All this time, I thought the state-of-the-schools pep rally was just to remind everyone what a super job the Super was doing because it just happens to fall right before his annual rubber-stamped pay raise and contract extension.

But I just learned that the real reason for the rally is to “Expand the District’s outreach and contact with our local community and continue to build partnerships and relationships that enhance educational opportunities for our students.”

Silly me! I should have realized that an effective way of expanding the district’s outreach and contact to the parents in the underperforming schools on Costa Mesa’s Westside is to hold a $32 breakfast on a day and time when nearly all of them are working.


I just never realized that having Westside Trustee Walt Davenport actually do something about the Westside schools other than just attend board meetings and study sessions is less effective than having him go to a $32 breakfast in which he and the attendees feeding at the taxpayer trough will hear that everything is roses and rainbows and how exciting it is to be a part of it.

In 2014, Super Fred Navarro started off his remarks about the district’s priorities. Two minutes later he ended his remarks. The next 20 or so minutes was a slick presentation of all the exciting, wonderful, and fabulous developments in the district. So the Super got up, talked for a couple of minutes, showed the video, thanked a few groups, then sat down.

There was not one word about fixing failing schools. Not one. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

There was some pandering, though: Navarro complimented voters for choosing “talented and dedicated public servants – good job, you’ve selected well.”

2014 was NOT a state-of-the-schools address. A state-of-anything address is comprehensive and courageous and talks about challenges as well as successes. And even if no specifics are offered, at least someone has the honesty to admit that work needs to be done.

So here’s my recommendation to the Super and to the board, especially Davenport: If you really want to “expand the District’s outreach and contact with our local community,” start by getting out from behind your desk and go visit Westside parents when it’s convenient for them, not when it’s best for your colleagues, contractors, and vendors.

Steve Smith