Democrats have ruined California.
I'm very sorry Democrats, but you are going to have to face the facts.
California used to be heralded for its education.
I remember when college tuition to CA state schools was like 1,000 dollars or so for in state residents. Who remembers that? I lived in Maine and considered moving out here and gaining residency because of it. I'm sure many people did, actually.
So, what the heck happened?
Well, Democrats. I hate to say it.
I know that it is really hard to acknowledge things sometimes. Cindy Marten's appointment by Joe Biden is something that many San Diego Unified Employees want to feel proud of. It is human nature to want the recognition of our employer by the new administration to reflect well on our hard work and dedication...but here's the thing...
She hasn't been working very well for you. You're overworked, frustrated, tired and confused because of the incompetent leadership and dysfunctional relationship between San Diego Education Association and the District Office.
SDUSD under Cindy Marten's leadership has continued to fail Non-Native English Speaking students and minority students that live in communities south of the 8. She was elected in a closed door session by the School Board, who is able to directly select their School Board members by spending Campaign Dollars to promote this person's campaign, so they stand out. If a candidate is backed by the Teacher's Union, generally people just vote for them because they're not really involved and the name becomes familiar through the media.
Some people pay attention, most do not.
Cindy hadn't even been a principal of a High School when she was hired, so if you looked at her experience on a resume and then looked at the job requirements of being a superintendent, it would appear that she was inexperienced and extremely under-qualified to perform the duties of this type of job.
At the time, the budget in California was already struggling, so around 2013-2015, teachers were getting pinked slipped who had up to 9 years of tenure. It was crazy, but the union was still pressing for pay raises that the district couldn't afford, but Cindy approved anyway and yatta yatta. Around this time, she had hired 33 teachers for an ESL program, which she then made the executive decision to abandon, so she could save money by moving these 33 English as a Second Language teachers into regular classroom positions.
Then, in 2016 Prop 58 passed in California, lifting a many year ban on Dual Language instruction for public schools. The Assembly Bill for this Proposition offered 3 years of grant funding for schools incorporating these programs, so of course, many Dual Language programs began to open around the county and state.
This caused a surge in need for teachers with Dual Language Authorization, so it made it difficult for English only teachers like myself, who were boxed out from state budget deficits first because we were now being boxed out by Bilingual teachers, which was not THEIR fault, it was circumstantial and unfortunate because the district offered first year hires of Dual Language teachers, a first year permanent contract, while educators like myself fell into this vortex of uncertainty and upheaval called Leave Replacement Teachers, which is a whole different can of worms regarding equity and teacher inconsistency in low-income communities...but that's not my point.
While this transition towards a more dual-language model of education was being focused on, students not enrolled in these programs were not really being provided explicit instruction in English Language Development like they were before and the state caught on in 2019 and found SDUSD out of compliance.
My research has led me to believe that historically, non-native English speaking immigrant families want their children to learn English as quickly as possible. The fastest way of doing this is to immerse them in English, while also doing some pull outwork for language development. Since pullout is considered segregation, that got deemed unacceptable, but dual-immersion was INTEGRATED, so not racist or something. I don't know. We're all so sensitive these days about everything, it's hard to know when things become overly complicated.
Basically, the thought was that English speaking students could be mixed with non-English speaking students and act like tutors for one another in a dual-immersion setting. Now, I am going to try and say this as lightly as I can, but in general, the families that choice into this Dual Immersion models are English speaking, middle class families who want their child to be bilingual because they see the benefits, of course. I see these programs as an unintentional way of the privileged staying privileged, in the name of helping the under-privileged and here is why.
Non-native speaking students who come to learn English, have a natural advantage for being bilingual that has helped level the playing field, kind of organically I guess you could say. If we take that away from them, it's kind of like lending a hand to pull them up, but still staying on top, not next to one another, but that's just me. It's like we didn't pay attention to how this natural advantage has assisted in the advancement of equal opportunity and now we might be taking it away.
I have said, "equity is not middle class families capitalizing on non-native speaking minority children, so that their privileged English speaking children can remain one step ahead." It's a very blunt way of looking at dual-immersion programs as unintentionally cancelling a natural social leveling device.
I also noticed that dual immersion might be unknowingly filtering out the NEEDIEST students and grouping them together and I wonder, is this why the program looks so successfully? Because a majority of the students who are struggling learners are eventually filtered into English only programs? Statistics lie.
Those with learning or behavior challenges who were not thriving in the Dual Language setting were removed and placed into English Only programs. I argued that it was part of the reason I had 12 students with special education plans, 2 more I thought would qualify and a handful of behavioral issues. It was nearly half my class and no Dual-Immersion class at the same school, even came close and it was twice the limit our collective bargaining agreement deemed unfair, which is a 20% IEP ratio. My ratio was 39%-45% including the 2 students I was unable to bring to team because of the pandemic. This interrupted more class time for IEP meetings, more coordination of schedules for their support services...the burden was huge. Unmanageable. Burn-out status, because I was destined to fail and that was a really horrible feeling. Imagine being a teacher trying her hardest and knowing deep down that you had the odds stacked against you to fail? It doesn’t really motivate you after awhile and it becomes more of an issue of self preservation than it does about meeting job performance goals.
The students that had been moved out of Dual-Immersion were either moved after kindergarten or later because they were not only not thriving. The students moved later than kindergarten came to the English Only department having not been taught to read or write in English for the first few years of school, because that's not how things are done in a 90/10 dual language model. So, imagine how hard my job was...it was so hard and I got so frustrated for not being heard by my admin and with the district for not being fair to leave replacement teachers and the union for not giving a rats ass about new teachers that I decided to speak up and start telling everyone the truth about what was going on...
...and nobody liked it...but you know what?
I’m not wrong and I’m glad I stood up for myself. I feel sorry that it caused relationships with coworkers to be broken, but they hurt me because they did not support me. They did not want to hear the truth because it didn’t present the efforts of their labor in a good light.
The truth sucks, sometimes. It hurts, but it must be told
My question about dual immersion programs was if they were equitable or if they were all the things I stated before and accidentally causing a Disparate Impact for the neediest of students that placed them in a situation for grossly ineffective teaching to occur, such as a class inundated with behavior problems and IEPs desperate to adhere to scheduling, enrichment and test prep protocols of the middle class PTA supported dual-immersion program.
I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t enrich AND test prep AND remidate AND attend all the meetings AND maintain Safety Patrol and ASB and School Site Council and carve out time for ELD. I'm a good teacher and the situation was completely overwhelming, it wasn’t fair. I was a leave replacement teacher with more responsibilities than the permanent contracted dual immersion teachers who had more parent support!
Did I get recognized for teacher of the year? YES, of course I did...because I AM a good teacher...only this recognition was more of an acknowledgement for “being really great at hanging in there and you work hard” and not, “wow, you have done something exceptionally well and we respect your expertise” because nobody took my pleads for social emotional learning to be taught explicitly as part of the curriculum. My concern over technology safety were slightly more well received, but these were all things I saw coming and it was very frustrating for me to feel so unheard, because look what happened.
I like to joke that I was relieved the pandemic came because I had no idea, what-so-ever how I was going to get through to the end of the year. It also made the whole situation feel slightly better, since at least I knew in my heart I tried and was right.
Getting back to the issue of English Language Development and District Leadership, when the district got in trouble, they put extra pressure on the teachers because the District got nailed by the state for not spending enough money on English Language programs and for not reclassifying students as English proficient as quickly as they're supposed to be.
SO, Designated English Language Development got funneled down to the administrators and teachers, as if it was OUR problem that these students weren't reclassifying. (*HINT* It wasn't the administrator's or the teacher's problem. It was the mismanagement of the Office of Language Acquisition and its programs within the district office and poor Budgeting decisions by Cindy Marten. Bad, bad leadership decisions.
They failed to provide adequate resources, professional development and materials between 2014-2019 or so).
How can this happen in a border city? The 8th largest school district in the country whose superintendent was selected to work in Washington, DC for God only knows why...Why did these Non-Native Speaking students get failed?
Well, because there wasn't enough money to go around, so, Cindy Marten had a decision to make about where to cut.
Could she cut from teachers?
Nope, they're loud.
Could she cut form high income neighborhoods?
Nope, they're loud.
Where could she cut? Where could she cut?
Could she cut from Non-native English speaking families?
Most of their families don't speak English and they don't know the laws. They probably won’t say much, we can barely get them involved anyway.
Alright sounds good, let's cut the ESL program and depend on the success of the Dual Immersion programs that are funded by Grants, as a distraction.
This is how it happened. In 2013, the Local Control Funding Formula or LCFF was passed by the Legislature and it was supposed to make it seem easier for federal funds to be directed and allocated in a way that would support the students it was meant to supplement, title 1 and non-native English speaking students. Now, I am not looking at my notes for this, forgive me if I refer to the wrong federal statute, but these particular students are protected by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The Local Control Funding Formula gave the school districts and administrators more leeway for how they were spending those funds for students. More leeway translates to less accountability. Less accountability means these funds can trickle into areas that do not directly follow the protected student.
BUMP, bump, bummmm.
Insert, financial free for all that's almost impossible to keep track of effectively and minority students being disenfranchised from their constitutional right.
Just here in Clairemont alone, the former principal of Madison High School was spending Title 1 funds on items that were not directly supporting students, like office furniture. This all documented in a court case. I am not certain if the details, but what I gather is she wound up being forced to retire early over this controversy, but then guess what?
It's really weird what happened...she got rehired to the district office. I don't know why and I really don't know the details and we don't need to waste our time on it anyway, the point is just that, we ALL need to come to terms with how mismanaged and corrupted San Diego Unified School District, the San Diego Unified School Board and the San Diego Education Association has been, WITHOUT taking any personal offense, so long as you know, you've been doing an amazing job and colleagues of yours that you know have been doing an amazing job.
If you've been working your tail off, we're not talking about you...in fact, you're probably a victim of this nonsensical School Board, District and Union Leadership fiasco.
Isn't that interesting?
The fact is, regarding Federal Funds that are required to FOLLOW THE STUDENT, the LCFF formula is an utter failure. Schools are receiving money for Title 1 kids, who might end up leaving the district and the money doesn't follow them.
This is partly why Betsy DeVos was talking about Vouchers, because THEN we could be sure the money for Title 1 students that was INTENDED to SUPPLEMENT THEM would follow them to the school that they choose to go.
To be honest, I don’t think school choice is a bad idea. It gives money to the students who deserve it and allows them to making informed choices about the type of education they receive. Public schools don't like that, because it gets complicated when you consider transportation and things like that, so I understand this is, quite literally, not black and white, because it DOES remove opportunities for federal funding to be mismanaged and big, powerful districts getting away with it.
That's the issue in a nutshell.
The National Education Association is a major Federal Democratic Lobby.
The California Teacher's Association is a major California State Legislative Democratic Lobby.
The CTA lobbied for LCFF to pass.
San Diego Education Association is a branch of the CTA and thus heavily Democratic, who use campaign contributions to back local School Board candidates that they decide.
Local School Board Candidates select the San Diego Unified School District Leadership roles.
The San Diego Unified School District Leadership roles make administrative decisions.
and the Teachers and Students are the Victims of a system heavily corrupted and heavily influenced by the Democratic Political Party.
I won't even begin writing about my experience with SDEA or the CTA Union Mafia, when all I did was share information about the legal rights of Union Members offered through the 2018 case Janus vs. AFCSME and hinted that the National Education Association might be unconstitutional because education is NOT mentioned in the Constitution and that power was lent to the State in the 10th amendment. I just wondered if it was odd to have a national association when Education is technically not supposed to be handled at the federal level. Only the Equal Rights of the students is....
Hmpf, food for thought there, isn't it?
Until you make it to the end of my posts again. Please do your homework.