October 26, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

State needs to come to the aid of the City Schools

What does it take to prop up the Superintendent of San Diego City Schools? For starters, two elusive multi-million dollar education consultants from New York and Pennsylvania who choose our academic programs, two highly paid retired admirals to manage the financial and busness affairs of the district, numerous "consultants" and "trainers" from far and away (evidenced by the budget approvals from the consent calendar), and outside legal consultants to manage contracts and defend the public (schools) against lawsuits filed by parents.

Even with expenditures of millions and a compliant 3/2 board, the Superintendent is in trouble because of falling test scores (especially minority and underprivileged students), massively overcrowded schools, disenfranchised parents and teachers, woefully inadequate public process and academic programs that fall far below the State Academic Framework. Now, the Superintendent needs the City Council, Mayor and well-healed friends of "Al" to prop him up further. Preposterous, we don't need more politics.

San Diego's leaders should join parents in asking the California Department of Education to come to our aid. We need an independent financial audit, academic programs that comply with State standards, and processes inclusive of parents and teachers. If the state of public school management is so bad, maybe we should have the aid of the State?

Jan Selberg
Scripps Ranch
Member of San Diego Unified PTA Council

Time to find a new Superintendent and Board

Reports that Mayor Dick Murphy is being pushed by "well-heeled consitituents" to fix the "fractured" San Diego School Board. Why?

Think about it, here is a man who is mayor of a city that, according to docomentation, is home to a school system that is shameful and un-American, and he has not uttered a word. Our school system is characterized by its cold disrespectful nature, by its total disregard for input from the children and families it serves, and by its disdain for creativity _ and Dick Murphy hasn't felt a call to duty.

I think our "civic leaders" should ask themselves why they are so blindly devoted to Alan Bersin, the superintendent, and his puppet board members who deliver for him, unconditionally, three votes no matter what.

I mean, Alan Bersin and his puppets set the tone wherein a board president could fantasize shooting her colleagues. Is this the atmosphere at our civic leaders' workplaces?

Alan Bersin and his puppets set the tone wherein grants written by and for a community of people, like in Sherman Heights, could be diverted by them into other accounts. Is this a way of life in our civic leaders' firms?

Alan Bersin and his puppets set the tone wherein there is never any debate about issues close to people's hearts and souls, where those in charge not only create the vision but also direct, step by setp, just how the vision is to be realized. Is this the business approach that we hear so much about?

The point is, if the movers and shakes would delve into the muck, the No Confidence votes, the dismally low morale throughout the school system, the acrimony inherent in the Board of Education, they would find, at the very core of the mess, their boy, Superintendent Alan Bersin, and his three puppets.

And it is excusable that tey would, at a time when our nation is at war, supposedly over making the world safe for democracy and liberty, even consider trying to keep afloat a grossly insensitive dictatorship, San Diego City Schools, a school system that flies in the face of the very principles upon which our country is built.

For the welfare of our children these people should set about the task of finding a superintendent of schools and a board who listen attentively and respect differing ideas and who, in pursuing a vision, seek ways to bring everyone to the table in some way so that the learning experiences of our children are relevant and enriching.

Ernie McCray
San Diego

Braun should resign

It is interesting to see how catchy terms become frequently and often times over-used. Such terms have recently surfaced to identify the operation and disposition of our S.D.C.S school board, i.e. dysfunctional and lack of civility.

It is unfair to state, "The needs of children have been overtaken by petty, ill-tempered squabbling." that is an irresponsible, irrational, and ignorant appraisal of the school board's public discussion that oftentimes appear to be a debate.

One needs only to know the underlying facts that bring about such superficial demonstrations by board members. The discussions are controlled but the oral responses from the audiences come as a rsult the unfair tactics used by three rubber-stamping board members causing the parents in the audience to feel disfranchised. Most of them feel cheated and without representation.

Mrs Braun's resignation from the board should open avenues for better rapport at board meetings and for making the superintendent more accountable in school affairs.

August L. Castille, Sr.
San Diego

Time for community to take back their schools

Now is the time for the communities of San Diego to take back their schools. Now is the time for leaders to emerge and to guide the people:

1. Recall Ottinger and Lopez. Write recall petitions. Do info and voter registration grassroots before filing petitions. Petitions must put recall vote in spring primary vote (save taxpayers a lot of money and also provide for election of board members at the same time).

Since Ottinger and Lopez have failed to represent their communities, communities of Latino and African American people, these communities must unite for their children and work together. The real leaders of these communities must show how Ottinger and Lopez have failed to act in the best interest of the children and how their actions have actually harmed the children.

2. Protest plans to have the city government take over SDCS.

3. Encourage teachers at all schools to talk about converting to charter schools like La Jolla High School is doing.

4. Demand the disbanding of the Institute for Learning and return all funds for Title 1 and staff development to the schools and let the teachers, parents and community leaders decide how to help their kids learn best.

5. Boycott all district focus groups, parent congresses, or whatever they call them. They pretend that these give the people a hand in decisions, but the decisions are always already made.

Ron Acosta
San Diego

Crenshaw overstepping candidate boundaries

Who does Dwayne Crenshaw think he is to recommend to Mayor Murphy that he appoint a "Blue Ribbon Pannel" to oversee SDUSD? Since when does a candidate have such authority? We all can see that he is grandstanding and sucking up at the same time. If he were at all serious, he would be calling for the Attorney General and FBI to investigate the misdeeds and corruption of the SDUSD. For an investigation to carry any weight, the investigating entity must have the power to prosecute. If Candidate Crenshaw doesn't comprehend this by now, maybe he isn't quite as qualified for the City Council as he imagines he is.

Henry Palma
Chula Vista

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