Gordon Siu


Gordon Siu is the advocate who works in the public interest and gets things done.

Gordon spearheaded the effort to eliminate senior portfolios as a graduation requirement in the Sweetwater Union High School District, which serves over 42,000 students in San Diego County, California.

Gordon's advocacy on senior portfolio requirements—and his ensuing showdown with school administrators—have been widely been documented by publications such as U.S. News & World Report in the national debate over school standards and alternative assessments.

In addition to his work on education policy, Gordon has published investigative reports on waste and mismanagement in the Sweetwater Union High School District—earning him a commendation "for his fearless pursuit of the truth and dedication to the highest standards of journalism" from school board member Jaime Mercado.

Gordon's reporting put an end to questionable business practices, such as using student funds to pay for gala events attended by administrators—costing taxpayers $11,000 a year. As a result of his investigation, the district's interim superintendent directed staff that "there shall be no 'arm-twisting' for ticket sales, and no 'minimum requirements' for schools or departments to purchase. We shall not be suggesting that schools use [student] funds or other school funds to buy tickets."

His reporting has also earned him a grant from the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists to fund his work, and he has appeared as a guest speaker at the University of San Diego. His efforts have helped open up San Diego's courtrooms to student journalists, consistent with state law.

His work helped lead to the indictment of over 15 officials and contractors on over 200 charges in the largest school corruption scandal in the region.

He has formerly been a research assistant for author and Covington & Burling LLP senior counsel Philip K. Howard.

Gordon graduated from Yale University in 2010 with a BA in East Asian Studies, focusing on China. He subsequently served as an intelligence specialist in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of sergeant.

He formerly headed strategy for David, LLC, a legal technology startup that helps consumers demand refunds from their cable, internet, and wireless service providers.

Published Editorials

Why today's seniors chafe at graduation requirement, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2005.

Siu: AASA fails to meet its mission, Yale Daily News, 2009.

In the Press

Profiles on Me

Rebel Has Been Finding, Fighting For Cause Since He Was a Teen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2014.

Anti-portfolio efforts backfire for senior, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2006.

High School Journalist Exposes School Corruption, San Diego News Service, 2005.

Consumer Advocacy

Cashing in on Gift Cards, NBC San Diego, 2014 — I worked with NBC San Diego to educate viewers on California's gift card refund law, which allows consumers to demand a cash refund for a gift card with a balance under $10.

Senior Portfolios

Portfolio protest helps spark national debate...: Are Students Working Too Hard for a High School Diploma?, U.S. News & World Report, 2008.

...in the Sweetwater Union High School District...: Students object to requiring portfolio, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2005.

...and throughout San Diego County: Final homework more than a test, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2006.

School Corruption

Former superintendent Ed Brand billed taxpayers for meals — The Union-Tribune picked up my story six years later, as Brand was rehired as interim superintendent. (see below)

Documents hint at Sweetwater board's diners' club; High school student investigated 10 years ago — The San Diego Reader shows how I exposed Superintendent Brand's lavish dining a decade before 15 people (excluding Brand) were indicted on over 200 charges in the largest corruption scandal in the region.

My Work

David - Consumer Resources - I write guides to help customers deal with poor customer service and demand their money back.

How to Deal with your Cable or Cell Phone Company
A video I created for David, LLC, 2016.

Senior thesis: "The Malling of Wangfujing" — Shopping malls in the United States are traditionally seen as private entities pretending to be public places. I argue that in China, public places are not very public. Shopping malls, however, are actually places of freedom that are removed from the restrictions of the outside streets. Yale University, 2010.

Ed Brand — Former superintendent Ed Brand billed taxpayers for meals.
This story was cited by the Union-Tribune and San Diego Reader, after Brand was rehired to replace his successor—who was fired for...billing taxpayers for meals. 15 defendants (excluding Brand) have been indicted on over 200 charges of corruption. San Diego Union-Tribune, 2011. San Diego Reader, 2013.

Hall of Fame Gala — Schools were forced to buy tickets to an award banquet; some using student funds. Crusader Newspaper, 2005.

Jostens — School district allegedly gouges students for class rings and caps and gowns, in exchange for kickbacks. Crusader Newspaper, 2004.

Prop BB — Use of construction bond money probed. Crusader Newspaper, 2003.

On the Web


David Blog - I write about consumer protection issues at the David Blog.

Contact Me

You can contact me here.