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In observance of National School Choice Week – January 26 – February 1, 2020, here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week regarding School Choice…


Micro Schools and More School Choice Helps Tribal Children Succeed

Quote from Article:

For years, Arizona has led the country in offering educational choices for families. Our state has great district schools available through open enrollment and some of the top public charter schools in the nation. We have a tax credit scholarship program that helps families with limited resources afford a private school education for their children and we were the first in the nation to have an education savings account, the Empowerment Scholarship Account program.


Families in our community have lacked alternatives when the status quo wasn’t working well enough for some of our children.

Thankfully, that is changing for families in San Carlos. We now have micro schools as another educational option.

Over the last year, the micro school concept went from a handful of classrooms serving less than 30 kids in the Phoenix Metro area to almost 60 classrooms serving more than 500 kids all across Arizona.


What is a microschool? Well, like other Prenda micro schools, our micro school in San Carlos consists of 10 students who vary in age and grade meeting each day, setting individual goals, and collaborating on activities and creative projects. Students focus on academics but are able to move at their own pace. They work on problem-solving, communication, teamwork and most importantly, they learn to love learning. Microschools are so small and mobile they are easy to bring to children in rural areas and communities like ours.

I have seen children who have struggled for years in a traditional school setting be transformed after only a few months in a Prenda micro school classroom. And because of their small size and supportive, personalized environment, micro schools excel at embracing and accepting students with learning differences.

The expansion of micro schools from serving only a handful of children to serving 500 in less than a year tells a story: Many parents who have discovered this different, innovative education concept have said, “Yes! This is the kind of school my child could thrive in.”

District Deeds Synopsis:

Given the drastic reduction of school choice that has progressively worsened over the tenure of Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten, we thought that this “microschool” concept could be a great solution for San Diego Unified School District parents that are looking for “the kind of school my child could thrive in.”

Obviously the educational nuance of an innovative program like this is totally beyond the skills of operationally incompetent ESS Marten and her handpicked, and equally incompetent, central office administration cronies.

It is also obvious that the educational nuance skills required to make the microschool concept a reality is not part of the  ESS Marten and crony skill set.

Hopefully one of the successful San Diego County charter or private school organizations that are already siphoning huge numbers of students away from the SDUSD will implement this creative “choice” solution for parents who demand “the kind of school my child could thrive in.” that is not accessable to them due to choice restrictions by ESS Marten in the SDUSD

Visiting Days: How a Detroit High School Extends its Family Feel by Sticking with Graduates Through College

Quote from Article:

If you graduate from the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and go on to college, there is no escaping Katherine Grow. She’ll call, she’ll email, and she’ll show up on campus. And usually, during those campus visits, she’ll ask to see your phone.

The cell phones are a gateway to the college grades of the Detroit charter school’s graduates, and looking in is a key way that Grow monitors how those students are faring.

Grow is Jalen Rose’s alumni success coordinator, an unusual position that reckons head-on with a reality that many schools serving low-income students face: Too many students head off to college and never graduate. Some charter networks and private schools have launched initiatives to stay involved in students’ college lives and academic success, but it’s rare for standalone schools like Jalen Rose to employ someone just to work with graduates.


In the fall of 2019, Grow traveled more than 2,600 miles to visit Jalen Rose alumni at colleges and universities across Michigan.

Staff at the Jalen Rose school, which enrolls more than 400 students, pride themselves for creating a family atmosphere, and Grow often tears up as she greets the students on their college campuses, touched by how they’ve transformed into young adults pursuing their dream.

“That’s the piece that sustains me, that makes me get up, that makes me drive two hours to a campus,” Grow said. “We’re doing the work to create the change that needs to happen.”


For many Detroit teens, getting to college is just the beginning. An analysis done by the Detroit College Access Network found that of students who graduated from high school in 2015 and enrolled in college, 74% made it through a second year. But only 41% of them had accumulated 24 credit hours, which would put them on track for college graduation.

It isn’t just a Detroit problem. Nationally, just 60% of students overall who enroll at four-year institutions earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. The graduation rate is much lower for black students (40%) and low-income students (49%) — exactly the students that Jalen Rose serves — as well as for Hispanic students (55%).


Two of those students — Kashia Perkins and Demetrius Robinson — graduated from Jalen Rose and got visits from Grow in their first semester.

Perkins and Robinson were committing to college when they signed up to attend Jalen Rose, a school with an enrollment of just over 400 that’s oriented totally toward getting students not just to college but through it. Where many schools the same size might have a single college counselor, Jalen Rose has a four-person college team. Students talk about college starting in ninth grade, and at their graduation recite a pledge committing to another four years — at least — of schooling. And graduates know that not only will Grow be checking up on them, but they can rely on others at the school to provide guidance, or to just keep in touch.


Grow isn’t the only person committed to the college success of students at Jalen Rose. From the principal, Wendie Lewis, down to support staff, everyone at the school plays a role.

During the school’s senior pinning ceremony and college decision day event, students and their parents are asked to pledge to finish college, reading all together:

“I commit to attending class every day, giving my absolute best effort on all assignments and tasks given, seeking help when I need it, ensuring that I renew my FAFSA each year, staying in constant contact with JRLA, taking advantage of my resources and opportunities in college, having fun and enjoying my time in college, graduating with a degree, certificate and/or a license.”

The words that Robinson, Perkins, and their classmates recited that day in May would become part of a contract they signed — an illustration of how seriously this school takes college success.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Another excellent example of a school “Choice” that Detroit parents can make that actually benefits their kids AFTER high school!  How hard would it be to hire one extra counselor in each of the 17 SDUSD High Schools assigned to help students achieve success attending college

This is a program that could actually be implemented in the SDUSD if there was not such a gross budget mismanagment of $1.2 billion funds by ESS Marten and the current corrupt SDUSD Board of Education.

What a shame and a disgrace that the phony SDUSD leadership regularly spouts the SDUSD Mission that “All San Diego students will graduate with the skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience to succeed in their choice of college and career in order to lead and participate in the society of tomorrow.” but are unable and unwilling to actually follow up and verify that the SDUSD Mission is real.

Unfortunately this proves that the SDUSD Mission, as currently deployed by Marten and the SDUSD “five empty suit” Trustees, is no more than an empty propaganda slogan.

Rethinking the Goal of Childhood Education

Quote from Article:

When thinking about the goal of childhood education, the word success comes to mind. But how do we define success in our children? Many parents cite good grades as a marker of success in their child’s education. But the reason grades signify success is that they allow students to get accepted into high-performing universities. 

And what is the point of forking over thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of dollars for a fancy piece of paper with the word “Degree” on it? Well, this would be to get a high-paying job, of course. But to what end? Is financial stability the only thing we wish our education system to produce in our children? Is this all there is?


Schools are, rightfully, geared towards academic success. But this seems to be the only kind of success they strive for. We must ask ourselves: Is academic success the end-all-be-all of life? Have we even stopped to consider what makes our children happy?

Of course, parents want their children to be happy. But, as studies have found, and as we have certainly all observed at some point, academic success is oftentimes pursued in place of happiness. A United Nations survey asked U.S. children if they liked school- 78 percent said they do not.

In addition, a recent Associated Press survey found that school is the most common source of stress among people ages 12-17. Dr. Kate McReynolds, a therapist in New York City, recounts her experience in helping one child:

“The parents kept their son in kindergarten and paid me to meet with him weekly, despite my insistence that he did not need therapy — only more time to play! As the months wore on, his unhappiness grew, and his behavior deteriorated. He developed nightmares and stomach aches. What stunned me though was that no one in the room responded to this young boy’s unhappiness.”


Many well-intentioned parents often push their students academically for the purpose of helping them get into a good college. However, many students are not well-suited for college, either because they are not academically inclined or because they have no desire, and thus little motivation, to attend college. 

One option that is seldom introduced to students is the option of attending a trade school, as opposed to a traditional four-year university. While four-year universities do in general lead to jobs with higher salaries than those from trade schools, trade schools can be an excellent, financially stable option suited for students who prefer hands-on tasks.

In addition, trade schools have lower drop-out rates than four-year universities, possibly because universities may admit students that are not inclined towards a life of academia. Trade schools also cost less, saving graduates from a lifetime of student debt payments. Many students would end up happier overall by attending a trade school rather than going the traditional college route.


In considering the overall happiness of a child as a metric of success, many early childhood education programs are now offering a more comprehensive approach to student goals. Some cities and programs are already making headway in this area. Nurse-Family Partnership is addressing the concern of child nutrition, which often has a significant impact on both the academic success and the happiness of children. 

The Abecedarian Project in North Carolina focuses on a play-based learning environment for children, and Lumin Education in Dallas is providing emotional and behavioral therapy to students who need extra support at school.

One organization’s efforts alone are not going to change the goals of childhood education. Rather, this will require a steady process of step-by-step progress towards re-structuring the American education system for the betterment of our children and their well-being.

District Deeds Synopsis:

To District Deeds, the epitome of school choice is to easily and freely enroll your child in a school where they can not only receive their core education in a safe and healthy school site environment but also feel happy that they are being supported  in whatever career path they choose after leaving High School.  The ability to families to freely access School Choice…District, Charter, Private or Home-School…is a cornerstone of successful parenting and mentoring students into a happy adult life.

What a disgrace that the goal of the ESS Marten led SDUSD is to trap the neediest students in sub par schools by severely restricting and mismanaging school choice…and to expect them to be “happy” about it.

Unhappy students and families …just another enduring ESS Marten “legacy”.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean, relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it.” – Aristotle


Have a great week!!!



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