Wednesday morning I read an op-ed piece by Ms. Foster, a member of the TUSD’s Governing Board. This comment is my response to that letter.
Ms. Foster uses a whole lot of words to say this: we all need to allow the TUSD leadership to do what they want because otherwise the desegregation money is going to go away and that will cause the students to lose out. Very little of this is true, and holding hands and singing Kumbayah is not going to help TUSD’s students. When the desegregation money is not being used to desegregate schools and is, instead used to pay lawyers, hire more central administrators, and fund programs that have not proven they can either…in their present forms…help desegregate the schools or help improve the educational performance of the students it is intended to help then it is not students who will lose if that money evaporates and TUSD has to operate without it. The losers will be all those very adults who have been unfairly enriched from the misuse of the desegregation funding over the past three decades.
It is strange to hear Ms. Foster worry about how money is used. She has, after all, wholeheartedly supported the efforts of Dr. Sanchez and Ms. Grijalva to avoid hiring an independent auditor who reports directly to the school board. As long as the only information provided to the Governing Board comes from the superintendent…or employees who report to the superintendent… there is no system of checks and balances that government agencies need to function properly.
The issue of magnet schools is an important one. It is the majority of the Governing Board who wanted to continue calling schools “magnets” when their programs were not at all magnetic because the funding to make them magnetic was not being provided. Then this same majority was forced by the plaintiffs, Judge Bury and Special Master Hawley to either fund the programs properly or stop calling them magnet schools. The majority of the TUSD Board then attempted to arouse the school communities and point fingers at the Judge and the Special Master. Time and again, the TUSD leadership…including Ms. Foster…tried their best to put the blame for this on others when they were the ones who created the problem and then would not go along with the solutions required by the Court.
The bottom line is that if the desegregation money being provided by TUSD’s taxpayers is not being used to desegregate schools or improve student learning significantly then it ought to go away. Students would not be damaged by that since the money is not being used to help most of them anyway. So long as it is the majority of the Governing Board and the Superintendent who are creating the problems they are the ones to be blamed for the current bitterness. If TUSD voters want better results they will need to vote in new leadership and rid themselves of those who go along with the Superintendent and Ms. Grijalva.