September 19, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letter to the Editor: SMUSD vs. MUSD

Dear Sir/Madam,


At the 30 Oct. school district separation meeting, both the school board and SM residents suggested that Santa Monica needs more money (i.e. Malibu money) to help close the achievement gap within the district. However, the Noguera Report refutes this notion.

Pedro Noguera’s report made crucial conclusions in this regard:

“For over 20 years, SMMUSD has undertaken a number of initiatives to address and reduce racial and socio-economic disparities in student achievement… (N)one of these efforts have reduced disparities in student achievement or produced significant or sustainable improvements in academic outcomes for African American and Latino students, English language learners, children with learning disabilities and low-income students generally, in the school district.”

“(M)any of the promising initiatives that have been undertaken have not been well implemented, nor have they been systematically evaluated. “

“(L)ack of progress can also be attributed to the frequent distractions experienced by district leaders, board members, central office directors and site leaders.”

Nowhere in Dr. Noguera’s report does he mention money, (let alone a lack of money), as a factor in SMMUSD’s failure to achieve its most basic goal. Instead, he mentions distractions as one of the reasons they have not succeeded. As an independent school district, SMUSD will have a board and administration focused on one manageable 4 mile x 4 mile area comprised of seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and a single comprehensive high school.

SMMUSD is failing to meet its fundamental responsibilities and goals. Research clearly shows smaller school districts are more efficient. Therefore, independence for SMUSD and MUSD will improve both districts’ opportunities for success by creating smaller locally controlled institutions. This will simultaneously remove the friction and distraction of governing two disparate, distant entities. So if Santa Monica sincerely wishes to reach its goal of Excellence Through Equity, it needs to dispense with the huge distraction of Malibu and focus on itself.



Jessica Isles.

Letter to the edtiro

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