Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

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By Rosanne Crawford

Recently the Santa Barbara County Board of Education after months of resistance unanimously voted to approve video recordings of meetings starting in October.

This decision that all public meetings will be video recorded is great. What is missing is remote speaking access during public meetings.  Anyone wanting to speak in public comment or to an agenda item must come to the meeting in person at the Santa Barbara County office to participate.

They should offer the option to remotely speak, just as school districts, our City Councils, and the County Board of Supervisors, provide in their public board meetings.

This would improve access and participation for all the communities they serve. The County Board of Education often meets mornings and early afternoons at the Santa Barbara office of Education making it difficult for many to participate. People in Carpentaria, Santa Maria, and Lompoc particularly find it difficult to attend the in-person meetings in Santa Barbara.

I believe we can do better.  To grab one from Congresswoman Katie Porter, “Not good enough- Do better” Let's allow remote speaker access in all public meetings. 

The County Office of Education has a budget of approximately 100 million dollars, about 600 employees, and has under it, 20 school districts in Santa Barbara County. The 7 Trustee member Board has control over approvals of Charter Schools, Interdistrict transfers, and expulsion appeals. 

The County Office of Education has some wonderful programs, particularly the Educator Development Program providing credentialing programs for teachers and administrators. And the Partners in Education Program. 

This year we will hear more about the SEL, Social, Emotional, and Learning Programs are well funded thru public funds to address the increase in students' mental health service needs.

During the lockdown, it was Santa Barbara's school's choice to keep schools closed. This was not a recommendation of our County Health Department or our Governor in fact they encouraged all schools to remain open with protocols.

All other schools, charter, private, and parochial as well as two other school districts, Colds Springs and Montecito Union all chose to stay open with waivers and operated safely using the Santa Barbara Health Department protocols.

It has been verified this action not only put children behind academically but created a lot of mental health problems in school-age children.  

The 2021 grand jury report brought the effects of this detrimental decision to light. Many students may never catch up and will miss opportunities their whole lives because of this. 


 Not every student wants to go to college. For those that want to go directly into the workforce, I would like to see Vocational Programs available in more schools including the County's run Juvenile Court and Community schools that work with kids experiencing expulsion and chronic absenteeism. How about establishing after-school homework help centers at all schools?  Over 60% of our students are English learners. Establishing a good foundation to help them move forward in their life choices entering the job market directly or going on to higher education.

Yes, we can do better, so let's do better.

Op-Ed's are written by community members and local organizations, not representatives of edhat. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.
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[Editor's Note: The previous version included grammatical and spelling errors have since been corrected by the author]

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a-1662763792 Sep 09, 2022 03:49 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

Also believe she's part of the Fair Education crew that espouses far right nonsense under the guise of "helping kids."

But the author threw in a few different random topics in this piece and it doesn't read as a cohesive, well thought, opinion. Instead it's more like, "good job on recordings but do better and offer video comments, boo COVID restrictions, and more vocational training."

ChillinGrillin Sep 09, 2022 03:01 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

More public access to decisionmaking is great and all, but in context the author and her ilk want to use it to screech about the secret gay conspiracy to indoctrinate kids, CRT, or the latest distorted drivel dredged from the internet. School board meetings used to be a snoozefest, now board members across the country are getting death threats. Leave the schools alone, nobody benefits from ignorance and hatred. If you hate changes in the schools so much, go to Texas where they teach about Jesus riding dinosaurs and happy slaves. I'm not paying property taxes to teach backwards racist trash.

MarcelK Sep 09, 2022 08:17 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

The word "woke" arose in Black communities in reference to being conscious and aware of the threats from racists--the type of people who now use it as a pejorative. "The woke mob" is basically made up of everyone who *isn't* a racist misogynist transphobic bigot.


Woke (/ˈwoʊk/ WOHK) is an English adjective meaning "alert to racial prejudice and discrimination" that originated in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). Beginning in the 2010s, it came to encompass a broader awareness of social inequalities such as sexism, and has also been used as shorthand for American Left ideas involving identity politics and social justice, such as the notion of white privilege and slavery reparations for African Americans.

The phrase stay woke had emerged in AAVE by the 1930s, in some contexts referring to an awareness of the social and political issues affecting African Americans. The phrase was uttered in a recording by Lead Belly and later by Erykah Badu. Following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, the phrase was popularised by Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists seeking to raise awareness about police shootings of African Americans. After seeing use on Black Twitter, the term woke became an Internet meme and was increasingly used by white people, often to signal their support for BLM, which some commentators have criticised as cultural appropriation. Mainly associated with the millennial generation, the term spread internationally and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017.

a-1662764373 Sep 09, 2022 03:59 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

"Fair" Education, where a bunch of elderly white people think high school discussions of race are unfair to white kids, where they back candidates who think teachers/admin are turning kids gay and trans, where they sue school districts for hiring nonprofits to help underprivileged kids because privileged white kids feel left out.

MarcelK Sep 09, 2022 10:04 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction


"today, Judge Donald Middlebrooks of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed a lawsuit Trump launched in March 2022 against Hillary Clinton and a number of his favorite villains ... [he] demolished the 193-page lawsuit as lacking evidence, legal justification, and good faith".

"The lawsuit rehashed the Russia investigation, which Trump used to great effect during his term to deflect investigations into his wrongdoing. Two investigations, one by an independent investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and another by the Republican-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee, revealed that Russia had attacked the U.S. presidential election in 2020 [a typo; she meant 2016] and that the Trump campaign had, at the very least, played along.

But by using the machinery of government, including by putting loyalists into key positions, Trump reversed reality to argue that he was an innocent victim and that the investigators were actually the ones who had broken the law. He and his allies saturated the media with accusations that government officials, including FBI agents—many of whom he named in this lawsuit—were members of the “Deep State,” out to get him.

Trump is resurrecting this old trope at a time when he is in the midst of yet another investigation for which the evidence against him is monumental. Now out of power, though, he has had to turn to the courts and, interestingly, contrived to get this case in front of Judge Cannon, who was rushed onto the court with very little experience after Trump had already lost the 2020 election. "

Lorax Sep 09, 2022 05:58 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

Wow, no good deed goes unpunished, we need to open dialogue. I see nothing extreme here except a community member wanting to engage about issues. the schools are a hot button this year.
I think it's informative and thought-provoking, enough of the stereotypes and assumptions.

Rto Sep 10, 2022 08:13 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

Remote access so that any MAGIdiot with a cell phone can screech about their conspiracies? No thanks. If you can’t take the time to show your face at the meetings, you haven’t given enough thought about what you want to say. And hiding behind Katie Porter? C’mon.

SBTejano Sep 10, 2022 08:45 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

Please bow your heads and close your eyes….please forgive those for their evil, wicked souls, as they attack our faith, family, values and nation, as they spread their hatred over our former President. As they promote racial bigotry and polarization, self indulgence, gluttony, spiritual sloth and corruption. Protect our children from those dark forces. Give us strength in giving our children the best in every way and to promote healing, understanding and self awareness.

MarcelK Sep 11, 2022 05:08 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

Every accusation is a confession.

You sound like Doug Mastriano, who prayed that the right wing would "seize the power", overturn the election results, and install the loser Donald Trump. You folks are the ones attacking the Enlightenment principles on which this nation was founded. We were warned that fascism would come to America wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

a-1662901965 Sep 11, 2022 06:12 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

I guess 8:45 is for real. So much for separation of church and state.

Re: Mastriano: Meet Julie Green:

"Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano has promoted and campaigned with Julie Green, a “prophet” who has claimed that God will execute political figures “for their planned pandemic, shortages, inflation, mandates and for stealing an election.” The Mastriano ally and fringe religious commentator has also alleged a variety of conspiracy theories, including that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “loves to drink the little children’s blood”; the government is conducting “human sacrifices” to stay in power; and President Joe Biden is secretly dead and an “actor” is playing him.
Green, who says she has a “special relationship” with Mastriano, has implicated numerous Republican figures as traitors, including Republican Governors Association co-chair and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. She has alleged that there will be a video showing that he took a bribe to swing the 2020 election and he “will be no more, and treason will be written on” him “for all eternity.”
Mastriano’s connection to Green is yet another chapter in his history of promoting extremist media.

tfourier Sep 10, 2022 02:31 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

As I look through the comments the first thought that struck me about the commenters throwing around terms like "Far Right", "disinformation". "MAGA" etc is - Do any of you actually have any kids? Have you ever had to deal with train wreck that has been the California Public School system since at least the early 1970's? And I dont mean as a kid many decades ago. As a parent. Recently.

In my experience people who throw out tired cliches like these on every occasion dont have kids, know little or nothing about the realities of schooling in California, have not the slightest idea about what the public school curricula actually are, and whose political world view is some rehashed 68'er slogans that ceased to have any relevance about 40 years ago. Yeah, sure, blame everything on Prop 13. Even though Serrano v Priest had already gutted local school financing several years before.

Its funny how those who shout loudest about "progressive" public school education never seem to actually have kids. But that does not seem to stop them wanting to trying half assed "social engineering" with other peoples kids. Usually from the poorer families. Who have no choice in the matter because they cannot send their kids to private schools in terrible school districts.

Here is something for you guys to think about. Those low achievement hispanic kids we've been hearing about for many decades. You do know that relative educational attainments of 1'st and 2'nd generation blanco/mestizo/indio kids in California follows very closely the educational attainment patterns of the same groups in Mexico and Central American countries? In fact the subject has been a big deal in Mexico for decades. Quite a large literature on the subject. Even in Inglés. How does that fact fit into your politically motivated excuse that it must be due to "structural racism" by white Californians. Even though the same pattern can be seen in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Campeche?

Thats mighty strong "structural racism" you have there. Can effect kids over 2000 miles away

Or since Prop 98 was passed, which greatly increased school spending in the state (in real terms) in the decades since, the California public school system has fallen from about average to the second worse in the US. Spending more money did not solve the quality problem. As promised by the backers of Prop 98 and later attempts. I wonder what it could be. Maybe something to do with Jerry Browns payback for a certain union's election campaign support first time around in 1974. Who since then have totally control most school districts. Especially the big city ones.

Nah. Could n't be that....

GeneralTree Sep 10, 2022 03:25 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

I have kids in school here and I've gone through the public schools myself. So yes, disenfranchising LGBTQ kids, taking away science, banning books, watering-down history to glorify caucasian history, and taking away the uniqueness of all of our cultures is far-right, extremist, and is being perpetrated by the MAGAs and far right evangelicals.

Transparent Sep 10, 2022 05:39 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

@GeneralTree -- I appreciate your concerns, and acknowledge that there are indeed folks with pitchforks and viking hats storming the gates. That said, your last couple comments have this premise, that if you're hopping mad (like I am) by how dysfunctional, expensive, and ineffective our public schools are... well, then you must be an extremist right-wing enemy. It's just not the case.

I can imagine you saying (and being correct!) that right-wing media scapegoats public schools because doing so is good fodder for the "maga" side in the maga vs. woke war.

But most folks I talk to, left right and center, just want us to do a better job giving all kids skills and dispositions that will empower them throughout life, and feel the current public system and its prevailing leaders (talking about California here) are failing hard.

I, for example, always talk about money, reminding people that a classroom of 30 is being funded to the tune of a half-million dollars per year. The outcomes are unacceptable. None of the teachers see that money or what it's supposed to buy. Neither do parents or kids. For that price, every darn kid should get what you and I both agree they deserve and need. The status quo is broken. I have neither a clan robe nor a viking hat hiding in my closet.

That said (repeating myself), I appreciate your very real fears, and that there are indeed folks with pitchforks and viking hats storming the gates.

GeneralTree Sep 10, 2022 05:43 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

" expensive and ineffective our public schools are... well, then you must be an extremist right-wing enemy. " No - that's not the enemy. The enemy are are the ones trying to remove books, re-write history, de-value certain segments of the student population, remove science from the classroom, remove the ability to touch on certain subjects in the classroom - those are the enemy. I never commented on finances or efficiency, you did.

sbdude Sep 10, 2022 10:01 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

Please remember, the SBCBOE, the superintendent, and her staff primarily concern themselves in providing support services to districts around the county who cannot afford to provide services themselves. The include special ed services, IT services, career technical ed programs, etc. They do NOT specify classroom instruction, curriculum, methods of instruction, or really any culture war topics being taught. These are all the domains of local school boards, so anybody who has complaints regarding these areas needs to contact their local board/superintendent. The idea that the county is somehow "above" these local boards and can somehow influence instruction is patently false.

Lorax Sep 11, 2022 11:57 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Board of Education Steps in Right Direction

SB Dude, You bring up excellent points that are accurate, however, have to agree to disagree with
"The idea that the county is somehow "above" these local boards and can somehow influence instruction is patently false" The fact is the SBCBOE does have the ultimate say over all 20 of its school district's budgets. The LCAP, Local Control Accountability Program is Publicly funded and the SBCBOE can accept or reject and recommend how they can spend their money which is restricted to
English Learners ( we have over 70% in the districts), special needs, socioeconomically disadvantaged, homeless, and foster students. They do have power and influence over the districts in this regard, which is the bottom line. Lastly, They have some great programs but they could do a lot more outreach to the community so people know about their programs.

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