Lets Move On: Rectifying Sloppy Choice Policy
Original post made by Neighbrhood School Proponent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2007
The big issues with inequity and gross mismanagement of our choice programs is still on the table, and about to be exacerbated by another unfair and unreasonable choice program, unless some strict management practices can be instituted.
People need to start writing to the board to demand the following actions:
a. Revise choice lottery process: T
-Transparency; lottery conducted in public, with public meeting announcments.
-No discretionary pre-screening based on administrator's self decided 'criteria' - the lotteries must be true random lottery.
-No academic proficiency screening or ethnic bias pre-screening of lottery participants.
-specify who runs the lotteries and how.
-protect privacy but make the process visible to the community.
b. Require complete financial accountabilty yearly for all choice programs. Full accounting and reporting of total costs of Choice programs. To be submitted yearly in principals SIP reports.
c. Require complete demographic reporting on all choice programs. For language programs, include performance metrics sorted on home language spoken.
d. Require complete performance reporting on all choice programs, compared to PAUSD standards.
d. Require Desirability study prior to Feasibility study for future choice programs.
e. Require full disclosure of donors to choice programs, to studies.
f. Require that board members with personal connections to particular programs disclose their connections (Camille), desist from pushing those choice program agendas, and abstain from those choice votes.
e. clean up choice policy guidelines to ensure that time spent by staff is 'counted' as part of the cost neutral equation.
f. Define PAUSD 'capacity' for choice programs. At capacity, require choice program tradeoffs (new choice program proposal must 'beat out' existing choice programs based on community wide vote, or other democratic mechanism. Meaning new one comes in, existing one must go out.
g. clean up choice policy guidelines to specify how community support for new programs will be ascertained. Democratic means such as: public opinion surveys, petitions, votes, town hall meetings, etc; How will these methods be used? (or ignored) How will public opinion be considered and counted?
h. Formalize what the recourse will be for choice program failing to remain cost neutral, failing to perform academically, failing to meet their claims? State specifically what are the procedures for shutting down choice programs?
i. institute stricter accountability measure for ~all~ choice programs immediately. If the programs are as fabulous as they claim, there should be not a single bit of complaint in doing so.
j. how will choice programs participate in PIE? Will they have any special claims or preferential rights on PIE or other district resources provided to their shared site?
any other suggestions?
I am not in favor of parceling out PAUSD one classroom at a time to the highest bidders. I believe that excessive choice programming that supercedes the neighborhood school model, is damaging precedent for PAUSD, damaging to our neighborhood school model, and damaging to our property values.
I would like to see the board tighten up its formal choice policies because they have proven that a board without guidelines and with limited accountability, can not be trusted to adhere to simple common sense standards.
As far as I see it, last night's vote was conclusion of step 1a. There are many more steps this community can take to prevent further erosion of neighborhood schools. Who will stand up now?