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



Does Spending More on Schools Pay Off?

Quote from Article:

As Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget was being wrought, the perennial issue of spending on K-12 education was thrashed out once again.

The education establishment – professional educators, their unions, their political allies and sympathetic academicians  – complained anew that California schools are being shorted the money they need to raise achievement levels of the state’s nearly 6 million elementary and secondary students.


Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat, arose on the Assembly floor during its debate on the budget to decry that “We’re still 41st in per-pupil spending,” even though Newsom included a handsome increase for schools in his budget.

The exchanges raised two questions that deserve exploration:

—Are we, in fact, 41st in the nation in school funding?

—Would significantly increasing school spending result in better academic outcomes?


The assertion that we are near the bottom is based on adjusting spending for the cost-of-living and since California has very high costs, arguably the highest in the nation, whatever we spend will be pushed downward in rankings.

In unadjusted dollars, according to the Census Bureau’s most recent annual report on school finances, we were 21st in per-pupil spending in 2017 at $12,143 from all sources, including federal funds, slightly below the national average of $12,201.


With virtually stagnant enrollment, California has increased overall spending and thus per-pupil spending by about 50% in recent years and Newsom’s first budget raises the latter to $17,160.

Using the 2017 Census Bureau rankings as a guide, California is likely in the top 10 in per-pupil spending now – albeit unadjusted for the cost-of-living. Even with such an adjustment, we’re at least in the middle ranks of states.


The second question is even trickier. The advocates of pushing California’s school spending into the top ranks imply that were we to spend $5,000 more per pupil per year, we would see a miraculous improvement in our – at best – mediocre academic outcomes.

But another comparison – how students perform on the federal government’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing – is not encouraging.

There is simply no correlation between money and achievement in side-by-side comparisons of 8th-grade reading scores, an important benchmark because reading comprehension is vital to success in all subjects, particularly for students about to enter high school.

District Deeds Synopsis:

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is the perfect example for both questions posed in this article…plenty of money and virtually no academic progress in return.

Our article “What Structural Deficit? San Diego Unified Budget “Ms. Management Marten”= BOTTOM 3% in CALIFORNIA!” exposed the “structural deficit” lies of Elementary School Supertintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten and Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera.

Decreasing enrollment in the SDUSD is directly related to both operational and financial mismanagement by ESS Marten and no amount of additional money from the state is going to cure that Marten incompetence disease.

The only cure for the Marten incompetence disease is to eliminate both the source -vote out the crony Board of Educations lead by Tricky Dick Barrera – and excise the disease – fire ESS Marten – so that the additional money from the state can actually be used to improve the education of SDUSD Students.

Until the crony Board of Ed and the incompetent Marten, no amount of money will “cure” the SDUSD.

Digital Storytellers Take Page and Stage

Quote from Article:

Do your students love stories but hate writing them?

It’s time to pull out the technology and turn to digital storytelling. Electronic devices and software have made it possible for learners to use technology to tell their narratives and communicate clearly. Nearly every subject lends itself to the digital story format; therefore, every teacher can incorporate aspects of digital storytelling in their lessons.

Digital storytelling works well in the flipped classroom. Students can use any of dozens of outstanding apps for telling their stories, working on them outside the confines of the instructional day.


Apps your students will love

The digital storytelling apps your students need are dynamic and engaging. They make relaying expressive information fun, and they inspire creativity. Storytellers will be anxious to bring their narratives to life with tools like these:

·       Pixton  

Conceptualizing ideas can be challenging for some students. They can see it in their minds, but can’t seem to write it. These learners have an idea what they want to say, but somehow it either doesn’t come out right, or they forget to include important parts of the narrative. Students use comics art to tell their stories. Pixton has folders of backgrounds, characters, and even phrases. At $39.99, Pixton Edmodo is pricier than other apps, but a worthwhile investment.


Scaffold instruction for students who need more support

English language learners and special needs students may require greater structure in putting together their narratives, but they can still use digital storytelling software for self-expression.

Alexa Skills guides your students in creating fill-in-the-blank stories. Similar to Cloze activities, the stories consist of a skeletal structure. The voice-automated assistant reads sentence stems, and students fill in the blanks. Once Alexa collects the learner input, the device creates the story and reads it back to the students.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article provides a number of options for Teachers and Students to enhance storytelling skills.

The area we felt was most valuable was that the tools allow for Students to develop storytelling skills through mobile apps.  Many times writing is not a scheduled exercise but an exercise spurred by immediate inspiration.  Students with tablets or smart phones can write and expand on their stories at the point of inspiration with the tools provided in this article.

We hope that Teachers in the SDUSD are already using some of these storytelling apps and, if not, use this article to expand the use of these storytelling apps in their classes this coming school year.

A Two-Step Process for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism

Getting students back in the building is just step one—next comes fostering a positive school climate so that they want to stay.

Quote from Article:

Chronic absenteeism—defined as students missing 10 percent or more of school days—is a target area for many school districts for improving student achievement. This makes sense: Students who are chronically absent are more likely to lack reading skills, have lower test scores, and receive exclusionary school discipline, and they are in higher jeopardy of not graduating. And it’s a big problem: Chronic absenteeism affects one in seven students nationwide.

Typically, schools try to identify who is chronically absent and determine if there are cohesive subgroups of children most affected (recent immigrants, households with single parents, or caregivers with economic or health challenges). Sometimes the conditions that lead to absenteeism have more to do with family circumstances than student motivation. This is valuable and important information for school staff to have when deciding necessary supports for an individual child.

But it’s not enough to simply get a student back on track with school attendance. Teachers, faculty, and staff need to continue their work in making all students feel welcomed at school. Finding ways to get students back into the building is step one, while continuously finding ways to let them know that they have genuinely been missed and are valuable to the community is the second-order change we need. Empty seats may have economic ramifications for a school, but continually filling the hearts and minds and raising the spirits of our students can have major social, emotional, and educational benefits.


According to the National School Climate Center, creating a positive climate is the basis for academic success, social-emotional and character development, and the prevention of harassment, intimidation, bullying, and other problem behaviors. And studies show a relationship between school climate and attendance in general—though so far this knowledge has not been directly extended to discussions of chronic absenteeism. But when we think of chronic absenteeism, an essential part of the long-term solution most likely involves getting all students to feel engaged in school so that they will want to be present.

As schools attempt to identify and bring back individual students with frequent absences, it is essential that the affected students feel as if the school is their oasis, not their holding cell. Schools must have a culture and climate that embraces all students and families. Kids have exquisite fairness detectors and know when they have been treated more punitively than another child.



Inspiring: Schools should connect to students’ aspirations and actively encourage them to reach for the stars.

Supportive: Challenge must be accompanied by support; schools benefit from collective efficacy, where students are encouraged to help one another. 

Safe and Healthy: A supportive SEL culture needs to be developed throughout the school, and in every classroom.

Respectful: Respect for others is an important expectation in a school building, and its modeling is essential—student to student, student to adult, and adult to adult—including parents and caregivers.

Engaging: Learning defined as “engaging” is active and problem-focused, and it leads learners to create meaningful products. 

District Deeds Synopsis:

We love the concept of fighting cronic absenteeism by creating a positive school climate and we know of many Principals, Teachers and site staff that try mightily every day to create a safe and engaging school site community for Students.

Unfortunately all SDUSD schools are dealing with an infection of incompetence at the top of the SDUSD Org Chart.

As Custodial Crusader described in “Whistleblower Custodial Crusader’s 3 Part “Deep Cuts” Report: Part 1 – Custodial Crusader Deep Cuts “School Sites”

ESS Marten incompetence has reduced and eliminated custodial and other support positions at all schools sites creating unsafe campuses with…



and dirty classrooms and restrooms…

Add to that the toxic and opressive work environment created by “No Mercy” Marten

…you can see why many excellent Administrators and Teachers and Students flee to better school districts or charter schools.

Given this SDUSD mismanagement disaster, the idea of an inspiring, supportive, safe and healthy, respectful and engaging school site climate is a losing battle for all of our dedicated Principals, Teachers and Site Staff left to clean up the disgusting ESS Marten mess.

What a shame.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“Those who want to power know no mercy.”

― Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann

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!

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