Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…
70% of teens identified mental health as a major issue among their peers; here are some ways districts can help
Quote from Article:
Mental illness is on the rise in schools. As mental-health advocates fight to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, more clinical diagnoses are made. Twenty-five years ago, anxiety and depression were two illnesses barely discussed and rarely diagnosed. Now, they are flooding public school classrooms.
A survey conducted in February by the Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of teenagers identified mental health as a major issue among their peers—a number higher than bullying, drug addiction, or gangs. So with numbers that high, it should be assumed that public school funding would be prioritizing student mental health, but that’s not the case. In fact, too often, it’s our support staff who bears the weight of the financial crises facing public education.
The underfunding of mental health in public schools is of concern. According to Mann, on average, school psychologists across the country have caseloads over 1,500 students on average; nearly half of schools report not even employing a school psychologist. Sadly too, Mann continues, the documented benefits of having mental-health personnel on staff is indisputable. School climate improves, discipline rates decrease, attendance increases, and graduation rates get much better too.
Unfortunately, the funding crisis shows no sign of letting up. In an August 2018 nea Today article, the authors identify funding as the first of 10 challenges faced by public education. In the decade since the Great Recession, many states are providing less funding to public education than they did before the crash. Schools are losing staff in droves. Districts, on average, spend approximately $11,000 per student every year, with the most economically disadvantaged school districts spending $1,200 less than that and districts with the highest number of students of color spending $2,000 less.
1. Allow private counselors to meet with students during the school day.
Private counselors could be an easy solution to this problem if school districts would be willing to acknowledge the numerous benefits of making use of their services. Many private therapists cannot fill their schedules during the day. Clients with full-time jobs cannot meet during work hours and parents of student patients are unwilling to pull students from school.
2. Bring mental health programming and advocates into the schools.
Historically, schools have prioritized outside programming centered on substance abuse. Examples include D.A.R.E. and speakers like Chris Herren. Although students must be informed about substance abuse, schools fail to prioritize the underlying factors that can so easily lead to drug use: mental illness. If districts don’t tackle the cause of the abuse, students will never be educated about coping mechanisms and skills to handle the anxiety and depression they feel.
3. Schedule flex blocks for students.
Giving students the opportunity to schedule their own time and check items off the “to-do” list is invaluable. Flex time can be used to engage in non-curriculum seminars and counseling without missing work in academic classes. In schools where I have seen this implemented successfully, students engage in a wide range of activities including group therapy, organizational-skills sessions, and Italian cooking classes.
District Deeds Synopsis:
As the article mentions, many school districts, including the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), have a very difficult time funding mental health support in its schools. Gross budget mismanagement by Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten supported by incompetent Board of Education Trustees lead by “Tricky Dick” Barrera has made mental heath supports much, much worse in the SDUSD.
Principals, Teachers and other school site staff face the sad results of Students who need mental health supports at school being neglected through budget cutbacks. This Student mental health neglect is the direct result of ESS Marten wasting thousands of budget dollars on SDUSD propaganda in the Quality Assurance and ill-fated FACE departments to cover up her district budget misdeeds.
Gross budget mismanagement is not a victimless crime. Every Student who does not receive needed mental health supports, every teacher who has to struggle to create a healthy environment for for students with mental health challenges, every Principal who has to report an Student injury or suicide on their campus is a victim of this ESS Marten incompetence.
Even when presented with these three FREE ways to support mental health in SDUSD schools, there is overwhelming proof that incompetent ESS Marten could not deploy even one of these solutions effectively.
A sad situation for SDUSD Students, Teachers and Principals that will not be solved until Marten is fired and replaced with a REAL education professional.
Quote from Article:
I’ll just come out and say it: You can’t be for expanding access to quality educational opportunities and be in favor of capping charter schools. You can’t malign the supposed cherry-picking tendencies of charter schools while at the same time extolling the virtues of selective “public” magnet schools. And you can’t fight against access to school choice while at the same time buying or renting a home at least in part due to its ZIP-code aligned school district.
We all, if we can, buy access to quality education. Some of us pay school tuition. Others pay for test prep to access elite “public” schools like Stuyvesant. Many of us, myself included, pay rent or mortgages for houses located in ZIP codes with access to quality neighborhood schools. Not for nothing do real estate agents often name a houses’ local elementary school alongside its square footage.
If we really want to work for equitable access to quality education, rather than just react to the latest scandal, we need to get serious and look at our own neighborhoods.
With state budgeters failing oftentimes to meet what they spent before the Great Recession in 2008, it has fallen on local towns and cities to fill their educational coffers.
So, what happens when local education budgets are driven by local taxes and wealth?
The rich get to ride the school-to-college pipeline, and the poor get trained for prison.
The game is rigged.
My fellow progressives, charter schools are not the enemy. Magnet schools are not the enemy. The enemy is our continued perpetuation in a system that largely requires wealth in order to access quality education.
District Deeds Synopsis:
This article exposes the ugly truth in California and specifically in the SDUSD.
District Deeds supports more transparency in Charter Schools but those aimed at severely imposing arcane guidelines like Senate Bill 126 are wrong.
In addition we reject the movement in the California State Legislature to “cap” the number of Charter Schools through bills like AB 1505. MORE Parent Educational Choice for their kids is best!
As described in an article titled “Teachers Association Unveils Package of Anti-Charter Legislation”:
“AB 1505 (Assembly Members O-Donnell, D-Long Beach, McCarty, D-Sacramento, Kalra, D—San Jose, and Senator Skinner, D—Berkeley) would place all charter-granting authority solely in the hands of local school district boards, making charter-granting a discretionary act, eliminating the current right of appeal of denials of charter petition and charter renewals. Under current law, schools districts are nominally compelled to grant charters unless they can make specified findings, charter petitioners may appeal denials to both the county and state boards of education, and may also appeal denials of renewals.”
In the SDUSD where every Board of Education Trustee is OWNED by the Teachers Union, having “charter granting authority solely in the hands of local school district boards” means that NO new Charter Schools will be approved.
To add to the misery of the neediest SDUSD families in the poorest neighborhoods, Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera was recently heard pontificating on the elimination of busing in the SDUSD. No busing along with no charter schools means no educational choice for the neediest SDUSD families in the poorest neighborhoods.
Apparently this is the horrible, NEW Vision 2030 – forcing students to attend their failing school in every neighborhood with no chance to bus out to a better school.
The ESS Marten/Tricky Dick Barrera SDUSD educational dictatorship personified.
Quote from Article:
There are 1.5 million people in federal and state prisons and another 600,000 in local jails. More than half (54 percent) of these incarcerated adults have children under the age of 18; this amounts to 2.7 million children who have parents who are locked up.
Children impacted by parental incarceration are more likely to be Black, Latino, and/or from low-income families. In fact, while Black and Latino children represented 35 percent of the total population, 2 out of 3 children who had at least one parent in prison were Black or Latino in 2007. Believe it or not, there is no readily available information about what those numbers are today. This lack of data is a clear reminder that children of parents who are incarcerated are often forgotten in the policy conversation around mass incarceration and criminal justice reform — we don’t even care enough to count them?
Children of parents who are incarcerated are susceptible to a host of adverse childhood experiences at rates much higher than their peers. These students experience trauma from the disruption of having a parent removed from their lives, the stigma from others’ perceptions, and instability (including increased mobility) from their parents’ inability to financially contribute to the household. Yet, since the criminal justice system disproportionately entangles Black, Latino, and people with lower incomes, parental incarceration also places an unjust burden on communities and districts and schools that are often already under-resourced.
Outside the P-12 school system, while activists continue to fight for broad scale criminal justice reform, states need to invest in evidence-based change. That means providing high-quality education opportunities to incarcerated adults — because we know that when parents have more education, they have higher incomes; and with better economic security and opportunities, parents are better able to provide for their children; and children who grow up in resource-rich environments have better long-term education, economic, and life outcomes.
One policy solution for providing more correctional education opportunities is expanding Pell Grant eligibility for students who are incarcerated — either by rescinding the 1994 ban on including currently incarcerated individuals among those eligible to receive Pell Grants or expanding the Second Chance Pell pilot program.
District Deeds Synopsis:
After reading this article we decided to see how comprehensively the SDUSD provides supports for families that have faced some form of incarceration.
The only reference to supports for incarceration is one phrase on the SDUSD website titled “Transition Supports“:
“The Transition Support Center serves adolescents (ages 12 and up) returning from long term incarceration or foster youth/homeless youth who have not attended school for a period of time and in need of a short term diagnostic placement.”
That is the sum total on the SDUSD website for the term “incarceration”.
The SDUSD, the 7th largest school district in the United States, that through pure incompetence and management malpractice has created a robust School to Prison Pipeline for the poorest Students, has NO information for supports to families with incarcerated Students or Parents.
Like we said in our article evaluating ESS Marten in July, 2016:
Unfortunately, as long as Cindy Marten remains as Superintendent, the SDUSD to Prison Pipeline is gushing the NEEDIEST Students.
What a disgrace!
Now for our Quote of the Week:
“Anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.” – Tony Blair
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!
- YOU ARE TIRED OF THE COVER UPS AND LIES BY SUPT. CINDY MARTEN…
Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!