I ran into former San Diego Unified school board member Shirley Weber, who had some interesting thoughts on the school board election, where early results from absentee voters show commanding leads for incumbents Mitz Lee and Shelia Jackson. Weber called this “a very important election,” and said the school district direly needs leadership after undergoing rapid turnover under three different superintendents, Alan Bersin, Carl Cohn and now Terry Grier. Weber served on the board between 1988 and 1996, and is now the chair of Africana Studies at San Diego State University.

Under Bersin, Weber said, “people felt really disenfranchised and intimidated.” Under Cohn, “he built morale a little, but he really didn’t take it in the direction it needed to go.”

“When you have that much change going on, it’s difficult for schools to have confidence in what’s taking place. It’s like the world is in flux,” Weber said. And with that level of turnover at the top, “you hope that the school board itself would be strong enough, stable enough to give direction. But they haven’t. They’ve consistently waited for direction from the superintendent.”

Weber said she didn’t favor any particular candidates for school board.

“I just wish the school board would get its act together,” she said. “They need to know what they believe in, what they want, and what the expectations are.”


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