Re: Harry Miller's letter to the editor [CityBeat, Oct. 16]. First of all, I am a city school parent, a grandfather, an independent businessman, a private school teacher and have never been a member of any union. However, Mr. Miller, since you didn't mention your personal bona fides except that you're the husband of a pro-Bersin teacher, your letter of Oct. 16 would indicate you're writing solely from an anti-union, anti-parent, and pro-”Whole Language” agenda rather than facts. Here's another view:
1. Teachers who work for San Diego City Schools (SDCS) voted 93 percent no confidence in Mr. Bersin and his Blueprint. Last school year, SDCS replaced more than 1,500 teachers-that's how fearful the educational environment in SDCS has been. (Mr. Bersin's actions since 1998 indicate that an essential element of his agenda is to destroy the district's teacher's union-never mind how much that means city students must suffer.)
2. The Latino Coalition (representing 40 percent of 143,000 SDCS students) voted no confidence in Mr. Bersin and his Blueprint.
3. The basic SAT9 test scores, the high school exit exam test scores, the California Academic Performance Index (API) numbers and the SAT college entrance exam results all show that the Mr. Bersin's $250 million “Blueprint For Success” is a colossal failure when compared to similar urban school districts in California and the state results as a whole. Worse yet, these other districts did not “rob the poor schools to subsidize the middle class schools” to achieve their results-despite the well-publicized objections of parents, students, teachers and community groups.
4. At the end of this past school year, Mr. Bersin had a public relations staff of 22 district employees and a total payroll including “his inner cabinet” and staff of approximately $5 million per year, which means since he's been in San Diego, taxpayers have paid well in excess of $25 million (10 percent of the Blueprint costs) for the privilege of having Mr. Bersin oversee the “Enronization” of SDCS. All this in the face of a $33 million deficit this past school year. When he's gone, San Diego will still be stuck with hundreds of thousands of children who've had their futures robbed from them by Mr. Bersin and his administration in the name of sham reform.
5. The “Whole Language” philosophy of teaching reading has been a documented failure left over from the “fuzzy, feel-good” teaching philosophies of the '80s and '90s. The Bersin administration has continued to ram this flawed strategy down the throats of parents and teachers-despite the overwhelming evidence of its ineptitude and the fact that it violates state academic content standards. The proof of the success of phonics and “Direct Instruction” can be found just up Route 5 in Inglewood where a whole district of disadvantaged students went from the worst to the best in less than three years.
Mr. Bersin has been here four years, the achievement gap is essentially the same, tests scores in the lower grades are mixed, but in the middle and high schools test scores are in a steep downward spiral. Those are the facts. Mr. Bersin has had his chance. It's time for a superintendent who knows something about education. That's why everyone should vote for Jeff Lee and John de Beck in the city school board races.
Mike MacCarthy, Point Loma Zucchet's the man
John R. Lamb's Oct. 24 article about the increasingly acrimonious campaign battle between Michael Zucchet and Kevin Faulconer succeeded in clarifying some of the most important issues facing District 2 voters: drug policy, crime, traffic, parking and urban development. But it didn't explain the profound policy differences between the two candidates.
Michael Zucchet is a Democrat who has demonstrated a commitment to the environment and a dedication to diversity while his opponent, Mr. Faulconer, has shown that he can raise a lot of money from developers and hoteliers. Mr. Zucchet is adamant about the moratorium on hotel development around Mission Bay. Mr. Faulconer, by contrast, sidesteps the issue by equivocating and offering oblique answers.
District 2 voters deserve someone who will represent their interests with honesty and dedication. They deserve a councilmember who will protect the beaches and preserve the natural beauty of San Diego. The choice for voters is clear: Michael Zucchet on Nov. 5.
James P. Rudolph, La Jolla Saw us on the Tee Vee
When I saw one of San Diego's CityBeat on Fox news in the morning, I thought you might be worth reading, but after I read I see that you are nothing more than just people with paper and inks your words mean nothing and I'll make sure that kids in my community would not get this mess. Now I see why is froo what a waste of tree [??? -editor].
Kenny Jackson, Downtown