Ground has just broken on 10 new homes in the desirable Mesa Verde section of Costa Mesa. The homes will be about 3,000 square feet and are designed to attract families.

One of the first questions that the parents will be asking is, “How are the schools?” These days, they don’t even have to ask, they can just go online and look it up and if they don’t like what they see, sellers never even get a chance to sell.

Whether prospects ask an agent or check online, they’ll find that at Adams Elementary, the neighborhood elementary school, only 22% of the students there met state standards in English and only 33% met the standards in math. If the new kids are ready for middle school, parents will fine that 67% of the students at TeWinkle failed to meet the state standards for math and 58% failed to meet the standards for English. As they move on, it doesn’t get any better. Estancia High’s failure rate for math was an astounding 83% (49% for English).

One real estate agent recently wrote  to tell me that he doesn’t even discuss Costa Mesa’s schools with prospective buyers. Instead he hands them a list of public schools in other districts and local private schools.

Most or all of the new kids won’t go to Adams. The parents will look at the Common Core scores and other online resources and see that the schools are not at the level they’d like. These parents know that they will have only one shot at getting their education right and care must be taken to send their kids to schools that achieve higher results than these Costa Mesa schools.

Hosting an “Information Night,” to tell parents all the wonderful, fabulous, and exciting features of the local schools, as the district did last year, is meaningless unless there is data to support academic achievement.

But at the N-MUSD, that’s what substitutes for a comprehensive, strategic turnaround plan.

Steve Smith