Thursday, May 29, 2014

UPforEd is closing its doors: hopefully the next parent group will be more interested in effective teacher evaluations

UPforEd is shutting down.

I felt that the organization was not adequately interested in improving teacher evaluations. Instead, the UPforEd folks seemed to think that simply giving administrators more control over teachers would fix schools.

The problem is, the administrators have a problem with competence, too, and NOBODY seems to want to address that!

But the administrators come from the ranks of teachers, so it seems to me that we'd be accomplishing two things at once if we instituted effective, completely unbiased evaluations of teachers: we'd improve the teachers, and we'd improve the teachers who become administrators.

See all posts re UPforEd.

Today UPforEd sent out the email below.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

UPforEd has spent the last three years working tirelessly on behalf of our children--building a foundation of trust and commitment in our community. We have organized parent teams to support neighborhood schools, created and aided numerous coalitions focused on improving student outcomes and engaged hundreds of parents in a school system that desperately needs parent participation.

"Four the Kids" - our recently-launched effort to take a seat at the bargaining table - took off! We're proud to see the district leaders and board willing to negotiate a bold new contract, particularly- reforming the outdated teacher evaluation system. Our wildly-successful campaign even garnered positive national media attention and sparked debate beyond SDUSD.

We are proud of our work. We believe that parents along with our teachers and leaders will guide the transformation of San Diego Unified and know that an independent parent group, operating free from special interests and district rhetoric, is a critical component to this transformation.

But we cannot do it alone. Businesses, community members, other organizations and parents must be willing to not just support our mission by reading emails, but by standing bravely alongside us when the opposition is fierce and with real dollars and cents—putting parents on an equal playing field with other influential and well-funded organizations.

It is with much reluctance that we announce the closure of UPforEd.

What was envisioned as a unifying organization based on strengthening public schools and improving student outcomes has been used by others to pit parents against teachers, parents against schools and sometimes even parents against other parents. This tactic ensures that rather than make change, the adults will continue to argue with one another ensuring those in power maintain their stranglehold on the system. And the kids lose…again.

The rhetoric and misinformation campaign used by the unions and other special interests even spread to elected officials, district leadership, and community organizations. Instead of making informed decisions based in fact, people who once supported UPforEd, were moved into turning their back on UPforEd and parents and helped further isolate meaningful engagement.

Just three years ago, we sat at kitchen table, inspired to make change in our district by organizing parents to improve schools. This idea, fueled by idealist visions and perhaps a bit of naivety, grew into an organization that has changed the lives of hundreds of parents and helped promote innovative, transformational conversation in San Diego Unified. But it has failed to do the most important thing: put children over politics. That will take more time, more money and more parents who are fed up.

Thank you all for your support. Thank you for caring about public education and our kids.

It is our sincere hope that someday, another brave soul (or souls) will try again to spark the change, truly engage parents and transform our district.


The UPforEd Board of Directors

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