School board President Richard Barrera laid out his vision for the future of San Diego Unified in the annual State of the District address tonight at Cherokee Point Elementary. Here were some of the highlights:
• Barrera said that schools clearly need to improve, but he drew a bright line between the “corporate model” of school reform, which he linked to No Child Left Behind and the reforms of former Superintendent Alan Bersin, and the “community model” he favors.
What does he mean? Barrera defined the corporate model as change that comes from the top, by setting easy-to-measure standards for which local schools and teachers are accountable. It punishes schools where students fail on standardized tests and rewards schools where they do well.
In contrast, Barrera described the community model as being driven by teachers, parents and others close to schools. It is built on strong relationships between people in a school community, stability and small class sizes where teachers can tailor their teaching to each student, Barrera said.
That has worked in local schools, Barrera argued, and the “big ideas” from corporate reformers haven’t. He highlighted our recent article about Euclid Elementary as an example.
“The community model might not be flashy, and it might mean that nobody gets to be hailed as a savior,” he said, “but if we want our kids to have a real shot at a bright future, the community model is change that we can believe in.”