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


Public Schools for Private Gain: The Declining American Commitment to Serving the Public Good 

Quote from Article:

We Americans tend to talk about public schooling as though we know what that term means. But in the complex educational landscape of the 21st century — where charter schools, private schools, and religious schools compete with traditional public schools for resources and support — it’s becoming less and less obvious what makes a school “public” at all. 

A school is public, one might argue, if it meets certain formal criteria: It is funded by the public, governed by the public, and openly accessible to the public. But in that case, what should we make of charter schools, which are broadly understood to be public schools even though many are governed by private organizations? And how should we categorize private schools that enroll students using public vouchers or tax credits, or public schools that use exams to restrict access? For that matter, don’t private schools often serve public interests, and don’t public schools often promote students’ private interests?  

In short, our efforts to distinguish between public and nonpublic schools often oversimplify the ways in which today’s schools operate and the complex roles they play in our society. And such distinctions matter because they shape our thinking about education policy. After all, if we’re unclear which schools deserve what kinds of funding and support, then how do we justify a system of elementary, secondary, and higher education that consumes more than $800 billion in taxes every year and consumes 10 to 20 or more years of every person’s life?  


It was only in the 20th century that schooling came to be regarded as the primary means for individuals to obtain a good job. As their enrollments skyrocketed, high schools gave up the long-standing practice of providing a common course of study for all students and, instead, differentiated the curriculum, providing separate tracks designed for different career trajectories: the industrial course for factory workers, the business course for clerical workers, and the academic course for those bound for college (and then for work in management and the professions). As one school board president in the 1920s put it, “For a long time, all boys were trained to be President . . . Now we are training them to get jobs” (Lynd & Lynd, 1929, p. 194).


Sure, in the name of fairness and justice, parents could choose to send their children to the same lousy schools that less fortunate people are forced to attend. But even if they support efforts to improve the quality of educational opportunities for other people’s children, what kind of parent would put their children’s future at risk for a political principle?  

In short, the pursuit of private educational goods drives most parents’ immediate decisions, while efforts to promote the public good are deferred to the indeterminate realm of political action for possible resolution in the distant future. It’s not that anybody wants to punish other people’s children; it’s just that they need to take care of their own. But when the public good is forever postponed, the effects are punishing indeed. And when schooling comes to be viewed solely as a means of private advancement, the consequences are dismal for both school and society.


My point is that over the last several decades, as schooling has come to be viewed mainly as a source of private benefit rather than as a public good, the consequences have been dramatic for both schools and society. Increasingly prized as a resource by affluent families, traditional public schooling has become a mechanism by which to reinforce their advantages. And as a result, it has become harder and harder to distinguish what is truly public about our public schools.  

District Deeds Synopsis:

This is a very insightful article that really made us re-think where our social and educational systems have lead us and our children in the current era.  The quest we have put ourselves and or children through to “earn” good grades for entry into a good college and get a high paying job is called the “American Dream”.

Unfortunately when the path to that dream is built with inequities for many socially and economically disadvantaged families, the American Dream for some is the American Nightmare for others.

Although we don’t agree with every premise and conclusion in this article, it is definitely worth reading!

Curriculum Reform in the Nation’s Largest School Districts

Quote from Article:

Curricula and instructional materials are central to academic success. A 2017 literature review of relevant research1provided strong evidence that choosing these materials wisely can be a cost-effective lever for states and districts seeking to improve academic achievement.2 One study of textbook adoption in five states found that use of the most effective textbook—based on achievement results—in fourth- and fifth-grade math correlated with increased student achievement of 0.1 standard deviations. This is as large as the gain from having an experienced rather than a novice teacher.3 And researchers who analyzed the impacts on student achievement of the most commonly used math textbooks in California found that use of a certain textbook was associated with a similar boost in student performance.4 Similar research is currently underway for California’s English language arts (ELA) and science instructional materials.5


This analysis also uncovered the difficulty of determining which instructional materials districts are adopting or recommending. Only 18 of the 30 districts provided such information on their websites. Eighteen districts provided information on their websites on the process they undertake when adopting instructional materials. CAP’s findings demonstrate that there is more to be done to remove barriers to adoption and implementation of high-quality instructional materials. The final section of this report provides policy recommendations for districts implementing curriculum changes.


For example, districts should make information on curricula and instructional materials publicly available for parents and other stakeholders to access, similar to the way student test scores and other school information are currently available. Districts should also take steps to improve their processes to ensure that their focus is on adopting high-quality materials that are aligned to college-ready standards, such as the Common Core State Standards or other similarly rigorous state standards, and that advance student learning. Finally, adoption is only one of many steps necessary for implementing high-quality instructional materials. In addition to adoption, districts need to provide teachers with content-embedded professional development that gives them the opportunity to delve deeply into the materials and deliver effective instruction based on their curriculum.

Here is the PDF of the study: California District Curricula Report – August, 2018

District Deeds Synopsis:

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is one of the district reviewed in this study.  It is very interesting to see the strategies and tactics used by many school districts nationwide to identify and deploy the very best curricula and instructional materials to all Stakeholders.

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the SDUSD did not compare very well with the other 29 school districts reviewed.  The planning and transparency required to truly engage Teachers, Families, Students and site leadership into a cohesive, effective, equitable and efficient curricula is clearly far beyond the scope of the dysfunctional SDUSD Vision 2020 blunder hyped by the incompetent Superintendent Marten, Board of Education politicians and their senior staff sycophants.

Our Students, Teachers, Principals. Staff and Families deserve much, much more.

New Absenteeism Standards Will Challenge Most Districts

Quote from Article:

Potentially half of the local educational agencies in California will be identified as failing to meet chronic absenteeism standards under a performance matrix set for adoption this week by the state board of education.

Under state law, chronic absenteeism is defined as any student who is absent 10 percent or more of school, regardless of the reason. Schools and LEAs have been required to report their goals for reducing chronic absenteeism to the public for the last two years through their Local Control Accountability Plans.

Until now, however, the state has not yet applied a value to current rates, as in ‘good’ or ‘needs improvement’ or something in-between.

That is expected to change if the California State Board of Education follows through today with a staff recommendation to approve a five-level indicator, which will likely pose a big challenge for most districts and schools to meet.

To be considered safely outside the failing category, schools and LEAs need to have a chronic absenteeism rate of 5 percent or less. A status level of medium goes to schools and LEAs with a rate between 5 percent and 10 percent.

The high category goes from 10 percent to 20 percent, and very high would be applied to those above 20 percent.

Currently, the average rate of chronic absenteeism for California school districts is just above 10 percent.

District Deeds Synopsis:

After our initial enthusiasm after reading of this new absentee reporting measure, two questions came to mind:

  1. What specific rules will the State of California provide to the SDUSD for accurately tracking Absenteeism?
  2. What strategies will the corrupt SDUSD leadership deploy to subvert those rules and fake their Absenteeism rate?

We know that it seems very cynical to pre-suppose that the current SDUSD incompetent leadership would misrepresent something as important as Absenteeism.

But they were willing to misrepresent Graduation Rates.

And they were willing to scare Families and lie to Taxpayers about lead and asbestos poisoning for the $3.5 billion Measure YY.

Unfortunately the totally incompetent SDUSD Leadership is very competent in one specific area that will allow them to meet the new Absenteeism “Challenge”.

They are experts at lying.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Have a great week!!!



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