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Today in District Deeds Sunday Reads is an application of the phrase “Fool me once, shame on me, Fool me twice, shame on you” regarding the November 8, 2022 San Diego Unified ballot Measure U.

Our featured article from the HUFFPOST describes author Christopher Stewart as “a writer, speaker, and activist for child justice. He is CEO of Brightbeam, a national education nonprofit that raises the voices of marginalized students, parents, and educators”.

We have featured the complete HUFFPOST article today in Sunday Reads with our synopsis and analysis but have NOT included the exceptional photographs from the article.  We strongly urge our readers to click on the title and other links (in red) to view those awesome photographs and read the full article for themselves.

White America has always had an interest in the education of Black folks, but never for the purposes of our freedom.

W.E.B. Du Bois warned us in 1935 that turning Black children over to white America for their daily education risked making them “doormats to be spit and trampled upon and lied to by ignorant social climbers whose sole claim to superiority is the ability to kick ‘niggers’ when they are down.”

We didn’t listen. More than a century later, the majority of Black children sit in classrooms with mostly white teachers who think very little of their potential and humanity.

Years ago, civil rights leader Julian Bond told us, “violence is black children going to school for 12 years and receiving six years’ worth of education.” The six out of 12 years’ worth of education that he said our kids get is — in my estimation — little more than rote memorization and state-sponsored cultural suicide intended to vaccinate young Black minds against free thought and self-determined lives.

Violence, indeed.

Historian and journalist Lerone Bennett Jr. wrote about the post-slavery years, saying “in 1865, when emancipation became a fact, about one in every twenty Negroes could read and write. Thirty-five years later, more than one out of every two could read and write.”

122 years later, less than one in five Black fourth graders are “proficient” in reading.

You may be surprised to learn that none other than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself warned us against blind trust in public schools and their teachers. Two of his parishioners, both Black high school educators, said he told them “white people view black people as inferior. A large percentage of them have a very low opinion of our race. People with such a low view of the black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls.”

Yet, here we are, every morning turning over 8 million black children, the minds of our race and hope of our future, to an education system owned and operated by white governors, billion-dollar textbook companies, 3 million mostly white teachers, and 14,000 school boards composed of members who are generally whiter, wealthier and more Republican than the students they supposedly represent. 

Still, no group in America supports tax-funded universal public education, public schools and educators more than Black folks. We support them even knowing in the back of our minds that these schools weren’t built for us, and their teachers have never been nominally prepared to spur our children to reach their highest potential. Perhaps we do it because several generations of academic Kool-Aid tell us it’s the best shot our kids have at becoming truly American, successful and valued. Perhaps we do it because we see no other option.

King’s warning is especially ironic when you consider the counterintuitive consequences of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education, which includes shuttered Black schools,fired Black teachers, demoted Black principals, and the loss of all their years of pedagogical knowledge — collectively something I call “Black Educational Capital.” The racial theology that drove Brown concluded that Black-run spaces, especially schools, are inherently inferior in comparison to white ones. That anti-Black maxim lives on today in white progressive integrationist orthodoxy that insists Black students can’t learn without a seat next to white students. That contribution to the belief gap is old, pernicious and more violent than the crack of any other whip. Operating a society on the premise of Black inferiority is bad enough, but to teach it to young, impressionable Black youth as a national truism is an evil and irreparable molestation.

Today, many Black children attend schools with more metal detectors than mental health services, more police officers than counselors and more of a look of a starter prison than a school.

It is still legal for educators to beat school children in 19 states, which, as you might imagine, disproportionately affects Black boys. Black girls are five times more likely to be suspended from school and four times more likely to be arrested at school when compared to white girls. According to one study, nonwhite students had the least access to four resources essential for college-bound students: grade-appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement and teachers who hold high expectations.

These types of statistics are so common we might consider them normal. But, they are not. They are violence, plain and simple.

The War On Black Education, From Left To Right

In the American public education system, Black children are the new cotton. They are a headcount that generates revenue for a national army of “experts” who fight fiercely to keep our kids’ per-pupil revenue locked up in whatever cartel they control. Black youth are the most studied, and the least taught. They are the perfect captives because you can raise funds for their bodies without ever being accountable for improving their minds.

After years of thinking about education “reform,” and studying the policies of America’s political right and left wings, I came to a provocative conclusion about all of this. It is this: if you want to ensure that Black people never reach their full potential, there would be no more efficient way to make that happen than to demand we turn over our babies at age 5 to the American public education system.

“Today, many Black children attend schools with more metal detectors than mental health services, more police officers than counselors and more of a look of a starter prison than a school.”

White conservatives and progressives aren’t opposing forces; they are joint shareholders in our educational captivity. To maintain their power, each finds its token Black voices — corporate assimilated Blacks on one side versus scripted unionist adherents on the other — to slog it out on social media and in white paper Mandingo fights as if either side could ever do our interests justice.

On one side, conservatives argue public school failure is eternal while conveniently discounting our claims of systemic racism. They white-splain issues of racially disparate outcomes in student discipline that punishes Black children more harshly than white children, bias in school funding that shortchanges Black communities, and rampant Eurocentrism in the curriculum that diminishes and bleaches Black history. In return for our assistance in helping them dismantle traditional public education, they offer us one proposal: vouchers to schools that either don’t yet exist, or, if they do, ones that are more culturally incompetent than the district schools they want to destroy.

The price we pay for their version of “educational freedom” is ignoring how their private school coupons come with a demand that we accept that on every other policy front, they are actively attempting to disenfranchise us from the vote, to make us subject to more police abuse, and to prevent our children from learning about the ways this country has systematically dogged our human rights.

Of all their oversights, the unequal funding of school districts is the most material. On this front, progressive legal scholar Derek Black argues that the ghost of Jim Crow still colors the way we localize public education funding, which makes it so communities with low property values cannot compete for dollars with better-off communities. In nearly every state in the nation, funding schemes send more resources to better-off students. Even while the evidence says there is a connection between school funding and college attendance, graduation rates and test scores, school districts with the most students of color draw $1,800 less per student than whiter districts.

On the other end of the white supremacy spectrum, progressives are problematic allies too.

They over-index on teachers’ unions as the sole crafters of their educational thinking, and see parents as important only when we speak the union gospel. America loves its teachers, but Black America should remember what Malcolm and Martin said about white liberals and supposed allies.

Evidence of anti-Black bias in teaching starts early. When Black students have white teachers, they are viewed as older than they are, seen as less innocent, and are less likely to be identified as gifted, more likely to experience exclusionary discipline, and more likely to experience lower classroom expectations.

These are the experts that our friends on the left look to for all of their educational advice, even when we disagree.

Because progressives’ highest affection is for classroom personnel, they have counterproductive attitudes about measuring teaching, learning and outcomes. They are allergic to accountability for results. They have convinced the public that any attempt to test students, rate teachers or measure learning is an “attack” on their schools. Instead of trusting data, they propose we trust them. Given all we know about bias in their ranks, it just doesn’t make sense.

Rebuilding Black Educational Capital

There was never a time when Black Americans were unclear about the connection between education, literacy and freedom. From the very beginning, African Americans who had not acquired English literacy set about learning how to read not just as a function of ordinary child development, but as a tool for being able to decode all the ways in which America was attempting to curtail our freedom. In this pursuit of literacy, we developed secret systems of learning. Under trees, in ditches, in basements and in back rooms in the darkness, we would not be punished for daring to learn how to read and own the educative process for ourselves.

Our freedom now requires us to reclaim that sense of mission and ownership over the intellectual development of our children.

Before 1954, the majority of Black children were in the daily care of a Black educator. The resources in pre-Brown black schools were subpar, as they are now, but the pedagogy prowess of Black teachers was unmatched. Scholar and author Vanness Siddle Walker says these teachers “increased the literacy rate, decreased the dropout rate, increased the college attendance rate, and began to create higher test scores once they finally got some equipment in the 1960s, and they did without having the things all these other [white] schools had.”

The good news is not all of us are asleep at the educational wheel. Jawanza Kunjufu’s book “Countering The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys” has sold over a million copies, which means at least one in eight families of Black public school students understand the need to think critically about our relationship with the system. Black educators like my colleague Sharif El-Mekki are building a pipeline of Black teachers through his Center for Black Educators Development. Hiewet Senghor created the Black Teacher Collaborative to create conditions so that every Black student will be in challenging and affirming learning environments created by Black educators with pedagogies that will bring an end to the erasure of Black identity in the curriculum. Investors like Daryl Cobb at the Charter School Growth Fund are supporting the formation of Black-led, independently-run public schools. Kaya Henderson and Roland Fryer are operating a Black education platform (Reconstruction.us) that educates children and adults virtually. And Naomi Shelton, working alongside an ecosystem of HBCU-aligned organizations, leads a collaborative of single-site charter school leaders of color who focus intently on nurturing young Black minds. Finally, the increase in Black homeschooling means many more Black students are moving from the carceral pedagogies of the public school system and into loving environments constructed just for them.

We don’t need to agree on the particulars of systemic racism and educational philosophies. There is no one best system for all of our children. We only have to honor the one claim central to America reconciling its Negro problem: Black people are not free until they can exercise maximum determination in the most major aspects of their lives. That requires them to be fully in control of determining how and what their children with the least interference from their historic captors.


To lead off our synopsis and analysis, we believe that the following phrase from the article represents the SDUSD situation perfectly:

On the other end of the white supremacy spectrum, progressives are problematic allies too.

They over-index on teachers’ unions as the sole crafters of their educational thinking, and see parents as important only when we speak the union gospel. America loves its teachers, but Black America should remember what Malcolm and Martin said about white liberals and supposed allies.

Here is what “Malcolm” said:

And here is an excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book Where Do We Go from Here – Chaos or Community?:

The White liberal must see that the Negro needs not only love, but justice. It is not enough to say, “We love Negroes, we have many Negro friends.” They must demand justice for Negroes. Love that does not satisfy justice is no love at all. It is merely a sentimental affection, little more than what one would love for a pet. Love at its best is justice concretized. Love is unconditional. It is not conditional upon one’s staying in his place or watering down his demands in order to be considered respectable….

In the SDUSD, both of these quotes apply not only to the civil rights of Black Students and Familes but also to other vulnerable SDUSD Students and Families, especially Latino, exemplified by their scores on both the revised SBAC and NAEP.  Here is an example from the San Diego Union Tribune regarding CAASP results:

This is what SDUSD Trustee Richard Barrera, after 14 years in office, describes as “not surprising“!

And also “not surprising” that he has FAILED Black and Latino Students as a Trustee for 14 years

In our opinion, the November 8, 2022 San Diego Unified ballot issues and Board of Education Elections endorsed by the usual “progressive” suspects epitomize the proverb “Fool me once, shame on you”.  Here is the definition from wikiHow:

The examples in the definition are amplified by quotes in the featured article from W.E.B. Du Bois,  Julian Bond, Lerone Bennett Jr. Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King when applied to endorsements by the SDUSD Board of Education.

The Prop U issue is perfectly explained in an “Endorsement ” to “Vote No on San Diego Schools Measure U Bond” by the San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Board that says:

It’s billed as a necessary, even urgent, response to school safety needs. But that’s not true. Only $296 million of the proceeds would go to school security — and that’s if you trust promises on what the money will be used for, promises that have often not been kept with past bonds. Given that the district is still set to receive $2.6 billion from three previous bond measures, it is able to fund new security upgrades.

According to the definition of Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”:

promises that have often not been kept with past bonds”

  • “Are you trying to pull the same trick on me again?

“Fool me twice, shame on me.”

  • “I really want to trust you again, but it’s hard after you lied to me.

“Fool me twice, shame on me.”

  • “You’re asking me to loan you money again?

“Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Measure U details from “San Diego – November 8 2022 General” Handbook are even more damning.

Here is the BIGGEST lie in the Measure U description:

Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee. In accordance with and pursuant to Education Code Section 15278 et seq., the Board shall establish an independent citizens’ oversight committee, within 60 days of the date that the Board enters the election results on its minutes.

This is almost a direct copy of the lies the SDUSD told about Prop Z that funded Nipaquay Elementary, what was called the “Mission Valley School” in 2015 when we wrote  “The Mission Valley School – Another Marten Fiasco Waiting to Happen” back on March 11, 2015.

Here is the wording directly from page 4 of the:Prop Z Ballot Statements:

That “Independent Citizens Oversight Committee” (ICOC) completely ignored the actual impact Nipaquay Elementary would have on the Kearny Cluster.  From the Voice of San Diego (VOSD) article we cited, “No Money, No Students, No Problem?”, here is what actually happened:

Having a sparkling, innovative district school is a slam-dunk for the developer. Whether it’s the best decision for the district, though, is less clear. Out of 10 elementary schools in the Kearny cluster – the area where the new school would be located – nine are under-enrolled, based on numbers the district provided.

Five of them have more than 100 extra seats. That’s about three classes. There’s even been talk over the years of closing some to conserve resources if enrollment didn’t tick up.

Since 2015, the Marten Fiasco has gotten even worse.  Enrollment in the SDUSD and the Kearny Cluster has plummeted and schools close to Nipaquay Elementary. Carson, Jones and Juarez, are losing UTK-2 classes according to the 2022-2023 SDUSD Attendance Boundary Map:

For Prop U, the ICOC “Accountability/Strict Taxpayer Safeguards built right in” are a complete scam.

There are 9 active members of SDUSD ICOC.  Here is the list:

  • Electrical Contractors Union
  • Electrical Union Member
  • Electrical Association Director
  • Carpenters Council Member
  • Charter Schools Association Executive
  • Laborers Union Executive
  • SDGE Manager
  • Civil Engineering Representative
  • State of California Housing Manager

Every single member of the current ICOC has a vested interest in MORE CONSTRUCTION.

No Black Community Members

No Latino Community Members

ALL well meaning individuals appointed by the corrupt SDUSD Board of Education to oversee corrupt SDUSD Board of Education Bond Money scams.

How can a committee filled by political and business cronies of the SDUSD Board of Education be considered “Independent or community members” if they get a paycheck from their employers for bowing to the construction wants and needs of the SDUSD senior leadership?

But there IS a place reserved by SDUSD Leadership and Trustees for adult Black and Latino community Members.

They get to be insulted by the SDUSD Trustees as part of the “Naming” committee for a school that was built without any community input or involvement…and then be reduced to a useless photo with the Stepford BROOD of those same trustees boot!!!

But, like todays’s featured article describes, “Black children are the new cotton.”  

The place for Black and Latino children is even worse… 

They are replaced as photo ops by stock photos:

According to the definition of Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”:

“the Board shall establish an independent citizens’ oversight committee”

And like Props S, Z and YY…for useless Measure U…

  • “Are you trying to pull the same trick on me again?
  • “I really want to trust you again, but it’s hard after you lied to me.
  • “You’re asking me to loan you money again?

“Fool me twice, shame on me.”

The place for Black and Latino children and families IS well defined.

Their place is a seat at the SDUSD decision making table.

Voting NO on Measure U stands for holding the SDUSD accountable

Vote NO on the New Cotton!!!


Now for our “quote of the week” dedicated to the San Diego Voters who decide to say NO to the lying and corrupt SDUSD Trustees and Leadership who treat black and brown children as the new cotton and VOTE NO on useless Measure U.

“Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.” – President Barack Obama


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