Wednesday, March 8, 2017

[Solano County] John Federowicz: Sorry state of schools

Blog note: this letter references grand jury reports on the subject.
An open letter to the members of the Vallejo school board:
I am a Vallejo resident for the past nine years. I am a father of three grown children and three grandchildren, none of whom currently live in Vallejo. One of my daughters had lived here, but she subsequently left the area. The primary reason she and her family left Vallejo was the poor school rankings.
I know she made the right decision.
I read the Mission/Vision/Goal statements on the school website. All sounds great. But what is actually being measured/accomplished?
What I am really curious about is what specific measures do you have in place to evaluate the performance of the school district staff? And what are you doing to motivate improvement in performance, if anything?
Specifically, I checked this website:
The rankings of the Vallejo schools are really sad. I can’t imagine how I would feel if my child or grandchild had to go to a school ranked 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. This is wrong on soooo many levels, yet it never seems to change. I recall a few years back that the poor graduation rates were talked about a lot. I recall getting into a debate with one of the candidates for school board who was trying to justify those numbers, so I am not sure how meaningful they are. I suspect that the high school rankings being higher than the elementary and junior high rankings could be because of attrition and not performance. But I don’t know that.
The grand jury reports are another disturbing issue. I only have a cursory level of information on that, but it seems incomprehensible to me that a grand jury would need to investigate any school district, let alone do it on multiple occasions grand jury unleashes scathing report on safety of Vallejo’s high schools.
Bottom line for me, I hope the new board can come together to direct staff (and or change staff out) to focus on improving the performance of the Vallejo schools.
I’m sure the staff can come up with all of the reasons why the performance is as bad as it is. In my opinion the board has been elected to stop listening to those excuses and demand better results. I am really curious how Franklin Middle School can be viable when ranked a 1, or how six other schools ranked 2 can be viable. Not to mention seven schools ranked 3.
Children are any society’s most valuable resource. We ultimately need them to step up and be the next generation of doers and leaders. Based on the performance of our school district, I think we as a community are failing our children. I know it is complicated and hard, but how long are we going to allow the failing grades of our schools to continue?
February 9, 2017
Letter by John Federowicz, Vallejo

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