This week in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) the botched, semi aborted last minute “Mental Health Day” cancellation by Interim Superintendent Lamont “Invisible Man” Jackson resulted in over 47,000 improper Student absentees, the loss of thousands of dollars of California State funding and a minimized education for the Students who actually attended.
In other words, another educational disaster chalked up to horrible senior SDUSD “leadership”.
Last week District Deeds recommended that the SDUSD give “Invisible Man” Jackson a mandatory day off on November 12th for coming up with such an unhinged idea. Now, based on the disastrous November 12th attendance results, we recommend that his pay, and the pay of the Board of Education Trustees, be reduced by the amount of California funding lost and the “invisible Man” be be removed from consideration as permanent Superintendent.
Today Sunday Reads features an article from The Fordham Institute by Chester E. Finn where a Parents’ Bill of Rights is discussed. We are excited to discuss this subject in todays’ Sunday Reads.
We have featured the complete Fordham Institute article but we strongly urge our readers to click on the title (in red) and read the full dispatch for themselves.
Terry McAuliffe surely blundered when he declared—out of context though it was taken—that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” thereby handing Glenn Youngkin a perfectly-timed campaign issue. Millions of parents in Virginia and across the land were already aggrieved by their schools’ mishandling of education during the Covid-19 pandemic, conscious that many school systems paid greater heed to the demands of their adult employees than the needs of their pupils. This caused huge learning losses for most kids and enormous challenges for parents. Lots of parents were also alarmed by reports that their schools were going to extremes in teaching about race, gender, sexuality, and other touchy or politically charged issues. At a time when the larger polity was already polarized, siloed, and jittery, it was a no brainer for Youngkin and his advisors to make this a winning issue.
Signals from other elections plus polling data also suggest that education has re-emerged as a top concern for much of the electorate. In response to which, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has promised that the GOP will soon develop a “parents’ bill of rights” intended for Republican use in the midterm elections and beyond, as well as future action on Capitol Hill.
It’s too soon to know what will be in it, though undoubtedly it will make a big deal of parents’ right to select their children’s schools. One may hope it also includes a push for curricular transparency so that parents can readily see what their kids are being taught, not just in the three R’s, but also in civics, history, literature, and the less academic realms of social and emotional well-being, health, and values. Parents should know who is teaching and counseling their daughters and sons—their names, their training, their work experience, and (where relevant) their certification. Moms and dads also have every right to know what’s going on in their children’s schools by way of disciplinary policy and practices, building security, and the handling of awkward “social” issues (who uses which restrooms and locker rooms and plays on which teams), as well as such basics as what’s on offer in the lunchroom.
That’s all legitimate information for parents—and much of it is very difficult for most parents to find out today. Bravo for a “bill of rights” that takes up and runs with transparency as well as choice.
But how much farther should it go and is there a risk of going too far?
Indeed there is, which calls for bill-of-rights architects to strike a careful balance, something nearly unheard of at an unbalanced time. For education is not exclusively the province of parents any more than it’s the monopoly of the state—precisely the balance the Supreme Court struggled with a century ago in its landmark Pierce decision.
It’s a combination, a sort of hybrid, beginning with the truth that education is both a private good and a public good—as any economist will tell you. The child is not the creature of the state, yet society has an obligation to ensure that its next generation is adequately educated. That’s why every state has embedded that obligation in its constitution. That’s also why, for instance, states have compulsory attendance laws even as parents have the right to educate their kids at home. If they send them to school, as most do, they should have choices among schools, yet the state decides what is a school. Parents should of course select the school or schools that best suit their children but, having done that, should entrust things like curriculum to the schools and their educators. If parents are then unhappy with how it’s going in the school they chose, they should—and should be able to—change schools. But that’s not the same as meddling in the curriculum and pedagogy of their chosen schools or harassing the professionals who staff them.
Schools should be free to differ in dozens of ways, yet it’s reasonable for the state to verify that they all provide adequate learning outcomes in core subjects. That doesn’t mean all schools must use the same curriculum or pedagogy or follow the same philosophy to produce those outcomes. Again, it’s a balance, one easily thrown out of whack if, for example, the state doesn’t permit or overly constrains school choices, or if parents, having chosen, still interfere overmuch with how their schools go about it.
Parents have other options, too. They can—and many more should—run for the school’s board or the local school board. They can run for the state board of education, the town council, or the legislature. They can start their own charter or private schools, at least they can where this is permitted by law and where the state’s dollars follow children to the schools they actually attend. A nontrivial issue in Virginia is the Old Dominion’s extreme paucity of public charter schools—just seven at last count—due to a highly restrictive charter law, meaning that the overwhelming majority of Virginia families have no choices beyond their local school district. This means the political system builds up education steam without adequate escape valves. That leads to rancor, protests, and overheated campaigning rather than the creation of viable alternatives.
So let’s applaud the generous provision of quality school choices everywhere in the land. And let’s push for maximum school transparency. In pursuit of those ends, a parents’ bill of rights is a fine thing. But let’s also make sure that it can coexist with society’s responsibility to ensure that its next generation gets satisfactorily educated and the state’s obligation to ensure that that happens. Let’s try—let’s hope—to get this balance right despite the imbalances that surround us.
DISTRICT DEEDS SYNOPSIS:
A good article to start the conversation of Parent Bill of Rights, but incomplete for SDUSD Stakeholders.
District Deeds completely supports a SDUSD Parents’ Bill of Rights, but far more expansive than Mr. Finn recommends in his article. Giving Mr. Finn the benefit of the doubt, he has not experienced a corrupt, incompetent, secretive and vindictive school district leadership to the level we have in the SDUSD.
In the article, Mr. Finn only emphasizes a watered down version of transparency for a Parents’ Bill of Rights including the rights of any RICH citizen to run for office, start their own Charter School, or home school by a stay at home parent. He provided zero options for 75%+ of SDUSD Families most negatively impacted that may not have the education, financial resources or political connections to succeed in those listed by Mr. Finn as potential “Parent Right’ endeavors.
The primary educational disaster issues in the SDUSD revolve around the Big 3 primary Parent Rights items regarding the SDUSD leadership:
- Total lack of Honesty
- Total lack of Transparency
- Total lack of Accountability
To refresh our readers memory, here are the examples of each of the Big 3.
Total lack of Honesty
Total lack of Transparency
Total lack of Accountability
Sunday, May 24, 2020: SDUSD Sandimic Week 11 – 45 Lost Instructional Days: Tricky Dick Barrera and Elementary School Supt. Cindy Marten Demand MORE Money to Eliminate Accountability While Stripping Student, Employee and Taxpayer Rights!
We posted many more examples on the SDUSD lack of the Big 3 over the last seven years but there is one more example that we intentionally did NOT post on District Deeds.
Totally ignoring the actual record of the gladly departed ex Superintendent Marten and the newly appointed Interim Supt. Invisible Man Jackson, in September the flagship newspaper in San Diego, the San Diego Union Tribune, published an SDUSD propaganda piece titled “San Diego Unified board notes progress in superintendents’ performance review -Review of Martens, Jackson gives them “developing” or “accomplishing” grades”
So after more than 7 years of lies, cover-ups and corruption, the ethically compromised SDUSD Board of Education officially extended the string of absolute lack of accountability into an 8th year.
We have a special message to Mr. Finn and the San Diego Union Tribune regarding the ZERO trust of SDUSD Stakeholders:
Until the absolute corruption and total lack of Honesty, Transparency and accountability are completely excised from the SDUSD, no “Parents’ Bill of Rights” will be worth the time it takes to write it.
And until then, for SDUSD Stakeholder trust to return, Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera, Invisible Man Jackson and their corrupt, sycophantic leadership/political cronies must be removed from the SDUSD to never return.
THAT District Deeds “evaluation” is REALLY “Developing” AND “Accomplishing”!
Now for our quote of the week dedicated to the the rights of ALL SDUSD Stakeholders:
“When trust is high, the dividend you receive is like a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of your organization and your life…. In a company, high trust materially improves communication, collaboration, execution, innovation, strategy, engagement, partnering, and relationships with all stakeholders.” – Steven Covey
- 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!
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