-- Reducing Class Size --
In some of San Diego Unified Schools have class sizes up to 40 students. Research shows that smaller class sizes can increase reading and math scores by 8 percent or more—and has a 5.5 percent return in annual benefits over the course of the student’s lifetime earnings.
Teachers can focus more on students and have more one-on-one time to ensure that learning is happening in the most effective way.
-- Increase Teacher Pay --
Teachers are the back bone of our school district. Their hard work shapes our city’s children for the rest of their lives, and impacts the quality of our workforce and the growth of our economy. Teachers are also underpaid, overworked, and often undermined by administrators. This, along with an endless cycle of layoffs each year, has led to low morale and retention issues.
We must attract and retain the most qualified and passionate teachers for our students—so we must pay them a fair and competitive wage and stop playing games with their livelihoods every time budgets get tight.
-- Increase Resources to Students --
San Diego Unified’s budget is big and it’s complicated. Funding mechanisms change every year. And new policies from Sacramento impact our ability to exercise local control. But one thing is clear: We need to divert resources from administration and the central office into the classroom. We need to decrease the use of outside consultants to play public relations games and stop paying legal costs to avoid transparency.
Boosting administrator and district-level employee pay is not helping students achieve their potential. Approving new programs without budgetary considerations puts us further in the hole. There are going to be tough decisions to make, but we need to be realistic about the District’s resources and put all available funds back into our classrooms.
-- Improving Learning to ALL Students --
For too long, your zip code has determined the quality of your education and whether or not your community gets a new school or a new jail. We need to improve the learning of ALL students from ALL communities in San Diego Unified. That’s why we need to hire more Special Education teachers, English Language Learner specialists, guidance counselors, nurses, psychologists, vocational instructors and other positions that will directly benefit students.
-- Systemic Infrastructure Solutions --
From lead in drinking water to asbestos in school buildings to security measures to protect from potential shooting incidents—San Diego Unified has millions of dollars in backlogged infrastructure needs. While voters keep approving bond measures to fix these issues, administrators regularly spend the money on fancy projects like stadium lights and athletic fields rather than the more important structural fixes that keep our students safe. We must prioritize student safety over ribbon cuttings and public relations victories.
-- Representative Leadership --
Many of the failures of San Diego Unified can be traced to a board that is not held accountable to the communities it represents. School Board elections are held in a city-wide general election that allows special interests to override the desires of a district and allows incumbent school board members to campaign in communities that are friendlier to them rather than the communities they actually represent. It also makes it near-impossible for everyday San Diegans who are invested in the future of students—parents, teachers, working families, community leaders—to run for and win a seat on the board. This must end.
San Diego Unified must reform its elections to be district-only, and have 8-year term limits like the San Diego City Council and San Diego Board of Supervisors. We must also move public comment to the beginning of board meetings, and provide childcare during meetings, to allow the public more access to the process of educating our kids.
-- Leadership and Integrity for San Diego Unified --
In short, the school district and our board have FAILED us. The current representatives have turned a blind eye to sexual harassers on the board and in our classrooms. They have failed on dangerous lead levels and protecting students from bullying and violence for their beliefs and identities. They have failed to listen to the voices of parents and concerned community members.
All of this is unacceptable. We must hold our board accountable and we need to provide new leadership that will protect our students, that will restore parents’ and the community’s voices, and bring back integrity to our school district.