Uploaded: Thu, Aug 2, 2007, 5:59 pm
Six school board candidates vie for three spots
Incumbent Townsend hopes to return, Lowell and Price stepping down
Three months before the election, with three seats up for grabs, six people have expressed interest in running for the Palo Alto Board of Education, according to Santa Clara County Deputy Registrar Marie Alvarado.
Incumbent Camille Townsend is running for a second term, but current members Mandy Lowell and Gail Price, who have already served two terms, are stepping down, a district tradition.
The terms of Dana Tom and Barb Mitchell expire in 2009.
In addition to Townsend, former PTA President Melissa Baten Caswell, repeat candidate Claude Ezran, Pingyu Liu, former chair of the city's Human Relations Council Wynn Hausser and math education specialist Barbara Klausner have picked up papers from the county, Alvarado said.
Incumbent Townsend, 52, said she plans to run for the same reasons that motivated her 2003 campaign.
"Public education is so critical to our students and, frankly, I don't want to sound goody-two-shoes, but for our country," Townsend said. "Palo Alto is a model for many public schools across California. We have an obligation to do things right here."
Townsend said she wants to strengthen the district's basic programs in math and English and provide the students with other necessary skills for life after school.
"It's not only a pleasure but a great responsibility and honor to serve here in Palo Alto," she said.
With her two children now 18 and 23, Townsend said she plans to return to a legal practice in January.
Baten Caswell previously told the Weekly she has attended every school board meeting for several years and is quite familiar with the issues.
She said she will strive to ensure all children learn in Palo Alto.
"I'm a big proponent about kids being enthusiastic and curious and loving learning," Baten Caswell said.
Ezran, who could not be reached Thursday, ran for the board in 2005. He said previously he is running on a platform of civility and direct discourse, hoping to reunite divisive elements within the district and lessen the bureaucracy.
Liu could not be reached for comment Thursday.
As a member of the Human Relations Commission, Hausser spoke up for the mentally ill and homeless, as well as other minorities.
Klausner previously told the Weekly she planned to resign from her position as a district math specialist to campaign.
"It is important to be able to articulate the positive contributions that all sides make to our school community so that we can successfully build our district's educational future. My insider's view as a teacher and my connection to parents, teachers and administrators will help to engage these important voices," she said in June.
The election is Nov. 6. Candidates have until Aug. 10 to file.
Campaign finance statements are not due until September, Townsend said.
Posted by Once again,
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.
on Aug 19, 2007 at 10:23 am
In response to Keep Focused Too..I am glad you wrote your response to Still Paying Attention. It gives me a chance to dissect it. Not being disrespectful, but I submit that you are mixing concepts and philosophies, and failing to see critical differences in access issues.
I am quoting what you wrote below, with my responses in CAPS within your writing.
Stilling Paying Attention --
Does that mean that you would nix the Young 5s program, Ohlone, Hoover and Spanish Immersion too because they are lottery programs? ( NO I WOULD ASSURE THAT ALL WHO WANT THEM, GET THEM, SO THEY ARE TRULY CHOICE NOT LUCK, SINCE WE HAVE DECIDED TO HAVE THEM)
I echo Palo Alto mom's comments. Schools all over town have programs that have limited space and kids are turned away from them. Some classes at our middle and high schools have limited seats and end up turning kids away,( GIVE FACTUAL EVIDENCE..I HAVE SEEN NONE OF THIS AT ALL IN ANY OF THE 3 LEVELS) perhaps even Japanese class. Sports teams can only take a fraction of the students interested. ( NO, SPORTS TEAMS ARE AFTER SCHOOL, AND TAKE THE TOP QUALIFIED COMPETITIVE KIDS WHO COMPETE TO GAIN ENTRANCE..BIG DIFFERENCE..BUT KEEP SAYING IT IS EQUAL, IT REVEALS A LOT) Not all kids who could be helped by school psychologists have access to them because of their heavy workloads ( AGAIN, KEEP SAYING THIS, THOSE IN MOST NEED HAVE ACCESS, NOBODY IS DENIED ON THE BASIS OF ANYTHING OTHER THAN PRIORITIZED NEED..BIG DIFFERENCE). Ditto the reading academy.( KEEP SAYING THIS ALSO, THOSE MOST IN NEED ARE OFFERED A SPOT, AND SINCE IT IS NEVER FILLED WITH THOSE WHO MOST QUALIFY, THE SECOND TIER KIDS GET INVITED NEXT..AGAIN, NEED BASED) The list goes on.(YES, IT DOES. EVERY KID COULD USE A PSYCHOLOGIST AND ONE ON ONE INSTRUCTION AND MORE HOURS OF SCHOOL AND MORE PE AND MORE ART AND MORE READING ETC..IT IS CALLED TRIAGE OR PRIORITIZING, AND NOBODY CONFUSES THIS AS BEING THE SAME THING AS DESIRE) All of these are in a way a form of popular choice programs in that they are available only to people who request them (NO, PEOPLE WHO NEED THEM IN ACADEMICS, OR COMPETE FOR THEM IN SPORTS), they have limited space so some may be left without ( THE ONES WHO DO NOT QUALIFY ARE LEFT OUT, BIG DIFFERENCE), and those using them are not always the most in need ( ABSOLUTELY, THOSE IN MOST NEED ARE SERVED FIRST... UNLESS THEIR PARENT(S) REFUSE, WHICH OFTEN HAPPENS)
Do you advocate that our schools do away with all of these because they are not "school programs that are open to all who want it or need it"? ( YOU ARE NOT DIFFERENTIATING, BUT OTHERS CAN)
A good idea?
- Teachers are very grateful that options exist for some of the kids in our district so they don't have to meet vastly differing demands and needs, even if not all kids get the help they could use. ( YES..AND??)
- If you go back you will find that each one of these formal choice programs was formed to meet a need neighborhood schools could not. ( YES, APPROVED BASED ON A NEED,,,,NOT DESIRE..IN THE CASE OF SI, IT WAS JUSTIFIED ON THE NEED TO BRING AT RISK SPANISH SPEAKING KIDS A BETTER OPTION FOR LEARNING ENGLISH..THUS BEGAN THE SLIPPERY SLOPE)
- They are immensely popular as is evident from their long waiting lists. ( YES, THEY ARE..AND IF SO, AND IF THEY ARE CHOICE, WHY DON'T WE FILL THE DEMAND FOR THESE PROGRAMS SO THAT EVERYONE ACTUALLY HAS A REAL CHOICE? 100 KIDS APPLYING FOR 12 SPOTS IN SI IS NOT CHOICE, BUT LUCK.
BY THE WAY, THE "CHOICE" PROGRAMS YOU HAVE SEGUED INTO ARE NOT THE SPECIAL ED, PSYCHOLOGIST AND SPORTS PROGRAMS YOU WERE THROWING OUT A FEW PARAGRAPHS AGO. VERY CRITICAL DIFFERENCES)
Kids get a good education in their neighborhood schools; while losing a spot in a lottery program may be disappointing, students' education is not harmed if they have to go to schools near home instead. (ASSUMING THEY HAVE A SCHOOL NEAR THEIR HOME..AS FOR THE "NOT HARMED" ARGUMENT, BY THE SAME ARGUMENT, WE COULD SHUT DOWN ALL THE CHOICE PROGRAMS AND NOBODY WOULD BE HARMED, SO WHY DO WE HAVE THEM? )
If what you are suggesting instead is that every school should have multiple mini-choice programs ( WHERE DID YOU GET THAT? I AM STATING A FACT, THAT EACH SCHOOL HAS DISCRETIONARY INCOME, SOME FROM DISTRICT, SOME FROM PIE, WHICH THEY CHOOSE TO USE AS THEY WISH) in them, suggest how that would be feasible given differing interests at each site and limited financial resources. If it is just that you want foreign language in all elementary schools, isn't the district looking into that right now? Check out the mentions of the World Language/FLES Task Force on the PAUSD website.( I DON'T HAVE ANY OPINION ON WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS OR ISNT' FOREIGN LANGUAGE IN ALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, THIS IS A DISCUSSION ON WHETHER OR NOT THIS PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION FUND USE, WHICH WILL LEAD TO EVERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BEING VERY DIFFERENT, AND EACH KID GETTING THE EDUCATION THEY WIN BY LOTERY, IS THE ONE WE WANT. THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES ARE GREAT. I REGRET SUPPORTING SI WHEN IT STARTED. I WAS TOO YOUNG AND NAIVE AND SELFISH TO REALIZE WHERE THE THINKING WOULD LEAD.)
BY THE WAY, I WILL BE AMAZED AND DELIGHTED IF EVEN ALL THE 6TH GRADERS CAN TAKE A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
Posted by Keep Focused Too, a resident of another community, 17 hours ago
Again, nobody is saying do away with young 5s, competitive sports etc. Focusing on the ONE aspect of "not accepting all who want it" denies the reality of and difference between programs that are meant to be competitive or for a certain population in extra need, and programs that are set up to be "won" on a lottery so that a kid gets the education he "wins".