  –Atifete Jahjaga

Have a great week!!!



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FIRE San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten Immediately!

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