Christmas Coauthor

The name of Thomas Reifer, coauthor of our December 24 cover story, “This Is Christmas, Damn It! What Happened?,” didn’t appear in the byline. We apologize to Mr. Reifer for the omission. Thomas Reifer teaches sociology and ethnic studies at the University of San Diego, and he’s an associate fellow at the Transnational Institute.

Dogs And Ponies

Re “Gompers Takes a Bow” (Cover Story, December 10).

That article was full of misinformation. Ernie needs to do some research and fact-checking. The facts are these:

  1. To improve school scores, many nonunion teachers at Gompers took their problem children and poor performers and dumped them into special ed classes, even though they did not meet the “legal” definition of special ed. The reason was to artificially inflate the charter school’s scores.
  2. After receiving credit for enrollment for money purposes, poor students and all behavior problems, including the violent students — many of whom served in-house suspensions so the school could collect money — were transferred out to San Diego Unified schools. Parents tired of being called at work and having their child put on suspension were called in and convinced to transfer their child to San Diego Unified schools because it was in their “best interest.” The policy at Gompers was to transfer and dump problem students on San Diego Unified, not to help them.
  3. All previous teachers from San Diego Unified were not wanted. San Diego Unified was ridiculed, called names, demeaned, and slandered at all training sessions and meetings. If you were union, you were crap. They didn’t want San Diego Unified special ed teachers who would tell them when they were violating the law; they wanted teachers they could control. That is why they are hiring their “own” special ed teachers. The new Gompers management is not interested in the students or learning; they are interested in public image and perception. Dog and pony shows for people like Ernie.

Yes, there are some good teachers at Gompers. Yes, the uniform and added discipline are without a doubt a good thing at Gompers. There is more pride in the school. Charter schools do have some advantages over public schools, particularly in poverty areas where the crime is high and parental participation is minimal. But the union is not the major part of the problem, and San Diego Unified is not the whole reason for failing schools. If San Diego Unified could break the law concerning special ed children and could transfer out all of its gang problems, they would improve their schools and scores also. By the way, has anyone done a check to see what percentage of students who attended Gompers went to juvenile detention centers during the new regime’s tenure? I know of several, personally. How can one know if the school is serving or failing the community without that statistic? How many of them were allowed to return to Gompers or even be counted against Gompers?

I applaud the improvement of Gompers and sincerely wish it all the best in the future, but tell the whole story and provide all the facts and the truth and not just the dog and pony show Gompers continues to present and portray in an attempt to self-promote themselves while bad-mouthing and labeling San Diego Unified as a failure.

Reprinting the public-relations news release provided by charter schools, government, or corporations is not investigative reporting and has little real value as a story since it is not a complete or unbiased story. The real story here is what supposed school of journalism did Ernie attend?


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