I must be slipping. A sharp-eyed reader pointed out that in this morning’s post I did not mention the whereabouts of the mystery Gold Ribbon application report.

This is the report that was triggered after a March letter from the teacher union pointed out 16 “untruths and inaccuracies” (alleged “lies,” according to the OC Register) in the application for Gold Ribbon status by Mariners Elementary School. The union letter represented teachers at the school who “felt that Mariners was more than worthy of a Gold Ribbon but felt uncomfortable supporting an application that was based on untruths and inaccuracies.”(“Lies,” according to the Register. Did I mention that?)


“Some teachers felt that it would be unethical for them to participate in focus groups during the Gold Ribbon visit knowing the embarrassing truth that the school’s programs do not match the assertions set forth in the application nor wish to engage in deception to cover up the truth.”


Yeah, that letter was penned on March 28, almost seven months ago. Since that time, the Mariners’ principal has been reassigned and we have been told that an investigation was started. I was told last month that the final report would be available in early October. Well, it’s now later October and there is no report so either:

  • Someone lied
  • Someone or some people are incompetent
  • The report is purposely being withheld

There are no other reasonable choices and all of these are really bad.

But, it’s OK because I am sure that one of our fearless school board club members will ask the superintendent why the report is late and ask when it will really be available. I am as certain of that as I was in 2003 when I was certain that the Chicago Cubs were going to go to the World Series.

Ah, but seriously, we all know no one will ask. We all know that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance and if there isn’t a school board club member challenging the administration on weightier issues, there won’t be one asking about the status of the Gold Ribbon report.

What we have on the school board club are seven people who put the preservation of their camaraderie ahead of the public trust.

And they wonder why people are pushing for term limits. They wonder why people are pushing for area representation. They wonder why this year, each of the incumbents has a formidable challenger. They wonder why people are so upset over a few lousy poles that got installed at Estancia High without checking with adjacent homeowners and now have to be removed. They wonder why residents around CdM High are so upset about the forked-tongue handling of the new stadium there. And they wonder why parents show up at meeting after meeting demanding an end to a math program that never should have been approved in the first place.

The math program was approved because it was the superintendent’s pet project and no one on the school board club dared to challenge him, even though he works for them. There’s that tail-wagging-the-dog thing again.

How do I know no one will ask the superintendent about the math program, either? Because past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.

Steve Smith
N-MUSD Taxpayer