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'Inaccurate' Picture

June 25, 1989

On June 4, the Los Angeles Times ran an article entitled "Code Proposed to Guide Textbook Sales to Schools," by William Trombley.

While I normally enjoy reading articles about public education, I was dismayed to read the inaccurate portrayal of my role in San Diego City School's reading textbook adoption process. While doing his research, Mr. Trombley never contacted me to discuss the article. Had he done so, I would have verified that I did, indeed, work as a paid adviser to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for their "Imagination" reading series. I was paid $200 to read a manuscript that described the philosophy and intent of the program and to make suggestions for developing teaching strategies to carry out the program. I did this in 1986 while I was principal of Edison Elementary School, two years before I assumed my current position.

In my present position as administrator on special assignment to the Basic Education Department, I arrange the meetings and activities of the 105-member textbook adoption committee. When the adoption committee first met, I and all of the other members completed a Conflict of Interest Disclosure form, which was reviewed by our district legal office.

Since I had previously done this advisory work for a textbook publisher, I removed myself from the textbook-selection process. Thus, at no time did I help to select the textbooks that would be used and evaluated by classroom teachers.

The selection of reading textbooks that our students will be using for the next seven years is an extremely important process. Those of us who have been involved in this process are doing everything possible to ensure that it is fair and equitable.

MELINDA MARTIN

Administrator on Special Assignment

San Diego City Schools

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