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Board Meeting Summary - 9/13/2023: Teaching Hate, Test Scores, Budget Updates & Public Comments

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Teaching Our Kids to Hate - Agenda Item 6.6

The key piece to the DEI Plan approved in July is the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate" Program, which will require every CUSD school to undergo lessons, trainings and activities for students and staff on a variety of DEI-related topics. The Board was asked to pay $39,000 to ADL for the first "installment" of trainings from ADL (which they approved, of course).

What could possibly be wrong with a training from the Anti-Defamation League, an organization founded 100 years ago to combat antisemitism? They're teaching kids to be antisemitic. For the last several years, ADL's programs and efforts have taken a hard left, pushing progressive policies on gender and social justice issues that weren't related to their original mission. Worse, many of these policies were based on Critical Race Theory, which teaches that white people are the evil "oppressors" over people of color, and that kids should learn how to identify these "systems of oppression" and learn how to resist them. But guess who is considered a "white oppressor" in this CRT paradigm? Jews.

There are countless lessons, activities and definitions in ADL's Education Programs which teach these ideas to students, which is exactly why CUSD refuses to publish a list of the No Place for Hate Activities and Lessons that our students will be doing at school. In fact, the "Sample Lesson" ADL provides on its website for the No Place for Hate Program teaches that only white people can be racist, and that America is filled with "systemic racism," the key component of Critical Race Theory.

CUSD also refuses to share the Staff Training provided by ADL to CUSD in August. Why? Probably because they don't want you to hear how she starts off her other training sessions by stating how"this country was founded on racism through the stealing of land and the attempted genocide of Native American and first nations peoples, and the use of chattel slavery of Black Africans to build our American economy."

Did you really think Superintendent Churchill was being truthful when he claimed the DEI Plan didn't include Critical Race Theory? I hope not. Here is a link to my public comment to the Board asking them to reject the ADL Program:

Want an answer? Email the Board:

Local Control Accountability Plan (State Testing Update) - Agenda Item 7.1

Every September, the Board receives an update on CUSD's academic progress toward a variety of different goals. The centerpiece is the release of the results of the Smart Balanced Academic Consortium (SBAC) State Testing given to students in 3rd-8th and 11th grades. Here are our results compared with our Target Goals:

Technically we exceeded our goals for math and science, but missed our goal in English. But consider the broader picture that only 62% of CUSD students are proficient in math, and only 57% are proficient in science. While the table shows the San Diego County and California numbers as a comparison of how "great" our scores are, keep in mind that San Diego County has some of the worst-performing school districts in the State, and California overall is one of the worst performing states in the US.

What would be more helpful is a comparison to other school districts with similar demographics or socioeconomics, either in San Diego County, California, or even outside of California. Will we ever get that? Highly unlikely.

As I mentioned in my public comment on this issue, public school districts do two things well: the protect themselves and they celebrate themselves. And they find ways to celebrate themselves so that they can protect themselves.

What better way to protect yourself as a Superintendent of an underachieveing school district that by setting tiny goals for improvement (which you barely meet) and comparing yourself to school districts far worse than yours?

Budget Update - Agenda Item 7.2

CUSD is required to update its annual budget if major changes occur after approval in June. In this case, overall revenue was adjusted upward by $4.74M mainly because some expected budget cuts from the State were pushed out to future years. Expenditures increased by $1.6M primarily due to increases in salaries and benefits from our negotiations with the teachers' union and the "me too" raises that all administrators and the Superintendent receive as well.

What's missing from this update? The red flags about increased spending and decreased revenue that we're facing, evident by the Superintendent Report on declining enrollment given earlier in the evening.

Here is my public comment about the the budget issues and some solutions we should be pursuing, which CUSD has been silent about for years.

Discouraging Public Comment - Agenda Item 8.1

Ever since the June 21st Board Meeting, the Board began placing the portion of the meeting for "Non-Agenda Public Comments" (when people can come and address the Board on topics not on the agenda) at the end of the meeting. There is no other reason to do this other than to discourage the public from coming to speak to the Board.

The Non-Agenda section is typically when students or parents who normally don't attend board meetings come to speak about an issue they want the board to be aware of. Recently the CHS Beach Volleyball Team came to ask for a sand volleyball court on campus, and middle school students often have projects where they can pick a topic to come talk to the Board about. This would force these students to show up at 6pm and wait hours to provide their comments.

Numerous people have been asking to move the public comments back to the beginning, but the Superintendent and Board refused to reconsider or explain why the Non-Agenda Public Comment section had been moved to the end. Here is my tongue-in-cheek public comment on the issue.

But wait...there's more!! After my comment, the husband of Trustee Michele Ward showed up and agreed that public comment should be moved back to the beginning of the meeting. Immediately following his comment, Trustee Ward requested that public comment be placed back at the beginning of the meeting. Trustee Pearson asked for consensus for the request from the rest of the Board, as is required per the board protocol in order to place a request on the agenda for a future meeting.

Except that when the Board gave consensus, Trustee Pearson immediately granted the request by simply stating that "it's done." Embarrassingly, taking action on a request that wasn't on the agenda is a violation of the Brown Act, a set of state laws to provide for open meetings. By my count, it's the third Brown Act violation committed by the Board this year alone.

Sadly, the Board isn't willing to fess up to these violations or correct them on their own, so it requires an effort by members of the public to write letters to the Board demanding that they take corrective action. If you're interested in helping to keep the Board accountable in the future, let us know!

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