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


New Efforts to Make School Spending in California More Transparent 

Quote from Article:

Though barely a week old, 2020 is shaping up to be the year that policy makers and legislators force school districts to be more accountable for how they spend money they receive from the state’s funding formula. It could produce the first significant tightening of rules under the Local Control Funding Formula since former Gov. Jerry Brown persuaded the Legislature to pass the landmark legislation in 2013.

The officials are responding to public criticism, seconded by a state audit, that lawmakers and parents often can’t determine how money targeted for high-needs students — English learners, low-income, foster and homeless youths — is being spent.


Along with providing as much as 40 percent more funding to school districts with the most high-needs students, the funding formula eliminated dozens of highly restrictive “categorical” funds and gave school districts more autonomy over spending. But in return, the Legislature set priorities that districts must pay attention to, such as student achievement and school climate, and required that districts outline 3-year improvement efforts in their LCAPs.

But after hearing complaints from parents, education groups and even district administrators that the LCAPs had become indecipherable — hundreds of pages long in many cases, full of jargon and hard to document spending — the Legislature in 2018 ordered the state board to revise it to be parent-friendly: shorter and simpler to read. It also said that the expenditures for improved and increased services for the targeted student groups should be in one place, where it would be apparent whether the dollars for high-needs students were being spent.

State Auditor Elaine Howle cited many of the same problems in an audit of three districts’ LCAP expenditures that she released in November. “In general,” she wrote, “we determined that the State’s approach has not ensured that funding is benefiting students as intended.” The audit made a number of recommendations that, in a response to the audit, state board Executive Director Karen Stapf Walters said the board largely agreed with and would incorporate in its final LCAP draft.


The intent is to make the LCAP read more like a strategic plan than a compliance document. Districts will be able to choose “focus goals” deserving the most attention and resources, instead of just a laundry list of objectives that appear equally important. Instead of just listing how and how often districts consulted with the community, districts will be asked to explain how parents in general, English learner parents in particular, teachers, principals, students and others influenced the development of the LCAP.

Districts will be required not only to cite actions and expenditures to achieve goals, but also to analyze whether or not they’re working to raise achievement and explain and document why they didn’t spend money and by how much they underspent. Reflecting surveys that showed many districts’ LCAPs gave short shrift to English learners, the new version requires that districts specify language acquisition actions for English learners. They’ll be encouraged to specify what they’re doing for foster youths, too.


But beside fixing the LCAP, the audit urged the Legislature to amend the funding formula law in ways that the state board either has opposed or lacked the legal authority to adopt. Howle found ready authors in Assemblywomen Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, and Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, who introduced the bills Wednesday. Weber, a former San Diego Unified school board member, said in a recent EdSource podcast that the lack of accountability in spending has turned her from an early backer of the funding law to one of its loudest critics.

The Legislature intended that the state’s most vulnerable students would receive more resources to combat the challenges of poverty, language barriers and trauma, Weber said Wednesday. “These bills are intended to fulfill the promise (of the funding formula) to provide educational equity for all students.”

Assembly Bill 1835 would fix what student advocacy groups for years have called a loophole” in the law. At the end of each year, districts have been able to roll over unspent funding for high-needs students into their all-purpose general fund; this creates incentives to move slowly on commitments to create surpluses that districts can spend however they want the following year. The bill would require districts to keep track of unspent “supplemental and concentration” dollars, as the extra funding is called, and limit their use to the targeted student groups.

“The carryover should be non-negotiable. The resources should benefit the intended students,” said Samantha Tran, senior managing director for education policy at the nonprofit advocacy organization Children Now. That organization and two other nonprofit advocacy groups, the Education Trust-West and Teach Plus, are co-sponsors of both bills.


Assembly Bill 1834 would require the state to create a way to track and uniformly code districts’ supplemental and concentration spending so that legislators and the public can better understand how districts are using the funding. They can’t make statewide conclusions and cross-district comparisons now because districts aren’t required to report out, other than in individual LCAPs, what they do with funding formula dollars. In 2017, a similar bill that Weber authored passed the Assembly unanimously, but she withdrew it amid opposition from then-Gov. Brown.

Brown, the Department of Finance and members of the state board opposed placing conditions and additional reporting obligations on supplemental and concentration funding, calling it a cumbersome movement back to the old system of state-imposed categorical funding. But Howle disagreed, arguing districts would be asked to account for how they used their funding, not told how to spend it. The state needs more information to understand the links between funding, services and student achievements, she wrote.

The tracking requirements for Weber’s bills would appear incompatible with the new LCAP. One topic for Thurmond’s new work group could be to see if a compromise between two different reporting systems is possible. Both Weber and Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of the Education Trust West, are members, along with representatives of the organizations representing school boards, administrators and school business officials. The work group is scheduled to meet next week.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article is great news for all San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Stakeholders.

The corrupt strategy by incompetent Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten and corrupt Trustees lead by “Tricky Dick” Barrera to exploit all of these soon to be closed budget guideline loopholes at the expense of the neediest SDUSD Students is shamefully unethical…but Marten, Barrera and their gang have shown though their numerous self serving actions to be completely deviod of ethics or shame.

How disturbing is it to all SDUSD Stakeholders that our district leaders would need a law to force them to do what is morally right?

District Deeds thanks Assemblymember Shirley Weber, D-San Diego for being relentless in pushing these initiatives for all the SDUSD Stakeholders and we urge her to follow up this legislation with a forensic audit of the SDUSD after this school year and hold Marten and Barrera accountable for any other illegal budgeting tricks they might desperately try pull off to cover up their gross budget and financial mismanagement.

We urge our readers to thank Asssemblymember Weber for her outstanding effort via her Contact Page here: Assemblymember Shirley Weber Contact Page 

How the #DisruptTexts Movement Can Help English Teachers Be More Inclusive

Quote from Article:

The recent National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference offered numerous sessions featuring authors with traditionally marginalized identities, as well as teachers who are working hard to change how and what they teach. Almost every session with this focus emphasized that educators interested in doing this work need to first examine their own beliefs and biases before jumping into the work.

Some of the leaders of this conversation are four educators of color– Tricia EbarviaLorena GermánKim Parker and Julia Torres.  They’re the founders of the #DisruptTexts Twitter chats and website, and authors of a forthcoming book. Every Monday, they post reflection questions about texts commonly taught in high school under the hashtag #DisruptTexts. Over the course of the week, teachers respond to the questions, and engage with one another, in a “slow chat” that doesn’t require everyone to be online at the same time. When the chat is over, the organizers archive the chat and summarize some of the reflections and ideas that emerged.

“It’s about creating an equitable and inclusive curriculum, notice that I did not say diverse,” said high school English teacher Tricia Ebarvia, as she kicked off a session about the core values of the #DisruptTexts movement in a packed ballroom at NCTE.

This movement is not about exchanging a more contemporary title for a traditional one, even if the new author is a woman. Ebarvia cautioned educators against making a false equivalency between sexism and racism. Instead, she urged educators to think carefully about the message their current curriculum sends to students about whose voices and stories are worthy of academic study.


Ebarvia and the other founders have seen enough interest in this conversation that they’ve distilled it into four key values that also speak to some of the common misconceptions among colleagues.

Pillar #1: Continuously interrogate our own biases to understand how they inform our teaching.

“Folks tend to skip over the necessary stage of interrogating themselves before jumping into diverse texts,” said Julia Torres, a #DisruptTexts founder and teacher-librarian in Colorado.

Bias often shows up in knee-jerk reactions to discussions about changing the texts students read. And if teachers haven’t considered the factors that influence their thinking, or how their experiences and upbringing might inform what they do in the classroom, then adding new texts to the curriculum won’t be as transformative for students as it could be.


Pillar #2: Center black, Indigenous, and voices of color in literature

A quick search of the most commonly read high school texts turns up a lot of white male authors: Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Golding, Hawthorne. No one is saying some of these texts aren’t worthy of study. The concern is that there isn’t balance.

“So much of our literary canon is centered on the white gaze and written by white male authors,” said Lorena Germán.

“The issue is when the curriculum is all of that, and when the canon is mostly that.” Sometimes that white gaze has even been internalized by authors of color, which is why it’s important to remember the vast diversity of experience within communities of color. Just as one white man doesn’t speak for all white people, one black author does not speak to the experiences of all black people.


Pillar #3: Apply a critical literacy lens to our teaching practices

“It’s not just about having a checklist of diverse books,” said Tricia Ebarvia. She referenced Chad Everett’s work when she said, “There is no such thing as a diverse book. When you say diverse book, diverse for whom?”

Ebarvia explained that at its core, critical literacy is understanding that the world is a socially constructed text that can be read and analyzed like other texts. “There is no neutral,” Ebarvia said, which means school is not about acquiring knowledge, but rather thinking deeply about the meaning we ascribe to that knowledge.

Critical literacy is not a unit of study, but rather a way of reading the world. When teachers help students to read the world critically it can open up powerful conversations. It may even give students permission to share their lived experiences, or ways they do and don’t see themselves in school texts, in unexpected ways. And, it highlights the systems in which we work, live and read.


Pillar #4: Work in community with others, especially BIPOC

“Community is built on accountability,” said Dr. Kim Parker. She urged educators to work at de-centering whiteness in schools and in the curriculum. She called on white educator allies to lift up the voices of BIPOC colleagues, especially those who don’t already get a lot of attention.

“We’re not trying to save anyone,” Parker said. “We’re trying to be in service with.”

That means honoring the knowledge and power in the community, the connectors and the ways of getting things done. Be humble. Listen.

She called on white educators who believe in this work to stand up for it to administrators, parents and other teachers. “For the white people in the room, your voices carry so much more weight than ours do, honestly,” Parker said.

And she referenced Elena Aguilar’s theory about “spheres of control.” What can you control? The internal work is something each person can control. What can you influence? Teachers influence students and colleagues all around them, and some push beyond that to Twitter, conferences and the broader education community. Everything else is outside your control.

District Deeds Synopsis:

District Deeds was inspired by this #DisruptTexts Movement and we are happy to be able to provide this information to our Teacher readers who may not have heard about it.

This information is also great for all of our readers including Admininstrators, Teachers Parents, Guardians and Students to acccess the links provided and “stand up” for it as described in “Pillar 4”.

It is evident that we cannot rely on corrupt ESS Marten and her White Woman Mafia to support an initiative as culturally supportive as the #DisruptTexts Movement…it is up to all of us to do it ourselves for the benefit of ALL SDUSD Students!!!

7 Ways Schools Can Stomp Out Bullying

Quote from Article:

The approaches toward life that are developed during childhood and adolescence tend to stick. Thanks to mechanisms such as synaptic pruning and parallel distributed processing, what we learn during these formative years can provide the basis of how we perceive life as adults. This phenomenon is what makes the issue of bullying in schools so imperative to address. Both the bullies, and the victims, are developing habits and patterns that will produce a lasting effect on their quality of life.


Signs of Bullying

The signs of bullying are observable from both the victim and perpetrator angles. Victims of bullying may present with physical injuries, drastic mood shifts or changes in academic performance. The bullies themselves may show up with items that are not purchased, or be frequently engaged in altercations with their peers. Discerning the presence of either side of the problem requires that parents and educational staff pay close attention to the details of a child’s interactions and intervene as early as possible.


Bully Motivation

Bullying, particularly in early childhood, is best explained through the theory of operant conditioning. Under this model of explanation for human motivation, bullying behaviors are repeated due to their resulting in material or social reward. The bully may end up with free lunch money, or may enjoy the praise of peers over being tough or funny. Whatever it is that the bully is receiving as a direct, desired, response of the behavior serves to encourage a repeat performance.

As children become older, bullying behavior is most frequently related to strain theory. Adolescents who suffer from personal problems and excessive experiences of negative emotion are prone to seek relief by acting out against others. The bullying provides a temporary relief from self-focus, and substitutes for the lack of control that the bully is experiencing over personal matters.

The customized, intimate, nature of these types of reward systems for bullying behaviors is what makes outside intervention attempts largely ineffective. School assemblies, lectures, and poster campaigns do little to positively alter the behavior of the bullies and their classmates, who are operating daily within a microcosm of peer socialization. Studies have indicated that children who are obliged to attend to such lofty information view it as something outside of themselves, and will even transform the messages into opportunities for mockery and furthering of their bullying repertoire.


What Works

Parents and educational staff need different tactics to address — and end — bullying. Many of the suggestions that are provided here are what clinicians encourage clients toward during the course of therapy. While therapeutic intervention often only involves a single person, or a handful of individuals, the school environment provides the opportunity to affect positive change on a broad scale.

Model the desired behavior. One of the most effective ways to encourage positive behavior in our children is to model it, as adults. In both the home, and within the school system, utilize a top-down approach toward implementing prosocial methods of management.

Promote self awareness. The Disney movie, “Inside Out,” did a touching job of showing how important it is for children to learn to recognize and identify their thoughts and feelings. Self-awareness is the first step toward developing the ability to handle stress effectively.

Foster a culture of honest communication. Identification of the destructive thoughts and emotions surrounding the issues of bullying is only part of the solution. The other parts involve a bully – or a victim – feeling free to express these experiences to a trusted adult. Make your home and school environment a safe space for open communication.

Teach effective coping skills. Once thoughts and feelings are identified, the task will be learning how to manage them. Parents and teachers are in the important position of ensuring that our children are provided with the tools toward this end.

Provide healthy outlets. With negative thoughts and emotions being related to the acting out of bullying behavior, providing students with the opportunity to engage in pleasurably distracting behaviors can work toward reducing the negative effects of rumination.

Refrain from adding to the stress. We live in a culture which often promotes the idea of more as being better.  Continually adding to a child’s workload — whether through classwork, homework, or extracurricular activity — may be inadvertently resulting in an overload of stress which will be manifested as undesirable behavior. Ensure that your students have enough time to engage in healthy introspection and enjoyable activity.

Reward prosocial behaviors. Hearkening to the basics of how bullying behavior is established and fostered, institute a system which actively rewards those social behaviors which are desirable. Immediate reinforcement for prosocial actions works better than presentation of abstract concepts of future benefit.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Every week District Deeds learns of serious bullying incidents occuring in the SDUSD.  Beatings, fights, sexual assault and cyber bulling occurs daily in our SDUSD Schools.

Under the unethical leadership of ESS Marten,  all attempts by parents to expose this daily Student abuse is met with denials and attempts to minimize SDUSD legal and financial exposure.  Parents who have Students harmed by bullying and legally complain are crushed by her multimillion dollar legal department funded by their own taxpayer dollars.

District Deeds has had first hand experience with exposing SDUSD bullying and can testify that the main strategy to combat bullying by the Marten SDUSD is described clearly in the following quote from the article:

School assemblies, lectures, and poster campaigns do little to positively alter the behavior of the bullies and their classmates, who are operating daily within a microcosm of peer socialization. Studies have indicated that children who are obliged to attend to such lofty information view it as something outside of themselves, and will even transform the messages into opportunities for mockery and furthering of their bullying repertoire.

School assemblies, lectures, and poster campaigns” are classic staples of SDUSD and ESS Marten propaganda campaigns and do virtually NOTHING to effectively protect our kids against bullying in our SDUSD schools.

As usual, as it is with virtually ALL difficult issues that harm SDUSD Students, ESS Marten, Tricky Dick Barrera and their cronies are intellectually, morally and strategically bankrupt when it comes to Student bullying prevention.

It is left up to a minority of committted SDUSD Stakeholders to stand up and speak up at every opportunity to expose these empty anti-bullying campaigns as useless propaganda and force our school site and district leadership to take REAL steps to protect our students.

The lives of our SDUSD Students depend on it!!!

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” – Samuel Adams

Have a great week!!!



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