, ,

Another week, another disastrous San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) educational outcome for students and families.

It is clear that the total leadership incompetence, inexperience and corruption of Superintendent Marten, Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera and Trustee Whitehurst Payne continues.

This Sunday Reads highlights two articles focused on the state of National Assessment of Educational Progress assessments and the impact on the SDUSD.

We have highlighted the most SDUSD relevant excerpts from the article below but strongly urge our readers to click on the title and read the full article for themselves.


Treat NAEP as a Reality Check, Not an Advocacy Exercise

Published November 19, 2020


If you’re like me, the election, Covid spikes, and the rest mean that October’s NAEP scores haven’t exactly been top of mind. But, with the election behind us, I’m inclined to say a few words about the weak 2019 12th grade numbers, which showed math performance flat and reading declining noticeably since 2015.

Overall, just 37 percent of 12th graders were “proficient” in reading and 24 percent in math. And keep in mind that these aren’t Covid-impacted scores. The tests were administered in fall 2019, six months before Covid reared its ugly head. As Haley Barbour, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, put it, “These results demonstrate that far too many of our nation’s high school seniors do not have sufficient math and reading skills for postsecondary endeavors.”

So, not great. At the same time, let’s keep in mind that NAEP results are a snapshot. They’re useful for tracking big-picture student achievement but need to be handled with care. Unfortunately, too many appear disposed to disregard such cautions, treating NAEP less as an essential reality check than as a festival of agendas and dubious narratives. That’s been especially true during this election season.


As is true with each new NAEP release, the teachers’ unions and self-described “public school advocates” have a universal excuse for any crummy results—the “disinvestment” in public education. Never mind what the actual spending figures show, or that after-inflation per-pupil spending has increased steadily over the past two decades. In their eyes, the lesson of NAEP is always more spending.

Meanwhile, there’s a segment of school choice advocates who eagerly greet any lousy new NAEP numbers by shouting, “Ah-ha, schools are failing!” For them, the lesson of NAEP is simple: more school choice. Of course, given that NAEP proficiency was purposefully set at an aspirational level from inception, aggregate proficiency results should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

And then there are efforts to weave complex narratives to explain the results. For instance, some holdout Common Core enthusiasts have gone to great lengths to insist that we not blame the long-standing stagnation in NAEP on Common Core. Of course, this involves devising convoluted alternative explanations—such as attributing them to the aftermath of the 2008 recession. This argument was dusted off, once again this year, with adherents implying that we should trace changes in reading and math scores to decade-old economic circumstances rather than a massive push to change reading and math instruction.


The truth is that there’s no clear or defensible way to determine what’s responsible for NAEP results, and all of the predictable spinning should be treated accordingly. It may be wishful thinking, but we’d all be better off if analysts restrained themselves from offering convenient, one-shot explanations for NAEP changes.

It’s equally important that we safeguard NAEP from its purported friends. NAEP is our one reliable tool to measure academic progress over time. On that score, recent efforts to overhaul NAEP’s reading framework are deeply troubling. In a major push to “update” NAEP’s reading framework, the National Assessment Governing Board has now developed a massive draft framework that aims, at enormous cost, to turn NAEP’s reading assessment from a straightforward snapshot of reading performance into a complicated, amorphous gauge of 21st-century “literacy” as understood by the education school set.  Specially, the framework calls for the inclusion of multimedia texts, such as video clips, alongside (or instead of) textual passages. The result would compromise our ability to know how well students can actually read, introduce an array of potential distortions, and sorely reduce our ability to compare future results with past performance. As Checker Finn, the National Assessment Governing Board’s very first chair, has observed, “One of the framework developers’ key impulses is a truly worrying overreach for NAEP.”

NAEP can play a useful role in providing a respected baseline for assessing whether states or the nation are making academic progress, grounding our sense of where we are and what we’ve done. But NAEP plays that role best when we recognize its limitations.

NAEP Postponed Until 2022 Amid COVID-19 Challenges

Published November 25, 2020


Dive Brief:

  • The next testing cycle of the National Assessment of Educational Progress will be delayed until 2022 because too many students are attending school remotely and because in-person testing conditions are constrained due to the pandemic, the National Center for Education Statistics said in its Nov. 25 announcement.
  • NCES officials, school administrators and others had hoped the national-level assessments for reading and math would progress this year so education stakeholders could continue gauging trends in students’ knowledge of core academic subjects, but they now acknowledge the difficulty of obtaining reliable results amid continued educational disruption.
  • At the state and local levels, officials are continuing to evaluate options for assessing students with standardized tests this school year.


Dive Insight:

The announcement from NCES Commissioner James Woodworth included state-level details of high COVID-19 risk levels and the large portions of students identified for the testing cycle who are learning remotely or in buildings that enforce social distancing measures or limit visitors, including testing proctors.

“If we attempted to move forward with a collection in 2021 and failed to produce estimates of student performance, we would not only have spent tens of millions of dollars, but also will not by law be able to conduct the next grades four and eight reading and mathematics assessments until 2023,” Woodworth said in a statement posted to the NCES website.

A representative sample of students from every state take the NAEP exams, rather than the entire population of students. NCES had planned to administer the 2021 NAEP to a smaller but still representative sample of students in grades 4 and 8 for the reading and math assessments, but national assessments for grade 8 U.S. history and civics and the age 17 long-term trend were already being postponed, according to earlier NCES announcements.

Carissa Moffat Miller, chief executive officer of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said in a statement that the council supports the decision to delay the NAEP. “I recognize this was not an easy decision, but I believe it is the right one based on what we know today about this virus and its impact on schools,” Miller said.


State and local school administrators have been contemplating how to administer standardized tests safely and equitably this school year. In a Sept. 3 letter to state school chiefs, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that although waivers for the testing requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act were granted in the spring, states should not expect federal waivers for summative assessments this school year. 

In the NCES announcement, Woodworth said the decision to postpone the 2021 NAEP may offer states time for conducting their assessments. Because state assessments are administered by school staff and existing equipment, the risks for state-level testing are not as high compared to NAEP testing, which use shared equipment and outside proctors, wrote Woodworth.

“This state-level data can serve as a bridge until Spring 2022 when NCES will likely be able to conduct the national NAEP assessment in a manner that has sufficient validity and reliability,” Woodworth wrote.


We decided to provide the above articles back to back to show how real Student educational assessment is progressing in the age of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Since last March 16th when the SDUSD was closed to in-person learning, Marten and the SDUSD educational operation have been a study in avoidance of any and all Student assessments.  Listed below are the various the ACTUAL miserable Marten Covid 19 Pandemic “strategies” evidence with the “Student Assessment” items in bold:

  • ZERO SDUSD Standards Based Grading Plan Transparency, Accountability and Community Collaboration
  • ZERO SDUSD 2020/21 Reopening Plan Transparency and Community Collaboration
  • ZERO Operational Budget Transparency used to hide TOTAL Operational Budget Mismanagement.
  • 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
  • Dysfunctional Standards Based Grading
  • Disorganized Four Phase School Reopening Scam/Plan

We can now add:

  • No National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing until 2022 

Of course we are not accusing the current SDUSD Leadership of preventing the NAEP tests.  Our issue with the SDUSD is that by eliminating virtually all other methods of REAL Student performance measurement (as shown by the highlighted items on the list above), all that is left are the “summative assessments” described by current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

According to the Education Dive article, “states should not expect federal waivers for summative assessments” according to the DeVos letter”.

But the new Biden administration may have a different approach.

According to a Poitico article titled “Biden’s Pick for Education Secretary will be Tested on Assessments“:

THE STAKES — The Every Student Succeeds Act, the main federal law governing K-12 education, requires states to assess students in math, as well as reading, each year from third grade through eighth grade and once in high school. Students also must be tested in science three times between third grade and 12th grade. The results are a key part of state systems for measuring the progress of schools.

— ESSA requires states to use the results to help identify low-performing schools that should receive additional support and to include the results on annual state and local report cards. At the state level, various assessments — which may or may not be required under ESSA — can be used for deciding whether students should move to the next grade, if they are eligible for diplomas, teacher evaluations and bonuses, school ratings and whether students at a given school are eligible for vouchers, among other things. State requirements vary.

UNCONVENTIONALLY ALLIED — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in September told state school chiefs in a letter they should not expect the department to waive federal testing requirements for K-12 schools this year as it did last spring. A failure to assess would allow vulnerable students to fall behind, she argued. While the next Education secretary ultimately will make the call, the reaction showed how standardized testing creates odd coalitions, without much adherence to party lines.

 Some of DeVos’ staunchest critics praised her decision, including Rep.Bobby Scott(D-Va.), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, who both said data is needed to address achievement gaps and called for more funding to help schools during the pandemic. Civil rights, education and immigration organizations supported the decision as well, and The Education Trust, which focuses on equity issues, issued a pre-election memo calling on the next administration to decline state waiver requests.

 Teachers unions slammed the decision, along with Republican Richard WoodsGeorgia’s superintendent of schools. “It is disappointing, shows a complete disconnect with the realities of the classroom, and will be a detriment to public education,” he said. Georgia, Michigan and Washington over the summer requested testing waivers, which the Education Department said it denied.

 FairTest and its allies will announce a national campaign after Thanksgiving to suspend high-stakes testing in the spring, Schaeffer said. A second year of suspended requirements will further show that “top-down standardized exam mandates do not promote academic quality or equity in public education” and encourage policymakers who want to roll back testing “overuse and misuse,” he said.

 It’s not clear yet where Biden stands. Stef Feldman, the Biden campaign’s national policy director, said last month that the answer “depends on how much progress we can make in supporting our schools and getting them back up and running.”

Our District Deeds Readers already know that incompetent SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten, propped up by corrupt Board of Education Trustees flunkies, ALWAYS follow their San Diego Education Association (SDEA Teachers Union) political and financial masters.

According to the Politico article, “Teachers unions slammed the decision” by DeVos to not allow State waivers

So it will come down to who President-Elect Biden selects to take the place of DeVos as Education Secretary.

Here is the Politico guess:

“Biden has made clear that his Education secretary will be a former public school educator and that teachers will have a major say in his administration — a message reinforced by his wife, Jill, a community college professor and member of the National Education Association. His Education Department transition team draws heavily from unions. So, teachers unions could be influential — and they oppose high-stakes testing during a pandemic.”

The odds are that Marten and her cronies even with their miserable educational leadership during the Covid 19 Pandemic will be STILL be able to get waivers on ALL assessments (including “formative”) and will continue to demand millions of taxpayer dollars as a reward for their miserable performance.

But District Deeds predicts that there WILL be a HUGE price to pay for both the corrupt SDUSD leadership and their SDEA masters.

The best clue comes from a KPBS article from September 22. 2020 titled  “San Diego Unified Grappling With Significant Drop In Kindergarten Enrollment“:

“San Diego Unified reported 2,474 fewer students than it expected this year. About two-thirds of that deficit came from kindergarten.”

So the current lie is that the SDUSD enrollment has dropped by only 824 Students in grades 1 – 12 in the 2020/21 school year.

This is the LAST enrollment “report” from the SDUSD.  The SDUSD has not shared current enrollment data for ALL grades at ALL schools for almost 3 months.

It is obviously MUCH worse.

An indicator is the desperate financial move by incompetent Marten to remove approximately 120 highly experienced and tenured Teachers on December 31, 2020 along with scores of employees in non-teaching roles.

Taking the lowest class size ratio requirement for students of 24-1,  that represents 2,880 students (120 Teachers x 24 Students), barely making up for the 2,474 lost in the above KPBS “2/3 Kindergarten loss” estimate.

We predict those 120 departures are just a drop in the bucket that will not cover the massive enrollment defections from the SDUSD due to the long list of Martens’ miserable Covid 19 Pandemic “strategies”

The truth is that many SDUSD families are making Marten and her cronies pay by finding educational alternatives to the SDUSD for their kids.  SDUSD Families are moving to Charter Schools, out of district schools, home schooling, learning pods and other alternatives.

We predict that once budget calculations for the massively reduced SDUSD enrollment are made public in December, 2020 and in the first 3 months of 2021, the SDEA and other employee unions will be devastated with layoffs.  Even if the delusional Marten $320 billion federal government funding dream comes true, those Students and Families that have left are NEVER coming back.

The lesson for Marten and the corrupt Board of Education is when it come to parents and their children, massively poor performance along with zero accountability can’t be covered up with massively financed propaganda campaigns.

In the end, all the incompetent Marten maneuvering, lies, coverups, broken promises and lack of accountability will cost hundreds of SDUSD employees their jobs and the remaining poorest SDUSD families that cannot afford tutors and private schools will STILL be receiving a substandard education…

…and Marten will be laughing all the way to the bank with her six figure salary and her million dollar downtown penthouse.

Welcome to the dysfunctional San Diego Unified School District “Cindy Marten Style”.

And now our Quote of the Week:

“To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away.”  – Percy Bysshe Shelley

We encourage ALL SDUSD Stakeholders to have your voices heard on the current SDUSD “2020 State of the District”.

This Petition allows all SDUSD Stakeholders to post their “One Word” response (and any other additional comments) to the You Tube 2020 SDUSD State of the District. 

Click here to get started!!!






  • 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!

  • You want to be sure you don’t miss an issue of District Deeds, click the “follow” button below and you will get an email automatically when an article is published on District Deeds.
  • If you prefer social media, click on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn and follow District Deeds!!!