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Some very important events have occurred over the past month.

Tuesday, June 14. 2022, marked the end of the 2021/2022 San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) school year.

Sunday, June 19, 2022 we honored and celebrated Juneteenth.

Sunday , June 26, 2022 we celebrated our 8th year anniversary of publication for District Deeds.

And on Sunday, July 3, 2022 we offered readers our 4th of July 2022 Pledge to hold the San Diego Unified School District to high standards of “Honesty Transparency and Accountability.

In our anniversary post on June 26th we communicated our commitment to “freshen up” District Deeds with additions and changes to content and appearance.  Today’s post represents the beginning of that process.  We are offering our readers the “Summer Edition” of Sunday reads that will be a shorter and more concise presentation of our investigative facts.

In that spirit we have provided an Opinion article from the San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Board (SDUTEB) regarding the newly deployed SDUSD “Standards Based Grading Policy”.

Although we have featured the complete SDUTEB opinion article today, we strongly urge our readers to click on the title (in red) to read the full opinion for themselves.

Opinion: San Diego Unified’s new grading policy has noble intent, but rollout raises hard questions

After nearly two years, evidence builds that district should have sweated details, provided more training and anticipated predictable headaches

The editorial board operates independently from the U-T newsroom but holds itself to similar ethical standards. We base our editorials and endorsements on reporting, interviews and rigorous debate, and strive for accuracy, fairness and civility in our section. Disagree? Let us know.

There’s a new local chapter in one of the oldest national policy debates: how to improve public schools so that they are both fair to all and provide opportunities to as many students as possible. Some history is a necessary backdrop. The Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education shut down segregated schools as separate and unequal. This helped lead Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX in 1972 to guarantee equal treatment across racial and gender lines. When progress was seen as insufficient, the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 embraced a much stronger federal role in local education. The Every Students Succeed Act in 2015 reversed course.

The first two landmark laws made a commitment to equity. The latter two landmarks showed sharp disagreement on how to achieve it. Now a national consensus on what to do looks impossible. In many states, the easy answers offered by one side (spend more money and things automatically get better) and the other (use tests and other metrics to evaluate what improves teacher quality and student performance) have battled it out with no clear winner. But in California, since Jerry Brown returned as governor in 2011, the old idea that local control” was the best way for communities to figure out how to help their students has again become the norm.

Which brings us to the San Diego Unified School District. In fall 2020, the state’s second largest school district adopted what’s fairly seen as a radical shift to standards-based education for middle and high school students. It has as its central concept the idea that what’s most important is to learn and master required material — not to do so according to a set time frame. If assignments are turned in late and tests are taken and retaken and passed long after the subjects were discussed in class, so be it — so long as students ended up knowing their stuff, that’s what their grades should reflect.

The appeal of this idea is obvious. For decades, evidence has shown that disadvantaged students mired in poverty face huge obstacles to success. In a community where housing costs are so high that even middle-income families can feel impoverished, why not respond to this problem with a bold approach that tries to address it? At the board meeting where the policy changed unanimously, officials voiced few doubts. Advocates saw a way to address racial and other disparities and no downside.

Nearly two years later, however, a more complex and troubling picture has emerged. Some of those interviewed in a July 3 analysis in The San Diego Union-Tribune offered support for the program, including Nicole DeWitt, executive director of the district’s Learning and Leadership Office. Supporters think it has yielded a fairer, more humane approach, and DeWitt lauded its clear goals.

But there was also intense criticism. Virtually all stakeholders described a program that was applied in different ways by different teachers, a confusing and maddening result that was probably inevitable because of state laws giving teachers wide autonomy. Some parents said their kids responded to the changes by coasting and adopting habits that could haunt them in college and in their future careers. A new question that never seemed to have occurred to the school board — whether allowing repeated tests hurt classrooms by adding considerably to teacher workloads — is being raised. And most strikingly, one history teacher said he and many others never got any training in standards-based grading.

The San Diego Unified school board should have ensured a smoother, more standardized rollout by sweating the details. The failure to train all teachers is unacceptable. That officials would attempt such a far-reaching policy shift during a pandemic that limited tens of thousands of students to remote learning is hard to fathom. For Lamont Jackson, the longtime district official who became Superintendent in March, and school district trustees, the top short-term priority must be addressing the pandemic learning gap caused by keeping kids out of classrooms. But that effort must come in tandem with an effort to fine-tune and perhaps sharply overhaul the district’s 2020 reform. If changes made in the name of promoting equity aren’t applied evenly and are hurting some students’ long-term chances of having successful lives, they demand intense scrutiny. Good intentions are not good enough.


We were highly encouraged when reading this editorial from the SDUTEB.  The sub-title summarizes it well:

After nearly two years, evidence builds that district should have sweated details, provided more training and anticipated predictable headaches

We strongly applaud the SDUTEB for exposing this total lack of governance by the $1.4 billion SDUSD senior leadership.

But we anticipated this educational disaster back on October 18, 2020 in our Sunday Reads titled “Racist San Diego Unified Standards Based Grading – Lipstick on the SDUSD Pig!

Remember this?

In that Sunday Reads we said:

“Standards Based Grading” itself is edubabble. One of the excellent articles above, “A CRITIQUE OF STANDARDS-BASED GRADING” mentions that “pure SBG is to say that it is the practice of excluding from a student’s grade any form of human ability or growth that is not seen by the teacher to be related to the teacher’s content-area standards.”. Soon there will be a Marten SBG…we dare any Teacher, Principal, Parent, Trustee or Martens’ Corrupt Crony Crew to define what that will mean in 3 years!

A few days later, on October 24, 2020, we posted A NAACP San Diego Branch Press Release titled Standard Based Grading – “It’s Time to Lift Ev’ry Voice!” that reinforced the same message:

This initiative is just another way for this district to use their “smoke and mirrors” marketing ploys to tell parents how much they care for all students. This is NOT going to help any of our students to do better in school. 

The great information provided in the featured article from the SDUTEB is an excellent answer to our October, 2020 dare to “any Teacher, Principal, Parent, Trustee or Martens’ Corrupt Crony Crew to define what that will mean in 3 years”.

And 2 years later, according to the “July 3 analysis” referred to in the SDUTEB Opinion, the SDUSD still has NO ANSWER:

Not all teachers in the district are implementing the new grading policy in the same way. Some are giving students until the end of the semester to turn in late work, while others are giving shorter grace periods. Some are allowing retakes but are only letting students recoup a certain number of points.

Some teachers switched from using letter grades to using number grades on a 1 to 4 scale, with 1 meaning they made beginning progress toward meeting standards and 4 meaning the student showed that they exceed standards. Others stuck with letter grades. And some teachers did not switch to standards-based grading at all this school year, parents said.

Here is what we said two weeks BEFORE the recent SDUT “July 3 analysis” in our June 10, 2022 Sunday Reads titled “Final Grades for the San Diego Unified Senior Leadership: “F” “U”!!!

This means the assertion from the SDUSD Grading Policy on the district website…

“As a district, we have listened to our stakeholders, researched equitable grading practices, and revised our grading policy to best meet the needs of ALL students…”

…is a HUGE Lie!

With disparate grading and assessment/reassessment practices from classroom to classroom, grade to grade and school to school it is the definition of inconsistency and inequity and does NOT “meet the needs of ALL students“!

Like our Stakeholder told us:

This is not about helping Students, it is about helping Adults.

We are extremely happy that SOMEONE in the local San Diego Press Corps actually USED the strong evidence we provided in District Deeds over the past 2 years and we strongly commend the SDUTEB for taking a stand…with 2 HUGE exceptions.

The first exception is the assignment of “noble” or “good intentions” to the SDUSD.

Let’s get real.

With obvious ongoing propaganda and lies from senior SDUSD leadership for political and economic gain over the last nine years, how can any San Diego Media outlet assign “noble” or “good intentions” to any half baked SDUSD initiative?

Are we to beleive that the $1.4 billion SDUSD educuational corporation does not have the resources to provide a “smoother, more standardized rollout” and prevent “The failure to train all teachers”.


Of course the SDUSD has ALL the resources needed and “it” is not “noble” or “good intentions” that is stopping them from doing it.  “It” is the ongoing incompetence, greed and avoidance of ALL honesty, transparency and accountablity by SDUSD Senior Leadership that is their motivation.

The 2nd HUGE exception is the use of the word “analysis” by the SDUTEB when referring to a story by one of its writers as a  July 3 analysis

We saw ZERO analysis by the so-called “author” of the July 3 analysis“.

According to the University of Arizona Writing Center in an article titled “Summary vs Analysis“, the “July 3 analysis” was just a “summary”

The reason this so important is that almost EVERY San Diego Media “News” outlet refuses to to provide a FULL “Analysis” to its readers/viewers.

They maintain SDUSD propaganda department contacts by only providing just a lot of useless “Summary” and no “Makes an argument or reaches a conclusion”.  Although we strongly commend the SDUTEB for its ANALYSIS, we also strongly RECOMMEND that they empower, encourage and fully support their writers to do the same.  It is important to empower authors, like the one who wrote the July 3 analysis” SUMMARY, to analyze and state the obvious lack of Honesty, Transparency and Accountability in the SDUSD Senior Leadership from the interviews and facts they uncover for the benefit of ALL SDUSD Stakeholders.

If the backlash from the SDUSD prevents that writer from gaining access to key SDUSD officials for future articles, fully SUPPORT your writers and encourage them to expose that SDUSD bullying through ANALYSIS as we defined above!

The 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution supports you:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Please allow your writers to tell the WHOLE truth through full Analysis without fear.  Don’t reserve that right for only the SDUTEB!

Please enforce full SDUSD honestly, transparency and accountability.

With this corrupt and incompetent SDUSD Senior Leadership, thousands of present and future SDUSD Students are depending on you!

Now for our quote of the week, dedicated to the local San Diego medial outlets and reporters who are sick and tired of SDUSD threats of “no access” for telling the FULL truth.  Remember this San Diego media outlets…you have the power!:

“I never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” – Roger Branigan


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