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Gunn, Paly among state's top six in SAT scores

Original post made on Oct 12, 2010

Gunn and Palo Alto high schools rank in the top six California high schools in average SAT scores, according to data to be reviewed by the Palo Alto Board of Education tonight. But the schools fall short of their goals in boosting college-prep rates for minority students.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 9:50 AM

Comments (39)

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Posted by Not Surprised
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:47 am

Whoop De Doo! Is anyone really surprised at this? Given the gene pool in PA go figure. Thanks for keeping my property value up with that most sought after "quality of education". I am not sure that high SAT scores should be one of the sole goals for our children. Let's back off our kids for the sake of their happiness. There is a very interesting article in SJMercury News this morning in the Lifestyle Section headlined, College Admission Angst which refers to parental peer pressure--cocktail party syndrome. this article hits the nail right on the head. Lighten up parents so you don't have to wonder why you have a desperately stressed and unhappy camper in high school.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

The math survey showed that half of PAUSD families use outside math tutoring, either for challenge or remediation.
It would be interesting to know what percentage of students use outside test preparation.


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Posted by Just-Sayin'
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:24 am

The web is full of SAT preparation materials, such as:

Web Link

It's not clear how effective these materials are, but certainly prepping for this test can't hurt.

Data available from the CA Department of Education, and the US Department of Education, shows that the only demonstrable linkage between student performance is parental education. Claims that "good teachers" are the key can not be demonstrated from public education data, since there is no way to quantify what a "good teacher" is.

> District-wide, the average score was 635 in Critical Reading;
> 672 in Math; and 640 in Writing.

> Those compare with statewide averages of 501 in Critical Reading;
> 516 in Math and 500 in Writing, and slightly lower averages for
> the nation as a whole.

Congratulations to the students who scored well on this yearly "Right of Passage" from high school to college .. regardless of the unjustified claims of "Educational Excellence" at the PAUSD. The parents are the folks who need some thanks from the community for their kids academic achievements.




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Posted by Grad09_mom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:46 am

I didn't know any D's friends who did NOT pay for SAT prep classes...


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Posted by I agree!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:53 am

PA schools are desperately over-rated. I say "desperate" because that describes the primary mental state of the children AND the parents in this district. Kids are either Stanford "brats" and so grow up with conversations about molecular chemistry around the dinner table. Bully for them, that's great! But all the rest are wannabes who suffer peer, teacher, and parental pressure to "perform". My daughter resisted all this and became somewhat anti-academic. She also developed some very clear stereotypes around which kids, ethnically speaking, are the ones who make good grades, play chess, and "join the math club". Still, we flogged her and paid a fortune in tutoring and SAT prep, and she finally consented to study enough to get into a good UC (Davis). She's no dummy, but the PA environment made her feel like one. It's not healthy, folks.


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Posted by Adobe
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

"I agree" writes, "She also developed some very clear stereotypes around which kids, ethnically speaking, are the ones who make good grades, play chess, and "join the math club".

I understand your frustration and acknowledge that immigrant Asian families--who you're obviously referring to--can emphasize academics to a much greater extent than a typical American one.

A few thoughts on this:

1. Complaining about the curve-busting immigrants has been happening for decades. There was much moaning from the WASPy establishment in the Ivy League in the first part of the 20th Century about how Jews studied too hard and were ruining things for more well-rounded Protestants, who were happy to get a "Gentleman's 'C'". Alan Dershowitz and others have written extensively about this.

2. As a 2nd Generation Chinese American, I acknowledge that the stereotypes your daughter has embrace have some truth to them. Immigrant Asians were raised in the ridiculous pressure cookers of the old country and often bring their hard core ways to child-rearing.
However, I also know that there's a lot of opposite complaints about other ethnic groups in the US--for being too lazy and not studying enough. When you see people of a different race, perhaps it's a natural human tendency to want to put them into categories in relation to yourself. In this case, it almost seems like you're damned if you do or damned if you don't.

3. One thing the immigrant Chinese parents would say to me when I was growing up was that as a minority in a white country, we wouldn't necessarily have the same opportunities as most and that we had to compensate for this by getting better grades and by going into technical fields where race was not as important. Yes, as time goes on, perhaps this point of view is increasingly untrue, but there was some truth to it. That these immigrant parents I knew were able to achieve decent material and career success in a country where they were socially and linguistically not fluent was a direct result of their academic success and hard work. So you can see why they felt the way they did.

4. In a place like Palo Alto, you're getting a very skewed group of Asians. Do you know how ridiculously difficult it is to get into a top university in Asia, attend a top graduate program in the US , find yourself a high paying job at a cutting edge American company, and then save enough money to buy yourself a house in a place like Palo Alto? Millions in Asia have tried to do this, and maybe <1% succeed--and these brilliant, driven, confident people are the ones living in your neighborhood. Are you going to fault these people for having kids who do well in school? Would you get annoyed if Bill Gates's or some Nobel laureate's kid cared about school and studied hard?

5. Not all Asian Americans are curve-busting nerds. Many of us excel in things other than math and science and have little interest in technical fields. The problem with the Asian nerd stereotype that your daughter unabashedly embraces is that it's harmful for Asian Americans to be all labeled as being something that many of us are not. You'd probably think twice about saying that all Jews were cheap, all Polish people were stupid, and all African Americans were criminals. So please think twice before you stereotype my ethnic group.




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Posted by Former Gunn parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I don't understand "Not Surprised" and "I agree." If you both feel that palo alto schools have such a negative impact on your children, why do you send your kids to palo alto schools?
My child graduated Gunn last year, did well in school. Guess what? He didnt play chess nor did he join the math club. You folks perpetuate stereotypes in your comments.


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Posted by I agree!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:43 pm

In response to Adobe's comments: I don't share my daughter's stereotype and was shocked to hear it. I grew up with the notion that "nerdy" kids wore thick glasses and hiked their waistbands up too high. I guess every generation has its own stereotypes. :) I do find my daughter's stereotype very troubling, just like when girls to say "Oh, math is for boys" because it harms the stereotyper who thus limits his/her own horizons.


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Posted by I agree!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm

In response to "Former Gunn Parent". I sent my child to PA schools because I live in Palo Alto. Maybe it comes as a surprise to you, but not everyone moved to Palo Alto purely for the schools. Some of us enjoy the climate, or the suburban feel of the place, or the proximity to ocean and mountain, or because we went to grad school here and just happened to stick around. The presumption that someone lives here only to "send [ones] kids to Palo Alto schools" is precisely the problem I am referring to! It's ridiculous.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I find the statement "She's no dummy, but the PA environment made her feel like one" key. An average kid here, who would be a solid student elsewhere, can feel like a failure. Just driving thru the parking lot at Paly even the window stickers on the cars make you feel inferior, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, etc.


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Posted by Noel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Can people please lay off of the the math bashing. My eldest son loves math and spent a lot of time sharing his love of math with other students at Jordan and Paly. He is now very happily studying math in college. I am very happy for him that he went through a school system where his love for math was nurtured and where he could take it as far as his abilities would allow. I also greatly enjoyed seeing so many other kids have so much fun with math at Jordan and Paly (at one point the math club at Jordan was the biggest after school club on campus and the kids had a blast!).


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Posted by Grad09_mom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

"Do you know how ridiculously difficult it is to get into a top university in Asia, attend a top graduate program in the US , find yourself a high paying job at a cutting edge American company, and then save enough money to buy yourself a house in a place like Palo Alto?"

Why do you need to get always on top of everything? Is it an idea of happiness? Or you want to prove to the rest of >99% people in Asia, that you belong to < 1% chosen?
Work, work and worků I thought we work in order to enjoy our life, not in the opposite way. My Asian coworker asks me every time I go on vacation " What is the damage?" She cannot understand why people spend money on unnecessary things rather that invest them for better future life. What kind of future do you want for your kids - long work hours, saving on everything to pay a mortgage in a place like Palo Alto, and enjoy the life after 80?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Nobody is against achievement, though to equate SAT sand other standardized test scores with IQ is tricky (which is often implied around here).
Fact is, IF it's student driven (meaning the achievement, the attendance or leadership in math club, etc.) that's fine; however in PA a lot of times it's parent-directed and from a surprisingly early age. Those who are busy, have more balanced lives, etc. lose out in the competition. In my day, the clubs were more open, varied and natural.
The visible "success" and "achievement" in terms of SAT scores, how many SAT subject tests were taken, # of APs is at least semi-contrived in terms of partly being due to careful parental awareness and planning, tutoring, encouragement in certain subjects, clubs, etc. rather than serendipity. and natural ability and interest. I question how some PA teens publicize how late they stay up (pretend moaning and groaning) while simultaneously bragging about their AP courseloads and scores and offers.
PA is "buyer beware." $$$ helps - I have neighbors who have poured thousands into tutoring, prepping, taking the SAT numerous times (starting in 7th grade, before it would count) and so on that amount to overmanagement on the part of parents. It's a free world, but it sure 'aint a level one.
I'm sorry, the kid who applies to 20 schools is highly unlikely to know much about many of those, or to have visited them, but has the $ for the apps and is applying to "see" how many s/he can get into (and sometimes stopping an offer to a peer owing to geographic limits that universities have on offers). Really, it's unlikely that many schools offer a decent match for the kid's skills and interests and it is more about NAMES. It's a game to some, but not a healthy one.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm

For those who believe the high achievers around your kids make your kids feel like failure should seriously considering sending your kids to another school outside of PA that suits them better and make them feel better about themselves.

Life is getting harder for most of us and the generations after us. I hate it but that's the truth.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

no - not necessary however realize it's a big world out there. Keep that perspective. Some of us are fortunate to get out there, thank God, and see this. I mean, Stanford and Harvard are not the center of the universe. But it can be unnecessarily stressful for some students for unfortunate reasons as listed above and it's good just to have clarity on that. I hope to help those who come after us. Some students in PA are groomed to be incredibly egocentric. I have found the open bragging (especially from the entitled, managed ones!) to be really over the top.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

If it's a big world out there, then we shouldn't be stressed out by the fact that some people around you are doing much better than you, knowing that there'll always be a place for you in this world. What's the point of complaining about kids (managed or not) trying to get ahead of everybody else.


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Posted by To I agree
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm

"Maybe it comes as a surprise to you, but not everyone moved to Palo Alto purely for the schools. Some of us enjoy the climate, or the suburban feel of the place, or the proximity to ocean and mountain, or because we went to grad school here and just happened to stick around. "

I believe you. Everyone has different priorities. Yours happened NOT to be your kid's education. But I do know that a lot of people moved here for the schools. And I do know that we don't get everything we want.


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Posted by realtor in PA
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Oct 12, 2010 at 6:40 pm

What fun that Paly beat Gunn.
Paly is way under appreciated when it comes to real estate. This shows that both schools are at least equally great. Now Paly scores higher! I love it.
A former Paly parent.


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Posted by JM
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I'm sure happy about the scores our high schools have achieved.

Don't take me wrong. High score is not everything, and does not come without price, like stress and unhappiness etc.

But, the world has changed. If you don't want your kids begging for "high paying jobs", like so many americans are doing all around the country now, some price has to be paid. Sorry to wake up some of you who are still living in the good old days. Information technology and globalization changed everything for US.

So, good job Gunn and Paly!


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Posted by Former
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

In my son's high school study group of five paly students, I'm the only asian parent, the other four are caucasian. They are far better than my son in math or science. My son wants to study journalism ultimately. Please stop stereotyping asians or caucasians. Thank you


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Posted by Comparisons
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm

The article states, "Palo Alto lags several high-achieving California high schools on the college-readiness measure, including San Francisco's Lowell High School [...]"

Unless it changed policy, San Francisco's Lowell High School's attendance is by invitation. That does not make for a fair direct apples-to-apples comparison with a high school that accepts everyone in its attendance area.


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Posted by ItsElementary
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

The article doesnt mention Cupertino schools who showed much higher API scores for their elementary kids this past year. Can someone explain how kids go from a horrendously inferior curriculum in elementary school to much higher academic level in middle and highschool in Palo Alto? There seems to be a disconnect, a very steep learning curb when a kid transitions to middleschool in PAUSD. The curriculum for elementary school is so pathetic, inferior compare to Challenger and Stratford private schools as well as Hoover. I supplement my kid's elementary education with a lot of outside help. I expected more of PAUSD elementary and am very disappointed. Also, some people have commented that houses in Palo Alto are very expensive. I disagree... $1mil is average in Silicon Valley. You dont have to buy an outrageously expensive executive home in Palo Alto... the billionare CEO of Facebook rents a small house with a chain link fence.


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Posted by Why is the mean so low?
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Why is the mean so low? I would have thought it was 2100.

I studied for maybe 2 weeks and got a 2250 on my practice SATs, I'm taking the real one next month and will probably get 2300+


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Posted by CrunchyCookie
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Let me be the, oh, 7th person in this thread alone to concur on how overrated our schools are. Really now, is it even the majority opinion that the overall quality of our teachers is above average (in teaching ability, inspiration, raw brainpower, whatever)? I don't hear much teaching staff acclaim around these here forums, and I sure never heard it back when I was at Gunn -- a school in which I thought at least 1/4th of the teachers were mediocre or mean-spirited (JLS, on the other hand, was great).

We'd be doing everyone a big favor (and giving credit where credit is due) by acknowledging that our Berkeley-level SAT scores are almost entirely due to the kids having Berkeley-level brains and study habits, plus tutoring. Likewise, any prospective parents looking for a place to land would do their families a big favor by picking up an equivalent house in Mountain View for $400,000 less while likely guaranteeing their kids a healthier, more enjoyable K-12 experience (with no real drop in quality) AAAAND boosting their college admittance rates to boot, since they wouldn't be competing with so many cutthroat jerk-offs. (Food for thought, PA snobs: people actually care where you went to college; no one even asks where you graduated high school.)


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Posted by GR
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm

"Given the gene pool in PA go figure."

"by acknowledging that our Berkeley-level SAT scores are almost entirely due to the kids having Berkeley-level brains and study habits, plus tutoring."

You flatter yourselves. The gene pool/brain level is average here. SATs correlate with wealth and parental education.


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Posted by Let's honor learning
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

The survey on math did not say that 1/2 the students receive math tutoring in elementary grades. It said that 1/2 the parents supplemented their kids' math learning -- in whatever form. I supplement my kids learning every time I encourage them to read a book or an article in the newspaper. This is a good thing.

We need to value learning and communicate to our children how important it is to want to learn. Creating life-long learners is as true as it is overused.

Many Asian families I know value education so much. Instead of being resentful, the rest of us need to make sure that we are sending our children the right message. I believe this includes the value of hard work and learning. Gratuitous bashing of teachers and the schools may make one feel better but it certainly isn't the right message for impressionable kids. How will they respect their teacher and the learning process if our message is the opposite?


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Posted by Third Generation Chinese
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I am usually irritated by long postings but Adobe is right on with her/his posting and each sentence is valuable to read. I have met immigrant Chinese here who actually worry about the academic stress while others think Gunn is too easy. Still others who think our schools are challenging. The really hard core academics ones move to Cupertino (Monta Vista) or Fremont(Mission SJ). And I have heard immigrant Chinese and E. Indians stating they do not want that kind of pressure for their children. Realize that some of the immigrant Asians do appreciate American culture. I have heard immigrant Asians shaking their heads in disgust about other immigrant parents pushing their children so hard that they no longer smile or have any social skills. While some do fit the stereotypes, don't assume.




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Posted by p82mn
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm

"Do you know how ridiculously difficult it is to get into a top university in Asia, attend a top graduate program in the US , find yourself a high paying job at a cutting edge American company, and then save enough money to buy yourself a house in a place like Palo Alto?"

Actually, it's not that difficult. As long as you have reasonable ability, it's down to personal drive. You don't need a pressure cooker childhood to achieve it.


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Posted by BackToReality
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 14, 2010 at 8:58 am

Quite a few people here have commented on how great the schools are in PA yet "ItsElementary" posted that PA has a "horrendously inferior curriculum" at the elementary school level.

It seems to me that "CrunchyCookie" is much more realistic about the situation in stating "how overrated our schools are..." Please note in particular what he/she says here: "Likewise, any prospective parents looking for a place to land would do their families a big favor by picking up an equivalent house in Mountain View for $400,000 less while likely guaranteeing their kids a healthier, more enjoyable K-12 experience (with no real drop in quality) AAAAND boosting their college admittance rates to boot, since they wouldn't be competing with so many cutthroat jerk-offs. (Food for thought, PA snobs: people actually care where you went to college; no one even asks where you graduated high school.)"

There are parents in this area who actually transfer their kids OUT of PA, Los Altos or Cupertino schools in their last couple years of high school specifically in order to get them a higher rank in their graduating class to give them a better shot at getting into the best universities. How sick is that? If the PA (etc) schools are so great, why sacrifice their kids' education in order to get into the best schools, where they may suffer more pressure? Is going to the "best" university all that important in the grand scheme of things? Do these parents realize that depending on the major, Stanford, Harvard, Yale & MIT may be considered inferior to some other colleges? What is the end goal here? I would love for my kids to have a great education and a great job and make all sorts of money. But I don't want them to sacrifice everything for these things. Think about all the drop-outs who were highly successful and all the Ivy League grads who are now on unemployment. It's not a black-and-white world, folks. SAT scores are VERY far from the most important thing in life. And when your child is 30+ years old and looking to change jobs or careers entirely, prospective employers are going to care MUCH more about where they worked previously and what type of person they are, rather than where they went to college and of course almost definitely wouldn't be impressed with his/her SAT scores or what high school he/she attended. Back to reality, people. PA schools are great. But there is more to life than test scores. FAR more...


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Posted by retired
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 14, 2010 at 8:59 am

I taught at Paly. I think the pressure placed on students is "cruel and unusual punishment". Wake up and notice the stress related illnesses that our students suffer through. High school should be the most fun years of a person's life. The current pressure promotes student depression, student cheating and a host of other negative conditions.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:18 am

I think the bigger problem here is not really what is happening at Gunn/Paly, but why it is happening.

Yes, there are many parents that are doing whatever to get their kids into Ivy Leagues and other prestigious schools. But, there are just as many if not who want their kids to get into the UCs and that is becoming a harder thing. The California population is growing fast, but the number of UC places is not keeping up. In fact, in real terms, the number of places at the UCs are getting smaller if we take into account that there is a trend to take in more students from outside state because they pay higher fees.

The number of UC freshman places as a percentage of graduating high school seniors is diminishing. As long as this continues, it is going to become more stressful for high schoolers, particularly those who don't have the push from parents to get them into the tutor/grade fenzy rat race.

Even the community college transfer path is becoming less of an option due to pressures at the community colleges to get into all the right classes.

Many might say that education reform starts at the bottom with mandatory preschool or later age cutoffs for kindergarten. I say it starts at the top with more UC or equivalent places.


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Posted by Facts, please
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

"There are parents in this area who actually transfer their kids OUT of PA, Los Altos or Cupertino schools in their last couple years of high school specifically in order to get them a higher rank in their graduating class to give them a better shot at getting into the best universities."

Really? How many? 5? 10? 100?


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Posted by BackToReality
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

Posted by Facts, please, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, 22 hours ago:

"There are parents in this area who actually transfer their kids OUT of PA, Los Altos or Cupertino schools in their last couple years of high school specifically in order to get them a higher rank in their graduating class to give them a better shot at getting into the best universities."

Really? How many? 5? 10? 100?
===============
I have no idea of the numbers. But I have heard a couple people say they know it is happening. From a strategic standpoint, I can understand why the parents would do this. But is it the best thing for the kids? Arguably not.

PA has some great schools, no doubt. But what some parents are doing is counter-productive. We just need to keep perspective and not lose sight of the big-picture.

Most importantly, though, let's lead by example and do what we can to make sure our own kids are OK, giving them a good education at school but also helping them at home, providing support with their learning as well as helping them deal with stress, etc.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2010 at 8:46 am

"ItsElementary" opines"

"The article doesnt mention Cupertino schools who showed much higher API scores for their elementary kids this past year. Can someone explain how kids go from a horrendously inferior curriculum in elementary school to much higher academic level in middle and highschool in Palo Alto? There seems to be a disconnect, a very steep learning curb when a kid transitions to middleschool in PAUSD. The curriculum for elementary school is so pathetic, inferior compare to Challenger and Stratford" etc etc etc

Actually, it is great that most of the elementary schools do a good job of letting the kids be kids. You need to read up on child development-- the last thing most of them need is for the schools to start trying to turn out nothing but little Einsteins. High School is the big problem here: a large number of kids are just not ready to take the huge leap that is required at Paly and Gunn. Nobody knows exactly how many Palo Alto kids end up not finishing here, but, the ultra-high SAT scores suggest that quite a few drop out one way or the other.

One big difference between Gunn and the old-school way that I was taught is that we didn't have all that homework -- the teachers expected to teach almost everything in the classroom. That actually works much better for the ~8.7%** of American kids with ADHD. Boring for the gifted, I know.



** ["Assessing Children With ADHD in Primary Care Settings", Joshua M. Langberg; Tanya E. Froehlich; Richard E.A. Loren; Jessica E. Martin; Jeffery N. Epstein, 2008].


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2010 at 8:55 am

Wrong reference. Sorry. The correct reference for the 8.7% is:

"Prevalence, Recognition, and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a National Sample of US Children", Tanya E. Froehlich, MD; Bruce P. Lanphear, MD, MPH; Jeffery N. Epstein, PhD; William J. Barbaresi, MD; Slavica K. Katusic, MD; Robert S. Kahn, MD, MPH, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(9):857-864.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:00 am

Anon - "One big difference between Gunn and the old-school way that I was taught is that we didn't have all that homework -- the teachers expected to teach almost everything in the classroom. That actually works much better for the ~8.7%** of American kids with ADHD. Boring for the gifted, I know."

I have also found that many Paly teachers don't teach, they assign. I don't know why actually spending class time teaching would be boring for a gifted student, the Paly teachers who really instruct generally make their lessons interesting and memorable.

All of my kids (one who has ADD) fair much better in classroom with an engaging teacher who teaches. Which is kind-of a "duh, of course".


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Posted by concernedparent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:14 am

The comments pointing to how academically gifted the population is here has a lot to do with their children getting high scores. Kudos to our gifted and hard working students. But there is also another problem that too many students are overly stressed. It's not one way or the other. Both conditions are happening. I don't want a dumbed down curriculum (like in our Palo Alto middle schools) in trying to ease the stress. But the over loading of AP's and whatever it takes to pad the admissions application is not good either. Balance is what we need. Bring back laning so students can choose and mix their courses with some high and some lower lanes depending on ability. We still have that in math but have lost it in other areas.

The biggest cause of stress is the UC's have fewer spots. Students have to accomplish a lot in order to be accepted. Change the admission process so a certain grade level and certain test scores guarantee students a place in the lottery system. That would be a fairer way to decides who gets a spot at a UC.


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Posted by systemBuilder
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

It is pretty well understood that academic performance is 1/3rd dependent upon the student, 1/3rd dependent upon the teacher, and 1/3rd dependent upon the environment (i.e. peer competition). Well, Palo Alto schools have the 3rd part nailed, there is plenty of academic competition here. I have also heard that at some nearby schools (such as Monta Vista), students would pull down A+'s even if there was no teacher around because there is so much outside tutoring and prep going on. Well, that last 1/3rd depends upon the student (and imho that includes the family work ethic and how the parents regard the importance of education). Remember, "I agree!", that your child's path in life is partly a reflection of your own attitudes and behaviors. I am not hearing things that suggest the child got very much direction or mentoring in this regard.


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Posted by BTW
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Incidentally, the billionaire CEO of Facebook BOUGHT a mansion CASH in Crescent P ark for over $7 million. He does not rent. It is under-furnished, but he and his wife are never home, so what do they care. And there is no chain-link fence......it would never be allowed in Palo Alto!

Also, we are looking for a larger home, and so far have found nothing that wasn't a fixer-upper for under $2.3 million in Palo Alto ( in the four bedroom three bath department).


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