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Teacher Jim Duarte's World History Lessons at Barstow High School
Click on any image to read the full size version of the "lesson"


The Problem(s)
Click here to read Kyle Olson's comments:
Indoctrination Outrage: California Teacher Uses Media Matters Anti-Fox News Article In World History Class

Although I am using my grandson's "education" as an example, there are many other students and parents that are fed up with Barstow Unified School District. This page is meant to give you ideas along with resources to help you help your children, explain what you can expect from the school district (and California) in the future, and soon you will be able to publish your ideas and / or problems that you have with the school district. Maybe someday, with all of us working together, we can help create a school district that produces top of the line workers and thinkers as opposed to lifelong fast food workers that cannot make change.

I tried to get involved with my grandchildren's school work several months ago after I retired. One of my grandchildren came to my home and saw my wife and me watching FOX news. He informed us that his World History teacher (Jim Duarte) told him that people that watch FOX are stupid. I asked him why if that was the case, FOX news is now watched by five times as many people as the other four major news networks combined. He had no answer so I asked him if that meant that most people are stupid and that only his World History teacher is not stupid? I then let it drop for awhile.

Then I was told by my grandson a couple of weeks later that Duarte requires sheet protectors to be used on all work and single sided only because "it is too hard for Mr. Duarte to have to read the papers without sheet protectors and too much trouble for Mr. Duarte to turn the page" and the parents must supply the sheet protectors or the student will get a failing grade. I and my son (the child's father) sent a note to Duarte asking for an explanation; he never returned our requests for a call or note. I contacted the principal's office (Mr. Scott Godfrey) and left a message for a call. That call never came. I left a second message quite a bit more sternly and a couple of days later I got a call from Mr. Godfrey. He told me that he knew which teacher it was and he would put an end to it. The sheet protectors continue to be mandatory to this day. Nothing changed.

A couple of weeks later my grandson informed me that Mr. Duarte is giving classes about how he is underpaid and that if only the rich would pay him more he could do his job better. I sent a note to Duarte and left a message for Godfrey demanding an explanation into what this has to do with World History. I got no answer from either. My grandson told me that all of his classes now were about how badly the teachers are paid and that the Wisconsin teachers are being treated unfairly by the evil Republicans. Again I demanded answers and got none.

As my grandson started having problems in Math class and as I am retired now I thought I would tutor him. My son (who works full time) and I wrote several notes to my grandson's Math teacher Mr. Johnson. Of course there was no response. Finally I contacted the superintendent of the school Susan Levine. She seems quite concerned about the lessons and the lack of correspondence we are getting concerning my grandson. After she got involved, Mr. Godfrey had the two teachers call me.

Mr. Duarte denied any left wing lessons were being taught and that he in no way was teaching his students about taxing the rich more. He actually laughed at the idea that my grandson would even say such a thing. Even though I was looking at the lessons at the time of the phone call he continued to deny his involvement! I then questioned him about "signing off" on my grandson when my grandson was supposed to be studying in after school classes. We had caught my grandson in a very compromising position with his girlfriend just short of full sex at the school when he was supposed to be in Duarte's class. Duarte informed me that 1) my grandson only needed to be in class for a couple of minutes after school and that is why he is cut loose early - everyday, 2) he (Duarte) had other things to do, and 3) it was not possible for him to stop all the sex that goes on at Barstow High School!

Moving on to my grandson's Math class with Mr. Johnson. Because I have not used some of this math since I left high school 40 years ago I wrote a note to Johnson asking for an answer sheet to the math homework so that I could tutor my grandson. I got no response. I wrote two or three more notes requesting the answer sheets and finally called Mr. Godfrey again. No responses. I again contacted superintendent Susan Levine who once again had to intervene to get anything done. Mr. Johnson called me and let me know that he knew exactly what I wanted and he would see to it that in the future he would provide the necessary answer sheets so that I could tutor my grandson at home and get his grades up to where they need to be. Mr. Johnson also informed me that in the future, I should only text him because he doesn't check his phone messages, he only likes to text. I guess this makes him feel like a teenager again as that is easier than being an adult.

Of course I did not get any such answer sheets and after texting Johnson several times I once again was forced to contact Susan Levine who had Mr. Godfrey set up a meeting with me, my son, Mr. Godfrey, and Mr. Johnson. This type of meeting is what we had been asking for for several months. Now with only three weeks of school left the meeting will take place. Obviously there is not enough time left in the year to change anything but we went to the meeting anyway. Mr. Godfrey welcomed us and seemed genuinely concerned about all of the above issues. Mr. Johnson was a no-call-no-show for the meeting. Seems he really is not interested in meeting with or corresponding with parents, or the well being of his students. Mr. Godfrey did put into effect a program that will probably help my grandson next year. This is a good start but my questions are:

  1. Why did we have to fight the school so hard to get help with these problems?
  2. What about all the other students that are NOT getting an education?
  3. What is going to stop Duarte, Johnson, and other poor excuses for teachers from continuing to NOT teach students?
In the interim I contacted all five members of the School Board. Not one of them cares about our children enough to respond to me. I question why they have their names listed on the BUSD web site along with their emails when they will not return messages. It is my personal belief that all five of these individuals prefer to stroll around Barstow as though they are some type of elite group, but in reality they are nothing but blowhards that want some sort of imagined prestige. We need to vote them out. Barstow Unified School District needs major changes!

What You Can Do

Although it is probably too late to salvage my grandson's tenth grade year of high school it is not too late for you to help your children. Here is a list of things you can do:

  1. Look at your child's homework. Make sure that he / she is being taught the type of things that you know to be true and helpful to his / her well being.
  2. If you find something troubling about what your child is being taught, do not sit quietly and put up with it and hope for the best, contact the school immediately and demand a meeting.
  3. If you do not get immediate results, file a formal complaint against the teacher and do not let the administrators bully you into thinking that you have to just accept bad teaching. Get a formal complaint form and make sure you turn it in and follow up on it. You can get a formal complaint form here.
  4. If you still don't get the results you are looking for, you can contact the state Superintendent of California Schools Tom Torlakson, but don't look for too much help from him; his website clearly states that his main goal is to get more money from you for the teachers. But you can call his office and / or fax his office just to register a complaint about the school district. A lot of times Torlakson's office staff will refer you back to your local county government. They will tell you to contact your county supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. The problem there is that Brad Mitzelfelt was chief of staff to our former supervisor disgraced Bill Postmus whom taught Mitzelfelt well when it comes to NOT returning calls. Mitzelfelt is concerned only about Wrightwood (where he lives) and "down the hill" cities. Barstow is not one of his concerns. But contact his office anyway and demand an investigation. Let him know that he can be replaced at the next election.
  5. Contact our current school board. Let them know what you find objectionable and when they do not (and they won't) return your requests for help, let them know that you are going to vote them out. Email them at:
    Ben Rosenberg - Board President
    Ray Perea - Board Vice President
    Julie Clemmer - Board Clerk

    Mary Rodriguez - Board Member

    Barbara Rose - Board Member
  6. Contact alternative schools such as Excelsior Charter school and others to see if they fit the need for your children. You are NOT stuck with BUSD. Look into home schooling to see if that is an option for you.
  7. This one is most important: do not tolerate anything except the utmost respect from the school district employees. Remember that they work for you. Also remember that it is YOU, not them that knows what is best for your children. Do not let the school district turn your child into a fast food worker for life - demand a quality education from them so that your child has a chance in the future to do something with his life. They care about a paycheck, you care about your child. Stand up for your child and demand that the school district puts your child before a paycheck. Your child is in the school's care for 25% of his / her minor years - would you trust your child's life to just anybody? If there were an emergency, disaster, shooting, or anything else, do you want a teacher or school board that will not return calls? Of course not. Demand the best. If we all work together and demand the best, we can rid BUSD of the bad teachers and the unconcerned now on the school board!

Our current school board is endorsing Governor Brown's tax extension instead of a quality education extension. California teachers are already the highest paid teachers in the nation and California students are next to last in academics. The answer is not more money, the answer is more dedication from the school district and the teachers.

Do you care about your children?
Show it, don't talk about it.











October 13, 2011

Letters to the Editor Desert Dispatch

So Barstow High School enrollment dropped again. Let's see if we can figure out what is really happening. Officials from Barstow Unified School District attribute most of the decline in enrollment to the charter schools in the area that give parents a choice of sending their students elsewhere. Meaning that the parents can send their children to a failing school or one where their children will get an education.

The new principal at Barstow High - Mr. Delton - whom I met with seems like a good guy and genuinely concerned about bringing the school up to par. Unfortunately, he is up against the same old block wall, i.e., the same school administration and the same useless school board. Case in point; the past principal of Barstow High School whom I also met with is also a very nice guy, but terribly unqualified to lead Barstow High School. So the solution? He gets a promotion! The past principal rarely returned phone calls and did so only when forced. He commanded no respect from the teachers (even the socialist teaching ones that were family members), so what makes anyone think that promoting him will make things better? In the Desert Dispatch article, the past Principal - now assistant superintendent - stated that most students that leave for the charter schools come back. Really? Then why is enrollment still declining for the sixth year? Wouldn't the kids "coming back" increase enrollment? I think someone is being less than honest (or studied math at BHS). The Superintendent of BUSD refuses to make teachers accountable, rather she will move your child to another class which still leaves the other students in the hands of a useless teacher. The idea of making teachers do their job never enters her mind. The school board members will not return phone calls, although one of the members did call me twice and then backed out of an actual meeting making excuses along the way. Do we need a school board that makes excuses and won't return messages? There are teachers at BHS that indoctrinate the children into socialism as opposed to teaching actual world history. Will the Superintendent, Principal, or School Board stop him or reassign him? Nope. His indoctrination continues to this day. Even the teachers union whom I met with say these "lessons" are out of line! Why does Barstow High School have an API (Academic Performance Index) of 2 out of a possible 10? Answer: pathetically unqualified leadership.

Contrast this to Excelsior where my grandkids are now enrolled. We get immediate responses and actions from all of the educators and administration. Actual subjects taught, not ideology. When I or my son need help in helping the kids, immediate help is available and any supplies we need are available right now. ALL calls are returned, usually within minutes! The kids now look forward to school and learning. Why does Excelsior have an API three times higher than Barstow High School? Answer: qualified leadership.

It is my opinion that transferring your children to a quality school with qualified and caring staff and administration is not a choice, it is your duty.

Nick Benson Sr