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Judge orders school board to reconsider math program adoption

Original post made by A. on Feb 4, 2010

An interesting bit of news from Seattle:

Web Link

"In June, two parents and a University of Washington professor went to King County Superior Court to overturn the School Board's decision and force the district to consider other textbook options.
They argued that the curriculum would do harm, not good by widening the achievement gap between middle-class and underprivileged students."

Since there was such an outcry here about the Everyday Math adoption, I wonder whether any Palo Alto parents have similar action in mind.

Interestingly, the "Discovering Algebra" materials mentioned in the article were also recently adopted by the PAUSD School Board (in April 2009) for use as a supplement for 8th grade algebra.

Comments (10)

Posted by Appalling, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 5, 2010 at 5:29 am

I find it appalling, truly appalling,that any judge or court dares to think it has the right to overturn the local will of the people in education.

Their school board, elected reps, voted in THAT program. If the majority of people didn't like it, they would have voted out the Board and started over.

This is ridiculous.

Give back local control to local people. Get the unelected judges who know nothing about anything off the electorate's backs.


Posted by S.I.A., a resident of Midtown
on Feb 5, 2010 at 7:11 am

I find it heartening that a judge calls a board of trustees on an incompetent decision. If only we had oversight like that here....


Posted by To SIA, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 6, 2010 at 5:36 am

SIA, would you agree with your sentence if an unelected judge overruled your elected official's decision that you agreed with?

Careful what you wish for. You may very well end up sliding into a dictatorship if enough of us think like you.




Posted by S.I.A., a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2010 at 8:05 am

"SIA, would you agree with your sentence if an unelected judge overruled your elected official's decision that you agreed with?" First, I'd prefer an unelected judge. Second, yes, that it the point of having checks and balances within the system.

I see no danger of dictatorship in a system of checks and balances. It seems from the report that the judge has jurisdiction and is calling the board on a slapdash decision. It is simply another way for the system to hold our elected officials accountable.


Posted by To SIA, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

It is not a system of checks and balances when judges step far beyond their job to tell us how to educate our kids. It is not their business which math program a Board decides to use. Period. It is a very dangerous and powerful precedent.

Holding our elected officials, especially our volunteer ones, is called "Elections".


Posted by S.I.A., a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm

To,

Did you read the linked article? It is within the judge's purview to make a judgement-this is just one part of our system of checks and balances that hold elected officials accountable.

To be honest, I don't really get your objection. Are you saying the courts should never judge elected officials for anything?

Although I do not generally like litigation as a way to resolve problems, I am glad someone is finally holding elected officials accountable. It is frustrating watching elected officials make slapdash decisions that deeply affect our children.

This reminds me of our own board's slapdash decision to adopt Everyday Math.


Posted by Paly 08 grad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Local school boards are the worst system, local school boards lead to decisions about mathematics education being made by people who don't know anything about math, local school boards are the reason our country spends more per student on education than any other, but our students perform worse on tests. Democracy sucks at deciding how to teach math, because mathematical truth isn't democratic. Good for that judge. Great for that judge.


Posted by to Paly 08, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Yes..you are right.. a judge is much better at choosing the math program than the people elected by the taxpayers to educate their children. For obvious reasons!

A judge with a lifetime appointment is so much more accountable, too, than elected officials!

So much better results this way!! More accountable than carefully voting for the person you want to represent you and your kids...and voting out the ones you don't like.


Posted by Person, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm

If you had read the article and the judge's ruling you would know that the judge did not choose a math program for this community.

The judge ordered the school board to reconsider its math program selection because the judge found that the board's adoption of the math program in question was both arbitrary and capricious.

The school board is still responsible for choosing the math program. However, I expect that they will make a more considered decision this time around.


Posted by Paly 08 Grad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Hey, I understand democracy. Do you understand how to make an argument without sarcasm and exclamation points? The whole problem is that people don't "carefully select" their school-board members. People choose the least bad option from among a limited slate of the few people who even volunteer. Those people, once elected, have to answer to all sorts of constituencies and make decisions with very limited information. This leaves them very susceptible to educational fads like, say, approving a foo-foo fairy-land version of math with virtually no rigor and little support from people whose jobs actually require math. If one teacher, even one loud parent, wants to try it out, and no politically organized force objects, the board might just rubber-stamp it to shut them up. The first world thinks we're insane for setting educational standards this way -- I didn't say "the rest of the first world" because America doesn't even deserve membership at this point.

Oh, and it took me ten seconds on Google to find out King County Superior Court judges are elected.


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