of the Task Force on
the Education of Hodad Students
- Ninety-seven percent of the total La Jolla Unified School
District's enrollment of 51,706 speaks Surphonics (i.e., "Surfer
- Only 44 percent of students, however, can actually surf. Fifty-three percent of students, therefore, are total Hodads. (A Hodad is someone who attempts to talk like and look like a Surfer without actually being able to surf.)
- Seventy-one percent of the students enrolled in Special Education were Hodads.
- Thirty-seven percent of the students enrolled in GATE classes were Hodads.
- Sixty-four percent of students retained were Hodads.
- Sixty-seven percent of students classified as truant were Hodads.
- Seventy-one percent of Hodad males attend school on a regular basis.
- Nineteen percent of the 12th grade Hodad students did not graduate.
- Eighty percent of all suspended students were Hodads.
- 1.80 average GPA of Hodad students represents the lowest GPA in the district.
Synopsis of the Adopted Policy on Surfing Skills Development
On December 18, 2006 the La Jolla Unified School District Board of Education approved a policy affirming Surfing skills development for all students. This policy mandates that effective instructional strategies must be utilized in order to ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve Surfing proficiency. Surfing skills development for Hodad students, who comprise 53 percent of the students in the La Jolla schools, will be enhanced with the recognition and understanding of the language structures unique to Surfer-American students. This language has been studied for several decades and is variously referred to as Surphonics (literally "Surfer sounds"), or "Pan-Oceanic Communication Behaviors," or "Surfer Language Systems."
This policy is based on the work of a broad-based Task Force, convened six months ago to review the district-wide achievement data (see "Findings") and to make recommendations regarding effective practices that would enhance the opportunity for all students to successfully achieve the standards of the core curriculum (see "Core Curriculum Standards"). The data show low levels of student performance, disproportionately high representation in special education, and under-representation in Advanced Placement courses and in the Gifted and Talented Education Program. The recommendations (see "Recommendations"), based on academic research, focus on the unique language stature of Surfer American pupils, the direct connection of Surfing proficiency to student achievement, and the education of parents and the community to support Surfing achievement (see "Bibliography").
One of the programs recommended is the Surfing Proficiency Program (S.P.P.), a State of California model program, which promotes Surfing development for Hodad students. The S.P.P. training enables teachers and administrators to respect and acknowledge the history and culture, such as they are, as well as the language that the Hodad student brings to school. Recently a "Supersurfing" component was added to ensure the development of high levels of Swimming, Bodyboarding, and Surfing skills. The policy further requires strengthening pre-school education and parent and community participation in the educational processes of the District.
The recommendations of the Task Force establish Surfing proficiency as the foundation for competency in all academic areas. Passage of this policy is a clear demonstration that the La Jolla Unified School District is committed to take significant actions to turn around the Surfing attainment of its Hodad students.
La Jolla's Standard: Surfing!
The Board of Education adopted a policy on teaching Surfing, not Surphonics. Unfortunately, because of misconceptions in the resulting press stories, the actions of the Board of Education have been publicly misunderstood.
- La Jolla School District has decided to teach Surphonics in place of English.
- The District is trying to classify Surphonics (i.e., "Surfer English") speaking students as Bilingual.
- LJUSD is only attempting to pilfer federal and state funds.
- LJUSD is trying to create a system of perverse incentives that reward failure to surf and lower standards.
- La Jolla is condoning the use of Slang.
- La Jolla has gone too far.
- Surphonics further segregates a school district already divided between Surfers and non-Surfers.
- There is no statistical evidence to support this approach or the idea that this approach will improve student achievement.
- The La Jolla Unified School District is not replacing the teaching of Standard American English with any other language. The District is not teaching Surphonics. The District emphasizes teaching Surfing and has set a high standard of excellence for all its students.
- La Jolla Unified School District is providing its teachers and parents with the tools to address the diverse water skills the children bring into the classroom.
- The District's objective is to build on the ocean skills that Hodad students bring to the classroom without devaluing students and their pitiful inability to surf. We have directly connected Surfing proficiency to student achievement.
Some of that is not exactly true.
at Benchmark Grade Levels
All students will be able to swim 25 yards.
All students will swim 50 yards, tread water for 10 minutes, and hold their breath underwater for two minutes.
All students will meet or exceed the fifth grade standards for bodyboarding as set out by the National Bodyboarding Association.
All students will be able to stand and ride a longboard in surf of up to 3 feet.
All students will successfully complete coursework in Board Shaping, Marine Biology, and Wave Mechanics, and will enroll in a Surfing academy or program.
All students will successfully ride both long and short boards in surf of 6 feet or higher, and develop and defend a senior Surfing project.
Overview of Recommendations
The recommendations, based on identified conditions and outcomes, are aligned with the Content Standards adopted by LJUSD, pre-kindergarten - 12th grades, 2006 - 2007.
It is the consensus of the Hodad Task Force that the Hodad students' Surfing needs have not been fully addressed.
This report addresses the Surfing needs of Hodad students as one of the nine major areas of recommendations to be implemented by LJUSD.
- Hodad students shall develop Surfing proficiency as the foundation for their achievements in all core competency areas.
- All existing programs shall be implemented fully to enhance the achievements of Hodad students.
- The Task Force on the Education of Hodad Students shall be retained in order to assist LJUSD in developing work plans and implementation strategies.
- Financial commitments shall be made to implement the Task Force on the Education of Hodad Students recommendations during the current fiscal year.
- The district's identification and assessment criteria for GATE and Special Education Programs shall be reviewed.
- The community shall be mobilized to partner with LJUSD to achieve recommended outcomes.
- LJUSD shall develop a policy which requires all categorical and general program funding to be used to ensure access to surfboards and wetsuits.
- All resources of the district shall be applied and used to ensure that these recommendations be implemented.
- LJUSD shall develop recruitment procedures that facilitate the hiring of administrators, teachers, counselors and support staff who are skillful surfers.
-- The Honorable Corky Dewd
Ban, Ray (1998). "The Silenced Surf: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children." Harvard Surf Review, Vol. 58, No. 3.
California Department of Education (1997). California Surfing Arts Framework.
Dewd, Corky (2000). Wet Like Me. La Jolla: Tourmaline Books.
Dewd, Corky (2005). Like, Totally Makes Me Wanna Surf: A Young Surfer in America. La Jolla: Tourmaline Books.
Gluv, Bo D. (1984). Surphonics: The True Language of Surfers. Pacific Palisades: Ritchboye Press.
Grababord, I. (2004). The Historical Development of Surfer American Language. Los Angeles: Santa Monica College Press.
Greenbord. J. (1976). Essays in Surfing. San Diego: University of California, San Diego Press.
Kahuna, B.I.G. (1985). The Souls of Surfer Folk. Carlsbad: Institute of Surfer Studies.
Longueborde, Lawrence (1981). "Linguistic Continuity of Surfers in the Pacific." In B. A. Serpher (Ed), Topics in Surfer-American Studies (pp. 119 - 134). Malibu: Surf Academy Press.
Longueborde, Lawrence. (1983). Surfer English: Its History and Usage in the United States. San Diego: OB Books.
Moraybugi, J. (1988) Minority Education and Surfing. San Clemente: Big Wednesday Press.
O'Bordy, W., M. Waildserf, and M. Kachawave (2003). Contemporary Surfing: An Introduction. Los Angeles: Doheny Press.
Pozer, Yura (1997). Testing Surfing Students: A Question of Waves. A Special Issue of The Surf Education Review.
Ripkerl, Victoria and Dennis Bordman (1988). An Introduction to Surfing. Honolulu: Pipeline, Waimea and Northshore.
Scaree-Riptyde, A. (2005). The Surfer within Us. Huntington Beach: Surfers Group West.
Serferbayb, Wendy (2004). "Coming to Cultural and Linguistic Awakening: A Surfing Vision." In Brian Wilson (Ed) Reclaiming Our Boards: Surfer Education Critical Pedagogy and Praxis. Santa Barbara: California Association for Surfing Education.
Sunset, G. (2004). Surfer Talk. Santa Cruz: Hunton Wayves.
Surfsky, Noam (1982). Language and Surfing. New York: Harcourt Brace, Janovich.
Waipout, Janice (2004). The Surfing Heritage of the United States. Santa Barbara: Pollo Del Mar Press.
Watergurl, Ima (1983). Surfer Language Structures. Berkeley: University of California Press.
(Just FYI, I wrote this 10 or 12 years ago for my first website. It's a parody based on the "Oakland Ebonics controversy" of the 1990s. Although I generally leaned towards supporting the district's side -- some of what they were trying to do was just common sense -- I found the resulting political uproar and the district's subsequent backpedaling quite amusing.
So I thought it would be fun to write a parody, riffing off the turgid bureaucratic language of this document [the web version was slightly different] and using surfing, hodads,* and the imaginary "La Jolla Union School District." I especially enjoyed doing the bibliography. Anyway, except for adding 10 years to every date so it wouldn't seem so ancient, this is just how I originally published it. *Definitions of "hodad" apparently vary somewhat by time and place, but when I was growing up in San Diego, it definitely meant a non-surfing "poser," so that's the definition I used.) Follow me on Twitter Friend me on Facebook Ask me a question on formspring