February 27, 2004

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

Why we also support Pilar Arballo

As long time educators and education advocates in San Diego we understand the importance of the upcoming election for the San Diego School Board; particularly District D. However, as you mention in your editorial it is a shame that “the two best-qualified candidates for this district seat are the two candidates whose names won’t appear on the ballot:” Lupe Corona and Pilar Arballo. It is both our professional and personal opinions that these two candidates are without a doubt the most qualified among the four to fill this seat for they clearly appear committed to bringing back dialogue and collaboration to an area that has been neglected for too long. Yet, while we hold both of these ladies in very high regard, we feel that at this juncture in time we must lend our support and our endorsement to Pilar Arballo. Below are our reasons why:

District D is the most complex district within San Diego Unified. This district is characterized by its large number of students living in poverty, its large number of Latino students, its large number of English Language Learners (primarily Spanish-speakers), and its large number of underperforming schools (e.g. Focus Schools). This complexity requires a board member who understands firsthand the dynamics of this community and who will serve as a true advocate for its children and its parents. We are confident that Pilar Arballo will be that strong member who will put forth ideas that will support the children of this district. She has, and we believe she will continue to have, a strong grassroots connection to the children, parents, and teachers of the schools in district D.

Pilar is also an experienced teacher who has proven without question that she is solely dedicated to the academic achievement of our children, having worked exclusively in inner-city schools for over 10 years. Furthermore, she is a true independent thinker - that is, she is able to discern the political basis for some of the decisions that the current board traditionally makes and will no doubt call the upcoming board to task on these issues. We are confident that she will not be swayed by political or business influences and will work with others on the board and in SDCS for a better education for the many students in the district. As she has stated before, she is “nobody’s girl.”

Additionally, we believe Pilar when she says, “my office will be open to everyone!”

For too long our children and our communities in district D have been foreclosed from any meaningful discussion by the current board member and this will be a much needed change. Indeed, we have been consistently discouraged when we see the community and the teachers of San Diego continuously shunned day after day from any meaningful discussion and input in regard to educational issues that directly affect their children and their students. Therefore, we support her in her fight for democratic education in which all voices - parents, teachers, students, and communities are heard and heeded. She will make the schools accountable to the communities they serve, as it should be.

And finally, while many of us opposed and continue to oppose many facets related to the implementation of the Blueprint for Student Success, we do not oppose education reform and school transformation. Therefore, we stand in agreement with Pilar when she calls for a revision of the implementation of the Blueprint (not its complete dismantlement) so that it is compatible with the linguistic and academic needs of all students to achieve and the needs of teachers to teach.

We urge the voters of San Diego to vote for Pilar Arballo this March 2nd as a write-in candidate. She is a committed educator who will bring much needed change to the board and the education of our students.

Dr. René Núñez, Professor Emeritus, Chicano/a Studies, San Diego State University
Dr. Alberto M. Ochoa, Chair, San Diego County Latino Coalition on Education
Dr. Edward M. Olivos, President, Greater San Diego CABE
Joe Wainio, Teacher, San Diego Unified School District
Dr. Jesús Nieto, Associate Professor, Teacher Education, San Diego State University
Ernie McCray, (Retired) Principal, San Diego Unified School District
Dr. Maria Nieto-Senour, Professor, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, San Diego State University
Frank Lucero, Teacher, San Diego Unified School District
Dr. Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Assistant Professor, Department of Policy Studies (PLC), San Diego State University
Dr. Evangelina Bustamante Jones, Professor, Department of Policy Studies (PLC), San Diego State University
(Affiliations for identification purposes only)

La Prensa Disappoints Mitz Lee Supporter

Your thoughtful editorial on the state of our public schools fell apart at the end with your list of endorsements. There is a broad field of candidates and some are more devoted to themselves than to the children of San Diego. In its District A endorsement, La Prensa failed to make that distinction.

Of all candidates, Mitz Lee is the most intelligent, the most experienced, the toughest-minded and the most qualified person, but she failed to get the nod from La Prensa. I am sorry for that.

I have known Mitz Lee since I first ran for the Board of Education in 996. Mitz Lee has worked tirelessly for high academic standards, for attention to the children with special needs (including the plight of our many English Language Learners) and for a rich comprehensive curriculum in our school. She is a fiscal watchdog. She believes in due process, openness, a strong Board of Education and genuine community involvement in establishing local educational policy.

For me, while so many others were silent, wishy-washy or fawning in the face of Alan Bersin and his Establishment chums who would use our community and our children as a laboratory experiment for self-serving ideas about education based on a “business model,” Mitz Lee has been a philosophical ally and helpful friend for the last eight years.

La Prensa disappoints me by failing to endorse highly qualified School Board candidate Mitz Lee.

Frances O’Neil Zimmerman
Member, Board of Education
District A

Bush’s War on Families

I oppose Bush’s proposed amendment to the Consitution of the United States. I have one simple question for him and those who believe that same-sex marriage will “destroy the institution of marriage: “How?”

Jorge Huerta, Ph.D
San Diego

Reading La Prensa leads to a lifetime of fullfillment

Approximately 20 years ago, I was perusing your paper, when much to my surprise, I saw an employment ad written in Spanish, for positions with the Calif. Dept. of Corrections. Similar ads were mysteriously absent from the english language papers in San Diego at the time. I applied, gained employment and am now happily retired.

I write to make the following point: Had I not been trying to improve myself by learning Spanish, I would probably not obtained employment at that time. The power of the press manifests itself in many ways. I do not always agree with viewpoints in your paper; however, the quality of it is never in question! Thanks again for your paper!

Anglo estudiante de Espanol.

Mike Stein.

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