We asked readers “If the state put you in charge of San Diego Unified School District, how would you fix things?”

Schools Leaders Need to Lead, By Jerry Roller

I think the “fix” for the broken school system should start at the top. You can blame the economy all you like but the district leaders at the top are paid to manage the district, regardless.

I would like to know what the district is willing to do, in “good faith,” to cut and control costs starting at the very top of the food chain before even thinking about cutting the actual components (teachers, classrooms, etc.) of the product they are paid to manage and provide.

Oh, and we have no children (never have, never will) so the very thought of a parcel tax (which we already voted NO to) on top of the taxes we already pay is a blatantly lazy answer and a false component of any kind of “solution.”

Jerry Roller lives in Mira Mesa.

Solutions Through Tech, By Lorrain Duffy

Think way out of the box. Partner with tech companies to offer student-centered online education. Replace textbooks with notebook computers — check out what is being done in all Puerto Rico Catholic schools. Get more students into community colleges earlier so they can learn job-related skills — see what Washtenaw Technical Middle College in Ann Arbor, Michigan is doing. We are stuck in a rut here with a 20th century education model.

Let’s change the focus to the future. Teachers should be facilitators, allowing students to progress at their own pace — letting the students who can soar do so and supporting them in their learning while allowing the students who need to go slower to also find support and encouragement. Not everyone learns at the same pace. Let the technology that is possible be put to use. Look at the state-of-the art online education offered by the Gemological Institute of America — their world headquarters are right here in Carlsbad. Try a few free lesson samples on their website.

Lorrain Duffy lives in La Jolla.

Re-Occupy Education, By Jeremy Merrill

The problem right now as it stands is that school districts continue to accept the dismal failure that is our state legislature. The legislature knows that they can cut, cut, and cut again from education funding without any fear of an uprising against them. The sad reality is that our state has undercut our education system to the point where it will soon fall to pieces.

How would I fix this?

I would ask major schools districts across the state to say, “enough is enough.” They MUST take a stand against the pillaging of our students’ futures. There always seems to be enough money for tax favors to campaign contributors, but not education. Why? Because the legislators know that schools won’t bite the hand that feeds them the table scraps. If districts came back en masse against the state, and told them that their job was no longer possible without the funds to do it properly, what would happen? Would the state take over all of the districts? Could it? Let’s take inspiration from the Occupy movement, and re-occupy education.

It’s time for EDUCATORS to be in charge of education, because everyone else has proven themselves incapable.

As a side note, having seen that the district superintendent has suggested cutting arts programs as a cost-cutting measure, I would like to ask him how he expects students to graduate from high school and/or attend a four-year university, since passing a fine-arts course is a requirement for both of those. Does he honestly expect that no one will call him on that contradiction?

Jeremy Merrill lives in El Cajon.

Costs of Borrowing Needs to Be More Clear, By John Stump

The school district needs to tell the truth in borrowing. They need to annually publish how much they are in debt and how long it will take to pay the debt off.

The cost of schemes to buy laptops with bond borrowing needs to be exposed. A child who gets a bonded laptop will still be making payments on it when that child’s child is having children!

The district needs to present fair comparisons to borrowing costs. They should compare the district’s borrowing costs to a taxpayer’ house mortgage costs. The district’s cost are twice as bad as the worst mortgage!

The district should start a phased-in program of pay-as-you-go. High-cost borrowing, worse than pay-day loans, should be reserved for true emergencies.

John Stump lives in City Heights.

Want to contribute to discussion? Submit a suggestion to Fix San Diego.

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.