July 9 2004

Editorial

The San Diego Unified School District “Blueprint for Success” is Dead!

The “Blueprint for Success” is a colossal failure and as the old saying goes ‘the rats are abandoning the ship.’ First it was Anthony Alvarado, the supposed architect of the Blueprint who left last year. The San Diego Unified School Board of Trustees with a 3-2 majority which steadfastly supported the Blueprint, consisting of Sue Braun, whose political career was sunk with her poor choice of words (Under pressure, Braun left the board in 2003.), Ed Lopez, and Ron Ottinger all decided not to run for re-election as they took note that the teachers, parents and the Unions were strongly opposing the “Blueprint for Success”. Ultimately, Superintendent Alan Bersin decided it was time to seek employment elsewhere and will soon be gone.

All the candidates running to fill the three seats of the outgoing board have all gone on the record voicing a vote of no confidence in Alan Bersin and opposing the Blueprint, with exception of one. With the seating of a new board in 2005 and a new majority opposing the Blueprint, this will officially mark the end of this experiment.

The intent of the Blueprint was to educate and prepare an effective work force with an emphasis on reading, writing, and math to the exclusion of all other aspects of education. With the Hispanic community rapidly becoming the bulk of the future workforce particular attention was supposed to be devoted to educating this segment of the community. The goal of the Blueprint was developed on the East Coast where it was utilized on a much smaller school district with some success. San Diego Unified (with a student body of 140,753) was to be the ultimate test that the Blueprint would work in major school systems. With the anticipated success of the Blue for Success, this program would then be rolled out to other school districts that face similar challenges in educating a large diverse student body. Towards this end there was a camera crew video taping the changes and a writer documenting the progress for a ‘how to’ documentary.

Instead of a ‘how to’ documentary what we now have is a ‘how not to implement change’ documentary. From the very inception of this plan the Blueprint was a quagmire of problems, obstacles, dissension, and disconnect with the parents, in particular Hispanic parents, teachers, administrators, and with the citizens and residents of the San Diego Unified School District.  

At this juncture, we have to go back as to why Alan Bersin was hired and by whom. Least we forget, the Bersin hiring was orchestrated and supported by the major corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, the Union Tribune, the Republican power structure, the developers and all those who stood to gain from the spending of millions of dollars. Supt. Bersin was hired behind closed doors, with virtually no public input. To protect the vested interests, strings were attached to the “Blue Print for Success” that neither Supt. Bersin nor his New York Assistant, Anthony Alvarado could not get fired during the life of the “Blue Print for Success”.

While Bersin will take the body blows for this debacle, there is plenty of blame to go around for this education failure. But those who will pay the ultimate price will be those students who lost years of education to prepare them for college and/or be able to enter into gainful employment opportunities.

As we have documented in the pages of La Prensa San Diego, the State-run educational system in the State of California is failing our children. Change is absolutely needed. We now know how not to bring about change, it is time now to look for answers as to why our schools are failing the majority of the students in particular Latino/Hispanic/Black children, the under privileged children. Education should be color and racially blind and not be depended on the wealth of the parents.

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