Thursday, September 16, 2010

Missing Textbooks at your school, or for your student?

We've been heard quite a few reports of students still without textbooks, or teachers who have had to make due with photocopies or sharing of textbooks.

Is your student or school missing textbooks?

Let us know here in the comments. Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh have both committed to looking into each and every concern.

Please provide the following specifics:

School Name
Grade Level

If you wish to contact Gary or Sherry individually about this matter, please do so at or


  1. OK... I'll go first...

    School Name... Valley View
    Grade Level... 6th
    Subject... Spelling & History
    Teacher... All

    This is not a problem singled out for this school year, but every year... last year the kids in 5th grade did not have enough copies of a book they were reading together as a class.

    This is not a reflection on the teachers, as I know many buy extra copies out of their own money, but a district wide problem!!!

  2. Who is in charge at the district for the purchase and delivery of the textbooks ?

  3. I suggest you either call (682-8000, x4006) or e-mail ( Superintendent Lawrence directly with your report of textbook shortages or copy him on your e-mail to Board members. He may already have staff working on this matter and your information would be helpful, especially if they don't already have it.

  4. School Name - College Park H.S.
    Grade Level - Junior
    Subject - Advanced Math Topics
    Teacher - Mr. Leingang

    The teacher and Principal are on top of the situation - doing everything they can to make sure the kids keep up and that they get their books. My student heard an announcement over the loudspeaker Friday asking any students who have dropped the class to please turn in their books. Hopefully, they will do so before the end of the year and my student will get her textbook.

  5. I already posted earlier on the situation at El Dorado.

    I have several questions for Susan Berg, whom I believe is PR for MDUSD:

    Why do we as parents need to contact the district office? How can they possibly be unaware of this problem? Why isn't the administration at each school notifying the district and the district and each school working together to solve this problem?

    How can administration not already be aware of this? How can the district be caught off-guard by the start of the school year? The district knows what date school starts every year, and how many students at each grade, at each school, give or take a few percentage points.

    How does this happen, year after year? How inept is the administration at site and district levels?

    How are teachers supposed to effectively teach when their students do not have access to text books?

    How are students supposed to learn??

    The apparent ineptitude and incompetence in the MDUSD would be funny, in a demented way, if it wasn't so sad.

    Parents should not have to notify the superintendent of textbook shortages.

  6. DodgerDog, Sue Berg is no longer with MDUSD. Her job was cut earlier on in the budget cut process during McHenry's time at the helm.

    However, I'm sure because of her experience, she'll be able to answer most of your questions.

    Personally, I think the Superintendent should be told of these kinds of issues. I would cc him on any communication to the district office.

  7. The administration at school sites is working with the district to get any missing textbooks. Kindergarten math textbooks are back-ordered by the publisher through no fault of MDUSD. People ARE working this.

  8. Dodger Dog,

    First off.....Go GIANTS!

    Secondly, I can answer some of your questions. The superintendant and his buddies are probably too busy golfing or having cocktails (courtesy of Chevron and the Solar deal) to bother with your little Johnny or Suzy not having textbooks.

    So in the words of Sherry Whitmarsh, give Lawrence a break, there is no way when he started this job he could have anticipated that you would actually want textbooks for your children's classes (Yes she really said something to this effect in an earlier blog about lack of communication from Lawrence).

    If reports are to be believed this group of golfers and drinkers again courtesy of Chevron also includes Paul and Gary so contacting the board is unlikely to resolve this issue for you. In other words your student is screwed. MDUSD solar deals have become big business and therefore are much more important than something as mundane as educating students.

  9. Dodger Dog wrote-
    "Why do we as parents need to contact the district office? How can they possibly be unaware of this problem? Why isn't the administration at each school notifying the district and the district and each school working together to solve this problem?"

    Too funny!

    I say to Dodger Dog- How could you possibly be a parent in the MDUSD and not know that Sue Berg was let go last year?

    I would make a snide comment, but since you are a Dodger fan, I think you need all the help you can.

  10. 9:01am Forgot to sign in as Doctor J or one of their other aliases.

  11. Anon 1:56,

    Anon 9:01 here. I guarantee I am no Dr. J. I have no idea who he or she is and frankly I think he or she is a little over the top sometimes.

    Please don't fool yourself into thinking that there is only one person that thinks this school district is in trouble and the board is filled with people who should be ashamed of themselves.

  12. 3:05- You think Doctor J is over the top? What are you then?

    If you think the district is in trouble, how does your very personal post help anything?

    Naw, you have an issue with the board and Supe and have no interest in changing anything. You only want to throw stones at them anonymously.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. This is a textbook update for the three schools mentioned in the blog. I did not receive any emails about needing textbooks from any parents or students.

    El Dorado - no shortage of textbooks have been reported to the district office but they will check with the principal.

    College Park - Ygnacio Valley will be sending additional math books to College Park.

    Valley View - there is no report of needing textbooks.
    Spelling books are not part of MDUSD core textbooks
    Purchase of them is a site based decision.

    All site councils will be approving textbook sufficiency by October 7.

  15. Sherry, just because the site councils approve the textbook sufficiency as of Oct 7, doesn't mean there hasn't been a textbook disaster for the last month since school opened on August 25. Yes, I can understand some textbook shuffling going on for a few days but not for two or three weeks. Its not just the textbook piece of the puzzle, but the busing has been a disaster -- Mildred Browne admitted she knew of the busing problem the night before at the Board meeting and nothing was said -- worse, neither she nor the Supt notified the principals who were blindsided the next day. That is inexcusable -- it put children at risk. Please tell us, who was in charge, prior to the opening of school, of textbook purchasing, inventory and distribution ?
    Doctor J

  16. Doctor J- Don't you know? You seem to know everything else.

  17. The sites told the Textbook Coordinator what they needed. The Textbook Coordinator was pink slipped and gone at the end of June. No site can see into the future and tell how many students will arrive the first day. Crystal balls are not part of the supply list.

    But you know this, Dr J. Rhetorical questions are unbecoming.

  18. Annon 10:58 & 11:06 The Board axed the textbook coordinator. So what was their plan on who was going to take over those responsibilities. I already said that there would need to be a couple of days of shuffle even in the best of times, but not a whole month or more.
    Doctor J

  19. Doctor J- You seem like you are the anonymous king of the district who wants answers but has yet to tell anyone what you actually DO for the district.

    I don't mean your job, although at this point, I would love some tech savvy person to out you, but what have you personally done to make the district better? I don't mean complaining about things like you are a know-it-all. Actual effort.

    Care to share?

  20. Anon 10:24
    You care more about who I am,than you do about the issues of the children. Please focus on the issues, not who I am. Please focus on the issues: textbooks and transportation. there are still serious isses about both.

    Doctor J

  21. Wow Doctor J- You sure know how to fend off a question!

    I may want to know who you are, but my question was what have you actually done for the district?

    You don't have a clue what my effort with the district is, so stop with the red herrings.

  22. With the very poor community approval ratings of our district and specifically our Board, why does there appear to be so many people (anon) who defend the district and attack Dr. J? That seems unusually skewed and odd. Why would an average parent who is unhappy with this district (more than 80% are dissatisfied) attack Dr. J? They may or may not think he/she is over the top at times but I doubt they would respond with such anger.

    Dr. J I believe your questions make us think. Please don't stop asking. I suspect there are many people who read this blog but never comment.

  23. 5:13pm Eighty percent think the board isn't doing their job?

    About 1% come to board meetings or actually do something about it.

    Therein lies the problem.

    Also, many people read the blogs and think the same thing about Dr. J, who actually hasn't done anything but point fingers, but they don't comment either.

  24. Anon 3:11
    Red herrings ? Are you kidding me ? You must be the MDUSD attorney Greg Rolen -- in charge of school busing. I guess you didn't read this post on the CC Times on Sept 19 -- What kind of a district are you running that can't get the busing of Special Ed Students solved and are putting children at risk. From the CC Times poster: "I don’t know of any drivers going home early, that is definetly untrue. However Susan Bauer the new Dispatcher has taken off countless days since the start of school and she is the one responsible for routing the students. The new Transportation Director Angie is more fit to be a dispatcher than a manger because she knows absolutely zero about management and she has a VERY VERY bad attitude.The drivers aren’t to be blamed they have been doing this job for years, its the people in charge that lack the experience and are miss directing them."
    Those are pretty serious charges.
    Doctor J

  25. Anon 8:31

    So lets go with your logic –

    About 1% come to the board meetings or actually do something about it –

    Do what? Come to the board meeting? Clearly Dr. J does attend or is as informed as one who regularly attends the board meetings.

    Dr. J comes to a blog and speaks to the importance of a strategic plan, communication, transparency, and fiscal management and oversight. He/she sheds light on the suggestions made by the grand jury for training that has not occurred, the ramifications of board decisions to reassign positions, the inappropriateness of certain behaviors whether illegal or not, and he/she is continually berated. And rather than hearing those concerns we have a slew of comments shooting the messenger.

    We don’t know what Dr. J does to help this district any more than we know what you do or what I do. We have amazing volunteers, faculty, and staff all over this district doing their part to make a difference. The issues in question are about leadership. The issues in question are about the work of the board and the superintendent. It is not up to Dr. J to begin to solve any of these issues unless he is one of those 6 people. In fact, I would go one step farther and say Dr. J IS getting involved bringing these issues to our attention. You can not lump him/her into your pool of 99% of the people who do nothing. In fact, consistently throwing that argument out, as many do, shows a real lack of appreciation with what goes on all over this district daily.

  26. Doctor J- I am 3:11 and I am a parent. I have been reading your posts for a while now, and you are all over the place.

    First you started out with your Buttercupgate, your Chevron gate, Superintedent Lawrence's house gate. You claimed it was all in the name of the kids.

    Then you shifted focus to strategic planning. Nothing wrong with that. So, don't you feel that it is interesting there are still parents on this blog who don't like what you are doing?

    I am not against strategic planning and of course, I want the district and board to do their best for all of us.

    You just make things seem personal and that leaves me cold.

    I will say this one more time, because the red herring is that when someone asks you a specific question, like I did, and you throw an accusation out there instead of you always do.


    That was my question, and I haven't seen you answer it yet.

  27. 12:43pm- You can keep your hero worship to yourself.

    People who really care about the district do go to board meetings, but they also go to PAC meetings, they serve on the Measure C oversight committee, they serve on the finance committee, they volunteer for campaigns, they hold the district accountable.

    It's interesting that you think Doctor J-an anonymous poster-is being berated, but you have no problem with their berating and throwing accusations at others by name.

    If Doctor J has specific information of illegalities, then how are they doing us all a favor by hiding behind a name?

    I have said that some of the things that Doctor J says are of value, but their method is lacking.

    If these things are so important, then why rely on posting on a blog to get them fixed?

    It is really hard to get good people to run for our school board. We seem to criticize them more than we help them. That is a big problem.

  28. Anon 3:38

    I think we have bigger problems than critisizing our board.

  29. Long-time Board WatcherSeptember 23, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    It is important to distinguish between "the Board" and the two Board members, with the support of a third, who have taken control of MDUSD over the past two years.

    This Board majority has become the voice and face of the district. The questions asked and the criticism directed at specific members are legitimate under the leadership model for MDUSD that Gary and Paul initiated in 2008.

    They proudly claim that they changed the leadership philosophy for MDUSD at that time. They reject the California School Boards Association (CSBA) model that a school board should set the goals and policies for a strong superintendent to carry out. Instead, they insist that a school board should be the hands-on leaders with a superintendent carrying out their specific directives.

    This model presumes that Board members are the educational and operational leaders and that district and school administrators are essentially subordinates who take orders from them.

    Of course the best leadership model has the Board and Administration working collaboratively and respectfully, combining individual strengths, experience, and knowledge into an effective team. That doesn't seem to be happening in MDUSD as both the reasoned and emotional comments and questions on this blog and others (and conversations with district employees) point out.

    The public (often through the local newspaper), and especially parents and staff, have a right to ask questions and offer criticism--and praise--of leaders of their local school district, a publicly funded organization. The leaders should answer the questions and respond to the concerns without resorting to name-calling and self-pity.

    Gary and Paul have assigned themselves as the leaders, and thus the voice, of MDUSD. They led the charge in criticizing the former district leadership and allowing misinformation and personal attacks about that leadership to appear on their blog. Now, when they are subjected to similar treatment, they cry "foul."

    With leadership comes accountability. It's as simple as that.

  30. Congratulations to MDUSD Board Members Gary Eberhart (15 years), Linda Mayo (13 years), Dick Allen (13 years) Paul Strange (4 years) and Sherry Whitmarsh (2 years) for their leadership in the soon to be announced designation of MDUSD being named a Federal "Program Improvement" District for having failed two years in a row of making "Adequate Yearly Progress". In addition, there are now 10 schools also desginated as "Program Improvement", six of which are listed as the worst 5% of schools in California as "persistently underachieving schools". Add it to your resumes -- you've earned it.
    Doctor J

  31. We move from textbookgate to Secretarygate.
    Seems like the only time Lawrence opens his mouth is to change feet. Who knew what and when did they know it ? Are any Board members going to disavow prior knowledge of Secretarygate ?
    Doctor J

  32. Doctor J

    Just how is the BOE responsible for students not caring or performing?

    You claim to be doing this for the students, then why are you not commenting on the positive our students and school sites accomplish and are doing? Like the YV debate teams recent accomplishments, like YV winning 1st in the Walnut Festival? Why not congratulating these students who go onto higher education because of their hard work and determination? Do you visit school sites and see these students working hard with much less? Do you see how hard our administrators are working at sites (especially high school), they are juggling many positions these days. The DENT center is working with much less too and yet it is expected of them to still perform high.

    If you are going to blame the BOE for everything, then you need to give them the credit for all the great accomplishments too.

    As for the Secretary thing, who cares! I do believe this is a Union ploy. Sorry but MDUSD Union Leadership are a huge problem. Did Teresa Bloom talk to the Superintendent before blasting the district? I bet not!

  33. Oh another thing Doctor J.

    I read that Gary E. does want to do a strategic plan. It takes time, money and volunteers. I am assuming you will be the first to sign up?

    Also as for communication and transparency, it is happening. I am very happy with the emails and links to web sites I get.

    As for the Chevron thing? I feel Chevron would have been the best thing for our District Solar. I am concerned with using smaller companies, what would happen if these companies fail? What would happen with their guarantee to our district? Chevron is very diverse, strong and a solid company.

    As for under-performing schools. We all know this is based on a test. Which most of us parents know is wrong, stupid and is not a good accountability. My son is not a good test taker, but passed the CASHEE with flying colors first try and did pretty decent on his SAT's. But has always struggled with the STAR testing and he was a GATE student, takes Honors and advanced classes. So do I consider him under-performing? No way. It is my understanding that most freshman in College are not prepared from all schools. California is wrong on their education direction, it is not working and they are blind. Plus when our State allows undocumented people here whose children do no speak English and must be educated, it will hurt our schools. I do believe in educating all students but firmly believe and see the need for a seperate school until the non english speaking student is up to grade level in all area's.

    Ugh, you frustrate me and I do not believe for one minute you are doing this for the children. If you were, you would be praising their accomplishments. Focus on the positive and work on the negative to bring it up. Why don't you change direction, you would be surprised what a little positive attitude would do for you.

  34. Long Time Board Watcher,

    You are just full of accusations, but can you back any of them up? Let's start with this. Please site the misinformation about the previous administration that you say that Paul and I posted on our blog site. If you can provide that to us, we have something to discuss. If not, we do not. You have never spoken to me. If you had, you wouldn't make the statements that you make because I have never uttered a word of what you say are my positions. I am available to discuss my positions anytime that you'd like to meet or chat on the phone. I think you would find that you are very wrong about me and about the positions that you claim that I espouse. My phone number is available on the district web site as is my e-mail. Please contact me so we can have a discussion and we can clear up these inaccuracies. And please provide for us all the misinformation that you claim is on my blog site.