With Graduation Ceremonies, Fathers Day this coming weekend and the California “Reopening” from many Covid restrictions this coming week, there is much to celebrate for San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) families.
In addition to the big events there are also many questions for SDUSD families with current and/or graduating students. This week in Sunday Reads we will explore those question and look for some answers.
We have selected the most relevant portions of the article for this post but District Deeds strongly urges our readers to click on the title (in red) and read the full articles for themselves.
The superintendent of San Antonio ISD writes that exams are more crucial than ever to target supports and help students gain lost ground.
By Pedro Martinez – June 6, 2021
Pedro Martinez is superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District and the chair of Chiefs for Change.
Families across the country are worried about the education their children have missed during the pandemic and how it will affect their futures. Parents and caregivers want to know if their kids are learning what they need to right now and whether they will be ready for the next grade. Those with students in high school wonder if their teens will graduate prepared for the rigors of college and a career.
These concerns are justified: One study indicated that, on average, students are “likely to lose five to nine months of learning by the end of this school year.” The loss is expected to be even more significant for our most vulnerable kids; research shows that “[w]hile all students are suffering, those who came into the pandemic with the fewest academic opportunities are on track to exit with the greatest learning loss.”
The school system I lead, San Antonio Independent School District, is giving end-of-year tests, and all systems should do the same.
As states did not hold tests last year after the U.S. Department of Education issued a blanket waiver due to the extraordinary circumstances at the start of the pandemic, it has now been two years since we last had a formal assessment of how children are doing in school. We urgently need that now.
Tests can give us a picture of what children have mastered during the pandemic and the areas where they need extra help, whether that help takes the form of summer school, one-on-one or small-group tutoring, or other acceleration opportunities. If we don’t help students catch up, the learning losses will only compound over time.
Though homework and quizzes can give us some information on how an individual child is doing, these tasks don’t help us determine how children in one classroom, school or district are performing in relation to their peers. That makes it difficult or impossible to identify the best teachers and practices and to give those educators opportunities to serve as mentors and instructional leaders. It has never been more important to elevate the work of our strongest teachers who can help students recover.
In San Antonio, we recently launched an initiative in which master teachers will work with the students who have the greatest needs. And just as we must leverage the talent and skills of our best teachers, we must give others the chance to grow in their craft — test results can help us figure out which members of the team would benefit from targeted professional development. Tests can also show us which schools require additional resources and support to get students up to grade level and beyond.
Families and communities deserve this information: They have a right to know how well school districts are educating their children and what we are doing for those who are struggling.
Measures of school performance should also include indicators of early childhood learning, the results of school climate surveys, and data on where graduates go and how they do after high school. An unprecedented infusion of federal COVID relief aid for schools presents an important opportunity to redesign assessments in ways that can help ensure students acquire the knowledge and a broad set of skills they need for today’s world.
District Deeds Analysis:
This article by the Houston ISD Superintendent brought up a good amount of strategies and approaches to immediately alleviate a share of the huge learning loss brought about by the Covid Pandemic.
Solutions presented include:
- End-of-year tests for ALL Students to determine if they are ready to proceed to the next grade
- Master teachers to work with the students who have the greatest needs.
- FULL transparency of the test results from the district to ALL Parents and other Stakeholders
- FULL tracking, analysis and transparency to ALL Parents and other Stakeholders as to where high school graduates go and how they do in college or career after high school.
Of course the SDUSD has decided to not pursue any of these best practices. They chose a propaganda campaign instead.
The article brought to mind the leadership of the current SDUSD Superintendent and Board of Educations in this critical time.
Here it is:
And here is the definition:
The current SDUSD Board of Education fits that description, especially Trustee Richard Barrera.
The previous corrupt SDUSD Superintendent and the current acolyte SDUSD Superintendent completely fit that description also. In other words, Parents whose kids graduate this month have had to suffer this SDUSD Empty Suit Leadership since their kids were in elementary school.
And, as the study from McKinsey and Company cited by the author titled COVID-19 and Learning Loss—Disparities Grow and Students Need Help describes, it has gotten much worse during the pandemic, especially for students of color.
Here is a chart from the study:
So what has the SDUSD Empty Suit leadership going to do about this?
As expected, a lot of propaganda and hoopla gobbled up by the shameful local press with very little substance.
First there is standard summer school. Here is a typical schedule of the “Summer Experience” we pulled from Hoover High School:
And here are the Summer School offerings at Lincoln…with no mention of “Level Up”:
Apparently the multiple Principals and scores of other leadership personnel in the SDUSD neglected to review the actual Lincoln website and find no mention of the Level Up Program…not that it really matters scholastically.
Here is why it doesn’t matter.
To make up for 12-16 months of lost learning, Lincoln, Hoover, and the rest of the schools in the SDUSD are offering up to 3 credit Summer School for Students with D/F/No Credit grades.
For the rest of the students who also lost 12 – 16 months of educational progress, the SDUSD Empty Suits provide a partially for profit “Level Up” summer enrichment program with classes like:
The SDUSD “Empty Suit” Temp Superintendent and Trustee geniuses have decided that learning the guitar will help make up 12-16 months of lost learning for the students who didn’t receive D/F/NC grades.
This ridiculous response to the SDUSD Covid educational disaster has been given multiple ridiculous slogans by the SDUSD Propaganda Department.
On the SDUSD website front page, the Propaganda Department provides this:
“Summer of Success”
“Summer of Success” learning the guitar?!? What “Success”….more busking opportunities in Balboa Park?
Or how about the BIG propaganda slogan on all the flyers:
“A Summer of Learning and Joy”
Unfortunately they forgot the second half of the sentences. As a public service to our readers, we are inspired to offer some options…
“A Summer of Success Lighting the Pathway to the School to Prison Pipeline”
“A Summer of Learning and Joy Followed by a Lifetime of Low Paying Jobs and Sorrow”
Or, to cover ALL bases, the SDUSD and Level Up San Diego could just tell the truth:
“No News Here…Just Another Unethical SDUSD Propaganda Campaign to cover up our incompetence”
We like the last slogan the best!
Now for our quote of the week for the Empty Suits leading the SDUSD to educational disaster:
“A slogan is just an empty suit, she said. Anyone can wear it.” — Viet Thanh Nguyen
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