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San Diego Unified school board member John de Beck got into some hot water earlier this fall after he told a television reporter that low test scores at Lincoln High School were caused by a lack of motivation at the school, and that nothing had changed at the school since it was demolished and rebuilt.

(You might remember the article I wrote about a Lincoln High class where students discussed that newscast.)

Angry parents such as Francine Maxwell said de Beck had disrespected the school and her community, and more than 100 Lincoln High School students sent letters to the school board member calling him and his remarks rude and even racist.

Now de Beck is sending responses to the students who wrote him, along with corrections and comments on the spelling and grammar in their letters. (De Beck once taught at Lincoln High.) In his four page letter, de Beck argues against the “excuses for the embarrassing … scores the school earned in its first year” and argues that school staffers gave them those reasons to cite in their letters — such as crowding and opening with all four grades at once.

“You say I am wrong about your motivation,” de Beck wrote. “I certainly pray you are right, but on the day I was interviewed on TV, I knew that Lincoln had missed all the API goals set for the school. I still believe the reason was student motivation.”

De Beck concluded his letter, “I am sorry that the truth hurt!”

EMILY ALPERT

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