The same guy who will be speaking about “education reform” at the next OB Town Council meeting on July 28th, spoke at a Tierrasanta community meeting Wednesday night (7/21/10). He wasn’t received all that well by local residents there.
Scott Himelstein, the leader of the newly named “San Diegans 4 Great Schools”, told the residents gathered at the Tierrasanta meeting that his group was disappointed with test scores in San Diego Unified schools and that “governance” was the problem. “Governance” is a cloaked term for “how the school board works”. (Our Doug Porter explained what the new group is all about here.)
Himelstein is scheduled to speak in OB next Wednesday, July 28th, at the Masonic Temple general meeting of our local Town Council. The meeting starts at 7pm.
At the Tierrasanta community meeting, as the Voice of San Diego reported, local residents didn’t understand the new group.
“What is your mission statement? … We have no idea where you’re coming from,” said Tracy Conroy, a member of the Tierrasanta Community Council.
The Voice reported:
… the idea of “governance” seemed vague to several people who spoke up. One asked what Himelstein meant by it. Another asked if the group wants to add appointed members to the school board, one idea that San Diegans 4 Great Schools has discussed. Himelstein dodged the question, saying that “there are many different proposals.”
“If we come out with a specific proposal right now it kind of limits public input,” Himelstein said.
The lack of specifics, however, was exactly what seemed to worry some of the Tierrasantans. “We don’t know what you’re asking for,” said Alan Campbell, another community member.
Himelstein said he’s planning to visit dozens of meetings like this to seek public input and get the group’s message out.
And one of those meetings he will speak at is the OB Town Council meeting next week.
Himelstein is one of the point persons for this business elite-backed group, full of big-time businessmen, corporate trustees, investors and others, which is calling for changes to San Diego Unified such as adding four members to the School Board – all to be appointed by some elite committee. It is an attempt by San Diego’s establishment to rein in the democratic nature of the school board. Some critics see their effort as a step along the road to the privatization of public education.
We are joining voices that are calling out for OBceans to attend the upcoming Town Council meeting and meet Mr. Himelstein head-on. Every resident who has been involved in our school district and/or who has kids in local public schools needs to attend this meeting and hear what the establishment’s plans for our schools are.
Himelstein is currently an instructor in the USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences and School of Law. His establishment credentials are as follows:
he is the former deputy secretary of Education and later acting secretary of Education for the state of California. In that capacity he served as chief policy advisor to the governor on K-12 and higher education. Prior to his appointment by Governor Schwarzenegger, he served as chairman and CEO of the National Even Start Association, president of the William D. Lynch Foundation for Children, and chairman and CEO of San Diego Reads. He was recently appointed by the governor to the California Community College Board of Governors.
Himelstein’s wife, Lynn Himelstein, an elementary school teacher, was involved in a shady hiring practice up in the San Marcos school district about four years ago. Apparently due to Scott’s heavy-weight stature at the time, she was able to fly over the heads of 700 other teacher applicants and be hired, despite being rejected earlier by the hiring committee.
Other outstanding members of this so-called “reform” group include Mayor Jerry Sanders, Buzz Woolley – a venture capitalist and founder of Voice of San Diego, former councilmember Byron Wear – a conservative Republican, Dr. Irwin Jacbos – the billionaire owner of Qualcomm, Mike Chapin – former CEO of Geocon, a leading West Coast geotechnical engineering firm, Stephen Cushman – who has been on over 60 Boards and Commissions and is currently the Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners, Chairman of the College of Business Administration Board at SDSU and who got his start in San Diego’s establishment circles as a car salesman (Cush Automotive Group) – just to name a few.
Go here for the full Voice of San Diego article by Emily Alpert.