Recent letters to the editor have played fast and loose with data to claim that incumbent Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Salcido, is failing. However, a more holistic view of the data suggests otherwise.
When Susan became the superintendent in 2017, she inherited below-average “meeting or exceeding standard” test scores:
· 2017 Math: SB County = 33.65% vs. Statewide = 37.56%
· 2017 English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA): County = 44.19% vs. Statewide = 48.56%
By 2019, county math scores had risen to 36.21 percent. ELA scores for the county had also increased to 47.22 percent. Then the pandemic hit, and administration of these test standards was disrupted.
However, other recent metrics, like graduation and college-going rates, say more. For example, our county’s 2021 High School Graduation Rates were 90.5 percent versus 87.3 percent statewide. And 2021 College-Going Rates were similarly favorable at 67.5 percent, versus 64.4 percent statewide.
The numbers do not justify the attacks on Dr. Salcido. The County Superintendent of Schools serves 20 school districts with nearly 70,000 students. The office supports student services, professional development for educators, and fiscal services for districts, with oversight of more than 200 programs. The job is big and multifaceted.
There are trying times ahead, and the bravado of waving fairy dust to make everything better is certainly appealing. Still, I’ll place my vote with experience and credentials, which is not Christy Lozano on her best day, but is Susan Salcido every day.