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In her March 14 “commentary,” Voice of San Diego education columnist and Alan Bersin apologist, Marsha Sutton, inaccurately wrote about me as follows: “One fierce Bersin opponent, Voters for Truth in Education president Mike MacCarthy, called the emerging controversy ‘a gift from God’.”

Firstly, Voters for Truth in Education (VOTE) is not opposed to Alan Bersin the individual – it is his anti-family and anti-student policies so ruthlessly advocated and implemented by Mr. Bersin and his San Diego City Schools administration between 1998 and 2005 that we oppose. VOTE is a California nonprofit corporation dedicated “to better the education of students within the public schools in San Diego County by disseminating information to the community about the governance of the schools, by promoting the election and retention of qualified public school trustees dedicated to providing a quality and balanced education for all students, regardless of race or national origin.”

Opposing Alan Bersin’s pending election to the California State Board of Education (SBE) is consistent with our mission statement.

Secondly, what I actually wrote in my March 11 email to “friends and supporters of truth in education”- a group we currently do not believe includes Ms. Sutton or Voice of San Diego – was: “Below (March 10 news story by Todd Milbourn [for the Sacramento Bee newspaper]) you will find a gift from God.”

Clearly, I was not referring to “the emerging controversy” as Ms. Sutton and Voice of San Diego would have its readers believe. I then wrote: “The reason this story is such a gift is that it opens the door for all of us to write “letters to the editor” [of the Sacramento Bee] concerning all – or at least one of – the reasons we believe Mr. Bersin’s nomination should be rejected by the California Senate Rules Committee on March 29, 2006 (Editor’s Note: currently rescheduled for April 19, 2006).”

And, in conclusion, why does VOTE oppose Mr. Bersin’s permanent appointment to the SBE? Because despite budgeting approximately $350 million for the “Blueprint for Student Success,” the facts are (according to the California Department of Education and SDCS sources comparing similar school districts) that the Bersin administration produced:

– Lower API test scores;

– Lower SAT college entrance test scores;

– Higher dropout rates;

– Broken Proposition MM promises;

Moreover, the Governor already has one staff person on the SBE; two is too many for the best interests of ALL children and their families to be fairly represented on the California State Board of Education.

Mike MacCarthy is president of Voters for Truth in Education

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