By Marianne Kearney-Brown – Director, WIT Academy
Recent letter writers have urged us to vote for the incumbent school board candidates, citing their integrity, hard work and compassion. However, as admirable as these people may be, Tony Ubalde and Hazel Wilson have not shown themselves to be successful at directing the course of the Vallejo City Unified School District. Compassion and integrity are not enough to fix Vallejo schools.
By any objective measure, Vallejo schools are failing.
If you use www.ed-data.k12.ca.usto compare the most recent data on California unified school districts with enrollment of at least 5,000,
you will find that Vallejo ranks:
–159/167 in Academic Performance Index
–163/167 in student math proficiency
–161/167 in student English language arts proficiency
According to Ed Trust-West, an educational advocacy group that issues yearly report cards on how well districts serve their Latino, African-American, and low-income students , Vallejo ranks
–140/143 in college eligibility among students of color,
–144/145 in graduation rate among students of color,
–148/149 in performance rates of students of color and
–145/148 in performance rates of low income students.
Vallejo has the highest drop-out rate in the state and is tied with Compton Unified for second-to-last place in graduation rate.
In response to this alarming data, the governing board of VCUSD embarked on an expensive marketing campaign to let people know about “the fantastic things happening in the district”. In contrast, a Fairfield-Suisun Trustee John Silva responded to a drop in Math and English proficiency at Fairfield High by saying “(I’m) thanking god that Vallejo exists or we’d be in the cellar,….I’m optimistic Fairfield will turn and we can move up . . .”
This is criminal. There is nothing to celebrate if others look at us and say “At least we are not Vallejo…”
Tony Ubalde and Hazel Wilson did not cause these problems, but these numbers have gotten progressively worse since they were last elected. To spend $17,000 on a glossy “Celebration Report” and slick mailings when the district is in educational free-fall shows a disturbing disconnect between the governing board’s perception and the stark reality of the situation.
There are serious problems in Vallejo schools. Fairfield Trustee, Silva, knows this and is perversely grateful. Thousands of Vallejo parents know this and scramble to find options in other districts and in private schools. Brisbain Pucan, Ruscal Cayangyang and Burky Worel know this and are willing to try to solve them. They offer a welcome change from our current school board who “celebrate” while our district goes down in flames.
Note: All opinions expressed in the “Primal Scream” column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.