Smoke and Mirrors: Christina Kishimoto Dictates Disingenuous District Policies

GPS is in the midst of changing district policies in the *I* series. It has been obvious for a long time that Christina Kishimoto’s superintendency is all about her legacy and her national reputation. *Summer of 2016* is all about cementing Christina Kishimoto’s power structure … mostly in her battles against teachers and parents of students in Gilbert Public Schools. 

The I series is supposed to be all about Instruction, but you know those carpetbaggers and scalawags in the GPS district offices, the White Castle, the White Temple of Doom, are up to no good. Again. You would think that all those six-figure salaried folks would have some level of competence in things like staff work, using correct grammar* and other ways they should be setting an example for the public and students of the district. You would be wrong … again.

GPS students do not have a stellar superintendent; what they have is a dysfunctional pretender to the throne of educational leader: a person who NEVER has taught in a K-12 school. Never. And Christina Kishimoto’s enablers, including the functionally illiterate president of the governing board, aren’t any better. Even Charlie Santa Cruz, the dude who was supposed to ride in on a white horse and SAVE the dedicated employees of Gilbert Public Schools, hasn’t been able to bring the philandering superintendent in line. Good Old Charlie Santa Cruz must have lost his balls somewhere between retiring from GPS and taking his seat on the board.

Members of the community are rallying to the cry “Fire Kishimoto!” ahead of the November election with three school board seats on the ballot. It looks like the run-up to the election might be hotter than the record-setting temperatures of the Summer of  2016. While taxpayers and citizens are trying to cope with triple digit temperatures, Christina Kishimoto is out to make HUGE changes in district policies. Many of of those changes will truncate the rights of parents and students in the district. Teachers don’t fare any better, BTW.

The policies and changes and anything else that Christina Kishimoto tells the governing board will be pretty much private — because the board is meeting as a *committee of the whole.* The very fact that we know about this meeting and its agenda is a triumph for the Forces of Good in Gilbert, Arizona. Previously, the board met with the superintendent in secret, because Christina Kishimoto wrongly told the board these committee meetings were not subject to the Arizona Open Meeting Law. Nevertheless, the meetings now are scheduled during the work day, so few outsiders are able to attend. By design. And interlopers are not invited to eat the fancy catered lunch that Christina Kishimoto and her highly-paid pals enjoy at taxpayer expense.

The agenda for the June Policy Committee meeting is here; you can see all the new policies and proposed changes. Don’t just skim the list. There are some unpleasant surprises in these revisions to existing policies, which you know will be approved by the GPS governing board this summer:

Policy IHAMB – Family Life Education
Policy IHB – Special Instructional Program
Policy IHBA – Special Instructional Programs and Accommodations for Disabled Students
Policy IHBB – Gifted and Talented Education
Policy IHBCA – Programs for Pregnant / Parenting Students
Policy IHBE – Bilingual Instruction / English as a Second Language
Policy IHBF – Homebound Instruction
Policy IHE – District Pride Program
Policy IJJ – Textbook / Supplementary Materials and Adoption
Policy IJL – Library Materials Selection and Adoption
Policy IJM – Advertising in School District Facilities and on District Property
Policy IJNDB –  Use of Technology Resources
Policy IKE – Promotion and Retention of Students
Policy IKEAA – Junior High School Promotion Requirements
Policy IL – Evaluation of Instructional Programs
Policy IMA – Teaching Methods
Policy IMB –  Teaching about Controversial / Sensitive Issues
Policy IMD – School Ceremonies and Observances
Policy IMG – Animals in Schools

Then there are *new* policies to be approved by the governing board:

Policy IE – Organization of Instruction
Policy IGD – Curriculum Adoption
Policy IHAA – English Instruction
Policy IHBHD – Online/Concurrent Correspondence Courses
Policy IHCA – Summer School
Policy IJNC – Resource Centers/Media Centers/School Libraries
Policy IKAA – Tests and Examinations
Policy IKB – Homework
Policy IKC – English Instruction
Policy IKEB – Acceleration
Policy ILE – Evaluation of Instructional Programs
Policy IMH – Class Interruptions

The GPS superintendency is counting on you members of the public to be lazy and not read these policies. They’ll claim they were *transparent,* and the governing board will approve the policies whether or not they read them. 

Here are some hints in the treasure hunt of skullduggery lurking within this latest GPS shenanigan:

Policy IKC- English Instruction is not about *English Instruction* at all! The policy, which doesn’t have a title, is actually this: “Rank in class is required by colleges and universities on transcripts submitted for entrance evaluation. Class rank shall be determined as follows…” If you’re a parent of a high school student, take a look!

Policy IL – Evaluation of Instructional Programs actually is about *Testing Programs,* according to the text of the policy. The revision adds this: “Test Participation All Arizona students in grades three (3) through twelve (12) shall be administered, at least once each year, a standardized, nationally ­normed written test of academic subject matter given in English except that students with disabilities will be included with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary in accord with their respective Individual Education Program.” In other words, *Forget about opting out of tests, all you renegade parents, and as for homeschooling parents, tremble before the power of the superintendency!*

Policy IJNDB –  Use of Technology Resources was last reviewed in 2015; this year’s policy revision basically guts any illusion of protecting students from pornography or violation of their FERPA rights. BTW, it’s possible, but not likely, that the sloppy staff work on this policy was unintentional. With the reputation GPS has amassed, the sloppiness is deliberate so that it’s difficult for the public to figure out what’s going on here. Instead of changes being annotated in red font, as with the other revised policies, there are huge sections that are lined through for deletion. The mind-numbing repetition and sometimes-on, sometimes-off editorial marks on paragraphs are confusing, and that’s the point. Try and figure out what’s happening here, beyond getting rid of GPS responsibilities for laws like FERPA and shrugging off content filtering and other protections afforded by the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Nope, GPS just deleted that stuff, probably because GPS hasn’t been able to filter pornography from students’ 1:1 Chromebooks and email accounts. Notice that superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend got a big promotion for banging the boss.  Any chance Kishimoto wrote Charles Stevin Smith a glowing recommendation in spite of his spectacular failures with technology?  Sheeesh.

Policy IHBE – Bilingual Instruction / English as a Second Language appears in the *revisions* section, but the entire text of the policy is in red font, indicating change. There are no previous policy provisions shown for replacement or deletion. We expect GPS is up to no good, as usual. Doesn’t the following statement make you feel all warm and fuzzy? “Teachers and local school districts may reject waiver requests without explanation or legal consequence.” Yep, IOW, “Suck it, parents!”

Policy IHBHD – Online/Concurrent Correspondence Courses is a brand-new Kishimoto *reform* ensures no parent who opposes high stakes testing (by keeping the child home during testing), can continue accessing the online curriculum and credits for their child.

Policy IKE – Promotion and Retention of Students  and its companion Policy IKEB Acceleration are going to cause a lot of grief. Even parents of really smart kids have reason to worry: “The final decision to accelerate a student rests with the Superintendent.” If you don’t like what superintendent Christina Kishimoto decides (knowing she has never, ever taught a K-12 class), you can appeal to … wait for it … the superintendent! Brilliant, guys. There is a provision to appeal to the governing board, but with Kishimoto’s three votes held captive to her whims, fuhgeddaboudit.

Policy IMH – Class Interruptions is designed to keep parents out of their child’s classroom. The prohibition against *salespersons* is a ruse … this policy is intended to formalize the nastiness that superintendent Christina Kishimoto has employed for the past year.  Parent advocates report that GPS has been denying SpEd parents access to their child’s classroom. Kishimoto says unless you are there volunteering, you are a distraction and not allowed. Ever. Even with an appointment. It doesn’t matter if you are a SpEd parent wanting to have a professional observe the classroom to determine if it’s the right placement or if you as a plain old parent would like to observe your child’s class. It’s about whether or not you are “like minded about education.” BTW, if Christina Kishimoto doesn’t want you on GPS property, she might lie in a secret court hearing to get an injunction against you

GPS … always trying to get away with murder. Send your chirps to Westie about the other nefarious GPS plots you uncover!

Big Fat Asterisk: Like all those dangling participles Westie came up with? It took a lot of effort to make them up!

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