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Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | I am glad to hear that there is a push to make big changes in school districts receiving federal stimulus money, but am concerned that San Diego Unified School District will once again implement some “quick fix” from the top down that will not be endorsed by parents and teachers.

Superintendent Terry Grier met with “principals and experts” last week. Did any of those experts include parents and teachers who have valuable insight and input and will be crucial to the implementation as well as the formulation of the plan? San Diego Unified needs a massive reform and this is our chance to do it. But it won’t happen if the district superintendent and outside experts come up with a plan and force it down the bureaucratic food chain.

Mr. Grier, please ask parents, teachers, and students to be part of the process. You will get better ideas and have a better chance of successful implementation. The school board trustees, especially Richard Barrera, understand this and are working on forums and meetings to solicit input from the community. This process needs to be supported, organized, and institutionalized by the district and the board.

Yes, there are “experts” outside the district, and their input is valuable, especially if they have successfully implemented change in other similar districts. But it won’t work if there is no support from the community, and if they can’t convince the community that the changes are worthwhile. It will work if there is a democratic and organized process to solicit ideas and discussion, and then communicate and implement change within our school communities.

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