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  • Writer's pictureEvie Sijl

Schools Must Do Better

Updated: May 16, 2022

The School System needs to be Reformed

Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan

Did you know student proficiency in reading, writing and comprehension in English and competency in math, in all grade levels in our own Santa Barbara Unified School District, is shameful?

It is doubly shameful that our school system is graduating 12th graders without the adequate skills in English and math to qualify for college admission or to qualify for training in a skilled job. Many read at a 5th-grade level.

We passive taxpayers, uninformed voters and uninvolved parents share the blame. It’s past time for all of us to reclaim control and act.

Last week we learned that the superintendent of schools for Santa Barbara County is paid approximately $300,000 a year. Dr. Susan Salcido has four assistants whose salaries combined, total more than $800,000, as of 2019. We also discovered that the Santa Barbara County schools budget is $1 billion a year! If Proposition 13 is the cause for schools lacking the funding for adequate public-school education, explain then the ability to maintain a $1 billion dollar budget!

It’s inconceivable that with an important position that pays so well and wields a budget of a billion dollars for school kids, that the incumbent superintendents have run unopposed for more than 40 years. Why? We suspect the reason is political interference and deterrence preventing anyone from running against a party-preferred incumbent or candidate. This explains why there were attempts to prevent challenger Christy Lozano from even getting on the ballot for superintendent of schools only a few weeks ago.

By the way, if the superintendent of Schools makes $300,000 a year, or $144.23 an hour, why is our school district authorizing the payment of $1,800 an hour to CWABG’s James Joyce to counsel parents and children? We find no academic qualifications nor specific, monitored or successful experiences with the parents and children of middle school for him to do so. For much of his career, he was a reporter for local newspapers, until he became employed in politics.

While on this subject, can anyone explain why a 12-year-old boy was summarily expelled from school and given no time nor assistance to understand and regret the fact that he perpetrated a racial incident? Without any opportunity for reflection and remorse, for learning of the needless hurt he caused, no opportunity for an apology, nor forgiveness, nor reconciliation — what has he learned? In fact, retribution seems to be the order of the day.

Shouldn’t the offender be included in the discussions, as Mr. Joyce’s contract reads, “of a teachable moment video”?

During Santa Barbara Unified School District’s first in-person board meeting (since 2020) on Tuesday, parents during the public comment period begged the school to take away the iPads issued to each student because of the deleterious effects on their children (and not just because of their unlimited access to YouTube videos).

A local pediatrician cautioned against the amount of screen time causing problems with motor abilities, attention deficit and the addictive nature that we all experience with even the ping of a phone.

Isn’t the school also responsible for enabling the behavior of the expelled student? After all, his offense was the tik-tok video shown to classmates on his iPad.

School board meetings are not to be missed. Not only is it inspiring to see how much these parents love their children but how hard they are willing to fight for them as they ask for the best education and learning environment. Yet their pleas appeared bothersome to the board.

The parents were so forthright as they expressed concrete concerns regarding the educational system and how it is applied. The board seemed best at glad-handing, as they congratulated and appreciated each other ad nauseum. It was far worse than the saccharine accolades at city council. Dr. Hilda Maldonado’s report on anti-blackness was not substantial enough for a fifth grader’s book report. She presented a definition to be used for racial incidents in the district, “…any incident in which a person or group is targeted for their race or perceived race..,” and an anti-blackness workshop will be held Wednesday. Are whites not being targeted via CRT and implicit bias training? We are not getting our monies’ worth.

Dr. Maldonado, the district superintendent, revealed that of the 12 racial incidents, 11 occurred in elementary schools within a three-week period. Will they expel third graders next?

We are confused with the conflicting information. Some report an incident on Feb. 16 at Santa Barbara Junior HIgh School, and some use March 16- April 7 for the dates of the racial incidents.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District agenda seems like an extreme overreaction to threats about racism from the BLM/HJ group. We see no positive results from Just Communities’ $300,000 annual contract for the last seven years with the school district. (Just Communities – committed to a world free of white supremacy, xenophobia and racism.)

Could indoctrination by introduction to CRT and Implicit Bias, cause impressionable minds to act out in the schoolyard? A sort of role-play? How different is this from pedophiles grooming their victims? With transgenderism being taught in schools for the last eight years, no wonder kids are questioning their sexual identity.

That a 5-year-old boy who said he was a dragon yesterday, but today the school tells him he may be a girl.

“Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”

— Clarence W. Hall

“Schools exist for the education of children. Schools do not exist to provide iron-clad jobs for teachers, billions of dollars in union dues for teacher’s union, monopolies for educational bureaucracies, a guaranteed market for (graduates of) teachers’ colleges, or a captive audience for indoctrinators. Bad schools stay open because those schools still provide good jobs for adults. Whether or not the children are learning is a secondary concern at best.” — Thomas Sowell

Having scared into submission our SBUSD administrators with threats of racism, our local BLM/Healing Justice crew now turn their attention to demoralizing and crippling our police department.

We must help Interim Santa Barbara Police Chief Bernard Melekian prevail with the City Council to reject the BLM/city staff proposal to oversee and control our Police Department.

At 1 p.m. Friday at the Gephard Room, 630 Garden St., will be a presentation/discussion of the recommendations of the Community Formation Committee. Their recommendations include creating a new city department at an annual cost of $600,000 with the focus of overseeing the police department without any police experience or training and a questionable controlling agenda. Yahoos.

For an eye opener, read the final recommendations of the CFC on the city’s website ( Dated 04/14/2022.

Happy Easter!

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

— Pope John Paul II

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