Sunday, December 16, 2007

Academic honesty policies are a joke compared to deep corruption at top of education system

Grade tampering is just the tip of the iceberg of school corruption

San Diego Union Tribune Columnist Gerry Braun wrote on December 16, 2007, "It's only appropriate, then, to award a big "F/U" to whoever is responsible for the unconscionable failure of ethics at the Preuss charter school [a public high school at UCSD]...Frankly, I'm not optimistic that justice will be served...Victoria Munoz Richart transformed her bumbling tenure as president of MiraCosta College into a pot of gold, a $1.6 million severance package."

San Diego County Office of Education-Joint Powers Authority deserves an F/U for its dishonesty policy. The SDCOE-JPA is administered by Superintendent Randolph Ward and his assistant superintendent Lora Duzyk. They have seen fit to keep Diane Crosier as director of the JPA, even though they have long known that Crosier keeps unethical lawyers on her approved lists of lawyers. Crosier helps her insurance broker Keenan and Associates make money by short-circuiting the justice system to help school districts get away with wrongdoing.

Compared to this, the big brouhaha of changed grades at UCSD's Preuss School seems like child's play to me.

The real scandal in schools is not the grades that are given, but the fact that so few students get a good education. With insurance companies, bogus repackaged education program businesses, and conservative religious leaders on the right, teachers unions on the left, and politicians on the right and left jockeying for personal power, the entire system is at a complete standstill.

Former "Principal of the Year" Doris Alvarez is apparently the unethical administrator in the Preuss grade scandal, but I don't think she's any less ethical than many other popular principals.

One of the straightest paths to popularity in school administration is to be a people pleaser, especially to people higher up than you. Personal politics is one of the driving forces in education.

The cure? A lot more openness and honesty. Especially when required by a court of law, SDCOE-JPA lawyers need to start revealing the truth about what's happening in schools. Instead, they hide behind the stone wall set up by SDCOE, insurance companies, and school districts. Sadly, this stone wall is respected by the California state courts, whose judges, particularly in the court of appeal, think schools should not have to answer to the law.

This arbitrary power is the enemy of a meritocracy, and is one of the reasons that schools are not meritocracies, but rather political arenas where far too many teachers, administrators, and board members spend their time jockeying for money and personal power instead of honestly dealing with problems.

San Diego County's school system needs to get rid of Diane Crosier and her stable of lawyers and school superintendents who ignore the law.

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