We’ve been trying to get to this story for a while and it just keeps getting better. Santa Ana Unified Trustee Ceci Iglesias, who is a staffer for Republican State Senator Bob Huff, has decided it’s the fault of SAUSD teachers that Santa Ana’s school kids do poorly on standardized tests. She’s taken to social media to criticize teachers and has called for a Parent’s “Union” to advance her cause. The idea of Iglesias, an anti-union right wing conservative, calling for a union of parents to demand teachers teach better is pretty laughable.
Last month, Santa Ana Educator’s Association president Susan Mercer turned in this column at the Voice of OC which we believe is pretty spot on.
Santa Ana Unified School District teachers are furious at School Board Vice President Cecilia Iglesias, for her recent postings on social media, scapegoating them. Her offensive posts on Facebook stated that teachers only work 5-hours a day, six months a year, are greedy and are in it solely for the money. Furthermore, she blames teachers for what she mischaracterizes as low achievement. Her disregard of the major factors that affect Santa Ana students, such as a 94-percent poverty rate and second-language learners clearly indicates her inability to grasp the complexities of teaching in a highly urbanized setting such as Santa Ana.
In order to gather support for her political agenda she needs to discredit teachers, schools and the district with the community. While the Santa Ana standardized test scores are the lowest in the county, students are achieving and improving at higher rates than similar student populations and the majority of parents see that their children are learning and succeeding in school. Hence, Ms. Iglesias has a problem. To further her Parent Trigger agenda and curry favor with her political benefactors, she needs to convince parents that their students are not achieving and schools are failing. She attempted to do so when she posted on Facebook portraying teachers as lazy, greedy and underperforming.
Ms. Iglesias has started a campaign blaming educators for the 68 percent of students who did not score proficient in a third-grade assessment developed for the practitioner to guide instruction. She has chosen to misuse this single measure to portray the education in Santa Ana as a failure.
There are other districts in Orange County with challenges but none as daunting as Santa Ana’s. There is a lot that needs be done, but as Cecilia Iglesias finishes her third year on the school board, she has yet to propose one single policy, program, or initiative to improve the education in Santa Ana. Her only contributions are to question, delay and criticize the hard-working employees of Santa Ana.
Iglesias went to Facebook to respond:
Attention Santa Ana parents and community community members:
Attached is An article forwarded to me by a community member. This article written by Susan Mercer. The union president. This is a tactic to put fear in us so I won’t stand up for ALL students.. BUT I AM NOT AFRAID AND WON’T BACK DOWN!!!!!
Teachers I appreciate all you do and am sad that Susan Mercer is trying to divide us. ALL those negative comments are “her”words. I invite you to reach out to me at Iglesias4sausd@gmail.com.
And there is this comment:
Attention Santa Ana parents and community members:
I want to thank all the parents and students that showed up to speak on behalf of STUDENTS. I am energized more than ever to fight for STUDENTS rights..
Thank you to the teacher that worked well with Ms. Bernaudo. CSEA for advocating for STUDENTS. Truly the reason why the District exists.. the 68% needs our support.. parents need our support and a union to advocate on our behalf. Teacher’s and classified have a union, why don’t WE as parents have a UNION. We need a UNION to advocate for US the Parents. A union that will demand academic raises for our students and advocate for parents rights.
Many claim to be for better education in Santa Ana, now let’s hold everyone accountable. Please parents, teachers, classified staff continue to come to our board meetings and advocate for our students. They need US. Students continue telling us what you need to be successful in school.
While, I was being interviewed by Telemundo Today, Jose Hernandez announced he is not running for reelection in 2016. We need another champion for students. I am calling on Angie Rosario Cano. Reyna Orozco and Marilyn Bernaudo-Delgado to join me on that Board to advocate for ALL students. Not just the 32%. Because the 68% also deserves to succeed.
Clearly, Ms. Iglesias could benefit from some basic writing classes herself. After reading these pitches to her supporters, it’s clear Ms. Iglesias doesn’t seem to understand she holds a position as SAUSD trustee to make the changes she calls for actually happen. She wants to hold everyone accountable – except SAUSD trustees like herself.
Iglesias doesn’t seem interested in helping teachers.
Iglesias starred in a YouTube video that was anti-Sharon Quirk-Silva, a long time teacher in Fullerton who was then in the State Assembly, suggesting that schoolchildren shouldn’t be used as pawns in political games while advocated against transgender students using restrooms in the gender they associate themselves with. Remember this video and match it with her rhetoric. That’s a lesson Iglesias seems to have forgotten as she gears up for a re-election bid.
What’s happening in Santa Ana is actually part of a national trend. From the New York Times:
About a quarter of public school students are Hispanic, compared with fewer than 10 percent in 1990. As a group, the scores of Hispanic students trail those of white students; this year, for example, 21 percent of Hispanic fourth graders scored at a level deemed proficient or above on reading tests, compared with 46 percent of white students.
The proportion of African-American students in public schools has remained fairly stable, but an achievement gap with white students remains. On the fourth-grade reading tests this year, just 18 percent of black students were deemed proficient.
America’s schoolchildren are also increasingly poor. Students from poor families often arrive at school with smaller vocabularies than students from middle-class or more affluent households, and are faced with challenges like hunger, homelessness and parents working several jobs, all of which can interfere with their learning in school and the academic support they receive at home — and ultimately their test scores.
Arne Duncan, the departing secretary of education, said schools should embrace the challenges of growing diversity. A study this week showed that student demographics can affect test scores. “We should be learning from each other and schools who are doing the best job with students with disabilities and English language learners and students living below the poverty line,” Mr. Duncan said.
Perhaps, instead of worrying about transgendered kids being right and wrong about which restroom they use in school, Iglesias could do her job to see what other school districts are doing to help students who speak mostly Spanish at home and resident in poor communities.
We remain unconvinced that Ms. Iglesias cares more about students, parents or teachers more that she does her own political aspirations — as evidenced by her failed assembly run in 2014 shortly after getting elected. What is clear is that three years into the job, she has no accomplishments of note to warrant her re-election to her current position or any other office.