Comments by Jmbrickley

Standardized tests shunned by South Bay parents

I beg to differ with you on many portions of your essay. It starts with the concept that every student needs to be prepared to go to college and ends with the notion that kids need to pass tests to succeed. First, let's just get over the notion that this country was ever in the top of any list of civilized countries with the highest test scores. Never, ever happened. NEVER! The USA has always been in the middle of the pack when compared to other countries. In fact, they have never risen above "average" on any measure of test taking. Most of these tests do not test what the USA does excel at, THINKING. Second, most of those "imported" workers you mention did not get "great" jobs here in the USA. They did however, get jobs that pay better than jobs available "back home," where ever that was. They still make far less than their degree should warrant. Third, most of our industrial jobs moved out of the USA because labor is cheaper overseas, not because of some mythical rise of the intelligence of some foreign country. Even smart people work cheaply in China and India. Fourth, students are not taught "basic skills" in public schools anymore. Gone are the days of shop classes, where we used to teach entry level skills in so many areas of employment. Today, everything is about getting into college. Have you stopped to think that not everyone can be at the top. Fifth, when did the idea that school had to mirror that old saw that all medicine needs to taste bad or it isn't any good. Stress isn't good in the workplace, and it isn't good in school. School is a place of learning and a place to develop a love of learning. Stress is a job killer, and schools have no place for learning killers Sixth, Common Core is not some new, highly effective teaching strategy. It is a systematic attack on the very thing that made this country's educational philosophy the envy of the world. It's sole purpose is to destroy public education, first by showing that our children are not learning, then by using that result to fire teachers, and promote "private" education with a shift of education dollars from public to private sectors. Common Core is a curriculum and testing project written by, and sold by for profit, private corporations. No educators were used in the development of any of the curriculum, nor the test questions. It's methodology is untested, unproven, and unverified. The implementation comes with so many financial strings attached that that alone should be raising alarms. I could go on, but this isn't a book writing effort. But, I will use your closing paragraph to close this. You have no answers, are not an expert in education, but think testing is the answer, and that it should be left for the experts. Educators are the experts, not corporations who are only in it to make even more obscene money from our dollars.
— April 11, 2014 midnight

Rankled by Sweetwater district meeting cancellation

Dr. Edward M. Brand could not do the things he does to disgrace this once reputable school district without the complicity and tacit approval of the Board. To end this reign of disrespect for the rule of law, disrespect for the students, community, and staff, and above all, the disrespect of ethics, morality and even simply, common sense, it will not be enough to remove Dr. Brand from his position as superintendent. It will also require the removal of those board members who have aided and abetted this travesty of leadership by actively demanding their resignation. To wait for the court to force resignations is not enough. We, the public, need to demand that Jim Cartmill and John McCann resign from the Board immediately. They have failed us, and have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of competent leadership, and that we hold them personally responsible for all and every ill that has befallen SUHSD. This demand for resignation should be at the forefront of every member of the public who shares the info on the current state of affairs of SUHSD, whether it is in conversations with friends, colleagues, news media, public officials, etc., and especially when directly addressing these two men in public and also when addressing them at board meetings. To wait for them to do the right thing is folly. As the old saw goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Well, just how many times have we been fooled so far? The number of times is beyond count. It is time for them to go.
— March 18, 2014 11:20 p.m.