Over the past few weeks, Stakeholders of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) have been bombarded with a ridiculous propaganda scam called “A Summer of Learning and Joy”. According to numerous articles locally, the “Summer of Learning and Joy” is a “recovery program”.
We can only guess that the SDUSD propaganda department nixed calling it a “Summer of Learning Recovery” since there is actually no documented learning recovery or performance metrics or goals for Students, Teachers or the district associated with the Level Up Summer School scam.
What IS a fact is that thousands of SDUSD Students that have lost a year and a half of education due to the blundering ineffectiveness of the same SDUSD Leadership and propaganda department over that period.
To refresh your memory, here is what SDUSD Students actually received over the last year and a half in place of a REAL education:
- 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
The Sunday Reads article this week from Cal Matters reviews the “Summer School options” throughout the state of California and highlights SDUSD in a number of areas.
Our District Deeds Sunday Reads analysis translates and exposes the propaganda surrounding the SDUSD Level Up Summer School scam.
We have selected the most SDUSD relevant portions of the article for this post and analysis but District Deeds strongly urges our readers to click on the title (in red) and read the full article for themselves.
By Joe Hong – June 17, 2021
QUOTES FROM ARTICLE:
After 15 months of the pandemic, during which most students learned at home, a spring infusion of $4.6 billion from the state is allowing some districts to increase summer enrollment tenfold. Others are offering it for the first time in years, and even then only to some students.
Staffing was the biggest challenge. Districts statewide have struggled to recruit enough teachers who are willing to work through the summer after an exhausting school year, even with the additional financial incentives.
But whatever their districts are offering, educators statewide agree: Summer school won’t be a panacea to the academic, social and emotional turmoil students have experienced since March 2020.
Big offerings for big districts
Some urban districts like Los Angeles and San Diego Unified, the state’s two largest, are offering in-person summer school to all students. Some summer classes at Los Angeles Unified have filled up, but a district spokeswoman said the district is working to accommodate all students.
At San Diego Unified, a record 22,000 of 98,000 students have enrolled for summer school. Fewer than 3,000 students enrolled for summer school in the summer before the pandemic, according to Nicole DeWitt, an instructional support officer at the district.
The expanded offerings are made possible by the additional $4.6 billion in state funding for summer school, tutoring and mental health services. Most of that money is going to teacher pay. Districts set summer school pay at higher rates to encourage teachers to work through the summer. Districts also needed to hire enough staff to ensure class sizes remain small to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campuses.
“Summer is a big lift even in a normal year. This year it’s even harder,” said Julie McCalmont, the coordinator for expanded learning programs at Oakland Unified. “We’ve had to hire more teachers and staff. It’s taken us several million dollars more in order to serve these kids.”
While teachers are exhausted after a grueling school year, some are excited to help so many students transition into the first fully in-person school year since the pandemic first started.
“This opportunity appealed to me because I just think the kids need it this summer,” said Adam Goldstein, a teacher at San Diego Unified. “A lot of them missed out this year, not just on academics, but they missed out on being with other students.”
So far, teachers at San Diego Unified say the preparations for this ambitious summer program have been frustrating. Summer instruction starts on Monday, June 21, but teachers will find out what exactly they’re teaching at training sessions on Thursday and Friday.
But overall, Goldstein has a positive outlook.
“Yes, logistically it’s been a rough rollout,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the kids will show up and we’ll be there for them. I’m not too worried.”
No matter how robust the offerings, parents and teachers accept the grim reality that a month or two of summer school won’t undo the damage of 15 months of school closure.
“Summer school is not gonna be a quick fix for the losses students suffered during the pandemic,” said Jenny Hontz, communications director for the parent advocacy group Speak Up based in Los Angeles. “We know online learning was not ideal, particularly for our most vulnerable students. There’s gonna be a huge deficit to make up in the next couple years.”
Even before the pandemic, learning loss over long summer breaks has been a serious problem, especially for low-income students. The governor’s proposed budget asks for $1 billion in additional funding for summer and after-school programs each year for the next five years for districts with high concentrations of low-income students, English Learners and foster children.
Educators say that expanding summer school permanently could do a lot to close the achievement gap.
“If you’re in a privileged area, you’re probably going to be in tutoring and swimming lessons,” said Goldstein, the teacher at San Diego Unified. “In areas of need, you don’t really have access to that. All kids should be able to stay connected to school and friends over the summer.”
Austin Beutner, outgoing superintendent of Los Angeles Unified, said he unsuccessfully advocated for the state to fund an extended school year to take the pressure off remedial summer school programs.
“I think more time next year would probably be more powerful than summer school this year,” said Beutner. “This is the first time people can be outside. People do need a break.”
DISTRICT DEEDS ANALYSIS:
Mr. Hong does a pretty good job of rounding up the different approaches to summer school by various California school districts.
However there are two huge items that were totally neglected for the SDUSD.
The first item is the “Helping to close the achievement gap via Summer School” myth.
Mr. Hong mentions that “Educators say that expanding summer school permanently could do a lot to close the achievement gap.”
Unfortunately there is nothing in Mr. Hong’s article or from the SDUSD that proves there are any measures to “do a lot to close the achievement gap”. Even the actual credit recovery Summer School section is sketchy with the elimination of certain defined performance requirements and standards by the SDUSD.
In fact the SDUSD Teacher quoted in the article exposed the actual SDUSD truth about the Summer School achievement gap myth:
“If you’re in a privileged area, you’re probably going to be in tutoring and swimming lessons,” said Goldstein, the teacher at San Diego Unified. “In areas of need, you don’t really have access to that.”
Where are the SDUSD educational accountability metrics, standards, and performance protocols verifying educational return on the $31 million investment in the “Level Up” Summer School program?
Our seasoned readers already know the answer.
ZERO results for those words in the three Level Up sections.
With ZERO tracking standards or metrics, the “privileged” kids get most of the “tutoring” while Students in “areas of need” don’t “have access to that”.
That lack of accountability tracking will actually WIDEN the achievement gap between affluent and poor Students!
The second item neglected is a cornerstone of everything disgustingly touched by Board of Education Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera.
These following two quotes set up the “big lie” for both the current Summer School political scam and the funding of that scam for future summers.
The first is from a softy San Diego Union Tribune (SDUT) article:
“When San Diego struggled, we said the first thing we are going to do is focus on our kids.”
District Deeds Translation:
“When San Diego struggled, we said the first thing we are going to do is pay off all our non profit cronies and political backers by pretending to focus on our kids.”
The second Barrera quote is from another softy story by the SDUT:
“This unfortunately was made possible because of a pandemic, but we should’ve been doing this for the last 40 years,” said San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera at press conference Wednesday. “I guarantee that this will not be the only summer that we do this in this district.”
District Deeds Translation:
“This unfortunately was made possible because of a pandemic, but we can opportunistically use this disaster to guarantee that I can continue to direct money to my non-profit and political cronies every summer in the same way just before the elections with no accountability as long as I stay in office.”
What a magnificently corrupt, long term political scam by Tricky Dick Barrera!!!
The bottom line:
The SDUSD received MILLIONS of dollars from the State and Federal government for educational Covid relief including summer school. Barrera and the Board of Education took advantage of the neediest SDUSD communities via a very simple “Learning and Joy” propaganda scam. A scam that gives $31 million to a bunch of Non-Profit cronies for “enrichment” programs with no published educational requirements or metrics…a watered down version of summer school.
“Put on your mask…and vote for ME”
Shame on you Tricky Dick!
Now for our quote of the week dedicated to Tricky Dictator Barrera:
“In dictatorships the media is controlled by the State. In democracies the media is controlled by wealthy individuals with political affiliations. Objective media and journalists simply do not exist in the mainstream.” ―
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