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'Special' education

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The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District really knows how to make a mess of things. Whether it's descending into hysteria over the non-issue of critical race theory or responding in a mind-bogglingly stupid way to a gay pride flag being stolen and vandalized or grossly mismanaging its budget, the district's made itself the laughingstock of public "education."


PRJUSD's bungled crisis du jour is its mishandling of the proposed closure of Georgia Brown Elementary School, which is on the chopping block because of the district financial problems, which were caused by the district's mismanagement. Do they still teach Catch-22 in school? If this were a mathematical word problem, the answer would be zero, as in zero brain cells were employed in the handling of this issue.

Georgia Brown is a transitional K-5 elementary school with a dual-immersion Spanish/English language program that mostly serves lower-income and Spanish-speaking students, who apparently in the eyes of those running the district aren't as important as affluent white kids, whose schools and facilities haven't been "evaluated" as "surplus property." Weird, right?

What's really chapping the hides of Georgia Brown students' parents and local activists is the absurd process the district is engaging in to try to "look" like this is an open and fair decision being guided by community input when it's really just another knee-jerk decision by a district that really knows how to put the "jerk" into knee-jerk.

The district first identified Georgia Brown as a candidate for closure on Sept. 21, 2020, but it only recently solicited community input at a Nov. 10, 2021, meeting. Um, did it take a whole year for you to decide to make your decision look like you care what the Georgia Brown families want? Because it's not working. They see right through your half-ass charade.

"We are now seeing 'community input' when we're pretty much in the last phase of this 'decision,'" Paso People's Action co-founder Yessenia Echevarria said. "It seems to me that the decision had already been made."

Echevarria argued that closing Georgia Brown "is going to hurt Hispanic families, bottom line," but PRJUSD thinks it's covered its butt with the Nov. 10 meeting, one for English speakers and a separate one for Spanish speakers, who instead of being allowed to voice aloud their objections were—get this—told to write their concerns on poster paper. Hmm. Separate but equal much, Paso?

The district says it will relocate the dual-immersion program to either Glen Speck Elementary School or to Winifred Pifer Elementary School, which the Georgia Brown parents said isn't helpful because of the district's ineffective bus system, putting the burden of transportation to these other schools on parents who are already struggling financially. The school board now says it might not make a decision on Georgia Brown until early next year, leaving the school's students and their parents to continue to twist in the wind.

And in an added twist, on Nov. 10, the same day as the meeting, Paso Robles High School students from the school's Conservative Club displayed a "Fuck Biden" flag at an on-campus event meant to honor veterans. Apparently these dimwitted conservative "patriots" don't know that President Joseph Biden is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military.

The event lasted about four hours, and the school apparently did nothing about the flag. I know that Tinker v. Des Moines ruled that First Amendment rights extend to public schools, but does that cover profanity? If it does, will someone print up a "Fuck the Paso High Conservative Club" banner and string it up for me?

Speaking of conservative "ethics," it's redistricting time, which means it's time for the SLO County Board of Supervisors and its three conservative members to make a power play to give conservative candidates an unfair advantage and perhaps make the board's 3-2 conservative majority into a 4-1 conservative bloc of power that would essentially put liberal San Luis Obispo at the mercy of conservative rule at the county level.

Conservative board members John Peschong and Debbie Arnold favor lumping all of SLO Town into one district instead of it being represented by three districts as it currently is.

According to Cal Poly political science professor Michael Latner, who studies redistricting, this attempt to isolate SLO gives away one district "so you can control the remaining districts."

It would also force apart communities of interest, like the 2nd District, which covers the North Coast from Los Osos to San Simeon. According to state redistricting guidelines under the Fair Maps Act, avoiding fracturing "communities of interest" is even more important than trying to keep incorporated cities within one district.

Because SLO's the most populous city, and the county seat, and an economic center, it makes more sense for it to be represented by more than one supervisor ... I mean unless you're a power-hungry conservative who doesn't care about actual fairness.

Of course, liberals aren't immune to taking advantage of redistricting—a pox on both your houses, anyone? Morro Bay City Councilmember Dawn Addis announced that she'll take another run at the Assembly District 35 seat currently occupied by Jordan Cunningham. Why? A redistricting proposal jettisons more conservative Northern Santa Barbara County while adding Democrat-majority counties like Monterey and Santa Cruz. Ain't politics grand? Δ

The Shredder is disgruntled. Send grunts and groans to [email protected].



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