Parents complain Sweetwater’s over $5 million iPad program has caused their children’s grades to fall and made them potential targets for theft.
  • Parents complain Sweetwater’s over $5 million iPad program has caused their children’s grades to fall and made them potential targets for theft.
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Last February, the Sweetwater Union High School District moved forward with a controversial initiative to buy 6300 iPads for its seventh-graders. The iPads cost $4.3 million. Several months later, the district purchased iPad covers, spending $27,000, and in July, learning-management software, costing $1.1 million over six years. The district faces a $27 million deficit. As the costly experiment with new technology unfolds, many question the district’s use of funds and planning to integrate iPads into the classroom.

Sweetwater began using iPads in a pilot program last November. A select group of Hilltop Middle School students were sold the devices. A current posting on the district’s website lauds the program: “Pilot programs such as the one being implemented at Hilltop Middle School in the Foreign Language and Global Studies (FLAGS) program have proven highly successful at engaging students and in raising academic achievement.”

Despite this claim, a public records request asking whether students’ grades had improved yielded this response: “The district does not have the requested information as this is not something we are tracking.”

Money for the iPads came from several sources, including $1.8 million from Proposition O construction bond money and $1.5 million from Mello-Roos funds. Mello-Roos is a special tax assessment paid by some California communities to fund infrastructure and construction of public facilities.

Many have argued that the money raised through construction bonds should not be spent on iPads. The use of Mello-Roos funds has also been criticized, as not all Sweetwater families pay Mello-Roos taxes.

Critics of Sweetwater’s iPad program claim the devices are offered to induce students to stay in the district rather than leave for charter schools. As school budgets continue to shrink, critics question where the money for iPads will come from next year and the year after.

Nick Marinovich, chair of the Proposition O Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, recently wrote to the district expressing the committee’s concerns about the iPad expenditure. “Issues such as long term useful life, technological changes in hardware and software, the relationship of the iPad functions juxtaposed to educational needs and how the iPad acquisition fits into the long term Information Technology Plan for the District were discussed [at a committee meeting].… [W]e repeatedly asked the District to provide a comprehensive plan on how they would continue to fund iPads over the next five years as well as how they planned to measure their success,” he wrote. “The response was that for funding they will apply for grants and look for future money. There was no apparent metrics to analyze the effectiveness of this investment.…”

Lack of planning has been a constant thread in the iPad discussion. Melanie, an English instructor who spoke on condition that only her first name be used, was part of the pilot program at Hilltop Middle School. She experienced a number of problems. She said that teachers received only two days of iPad instruction. “We had no training in how to effectively use the iPads in our own subjects,” Melanie said.

With class sizes ranging from 31 to 39 students, Melanie had trouble monitoring iPad activity. “By the time you walk over to a student, he or she will have changed the screen.”

She witnessed one instance of cyber-bullying. On his iPad, a student had Photoshopped into the front page of a newspaper a picture of another student, surrounded with rude comments and given a rude headline.

Although the district’s server blocks certain web activity, such as games and Facebook, students quickly found another server that gave them freedom to roam the web.

Melanie said that parents had complained about iPads, blaming them for a drop in their children’s grades.

Benjamin Black, a science teacher at Hilltop, is enthusiastic about the potential for iPads in the classroom. He was instrumental in establishing the pilot program and provided technical support all year. The devices are superior, Black says, to the district’s ragged, used textbooks “with a penis scrawled on every page.”

“When my students first started using the iPads,” he says, “they scored a little bit lower than they had been, but by the end of the semester they had advanced significantly.”

With professional support, Black said, teachers could create curriculum and access free textbooks online. “Each teacher can bend it for his or her discipline’s use in the classroom.”

However, Black acknowledged challenges. “This is being dropped on teachers with very little organized and effective planning…[and] this has caused much resistance and caused the program to be viewed more as a nuisance or waste rather than something truly beneficial.”

Another potential problem is safety. Steven Conner, a Sweetwater parent, worries that since the district has cut back on buses, kids with iPads walking to school will be targets for theft.

David Damico is Sweetwater’s director of education technology. He served as the executive director of Ecademy California, a virtual charter school for K-8 students.

“Teachers are creative,” Damico said in an August 4 interview. “They will become more and more innovative, developing their own content area…and the iPads will challenge the students individually. They are very interactive. They have a device for writing, streaming video, and they are not necessarily depending on a teacher in the room.”

Asked if the iPad will stay with the student through high school, Damico said, “There are still some unknowns, like how long the iPads will last or how long the batteries will last. Technology is always changing, too. The iPads won’t necessarily last for six years.”

Parents signed a contract when students received their iPads, agreeing to recharge the device at night and to pay for a damaged iPad. Although the replacement cost — $549 — was not disclosed, Damico said most parents returned the contract.

The new school year began on July 25. Seventh-graders were responsible for downloading textbooks, and librarians reported that various problems arose. One developed when students synched their iPads to home computers to download music, which wiped out the district downloads. This resulted in up to 30 iPads at a time being brought into the library to be fixed or to have the apps reloaded, sometimes taking several days.

The iPad distribution was “two steps forward and then a little dance to the side,” says Joan Hales, a teacher at Mar Vista Middle School. “I had hoped the textbooks would be interactive, but they’re not.”

Three weeks into the school year, about 10 percent of her classroom time is spent with iPads, Hales says, “but I think within a few weeks we’ll be up to 50 percent.” One of the “little bumps in the road” is that “These are 12-year-olds, and though it’s in their contract to charge the iPads every night, the first week many of the students didn’t have enough charge.”

Hales uses iPads in her special education class. For students whose “executive-function skills are challenged, the iPad is a miracle. The devices help these students to keep everything together in one place.”

Mike Dotson, another Mar Vista teacher, is optimistic about the iPad’s potential, saying that it will be useful in preparing students for standardized tests.

“In six months to a year, we’ll be bangin’ on all cylinders,” he says, “but for the time being, it’s very time-consuming. It’s difficult learning to utilize all the apps while trying to teach utilizing all the apps.”

But on August 15, many wondered whether the district had the infrastructure to bang on all cylinders. An email from a teacher making the rounds said that the iPads had crashed. “Students have no restrictions, and access to district internet is gone,” the email said, and “the applications where they submit homework and have access to textbooks are gone.” More days of instruction would be lost while the iPads were reloaded one by one. Phone calls to teachers and librarians at several campuses confirmed that the problem was widespread.

Although many school districts are embracing new technology, some private schools have a different philosophy. A 2011 article in the New York Times titled “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute” begins: “The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard. But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud.”

The Waldorf School, a chain whose local facility is located in City Heights, encourages “a media-free environment as much as possible during childhood through the ninth grade,” says Julie Joinson, director of admissions.

“Computers, if you let them, can substitute for actually learning skills. Computers will do spell checks for you, they correct your grammar, cut, paste, and regurgitate Wikipedia. Some students are even forgetting how to write in cursive — there’s something to be said for cursive writing and basic motor skills.

“By giving students computers to stop the flow of students to charter schools, what are we saying? A material gift is more important than an education?” ■

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Nichole Aug. 22, 2012 @ 9:04 a.m.

It sounds like a lot of taxpayer dollars were spent on something that wasn't planned out al all. I wonder if this program will still be around next year for incoming 7th graders. Who is the SUHSD accountable to? Researching on the California Dept of Education website - it seems like the School Boards are autonomous and that we're in the wild west here.


erupting Aug. 22, 2012 @ 9:12 a.m.

Just proof again of another well thought out expensive Dr. Brand gimmick to keep students in a failing district. This could have been done with teachers and staff over a period of time to include training, infrastructure ( in place) to handle the the use of so many IPADS. But as usual it only becomes more and more expensive to fix problems that should not have happened in the first place. Seven thousand IPADS went down at one time,all filters were gone plus the text books were unavailable. The people in the mellaroos area feel that they are paying the lions share,and just got a increase of 2% (the largest amount the district could exact) Yesterday staff was told by Brand about the new school he wants for Eastlake. The employees were dumbstruck, but you keep quiet around the boss. Is this his new Charter School that hasn't been approved of as yet. Does this tell anyone who is really running this district.


angrybirds Aug. 22, 2012 @ 9:54 a.m.

Why oh why does this district have their head up the a... They can't get scores up with textbooks and really think the Ipad is the solution. I think this interim Superintendent is just trying to claim some kind of legacy for him that he started these programs. The biggest problem is that he is doing it on students backs. Why don't people that live down there ask questions why are they letting these people run things the way they are. Sweetwater is becoming another Bell, CA this district must be close to insolvency can't anyone check? This Brand fellow should really stop thinking about his ego and legacy and should focus in on why kids are leaving this district and what the problems on. You can't stop a leak with a band aid eventually the dam will break!


eastlaker Aug. 22, 2012 @ 10:36 a.m.

Ed Brand, the prime exemplar of Shell Game player, has so far kept the public at bay with his sleight of hand.

The day is coming when he will not be as quick, the public will be better informed, on to his tricks, and no one will fall for his attempts at intimidation.

Of course that means all of us will have to present a unified front that will convince him that he is disliked, not respected, no longer wanted, and in short, dismissed.


Visduh Aug. 22, 2012 @ 11 a.m.

Brandara should be under investigation by both the DA and FBI, for this move and many others, all of which smell to high heaven. Using Mello-Roos funds to buy glorified toys (Ipads) for the kids sounds illegal to me. How long will all this craziness continue? Not forever, but to long-suffering folks in So Bay, it will seem that way. This abuse of Mello-Roos is what is killing it as a way to pay for anything.

I'm also very interested in those comments from educators about keeping childhood free of media through 9th grade. And cursive! It helps develop motor skills? Who'd a thunk it? Those comments sounded positively Luddite.


anniej Aug. 22, 2012 @ 10:52 a.m.

no doubt a call will made today to said teachers principals with mandates to 'shut their teachers up'. there is a fear within the district of the wrath of brand.

adding to the cost are the it techs that have been hired. batteries are said to last for a certain amount of charges - while the cfo stated early on that the district would be able to replace them as we knew then the district is now changing their answer to include the fact batteries can not be replaced.

ipads, charter school 1 (offering day care and ipads to k-2nd grade, open boundaries, borrowing from mello roos, brown act violations, allegations that they are continuing to borrow from prop o, lies about the southwest dirt on camera, limited public comment at board meetings, allegations that he is promoting the candidate running against bertha lopez with public officials, failure to allow campaign donation limitations be placed on the agenda, threats to board members during board meetings i.e. when said board member (lopez) clarified that the taxpayers had paid a little over $7,000.00 for john mccann's attorney vs the approximate $2,500.00 they had voted on - a case that the judge THREW OUT OF COURT AND ALLEGEDLY CHASTISED MCCANN FOR EVEN BRINGING IT FORWARD), cutting bus transportation, increased class sizes, now charter school 2. taxpayers of the south bay - you want to know why this district is floundering in the muck and the mire - let us point to brand. as with 'the gandara' it is time for brand to go. the community is organizing, and this has brand nervous; so much so that he placed a call to a teacher who holds him in high regard (?) and asked that she intervene and dissuade the eastlake community not to attend the board meeting - he promised instead to meet with them PRIVATELY. that strategy has now been exposed, after all their are NO secrets in the south bay.


anniej Aug. 22, 2012 @ 10:54 a.m.

as perfectly stated by community member john b at the board meeting - what does brand have to loose? nothing, as this is not his resident community. when all is said and done he will simply drive back up north - cartmill will sell his vitamins full time, and john mccann will continue to fight to be invited to public functions where, like at the jessica sanchez concert he allegedly attempted to force his way on stage - because according to him, he is somebody - NOT. quinones and ricasa will no longer be able to hold public office and bertha lopez and hopefully good candidates for all of the vacant seats will jump into the mess that is left and begin to rebuild our district one issue at a time.

brand has been double dipping ever since he got here, collecting $20 grand a month in salary AND his retirement. hmmmm, now where does john mccann stand on this issue, you know mr. conservative? well that would be about 2 steps behind him. he is now legally no longer allowed to do so. so, he will probably make some grandiose statement about how he is going to donate his earnings. HA! all the while he is fighting for Pearl Quinones and the others to hire him and hire him now. hopefully President Quinones will follow proper procedure and allow the public to weigh in on his performance to date. heck, we never were able to critiques him on his performance when this issue came up a few months back, why? he had been given no major job objectives. yes all eyes are on Quinones, will she blink? hopefully she will stand up for what is right and offer true transparency.

there is much work left to do - let us begin with releasing brand from his interim superintendent responsbilities.


jibaro Aug. 22, 2012 @ 11:19 a.m.

Mr. Cartmill and Mr. McCann, poster boys for the Republican Party , raised my taxes !? !?


anniej Aug. 22, 2012 @ 12:28 p.m.

Jibara: you would have to live under rock not to know that mccann pretends to be a good republican, then he turns around and supports a double dipper (brand collecting his salary plus his retirment) - interesting isn't it that the person who the party has running for mayor fought against this very thing, and here we have mccann ithe imposter living within our very midsts. he can say he is a republican all he wants, but you know what they say about actions, they speak far louder than words.

lets face it mccann blows with the wind - remaining consistent in one area - he is indeed a self promoting blow hard.

allowing brand to open up the boundaries and cut transportation is proving to be the spotlight that is revealing who and what mccann and brand all about. i think it is about time for another food fest at miguels, don't you agree boys? what is that old saying 'the party is over, time to gather up all of our little plaques and go home - cause the community doesn't love us any more'.

remember, the tidal wave that washed us clean of 'the gandara' and bonny garcia, corruptor at law? well another one is building - time for another cleansing.................................................


angrybirds Aug. 22, 2012 @ 11:21 a.m.

Annie J you make some good points in all of your posts but I do believe one of the most important ones is that of Ms. Quinones being forceful when running these meetings and to stop being influenced by the others and especially Dr. Brand. I think she needs to read the bylaws, be well versed in running a meeting and stop having Brand and McCann grandstand. She can prove herself as a leader if she wants or keep the image of what people really think of her and that is one dumb lady. Ms. Quinones the ball is in your court on how you want people to remember your tenure, I believe you were told at this meeting that your fellow board members want you out of there and received a legal opinion about this you are in a pit with a bunch of snakes now we just need to see who is the most lethal and who comes out on top. What a shame that a school district board of trustees is so misguided, dysfunctional and criminal, they set a good example for the students dont they?


anniej Aug. 22, 2012 @ 12:39 p.m.

Angrybirds: hopefully Quniones will gather up the strength to stand up to the two bullies. she has the power, now lets see if she uses it or if she intends instead to allow herself to be used. interesting, that now board members (bet ya it is mccann and brand) now want her gone. lets think about this for a minute why would they do that to her? well by golly, it is what johnny boy does best - throws his fellow board members under the bus so he can appear to ride in on his little white chihuahua and save the day.

little man who would be king has proven he can not be trusted by the very same community that voted him in. the seat that he wanted so desperately was all about him, land the school board seat, next mayor of chula vista. with all that he has failed to do with our school district can you just imagine the damage he would do to our fine city.


eastlaker Aug. 22, 2012 @ 1:08 p.m.

No kidding!! And when all the Bay Front construction is in the offing--I am sure that for those who really know how to work the system, it is more than enough to get them salivating. That Mayor gig would look sweet...but we need someone who is honest enough to hold the purse-strings. Do we know anyone who is?


mmmata Aug. 22, 2012 @ 12:57 p.m.

The math doesn't add up...

$4.3 millions / 6300 ipads = $682 each ipad 27000 / 6300 ipad covers = $4.29 each cover...


ipad2 are going for $400 or so..getting cheaper by the day..and ipad covers for $4? no wonder they have a a bunch of broken ipads..

sounds like there's a lot of money flowing and no checks and balance..oh wait, probably a lot of checks..; )


getdave Aug. 22, 2012 @ 1:03 p.m.

Certainly the time has come to move to modern technology for teaching. However, choosing the most expensive device of many is questionable. There are many cheaper alternative choices, Android pads, Kindles and other reader devices that could have been used that don't have the many problems and expense of the Apple devices. If you compare the cost of text books to purchasing an electronic reader that can have all textbooks, library books, class schedules and other materials in a digital format, it is reasonable. On another level, doing homework, grading and other interactive features are great, but the infrastructure is not yet in place to support such a program. Certainly by the time teachers are up to speed, there will be devices that are cheaper, and will not allow improper use by students.


Visduh Aug. 22, 2012 @ 3:53 p.m.

Someone was complaining that when the iPads were purchased there was no comprehensive plan for using them for instructional/educational purposes. I doubt that many school districts, when they first began to acquire computers, had any real notion of how to use them. They just had to have them, lest they be seen as un-progressive, old fashioned, and just generally not-with-it. In a larger sense, does that school district have a comprehensive plan for anything? A comprehensive plan for campus use? Anything else? I doubt it. And that's not unusual. But in the case of giving an iPad to each kid, something more than the usual lack of planning was needed.

The teacher at Hilltop, Melanie, may have thought she was keeping herself anonymous or nearly so by not wanting her last name used. Hey, how many teachers in the district have that first name, and work at that school? She "outed" herself by letting her first name be used.

BTW, Susan, isn't it great how every few days the SUHSD and its criminally idiotic leaders provide you such stuff to report? You are getting ten or a hundred times as much outrageous material to work with as anyone else in the county. But keep up the good work.


anniej Aug. 22, 2012 @ 4:36 p.m.

Visduh: your comment triggered something i heard when i listened to the audio of a few meetings ago - the cfo mentioned something to the effect of a warehouse somewhere in the district in which hundreds of old computers were being stored.

a comprehensive plan you say? no such thing, at sweetwater what brand wants he gets, no thought given to the taxpayers, it is not his money, his child, or his community that he is impacting. but you can bet he will surely be posturing for that permanent position, goodness knows it is all abut the money. meanwhile the majority of the board sit there like 4 blind mice.


bonitaresident Aug. 22, 2012 @ 7:52 p.m.

It seems not much has changed at SUHSD. I placed my trust in John Mc Cann and he has failed me miserably.


erupting Aug. 22, 2012 @ 8:55 p.m.

Bonita resident, you wer not the only one taken in by him,I was also taken in by McCann. I met with him before the election and was fooled as well. That's what politicians do. I bet we're not the only ones.


dbdriver Aug. 23, 2012 @ 2:02 p.m.

I just love when, after hearing public comments against the iPads, Brand generally scolds everyone, saying that this new technology is here to stay, that our students need to be working with current technology to help them be competitive in the job market. Well, that may be fine for the 7th graders. But what about our current 8th-12th graders? We're going to still send out students for the next 5 years unprepared for "current" technology? (Nope, we're not trying to lure 7th graders away from the charter schools, we're trying to make them, along with all of our students, yeah. Oh, sorry Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen. You know, funding and all. But, hey! just think, in 6 years Seniors will have iPads, too, even though they might not be working. And you 8th graders are just going to have to bask in the glow of the 7th graders iPads. No, we're not ignoring you, we can see you just fine in the light of the screens as they play on Facebook, er, uh, yeah, learning 24/7.)

And even the district's own Director of Education Technology acknowledges unknowns. Asked if the iPad will stay with the student through high school, Damico said, “There are still some unknowns, like how long the iPads will last or how long the batteries will last. Technology is always changing, too. The iPads won’t necessarily last for six years.”

But we all are just supposed to rejoice in the board's (Brand) decision that this technology is Awesome-Fantastic.


anniej Aug. 23, 2012 @ 5:23 p.m.

LaLucha: and people wonder why employees need unions! without them look at where the employees would be.


facts Aug. 24, 2012 @ 6:12 p.m.

The SEA is a big reason why RIF teachers aren't in the classroom. There are a lot of awful teachers in SUHSD protected by the union.


anniej Aug. 25, 2012 @ 6:10 p.m.

Facts: yes there are teachers who really shouldn't be there, we can agree on that. my concerns are for those excellent educators who are afraid of the very administration that issue their paychecks. perhaps you might offer a solution how both objectives can be met?

the real reason why RIF teachers are not in the classrooms is due to this district poor management of our tax dollars. take for example the new charter school, not the one they started and funded a few months back, but the one they are preparing to start and fund grades 2-6.

what about the close to $600 thousand they spent on removing toxic dirt that was not toxic. dirt that was hauled away by a chemical remover company all of the way to azuaz.

what about the ipads that are less than a month old that have already crashed?

what about the removal of the boundaries which has resulted in massive overcrowding and elimination of teaching positions?

all of these issues are eating up revenue that should be spent on the students and qualified educators.


anniej Aug. 23, 2012 @ 5:22 p.m.

brand needs to go. no doubt he is not sitting easy since the closed agenda item regarding him was not acted on. while little info was given on board docs (surprise) it was most likely the first step in making brand permanent. this man is not going to go without a paycheck for long. all of the sweetwater he has running thru his veins means nothing when it comes to not receiving a paycheck. when, not if, the proposal to hire him is made, all need to make sure that they pay particular attention to the contract offered.

I am reaching out here to many of you who have a legal background. how can the community verify the contract that is voted on which contains any and all benefits - financial and otherwise that he will receive.

perhaps it is about time to begin looking for a probono attorney who will take brand and the board on. In the past there have been offers. with so many suspicious issues at hand currently maybe we have come to that point.

but perhaps others of you have a different recommendation as to how we can make change happen.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 23, 2012 @ 5:50 p.m.

Brand needed to go when I was there in the 1990's, along with his butt buddies Luis Maestra, Tom Rodrigo and Jose Brosz- Jose Brosz has to be the biggest loser I have ever seen in school admin, that clown wouldn't make it past minimum wage in the real world.


bonitaresident Aug. 23, 2012 @ 6:29 p.m.

I agree Dr. Brand has done nothing to help SUHSD. All of the news coming out about him reminds me of Dr. Gandara.


Visduh Aug. 24, 2012 @ 8:01 a.m.

A good first step would for people like yourself to stop referring to those clowns and scoundrels as "Dr". That just glorifies them and makes them sound like something they are not.


dbdriver Aug. 24, 2012 @ 11:15 a.m.

Agreed. Unless they're taking my temperature and diagnosing my illness, instead of causing them, I refuse to call them Doctor.


Susan Luzzaro Aug. 24, 2012 @ 7:07 p.m.

getdave, You point to an interesting question: how much will the licensing cost for books on iPads? In another district I heard it would be around $20.00 annually, so how will the cost stack up against regular textbooks? Plus, the device itself? Following this question will be interesting.

Other options than iPads? Some people I spoke with felt options might have been explored in a more thorough fashion.


Fred Williams Aug. 25, 2012 @ 3:35 a.m.

The real tragedy is that these types of devices HAVE been studied in the classroom...

They tend to get in the way of learning, offering more distraction than assistance. At home they're used for games and socializing, not homework.

I did research on similar devices for HP tablet PCs when they were pushing their tablets for the schools...the conclusions were clear. It's better to spend money on teachers and curriculum, traditional teaching, and NOT on these gadgets.

In addition to the maintenance, software licenses, and other issues...they just doesn't help students learn.

I've been working in IT for more than 20 years. I've developed educational software and I've got quite a successful online training program...and I do NOT allow my students to even have their mobile phones on in my classes.

So it's not just a waste of actually gets in the way of learning. Nobody who has studied the issue comes to any other conclusion...unless they want to sell you something.

Looks like another tragic case where money for the kids gets put in the pockets of adults.


bvagency Aug. 25, 2012 @ 8:07 a.m.

Interesting to give the students take on these devices. I spoke with two of my daughters friends, one at Bonita Middle the other at Eastlake Middle. The girl at Bonita loved it, she said when the security of the district crashed they were able to download Facebook, You Tube, Instagram, Temple Run, and all the other fun SM they enjoy. She said its fun posting on FB and Instagram during class. She wasn't particularly impressed in how it was helping in class. BTW, she showed me all the apps she had downloaded during that window of time. The girl at Eastlake was frustrated. Hers crashed and has been having problems. A classmate knocked it off her desk and the face broke. She feels like she is falling behind. She likes it for the apps but said its a distraction during class as most kids are on social media sites during class. Both said the teachers knew less than the students on how to use the device. This is a small sample, but you wonder how many other kids are having the same experiences.


joepublic Aug. 25, 2012 @ 10:59 a.m.

Our democratic society is based on the principles of individual freedom, equality and due process. Workers, in this case teachers, should not be expected to leave these rights at the workplace door. Unions exist to see that employees are not treated arbitrarily or capriciously. I agree with anniej, imagine where employees would be in this district without union protection.


Susan Luzzaro Aug. 25, 2012 @ 5:18 p.m.

Good to hear from you again Fred Williams. After your comments, I remembered your background which enriches the whole discussion.

When I spoke with Julie Joinson from the Waldorf school, she said something else worth repeating. She asked, "What is the shelf life of an iPad?" She went on to say a good teacher gives 40 years of valuable service.


anniej Aug. 25, 2012 @ 6:28 p.m.

joepublic: i often wonder what happened to the teacher who spoke out at a board meeting- he made the mistake of asking john mccann to stop referring to himself as hero due to his service in the reserves.

mccann, with his holier than though "i am somebody" attitude begin his retort to said teacher with "you people". truth be told, that is exactly how mccann feels about the majority of us down here - YOU PEOPLE. historically, where have we all heard that phrase before?

i salute mr. mccann for his service, but i rebuke his constant chest thumping over it. in truth mccann, is one of many THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS WHO HAVE FOUGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY. somewhere along the way he lost sight of the fact 99.9% of honorable veterans do not use their service they are instead silently proud of their service.

i often wonder what happened to that brave young teacher. i did my research, and was told by parent, students, fellow teachers and even the good administrators that he was an excellent educator.


anniej Aug. 25, 2012 @ 7:09 p.m.

Fred Williams: well if i was depressed about the ipad issue before reading your comment you can only imagine how i am feeling about now.

why is suhsd consistently being placed in the hands of persons who focus on the benefits of getting vs the attributes of giving?why are persons like yourself left out of the equation of decision making on issues that are so important to the education of our youth? why are persons like yourself and many who post here absent when we the taxpayers sit and view our board - one can only imagine if persons who have the expertise were sitting up there making these financial decisions that affect us all.

thank you for your comment.


Fred Williams Aug. 27, 2012 @ 8:56 a.m.

Susan and Annie, thank you for the warm words.

Annie, I ran for the San Diego Community College Board in 1994, after previously serving as the student member in 89-90. In the citywide runoff, I received around 43%...over 73,000 votes.

But it was enough to educate me on what it takes to win elected office in San Diego. I got an inside view of how the city is actually run. And that's when I started vocally opposing business as usual, starting with the ballpark rippoff (which sealed my fate as dare anyone oppose baseball).

Since then I've continued to participate in San Diego politics. In person, when I'm in town, and online when I'm working elsewhere in the world.

Perhaps if I were more civil and complimentary I would be able to get into a position of power to enact changes...but the political process itself changes even good people into charlatans and frauds. Today, they don't even start out with good intentions...look at McCann, who is clearly in politics for a career.

Annie and Susan, if my wife would allow me, and I felt I had a reasonable chance, I might run again...but I doubt that's going to happen in my lifetime. Instead, I'm afraid that history will repeat and the American empire will be brought to its knees like the empires that proceeded it.

What's happening at this school district is only a small part of what's wrong. I'm following this story mostly because of how much I despise McCann, as a fellow military veteran he is the worst kind of REM pretending to be Rambo, as a fiscal conservative his economically ignorant and transparent brown nosing to the football team in exchange for campaign contributions was disgusting, and seeing his behavior on this school board makes me livid.

McCann belongs out of office, and I will help whoever shares that goal.


anniej Aug. 27, 2012 @ 8:28 p.m.

Fred_Williams: "whoever shares that goal", at this point the majority of the south bay shares that goal.

perhaps a few of us might take the lovely Mrs. Williams to lunch, let her know how desperately the south bay needs good candidates. remember mccann and cartmill are coming up for re election in a couple of years. chances of either of them being reelected is next to none as the eastlake community is beginning to awaken as to what their neighbors are not doing for them as members of the board.if, you should decide to run down the road remember i am often found here banging away at these keys - anniej really would like to see persons who serve voted onto the board vs persons who use - in other words i would be willing to work to get a qualified person on the board.

mccann, rambo he is not - but you obviously know that - i have dubbed him 'little man who wants to be king'. never really cared for the guy, thought he was too much of a chest thumper (look at me). hell, he gives republicans a bad name - look at what he is a part of - he and his new best friend brand (since 'the gandara' was indicted). the amount of money they have and will continue to throw away is astounding. true republican he is not.

his facebook page had a picture of him standing in front of a Humv (spelling) fully dressed holding his rifle YEARS AFTER HE RETURNED. please understand i have the utmost respect for the military, i come from a long line of them, even have family at the Pentagon currently - but you are right, no real vet USES HIS SERVICE THE WAY MCCANN DOES. he is such a small man, and i am not referring to his stature, i am talking about his integrity.


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