Thursday, May 13, 2010

Who destroyed Castle Park Elementary? It was a cooperative effort by the district and the teachers union

I was shocked and disappointed to learn that the school I attended as a child and worked at as an adult has gone down hill so rapidly since I left it in 2001.

Castle Park Elementary has the lowest API score in Chula Vista Elementary School District. This wasn't always the case.

When I was there, scores were well above the bottom despite the low socio-economic level of the neighborhood. Then current Chula Vista Educators president Peg Myers began clawing her way up the ladder to power with the help of a group of teachers that had been sowing discord before Peg arrived. Peg got lots of help from Jim Groth, who is now a statewide CTA director, and Beverly Tucker, the head legal counsel of California Teachers Association.

Castle Park Elementary Chula Vista Elementary 754

A small group of teachers chewed up and spit out a long string of principals and good teachers. The goal was power for their group, not education for children. The district supported Robin Donlan, Karen Snyder, Peg Snyder and their associates until it realized in 2004 that the teachers were out of control. Then the district ended up hiring lawyers to defend itself against the teachers that it had spent $100,000s of tax dollars defending. Shame on Larry Cunningham and Pamela Smith for knowingly defending teachers who had committed crimes.

I notice that the enrollment at Castle Park Elementary has gone down to 312. It appears that everyone who is able to do so finds another school to go to.

The school had 11 principals in 11 years before the current principal was asked to try to make some sense out of the wreckage. I suggest a Truth and Reconciliation Committee for the school--and the district. Problems need to be fixed, not hidden, as Lowell Billings has done.

Were teachers "blindly-led"?

Here's a quote from an AOL News article about the Tonya Craft case:
"It's divided the community between those who are intelligent and can think for themselves and those who are blindly led," local resident Harmony Lefler told AOL News. "It's horrible to say that, but it is the truth."


'Bright flight' fight
Castle Park Middle School students get help from teachers to stay there
By Chris Moran
March 3, 2007

Smart kids grow up in Chula Vista's Castle Park area, attend the neighborhood elementary schools and then leave for other parts of town for seventh grade.

This academic diaspora is so persistent and troubling that Sweetwater Union High School District educators have given it a name: “bright flight.”

A federal law intended to help low-scoring schools such as Castle Park Middle School appears to have accelerated the brain drain. The No Child Left Behind Act gives parents the option to send their children to higher-scoring schools when their neighborhood school doesn't make the grade.

This school year, the families of 168 students used No Child Left Behind to leave Castle Park Middle School. That coincides with a plunge in the number of students in the school's advanced academic program. There are about one-third fewer seventh-graders in the school's fledgling International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme than there were last year...

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