The system has existed for years. School foundations, or parent-fundraising groups, funnel millions of dollars into San Diego Unified schools to pay for teachers and extra programs – like art or music.
The district doesn’t begrudge the charity. But neither does it bother to oversee the ins and outs of how the money is spent. It has looked the other way as foundations hired staff members in ways that contradicted district policies.
And the broader question of whether foundations exacerbate inequalities hangs unanswered.
Last summer, as Cindy Marten slid into her new role as superintendent, Scott Lewis pressed her on whether allowing parents to pay for extras at certain schools was a fair deal.
She said there’s a difference between “fair” and “equal” – what’s needed at one school may not be at another – but that it’s her job to make sure all students are getting high-quality educations without relying on parents to subsidize it.
The conversation hasn’t advanced much in the last nine months. And school foundations show no sign of slowing the fundraising train.
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
I go to many different school for high school sports and the difference in schools is truly sad. As a graduate of Hoover, Class of 82, I pay particular attention to other schools. One of the glaring things I see is lunch time accommodations. Hoover has an inside seating area that seats less than 60. Outside seating is zilch. No tables, no sheltered area, few benches. Students are left to sit on the ground, curbs or walls. If it rains then they are just out of luck. As I said before I have seen several other schools with covered lunch areas and I would say it's a safe bet that there are much larger cafeterias or indoor seating areas for students at other school. With enrollment of about 2200, do the math and see if you think a student will have a comfortable place to have lunch.
This does affect education and attentiveness issues for students. Do you think a student who has been standing in the hot sun or pouring rain during lunch hour is going to be in a very attentive mood when they return to class?
I believe there is a huge disparity in funding issues for schools. Is there an easy solution? Probably not? But it is time we did something to bring folks together to solve problems. Be a a part of the solution not apart from the problem.
@Doug Kaiser Rain!, Rain!, Rain! Where is it raining?
Small cafeteria, no tables, no shade....you must be taking about 85 year old Point Loma not the new Lincoln. Is this the disparity you noted? As long as the union represented employees are dry, there is no problem for this school board.
So how does the new super propose to combat the evil differences in average IQ amongst the students? The California state approach for one group was just to stop measuring . I sure enjoyed growing up in a California town with its own school board and which funded its own schools, back before we had government schools. I was able to parlay that into a full scholarship to an east coast private university and a great education.
One of the main issues is that Title I monies are restricted as to what they can be spent for while Foundation money can be spent for anything.
Certainly parental influence and support at home are huge factors in student achievement but small class size and extras at a school make students perform better and feel better about school.
I have always been in favor of paying teachers more to teach at lower performing schools which might attract more seasoned teachers. It seems that Charter Schools have permeated low income neighborhoods; let's fix the public schools there and not pawn off our students to private corporations.
Does anyone believe its the building or zip code that leads to higher results in LaJolla?
Is parent's education level, the number of two parent families, parent involvement, and parent expectation more important than fund raising or Title I money?
Has anyone looked at Point Loma, with half of the students local and half Title I, to see if the same teachers, same schools, same AP opportunities, same parent fund raising leads to bi-modal results?
Does anyone believe that the District who spends their money on teacher retirement buyouts, reducing the school year rather than cutting pay in past budgets, and increased funds for pensions, while cutting student programs in music, art, Gate and Seminar, should be trusted with funds raised by parents?
Thanks, @Richard Bagnell. These are good, interesting questions. I'm pretty sure I'll have to take a deeper look in stories to come.
As to your first question, I don't think people are actually talking about zip code when they talk about "zip code." At least not the people I've spoken with. I "zip code" is probably shorthand for the things you mention: 2 parent families, expectations, parent involvement. The question becomes, then, how do you measure those things? I'm not saying it's impossible. It's just trickier. A person could argue, for example, that parent-fundraising is actually one measure of parental involvement.
As for accountability and how the district and its schools are managing Title 1 funds, well that's just a good story anytime. Thanks for your contributions.
@Bit-watcher The U-T rarely tells the truth about education. You are completely wrong that bussed in minority students have the same educational outcomes as the kids who live in district. Maybe you should read this article that says the opposite of what you did and has the studies cited to back it up. http://voiceofsandiego.org/2008/04/14/three-decades-later-busing-is-revered-resented-and-routine-2/
@Bit-watcher You have provided no link to your supposed study nor any proof that it even exists other than your say so.
I have also never seen this use of the word 'articulate'. Is this some special jargon in some particular field in which this word is used in some unusual sense (if so, which specific field and what is the intended meaning) or are you just speaking gibberish and misusing multisyllabic words to sound impressive?