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Grier Says Critics Living in District’s “Rear-View Mirror”

Audio

Aired 8/26/09

San Diego Unified School Superintendent Terry Grier says the district needs to stop living in the past in order to help struggling students today and in the future. He says that's one reason why Houston’s job offer is more attractive than staying in San Diego.

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Above: Reporter Ana Tintocalis discussed the impact to the San Diego Unified School District if Superintendent Grier leaves.

— San Diego Unified School Superintendent Terry Grier says the district needs to stop living in the past in order to help struggling students today and in the future. He says that's one reason why Houston’s job offer is more attractive than staying in San Diego.

Grier, speaking on KPBS Radio's These Days program, says San Diego Unified is too focused on the needs of adults, not children. While he doesn't elaborate much, Grier does say some San Diego school board members and teachers union leaders have been more concerned with blocking his district-wide reforms because they're similar to those pushed by former superintendent Alan Bersin.

Bersin was hated by union leaders and some trustees because of his top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education.

Grier says adults in San Diego Unified are spending too much time living in the district's "rear-view mirror."

“It's good to have a historical perspective, you certainly don't want to make mistakes, but hope is tomorrow and the future,” Grier said. “Hope is not in yester-years. Our teacher organization, they’ve got to get over Alan Bersin at some point in time.”

School trustee Shelia Jackson says today's San Diego school board does put kids first, but simply has a different approach to education reform compared to Grier. She says different schools need different reforms -- and those reforms should be tested and talked about with teachers and parents before they're implemented.

Comments

Avatar for user 'paulmbowers'

paulmbowers | August 27, 2009 at 9 a.m. ― 4 years, 12 months ago

Shelia's wrong- the deck chairs on the Titanic do not need to be rearranged according to each individual schools need. That's ignoring that SDUSD is on the far trailing edge (is it 37th in the nation?) in education in the US, not to mention the world, by which our children will be measured. How about we fix the cause of the sinking ship first, then we can talk about the details?

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Avatar for user 'sdteacher'

sdteacher | August 27, 2009 at 11:54 a.m. ― 4 years, 12 months ago

Poor analogy (i.e., Titanic). What is wrong is treating our students like chattel like many reformers tend to do. The best example of this was the Bersin Blueprint (one size fits all). I challenge you to visit schools throughout the SDUSD and see how diverse the needs are in this district. For that matter, visit any classroom and see the unique learning needs that are resident. You will typically have mainstream students mixed with English language learners and special needs students (learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, physically challenged). What data are you referring to when you suggest we a trailing behind the world? I am quite impressed with the number of high school students who are seeking post secondary education. Let's stop criticizing our education system without first understanding the unique challenges that face our schools.

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