Monday, May 31, 2010

Proposal to Permanently Increase VUSD Class Sizes = DISSERVICE TO OUR STUDENTS & Higher Incarceration Rates


May 31, 2010

Re: Proposal to Permanently Increase Vista Unified School District (VUSD) Class Sizes = DISSERVICE TO OUR STUDENTS & Higher Incarceration Rates

Dear Honorable VUSD School Board Members:

Your proposal to permanently increase the already over-sized classes, in our District, would be a tremendous disservice to our students. The legacy of your tenure on the Board would be a marked turning-point of rapid decline in both our students’ performances, and high school graduation rates.

Education is an INVESTMENT in our society’s FUTURE – and unfortunately it is SHORT-SIGHTED thinkers who do not understand this. The educational systems in other industrialized (and long-term and forward thinking) nations, of Europe & Asia, “get it”, as should you.

KNOWLEDGE is Power. So, please take a moment, to click this link (below), and educate yourself about a study commissioned by the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, and other studies, from additional reputable and respected sources. Here is the link (please read in its entirety) and these three excerpts:

…”After controlling for student background, the only objective factor that was found to be
correlated with higher student success was class size, not school size, not teacher
qualifications, nor any other variable that the researchers could identify. What was even
more striking is that these achievement gains were more strongly linked to smaller
classes in the upper rather than the lower grades.”…


…”In an analysis of more than 200 school districts, researcher Harold Wenglinsky of the
Educational Testing Service concluded that for eighth graders, smaller classes were
associated with higher rates of achievement in math, as well as a much improved “school
social environment”, as measured by factors such as higher attendance and lower rates of school vandalism.”…


…”A national survey found that 75% of high school dropouts in the United States said that providing smaller classes with more individualized attention would have improved their likelihood of graduating from high school”…

YOU, who currently sit on the VUSD Board, will be responsible for increased High School Dropout rates, which is not just a number – but is…our future! “The Vista Unified School District had a grades 9-12 dropout rate of 23% in 2007. The national grades 9-12 dropout rate in 2007 was 4.4%.” Source: / NCES. You are tasked with significantly LOWERING this number – closing the gap – not igniting it, to increase exponentially. Ours’ is ALREADY exponentially higher than the nationwide average. A decision, by the Board to INCREASE class sizes, would quickly exacerbate this PROBLEM – therefore it is NOT an acceptable option.

Higher dropout rates would lead to an increase in INCARCERATION RATES.

The larger classes will also inherently lead to increased discipline problems, and will result in our teachers being put in the position of RIOT control.

Cause and effect, YOUR recent proposals have ALREADY negatively impacted thousands of students, here are a few examples:

Be responsible for making the VUSD newsworthy on positive merits; and not the negative ones which have found us national publicity*, over the past couple of decades.

PLEASE work as a team on BEHALF of your school district, and YOUR students, to exceed our expectations. The Districts’ achievement and success will come from you, our Board Members, thinking ‘outside the box’ to finesse this complex issue – for a positive outcome.

Thank you for your consideration, and we hope that you make an EDUCATED decision, to NOT INCREASE our already OVER-BURDENED (34-38+) CLASS SIZES.

* An example of EMBARRASING NATIONWIDE PRESS for the VUSD School Board thanks to a current VUSD School Board member (Jim Gibson’s ‘15 minutes’ of fame on TMZ):

Sent to VUSD Board Members:
Steve Lilly;

Carol Herrera

Elizabeth Jaka;

Angela Chunka;

Jim Gibson;

North County Times – Reporter Stacy Brandt
San Diego Union-Tribune