William “Bill” Ponder is running for a seat on the San Diego Unified School District for District E. Mr. Ponder feels that San Diego, in being the second largest city in California, should reflect a sense of importance and urgency in the public education system.
Ponder was born and raised in San Diego, and attended SDUSD schools Chollas-Mead Elementary, Gompers Middle School, and Lincoln High School. Within the past thirty years, Ponder has worked extensively in the realm of public education. He has taught in public schools, community colleges, and four-year public universities. A retired Vice President of Eastern Washington University, ponder feels he has both the depth and breadth of experience necessary to bring the needed leadership to the board of trustees.
Ponder also recently completed a three-year grant with the U.S. Department of Education, which focused on student success in advance placement and international baccalaureate curriculum.
“San Diego has a tendency to implement and develop programs for teachers, students, and parents,” said Ponder. “Sure, that is all well and good, but these programs only impact a small program of students. This election is important because we will see if San Diego voters truly want public school reform, which is an issue that the school board has not taken on as of yet.”
When prompted as to how he would go about addressing the problem, and solving this predicament, Ponder elaborated on the numerous points of his platform.
He elaborated that if elected, he would promote an honest and open relationship with San Diegans, placing emphasis on the “status” of schools under the No Child Left Behind Act. Ponder also pointed out that historically, there has been a distinct difference in what San Diego does as a school district, as to what actually works. He further felt that the parameters of the 2020 education plan proposed by SDUSD cannot be quantified, and is in dire need of reform.
“Once we find out what works, we need to apply this to more ‘at risk’ schools,” stated Ponder. “I mean, we have kids coming out of high school basically functionally illiterate. There’s really neither a sense of urgency, nor accountability, and if this continues the basic fabric of San Diego will start to disintegrate within a decade.”
The accountability of which Ponder refers to involves the fact that students can cut class if they want. If students are not stopped by campus police or security officers, Ponder feels that they will just hit the streets, thus hindering the education process. Ponder further stresses parental engagement in their students’ educational progress.
What sets him apart from other school board candidates is experience, Ponder says. One of his first jobs in higher education was as a recruiter for the University of California, where he realized firsthand the disparity of education in southern California. He stated that most people tend to use the office as a stepping stone for future public office, therefore are looking to better their future and not the future of their students. Ponder said that he is retired, and not interested in furthering his political career or “do the bidding of those with their own political agenda.”
“I believe teachers in the union want to fix the problem, but now they are going about these issues in a political manner,” said Ponder. “I am on the side of the children, because we are denying them a quality of life, and that’s an adult’s responsibility to do so.”
With the SDUSD holding its final debate on October 18 it is now up for San Diegans to decide who will fill the three vacant board seats.