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



Without More Effective Leadership, LA Unified Will Continue to Flounder

Quote from Article:

Dr. Carl Cohn

As a participant and observer in California public schools for the past half century, I’m struck by what isn’t being talked about in terms of the proverbial “elephant in the room” when it comes to charters: weak leadership in districts with the highest proportion of charters.

Let’s start with Los Angeles, the state’s largest district, where the failure to fix traditional public schools has resulted in a flourishing charter school movement in the poorest parts of the district. Expecting poor parents of color to embrace the status quo is completely unacceptable when it comes to the future of their children. This is a failure of district leadership that goes back more than two decades, and is compounded by the actions of the school board majority before the recent election of Jackie Goldberg.


While the debate about charters suggests that they are a threat to every urban district in our state, the information on the ground doesn’t support that faulty notion. Long Beach Unified, which is actually adjacent to LA Unified in some parts of the district, has less than one percent of its students in charters. Why is that? Because Long Beach for years has had leaders who know how to fix traditional public schools. Garden Grove, another award-winning large urban district in Orange County, similarly is not threatened by charters. And there are other large districts around the state where charter enrollment is minuscule.


Now that Measure EE, the recent parcel tax in LA Unified, has gone down to an overwhelming defeat, there’s been quite a bit of punditry suggesting that the voters somehow rejected poor kids and their teachers in a callous, back of the hand sort of way and that sinister business forces were responsible for the defeat. In my judgment, local school tax measures are always a referendum on the current leadership of the school system. Nothing about this result suggests that the genuine outpouring of support for teachers and kids during the January strike was illegitimate.

At rallies in downtown Los Angeles, estimated at 70,000-plus by the Los Angeles police, pro-union speakers hailed teachers as “the guardians of democracy,” “the Davids who took on the Goliath billionaires,” and “the true protectors of children’s interests” — all legitimate sentiments and powerful testimony to United Teachers of Los Angeles’ brilliant organizing campaign.


But that really wasn’t what was on the ballot three weeks ago. What was on the ballot was a yea or nay with regard to the board and superintendent who are ineffective when it comes to fixing traditional public schools.

What they have been unable to do thus far is to systematically prioritize the improvement of those schools in impoverished neighborhoods where parents seeking a brighter future for their kids are turning to charters as a reasonable alternative. Those schools need strong and stable leadership, more support for teachers, additional support staff and a message from the top that their success is critical to the entire district. In addition, central office leadership at the regional level that hasn’t delivered on that has to go.

The truth is you can give the Los Angeles school district half a billion dollars in additional revenue, hold them harmless for their enrollment loss, or come up with other more innovative schemes to ignore the obvious, but none of that will make a difference if the board and superintendent are incapable of delivering on the fundamental mission of fixing traditional public schools right now.

District Deeds Synopsis:

A great article by former San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Carl Cohn exposing the REAL cause of the growth of Charter Schools in California.

THe following key sentence from Dr. Cohn’s article capsulizes the issue:

Let’s start with Los Angeles, the state’s largest district, where the failure to fix traditional public schools has resulted in a flourishing charter school movement in the poorest parts of the district.  – Dr. Carl Cohn

In District Deeds opnion, Dr. Cohn is being very respectful to his former colleagues in the SDUSD to NOT expose the SAME problem there.

But District Deeds feels the SDUSD leadership “failure” MUST be exposed…to paraphrase:

Let’s start with the San Diego Unified School District, the state’s second largest district, where the failure to fix traditional public schools has resulted in a flourishing charter school movement in the poorest parts of the district south of Highway 8. – District Deeds 

Further proof that the SDUSD is the perfect example of Superintenswent and Board of Education gross mismanagment is in another quote in the article:

Long Beach Unified, which is actually adjacent to LA Unified in some parts of the district, has less than one percent of its students in charters. Why is that? Because Long Beach for years has had leaders who know how to fix traditional public schools.

For the SDUSD, guess what percentage of “it’s students” are in Charters?

According to the  folowing chart for SDUSD from Ed-Data, in 2017-2018 there were 126,400 Students in the SDUSD including Charter School Students:

During that same 2017-2018 time period there were 21,599 Charter School Students in the SDUSD:

That means that the gross mismanagment by Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Marten and her corrupt Board of Education led by Tricky Dick Barrera has created 17% Charter School enrollment…17 times GREATER than Long Beach!

That is what you get when you replace highly qualified Superintendents like Dr. Cohn with incompetent, inexperienced and unqualified disaters like ESS Cindy Marten.

After reading this article, our readers might think that the next step by the SDUSD Board of Edcuation would be to fire incompetent ESS Marten and hire a qualified Superintendent to spearhead a school improvement initiative.

But not in the SDUSD.

According to a Channel 5 news story, ESS Marten, Tricky Dick Barrera and the rest of the current SDUSD leadership gang solution to the increasing Charter School enrollment is to “Pause Charter School Growth“!

That’s right…don’t improve the schools, just try and eliminate the competition.

Just another disgraceful ESS Marten and Tricky Dick Barrera betrayal of the neediest students to protect their power and six figure incomes.

Dr. Cohn was smart to get out of the SDUSD when he did!

Did Busing for School Desegregation Succeed? Here’s What Research Says.

Quote from Article:

Harris’ criticism of fellow Democratic presidential candidate Biden for his vigorous opposition to court-ordered desegregation in the 1970s has also sparked fresh debate about whether those efforts were successful.

What do we know? In the most basic sense, they did succeed. School segregation dropped substantially as courts and the federal government put pressure on local districts to integrate. But those efforts also sparked bitter, sometimes racist, resistance that shaped political discourse for decades.

“Busing as a political term … was a failure, because the narrative that came out of it from the media and politicians was almost only negative,” said Matt Delmont, a Dartmouth historian who wrote a book titled “Why Busing Failed.” “It only emphasized the inconvenience to white families and white students.”


A political failure does not necessarily mean an educational failure, though, as Delmont and others have pointed out. Indeed, research has consistently shown that integrated schools offered, and still offer, tangible benefits to students of color.

Since public schools in many places today remain intensely segregated by race and socioeconomic status, this issue is not just a historical one.

“School integration didn’t fail,” Berkeley economist Rucker Johnson, who has conducted some of the most far-reaching research on school integration, recently argued. “The only failure is that we stopped pursuing it and allowed the reign of segregation to return.”


Research shows that school desegregation — often including “busing” — helped black students in the long run.

To isolate the impact of court-ordered school integration in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, Johnson used two strategies. First, he compared students in the same school district right before and after court-ordered integration was put in place. Second, he compared pairs of siblings, when one went to integrated schools but the other didn’t.

His conclusions were similar: integration helped black students academically and into adulthood.

The effects were quite large: going to integrated schools for an additional five years caused high school graduation rates to jump by nearly 15 percentage points and reduced the likelihood of living in poverty by 11 percentage points.

In a follow-up analysis, Johnson found that these benefits extended to the next generation. The children of those who attended integrated schools had higher test scores and were more likely to attend college, too.


One recent study found that school districts in the South that went from being fully segregated to being fully integrated between 1964 and 1972 cut the number of black teachers by nearly a third. Today, many worry about the scarcity of black teachers, who have been linked to the success of black students in a number of ways.

“Desegregation generated large benefits for many groups,” wrote researcher Owen Thompson. “But such a fundamental reform of a major institution also inevitably comes with disruption and costs. The results of the present study indicate that the costs associated with transitioning to a more equitable educational system were in large part paid by African American teachers.”

Even successful integration programs can create unique challenges. The paper on the Bay Area-busing program found that while it benefitted black and Hispanic students academically, it also increased their likelihood of being arrested for non-violent crimes. That could be due in part to traveling more in predominantly white areas and bias among local police.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article clearly describes all many of the advantages and challenges of busing since its inception.

The conclusion from the article for District Deeds is that despite some serious issues with the implementation of busing and some serious negative disruptions especially to African-American teacher job opportunities and black and hispanic students being arrested, overall busing has done much more good than harm.

In the dystopian SDUSD leadership world, the opposite strategy is being embraced.

ESS Marten and her crony Board of Education are actually REDUCING the number of SDUSD bus routes and implementing serious cuts to the busing/transportation budget.  These ill advised actions are part of a two pronged approach to force SDUSD parents to send their kids to sub-par SDUSD neighborhood schools.

Step 1: Stop Charter Schools by “pausing” new Charter School growth (see Dr. Cohn article above)

Step 2: Eliminate busing so parents have to send kids to the local sub-par  SDUSD school.

So typical of the current incompetent SDUSD senior leadership…instead of deploying solutions they deploy coverups that make the situation much, much worse.

Is Summer Learning Loss Real?

Quote from Article:

Every summer, the news is filled with stories about summer learning loss. The warnings sound dire: two months of math learning lost for most students every summer, and two to three months of reading learning lost for low-income students, according to the National Summer Learning Association. By the ninth grade, “summer learning loss during elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between low-income children and their middle-income peers,” the association says. There can be no doubt about it: as American children lounge poolside, watch too much television, and play too many video games, most are forgetting what they learned in school last year, and low-income students are falling even further behind.


But my belief has been shaken. I’m no longer sure that the average child loses months of skills each year, and I doubt that summer learning loss contributes much to the achievement gap in ninth grade.

Several things happened to challenge my faith. One is that my colleagues and I tried to replicate some of the classic results in the summer learning literature—and failed. Sure, the patterns were present on one test—the one used in the best-known study of summer learning. But that study is 30 years old, and we couldn’t replicate its results using modern exams. And it turned out that the test from that study had problems, which had been debated long ago and then, over time, forgotten.

Then I looked more closely at the research on early learning. Early-childhood scholars believe that nearly all of the gaps between children’s skills form before the age of five, or even before the age of three. According to their research, the gaps that we observe in ninth grade were already present, and almost the same size, as they were when those children started kindergarten. Where does summer learning loss fit into that picture?


But does this result hold for children today? There are reasons for doubt. The most obvious is that the Beginning School Study is old, and it’s not clear how broadly we can generalize its results. The children in the study all attended public schools in a single city and finished eighth grade in the spring of 1990. They are over 40 years old today. Yet major publications and advocates have quoted these results as if they are findings of current national interest; for example, Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book Outliers discussed them at face value, Time magazine published the results as recently as 2010, and The Economist summarized them in 2018. Couldn’t researchers have supplied more recent data from a wider variety of locations to make the same point?


So what do we know about summer learning loss? Less than we think. The problem could be serious, or it could be trivial. Children might lose a third of a year’s learning over summer vacation, or they might tread water. Achievement gaps might grow faster during summer vacations, or they might not. Results from older tests can’t be replicated on modern tests, and modern tests don’t necessarily agree with each other. But it is almost surely notthe case that summer learning loss accounts for two thirds of the achievement gap at the end of eighth grade. On modern tests, it seems that most of the eighth-grade achievement gap is already present at the start of kindergarten. Early-childhood scholars are right about that.

What else do we know about summer learning? There is one result that replicates consistently across every test that I’ve ever looked at. It’s so obvious that it’s easy to overlook, but it’s still important: nearly all children, no matter how advantaged, learn much more slowly during summer vacations than they do during the school years. That means that every summer offers children who are behind a chance to catch up. In other words, even if gaps don’t grow much during summer vacations, summer vacations still offer a chance to shrink them.


By contrast, “extended-year” calendars do take advantage of the opportunity to accelerate student learning during the summer months. Extended-year calendars typically add extra weeks of school during the summer, and sometimes on Saturdays as well, providing children with up to 210 days of instruction per year. Less than one in 1,000 U.S. schools uses an extended-year calendar, but they’re popular among the highest-performing charter schools and one of the reforms that Harvard economist Roland Fryer found improved math scores among the lowest-performing traditional public schools in Houston, Chicago, and Denver.

But the potential effectiveness of summer learning programs and extended-year schools may have little to do with summer learning loss. It may be that these interventions don’t prevent gaps from opening during the summer. Instead, they help to shrink achievement gaps that were already there on the first day of kindergarten.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Hopefully this relieves some Principal, Teacher and Parent anxiety about summer learning loss.  We really appreciated the information regarding the various studies and other faulty interventions like SDUSD year round schools.

Good summer reading!

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – Mark Twain

Have a great week!!!



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