September 14, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

Child Exploitation Article to be Presented Before the UN

I am writing to note the quality and significance of the article on the exploitation of children. This is a significant issue for the U.N. organization (Pride) for which I am Vice President of International Relations for Children. Much has been done and is in the process of being done to seek to protect such at risk children internationally. As long as one child suffers, however, it is never enough. There remains much to do.

It is crucial that local communities in every country acknowledge the presence of this evil in their own backyard. Only when such information is brought to the public attention can appropriate steps be taken. Information is the first key to action. Congratulations on such reporting. I will see that it is included as a reference at the next U.N. conference on children.

Sean Collin
San Diego


Where is the leadership in the San Diego City School District?

Two years ago, I wrote concerning the start of a new school year without having Principals and vice principals in place for five secondary schools.

Now the San Diego City Schools are starting the new school year without the leadership of twenty six secondary administrators. You can bet that none of these schools will field a football team without all the necessary coaches and trainers in place by now.

It appears that the superintendent and his Institute for Learning are not going to demonstrate effective leadership again. The final administrator selection process won't be completed until October!

Leonard Thomas

Bersin's renewal should be put on hold

We support La Prensa's position regarding Superintendent Bersin's contract renewal. To date the current SDCS administration and school board majority have failed to improve the quality of education for bicultural students and have failed miserably in working with school communities, particularly those which are bicultural and of the working class.

It becomes apparent to us that the efforts of the San Diego business community and board majority to rush through Bersin's contract renewal is based on their fears that Braun's position will soon be lost to a new independent minded trustee. We say that Bersin and Co. should take that chance. To the contrary is another demonstration of the continuing anti-democratic practices currently under way in SDCS.

For the future of our communities and our children, Alan Bersin's contract renewal must be put off until the next election.

Edward M. Olivos, President
Greater San Diego CABE

A call for a new Superintendent

Thank you for printing the truth about what is happening in the SD Unified School District. Your paper is worthy of nothing but praise for printing the articles and editorials that explain to the public what Superintendent Alan Bersin and the school board are doing with school monies (Grants, Title I, and other budgets).

I only hope that voters will change the school board majority in March so that we can get a Superintendent that will respect the needs of all the students, and work with parents and teachers in the district.

A concerned parent and teacher.
(name withheld out of fear of retribution).

Shenangians should be investigated

Is there a way to get 20/20 or Dateline or the New York Times or Time Magazine or someone from the national media to look in on Alan Bersin's shenanigans? I would think that the NY Times would be interested since Anthony Alvarado was a big topic of interest when he was there. Anyway your coverage of the regime has been heartening and much needed.

Ernie McCray
San Diego

Year-Round Schools Supported

I noticed your comment about year-round schools (Tezozomoc Speaks, August 24, 2001) and I wanted to make a few points.

First of all, summer temperatures are usually not very high in San Diego close to the ocean. Most schools very far inland are air conditioned, and when the temperature is the hottest in September, the traditional calendar schools are in session (and the balanced calendar schools aren't far from their first break.)

A multitrack calendar is used only when the school has more kids than it has desks or classrooms for them and then it is necessary in place of double sessions in order to accommodate students.

But there is another part of a balanced calendar, like the one used at Sweetwater schools and that is the possibility of intervention and support of student learning provided by that calendar. The intersession periods give opportunity for tutorial help in the fall and spring, in the middle of the school semesters, in order to prevent failure. Plus they cut down on the learning loss experienced over the summer, as substantiated by recent research out of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Missouri.

The well-publicized big-city efforts to threaten students into meeting objectives via summer school has met with well-publicized failures, such as in New York, when fewer than half of the failures bothered to attend summer school to make up what the didn't achieve during the regular school year. A balanced calendar, on the other hand, can provide that extra time for learning that is needed when the student needs it -not months later when he or she has already failed.

Calendars, of course, can only provide opportunities. Schools, students and parents have to support a change for educational improvement, and then take advantage of what that calendar change offers.

As the person responsible for year-round calendars in the Sweetwater District, I continue to enthusiastically support change nationwide, where there are 3,000 schools and 2 million students, including almost all charter schools, that have moved out of the old traditional school calendar implemented a hundred years ago. We are long past the time when students should be on the street for 3 months every summer, and must take advantage of new opportunities for student success in this new century.

Marilyn Stenvall
Executive Director
National Association for Year-Round Education

When it comes to re-districting what part of "compact" don't they understand

The 2000 census has established California's population at 33,871,648 and has therefore allotted 53 Congressional districts to our state. This is an increase of one, over the last decade. This amounts to 639,087 persons per congressional district.

San Diego County, with a count of 2,813,833, is entitled to about four and a half congressional districts. From the 1990 census, we shared the 48th district with Orange County and this continues to be the case with the newly released redistricting plan. We've also shared a district with Imperial county in the last decade and again this continues to be the case.

The Democratic dominated legislature has very deviously carved out to Democratic districts the 49th and 50th, and two Republican districts, the 51st and the 52nd in San Diego County. If the Democratic and Republican voter registrations are totaled, for these for districts, one finds a slight edge for the Republicans.

In order to carve out two Democratic districts in San Diego County, the legislature has had to resort to extreme gerrymandering for the new 49th district. This proposed district includes some of downtown San Diego, Point Loma, Imperial Beach and then runs along the Mexican border and finally connects to and includes all of Imperial County. This district is an abomination and cannot be allowed to every exist!

The proposed 52nd district is now totally in San Diego County.

By the way, the new proposed 53rd district is in Los Angeles County and is in the shape of a "U," with the cities of Downey, Bellflower and Norwalk in the middle, in the adjacent district. This is another case of extreme gerrymandering.

My question is, what part of the word "compact" don't these partisan bureaucrats understand?

Thomas R. Stott
San Diego

New districts. Same old politics

San Diego's Re-districting Commission spent months giving lip service to "communities". But Father Carroll proved when he was able to pressure the commission into changing the boundaries, politics trumps communities every time. No matter how the districting process starts off. It always ends up as political gerrymandering.

And let's not blame Father Carroll. He was just playing by the rules of re-districting. It's time to end the forced "ghetto-ization" every 10 years and instead elect our City Council at large using Cambridge style Proportional Representation.

Edward Teyssier
San Diego

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