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S.D. Schools Brace For Budget Cuts

Audio

Aired 1/22/10

San Diego's public schools brace for more cuts while some local districts leave federal funding on the table. Why is San Diego Unified School District the only big California city school district not applying for the federal grant?

GLORIA PENNER (Host): This is a rough time for school districts throughout the state. Funds from a financially troubled California have been cut and cut again. So school boards must come up with leaner and leaner budgets, which means larger class sizes, smaller staffs, and limited programs.

Guests:

Alan Ray, senior editor KPBS

JW August, Managing Editor 10News

Scott Lewis, CEO voiceofsandiego.org

Comments

Avatar for user 'Melovechocolate'

Melovechocolate | January 22, 2010 at 11:18 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

(Part 2)
My son's grade had TWO children that were *3* (THREE!!!) grade levels below reading level in his class. They A) were not english learners, and B) spoke english FLUENTLY (I met them)--so there's *no* alibi there..THAT is unacceptable and is exactly what is driving California to the bottom of the list nationwide--we're at *the bottom**!! I find that completely unacceptable--and THAT is why I took my son out of public school after a little less than TWO months in the system---and I can whole heartedly say I gave it my best shot AND tried to help. *NOBODY* should have to "fight" for the "good" teacher and for a "good" education and avoid the "bad" teacher--they should ALL be excellent, and if not, the school district needs to provide training--after all, we will be paying their pensions, at least give our kids an excellent education. And now, if you want to run for office, you better have enough money, because a powerful local company may be helping out the other guy's campaign (thank you Judge Roberts)---AAARRGH I'm so worked up..Anyway--that's my rant!

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Avatar for user 'Melovechocolate'

Melovechocolate | January 22, 2010 at 11:19 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

was listening to this segment and didn't want to call in because Gloria Penner mentioned they were running short on time;I happen to have a lot to say..! I absolutely agree with most (all?) of the panelists that were on the show with the idea that the San Diego School District is *ABSOLUTELY* pro-teachers, and kids are not the top of their list. I am in north county and that culture/philosophy runs all the way up the county. I decided to enroll my child into one of the most high scoring public elementary schools in my district and in the county(high API,small classes, small school, high parent participation), and was incredibly disappointed. Thinking that I was making a good decision based on all the positive points (the school had even been a blue ribbon 1-2 years ago, which means they had consistently improved), I put in a TRANSFER to go to this specific school, because our corresponding district school had a lower score. To my surprise, the teacher had no intention other than "meeting expectations", and doing what the school expects of her--nothing more, nothing less. We wanted more of a challenge for our child, showed her scores from our previous private school, and had our child tested at a well-respected tutoring/learning center, where it was proven he was above average and needed a bit more of a challenge. I was proactive and said I would be MORE than willing to help her in class implement programs, help kids, etc. I can cite several instances to prove my point, but the point is that if you want a good teacher, you have to play politics and try and be among the first to get the best teacher--the rest of us are screwed. Now, if you get one of the best teachers, you have to play the whole politics game all over again the following year--and the next, and the next...Why? Because there is no way to get rid of teachers who are not keeping up with expectations (and that doesn't mean you must "teach to the test") and cannot be fired for unacceptable results/behavior (my friend told me of her daughter's teacher who was putting on the TV--REGULAR TV--not even educational!!! while she went on taking care of some personal business), and cannot be fired if he/she doesn't try to improve/change their teaching methods/style. Not to mention that the school district, made up of mostly teachers (where are the parent representatives?? A regular parent candidate can't attend PTA meetings to speak, but the incumbents can, and they can also support one of their candidates) are afraid to implement new methods, even if they've been proven to work. Then there are the book publishers that push their textbooks and offer some form of compensation when you choose their textbooks instead of one that is actually *GOOD*. (End of part 1)

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Avatar for user 'The0ne'

The0ne | January 25, 2010 at 8:07 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

I think the idea of "race to the top" and having performance tie to teachers is only going to worsen situations and relationship. In all honesty, the only reason that I think it will fail is because teachers are difficult to change and/or be remove due to incompetence and/or lack of performance. Here are a few questions to ask yourself,

1. If students are not learning as well and the teacher is severely lacking in the tools, knowledge, experience, or what have you to properly prepare the students what is going to happen? Answer: absolutely nothing.

2. What if the teacher is a good teacher but the student is having a hard time and/or misbehaving because of outside influences (family, friends, drugs, etc.). Answer: abosolutely nothing. Hardly anything is being done now, what's change to make one think otherwise, especially for San Diego when they decided not to opt for not applying for the fund.

3. How will anyone know the actual performance of the teacher and students? Answer: no one. Unless teachers and students are closely monitor no one is going to have a good answer to justify when things go bad or good.

We've all gone through various stages of schooling and we all know there are bad and good teachers. Students who wish to do well will always want the teachers they KNOW can provide them the education they want. Students who don't care don't care and most likely will opt out of the same class of the "smarter" students. This hasn't change in years and will not change any time soon. I don't have the answer to this but this will prevent Race to the Top to succeed.

One of the worst scenarios is when students are just tossed into classes that they neither want or need. I fought tooth and nail with my younger brothers counselor about him being in classes such as cooking, career planning, alegebra, computer, and so forth and had none of the essential classes like English, higher math courses, Science like Biology or Chemistry, History and the like. How the hell do you expect him to succeed when you don't even place him in proper classes to prepare him for college? Instead they are expecting him to fail and are giving him classes in which to help with finding a job afterward. What sick thinking are these counselors be taught. I seriously believe these people have no common sense to even begin counseling and guiding students.

I failed of course as she vehemently tossed me out of her office when she couldn't answer my questions about having my brother be prepared. He's taken Algebra twice already and should be in Calculus. Why would the counselor continue to give him Alegebra over and over simply because classes were full? That was her reason for putting students like my brother in pathetic nonsense classes, because classes were full.

IMO, school fail at properly preparing the students. There is absolutely no question about that.

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