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The first week of grossly substandard education created by grossly incompetent San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Superintendent Cindy Marten and her pathetic senior leadership team has started the 2020/2021 school year with a thud.

In the current Marten dystopian “Mad Max” SDUSD it’s every Cluster, every School, every Principal, every Teacher and every Student for themselves with only weak support and confusion coming from the abnormal central office on Normal Street.

This Sunday Reads highlights an article that explores the impact of denying real parent and community involvement and the price that school districts are already paying with lost enrollment.

Provided below are the most SDUSD relevant excerpts from the article but we urge our readers to click on the title and read the full article for themselves.


A Memorable, Miserable Failure with the Potential to Change Parental Expectations Forever

Quotes from article:

Just how badly did traditional public schools fail at meeting the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic? So memorably and miserably badly that it has the potential to reset expectations going forward. No longer can parents expect the government, on its own, to educate our children. And no longer can public schools expect to educate children without partnering with parents in a meaningful way.

Before examining the future implications of the Covid-19 education breakdown, though, it’s worth taking some time to review the failure itself in full, gory detail.

Many of these public schools, let’s remember, were doing a poor-to-mediocre job of educating students to begin with, before the pandemic, as measured by standardized-test results, dropout and graduation rates, and other yardsticks. Even the “good” suburban schools, a lot of them, were coasting on the backs of their students and their families, not adding much value. As for the urban public schools, their performance can be summed up by the fact that parents who have the option of a charter school or even a partial private-school scholarship have been eager to accept any chance that might allow their child to escape.

Once the pandemic hit, the game was up. Way too many of these schools stopped even going through the motions of providing education.


The University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education reported on May 15, two months after widespread school closures went into effect, that 27 of the 82 school districts it tracked did not “set consistent expectations for teachers to provide meaningful remote instruction.” Thirteen of the 82 “do not require teachers to give feedback on student work,” CRPE said in an article headlined “Still No Consistent Plan for Remote Learning for Hundreds of Thousands of Students at Some of America’s Biggest School Districts.”

The American Enterprise Institute, reporting on what it says is a national representative sample collected through May 8, says less than half of schools were offering synchronous instruction, in which a student and a teacher are live online simultaneously. AEI also found that a substantial share of schools, more than 10 percent, had entirely given up on grading student work.


Media accounts highlighted some of the most egregious failures. California stopped requiring educators to take attendance, EdSource reported. Even without mandatory formal attendance-taking, it was clear enough that many students weren’t showing up for whatever instruction was being offered. The Los Angeles Times reported in late March that about 15,000 of some 120,000 Los Angeles high school students were “absent from all online learning.”

School districts also failed on the technology front. For all the photo opportunities of schools handing out laptop and tablet computers, the reality was that even districts that offered online classes could not reliably guarantee that students could log on to them. In New Jersey, for example, a month into the school closures driven by Covid-19, about 100,000 students, or nearly 10 percent of those enrolled in the state, lacked the devices and Internet access necessary for distance learning, according to NJSpotlight.com. Technological ineptitude was underscored when virtual school-board meetings or classes in Ohio, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey were “Zoom-bombed” by hackers who used the videoconferencing platform to display pornography.


Those seeking to measure the effects of the closures on student learning using the tool of standardized testing are, like so many of the students themselves, out of luck. The state-based accountability tests were almost universally abandoned amid the pandemic. This “data vacation” will make it harder to determine where students are academically when the crisis is over. It will be especially troubling for students who went into Covid-19’s upheaval behind in their studies, as attempts to catch them up in the future will be hampered by the absence of information about their learning.

Children’s needs took a backseat to those of adults, particularly the political agenda of public-employee unions. The unions argued for reduced teacher work-hours at full pay and for blocking charter schools from enrolling students. The Oregon Education Association attempted to prevent the transfer of 1,600 students to a virtual charter school that was capable of serving them. The Pennsylvania legislature, under pressure from unions, defunded students who switched to virtual charter schools. Oklahoma passed legislation that would limit student transfers to virtual charter schools and double the amount of coursework virtual students must complete to be considered full-time. These were not measures intended to support parents and students or offer them the opportunities they needed. On the contrary, these were political moves intended to restrict families from accessing education through nontraditional means.


Sure, there have been a few encouraging examples of educators and school leaders rising to the occasion. Alaska took the pragmatic step of contracting across state lines with the Florida Virtual School to provide distance education for Alaskan students. School buses have brought meals to food-insecure families and, in some cases, have been parked in strategic locations to provide Wi-Fi access to households that don’t have it.

But the self-congratulation that has accompanied even the most perfunctory efforts at continuing basic services is so extravagant that one might think school-district employees were volunteers rather than paid government workers. In many cases, the pace of online learning in traditional public schools only picked up after parents demanded it or after school districts were shamed by press stories comparing their schools to better-performing charter or private schools. The traditional public schools weren’t leading the effort to continue learning. They were dragged grudgingly into it.


In more normal times, lip service is sometimes paid to the idea that parents are the most important determinant of children’s academic success. Traditional public-school systems, though, are often set up to educate children in spite of parents, rather than with us. When we show up too much, we’re helicopter parents. When we don’t show up enough, we’re the problem.

Whenever schools open, and in whichever form, the need for educators to see parents as true partners will be more urgent than ever before. Catching children up after the so-called “Covid slide” will be too big a task for the system to achieve alone.

Perhaps the failures of public schools during the pandemic will, once and for all, vanquish the illusion that the government can educate children without parents’ playing a major role. The newly visible reality has certainly been inconvenient for some parents stuck at home with young children for months on end. But it’s been true all along. And while the eventual resumption of in-person school will surely come as a relief, parents may want to pause before returning full responsibility for our children’s education to a system whose underlying, preexisting weaknesses were so embarrassingly exposed by the failed response to the virus.

District Deeds Synopsis and Commentary:

The article above does a great job of exposing major gaps between the propaganda spewed by school districts like the SDUSD and the lack of actual educational support magnified by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Similarly, since 2014, we have attempted to expose the reality of the inadequate, and harmful educational, operational and financial management  deficiencies in the dysfunctional SDUSD under incompetent Supt. Marten.

Just like the examples provided in the article, we have consistently warned SDUSD Stakeholders in District Deeds posts from 2014 through today,

More recently we compiled a list of Sandimic (SDUSD Educational Epidemic) “strategies” that negatively impact SDUSD student education:

  • ZERO Transparency of SDUSD performance BEFORE and DURING the Coronavirus Pandemic.
  • ZERO Accountability for SDUSD LACK of performance since BEFORE and DURING the Coronavirus Pandemic.
  • Phase 1 Educational Supports denied to tens of thousands of the most disadvantaged Students
  • OPTIONAL Boot Camp Professional Development for Teachers – FAIL.
  • Individualized “disadvantaged Student” supports with NO Equity Rules, Standards or Tracking.
  • Every Cluster, School, Principal, Teacher and Student for themselves “custom” school site  “strategy” by incompetent Supt. Marten creating gross inequities  from classroom to classroom.
  • Only 3 hours per day vs 5 hours per day of live teaching.
  • Only 3 periods per day vs 5 periods per day of live teaching.
  • No Teacher Evaluations.
  • No Smarter Balanced tests in Math and English language arts.
  • No California Science Test
  • No Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
  • Minimal California (ELPAC) for English learners
  • Minimal California School Dashboard

It is not a stretch to determine that the totally inadequate SDUSD senior leadership, since Marten was improperly appointed Superintendent by Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera and his Trustee cronies in 2013, has been the primary cause of the totally inadequate SDUSD response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Here is a quick “effect” summary of the improper Marten appointment “cause”

The first “effect” of the improper appointment of Marten were the savvy, top senior administrators leaving either immediately or over the first few years.  The Brain Drain effect.

Those highly experienced, skilled and tenured senior district office administrators understood how totally inexperienced and incompetent Marten was (and still is) and decided to get out before the well established, effective SDUSD educational infrastructure imploded.  Almost all of the departees brought their extensive skills to Superintendent and other senior administrative positions at other school districts and have been wildly successful.

The cause of eliminating transparency and accountability to SDUSD Stakeholders followed shortly thereafter.

An immediate effect was the departure of the best Principals that the insecure Marten perceived as a threat since they were more qualified to be Superintendent than she was. Along with them went a large degree of honestly and integrity in the face of Marten corruption and left the least tenured Principals afraid for their jobs, Marten appointed sycophants and soon to be Principal retirees who could gut out her incompetence for a few years before leaving.

The second primary effect was expansion of Propaganda and Legal departments.

Marten, Tricky Dick and their cronies spent millions of dollars annually through PR propaganda and both in house and outsourced legal services to hide the huge annual educational deficit and effectively crush all justified Parent, Student, Teacher and other Stakeholder complaints and lawsuits.

A newly deployed Quality Assurance Department was assigned to the Legal Department and acted as an immoral pipeline feeding earnest Parent, Student and Community complaints to Legal before the complainants even knew they needed a lawyer.

The effect of all those unethical propaganda and legal defense acts was a efficient and effective cover-up of serious educational malpractice by the SDUSD for all but the most privileged and wealthy SDUSD families with the ability to supplement their kids education with private tutoring or with wealthy school foundations adding extra support to the school site or cluster.

Certain communities (i.e. Lincoln) were well aware of the serious Marten/Barrera educational and financial mismanagement.  Other wealthier and better politically connected communities only recognized the corruption when it impacted them directly (i.e. Scripps Ranch).

Now, because of the Pandemic shut down, ALL SDUSD communities are experiencing the SDUSD educational dysfunction and it isn’t pretty.

The SDUSD has prevented any and all transparency on the 2020/2021 impact of their gross financial and operation mismanagement but hints to what is happening in the SDUSD are evident from reports provided by more transparent area Districts like San Marcos, Encinitas and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

For example:

Here is a graphic from The Coast News:

How disgusting it is to SDUSD Stakeholders that a HUGE school district like LAUSD and small districts like San Marcos and Encintas have the courage, honesty and transparency to report current 2020/2021 enrollment and attendance trend data and the corrupt, incompetent Marten and Barrera do not.

In our September 6, 2021 Sunday Reads last week we predicted that the SDUSD would be losing enrollment:


  • Is being paid for enrollment for last year.  District Deeds predicts that the SDUSD will lose or have already lost 20,000 to 30,000 Students which provides up to a 30% financial SURPLUS.  That means the SDUSD is being paid 100% of the money for 70% of the students which amounts to a $390 MILLION OVERPAYMENT.

On this past Thursday, September 10, 2020, a great Voice of San Diego article titled “The Learning Curve: San Diego Unified Is Terrified of Kids Opting Out”  by Will Huntsberry verified that our prediction was coming true:

Here’s the deal: School districts are terrified of declining enrollment, due to parents opting out of district-led online learning programs.

District Deeds stands by our prediction of a huge drop of SDUSD enrollment  and once more families discover the horrible educational deployment performance of the Marten/Barrera management disaster, there will be thousands more SDUSD “Kids Opting Out”.

Not even millions of tax dollars spent on SDUSD propaganda and “Vision” marketing scams can blind the reality to SDUSD Stakeholders of the Marten/Barrera total incompetence.

All that is left for the SDUSD Propaganda PR Department is is the Tricky Dick ultimate solution…

The next time Tricky Dick and Marten beg the State and Federal government for more money to cover up their financial mismanagement mistakes, they better also ask them to add 200,000 blindfolds to the approved PPE purchasing list.

Now for the quote of the week:

“The more we learn, the more we know there is more to learn. We are blind to the things we are ignorant of.” ― Vincent Okay Nwachukwuever






  • 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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