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Editorial: The achievement treadmill

Original post made on Nov 18, 2011

There is some irony that the same week we learn that Palo Alto is the most educated city in California, if not the nation, the Weekly publishes an extensive look at the culture in our community surrounding student "success" and the effects that this culture is having on our kids as they try to find their way in the world.

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Comments (5)

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Posted by possible correction
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

"being in the 25th percentile academically translates to the 75th percentile in California"

I think the 25 and 75 should be switched, though I could be wrong.

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Posted by it is correct
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

@ possible correction

No, it is correct. A Palo Alto students who is in the 25th percentile of Palo Alto students for SATs results actually is in the 75th percentile of all California students taking the SATs.

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Posted by Lucinda Abbott
a resident of University South
on Nov 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm

The leadership for this has to come from everyone involved on the lives of our teens. We parents must change our thinking and the way we talk to our kids. Teachers and administrators must be even more outspoken than they are now. And colleges and Universities must stop the game of oneupsmanship they are currently playing with prospective students. Everyone can do something to help.

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Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

Arriving into Palo Alto from overseas I am bemused by how people live their lives here. From middle school the joy in childhood fast disappears. Sports are super competitive, it's all about winning and not having fun. My son who is very athletic tried tennis, soccer and flag football but the yelling from the sidelines, sit ups if you dared to have a 'chat' and sitting out of the game if you didn't measure up has just about killed off his enthusiasm for any type of team sport.
'Play dates' are hard to come by, finding a fellow student who hasn't got back to back activities and tutoring is a tough one.
Creativity, imagination and having fun breeds innovation and gets kids to think outside the square, not sure if Palo Alto school foster those attributes as the kids are just too busy doing homework!
At middle school we allow one hour a night of homework, no more.
We want our kids to have a childhood, make dens in the lounge, play monopoly, do craft and generally dream and stare into space.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm

PAUSD School Board degrees:

Dana Tom: Stanford
Melissa Caswell: Brown
Barbara Klausner: Stanford (and child at Stanford)

We need to elect people on the School Board who do not have Ivy League level degrees. These members are fine with pushing children to excess in academics because they were pushed and could handle it.

I heard that they have considered mandating world language as a core class in middle school. World language is not an easy subject and not all students are ready for the discipline in learning a new language.

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