As the current San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) school year is winding down we are turning our attention to NEW district initiative scams for the 2022/2023 school year.
A couple weeks ago in Sunday Reads for the 2022/2023 school year we exposed the SDUSD UTK scam and provided a much better alternative – UTC.
This week we are analyzing a scam that has been brewing in the SDUSD since 2020, the ridiculously incoherent SDUSD “Community School” initiative and offering our District Deeds Solution. Our analysis exposes the SDUSD version of “Community Schools” as just another ineffectual quid pro quo $4.5 billion money grab initiative spearheaded by none other than corrupt Trustee Richard “Tricky Dick” Barrera. And one that contains ZERO Honesty, Transparency or Accountability.,
To help us in this analysis, this Sunday Reads features an Guest Opinion piece in the San Diego Union Tribune (SDUT) that offers up all the key “Community School” propaganda points for the SDUSD and its union/non-profit political supporter minions. Although we have featured the complete opinion piece today, we strongly urge our readers to click on the title (in red) to read the full article for themselves.
Meaningful change in a school does not happen instantaneously.
Borden has been an elementary school educator for more than 25 years and is current president of the San Diego Education Association. She lives in Encanto. Nyamangah is a senior community organizer at Social Advocates for Youth San Diego, a member of the San Diego Community Schools Coalition and co-chair of the Community School Advisory Committee who lives in North Park.
There’s change coming to some San Diego schools next year that puts our district at the forefront of some of the most transformational work happening in public education right now — community schools.
The result of more than three years of effort and a fruitful partnership between the teachers union — the San Diego Education Association — the San Diego Unified school board, district leaders and the San Diego Community Schools Coalition, the school board voted in late March to designate its first cohort of community schools, a model of education that draws on the unique strengths of a neighborhood to address its students’ unique needs.
The five San Diego schools — Hancock Elementary, Mountain View School, Hoover High School, Millennial Tech Middle School and ALBA Community Day School — serve students from kindergarten through high school. Each has a student population facing inequities — economic, racial or otherwise — and a strong existing structure of shared decision-making. Next school year, these schools will be staffed with a full-time community schools coordinator who will begin outreach, organizing and listening. The coordinator will also be tasked with building a network of partnerships with nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, county agencies and providers, and working to help foster a healthy school culture.
But first, parents and students will be invited to share their thoughts, needs, strengths and vision for what their neighborhood schools can be. Meaningful parent engagement and participation will be vital for success.
That’s because a community school integrates the voices of students, parents, teachers, administrators and community partners into the vision and design of a school. We bring the community to the drawing board to reimagine what success for students and a school might look like. What barriers are standing in the way of student success? What challenges and change is the neighborhood facing? What strengths can we draw on? What is keeping students from attending or graduating from school? Five years from now, we expect that no two of these original five community schools will look exactly alike, because no two neighborhoods are exactly alike.
Around the state and country, community schools have taken different forms. Some have focused on serving homeless families, others on providing workforce training opportunities, mental health services or social services that connect families with rental assistance or on-site laundry facilities. Some provide medical and dental care, tutoring and other academic support, or job placement services. All recognize that what happens outside the classroom is as vital to student success as what happens inside it, and that social and emotional learning and academic success are intimately connected.
When done right, community schools throughout the country have had remarkable outcomes. A Learning Policy Institute report that synthesized more than 140 research studies found that community schools raised enrollment, attendance and graduation rates, and closed achievement gaps for Black and Brown students whose needs too often go ignored, unseen and unaddressed in our public schools. A Rand study found that community schools boosted student attendance and students’ on-time grade progression, and reduced disciplinary incidents for elementary and middle school students.
Community schools are built on four pillars: 1) providing services for students that address barriers to learning, including health, mental health or social service needs, 2) providing added academic support and real-world learning opportunities like internships, 3) family and community engagement, and 4) collaborative leadership that establishes a culture of shared responsibility. The ongoing success of a community school will depend on staying true to these pillars, particularly when it comes to shared decision making, from the start and over time.
Meaningful change in a school does not happen instantaneously. We will need long-term, ongoing financial support from the district and state. We are encouraged both by the district’s commitment to funding these initial schools and the state of California’s unprecedented $3 billion investment in community schools over the next seven years. Recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom also proposed an additional $1.5 billion investment in his May revised budget proposal. Out of this strong start, we hope for many more community schools for San Diego students.
After two very challenging years for educators and students and a worldwide pandemic, we know more than ever how significantly income inequality, racial injustice and challenges like mental health impact student learning. Now more than ever, we feel ready and up to this task. The community school model offers proven results, meaningful hope and true possibility for San Diego students. We can’t wait to get to work.
DISTRICT DEEDS ANALYSIS:
Like all self serving initiatives by the corrupt, incompetent SDUSD Board of Education and their quid pro quo political Union and Non-Profit donors/supporters, our motto is ALWAYS the same:
In this case, the JACKPOT is as the opinion piece states:
“the state of California’s unprecedented $3 billion investment in community schools over the next seven years. Recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom also proposed an additional $1.5 billion investment in his May revised budget proposal.
And, as it is in EVERY case regarding corrupt SDUSD initiatives that promise extensive “Family and Community Engagements”, it appears to be pure quid pro quo with the actual “engagement” decision making and cash allocation filtering down to SDUSD Board of Education political cronies including the SDEA (Teachers Union) who get huge raises for campaign contributions and non-profit recipients of Private, State and Federal grants that depend on absolute cooperation with the SDUSD.
Here is the tip off of the REAL decision making regarding the “Community Schools” initiative:
“The result of more than three years of effort and a fruitful partnership between the teachers union — the San Diego Education Association — the San Diego Unified school board, district leaders and the “San Diego Community Schools Coalition“
Our readers might ask: But what about the San Diego Community Schools Coalition ? Isn’t that a “community engagement”?
The San Diego Community Schools Coalition link goes to the website of an organization called the “Center for Policy Initiatives” (CPI). Clicking on the “volunteer” Board of Directors for CPI we found the following:
Board Member #1: USD Professor
Board Member #2: Labor Union Activist
Board Member #3: Labor Union Activist
Board Member #4: California Teachers Association (CTA)
Board Member #5: Non-Profit Policy Director from Oakland
Board Member #6: SDSU Professor on Board of Workers Rights Consortium and member of California Faculty Association (College Teacher Union)
Board Member #7: Community College Professor and Teachers Union Labor Activist
Board Member #8: Former SDUSD Teacher
And last, but not least:
Board Member #9: SDUSD Board of Education Trustee Richard Barrera
In other words, an organization run by a SDUSD Board of Education Trustee and his representatives from his political donors and backers!
And the actual “San Diego Community Schools Coalition” members?
Many tied, one way or the other, to the SDUSD. For example, where do you suppose the moderator for both the Lincoln High School Community Meeting debacle and the corrupt Superintendent Search initiative came from?
That’s right, one of the organizations on the list.
But wait…because of his DEEP involvement with this “Community Schools” initiative, Trustee Barrera MUST have recused himself on ALL SDUSD Board of Education votes on this iniative for conflict of interest right?
This Community Schools Coalition “Victory” article on the CPI website mentions:
“the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt our Community Schools Coalition Resolution”
So lets look at the SDUSD “Board of Trustees” meeting minutes, Item F.6 from July 28, 2020:
You can click on the item to see the small type clearly but the last line says:
The item was supported in Public Comment by individuals led by the authors of todays featured Opinion piece and an ACTUAL Community Member who noted “concerns about the composition of the coalition and parent input“.
Here is the public comment recording from the SDUSD Board Meeting
Key question from the speaker:
So why are parents excluded from the advisory committee?
A question NEVER answered by the corrupt Barrera or other Board members and instead…
“A motion by Trustee Barrera, seconded by Trustee Whitehurst-Payne to approve Item F.6., was approved 5-0, with the Student Board Representative also voting yes.”
So not only did the ethically compromised Trustee Barrera introduce the motion from a group of which he is a Board Member, he completely ignored his conflict of interest and VOTED IN FAVOR while salivating over the $4.5 Billion Jackpot!
But this is not the first con job by Barrera and his gang of corrupt Trustees. There used to be a form of “Community Schools” support.
Back in 2017 we wrote a series of posts exposing the REMOVAL of English Language Support Teachers from those very same schools. We also had an ELST Whistleblower write a post titled WHISTLEBLOWER – “Concerned ELL Teacher”: “Martenized” ELST Model NOT Equitable or Equal!!!
Barrera voted IN FAVOR of those ELST removals.
And there was the Crawford/Hoover
Someone should ask Opinion Author Mr.
Or how about another bogus community propaganda vehicle called “The SDUSD School Climate Bill of Rights”. Here is an article from the Mid-City CAN website titled “School District Adopts School Climate Bill of Rights”
Here is the bogus “Bill of Rights”:
A complete failure from point I to point VI.
A “community” effort gone bad by BAD SDUSD leadership.
And restorative Justice in the SDUSD since then? We wondered what answer we would get for the following question so we sent a broad cross section of SDUSD Stakeholders including District Employees (Teachers and Staff), Parents, Community Members and Student Rights activists the following request:
“Please provide a one word reaction to SDUSD Restorative Justice.”
Here are the one word replies:
THAT is REAL Community Input!!!
And so much for phony Restorative Justice and School Climate Bill of Rights from the “Community”.
Instead there is a “new” approach with this scam. Instead of following through on the committments made to the Community in the above Bill of Rights, the Advisory Committee is apparently adopting the “Four Pillars of Community Schools”:
- Integrated student supports that address out-of-school barriers through the coordination of trauma-informed health, mental health, and social services
District Deeds Analysis: How can the dysfunctional SDUSD “address out-of-school barriers” for Students when they cannot even overcome easy “in-school barriers” like teaching them to read by the 9th grade? This “systemic failure” is a core SDUSD educational deficiency and must come first before ANY of these other distracting and ridiculous initiatives.
- Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities that include academic support, enrichment, and real-world learning opportunities (e.g., internships, project-based learning)
District Deeds Analysis: Exactly like the ELST Support that was removed by Barrera…except WITH massive political/financial benefits to Barrera added.
- Family and community engagement, which involves actively tapping the expertise and knowledge of family and community members to serve as true partners in supporting and educating students
District Deeds Analysis: Like the Public Comment above says….”Family and community engagement” AFTER ALL KEY DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE…which makes this initiative a ZERO “Family and community engagement” exercise in propaganda and just another SDUSD lie.
- Collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators that establish a culture of professional learning, collective trust, and shared responsibility for outcomes in a manner that includes students, families, and community members
District Deeds Analysis: This is one that the SDUSD actually follows in its own dystopian way. “Collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators” that actually only “includes students, families, and community members” as a distant afterthought and only addressed when all attempts via propaganda manipulation fail.
And all of this SDUSD self serving propaganda is backed up by a couple studies extolling the virtues of “Community Schools.
The first “Study” reference is from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI).
Yes, the SAME LPI completely debunked by our “Inside Unified” Whistleblower in a post titled Whistleblower “Inside Unified” 3 Part Series – Part 3: The REAL San Diego Unified School District Performance Summary where they said:
“To find out which factors accounted for the data success in SDUSD, her team conducted 20 interviews with staff (12 of the 20 staff were Cindy Marten’s central office managers, and the other 8 were hand selected district office teachers and site managers/teachers)
I’m not sure this was a very objective or comprehensive span of stakeholders who could speak to the student success (or lack of success) in the district.”
Data captured in the ABSENCE of any Parent or Community input.
And this LPI Community Schools as an Effective School Improvement Strategy Report follows the same path. The best example is in the second paragraph of the Executive Summary which says:
“Community schools represent a place-based strategy in which schools partner with community agencies and allocate resources”
This strategy, according to the report is supposed “to provide an “integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement.”
The current dysfuntional SDUSD has failed miserably on just two basic items on the list…academics and community engagement. Now they want to add health and social services and youth and community development to the list?!?
How far can we let this insane corruption go?
And the Rand Study had the following SERIOUS limitations highlighted in blue:
Although our findings were robust to numerous sensitivity checks, this study did have a number of limitations.
First, New York City and its school system are unique— therefore, whether this initiative can be replicated elsewhere with similar findings is unknown.
Second, because the initiative was launched at a large scale and focused on all New York City schools that failed to meet specific academic goals, we were unable to use a randomized design or create a perfectly balanced comparison group. We utilized a quasi-experimental design that created a comparison group that included nonprogram schools with similar baseline trajectories to the NYC-CS schools and excluded nonprogram schools that were substantially different from the NYC-CS schools. We also employed an analytic approach commonly referred to as “difference-in-difference” to overcome the lack of random assignment and the remaining differences between the NYC-CS and comparison schools. Nevertheless, we cannot rule out that impact estimates could be biased by unobserved differences between the NYC-CS schools and the comparison schools.
The study was also limited to existing NYC-DOE administrative and survey data that posed some constraints regarding the availability and consistent measurement of some outcomes over time, particularly related to measures of school climate and student mental health.
In addition, although we were able to follow schools and students for four years after the program’s initiation, this type of holistic intervention could continue to affect participants for years to come.
According to this Opinion piece, we are supposed to launch the Community Schools initiative with the same blindfold we did with other failed decisions by SDUSD Senior leadership without REAL community guidance. And, like always, not a mention of Honesty, Transparency or Accountability.
In a picture:
To paraphrase the featured opinion piece subtitle –
Throwing corrupt darts blindfolded at Community Schools and other ridiculous initiatives PREVENTS “Meaningful change in a school” OR in a District!
The District Deeds Solution:
There is only one solution for this outright corruption by the SDUSD.
Parents and Community Members, chosen by Parents and Community Members (not from or by District run committees), must DEMAND a MAJORITY seat at ANY table IN ADVANCE where the words “Collaborative Community Engagement” (or their synonyms) are used to suggest, plan, launch or deploy any educational initiative involving students. They must be the ones to recommend non-profit partners TO the SDUSD, not the other way around.
Only then will we be able to tear off the blindfolds and see the REAL needs of our communities.
“The money we spend on education should follow the choice of the parents, not the choice of educrats, bureaucrats, politicians, who, unfortunately, have been manipulating this process in their own career interests, not in the interests of our young people. – Alan Keyes
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