Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Links for VUSD stories

District: Vista Unified has spent about half its bond money
March 12, 2005
North County Times

VISTA ---- The Vista Unified School District has spent about half of the money it raised three years ago through a $140 million construction bond, but enough cash remains to build a controversial high school campus near Highway 76, officials said last week.

The $140 million bond, dubbed Proposition O, was to be teamed with $104 million from the state, giving the district $244 million to build nine campuses, renovate 10 aging schools and make physical improvements to the district's other 14 schools...

Jerry McLeod opposed sweetheart deal at Vista USD

I was pleased to hear from Jerry McLeod in relation to this post about the Vista Unified School District sweetheart deal:

"As a current member of the VUSD BOC I naturally take interest in any and all posts regarding the District and taxpayers' wasted funds.

"First, of the six names listed I am the only one still serving because of term limits. My term expires as of 6/30/09.

"My wife and I sued the VUSD for not following the list of projects as promised to the voters but our suit was dismissed because of a statute of limitations decision by the Superior Court. Our appeal to both the Appeals and State Supreme Courts were not granted.

"Let's just say that the taxpayers did get ripped off. I am available for questions."

Jerry McLeod
jerry_ann@cox.net 760-940-1151

Are education reformers bad Democrats? Challengers at DNC convention confront teachers union

More and more Democrats are starting to challenge the National Education Association and other teacher unions for standing in the way of education reform.

Union Tensions at DNC
by Michele McNeil
Education Week

The education event that followed the NEA luncheon showed the growing tensions within the Democratic Party over school reform, and the role of teachers’ unions.

Though it’s no surprise an event sponsored by the Democrats for Education Reform would have a slight anti-union message; many of the speakers at the event took several shots at unions during the press conference announcing the Education Equality Project in June.

Today, the sentiment was strong and persistent at standing-room-only, three-hour forum called Ed Challenge for Change. In fact, some of the big-city mayors who participated predicted that had such a forum been held four years ago, a mere five souls would have showed.

Here at the Denver Art Museum, Democratic mayors from Newark, N.J., Washington D.C., and Denver joined education reform darlings including New York City’s Joel Klein and Washington D.C.’s Michelle Rhee. The group was referred to as the “misfits” of the Democratic Party by DFER's Joe Williams, a nod to their willingness to speak up against the influence of teachers’ unions, which have formed the backbone of the party...

Here's more about NEA and Washington D.C.:

Darcy Burner, Washington D.C.

NEA Throws Darcy Under the Bus, Undermines NEA’s Health Care Agenda
July 22, 2008
by Matt Stoller

The NEA's Washington chapter, the Washington Education Association, just endorsed Republican Dave Reichert for Congress over progressive Democrat Darcy Burner. Now, there are a lot of reasons that organizations endorse, and in this case it's because Reichert has badmouthed unfunded mandates. Reichert has a bad voting record on education, with a 10% rating on education from Progressive Punch. He has among other things voted to gut Head Start and lots and lots of scholarship money, as well as voting down the line with Republicans to gut Federal spending on education. But the NEA's Washington chapter wants a Republican in their pocket, so they are throwing Darcy Burner under the bus...

The Vista Unified School District sweetheart deal

"Instead of building a new school for Vista students, they bought trailers and called them the schools of the future, “modular” buildings. These overpriced modular buildings had leaky windows and roofs. Mike Vail claimed “stick built” permanent structures buildings were a thing of the past."

I think this anonymous comment is interesting enough to deserve a post of its own. Below is the (almost) complete text, slightly edited. The original comment can be found under my post "Accelerated Charter School defaults on loan from taxpayers."

"VUSD recently built a over 40-million charter school for Guajome Park Academy with Prop. O Bond money.

"The Vista Unified School District was supposed to build a high school for students of the Vista Unified School District which VUSD two high schools house over 2,500 each. As it turns out VUSD built a 40- million campus for Guajome Park Academy. Guajome Park Academy student population comes from all over the county of San Diego.

"The VUSD did not build a high school for the students of VUSD. The taxpayers are stuck will the tab, literally millions and million of dollars are unaccounted for and so what happened here?

"Former Superintendent Dave Cowles, former facilities right-hand man Mike Veil, Former President of the Board David Hubbard, former leaders of the Vista Teacher Association and some of the leaders from Guajome Park Academy worked on the project, which was defended by Best Best and Krieger attorney Dina Harris.

"What actually took place is that the VUSD established a Citizens Oversight Committee. This Oversight Committee had members with conflicting interests. They all seemed to be connected in one way or another. Even Guajome Park Academy had their very own Administratior/teacher/501C3 holder/and Board of Directors for Guajome Park Academy named Beverly Kanawi. Kanawi was listed on the list of Oversight Committee members as a “community member,” but so where the rest of the folks in this committee.

See North County Times.

"The members of the Oversight Committee never seem to have filed any FFPC forms 700 or IRS 990’s. Many of the members were friends with the developers, and some VTA/PTA members of the Oversight Committee had their own construction companies. Here is the sweet heart deal you get your friends to bid for a job (school building) and make sure you bid LOW so that you get the contract. Once you get the contract you jack-up the price 2 or three times above the original bid.

"The taxpayers are left holding the bag!

"These folks happily fleeced the taxpayers and left with happy faces and a lot of cash.

"Instead of building a new school for Vista students, they bought trailers and called them the schools of the future, “modular” buildings. These overpriced modular buildings had leaky windows and roofs. Mike Vail claimed “stick built” permanent structures buildings were a thing of the past.

"However Guajome Park Academy Charter School got an award winning building while the Vista Unified students got the shaft and the taxpayers got fleeced."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Accelerated Charter School defaults on loan from taxpayers

I did not know about Accelerated Charter Schools in Los Angeles until I found out yesterday that CVESD's own superintendent Lowell Billings in on the board, and had apparently helped CVESD trustee Patrick Judd get a job there as a consultant. What's Billings doing on a Los Angeles board? And why did he bring the backward-looking Judd to a school that presents itself as reform-minded?

From Schools Matter blog
January 09, 2007
Accelerated Charter School Puts Brakes on Repayment of $10 Million Loan From L.A.Taxpayers

The edu-business world is making a killing from corporate welfare payments and easy-pay or no-pay loans from city and state officials across the country who are bilking taxpayers as a part of the charter school revolution. Here's a great example of one sweetheart deal that has come to light in California. Some clips:

A nationally recognized charter school in South Los Angeles has defaulted on a $9.9 million loan extended by the Los Angeles Unified School District using voter-approved bond funds, documents and interviews show.

Did Accelerated Charter School in LA bilk the taxpayers?

Los Angeles Times
Suit targets charter school deal
By Joel Rubin and Evelyn Larrubia
February 24, 2007

Seven years ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District joined with a charter school to build a sparkling new campus in South Los Angeles. The deal, using public funds and private donations, was hailed as an ideal partnership.

But that transaction is coming under scrutiny. Several individuals from the Accelerated School and the school district were named in a lawsuit this week alleging improper use of state school construction funds.

Among those named in the suit is Accelerated’s co-director, Johnathan Williams, who is running for a seat on the district’s seven-member school board...

Williams could not be reached for comment. But Kevin Sved, who directs and founded the school with Williams, defended the deal to build the school. He had not read the lawsuit, but said lawyers for the school and district had carefully vetted the project at the time.

[Blogger's note: School attorneys are famous for telling school officials exactly what they want to hear. Their job seems to be to help officials get away with whatever they want to do.]

...The lawsuit was filed by Dennis Dockstader... a whistleblower and former teacher,

False-claim suits seek the return of government funds from a person or entity that improperly used or obtained them...In this case, state prosecutors chose to let the suit proceed without their active involvement.

...Dockstader charges in the suit that, among other things, the school project was designed to bilk the state out of $2.8 million it paid the district to help defray the costs of the campus land...The suit argues that the state was defrauded of money for which the school district and Accelerated had no legitimate claim...

Patrick Judd finally hired (after months of looking); Lowell Billings serves board members better than he serves students

Patrick Judd and Lowell Billings: old friendships never die?



Come to The Accelerated School this Tuesday, March 24th from 4-8pm to hear the board make up excuses, Patrick Judd blame everyone else, and perhaps more lawsuits to be filed that day.


For many months school districts all over southern California have been doing Google searches for the mysteriously-retired superintendent Pat Judd of Mountain Empire School District. They all decided against him--except for a small charter school in Los Angeles.

It seems there's always a charter school with interesting board members who will give a job to a guy who has left his job under suspicious circumstances.

Judd is now a consultant at Accelerated Charter School in Los Angeles.

I looked at the school's web page and was taken aback to see that one of the trustees is none other than Lowell Billings, who is superintendent of Chula Vista Elementary School District in San Diego county, where Patrick Judd sits on the board.

What is Lowell Billings doing on the board of a charter school in Los Angeles, you may ask? It turns out that the world of education is a small one, which helps explain a lot of things, including the lack of new ideas.

I was chagrined, but not surprised, to also find that Charles Oppenheim, of the law firm Foley & Lardner, is on the board. Education attorney firms are given huge amounts of money to protect the status quo in education.

Judd is being paid as a consultant, and he's acting the only way he knows how to act: lots of hostility, little insight. Judd once memorably stated that we've known for a hundred years how to educate kids. “We have a traditional model for educating children that’s been around for 100-plus years.” (This quote appeared in the Chula Vista Star-News in 2004.) This is a man firmly planted in the early 1900's. Apparently he hasn't noticed that kids have changed.

Reports have already started coming out of Accelerated Charter School about Patrick Judd's shenanigans.

There is hope for all of us: dictator Mugabe bows to opposition leader

Zimbabwe Opposition Wins Parliament Speaker Post
Voice of America
August 25, 2008

Zimbabwe's main opposition party has won the vote for speaker of parliament, scoring a major victory over President Robert Mugabe...


Zimbabwe: Jeers as Mugabe opens parliament in breach of deal
David Beresford in Johannesburg
The Guardian
August 27 2008

President Robert Mugabe was greeted with boos, jeers and waving fists as he rode to the opening of parliament in an open-top Rolls-Royce yesterday, accompanied by troops with colonial-style pith helmets and lances.

Opposition MPs - who have protested that the Zimbabwe president was in breach of an agreement that parliament would not sit until a power-sharing deal had been brokered - refused to stand on his arrival.

Having to raise his voice to be heard over the jeering in his 30-minute speech, Mugabe once again tried to recover his position by vilifying Britain and the US - accusing them of using food as a "weapon" through sanctions...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Larry Urdahl confused after decision regarding Miramar College instructor Mark Anderson?

Grossmont Union High School Board Member Larry Urdahl recently got a judge to say that a part time college instructor can't call himself a professor. Urdahl did this to help his wife win an election.

But here's the part I don't understand. Mr. Urdahl reacted to the judge's decision by stating John Adams dying words, "Jefferson lives."

I wonder if Mr. Urdahl, who obviously is a big stickler for using words carefully and precisely, is aware that Mr. Jefferson had actually passed away by the time John Adams uttered those words. It sounds as if Urdahl was claiming victory, for himself and for Jefferson, but no, that wouldn't make sense since Adams was incorrect in his statement about Jefferson's victory.

Just to be safe, I recommend voting for Mark Anderson, a part-time instructor at Miramar College. And I recommend that Mr. Urdahl put a bit more effort into using words to clearly communicate his meaning.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox had problems in her earlier job on CVESD board

Recently two employees reported that Chula Vista City Manager David Garcia was looking at inappropriate images on his laptop, and Mayor Cheryl Cox hired an investigator to look into the report. On May 28 she wrote a memo saying the City Council disapproved of Garcia's Internet conduct. Apparently he was downloading images of Pamela Anderson and other hot topics.

This is a far cry from Cox's behavior as a board member of Chula Vista Elementary School District.

In 2001, two employees at CVESD reported that they feared that a fellow teacher would kill them. This sounds a little more serious that downloading images on a laptop, doesn't it?

Cheryl Cox and her fellow board members never investigated.

Why not? Partly because she knew the report was false. But more importantly, she knew that the two teachers from Castle Park Elementary made the report to coverup criminal wrongdoing by the teachers.

Cheryl also wanted to coverup that wrongdoing. Castle Park Elementary has been a mess ever since, going through 11 principals in 11 years.

It seems that stopping an employee from speaking honestly and openly is the common denominator in these situations.

It looks like Cheryl wants to make a mess out of Chula Vista, too. Can we look forward to 11 city managers in 11 years, Cheryl?

Monday, August 18, 2008

When Teachers Abuse Power

When Teachers Abuse Power
by Heather Johnson

Teaching is a noble profession, one that demands a great deal of patience and flexibility. A teacher plays different roles in the lives of students; besides giving them an education, they also act as guides and mentors. Children spend most of their waking hours at school, which is why it’s important for teachers to be accessible to the students not just as educators but also as a friend. While there are some teachers who live in your memory as the ones that did make a huge positive impact, there are others who are remembered for reasons that are both shameful and a disgrace to the field of education as a whole.

Teachers are given a degree of power over the students they teach – they are trusted by both the school authorities and the children’s parents to use that power judiciously and for the general good of the children. But there are some bad eggs who give the entire teaching fraternity a bad name; they’re the ones who use their position and authority for their own purposes, some more horrendous than others.

We routinely hear of teachers sexually abusing children in their care; some of them are so perverted that they film their dirty deeds and sell them for profits. As if this were not enough, they hold the threat of bad grades over their students’ heads if they tell anyone what happened. Statistics state that around 5 percent of teachers and coaches abuse minors, but this is not a true reflection of the state of events. The number of incidents that are unreported are much more than those that are. Most students are afraid to come out in the open fearing the repercussions – the ostracism from their peers, the future of their education and the effect the media impact would have on their lives and that of their loved ones.

Abuse need not be sexual to be detrimental to the well-being of students – some teachers send children on the wrong path by encouraging them to smoke, drink and do drugs. Others play favorites in a blatant manner, with the students who are affected being powerless to do anything to bring the offenders to book.

The reason that such incidents are widespread is that most students look up to their teachers and are willing to go to any lengths so that they are not disappointed in them. A subtle word here and a small hint there are enough to make these immature minds fall prey to the more cunning brains of their educators. The only way to prevent this from happening to your child is to educate him/her in the ways of the world and warn them of the dangers that could befall them if they are not careful. Parents must play an active role in every aspect of their children’s lives and encourage them to report any untoward incident, no matter how trivial it may seem.

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of top online college. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Teachers should be checked for anger issues before they bring guns to school

Update: Brain scans show bullies enjoy others' pain

I know a few teachers who get very worked up when someone does something they disapprove of. I also know some teachers with paranoid tendencies. These emotional traits could be very dangerous to students, staffers and parents if these people had guns at school and their emotions somehow got triggered.

I think this Texas school district is off its rocker:

Texas school district lets staffers carry concealed weapons to class

One school district is telling teachers they can pack heat when classes begin at the end of the month.

The Harrold Independent School District in northern Texas says trustees voted to allow teachers to bring handguns on campus as long as they meet licensing and other requirements.

David Thweatt, superintendent of the 110-student district, tells the Star-Telegram they adopted this policy because of shooting sprees at Virginia Tech and other educational institutions...

Vista Unified School District wins against school site council members

My first response to this story was: "Here's a real shocker: a state agency agrees with what school district officials say, without bothering to investigate fully."

My second response (Aug. 31, 2008): Some people have a different perspective on this story. Reportedly, parents on the Casita School Site Council were unhappy that all the Title I money was going to Title I kids, instead of to their own kids. I'll try to find out more about it.

State sides with VUSD in dispute over site money
School board has final say in how specific funds are spent
August 15, 2008

State officials have sided with the Vista Unified School District in a disagreement about who has final say over how school site money is spent.

In a decision released last month, an official with the California Department of Education denied six appeals filed by members of the school site council at Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math in Vista.

A site council is a group of parents and school employees that puts together a budget on how money set aside for school improvements should be spent.

Lisa Hoffman, a member of the council and librarian at the school, said she doesn't expect the Casita group to appeal the state's decision, though she was surprised and disheartened by it.

"I'm not happy with the way the state did this," she said, adding that state workers didn't fully investigate the situation and simply took the word of district officials...

The feud between the site council and district started with disagreements over Lindamood-Bell Reading Process, the reading program that district officials have pushed to expand in recent years. Some parents have complained about the cost of the program, arguing that the money could be put to better use...

In June, after the group had filed the complaint with the state, the council and district administrators struck a compromise.

The deal gave the council more than $35,000 to spend as it sees fit, and set aside the rest of the school's nearly $180,000 in site money to pay for Lindamood-Bell workers and someone to oversee a new program for students learning to speak English.

District officials are working to create a policy that would clarify the role of the school site councils.

"We want our school site councils to be effective," Superintendent Joyce Bales said. "There's a lot of money that's coming into the district, so we want to make sure that it's impacting the classroom and supporting the classroom teachers."

[Blogger's note:]
There is a lot of competition among adults in children's schools, complete with bullying, sabotage, and all manner of behavior for which children would be severely punished. I suggest a workshop on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. All school staffs need traning, and parent should be invited, too.]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SDUSD's former superintendent Carl Cohn goes to Washington

I have always thought of Carl Cohn as a man who managed to keep his humanity during a long career in a business that can be surprisingly inhumane: education. My own feeling is that he left SDUSD because he was disgusted that the school board ousted Jose Betancourt for lobbying too soon after leaving the navy, while at the same time the board pays lawyers millions to circumvent the law on a regular basis.

If the board cared about ethics, it wouldn't have made Mark Bresee its general counsel.

The board is careful to keep its unethical actions out of public view. Jose Betancourt was apparently a good employee, and nowhere near the top of the list of unethical employees.

Voice of San Diego: U.S. Ed Secretary Taps Cohn

"Former San Diego Unified Superintendent Carl Cohn has been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to the National Technical Advisory Council, a 16-person body that could have a major impact on the future of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act..."

August 13, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Leon Page and MiraCosta taxpayers v. Victoria Richart and Daniel Shinoff

Leon Page filed a lawsuit regarding the $1.6 million sweetheart deal given by MiraCosta College to former President Victoria Munoz Richart.

North County Times
August 9, 2008

"...[Leon] Page, an Oceanside resident and deputy counsel for the county of Orange...said the lawsuit is about defending the right of elected officials to speak on matters of public concern and reminding attorneys for public agencies who they really represent ---- the taxpayers...

"Page has alleged that MiraCosta's settlement with Richart was an inappropriate gift of public funds because state law limits contract buyouts to no more than 18 months of salary and health benefits.

"Richart's settlement included 18 months of salary and benefits; a $650,000 payment for unspecified damages; health care for her husband until age 75; payment of her $3,100 expense account for 18 months; and more than $43,000 in attorney's fees.

"News of the deal created something of an uproar among faculty and observers at the community college, where Richart's leadership had been a source of controversy and debate..."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

CTA puts its lawyers Beverly Tucker and Patricia Winslow in charge of workshop about change

See all Beverly Tucker posts.

See all Patricia Winslow posts.

California Teachers Association is in favor of improving education--as long as chief CTA attorney Beverly Tucker is in charge of the process, and as long as any changes in the education system don't interfere with her own power.

I used to think that Tucker just wanted to keep a tight grip on the teachers union. But it makes sense that she has to control teachers in order to keep control of the union, doesn't it?

May 14, 2008
Culture of Success Sidebar Conversations

"...the values, beliefs, and attitudes – culture – may matter much more than elected representatives and policy makers think – something that many teachers have always known. To begin the conversation, meet Kelly Horner, CTA IFT Director, Beverly Tucker, CTA IFT Board of Director, and Priscilla Winslow, CTA Assistant Chief Counsel -- all instrumental in the AI interviews that created the foundation for the culture of success."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What are San Diego Unified School District trustees and attorney Mark Bresee thinking?

When you fire your lawyer, but you keep paying him, it looks like you wanted him to do the things that got him fired, but you fired him anyway so that you look good. This appears to me to be indemnification of a public entity lawyer, and it doesn't smell good to me.

EMILY ALPERT provided the following information in a
Voice of San Diego article:

"... [SDUSD] trustees gave the green light to a $217,500 contract that would allow attorney Mark Bresee to keep his paycheck and health benefits for up to a year if he were fired. Bresee's salary is 16 percent higher than the attorney he replaced, Ted Buckley. And like the agreement the school district struck with Buckley, his agreement provides that if San Diego Unified fires him, he will continue to receive his salary and benefits.

"Buckley was contracted to receive his pay for up to 18 months; Bresee would receive his for a year or the remainder of his contract, whichever is less. Buckley said the provision did not apply because he had decided to retire from the school district."

August 6, 2008

What teachers want

I agree with SDUSD's superintendent Terry Grier that teachers with more skills should be lured to poor-performing schools with higher pay. The California Teachers Association disagrees.

In today's edition of Voice of San Diego Emily Alpert writes:

"...[Superintendent] Grier has not broached the idea with the union, but he often includes articles about differential pay in his weekly updates to San Diego Unified staff. [Teachers union president Camile] Zombro called differential pay "an abhorrent idea" that doesn't address the real problem of "intolerable working conditions" at schools in low-income neighborhoods..."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Is the Constitution unpatriotic?

San Francisco Chronicle
Brad K. Brown
June 29, 1998

...On [April 1, 1998] at Fallbrook Union High School, [MaryKait] Durkee took a stand -- or, more accurately, refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance...It was a rejection of a society, she said, that has become too violent and a government that has become too corrupt.

Durkee's teacher didn't see it that way; neither did her fellow students, and they erupted.

Her classmates urged world history instructor Lutz Zastrow not to let Durkee ``get away with'' the boycott.

``Give her detention,'' they urged.

When the class had finished its recitation, Zastrow insisted that Durkee stand up alone and say the pledge. Three times he made the demand. Durkee loudly refused...

The country is periodically seized by these displays of patriotic fervor and reactionary measures, said constitutional law expert Robert Cole.

Far from symbolizing true unity and strength, however, they reflect ``a kind of lack of confidence or loss of identity that Americans have in what they really stand for,'' said Cole, professor emeritus and associate dean at the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law in Berkeley.

...[School officials] say Durkee was disrespectful to her teacher when she raised her voice and have ordered her to serve four hours in Saturday detention.

Immediately after the incident, school officials also told Durkee she must stand during the pledge -- silently, if she wishes -- or leave the room until it's over...
The controversy could have been avoided, Durkee stated in a letter to school officials last month, if her teacher had respected her right to sit quietly...

The school district doesn't have a constitutional leg to stand on, said Jordan Budd, Durkee's ACLU attorney. The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of thought and speech, he noted. ``You cannot be punished for exercising your constitutional rights,'' he said.

Law expert Cole agrees. So does the Supreme Court...

Fallbrook Union High sits near the Camp Pendleton Marine base in a staunchly Republican enclave of 30,000 people. After the incident, 400 out of 3,000 students signed a petition urging Durkee to stand for the pledge...

Durkee's mother, Ann, says the imbroglio has had a profound effect on her daughter.

...``But my daughter doesn't see the flag or the Pledge of Allegiance in itself as the ideals that these people went to war and fought for and died for. What they fought for, Ann Durkee says, ``is the freedom to live in this country. And the freedom that goes along with that is to think and to act freely.''

...Superintendent Anthony, for his part, says that until he receives an opinion from the school district's lawyers, the disciplinary action stands...

Verdict: students win retaliation suit against school administrators

The illegal spending habits of President Priscilla Slade of Texas Southern University were exposed by three students.

Slade was indicted and agreed to pay back part of the almost $5 million she had used for home improvements and clothing.

This is news because most people in power get clean away with their wrongdoing. The person in power destroys the livelihoods and reputations of the whistleblowers, and the public is left believing that the whistleblowers were disgruntled troublemakers who were causing problems for good leaders.

In the Priscilla Slade case, the three students who exposed her wrongdoing were expelled from the school and arrested.

In San Diego, schools that have Dan Shinoff as their lawyer exhibit similar behavior. The list of people who have been fired for exposing wrongdoing is long, including Mary Anne Weegar and Coach James "Ted" Carter. Examples of complainers who were arrested are David Alberts and Claudia Houston (that I know of). But the list of people that Shinoff tried to get arrested is even longer: Lindsey Stewart, Julie Hatoff (during the Victoria Richart scandal at MiraCosta College), and me.

Happily, the Priscilla Slade case ended differently. A federal jury has decided that school officials had retaliated against the three students, William Hudson, Justin Jordan and Oliver Brown. Next week the jury will decide on punitive damages.

Score one for the justice system.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Do good principals get fired?

Some school administrators are considering forming a union.
Voice of San Diego
Jan. 15, 2008

...Under California's education code, managers have few rights, said Irvine attorney Bill Shaeffer.

Years ago, Shaeffer represented 15 San Diego principals and vice principals demoted by then-Superintendent Alan Bersin. Shaeffer won his case based on the district's long-standing MOU, not the Education Code...

"We have to threaten litigation after the harm is done..." [said Bruce McGirr, president-elect of the Administrator's Association.]

...in Barrio Logan, another principal was transferred, aggravating some parents and peers who thought the process unfair. Anna Cazares lost her job at Chavez Elementary, and was moved to Cabrillo Elementary. The transfer followed a series of disputes with Area Superintendent Delfino Aleman over issues ranging from the placement of a kindergarten student to whether to solicit student volunteers.

Karen Mashoof, a former counselor at Chavez, switched schools after Cazares left. Parent complaints against Cazares were "totally blown out of proportion," she complained, and Cazares was "a target."

...Chavez vice principal Karen Toyohara was also demoted. Toyohara said she was told the school's enrollment had dropped, eliminating her position...Toyohara was sent back to the classroom.

"Nobody honored our MOU," Toyohara said...