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


The Voucher Program We Really Need Is Not For School — It’s For After

Quote from Article:

At 3 p.m. when most schools let out, some kids will stay back to attend an after-school program, some will be picked up by parents, relatives or paid caregivers to be taken home or to a soccer or swim class, and some others will hang out, on a street corner, or in the playground nearby with friends, or in an empty home. If you are a working parent with regular office hours, the group that your child belongs to depends on how much you can afford to pay for after-school care.

Unfortunately, the free, public part of education ends when the bell sounds.

Turns out that most of those who can’t afford to pay private school tuition can’t dole out funds for after-school programs either. In 2016, the online education news outlet Chalkbeat reported that only 18 percent of children nationally are served by before- and after-school programs. Many have no choice but to leave children in settings that won’t teach them skills that will help them get to college or snag a high-paying job.

District Deeds Synopsis:

We love the idea of vouchers for after school enrichment programs for students but we are concerned that the current SDUSD leadership will just find a way to funnel the money to new departments and raises for senior executives like they have in every other financial windfalls like Props S and Z and the November 2018 Proposition –  “San Diego Neighborhood School Repair and Student Safety Measure”…Tricky Dick Barrera’s newest boondoggle!

This article clearly exposes a basic inequity that will be very difficult to resolve within the framework of a school district but opens our eyes to a reality that must me addressed somewhere within our society.

Red Tape Chokes School Data System

Quote from Article:

A cumbersome and unorganized data management system continues to crimp the ability of policymakers to answer even basic questions about the performance of California’s 10,000 schools, according to a report released today by a team of scholars affiliated with Stanford University.

Although California has taken steps in recent years to improve the collection of and access to the mounds of data being generated everyday by the public school system, the state remains far behind what is being done elsewhere nationally, a research team coordinated by the university in conjunction with the Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, said.

As a result, significant and fundamental policy questions cannot be answered, such as:

  • Are smaller K-3 class sizes a good investment?
  • Which schools are most successful in moving English learners to full proficiency?
  • Are the state’s publicly funded preschool programs having a positive impact on kindergarten readiness?

The big frustration, the PACE report found, is that the data exists but access is restricted.

“The limitations of California’s data system are not the result of technological difficulties,” the team reported. “Modern software technology makes it possible for governments at all levels to use the data they already collect to improve service coordination and delivery, and to conduct research and evaluation to inform policymaking. California is well behind other states in taking advantage of this opportunity.”

Get Down To The Facts Summary Document: GDTFII Summary Report

Get Down To The Facts Snapshot Document: GDTFII_Snapshot

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article caught our eye because of experiencing the obvious dearth of accurate Student, School Site and District Wide performance data from the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).

The summary and snapshot report reports are worth reviewing.  Many of the items listed are very familiar to SDUSD Stakeholders and is a great resource for exposing the SDUSD propaganda disguised as facts from the incompetent SDUSD Superintendent Marten and her Board of Education cronies.

Why You Should Pick a Weaker School for Your Kid

Quote from Article:

Rather than getting your kid into the best possible primary school, it might be worth sending him or her to a weaker school and making sure the kid is at the top of the class. Chances are that will produce an achievement boost for years to come. Why that happens also holds a lesson for managers.

How ranking people influences motivation has been a highly controversial subject since the 1980s, when some economists argued that performance rank in the firm could be an appropriate basis for a compensation system. General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch compared employees on a bell curve and fired those at the left-hand tail of the distribution. The practice came to be known as “rank and yank,” though Welch hated the term, preferring “differentiation.


That has long-term implications. Based on a dataset of 2.25 million students, Murphy and Weinhardt calculated that being at the top of a primary school class in a subject increases the probability of a student’s choosing this subject in high school by 20 percent. 

The effect is stronger for boys than for girls. Murphy and Weinhardt attribute it, for a large part, to the increased confidence and engagement stimulated by a higher rank. The mechanism behind it is known as “big fish in a small pond.” In a 2015 paper, Benjamin Elsner and Ingo Isphording of the Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, showed that while studying with weaker peers in high school may have a negative effect on learning, the confidence and optimism boost from a high rank, as well as the increased attention students at the top of a class get from teachers, outweigh it and result in a better academic performance in college.

District Deeds Synopsis:

A pretty far out article with some startling conclusions. Boosting confidence and optimism at the expense of having a “negative effect on learning” to appear more capable seems pretty counterproductive.

Then we remembered some individuals we have known through business and in the SDUSD that have become successful despite obviously not having the skills, ability or ethical standards to actually do the job they were assigned.

They epitomize the Peter Principal of “rising to their level of incompetence”…for example:

  • Elementary Superintendent Cindy Marten
  • Board Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera
  • The SDUSD Legal Department
  • The SDUSD Human Resources Department
  • The SDUSD Quality Assurance Department

We guess it is not that “far out” after all!!!

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.  Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.” – Lawrence J. Peter

Have a great week!!!



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