One of the negative consequences of the bubble in which the administration and the board exist is that they rarely hear anyone complaining. I have been attending school board meetings for a many years and can count on one had the number of times that anyone has spoken directly to the issue of improving academic performance.

As a result, they believe that what they are doing must be OK and that I am an outlier – a lone voice who does not represent anyone.

What they do not realize is that there are plenty of upset people. Some of them don’t speak English and do not want to speak at meetings. Some of them are just plain afraid to speak in public. Some of them are district employees who do not want to speak for fear of retaliation. So, they come to me.

When I get one comment from a reader, it represents a much larger group that does not have the time to write or does not want to write, even anonymously. They are content to let someone else carry the ball, which I am happy to do.

But over the years, this has resulted in a lot of Bear St. foot-dragging because they do not hear the voices of those who should be speaking up.

So, speaking for those people, here is the request in a nutshell:

The experts on Bear St. have had decades to try to make substantive improvements in Costa Mesa’s schools. They have failed.
Costa Mesa’s schools need an end to the tactical approach to academic improvement. They need a comprehensive, long-term, strategic plan for academic improvement based on the best practices of what has worked elsewhere.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask. And if they can’t or won’t create the plan, they should step aside and let someone else do it.

Steve Smith

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