Staff Oct. 2012
Executive Director Lisa Berlanga
Lisa Berlanga, a San Diego native and mom to a Patrick Henry High School Student,
has had a variety of experience in the San Diego educational community. She
graduated from USD with a teaching credential and then received her M.Ed in
Curriculum and Instruction. [USD (University of San Diego) was closely connected to
SD4GS.] A few years later she went back to school at SDSU and earned her
administrative credential. She began her career as a teacher in San Diego Unified
School District at Mead Elementary teaching kindergarten and first grade students.
After a few wonderful years of working with these enthusiastic, young learners, she
had the opportunity to transition to Darnall Charter School, which appealed to her
because of the level of teacher collaboration and participation in the governance
processes of the charter. Her twelve years at Darnall began as a teacher and
worked up to Director of the school. As Director, Ms. Berlanga was able to lead her
team to success by pulling the school out of program improvement and leading the
organization to an independent, non-profit status.
Ms. Berlanga's next challenge lead her to work supporting and advocating for the
broader charter movement by taking a position as Regional Director with the
California Charter Schools Association where she worked for six years in the San
Diego Charter Community. During her tenure as Regional Director she was able to
develop a strong collaborative relationship with San Diego Unified School District.
Ms. Berlanga is actively engaged in her local community of Del Cerro where she
has lived with her husband for sixteen years. She serves on the Cowles Mountain
Community Foundation as the Vice President and has been an active parent at
Lewis Middle and Patrick Henry High School. In her free time she enjoys attending
her son's water polo and baseball games as well as taking her French Bulldog for
walks. She is excited to join the United Parents for Education (UPforEd) team.
Kate Nowak: Parent Organizer
As a child, Kate's family lived in many states and countries as her father served as a
Judge Advocate General in the United States' Air Force. She completed High
School at Choctawhatchee High School with an International Baccalaureate
Diploma. Kate graduated with a degree in Sociology and Spanish from the University
of Central Florida in just three years, and worked towards her Master's in Special
Education from Queens College of the City University of New York. Kate was
selected as a New York City Teaching Fellow and continued her passion for
education teaching children with special needs at a public middle school in Queens,
New York City. She joined President Obama's primary election campaign in June
2007, and continued campaigning for progressive candidates and causes through
the November 2010 election. She is excited to have returned to education and
wants to ensure every no child, no matter what zip code they live in, has the same
opportunities she had: a great education and ability to pursue their dreams. She is
the proud aunt of Hannah, age 9, and Alex, age 6, as well as a mom to a finicky but
lovable cat, Omar Little. In addition to education, she enjoys politics, films, books,
Yohany Corona: Parent Organizer
Yohany was born in San Diego, California and is the second oldest of five siblings.
Her family moved a lot, back and forth across the border, going to school both in the
United States and in Tijuana and Ensenada, Mexico. Her family finally settled in San
Ysidro at the end of junior high and she attended Southwest Middle School. When
entering high school, since she had good grades, her mother wanted her to attend
a high school that had higher academic achievement and offered more challenging
classes than her neighborhood school. The district granted her permission to attend
Eastlake High School so that she could take more AP classes. It was then that it was
very apparent to her that education is not equal. Yohany attended San Diego State
University earning her Bachelor's degree in Sociology with a minor in Spanish as
well as her Master's Degree in Multicultural Education and Counseling. Yohany is
recently married and proud to have a husband who is as passionate about
education and social issues as she is. Her family is very important to her and she is
very close to them. She is very excited to join the UPforEd team and to continue
advocating for equal education for all, in order for everyone to have the same
opportunity she did, regardless of what neighborhood they live in or their
David Page: Parent and District Liaison
David Page and his wife, Stephanie, are parents of five boys and two daughters,
ages ranging from four to 35. Since 1986, his children attended a total of 26 public
schools across San Diego, from South San Diego to Clairemont. David has been
involved in all of these schools, most recently as Chairperson of the San Diego
Unified School District's District Advisory Council for Compensatory Education.
David is a member of the State Board of Education's Committee of Title I
Practitioners, the California Department of Education Family Area Network, and the
President of the California Association for Compensatory Education, a statewide
parent involvement training association. Additionally, he is a member of the School
Site Council at Taft Middle School. His college studies include Computer
Programming, Accounting, and Business Management. Professionally, David has
seven years of Military service, acted as a business manager, a supervisor, and an
owner at various locations such as service stations, retail stores, construction, and
offset printing. As the Liaison of San Diego Parents United for Education for
Parents and the San Diego Unified School District, he looks forward to serving and
strengthening the members of UpforEd.
Public Relations and Media:
Please send all media requests through Erica Holloway at Galvanized Strategies
|San Diego Education Report
UPforEd (United Parents for Education)
Successor organization to SD4GS--San Diegans for Greater Schools, but with
somewhat different goals. Where did UPforEd get so much money so quickly? Is
Irwin Jacobs a major contributor? How about Rod Dammeyer and Buzz Woolley?
Were assets transferred to UPforEd from SD4GS?
Lisa Berlanga is wrong about what is needed to turn
UPforED will not make anything better as long as it thinks that teachers are the
only interest group that is sabotaging education.
The entrenched and corrupted power of school district politicians and
administrators is just as big a problem as the teachers' union. For BOTH groups,
kids come second to personal agendas. In order to keep power in the hands of
powerful administrators, board members and their union official secret pals,
school districts and the teachers union cooperate behind closed doors a lot more
than most people know.
It's just too tempting for the leaders of both groups to maintain the status quo.
I agree with Lisa Berlanga that the California Teachers Union has stood in the
way of meaningful teachers evaluations--but administrators and politicians are
equally guilty. Lisa's organization seems to want to let the wolf replace the fox in
UPforED could actually do some good if it got an effective system of teacher
evaluation instituted. The evaluation system would not need to put much, if any,
emphasis on student test scores. But it's about time we had eyes in the
classrooms, simply recording what teachers are doing.
Principals are not doing, and probably can not do, a proper job of evaluating their
own teachers. They have to play politics with powerful teachers to make their
schools function. Evaluations should be done by people from outside a school,
or, better yet, from outside a school district. Perhaps even volunteer parents
could do some of the basic information gathering on teacher performance.
Why not work for meaningful teacher evaluations, Lisa?
Is it just too easy to target the teachers union?
School Board Election Key to Turning Around San Diego Schools
Oct 18, 2012
By LISA BERLANGA
Voice of San Diego
On Nov. 7, San Diego Unified School District moves forward with three new or re-
elected board members reconfiguring a board of five, beleaguered by governing
questionably in the students' best interests.
In the last few years, we've seen more than our share of controversies that
United Parents for Education, or UPforEd, believes served the political
expediency of adults to the personal disappointment of parents, and the
educational letdown of students. Let's consider just a few decisions made by five
people, elected by the majority of San Diego Unified voters that leads us to
question their motives.
Recently, San Diego Unified decided not to pursue $15 million dollars in funds
under Race to the Top. The Obama administration put forward Race to the Top
criteria and guidelines, in an effort to improve student outcomes and close the
achievement gap. Yet, San Diego Unified chose not to even apply for these
funds. A parent has to ask why wouldn't the district pursue another source of
funding during such tight budget times?
In another confounding example, the district faced spiraling healthcare expenses
in 2010 to the tune of $167 million — the biggest share of cost aside from payroll.
The issue came up this year and the unions blocked hearings on proposals from
competitors of the California Schools Voluntary Employees Benefits Association
without even a public hearing on the matter.
The media brought the issue to light discovering that in 20 years, the district
hasn't put the healthcare bid out once despite best practices suggesting soliciting
new bids every three to five years.
Because of decisions like these there is not enough money left in the budget to
fund teachers. So our teachers, sometimes the best and brightest, get pink-
slipped each year.
Yet for all these poor fiduciary decisions, voters continue to elect school board
members who maintain the status quo and put what's best for kids' achievement
second, placing the full burden on parents and teachers...
Lisa Berlanga response:
posted at 12:10 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012
Just for clarification my article was referencing school board members, not the
teacher's union. However, I agree with you Maura, let's create a meaningful
teacher evaluation system that would provide teachers with ongoing realevant
feedback, supports, mentoring and professional development. Let's design a
system that actually recognizing exceptional teachers and rewards them in some
way. Let's share best practices and what is working amoung all the schools. Let's
give the principals the authority to create teams of teachers who work together
for years on a population of student's figuring out what works best for them.
UPforEd is all for that but we need parents, teachers, administrators, board
members and the teacher's union to work together to accomplish this. Anyone
who agrees this is a great goal for our district, join us, www.upfored.org.
It sounds like UPforEd is planning to sit around waiting for "parents, teachers,
administrators, board members and the teacher's union to work together" to
create a teacher evaluation system.
In the meantime, you're hoping to give administrators more power.
You say, "Let's give the principals the authority..."
If you give principals more authority over teachers BEFORE you have meaningful
AND INDEPENDENT teacher evaluations, then you're just supporting the current
system of personal agendas and school politics.
That's not exactly the same thing as getting all stakeholders to work together, is
You already have about 10% of teachers who have figured out what students
need. Successful teaching is not a mystery. The expertise of those teachers
should be accessed instead of giving principals more power to reward their (often
mediocre) teacher cronies for loyalty.
UPforEd has a huge amount of money--enough to hire you as executive director,
which is pretty impressive for a new organization. I suspect that Irwin Jacobs is
your major benefactor. If this is true, it should be noted when you publish an
opinion piece in VOSD, which is also flourishing due to Jacobs' generosity.
Instead of trying to get rid of the board members who failed to apply for Race to
the Top (which means, of course, board members who are supported by the
teachers union), why not put your huge amount of cash toward designing a
teacher evaluation system, and then campaigning for it?
After you make it inevitable that effective teacher evaluations will be
implemented, then the "parents, teachers, administrators, board members and
the teacher's union" can finalize the details.
But that's not your goal, is it? You don't want effective, unbiased teacher
evaluations. You just want more arbitrary power for administrators.
Wiz1 posted at 11:35 am on Wed, Oct 24, 2012.
As for Up for Ed, it started in 2011
ScrippsDad posted at 1:25 pm on Wed, Oct 24, 2012.
...UPforED started well before 2011, and again, you ignore the facts and you
don't bother to do the research. I'm not sure how you can lay claim to the truth
when you weren't there; I was and have been throughout so folks can take what
you say as an uniformed outsider...
Dear Scripps Dad:
I tried to take your advice about researching the beginnings of UPforEd, but it
wasn't easy. I couldn't find this information on the UPforEd website.
I looked through three pages of Google results, and the earliest date I could find
connected with UPforEd was Feb. 20, 2011, the date the organization registered
its domain name.
I assume that most of the people involved in UPforEd had made efforts to change
schools before the organization started--but you can't predate the start of the
organization to the time when some members first started making efforts for
In fact, weren't most of the founders of UPforEd once organized under the name
San Diegans 4 Greater Schools? And didn't they start UPforEd after SD4
garnered some bad publicity during its failed effort to pack the SDUSD board with
Perhaps you intend to say that UPforEd and SD4 are the same organization? Is
that how you justify saying that UPforEd started before 2011?
If that's the justification for your statements, then you need to come out and state
that UPforEd is simply a new name for an older organization. Otherwise, it will
appear that you're trying to fudge the facts.
Until you make that argument, I think Wiz1 is correct when he states that UPforEd
started in 2011.
Posted by Maura Larkins
Board of Directors
Teresa Drew and Shelli
What began as a few concerned
parents, grew into a movement
to improve San Diego schools.
Shelli Kurth (right) and Teresa
Drew's (left) journey to education
advocacy began before the birth
of their children. Both of the
native Californians earned their
California Teaching Credentials
and later, opened a
learning program for their own
combined four children where
they continue teaching. They
joined forces to increase parent
involvement as PTA leaders in
their locals schools. As their
advocacy participation grew,
Shelli and Teresa decided to
found the Point Loma Cluster
School Foundation and served
on the executive board from 2006
to 2011. While working at the
"cluster level," more and more
parents began expressing their
needs for a unified voice to
support one another in their
quest for a kids-first education.
This eventually evolved into UP
for Ed, a grassroots non-profit
organization independent of
political influence. As parents,
UP for Ed fights to make sure
public schools put kids first and
believes parents are a powerful
voice in education. UPforEd
supports participation and
inclusion of all parent voices free
of a formal membership and
advocates for a permanent seat
at the table with other decision
makers. UP for Ed envisions a
between the San Diego Unified
School District, teachers and
parents. Shelli and Teresa know
parents can lead the way to a
more effective public education
system in San Diego.
UPforEd Board of Directors:
Stephen D. Rosen
President of the Board
Stephen D. Rosen is the
founder, CEO and President of
TV Magic, Inc., a San Diego
based media systems
integration company serving the
global broadcast, A/V,
His extensive television
systemic approach to consulting,
engineering, and systems
integration has guided TV Magic,
Inc. through several major
turnkey projects while
maintaining customers such as
CBS, FOX, ABC, Warner Bros.,
ESPN, Technicolor, the Crystal
Cathedral, Trinity Broadcast
Network, and several major
educational Institutions - to
name a few.
In 2010, Steve ran for San Diego
Unified School District Trustee
out of Area B. While losing the
election he still garnered over
100,000 votes from San Diegans
who believed in educational
reform and fiscal responsibility.
Steve focused on the rapidly
deteriorating financial problems
of the District, their growing
negative impact on children and
how to solve the fiscal problems
while protecting the teachers.
Many of the major financial
issues currently effecting
SDUSD were predicated by
Steve along with his
development of a strategic plan
to avoid the insolvency crisis.
Having developed professional
relationships within the SDUSD,
local business leaders, local,
State and Federal politicians,
and the local community, Steve
has stayed very active in his
efforts to affect change within the
educational community at large
and specifically SDUSD to the
benefit of the children and not
directly tied to the adults. As part
of Steve's active involvement,
Steve recognized the importance
of parent's involvement in
children's education and to
facilitate that involvement, Steve
helped develop and is a
founding Board member of
UPforED. He was just elected
With two boys in SDUSD
schools, and his family's
involvement in the local
community and schools, Steve
and his wife Susan have
volunteered countless hours to
the local schools and community
along with cash and goods
donations to support those
Having honed his project
management skills as an
organizer for the 1984 Olympics
and 6 years of undergraduate
and graduate study in the
sciences (BA and MS degrees
awarded), Steve has developed
the tools necessary to manage
and complete large scale
projects on-time and on budget
and understand the complexities
of budgeting and fulfillment
along with strategic planning.
Co-Founder, Treasurer and
Teresa Drew is a proud mom of
two daughters both of whom
attend SDUSD public schools.
She is a California
teacher and proudly spends her
time advocating for K-12
education reform and teaching a
dynamic Tennis and Education
program for preschool age
As a parent education advocate,
Ms. Drew has spent the last 9
years working on education
reform efforts and high quality
education for all students. She
spent two years as PTA
president at Ocean Beach
Elementary School and several
years holding various executive
board positions. Ms. Drew was
an active member of the OB
Elementary School Site Council
and Site Governance Team for
several years. As the Arts
Committee chairperson, she
helped implement a dynamic
and diverse art program
available for all students to
participate in. She is a founding
board member of the Point Loma
Cluster Schools Foundation, a
collaborative organization of
parents, teachers, and staff
supporting 6,000 students and
ten schools in the Point Loma
Ms. Drew's experiences all led
her to her most current effort; she
co-founded San Diego United
Parents for Education, UPforEd.
She works tirelessly to shift the
role of parents in the education
system to one of change-agents
in support of decision making
that places the needs of
students as the greatest priority.
"As a parent and teacher I
strongly believe that ALL children
can learn and our greatest gift to
them is a dynamic and quality
education. We have a moral
obligation to ensure that ALL
children have access to high
quality instruction and amazing
and dynamic learning
Shelli Kurth's journey to
education advocacy began
before the birth of her children.
Upon receiving her Bachelor of
Arts and Teaching Credential
from San Diego State University
Ms. Kurth taught in both private
and public schools. She taught
multiple grades including
special education and later co-
created a preschool-age
kinesthetic learning program for
her own children, where she
continues teaching today.
Shelli aimed to increase parent
involvement as a PTA leader in
her local school. Ms. Kurth was
both president and vice
president of the PTA and has sat
on the School Site Council. She
has used her energy to start
innovative and exceptional
programs at Ocean Beach
Elementary, a Title 1 school.
As her advocacy participation
grew, Shelli helped to found the
Point Loma Cluster School
Foundation that represents ten
schools and 6,000 students in
the Ocean Beach/Point Loma
Area. She served on the
executive board from 2006 to
While working with the Point
Loma Cluster, Shelli heard many
parents expressing their needs
for a unified voice to support one
another in their quest for a
children first education. This led
Shelli to create UPforEd with
co-founder Teresa Drew.
UPforEd is a grassroots,
non-profit organization led by
parents to ensure children come
first when making school
decisions. UPforEd believes
parents are a powerful voice in
education and deserve a seat at
the table with other decision
makers. UPforEd believes every
child deserves great teachers
and schools and envisions a
between the San Diego Unified
School District, teachers and
An entrepreneur herself, Gabriela has
owned, operated, and launched
several small business and
entrepreneurial ventures. A lawyer by
profession, Gabriela's career as an
entrepreneur began when she
relocated from Mexico to San Diego. An
Consultant and Certified
Entrepreneurial Trainer, Gabriela has
designed and implemented specific
training programs for other nonprofit
organizations throughout San Diego.
As a community activist and volunteer,
she has focused in the field of children
and education, where she currently
holds many leadership positions.
Gabriela began her career as an
Assistant Attorney for the
Procuraduria de la Defensa del
Menor y la Familia, Desarrollo
Integral de la Familia (Child and
Family Protective Agency of
Mexico, D.I.F.) where she
provided legal advice and
representation on Mexican
Family Law where she designed,
directed and delivered family law
and domestic violence
workshops to the community.
She then went on to serve as an
Attorney for Contreras, Tevera y
Asociados, S. C. in Mexico City
as head of the International
Adoptions Practice Group.
Upon relocating to the United
States, Gabriela launched her
consulting career in 1997
counseling American & Mexican
companies on international trade
& commerce. Specifically, she
developed and designed
workshops in English and
Spanish for startups and advised
American companies in
Gabriela moved to San Diego in
1998 and while she focused on
starting a family and settling in a
new business environment,
decided to pursue one of her
passions: working with children.
Thus, she signed up in
InterAmerican College, a small
college located in National City,
and took some courses in order
to pass the California Basic
Skills Test. She also worked in
the Office of Academic Affairs.
She obtained a substitute
teacher permit from the State of
California Commission on
Teacher Credentialing and
worked for the Chula Vista
Elementary School District.
A great business opportunity
took place in 2000 and Gabriela
launched Superior Industrial
Finishing, Inc. (SIF); a coatings
distributor company serving
markets in CA, AZ and Mexico, as
Owner & President. After facing
the challenges of owning,
operating, and growing a small
business, Gabriela then focused
her career on assisting others in
doing the same, and launched
the Quantum Financial Group.
In Quantum Financial Group she
assisted entrepreneurs with
business planning and capital
advisory services, provided
business advice and coaching to
startups and medium sized
companies and helped to
prepare loan packages for SBA
loans. The activities of Quantum
Financial Group naturally led
Gabriela into the non-profit
realm, and later on she worked
for the San Diego County
Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce as the
Program Manager. Later on, she
joined the Women's Business
Center of California (WBCC), and
she was credited with increasing
the efficiency of WBCC
counseling and advising
services. Her dedication to the
WBCC was a driving force
behind the organization's
She also worked for
Southwestern College Small
Business Development Center,
Family Resource Center,
Microenterprise Family Childcare
Program, where she designed,
developed and administered the
component of program. She
developed training and
instructional material, developed
participants' and instructor
manuals in Spanish; she
designed content modules and
established evaluation and
training metrics and established
key strategic alliances with
community partners. She also
supervised, coached and trained
business counselors. She
successfully delivered program
to more than 180 Latina
Gabriela joined United Parents
for Education Board (UpforEd),
the Parent, Teacher, Student
Association (PTSA), District
English Language Learner
Advisory Committee (DELAC),
and the Latino Advisory
Committee (LAC) to be part of an
effort to provide children and
families an outstanding
Today, Gabriela continues her
work as a consultant and
certified small business training
instructor. She enjoys spending
time with her family and four
children, reading and exercising.
When was UPforEd started?
2 changes on 3 unique name servers over 1 year.
5 changes on 5 unique IP addresses over 1 years.
13 records have been archived since 2011-02-21 .
Reverse IP: 54 other sites hosted on this server.
Created On: 20-Feb-2011
Last Updated On:21-Feb-2012 11:59:46 UTC
Expiration Date:20-Feb-2013 20:47:09 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, LLC (R91-LROR)
Registrant Name:Registration Private
Domains By Proxy, LLC
14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
Registrant Phone Ext.:
David Page was also previously involved with San
Diegans 4 Great Schools
The Nine People Who Could Remake the School Board
December 14, 2010
by Emily Alpert
Moira Allbritton devotes at least five hours every week to the needs of San Diego Unified
students with disabilities. She is a stay-at-home mom with five kids in Pacific Beach who
leads a parent committee on special education, a job that consists largely of combing
through emails and fine-tuning meeting agendas.
"It's kind of mundane stuff," Allbritton said.
If a new campaign to remake the San Diego Unified school board wins out, her humdrum
post could become one of the most powerful positions in the district. Allbritton would sit on a
nine-member committee charged with picking four appointed school board members to
expand upon the elected five-member board.
Under the unusual new plan plugged by San Diegans 4 Great Schools, the deciders would
include: parents who lead school district committees for students with disabilities,
economically disadvantaged kids, English learners and gifted students; four leaders of local
universities and a representative from one of two local business groups.
Granting such important powers to such a small group has unquestionably been the most
hotly debated part of the campaign: Would these nine people do a better job
than the 200,000-plus voters who usually decide whether someone
gets onto the school board or not?
...David Page is known as a human encyclopedia on funding for disadvantaged
students... Anderson, Hernandez and Page officially support the switch,
though Anderson added she wouldn't want to choose school board members;
Nagy says she likes the idea but is still cautious. Allbritton said she couldn't take
an official stand on the idea because her whole group should weigh in.
They would be joined by the four leaders at the top of San Diego State
University, the University of San Diego, the University of California, San Diego
and the local community college district. The university chiefs are typically
respected figures with long resumes: Constance Carroll, who leads the local
community colleges, was just nominated by President Obama for the National
Council on the Humanities.
Julie Meier Wright, CEO of the regional Economic Development Corp., said
university presidents have a vested interest in making sure that kids graduate
equipped for college. While the university leaders shied from weighing in on the
idea, their names alone could lend it more credibility.
The ninth spot would alternate between an education representative from the
Chamber of Commerce or from the Economic Development Corp. Right now,
those spots are held, respectively, by Christopher Yanov, the founder of the
Reality Changers after school program, and Mike Chapin, the retired CEO of a
geotechnical engineering firm who has advised San Diego State on science
The idea is new and unusual: Experts from across the country said they knew of
no other school systems that use a committee to pick appointees. Usually a
mayor or governor chooses members if the board's appointed.
Quiet Coalition Floats Idea of Expanded School Board
July 14, 2010 Updated: Dec 14, 2010.
By EMILY ALPERT
Philanthropists, parents and business leaders upset with the state of San Diego
Unified schools have been quietly talking about whether a bigger school board
could be better for schools.
The budding plan would add four new members to the board. Unlike the existing
five elected members, they would be chosen by an outside group that could
include the leaders of local universities, parent groups, labor unions and
business chiefs, among others.
Scott Himelstein, who organizes the informal group and leads an education
policy center at the University of San Diego, declined to talk about the idea and
how far it has gone. He stressed that the coalition of local leaders has no
"definitive strategy" at this point.
But numerous people close to the talks were familiar with the same controversial
idea. Pollsters have already been quizzing parents about who they'd want to be
in the group that chooses the new school board members -- and who they
wouldn't. And its plans seem to be advancing.
The coalition has hired political consultant Tom Shepard, for instance. Several
sources said the group has also hired a public relations firm, Katz & Associates,
and is tossing around potential names like San Diegans 4 Great Schools to start
drumming up donations.
...The coalition first gathered at the University of San Diego after Grier
announced he would leave last year. It urged the school board to woo him back.
When that failed, the group stuck together. Its members, who range from
Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs to parent leader David Page to Price
Charities Executive Vice President Tad Parzen, are united by a sense that
something needs to change in the school district.
"We're genuinely trying to assess: Are these problems somehow unique among
school districts? Is it a result of governance or culture?" said Lani Lutar,
president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and a
member of the group. "It's people that are interested in turning what appears to
be a dysfunctional system into something that would serve students a lot better."
David Page comment:
somepages posted at 12:38 pm on Wed, Oct 13, 2010
":Lets get some trustees who don't have to worry about elections and factions,
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman posted at
2:52 pm on Wed, Oct 13, 2010.
David Page, I know you have cared about the quality of San Diego kids' public
education for years and together we have always shared that concern. Why
would you now join with a group like "San Diegans 4" -- a big-bucks business
lobby -- when you once struggled on behalf of schools' rights to keep their Title I
money that was confiscated by Alan Bersin?
Many of your criticisms stated here are valid, but they also betray frustration,
exhaustion and a cynicism that I do not recall from the past. "San Diegans 4" are
not your kind of people, David, and their goals are not the ones I remember you
held. Your participation in "San Diegans 4" provides that group of monied
insiders the good citizen/parent cover they need to succeed, as if they too were
concerned regular citizens like yourself. I urge you to rethink your participation
in this organization, even though they seem to offer a club for organizing
popular discontent with the way things are going at 4100 Normal Street. "San
Diegans 4" is high-handed, deceptive and deeply undemocratic.
We need much more far-reaching and fundamental reforms in our public
schools than what the simplistic extortionate "Race to the Top" offers. We need
a national decision and follow-though to provide reliable funding for all public
schools; smaller classes across the grades; radically better teacher and
principal preparation and more rigorous certification; we need to re-commit
ourselves to the human values inherent in a "free public education" and to put in
perspective the uses of standardized tests and "accountability" for the effective
teaching and learning of children.
We need people like you to run for School Board, David, not to position yourself
for a payback patronage appointment from corporate masters.
UPforEd is closely linked to Voice of San Diego
Schools on the Brink
Voice of San Diego
Our first segment -- "What's at Stake" -- in the weeklong video and discussion
series about San Diego Unified's financial problems ended up running on NBC 7
1 Central Elementary principal Cindy Marten. [Marten was chosen as SDUSD
Superintendent in 2013.]
2 The first unidenitied man being interviewed in this video is San Diego Unified
Superintendent Bill Kowba. The second is Scott Himelstein, director of the Center
for Education Policy and Law at University of San Diego.
3 Man speaking at a podium is school board member Scott Barnett.
4 The first unidenitied man being interviewed in the video is teachers union
president Bill Freeman. The second is parent Paul M. Bowers.
5 Speakers in the video are: San Diego Unified school board president Richard
Barrera; school board member Scott Barnett; teacher Dennis Schamp; parent Paul
M. Bowers; Barnett again; an audience member; Up for Ed director Teresa Drew.
Sixth-grade teacher Dennis Schamp, a regular commenter and frequent recipient of
the school district's pink slips replaced Jim Groth on the big Thursday evening
discussion on possible solutions. Thursday 7 p.m. at McMillin Events Center in
What’s up with Up for
January 5, 2012
Last month, I attended two
different events dedicated to the
discussion of public education.
They were separate and
unrelated, but each event
featured one of the two co-
founders of a local group called
Up for Ed.
Theresea Drew sat on a panel
hosted by Voice of San Diego,
and Shelli Kurth was one of three
attendees hand selected to ask a
question during the Michelle Rhee
event, the welcoming remarks for
which were given by the former
leader of the supposedly defunct
pro-charter group San Diegans 4
Great Schools. (One of my Twitter
followers approached me before
the event started, shook my hand
and said ominously, “We are in
the belly of the beast.” No doubt, I
believe what she said was true.)
At any rate, when Kurth took the
microphone to speak, she
identified herself only as a parent
(I’d love to know where her
children go to school) and not as
a founder of Up for Ed, which
happened to be a co-sponsor of
I thought this was a curious
omission. I mentioned this in my
recap of the event, and went a
few rounds on Twitter with Up for
Ed. Interested to know why Kurth
wouldn’t mention her affiliation at
the time of her public question to
Rhee, and curious about where
Up for Ed stands on certain
issues that are left unaddressed
on it’s website, I emailed Kurth. I
Your website states as core
values, “Great School and Great
Teachers, Kids-First Decision
Making and Parents as REAL and
POWERFUL Stakeholders.” Yet
nowhere on your site do you state
which reforms you support in
order to achieve these core
values. You say your in favor of
parent empowerment, yet
nowhere in your mission
statement do you say what that
means to your organization. So, I
‘m writing you now to try to
understand where Up for Ed
stands on various issues. I’m
curious to know what Up for Ed’s
position is on the following:
2. High stakes testing
3. Teacher assessment using
4. School Closings/Conversions
of schools to privately run charters
5. Lifting the caps on public
funding of charter schools
Also, is Up for Ed affiliated with
the Los Angeles group Parent
Finally, when Shelli spoke
publicly at the Michelle Rhee
event last night, she introduced
herself as a parent, but did not
include that she is a co-founders
of Up for Ed, one of the sponsors
of Rhee’s listening tour. Why this
I received a response from Up for
Ed’s PR person offering a chance
to discuss these questions over
coffee. Unable to do this until
after the holidays, I reiterated that
my questions were pretty
straightforward, and that I didn’t
think they necessitated a face-to-
face meeting. Never mind that I’m
a journalist; as a parent who
might be looking to affiliate with
some sort of education reform
group, these questions are not
unreasonable. Why would they
hedge unless there was
something to hide?
Long story getting longer, I did
receive an email from Kurth filled
with platitudes, talking points,
and——one of my questions
answered. “In regards to the
Michelle Rhee event,” Kurth
added as a post script, “It was
requested that I identify myself
simply as a parent.” That passive
voice is so forgiving, isn’t it?
I’ve since emailed to ask who
requested that Kurth identify
herself “simply as a parent.” Was
it the Rhee people? And if not the
Rhee people, then who? Was it
her people? And who are her
people? So far——and not
and crickets from Kurth. And I
definitely don’t expect any more
answers after I write this, which is
okay with me since the
evasiveness, combined with what
Drew and Kurth are willing to say
to other journalists, speaks very
Please join me for a quick detour,
The re-branded and newly named
U-T San Diego published a piece
yesterday about a tussle between
parent groups and the teachers
union. There are so many ways to
dissect this particular piece of
journalism, but the gist is that
certain parent organizers—who
don’t like unions other than
“parent unions”—are unhappy
with the way the teacher’s union is
depicting the new parent trigger
law in their member newsletter.
The union views the parent
trigger law as another effort to
privatize schools (which it is), and
is making sure its members
understand its implications. Bill
Freeman, president of the San
Diego Education Association went
so far as to call the parent trigger
a “fake democracy.” Which is just,
you know, BULLS EYE.
The parent groups interviewed for
the article see things another
way, however, stating “[t]he
parents want union leaders to
retract the articles published in
their newsletters and issue new
communication to members that
offer unbiased news about the
law.” I suppose that unbiased
news about the law and other
education reporting should come
from…the Doug Manchester
owned U-T San Diego?
But enough detour. Can you
take a guess at who the
parents are in this story? That’
s right: Shelli Kurth and
Theresa Drew of Up for Ed.
Working in conjunction with
Parent Revolution (shocker),
which answers one of my
And then, too, there was this
very important bit that pretty
much answers all of my other
“Up for Ed organizers received
seed money from businessman
and charter school advocate
Rod Dammeyer, who worked
with San Diegans 4 Great
Schools and that group’s failed
effort put a measure on the
next ballot that would allow
voters to expand the city school
board with appointed members.
On Thursday, May 2 
UPforEd hosts a
Conversation with San Diego
Unified CFO Stan Dobbs &
Chief of Staff, Bernie
"Next Year's Budget and
Your Child's Education"
Join UPforEd and SDUSD's
new Chief Financial
Officer (CFO), Stan Dobbs
and Chief of Staff, Bernie
Rhinerson for a special
presentation on the state of
the district, the 2013-2014
budget and how the budget
could impact your child's
Interested? Join us
Thursday, May 2nd from
6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the
Ballard Center, 2375
Congress Street (in Old
Town), San Diego, CA
92110. Parents get the
chance to ask questions,
offer suggestions and be
part of the controversial
|News, information and ideas about our
education system, courts and health care
by Maura Larkins
UPforEd (United Parents for Education)
Successor organization to SD4GS--San Diegans for Greater Schools, but with
somewhat different goals. Where did UPforEd get so much money so quickly? Is
Irwin Jacobs a major contributor? How about Rod Dammeyer and Buzz Woolley?
Were assets transferred to UPforEd from SD4GS?
Master teachers: effective
evaluations of teachers
Voice of San Diego education reporter
Mario Koran isn't a big fan of objective
measures of teacher quality.
“The [San Diego Unified] district is focused on finding a way to replicate
success like Marshall after it grew disillusioned with the school reform
movement,” VOSD’s Mario Koran reports, “which focuses intensely
on test scores as a way to gauge progress, and is now looking for a
Wait a minute. "Disillusioned with the school reform movement"? The
whole movement? Everything? That's a rather sweeping statement. It
implies that the school reform movement is limited to using "test
scores as a way to gauge progress."
I would suggest that the district use the test scores intelligently, focusing
intensely on the 10% of teachers who get the best improvement in student
scores year after year.
I'd also suggest that teacher evaluations NOT be done by the principal. The
principal can help the teacher improve, but the system of principals
evaluating their own teachers has proven to be a dismal failure. It's just too
easy for principals to assume they know what's going on in a classroom
without actually being in the classroom. It's also next to impossible for a
principal not to be influenced by personal factors.
SDUSD Supt Cindy Marten
UPforEd is closing its doors
But Voice of San Diego seems to be carrying on with UPforEd's agenda (see
following story about effective evaluations).
Let's hope that the next parent group will be more interested in effective
Like Voice of San Diego, UPforEd folks seemed to think that simply giving
administrators more control over teachers will fix schools. The problem is, the
administrators have a problem with competence just like teachers do--but
seems to want to address that issue! Administrators come from the ranks of
teachers, so we'd be accomplishing two things at once if we instituted
effective, completely unbiased evaluations of teachers: we'd improve the
teachers, and we'd improve the teachers who become administrators.