“From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen.” – Cat Stevens, “Father and Son”

When we start to connect the local education dots, we realize that despite their contention that the N-MUSD is a superior district, it is just like most of the others in the nation. The only standout among this sea of mediocrity is the crew of excellent teachers and classifieds working hard each day to provide an excellent education in our village.

Teachers are hamstrung by an administration that discourages true innovation from the ranks and is even tougher on those who speak up when believe something is wrong. The administration is aided and abetted by a school board that has given them blind trust they do not deserve. One review of the fantastic string of blunders, mismanagement, and academic shortfalls over the past six years proves that this administration needs a course correction.

If this administration were in grade school, it would not have been promoted on June 22.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about what I believe is a misdiagnosis known as “teen cell phone addiction.” Since then, there has been solid evidence proving my theory. In response to this fake condition, the district has chosen to use a sledgehammer instead of devising innovative ways to teach using this new tool.

Again, typical school district behavior – it’s just that I expect more from a crew that has been referred to repeatedly by board members as “experts” and are making a lot of money in contracts that oblige them to work just 224 days a year.

We also saw their shallow vision in a recent secret special meeting called to rejigger the student representative participation.

And we saw it again last week in the debacle that was the math presentation. Two years for that mess, folks. Two years.

When we connect the dots, we find among other commonalities, that the district has not engaged the one constituency that can provide the crucial insight they need to make more informed decisions and can provide them with the way forward.

They have not engaged students. No student input on cell phones, no student input on the board representation, and no student input on the direction of the math program.

As I wrote, this is typical of school boards across the country: Key decisions are too often made on behalf of students without student input. But if life has taught adults anything, it is that we do not know everything.

This will not change. If in November the school board is made up of incumbents and hand-picked replacements, expect more mediocrity, more mismanagement, more bungling and scandals, and more failure to restore the district to its once-proud heritage.

Four seats up for grabs in November: Metoyer, Yelsey, Davenport, and Franco. Franco is not running but be careful of voting for any hand-picked replacement.

Online resources to monitor between now and then include:

Newport-Mesa Community for Students – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NMactivism4education/

Newport-Mesa Community for Students – Website: nmc4s.com

John Caldecott: https://www.caldecottinfo.com/

Costa Mesa Brief: https://www.youtube.com/c/CostaMesaBrief

Steve Smith