May 6, 2005

Editorial

Alan Bersin Selected to Serve on the State Board of Education

The selection of Alan Bersin , to serve as State Education Secretary, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is viewed as a slap in the face to all of those whose lives were impacted by his actions during his tenure, as the Superintendent of San Diego City Schools. For the Hispanic and Minority communities this appointment is particularly hard to accept.

Least we forget, Bersin was not hired for his educational acumen. He was a Lawyer! He was not an educator! He did not have Professional Degree in the field of Education. He had no experience whatsoever in the field of Education. Mr. Bersin was hired by a Board of Trustees, which was dominated by members of the GOP (Grand Old Party) (Republican). Actually the San Diego power structure, the Chamber of Commerce, the Business community and Republican Party elected officials, help foist Mr. Bersin upon the community. There was little or no input from those most affected: the parents of the students, the teachers, the Administrators, and the large minority community affected.

The apparent sole purpose was to clear the way for Anthony Alvarado and his “Blueprint for Student Success” which would somehow educate all the minority students. This East Coast program supposedly would solve all the problems associated with educating our minority students!

Mr. Bersin was a bureaucrat, who had spent much of his career dealing in the quasi- public agency as US Attorney for San Diego. He became better known as the first “Border Czar” for promoting major Border Patrol operations. Mr. Bersin brought his “Border Czar” attitude to his job as Superintendent of City Schools. He was a political appointee to serve political ends. Little of which had to do with providing our children with an education! The community that suffered the most was the children of the Hispanic, Black, Oriental, and working class Anglo Americans.

The issues were many and varied from the demotion and/or firing of Hispanic school Principals, who had successful track records and were adored by the school’s community. They were replaced by non-Hispanic, non-Spanish speaking Principals, despite parent protest. And the most egregious result, of Bersin’s tenure, was the lack of parental participation with their local schools and the derogation they experienced at School Board meetings. Parent participation was discouraged; funds and programs that served the Minority community were eliminated or pared down. Parents became disillusioned, and were turned against the Blueprint for Student Success.” It was a colossal failure.

The students suffered irreparable harm to their education. Teacher backlash soon followed! Bersin and the Blueprint were in trouble and never gained the support of the professional Educators nor the parents support. The “packed” Board of Trustees managed to keep Bersin in office until his situation became intolerable. With near anarchy, a strong coalition of teachers, parents, administrators, and assistance by an alarmed public, the old Board of Trustees was disposed. He was given his richly deserved walking papers.

Never to fear however, in real life, there will always be a politician that stands ready to bail out a discredited member of the Grand Old Party, no matter how many more children are hurt in the process. Mr. Bersin will be rewarded for the untold damage he has wrought with the children who were trapped within the San Diego Unified School System. Mr. Bersin was rewarded, by our movie star Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with a statewide position, as the Statewide Education Secretary!

In politics you are known by your appointees. So far, the current Governor is not doing too well.

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