We solved a mystery today, folks. Since there had been no public discussion of the CORE waiver at board meetings and no vote to adopt it by the board, we wondered if SCUSD had really joined the waiver after all. The Coalition made a public records request to the district and learned that J. Raymond signed the MOU back in August. Thanks for letting us know.
There had been speculation by the teacher's union that the district was in fact part of the waiver since items for it were in the district budget. According to documents in the waiver, there had even been required meetings with the teachers union, though no one from SCTA could recall having attended them. So even though the union never agreed to a new evaluation system based in part on test scores, which is a requirement for participation, the district is forging ahead with the waiver. Our new interim superintendent hasn't even read the waiver yet, but she better get started.
I guess that's why not one board member responded to our letters asking for a public discussion of the waiver and its implications for local control here in Sacramento. It was already a done deal. I guess if you don't inform the public about the provisions of the waiver, they won't notice that the district is being run by an unelected board--a board that will meet twice a year in a yet to be determined location somewhere in the state. Can you say "shadow government"? Even better, you don't have to tell parents that student data is being tracked and stored by "third party vendors". The only aspect of the waiver that has been discussed in the Bee is the end of the NCLB requirement that outside vendors provide tutoring to students in Program Improvement schools. Of course, the Bee was in favor of that. They said so in an editorial.
If you read the MOU you learn that the district can opt out through a letter. I wonder if any of the SCUSD board knows that. It would be so easy. But to do that the board would have to act. To act they would have to have a public discussion. That won't happen in an election year. The other option for ending the waiver is termination due to non-compliance with the terms of the waiver. So if the teachers refuse to agree to the required evaluation system, the district's association with CORE would end. I bet if that happened we'd see another article in the Bee. Otherwise, the Bee and the SCUSD board would prefer that Sacramentans be left in the dark.