Hoover: Location for a Charter in PAUSD Schools & Kids, posted by Enjoy PAUSD Choice, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 2, 2007 at 2:15 pm
If PAUSD is forced to provide space for a charter school, one solution would be to locate it at one of the sites currently used for commuter choice programs. This would minimize displacement of neighborhood kids.
The likely spot for this would be the Hoover school site, conveniently located on a main artery.
Of course the site may be currently full, so the district, since it's placing modulars all across the district anyway, should look to expand the Hoover site with as many modulars as possible, to make way for a bunch of charter school classrooms.
Later, when the charter outgrows a few modulars, well, then perhaps the district needs to sacrafice the size or perhaps the entire Hoover choice program. Afterall, we're a small district on fixed budget, and we can't afford to support a lot of optional choice programs -and- a absorb a charter school. So something has to give.
Since the district will clearly need to cut corners in order to make the charter school provisions, this would be the least painful place to take the hit. Not to say PAIN FREE, because of course Hoover people love their Hoover. Maybe Hoover people should get in contact with the MI people if they don't like this idea - because the writing is on the wall. Its only a matter of time as far as they tell us.
I mean - don't get me wrong - nothing would pain the community more than to see Hoover go by the wayside. But the district would be forced by the actions of the charter to do what it had to do - they don't want to harm any programs, but perhaps they'd be left with no choice.
Then, Ohlone, the other choice school in Palo Alto, can take up the slack for PAUSD families who still will want the choice experience, so we can expand Ohlone at the same time, to make room for the increased demand for "choice" that we'll experience as Hoover space goes away. Sure, Ohlone aint no Hoover, but its exactly the sort of sacrifice the MI people expect us to make.
(And the charter would never work on Ohlone campus anyway, because the Ohlone Way is particularly unsuited to running a campus community that is partitioned. The Ohlone way requires complete integration of that student body - so a charter at Ohlone would be disruptive to the program.)
So, I hate to say it, but it looks like Hoover should probably be the appropriate sacrafice.
Maybe Hoover parents should hurry and recognize that their program is an optional fixtures in this district.. Maybe they'd have a few words to say about the MI charter if it were staring them in the face. If you have something to say to the person in charge of the charter drive, hurry, don't wait till it's too late...
Posted by Tulley, a member of the El Carmelo School community, on Mar 2, 2007 at 9:56 pm
I can't tell for sure if Parent was being humorous or serious, but I think we all need to start thinking of what's going to get cut. And I think that the Hoover site is logical, in terms of location and in terms of it being a choice school, meaning (sorry to say) expendible if necessary. Any other suggestions? How about PACE folks--any ideas?
Posted by Another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 1:52 pm
"It is the anti-MIers who don't care about what they destroy. The best solution is a choice program: nothing needs to be cut."
Dear MI proponent: Your obliviousness to the realities and needs of other students in the district are, to the rest of us, virtually the same as not caring, so it is being called that. If you don't understand why you are being opposed, just look at your quote: you think we have resources for everything, that the district should give you whatever it is you want, and nothing would ever need to be cut. If that were so, we would all have an MI program now (and a lot of other things) and everyone would be happy.
Most Anti-MIers wouldn't have been "anti" if the people pushing the program would have been less selfish and more creative and diplomatic. There are other children in this district besides theirs.
If you think this can be done with such minimal resources, I welcome you to set up a private MI school and provide the instruction free to anyone who can't afford it. Since you think land and facilities are next to free in this area and getting them takes nothing at all, it should be a piece of cake and we'll all be happy. End of controversy.
Posted by Living in the real world, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 3:44 pm
Just curious -- is that really the problem here, that the people pushing MI really believe in their heart of hearts that what they want won't cost the district anything? That fighting for exactly what they want for a few kids and never compromising one iota is best for the district as a whole?
If it's so cheap, why don't you split off and do it yourselves? Organize a private school. You could start this summer. Why not put your energy into achieving the goal instead of "winning" at all costs?
Posted by Living in the real world, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 5:13 pm
If you find the situation so odious, you can easily sell your home and find another school district that might be more welcoming. Several people have suggested that the funding situation for charter would be more favorable in mountain view. Mtn View has faced declining enrollments and would probably be less contentious about dealing with a contentious and uncompromising special interest group.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 5:18 pm
Yet another parent,
There are all sorts of people in PA who do just that, sending their kids to private schools. Or, and this is a huge percentage, there are people who pay taxes who don't have kids in schools.
Taxes don't equal tuition-at-program-of-choice. The cost of taxes if more than made up by the increased home value that comes from being in a top school district.
And, of course, the original poster was being tongue-in-cheek. It is interesting how much more willing some appear to give up Ohlone than Hoover.
But, realistically, Ohlone's at capacity and the most popular choice prgram in the district. Hoover, of course, has the top API scores. So, no, of course, the school board's not going to close them for MI.
My guess is that they'd look for space at Cubberly, though I don't think an MI charter is guaranteed approval.
Posted by Living in the real world, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 5:26 pm
BTW, I did NOT mean to say "let us have your tax money and then if you don't like what we offer you you can still go and pay for it again in private school." You said it, I didn't.
You aren't offering the district anything. At least, nothing that is worth the cost to the district, you dn't seem to get that. That's the problem here. You are just demanding, far in excess of anything your property taxes are giving back. In fact, your taxes are not worth the bad will, administrative time, and energy this whole fiasco has already cost this town. Like I said, if this district is so bad to you, you can sell and move somewhere where you feel they appreciate you and all your demands.
I'm trying to get you to think about what you are proposing will cost the district, cost the other children enrolled in Palo Alto schools. If, as you keep asserting, what you propose is so cheap and won't cost anything, then do it yourself and stop demanding disproportionate resources while saying it's nothing. THAT's what I was saying. I'm trying to get you to think along the lines of what you claim, which is, really adding something to the district rather than just take, take, take at everyone else's expense.
Posted by traffic watcher, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 7:16 pm
From a logistical perspective - the main artery in and out of Palo Alto is Charleston. The enrollment at this charter will be significantly non-pausd. The Hoover campus the is right place to accomodate the traffic impacts.
flowing more traffic through neighborhood streets would never be accepted by the community - the board wouldn't be able to justify it.
Ohlone's extra land space must be reserved by the district for its own growing population, and a staging school would be required if every a new campus were to be added.
Posted by Andrea, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 9:42 pm
The BOE is currently embarking on finding a solution for the growing high school populations. Reopening Cubberley in some form is on the horizon. I guess if the PACE school takes Cubberley, we can tell the kids at the overcrowded high schools that we are sorry, but there are kids in the district who really need to get their education in Mandarin.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 10:05 pm
Smaller size of Hoover campus is not a problem. This wouldn't be about sharing the campus - this would be about turning into a full on charter. Of course, this would be phased, so current Hoover can finish out while the charter ramps up. The Hoover program would just have to stop admitting any new students. If they started now then there would be four free classrooms by 2008/09 school year for the charter to start with.
Or portables could be added - several schools in the district are being waived for size, so squeezing in more portables would provide equivalent conditions to many other PAUSD schools.
This is different than the MI choice program which was looking for a spot to share strands with regular program school, while not disrupting any students. The charter doesn't have to worry about displacement of current program/students (because, well, they just don't worry about those sorts of concerns.)
I can think of no other cost effective, traffic effective, solution that minimizes displacement of neighborhood schools.
Posted by yet another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 10:14 pm
The vocal majority here really hates it when the minority can get the education it feels it needs, be it through choice or through charter. Thirty years ago charters were not an option, but today they are. Keep marginalizing the MI minority, keep marginalizing the Hoover community too, and soon enough they will end up joining hands, and then we will have a really substantial charter spinoff from PAUSD.
I hope that saner minds prevail, rather than let the tyranny of the majority run amuck in Palo Alto. You have been warned.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 10:37 pm
Ooohhh Another unveiled threat to PAUSD. Perfect.
Maybe the Hoover parents will like the idea of Hoover in PAUSD. Yes, maybe saner minds will prevail.
I saw a whole heck of a lot of Hoover parents (zero), on Grace Mah and Nico Janiks attachment published in the 1/30 board packet - meaning, not a lot were signing on to go to MI Choice program when it was still going to be run by one of the top districts in the state. Maybe Hoover prospective parents prefer a well established top school in the state, to an untested, start up run by ????
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 10:54 pm
The thing I think the charter proponents are missing is that most people that move to Palo Alto are here specifically for the schools. If they were indifferent to the schools, and just as happy to go to charter schools, they'd have bought cheaper real estate.
People should be darn sure they understand that this charter will not have anything to do with PAUSD - other than (perhaps but not for sure) squatting on a site partially funded by the district. PAUSD will have oversight responsibility - that's AUDIT responsbility, not management or R&D or teacher hiring, or anything remotely related to running a quality school. The funding dollars they'll receive from PAUSD are a pittance relative to PAUSDs per student funding, and all the financial risk will reside on the charter.
Think about it this way - if you thought $10,950 was all it costs to run an MI classroom - think again.
This is a completely separate school district being proposed - and people will be making a very distinct choice between a mediocre but 'customized' bilingual education, or an excellent and highly sought after basic education.
And.. The day the Hoover community decides to turn against PAUSD will be the welcome day we can turn that campus back into a neighborhood school or better yet, just turn it over to the charter.
Posted by a parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2007 at 11:47 pm
You anti people shot down a cost-free program that was important to those proposing it, but you don't seem to get it that importance. The problem is that you claim a right to dictate the way all children are educated without regards to the needs of others. This was never about money or resources. The thing you're missing is that choice programs and charters are intended to serve the needs of a few.
If you had thought carefully about what your campaign would cost those who want MI, we wouldn't be here. But you are oblivious to the needs of others and bent on forcing the district to follow your narrow vision.
You seem to doubt the district can do MI with minimal resources, but the district experts think they can.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 12:28 am
Ummm, actually we voters do have rights to dictate, through an elected board, how our schools are run.
The MI program was not considered cost-free by the board. That was one of the reasons it was voted down. It was also unfair to families on Ohlone's waitlist--why are *your* wants more important than theirs or the kids trying to get into neighborhood schools?
Wolf, it's not about affluence, it's about PA being a basic-aid district. Most rich districts didn't get hit by Proposition 13 and don't face the tough choices we do in California because of it.
By the way, the charter-school pressure thing is poorly thought out. No school-board member who wants to hold his/her seat is going to vote for it because of the money issue.
The MI program failed to garner public support. A charter school won't either. At the county and state levels, there's that diversity issue.
Posted by a parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 1:07 am
"Ummm, actually we voters do have rights to dictate, through an elected board, how our schools are run."
Um, not really: that's why we have rules about charters and choice programs.
It's OK for you to bully a minority and chase a selfish policy, but then you cry about MI people pursuing their right to a charter school. How's that work again?
And more complaining about Ohlone's waitlist? it's that kind of feeling of entitlement we cannot afford in this district. It's hard to imagine the district will expand your entitlement if you come demand it like that.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 1:56 am
Oh you can seek a charter or a choice program. But I am also free to oppose them. The opposition to MI though diffuse and less funded than PACE was more effective. And, man, the sour grapes we've been hearing since.
I'm not complaining about Ohlone's waitlist. I'm pointing out that it's there and there's no reason why an MI choice program should usurp Ohlone's waitlist at Ohlone. I notice that you don't have a good reason for it. Why bump people from a desired and proven program for a nonexistent one?
What makes your perk more important than any other parent's desired perk?
You've not been bullied. You lost. You failed to make the sale. There's a difference.
Far from bullying you, I've suggested ways in which you could have MI without hurting the district--a charter in a non-basic-aid district, or a combination of summertime immersion with supporting language instruction during the year.
I'm interested in win-win situations for *all* the kids in the district. If you're a minority, it's because you're making yourself one by refusing to think about what's best for the district instead of just what you want.
Fact is, PACE seems to have done nothing to work *with* the district for a Mandarin language program that it can afford. The all-or-nothing attitude has been divisive. Now it looks like it will be destructive.
Posted by Lillian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 11:42 am
I feel sad that so many people are willing to sacrifice the Hoover program. My older daughter went to Hoover in 1992-97. It was an awesome experience. It was not about drilling and memorization like many people think. It was about solid foundation, critical thinking, and measured results. I rememeber that my daughter's 4th grade teacher gave failing grade in spelling to the whole class in the first quarter. All the parents were outraged. And how did the kids react? They adjusted to the new and higher expectation just fine. They liked to be able to understand and use new fancy and more adult like vocabulary and read more interesting books. All Hoover kids have kept in touch all these years and had a reunion last June when they graduated from high school. They grew into fine intellectual young adults. The Hoover school had very diverse population with whites being a majority then. I hope it is still a very fine school. May be I'll have a chance to send my youngest daughter there for 5th grade next school year. I wish more white parents choose to send their kids to Hoover - it's important to have the diversity.
As to MI and a charter school I'd say no. If there were space and extra money it would be fine. But that's not the condition in the district. Every elementary school near where we live has a waiting list for 4th grade (Hoover, Palo Verde, El Carmelo, Ohlone, Fair Meadow), and the kids are being overflown to the schools on the other side of town. This problem would have to be solved first before MI or a charter school could be addressed. I wanted my daughter to learn Hebrew, so I sent her to a private school. MI advocates may need to send their kids to private schools too for now.
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 11:43 am
"[I]t's not about affluence, it's about PA being a basic-aid district. Most rich districts didn't get hit by Proposition 13 and don't face the tough choices we do in California because of it."
Exactly my point. Palo Alto is in the precarious position where a charter school will cost it much more then it would a normal district. Yet the rules for establishment of charter schools do not discriminate between them, and it is as easy to start one in either place. And there is not much love lost in the legislature for basic aids districts to "fix" it, Simitian notwithstanding. In other words, Palo Alto should have thought about it harder than a normal school district, before rejecting a group that showed sustained support for legitimate education program.
What you seem to miss is that once you force a clearly defined subgroup to find its solution outside PAUSD, they no longer feel any particular indebtedness to it. You may worry that it will disproportionally affect this or that school, that it will affect traffic this or that way, that it will will fragment the community, that PAUSD will not be sufficiently compensated due to its basic-aid status -- they don't. By pushing them out, you basically told them to look for their solution elsewhere, and it would be foolish of them to worry about those who forced them to leave the system.
Basically MI tried to solved its problem within the system. They did it patiently and with diligence over many years. Like Hoover and Ohlone 30 years back, like Direct Instruction, and Child-Centered choice programs in middle schools almost a decade ago, like SI about the same time. The district was smart enough at those times to understand that its duty is to serve all its constituents, and not only the majority of them. Consequently -- albeit not without long struggles -- the district chose to accommodate those programs within itself. At the same time it put the policy for choice programs in place, to avoid such prolonged and divisive battles in the future.
Fast forward to 2006, the district chose to ignore its own policy and bend to public pressure when it denied the MI program. It doesn't really matter that MI was disliked by the majority of the public. After all, Choice Programs are NOT to satisfy the MAJORITY, but to address legitimate issues of the MINORITY. As long as the requirements of the choice policy were met, the school board should have approved it, unless an unexpected and unmanageable problem popped up.
Which brings us to where we are now. Charters are much easier to start these days, and MI people are correct to try this path if they feel strongly about their program. The fact that most Palo Altans disagree with them is immaterial. The fact that it may do less harm if started in Mountain View -- even if true -- shouldn't concern them. Palo Alto had its chance to solve this within the system. Once it blew it, it should bear the consequences. And if Palo Alto will displace or marginalize any other popular choice program -- be it Hoover, or Ohlone, or SI -- it should worry that this may repeat itself.
Posted by resident, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 12:09 pm
wolf : no, the district didn't choose to ignore its choice policy. it chose to exercise its right to not implement a new choice program.
The choice policy doesn't say we must start any program which meets the guidelines, or which pays for a feasibility study that "proves" that it meets the guidelines.. If it did, then you would be correct in saying it ignored its policy.
the problem was taking the money..like an expensive date, the proponents expected some return. saying it was a "no strings attached" bargain was ludicrously contrary to human nature.
Posted by resident, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 12:15 pm
wolf : oh yes...palo alto should bear the consequences for exercising its right to turn down a choice program??? what does that sound like to you? the woman should bear the hurtful consequences for turning down the date who spent so much time and money on her?
you aren't helping the feeling developing against the Charter school proponents.
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 12:21 pm
You can protest my description, you can "explain away" what the district did -- it doesn't really matter.
Once the die was cast, MI is looking outside PAUSD. Expecting them to consider what is best for Palo Alto is akin to expecting an evicted person to worry about the welfare of the landlord that evicted him. Whether the eviction was partially justified or not, whether it was legal -- all these are moot points for the evicted.
And expecting him to worry how the *landlord* now thinks of him is beyond ridiculous.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 1:09 pm
Again, the timing was not and is not for a Msndarin Immersion program. You may not like the reasons, but I've yet to see you effectively counter them.
Basically, it comes down to: a costly charter serves you RIGHT because you didn't do what we wanted. Your argument for a charter is coming down to revenge. I'm sorry, but that's a lousy foundation for educational policy.
And short-sighted. A program that hurts the district hurts everyone who lives in the district.
Of course you have a choice. You could look for A) less costly alternatives within the district--i.e. summertime immersion, year-round language support with an eye to getting a full immersion program down the line or putting it in a neighboring non basic-aid district.
Either of those approaches would bring you closer to what you presumably want without the corrosive divisivenes and without damaging the district.
But it would deprive you of revenge, wouldn't it? No, you'd rather through the time-intensive costly charter school route.
And the MI charter people do have a serious problem with getting a charter school approved--you're asking for a school that would increase segregation.
Bullis had several things in its favor--it replaced a school the district had closed. Nothing in its charter favored one ethnic group over another--i.e. that there must be native proficiency in Mandarin. And its backers came up with a lot of money to fund the school--my recollection is $2 million.
The county doesn't have to love basic-aid districts for it to turn down a charter petition for a school that increases segregation.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 2:12 pm
Wolf suggests that PAUSD's policy should be to adopt any half baked scheme that comes along - in other words - negotiate with terrorists - because if we don't - they'll get it anyway. Luckily Wolf isn't a board member (wink wink) or else we'd be doing just that right now.
In my opinion, they haven't presented a compelling argument for reserving themselves a slice of a public school system for their own private needs, and they certainly haven't presented a compelling enough business/educational plan to attract enough in-district students into their experimental start up school.
And mistakes of the past (SI) should not be repeated unthinkingly. Again, thank goodness Wolf isnt a board member making these decisions. ;)
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 5:21 pm
One of you (I lost track which "parent" is which) sneers at the "need" of the MI community and compares it to an iPod or to a pierced nose. Is it really so? Is the desire for a deep fluency in foreign language equivalent to nose piercing? I think parent lost it here.
Another "parent" suggests that I think that PAUSD should accept "any half baked scheme that comes along." Not so. Sustained support for the program needs to be demonstrated over long period; alignment with the overall PAUSD mission needs to be demonstrated; cost neutrality needs to be demonstrated. If that is "any half baked", then yes, I think PAUSD should accept it, unless there is some major unexpected show stopper.
Finally, again, it doesn't matter what I say, or how much mud people throw at me. I merely presented what I think goes through the heads of MI people now, and I cannot fault their logic. Nor, seemingly, can any of the responders.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 7:21 pm
The logic of the MI choice/charter has been faulted endlessly. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Fault 1 - second language fluency is in fact a want, not a need. If it were a need, how could we have 95% of our student population going through our school system without it?? (In fact, most are going on to great successes without it besides!. We're not even talking about a close call on 'want versus need'. Its clearly completely utterly optional.
Fault 2 - Nothing less than an immersion program can deliver adequate language education is false. Talk to Norm Masuda about how well the Level One high school Mandarin class is doing - or was he lying to the board in the board meeting on 1/30? I don't think so, he seems like a pretty well respected guy, and he said they are soaking it up like sponges (at HIGH SCHOOL level.)
Fault 3 - The MI choice proposal was not cost neutral even though the proponents who submitted that falsehood said so. The board recognized widely that there were many costs left out of that proposal and that the 'unforseen' costs including district staff time, would negatively impact the district.
Fault 4 - Doing something 'because I can' doesn't give one the moral highground. That makes it an end run. Finding ways to exploit loopholes in the law that you know darn well are damaging, makes you no better than the oil industry or Enron.
Posted by a parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 8:21 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The board killed MI as choice because of threats to block future parcel taxes. Everyone knew it was cost neutral, and the rest of that nonsense was a convenient fig leaf for the board. (Gail and Camille were the only ones who were consistent. And Gail, well, she said more than once that the sort of people interested in MI were rich. We know what that means.)
The district aligned itself against the needs of some parents. Now, those parents are pursuing a rational course to achieve their aims. Why are you begging them to align themselves with your needs? Selfish squared.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] MI is not a need for you, therefore it is not a need for the supporters? Mediocre language education is good enough for you, therefore it's good enough for all? The district experts say MI would be cost neutral, therefore it's not?
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The anti camp has yet to mount a real argument why we shouldn't have an MI choice program.
Posted by .., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2007 at 10:13 pm
... As a matter of fact, the above MI proponent clearly says that it is a "need of some PARENTS"... That's the problem, it's the MI parents who think it is a need for some reason. Well, it is not any more of need than learning a whole series of other subjects in school.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 12:08 am
Naive? I don't think so. It was a close vote and one board member switched. Not one of them mentioned the problem with funding. They *did* mention the problem with enrollment projections. Since the next parcel tax is a few years off, but the overenrollment issues are already here, I think it's pretty clear where the board's concerns were.
But really it all comes down to this: most people don't want the program here. The support's not there. And PACE never gave those of us who were on the outside a reason to want it. As I've said, PACE failed to make the sale. Why should I support MI? Because a few people think they need it? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Seriously, MI is not a need for you. It's a desire. We're not in China. Your children need fluency in English to succeed in the United States. They *need* competency in mathematics. They *need* to understand the American political process. But Mandarin? It's too cumbersome to become a general second language like English. The Mandarin-speaking population is dwarfed by the Spanish-speaking population in California and the U.S. as a whole.
I believe very strongly in musical education. I think it will enrich my child's world. I understand though that it's more important for the district to make sure all kids get a solid education in reading, writing, math and science. Therefore, I will supplement my child's education with private music instruction.
Music's my priority--that doesn't mean I demand that it be the district's. Not when it means cuts in basic education.
Posted by shahin, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 6:28 am
We speak Farsi and English in our household. If I and others in PAUSD, think it's a need that my children are instructed in Farsi, how can this school district accomodate that need? I would like the MI proponents to tell me how my need can be accomodated, along with the MI needs, without impacting the district in a negative way. If an immersion program, where? If a charter school, where? Can the MI proponents, since they say that the issues for denial was funding rather than facilities, be more specific as to how and where they envision their needs be met?
Posted by a parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 9:22 am
You're late to the party and missed most of this debate, so I'll recap.
PACE had a need. They then did the research, worked with the district and proposed an educationally sound program that is cost neutral, is sustainable in terms of support within the community, fits CA standards and district goals, and does not impact neighborhood schools. (The details you ask for were all contained in the feasibility study the DISTRICT did.)
It's not enough to have a need: having a need doesn't mean you ought to get a program. Go do your homework, raise money, and make a proposal that fits the criteria. Then come back and ask for a Farsi immersion program. I'll support you.
Again, the program was not rejected for lack of funds: MI would cost the district nothing. It was rejected because the antis threatened to shoot down future parcel tax measures to deny the district money down the road. It was a kind of political blackmail that has come back to haunt MI opponents.
The antis forced the board to reject the needs of PACE parents. Now, the antis are begging PACE to accommodate their requests by taking their charter proposal elsewhere. Ironic.
Posted by Andrea, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 9:49 am
Shahin: [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Attend the BOE meetings so that you can get a broad picture of what issues PAUSD is faced with at this time. Pay particular attention to the critical enrollment growth problems and some of the budget issues which they have been dealing with for some time now. The upcoming facilities budget meeting should be very enlightening also.
Don't be fooled by the tired rhetoric of the MI supporters. They did not prevail and they are now using tactics which are meant to extort their "needs" from the board.
If you need a Farsi immersion program, you also need to do your homework if you would like to accomplish this without damage to an outstanding school district. And if your children are already enrolled in PAUSD, you need to ask yourself what you will be sacrificing by taking them out in order to give them additional perks which can be had through other avenues. Charter schools serve some parents and districts very well. Choice programs are an extra perk which can fit into some districts. It seems that this basic aid district is maxed out right now and so adding choice programs may be impossible until other issues are resolved. Good luck with your research. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Resident, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 11:49 am
You should also know that there was very little credibility with the Feasibility Study that Parent is referencing. For example, to say that "it wouldn't impact neighborhood schools", as parent says, was ludicrous. Even at the best, MI would have gone into Ohlone, then HAD TO MOVE IN A FEW YEARS WHEN IT OUTGREW OHLONE...where would it move to? Oh yes! Either a current or a future neighborhood school.
And, even before then, while it was occupying Ohlone's "extra" space...what was happening to the people on the waiting list for Ohlone who now couldn't get in because of lack of space?
That kind of disingenuity in the Feasibility study caused most of us in the Community, and even a few of the Board members, to publicly comment on the lack of trust we had in the feasibility study. If something so obvious as the answer to "where does it go in a few years?" is lacking from the study, how can anyone possibly trust anything else in it, such as cost projections, integration issues, etc?
Nothing has changed. It doesn't matter what anyone says or does, there are going to be people who continue to see opposition to MI in the light that parent does.
It is too bad. It burns up any residual sympathy that may have been left.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 12:53 pm
What is PACE's "Need"? I haven't seen Mandarin yet convincingly explained as a "Need." I hope someone from MI side will kindly describe exactly how learning Mandarin is a Need?
If you need it to graduate, to read your textbooks, or to go to college, or to get a job, or to buy a loaf of bread, or to take the drivers test, or to open a bank account, or to read a newspaper, etc. Then that would be a Need.
All these things would make fluency in Mandarin a Need in China.
But please explain how learning Mandarin is a need right here in Palo Alto.
Once we understand that Mandarin, and a few other subjects are ELECTIVE - then we treat them as such, and begin to weigh them against other electives of greater and lesser impact and importance within the community, and yes, there are unfortunately some electives that don't make the cut.
A Parent above dismisses the basic definitional issue with a four word statement: "Pace had a need." And goes straight in to discussion about what they did there. I think A Parent misses the point that he didn't have a need, but he had a really burning desire for attention to his desired elective.
There is a fundamental communication breakdown here. PACE thinks their desires for bilingual fluency for their kids, trumps the public education needs of 11,000 students.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 1:05 pm
What "educationally sound" program was that? The program proposed was some sort of last-minute Mandarin/Ohlone mash-up. It was going to be invent-a-curriculum as you go along since no project-based Mandarin immersion curriculum exists. All of this was supposed to evolve in a matter of months, led by a teacher who already has a full-time job.
With the exception of Nico Janik, no member of PACE ever expressed interest or excitment in a project-led approach. There weren't a slew of Ohlone parents wearing red at the board meeting.
MI just didn't offer enough to enough people in the district for people to want it. Your charge that the board collapsed under the threat of the withdrawal of PIE funds shows that you think that. After all, popular programs or even ones people are neutral about don't adversely affect donations and bond measures.
So why do you think the MI program was so unpopular? I realize racism is the convenient answer, but just as an exercise, see if you can think of some other reasons.
Posted by NICOLE, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2007 at 8:26 pm
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR THIS CHARTER SCHOOL? WILL IT HELP OUR CHILDREN WHO ATTEND PALO ALTO SCHOOLS? WILL THEY BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE CHARTER SCHOOL. I AM A MOM AND MY SON GOES TO FAIRMEADOWS? WHAT IS THE BENEFITS FOR OUR CHILDREN IF THIS SCHOOL IS BUILD IN OUR COMMUNITY. IT WILL BRING MORE TRAFFIC FROM PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE PLACE. WILL THIS SCHOOL BE CONSIDER OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL BECAUSE IF NOT WE WILL HAVE TO TRAVEL FAR JUST FOR OUR KIDS TO ATTEND A SCHOOL IN PALO ALTO. THAT MEANS MORE CLASSES SO THE RATIOS WILL NOT INCREASE OR NO CHARTER.
Posted by NICOLE, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2007 at 6:16 pm
I WAS JUST ASKING WHAT IS THE BENFITS FOR A CHARTER SCHOOL THEN THE PALO ALTO SCHOOLS? WHAT CHANGES CAN IT PROVIDE THAT OURS SCHOOL ARE DOING NOW. WHY CHANGE SOMETHING THAT DOSEN'T NEED TO BE FIX. I HAVE BEEN VERY PLEASE WITH MY FAIRMEADOWS. I FOUND BUILDING A NEW SCHOOL ISN'T THE REASON , WHY CAN'T WE TEACH DIFFERENT LANGUAGES FOR THE CHILDREN TO BE PART OF THERE ACADEMICS.