Beyond Tinsley: Two former students look back Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on May 25, 2012 at 9:16 am
Raised in East Palo Alto, Laura Martinez spent her childhood crossing the freeway each weekday to go to school. As a student in the Palo Alto Unified School District through the Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program (VTP), she understands better than most how to navigate the divergent worlds on either side of U.S. Highway 101.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 25, 2012, 8:29 AM
Posted by Jenna, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on May 25, 2012 at 9:16 am
We spend too much time and money supporting education for low income students where the parents and home environment are not supporting their educational goals. This child is one of the few that moved through the system with support and succeeded. What about the rest? The Ravenswood District should be able to educate their own residents. I would love to know how much money PAUSD spends on aides and support for Tinsley students per year.
Posted by Hortensia Ruelas-Halsted, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 25, 2012 at 10:15 am
I am very proud of these kids. All children deserve better opportunities and the best education. we send so much money to war, why not to invest in our future citizens. It does not matter where they are coming from. we all benefit from it!
Posted by Terman Parent, a member of the Nixon School community, on May 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm
I have a great deal of admiration for the Tinsley students in my daughter's grade. They and their families put in extra effort just to be in the classroom. These students and their families have contributed positively in so many ways to the classroom and school communiies. We should embrace them and appreciate what they have to offer. It is a shame that the same educational opportunities are not available to them in their home public schools.
I am glad to read about these students' experiences.
Posted by Karen, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm
I'm saddened to read Jenna's comment. Let me tell you a little about my family. My husband and I both have Master's degrees and professional jobs and when we moved to the Peninsula we loved the idea of living in Menlo Park or Palo Alto but simply did not want to spend over $1M on a house. So after searching all over the bay area we decided to buy in East Palo Alto. The one draw back was the schools. So the big factor we were willing to buy in EPA was the Tinsley program. And this year our Kindergarten daughter will be entering the PAUSD system. We love our EPA neighborhood and our neighbors. There are actually many with Masters degrees and PhDs on our block. And many have also entered PAUSD through the Tinsley program. PAUSD is getting high quality minority students from our neighborhood. And I truly believe a diverse classroom is beneficial to all. Jenna, I find your assumptions that Tinsley program students are all poor just plain wrong. The Tinsley program is a federally mandated program because without it we would have highly segregated schools in PAUSD and Ravenswood. Is that really the best for our children?
Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford, on May 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm
So Jenna - what do you think about the situation that led to VTP? What do you think of Palo Alto's lousy history for civil rights and minorities? Wait, never mind - it's likely to be more selfish, short-sighted pablum that we can get from other residents of Palo Alto. These other commenters are clearly better informed.
Posted by Mix feelings, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm
In one hand, I know the Tinsley program makes a different for some kids. But in other hand, it costs money for Palo Alto and other cities. Plus, some of the Tinsley parents don't put education in their priority. They don't want to participate in any of the school activities. The kids got left out by their parents. The whole thing is just very weird.......
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm
To What specific "lousy history for civil rights" are you referring? The discriminatory district lines were in an issue in San Mateo County--i.e. the actual location of East Palo Alto and East Menlo. School districts don't generally cross county lines. d
Palo Alto has taken on the burden (and given that we're a basic-aid district it is a burden) of education the bulk of the VTP kids--even though the district wasn't involved in the discriminatory district boundaries that led to the Tinsley complaint in the first place.
Karen, plenty of parents in Palo Alto don't have tons of money. They rent. Just because you wanted to own instead of rent doesn't mean you're more disadvantaged than the many families who sacrifice to live within the actual PA district. I'd actually be more impressed if you were willing to keep your kids in EPA schools and help set build better neighborhood schools. One of the things I liked about the current EPA mayor's story is that her family *did* send her to the EPA charter high school.
As it happens, I like the VTP family and kids I've known, but given the strains on the district and the shortage of classroom space for kids who live within the district, I have issues with the open-ended Tinsley settlement. 600 out-of-district kids is a big burden on a district that's short of space.
Posted by Karen, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm
I'm not going to argue on rent vs buy. We wanted to put down roots and not be at the mercy of a landlord. I can see why you would like the idea of my family sending our children to EPA schools. But it takes a long time to turn around a school district.
Given a choice of sending our children to a school that scores a 1 out of 10 (1 being the low score) in EPA or given the opportunity to go to a school that is rated a 10 (excellent), I opt to give my children the best education possible. Education helps turn children into active, informed citizens who can best contribute to society.
I strongly believe we will be an asset to PAUSD thorough parent involvement, fundraising, etc.
As for contributing to EPA, we are doing that too. It just happens that we aren't sending our children to their schools.
That said, I can understand your perspective of the strains on the district...which is a larger issue than just the Tinsley program.
Posted by Problems, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on May 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm
Our class sizes are getting bigger and bigger, almost 24 kids per class in elementary school. PIE keeps raising the suggested contributions each year. Each family was asked to contribute $800 per kid this school year. I'm sure it will raise again in this coming Sept. Plus, we paid high property taxes for the good schools. And PAUSD doesn't have enough classroom space for the families who pay property taxes. It's a burden for PA to support the Tinsley program. Think about it!!
Posted by Aquamarine , a resident of Stanford, on May 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm
OhPar - you're being short-sighted in your response to me. Do your homework on Palo Alto's racist past because it all plays in to what led to VTP. The past is never over and the recent past is still occurring.
It doesn't matter if you have "issues" or not - a court ruling is a court ruling - unless it gets overturned.
Posted by Concur, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 12:51 am
They should end the VTP because our schools are too crowded now. At the time it began, we had plenty of room.
As for Karen's statements about living in EPA and being professionals with graduate degrees, that defeats the whole purpose of VTP. The purpose of VTP was to allow more diversity into PAUSD. Karen's abusing the VTP system - she implies they are no different than Palo Altans. If so, VTP needs to end.
Most of the VTP students hang out together because they have more in common. Everyone knows busing did not accomplish the goals in the 1960s. It's not working here either. There is only about one VTP child per grade level who has a fighting chance of ending up in a 4-year college. The rest of the VTP students have parents who are using us as daycare.
Posted by Karen, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 26, 2012 at 8:17 am
Our family is not abusing the VTP system. The VTP system is about desegregation. We are a minority family that will bring a little more diversity to PAUSD. In the global economy of today, all children benefit from being exposed to different cultures.
And I can say that there are plenty of children in Palo Alto that need better exposure. I regularly take my children to Palo Alto to take classes, go to the Jr. Museum, or play in the park. And unfortunately to this day we have had children come up to our family and say not very nice things about my childrens' skin color...while the parents looked on and did nothing.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 8:32 am
There is plenty of ethnic and income diversity in Palo Alto without the VTP. In fact I know of one VTP family who live in a gated community in EPA and if they hadn't been successful in the Tinsley lottery they fully admit they would have gone private rather than sending their kids to EPA schools. I also know of one Palo Alto family where the parents speak poor English and clean houses and do yard maintenance for a living, but rent a small apartment to enable their kids to get a Palo Alto education.
The VTP does nothing but cause divisions. There was a time when it did bring diversity but that is no longer the case. I know that it would be a difficult program to end, but ending it would probably ultimately help all EPA students as the interested families would be helping the EPA schools to get better rather than taking them out of those schools.
Saying that, the VTP families I have come across have been some of the nicest people I would want my children to mix with. I am saying this as nothing personal, just an observation on what is happening which has nothing to do with the original idea behind the program.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 8:51 am
The Ravenswood School District needs to raise the bar of expectations for their students and families. I truly believe that the potential of the students in Ravenswood is absolutely no different than those in PAUSD or anywhere else. With that said, the Ravenswood students, families, and educators should hold themselves responsible and ultimately accountable for their academic performance. There is no reason why the academic performance in Ravenswood should be any less than in PAUSD. They would benefit from being self-reliant, and our school district would no longer be burdened with the additional cost and increased class sizes.
I can see how programs like the Tinsley Project can reach a certain number of students, but it also serves as a crutch and enabler for the problems that exist in Ravenswood. How much pride and self esteem can you generate for your students, community and school district if you have to rely on a neighboring system to educate so many of your students. It's an epic failure and surrender of pride and values. Ravenswood should strive to achieve above and beyond. Their community would then truly have a sense of self-reliance and accomplishment, and after all, aren't those just two elements in succeeding in life.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 10:02 am
Phil - The Ravenswood district simply "raising the bar of expectations for their students and families" will not solve many of the problems that exist in EPA. Many parents from Palo Alto volunteer in the EPA schools. "raising expectations" will not help the kid with a stomach ache because he barely ate all weekend since there was little food. It will not help the kid worried about his cousin that got shot.
Putting that aside, the best reason for ending Tinsley is that the money should really stay in Ravenswood (the money follows the students to PAUSD). And since the intention of Tinsley was to increase the diversity in other districts AND provide an education to underprivileged kids, the children of parents with PhD's are not the intended recipients of the VTP program. Nor are the kids of parents who are 1/4 Asian and comfortably middle-class.
Both the VTP program and the charter schools in the Ravenswood district syphon not only $$ from the DIstrict, but also the very type of involved parents that could help improve the District.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 10:42 am
Mom, ultimately the problems in EPA must be solved by the people in EPA. Otherwise you simply perpetuate the systemic problems that exist there. You talk about the child who is hungry, or the one worried about his cousin who was shot. A dramatic take I must say, and one that is indeed in the heavy minority. You cast that out as if it is common place. Spare us the drama and guilt. Consider for a moment the many more children and families who trade in their self-esteem and pride, believing that only their affluent neighbors to the west can offer them an education and direction in life. How about the many Tinsley students who don't assimilate because they feel excluded and self-conscious of their circumstances? What long term success exists in that scenario? No matter how much outreach takes place, I guarantee you these students still cope with this underlining reality more than you think.
No, I happen to have greater faith and belief in people. I realize that with expectations comes success, and that it won't happen when you enable people and strip them of their self-reliance and dignity. It may make you feel better, but that's not what people want or need, even for those on the receiving end. Unless you've been there, which I have, then I realize it might be hard to comprehend and appreciate this.
EPA has developed and grown into a more positive and productive community because what they have done, not what others have done for them. Since incorporating as a city EPA has worked hard to gain some footing and begin to lay down a stronger foundation. Obviously there is work that remains. It's not going to change overnight. It's also not going to change unless people are allowed to fulfill their own potential. Again, I believe the kids in EPA and in the Ravenswood District have every bit the aptitude and potential of those in Palo Alto and Los Altos. With that being undeniably true in my opinion, then allow that community to rise on its own and fulfill their academic excellence as well as their pride and self-esteem.
Posted by Not Suprised, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 26, 2012 at 11:56 am
Palo Alto needs to build more schools period. The population boom in PA could not have been anticipated. Now more than ever a lot of Palo Alto families are having 3-4 kids. With or without the Tinsley kids you would still have capacity issues.
Posted by Brian, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm
I live in the University Square residence, one of the newer developments in EPA. I bought here in 2000 when it was brand new. There were three major reasons I wanted to live here.
1. Location: Peninsula is center to the bay area and I travel for business a lot
2. Diversity: I grew up a military brat and lived all over the country and in many other countries. I fell in love with "diversity".
3. Tinsley Program: so my children would have the opportunity to get a great education in a diverse environment.
I very much like living in my EPA neighborhood, more so than I probably would like living in Palo Alto I think. The neighborhood I live in is very diverse. My neighbors to my right are Chinese, to my left Indian, across the street Russian, next to them Hispanic, other side of them, proud gay caucasian, next to him mixed Black and Asian couple. In addition to all this diversity, the people in my neighborhood are down to earth, hard working, easy to get along with, and concerned and active members of this community.
I have applied for my child's acceptance into the Tinsley program for 2 years and have not yet been accepted. I understand this is due to the growing demand in the PAUSD school system. If increased diversity is the goal of the Tinsley program, then accepting residence from comfortable middle-class circumstances should be okay. I don't think we are taking advantage of the program. Is it a requirement of the Tinsley program that all the children come from a poor and underprivileged environment? That does not sound like diversity to me.
I am very hopeful that our child is soon accepted into the program as I intend to be the proud EPA resident and active parent of a Tinsley student who may someday achieve successes the likes of Laura Martinez.
Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm
For those of you who are complaining about the cost of VTP to PAUSD, please take a moment to understand the funding model.
In simple terms, PAUSD bears approximately 25% of the per pupil funding for VTP. The state pays the balance via transfer of funds that would have otherwise been assigned to the Ravenswood District.
One could argue that VTP is hurting Ravenswood because it siphons off the more motivated students and parents. Plus Ravenswood receives less state money since those kids are not in the district. But, as stated above, it appears that some families would either go private or charter if they didn't get into PAUSD.
I think that the parents who are unhappy should spend a few moments talking with their students - ask them what they think of VTP...I'm guessing they are indifferent at the most.
Posted by Lisa, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm
If the parents of the Tinsley kids would just step up and participate more in the school environment I think people would be happier. If Tinsley parents can't contribute monetarily then they should at least help out in other ways like volunteering. This is a great story but doesn't seem to be the norm for most Tinsley students.
Posted by Concur, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm
We have enough diversity in Palo Alto without VTP: Hispanics, African-Americans, Middle Easterners, East Indians who are Palo Alto residents.
@Brian: poor whites don't qualify for VTP.
@Karen: How do your children qualify as VTP recipients? Students are supposed to be both minorities AND underprivileged. Your child's skin may be dark, but they are not underprivileged. If you are taking advantage of the VTP and are choosing to advance diversity, then dealing with rude comments is your choice.
VTP is supposed to give a chance to a student who is a minority and has parents who lack college degrees. The reason it doesn't work well is that most of the parents don't stress academics. I know some families who do, but it's not easy for them, as they don't have the intellect to help their children much in school, past elementary school.
The other reason VTP doesn't work is that the bus leaves right after school. We in fact, have to distribute yearbooks early in the morning because VTP students cannot stay after school. VTP students are the ones who need help with schoolwork and they use the bus as an excuse to avoid getting the extra help.
In addition, the bus ride in the mornings is so long that VTP children are sleep-deprived. They get an hour less sleep than Palo Alto students. How is that helpful to their well-being?
Posted by Season, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm
I have lived in EPA for 18 years. I've known many Tinsley students, some more successful than others, including the young lady highlighted in the article. The purpose of the program was not necessarily to diversify the Palo Alto district but to give options to the undeserved students due to the great disparity between East Palo Alto and it's surrounding communities. I do feel the purpose of the program was not to allow for the middle to upper middle class to buy into EPA and then use the program to transfer out. It was to give more options to those with little options.
Looking back in history Palo Alto played a big role in creating the economic and racial divide between the two communities - and the Tinsley act is a small way to mend the damage caused by the past. It saddens me to hear the attitudes of some Palo Alto residents toward the Tinsley students and their families. If they do not care about education, then why did they bother applying for the transfer? Tinsley is a huge opportunity for these students. Their parents may not be as involved at the school for a variety of reasons, ie language barrier, the need to work multiple jobs, lack of transportation, not feeling accepted by the parent community at the school etc. Also, I'm sorry $800/student for PIE is a huge amount of money for some families. They may not be contributing as they instead may need that money to feed their family or pay their rent.
It would be fantastic if Ravenswood could provide as good an education as Palo Alto and other surrounding districts. For a variety of reasons, at this point, it does not and changing that is not a simple process. I praise the program for providing opportunities to students like Laura who are able to gain a quality education and then return and work for change within East Palo Alto.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 12:41 am
I find it pretty surprising that someone would openly say that they are highly educated + not financially disadvantaged ... just wanted cheaper housing in EPA and to be able to send their kids to Palo Alto schools without paying their dues. That IS taking advantage of the system. At this point in history, diversity of skin color is not a noble goal for its own sake... segregation by economic/educational class is far more significant. It doesn't matter what your skin color is, if the parents are well off and have advanced degrees, the child already has advantages and shouldn't need to be getting a freebie through Tinsley. I don't believe the intent of the program should be to allow college educated parents to send their children to PAUSD on the cheap... yes, PAUSD is funded mostly through local property and parcel taxes. The schools are getting more and more crowded to the point that families living here get overflowed out of their local elementary school.
Posted by The Facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 1:46 am
There are EPA families who are poor but prioritize education and the kids' performance show it. They submit assignments on time, are respectful of teachers and school property, and come to school looking kempt and ready to learn. They work as hard as their PA peers and are appreciative of the opportunities they receive at PAUSD. A few are even proud and honorable enough to refuse further hand-outs and insist on paying for some of the extra expenses incurred (field trips, presentation boards, etc).
On the other hand there are EPA families who are not even that poor but clearly don't prioritize their children nor education. Forget trying to get them to help out at school, whether monetarily or through volunteer hours -- you're lucky if the parents sign and send anything back to school. Some of them arrive late, some get picked up late, some do both. Some come to school sleepy, some don't have breakfast, some never have any homework done. Even the lack of breakfast is not due to poverty but disorganization.
In average, every VTP kid requires extra resources: language tutor (born and brought up in the U.S., but no English), reading, speech, math, homework help, summer school (basically catch-up classes), etc. This is in addition to the subsidized lunches, busing, field trips, school supplies, after school activities, computers, text books, etc. Sometimes the kids misplace the provided items in which case the school would provide them with a second, and even a third so they have one to work with.
A few of these kids have had resources poured into them which exceed those spent on the rest of the class put together.
Some of these kids come to school wearing the latest Air Jordan, talk about the seasons Giant tickets they have, and sport an iPhone -- which many PA kids don't even have. But the school cannot assume they have money and make them pay their share, so they are on "scholarship."
One example how this is affecting everyone: since there's only so much money to subsidize field trips, schools have had to reduce the number of trips the classes make or choose cheaper destinations. Nothing to do with what parents of the majority are willing pay, nothing to do with what's good for the kids' exposure or learning, everything to do with available funds to provide those scholarship trips. Not all scholarships go to EPA kids, but most do.
Despite the lack of family support, schools are expected get these kids up to speed and achieve what other kids (with strong family support) do, within the same timeline. If too many poor, colored, or EPA kids are held back, the school may be accused of bias, or of leaving them behind, so only the most extreme cases are held back, and too many are not. These kids then get further and further behind as they go up the grades.
One commenter above (Season) asked EPA parents would bother applying for a transfer if they don't care about education. My guess is that they hear that PAUSD schools are great and they think that it's all up to the district. They don't realize or want to acknowledge that parents have a lot to do with PAUSD's "greatness."
I'm happy to help those willing to help themselves. The district should not have to guarantee space for accepted kids until High School. Instead, if the families don't meet their side of the bargain then opportunity should be given to the next child who may be more ready to be taken to the next level. Kids who are more likely to benefit and succeed, and thus to propel their family out of poverty.
As for the abuse of the system, we all know it's been going on. Karen is not the first, nor will she be the last. They're taking advantage of loopholes -- you can shame them, but you can't blame them.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 9:28 am
For the most part a student's success is ultimately predicated on his/her support network and a sense of value in their educational opportunities. These values must be instilled at a very early age by the child's parents and family. Tinsley parents who believe that simply having their child attend Palo Alto schools will determine their academic success are sorely mistaken In the vast majority of cases, if they're not involved in their child's education then it doesn't matter what schools they're attending. Conversely, if they are involved and do uphold standards and expectations, then I would venture to say those children would succeed regardless of where they go to school.
Posted by David, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 9:42 am
I find it interesting that several in this discussion have an "issue" with college-educated families in EPA getting into the Tinsley program. I think it is a benefit to EPA and the surrounding community to attract college-educated families to further the redevelopment of East Palo Alto.
Not too long ago Palo Alto residents wouldn't consider crossing 101 to enter East Palo Alto. Now EPA as a Four Seasons, Home Depot, Ikea, and Nordstrom Rack.
I would think having college-educated individuals move in to EPA and get involved in the city council will only further EPA's development.
I would venture a guess that college-educated parents value education and they wouldn't consider EPA without a good school solution for their children. At some point Tinsley will probably end when there is a good public school option at Ravenswood. But if you look at Ravenswood School district now, today is not the day to end Tinsley.
So what if some Tinsley school students are middle class? I don't see the big deal. I wouldn't think teaching our children that all EPA kids are poor is the right thing to do.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 10:23 am
Not everyone can afford to live in Palo Alto, nor should there be an expectation for people living outside the district to be able to attend school there either. For David, I would venture to say the programs like Tinsley may even delay the development and improvements in public schools in places like EPA. It also places an unfair, heavier burden on the Palo Alto schools in terms of expending resources and larger class sizes. We're running out of room for our own children. We can't possibly be caretakers for a neighboring community as well.
These entitlements also take the pressure off the school system in EPA of having to improve standards and provide their own children a better education. To a certain degree, and referring to a point I made in a previous post, it also gives the EPA parents some false sense that all their child needs in order to succeed is to attend a Palo Alto school.
Again, despite all good intentions, I don't even think it's fair to most of the Tinsley kids who have to cope with the self-consciousness and awkwardness of participating in this program. Trying to assimilate into an affluent, competitive environment can be very difficult, especially for young people. I think that may have a lot to do with the difficulties experienced by many of the Tinsley students. If you asked most of them I'm sure they would much rather be attending school with their friends, in the same neighborhood and environment where they grew up in and feel comfortable.
There is absolutely no reason why the schools in EPA and Ravenswood District should be any less successful than those in Palo Alto. The children there are every bit as capable and possess just as high an aptitude. The failure isn't where they attend school, it's parents and educators who do not possess the courage and commitment to raise the bar of expectation and standards. I'm afraid that programs like Tinsley offer an easy way out of having to accept that responsibility. What a tragically lost opportunity to teach these kids about self-reliance, pride, commitment, and the benefits of academic excellence. Just think of the stronger young people that would be produced having that sense of accomplishment. No, instead we send them an underlining message that only the affluent community across Highway 101 can offer us an opportunity for success.
I realize that there are many systemic problems and issues that must be resolved in order for these changes to take place. I'm all for supporting the Ravenswood School District, but no long term solutions and improvements will ever transpire with theories like Tinsley. It has to start somewhere, and no better way than Ravenswood making a commitment to stand and succeed on their own. I look forward to a day when Palo Alto and Los Altos parents wish their children could attend the schools in EPA, and benefit from all of the diverse positives that it has to offer. That day will come when the accomplishment and respect are earned.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 27, 2012 at 11:21 am
Well, Phil, the ruling judge apparently disagrees w/you. If people have such issues w/VTP, why haven't you tried to get the ruling overturned? Of course, many of the whiners also are clueless about local history, from quite awhile before VTP was introduced, which created a huge part of the racial & economic disparity in this area. I wasn't raised in EPA, but I'm a local & I learned about it growing up. It would behoove the maligners to educated themselves on local history so at least their whining would be better grounded in the relevant history.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm
We can offers differences of opinion on this and many other matters Hmmm without resorting to the name calling or insults. I would never discourage or dismiss your opinions, so I ask for the same consideration in return. You can make your point without all that. I'm not even sure why you're so defensive. I have expressed nothing but optimism, faith, and hope for the community where you reside.
As for the topic at hand, my family and I have been in Palo Alto for three generations and I'm on the older end of the current group. Please explain the history from your perspective. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on how Palo Alto contributed to or was responsible for the racial and economic disparity that developed in our region.
Posted by The Facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm
560 students is the size of one of the larger elementary schools in the district, such as Escondido School. That's translates to the size of funds diverted from Ravenswood, and conversely, extra resources spent by PAUSD.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Seriously, Phil, you & your family have been here that long & you're unaware of the history? That's really sad - the vaunted PA public school system apparently has failed - no surprised. Yes, whiners. I don't think of you as a whiner, but the net net of the complaints here & in other VTP threads is whining. If the community isn't aware of or won't admit to the local contributing history and focuses only on the negatives of VTP, & they comment as such, it's whining - they're not working to change anything.
I have mixed feelings about VTP because there are always pluses & minuses associated w/these types of programs & I see various perspectives. But reading the complaints from one of the wealthiest communities in the US is a big eye-roller - that's what you think of as my being defensive. I don't have a horse in this race, so my pov is fairly balanced.
I trust that you can do your own research on the history of racism and economic bigotry in this area. Who knows - maybe it's a combo of my public & private school education in Menlo Park & Palo Alto, plus my particular areas of interest in college that makes me one of the few commenters here who have a sense of the history. I knew it LONG before I moved here, & well before EPA was incorporated.
The constant economic "manifest destiny" that EPA has wrestled with these past 5 years is the latest version of exploitation. It's despicable - & it of course affects the school system.
BTW, I also have been frustrated by parents who don't participate in school issues. I well remember it happening in my school & it created problems, so I'm not a total "Power to the People" person. But again - an eye-roller when it's once again, added to Palo Alto's rep as whiners. It's tiresome & all too predictable. For balance, note I do plenty of criticizing & eye-rolling in my own community when people want to hold hands & sing "Kumbaya" because thugs shot each other or got busted or residents in total denial try to claim that their family members aren't in gangs. I'm an equal opportunity eye-roller.
Posted by The Facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm
Despite all the funds Ravenswood loses to PAUSD (560 students or one elementary school's worth), and the added expenses PAUSD pours into this program (thus diverted from PA kids), there are unfortunately too few success story as portrayed in this article. This is in addition to other non-monetary costs.
Activist groups push for changes in PA policies, in the name of these "left behind" kids. Changes that ultimately will require even more resources from the district. The sad truth is, millions of dollars cannot make up for lack of family support.
We are investing in these children (all children) with the hope of allowing them to help themselves, their families, and their community. The way the program is currently structured too many VTP kids still end up in gangs, teen pregnancy, jail, and other non-productive existence. But the answer shouldn't be have to cost anyone extra money.
Posted by Alison, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Tinsley should be ended now, or put to a vote. At a time when the city council is trying to raise taxes to pay for essential infrastructure, we can't afford to pay to educate other people's children anymore.
We're in this situation because the inefficient unionized city bureaucracy is eating all of our tax dollars, so I'd suggest supporters of Tinsley look to that issue first.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm
karen and Jenna,
you are both wrong but Jenna is full of it. . VTP is not at all a federally mandated program and the cost is a settlement obligation incurred long ago to make the plaintiffs as whole as possible. Has NOTHING to do with federal or state . It is the result of the settlement of the Tinsley suit and the solution was proposed by the defendants (several school districts), not the plaintiffs, Margaret Tinsley at al.. As such is akin of a contract . It will cease only when the settlement conditions are fulfilled.
There are numerous sources that can explain the why of the VTP. Here is a simplified one:
Posted by Concur, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm
@Narnia: Can you explain why PAUSD gets the bulk of the students when Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County and EPA is in San Mateo County? Tinsley's children even attended M-A, according to your web link:
"The origin of the Tinsley program dates to 1976, when a group of parents--both African American and white--formed after several racially motivated fights among students at Menlo-Atherton High School.
The parents, who eventually organized under the name Midpeninsula Task Force for Integrated Education, were led by Margaret Tinsley, an East Palo Alto woman whose two daughters, Karen and Valarie, attended M-A.
They filed a lawsuit alleging that unconstitutional segregation existed in all the school districts from Palo Alto to San Carlos."
Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community, on May 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Why don't we just go to seperate schools, toss the special ed students away, send them away. Have all the poor people just work and be under your radar, away from your schools, your kids, your pets. City of Palo Alto and the PAUSD are under different and funding systems. One more I want you to think what is a poor person.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm
I am asked;
@Narnia: Can you explain why PAUSD gets the bulk of the students when Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County and EPA is in San Mateo County? Tinsley's children even attended M-A, according to your web link
The explanation is very easy:
Palo Ato was a defender in the Tinsley suit and a signatory of the settlement. Actually Palo Alto initiated the proposed settlement. Palo Alto and the other cities in SMC admitted to conspire to leave EPA out of their school districts and that is the basis of the suit and settlement.
Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm
Ok, so pretty much Tinsley will go away when PAUSD has 60% students of color? If that's the case people should really stop complaining because it will not be ending anytime soon. For people that say it's not fair and cost money, do your homework before you move into places. At this point all you can do is take it or move out!
Posted by Gretchen, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm
Whether or not it is a legal settlement you fail to see what emotional pressures these kids endure while attending Palo Alto schools. Just trying to fit in takes it's toll on these kids self esteem and people only care about the right they have to be here. What are you really fighting for? A cause or the emotional well being of these children?
Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community, on May 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm
Gretchen -- Are you serious? The Tinsley students self-esteem will be hurt? What twisted nonsense.
Having had access to a great education will change the students' self-esteem and futures forever -- and will help them pity (and then forget) the small-mindedness and prejudice of certain Palo Alto residents.
Today is Memorial Day...a day when we remember the greatness of the country and the people who fought it. These days, those people are disproportionately minorities. Good enough for your armies, but not for your schools???
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm
Exactly Gretchen, as a society we have grown beyond the need for programs of this type. Like I said in an earlier post, I would venture to say that the majority of these kids would rather be going to school with their friends and in the community where they've grown up. I'm equally certain that the students who were successful in the Tinsley Program would be just as successful in their home district.
I'll say it again, the children in EPA certainly need greater support from their parents and families in many cases, and greater faith in their aptitude and potential by their educators. No long term growth and pride will ever come from believing that only the affluent city across the freeway can provide them with the recipe for success. These kid will rise to the level of expectation.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm
I'm just trying to set the record straight , that's all, since many on this forum have no idea of the facts and the settlement . Mike has the right idea. VTA It's not going to go away anytime soon. So, there is no use complaining. And the more complains there are just reinforce the notion that the situation that gave origin to the Tinsley settlement has not gone away
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm
If the situation that gave origin to the Tinsley program has not gone away, then I'd suggest that the Tinsley program isn't working. Programs like this will not lead to self-sufficiency, long term solutions, or real progress.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm
The program is working all right. What has not changed too much is bias. The program aims to give placement in other school districts to students from EPA. And that's in conformity with the settlement. So, it's working...so,stop being silly.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm
Thank you, Narnia. I've been hearing from anti-Tinsley folks for years & they nearly all lack the wherewithal to educate themselves about it, but rush forth w/opinions based on misinformation, to which they feel entitled even though they lack the facts. It also amazes me how few know local history, where previous city & county lines were drawn, what drew people here - (hint - it wasn't just Stanford) & which community screwed over another community, why & when.
I remember older people discussing all that led to Tinsley. The results have pros & cons. I remembered today the the 2 Tinsley kids I knew in high school ended up fine. The one I've seen since college is a professional who'd fit right into Palo Alto, except for his ethnicity.
The past 100 years are still alive & well here in the West & all the technology advancements, real estate development & Starbucks franchises don't erase that - they merely put a polite suburban spin on it all.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm
It's not working because it has done nothing to make the school system in EPA and the Ravenswood District self-reliant. It just perpetuates a condition where they have to rely on adjoining districts and communities for assistance. In the entire history of Tinsley is EPA any closer to sustaining a quality school system? Why do people lack the courage to instill higher expectations? What would the better goal and result be? Provide a quality education within your own district and community, or accept the lower standard and continue to send your children to another district for assistance?
Programs like this evolve to the point where they remove the incentive and motivation for districts like Ravenswood to improve and provide a quality education because it's just easier to allow a successful system to do the work. It enables the lower standard and ultimately does nothing to change the conditions that create the problems to begin with. Given the expectation, support, and opportunity, I have absolutely no doubt that the students in EPA and Ravenswood District would be every bit as successful as their counterparts in PAUSD. This result would undoubtedly instill a much greater sense of pride and accomplishment, rather than creating this sense that as a community they are not capable of achieving this goal without outside assistance. Is there anyone who could legitimately deny this? What community and school district would not like to create a system that is successful and self-reliant? What is preventing Ravenswood and EPA from accomplishing this goal if not themselves? I know the answer to that question is complicated and has many layers. I also hold the opinion that programs like Tinsley, despite the good intentions, become barriers to ultimate success and accomplishment.
It's very sad to think that so many within our own Palo Alto community do not have the faith and confidence to believe the students in EPA could be successful unless PAUSD is providing the education. How arrogant is that? Like I said in an earlier post, true equality will be achieved when Palo Alto families wish they could send their children to schools in EPA and the Ravenswood District, and enjoy all of the diverse positives those communities have to offer. I hold that faith and promise for the future.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm
Concur, if you believe that, you didn't read my previous posts on this thread. I hope & think it's the latter. So what's that about validity? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
What's also stupid is that you say "out of 600 kids," as if I knew all 600 - from when? My 4 years in high school? My decade in private school where Tinsley didn't count? I've said there are pros & cons to it & today I happened to remember 2 successes from Tinsley at Paly & mentioned them. Now as I write this, I recall another who I was friendly with who went off to college. I suspect she ended up okay. It's only anecdotal evidence from one year that I recall specifically that they were Tinsley because I had classes w/all of them & being African American, they stood out. I don't have kids so I can't speak much to the present except for the ones I've known through the years who've varied in their professional & personal success. But I've been a taxpayer in several of the involved school districts, as have most of my family members.
The bottom line is that as many comments as there are in this thread, they're a moot point because it's been a done deal for quite some time. It really doesn't matter how we feel about it. But this is one of my *informed* opinions - people hate to be reminded of their shortcomings year after year & Tinsley is a ruling that resulted from the very real shortcomings of a lot of people empowered to make decisions. If there's ire, it should be directed toward those who made those flawed decisions & institutionalized them. If they're all gone by now, then you're out of luck.
Posted by JD, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on May 28, 2012 at 12:51 am
Hmmm and Narnia clearly are supporting complacency and their postings are quite comical. Hmmm only has weak anecdotal arguments. No doubt, the VTP ruling can be overturned; PAUSD just needs a backbone.
This isn't about prejudice. Deep down, people really want to help others and there would be no VTP protesting if it were a successful program. If anything, VTP is encouraging prejudice instead of tolerance because VTP student values and family life are so different from Palo Alto students. Gretchen is correct in stating that EPA students feel inferior, which is not healthy. Whenever I heard of extreme behavior or academic problems, they were EPA students. Yes, that's anecdotal, but I have three children who have graduated from PAUSD and was on PTA for many years. VTP students feed into these stereotypes. If they did not, their presence would be positive for all. If they were at the top of their classes, students would learn that minorities can be successful too. Instead, many of the Tinsley students find excuses (such as the bus ride home) to avoid participating in school projects or seeking help from teachers who are available after school. If VTP students have parents who really care about their academics, they would find ways to help their children be academically successful. In all my years, I have seen only a few families as such.
Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 2:15 am
I don't think the ruling has anything to do with the kids or making Ravenswood school district better. I believe the overall goal was to gain acceptance in the community by teaching the younger generations that go through the schools to not see color or income. In theory this would lead to people of different races being allowed to move into the neighborhood, which was not the case for a long time. Looking at the demographics of Palo Alto now vs when the ruling took place I would say it's working, but it still has a long way to go.
For people that say it can be overturned that's a joke. Be lucky this was the ruling or they could've made all the cities involved give EPA a huge check and given back the land they stole which means no more PA golf coarse, and EPA would get Facebook!
Actually that's a good idea lets overturn it and give EPA back all their land plus about 300 million in today's dollars so they can improve the neighborhoods and schools. Then we can watch their property value and school ratings soar, but that might offer an alternative to people knocking each other down to move to PA. Could this be why no matter how much people complain no one is challenging it, because they know what the ruling should have been and it's far worse than busing a few kids in?
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 8:50 am
I find it truly astounding that throughout the discussion and debate on this forum that few if any of the VTP supporters ever acknowledge the possibility of the schools in EPA ever possessing the capability of providing a quality education. Honestly, how much better a situation would that be? Wouldn't the Ravenswood School District like to be recognized as a quality school system? How terrific would it be for the schools in EPA to be considered a magnet like their counterparts in PAUSD? Think of the sense of pride, accomplishment, and community that would thrive with this transformation.
I can understand the inequities, perceptions, and good intentions that led to the implementation of VTP. What I think we have to do is ask ourselves is what have we learned from this experience, is it working in today's society as intended, and is it ultimately going to contribute to a long term solution of the root issue. If the schools in EPA were capable of providing a quality education then we wouldn't even be talking about VTP. That is getting to the heart of the real issue here. Again, having a quality school system in EPA as I cited earlier is undoubtedly the best scenario and what everyone involved would desire for their children. These kids possess the aptitude and are every bit as capable as the kids in Palo Alto. No question about it. Shouldn't we then by expending our resources to develop the system there, rather than simply providing a relief valve that has had mixed results at best.
So I ask, why shouldn't this be the goal, and why aren't people talking about it? I'm afraid it won't happen because it's just easier to point at the past, and rather than raising goals and expectations we perpetuate the feelings of inferiority by continuing to turn toward the affluent community across the freeway to cast blame, as well as provide the only hope for success. It doesn't have to be this way. Until a true commitment to this goal is made, very few changes and improvements will ever occur.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 28, 2012 at 8:59 am
JD is also showing idiocy & simple-minded thinking, plus won't admit the very real bigotry that existed in his community, then & now. Their anecdotal evidence counts but not mine - keep trying. That's sad. They think "backbone" is all that it'll take to remove Tinsley. Bigots rarely admit what they are & that's obvious in many of these posts. Good luck with that.
Thanks, Mike, for knowing local history. It's all too rare now.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 28, 2012 at 9:38 am
Phil - please understand: It's a game. It's a nasty, bigoted game that still gets played. The previous academic power regime got busted for their conspiracy, up & down the peninsula. NO ONE wanted these kids. Now Ravenswood doesn't want to let them go. Some Ravenswood leaders are better than in the recent past, but they're still administrators, self-important educational power brokers & empire builders, just like the rest of their ilk on the peninsula.
None of your thoughtful, earnest insight matters to them or to this ruling, for that matter. Check out threads on The Almanac re Ravenswood & charter school issues if you're curious about the games played.
EPA schools have greatly improved, but not all of them. The thoughtful goals you present have nothing to do with VTP, but you don't see that. What led to VTP was not just wrong, it was institutional evil & bigotry & was HUGELY shameful for this area. The dynamics behind it haven't gone away or been dismantled - how come you don't talk about that? Don't you see how your comments can be construed to give a pass to those responsible for the local institutional academic racism? Those are your people & my people - people we live amongst & consider peers. We are living w/the very real ugly results of purposeful economic & racial discrimination & people on our side (yes, I'm west of 101, always have been) don't want to admit it. It's horribly uncomfortable to every day see the results of what my people have done to EPA - white people. It's much easier to point at the faults of these people of poverty and color, who lack the advantages we live with. It's easier because they're also flawed - as so many commenters rush to point out. But 5 days a week, not including summer, it's OUR flaws that we get reminded about w/VTP. Clearly, that sticks in our collective craw.
Please think about what I've written, if you're open to it. EPA isn't an easy place to live because a lot of the people don't care much about education. But that's what the conspirators were counting on back in the day & that's part of why they got away w/it, but it doesn't make it right.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 9:40 am
History. That's exactly right, it's history. And one that spends all their time looking backward, will never see the best course and prospects that lie ahead. Continue to rationalize and cast blame if you wish, but I will choose to remain optimistic and believe in the human potential that we all possess.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 28, 2012 at 9:52 am
Sure. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Pretend it's the past & as if the same dynamics aren't at work right now, as if the past doesn't inform the present or show the likely patterns of the future.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 10:05 am
I see the likely pattern of the future. Rather than deal with the root of the problem, continue to blame and rely on the same system you blame to cure your ills. All negative energy that does nothing but perpetuate the condition. Nope, I'm too optimistic for that and realize that we must learn from the past, but always have the courage to look ahead and set higher standards.
We'll agree to disagree Hmmm, and leave it at that. I always respect your insightful takes and perspective even when we disagree. Happy Memorial Day to you and all.
Posted by Moira , a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 10:45 am
I agree that Tinsley won't end anytime soon. While the goals are admirable, I'm not sure that Tinsley has been a success academically. Here are some facts:
Huge amount of Tinsley kids leave PAUSD after 8th grade and go to High School at MA, Sequoia, Carlmont etc. This is because Gunn especially is too far away and the social stratification in middle schools for EPA kids becomes unbearable. A large portion of those who remain in PAUSD through 12th grade have trouble graduating.
I mean this in terms of analyzing success of program, do the Tinsley kids get enough of an academic result if they spend say K-8 in PAUSD and then leave? Is anyone tracking those kids until graduation from the schools they transfer to? My guess is they do have an academic edge versus non Tinsley kids. I'm not against the kids, and I know the program is here to stay, I wonder what the academic benefit is for ALL the Tinsley kids, not the two in the article.
Posted by The Facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm
Phil is right. Focusing on the past will not help anyone. We should look back to see what has worked and what hasn't. Doing things simply "to right past wrongs" or however you see it, is not productive. We need to fix what's wrong, in a way that will bring longterm solutions to these social problems. Phil is trying to solve a real issue, badgering him or the community with superior knowledge of the past will not bring us anywhere.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on May 28, 2012 at 10:45 pm
Karen, We did not want to pay a million for a house either, along with the high tax bill that goes with it. You are just as qualified as we are to pay your way by purchasing your home in Palo Alto if you want the good schools that come with it. As it is, we are subsidizing your children's education. Palo Alto is incredibly diverse, so really there is no excuse except this outmoded burden imposed on a more homogeneous population in the past. EPA can and should take on the task of improving its own schools.
Posted by EveryDayImHustling, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 2:40 am
Tinsley needs to end. I have become acutely aware of the EPA/PA nuances, particularly since some school officials automatically assume my kid lives in EPA and I see first-hand the horrible assumptions they make. Part of it is pure racism, sure, but most of it is pavlovian based on their Tinsley experiences. The harsh reality is that PA is an absolute cauldron, even for Ph.D. parents with sufficient resources. Unless the Tinsley program gives each kid a laptop, books, internet access at home, money to attend after school functions, free access to summer camps, free access to tutors, etc. then it's just lip-service. They are destined to be social and academic outcasts, which creates a lasting impression on children both sides of 101 that will stay with them for life.
To complicate matters, in my experience the friendships between EPA/PA kids don't work well; the socio-economic challenges are just too complex. If they don't work well for EPA/PA kids with similar ethnicity, I can't imagine it works much better with ultra-"white" families whose parents won't even go to EPA without locking all the car doors, etc., if they even go at all. At least we made the effort to go visit the families in their homes and get to know them.
Look, I'm all for providing financial or educational reparations to people for whom America's history has intentionally been unkind, particularly descendants of slaves and native peoples. After all, some Holocaust survivors have received similar things and their trauma was no less intense. I also agree that we should continue to fight for opportunity and access for everyone. However, Tinsley in 2012 isn't about righting the wrongs of history at all. It's just continuing a misguided lawsuit and a misguided settlement that has been perpetuated for 25+ years, never mind the fact that both PA and EPA have changed significantly since 1975.
If you want to attend school in PA, live in PA. Simple as that. If it takes a multi-generational effort to make that happen, as it did in my family, then time is of the essence. We ought to spend more of our time educating our children and less time bitching about it. Your great-grandchildren will reap the benefits of our collective struggle and those of our ancestors who came before us, and they will be grateful.
Posted by X, a resident of another community, on May 29, 2012 at 6:23 am
Posted by Concur, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm
@Hmmm: You support Tinsley due to knowing TWO who "ended up fine"? That's a poor argument for supporting 600 students in PAUSD. Your postings just lost all validity.
This article olny profiled 2 students. I personally know of two more VTP students who went to 4 year universities and are sucessful in life. I am sure there are many other success stories of students that have accomplished and changed their lives for the better by having received this opportunity to get a good education.
Posted by Omg, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 6:41 am
I can't believe what people are saying here. The ones complaining - do you actually personally know any Tinsley children and their families? My child has regular playdates with a Tinsley kid from EPA and he is better behaved than most of the PA kids. His mom picks him up from the playdates and she is very nice. Let your children play with Tinsley kids and perhaps you will change your minds.
Posted by omg reply, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 8:28 am
omg - that isn't the point. The EPA kids are wonderful. But do you let your children have play dates in EPA or do they always come to your house? do their parents ever get to reciprocate your "openness"? in fact, have you ever dropped off the kids in EPA?
Posted by kf, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 10:24 am
Jenna's comment was outright hateful. I am not overreacting- it shows a lack of caring for anyone outside of her one tiny city.
I can never understand why we do not get it that unless we all win, or have the opportunity to better ourselves, then we ALL lose. As a society, we all need each other, in very real, material and practical ways. It is only when the society as a whole does well that the individuals can do well without instability and unhappiness.
Truly, in the words of MLK "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"
Or in the words of someone who saw firsthand the price of people's ability to eliminate their empathy: "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children".
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German Pastor and Nazi opponent who died in a concentration camp)
Posted by Edward, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 11:14 am
The point of this whole endeavor is to offer better opportunity to kids and parents who want to grasp it. If, as it is asserted, the parents of EPA kids do not value education, then why would the take the effort to enroll their kids before 2nd grade in VTP?
For those complaining as to the cost, they cannot enroll after 2nd grade and cannot return if they decide to opt out, so ... which is more cost effective? Offering these kids a chance at a better education or making them stay on the other side of the freeway?
It seems to me those who complain about these kids taking part in the program are the ones who do not value education because they want to exclude, yet again, this particular population.
The problem with the United States of America is we are too wasteful. By not educating all of our children, especially those who's economic status is on the lower end, we are throwing away a vast resource. The road to criminality is through poverty and a lack of an education leads to poverty, lack of opportunity, desperation, and crime.
We need to educate everyone regardless of cost because once we do those who cost the system a bit more will lessen in numbers and they will add to the pool of money and we will reach an equilibrium. Until then, we need things like VTP.
Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View, on May 29, 2012 at 11:16 am
I used to think I should try to find a way back to Palo Alto, but now it doesn't seem important to me. Having my kids go to Palo Alto schools would be great, but I'm not sure I want them hanging out with the children of some of these posters.
Posted by oldtimer, a resident of another community, on May 29, 2012 at 11:27 am
Speaking as a longtime old member of the original Mid-Peninsula Task Force for Integrated Education I notice many of the same old arguments which miss the point of school integration. Tinsley cannot be voted down (thank God) since it is a court order attempting to bring the member school districts into line with the Supreme Court's order for genuine school integration. It was a response to lawsuits seeking a step towards equality, not a referendum. Call it whatever you want, its all about racism. Palo Alto had the opportunity years ago to annex East Palo Alto by petitioning the State to redraw the county line. It's not rocket science to understand why East Palo Alto was never part of Palo Alto. When I came here in 1948 Palo Alto was a lower middle class community next to what had been a "poor man's University. A friend of mine who got his PhD there in the 30's took the train from San Jose and his job pumping gas. East Palo Alto had been a farming community and became the harbor for blacks and other disadvantaged individuals. Times changed of course. An illegal but reasonably successsful "sneak out" program brought some blacks to Palo Alto,, but not many. Attempts to integrate Palo Alto Schools were strongly opposed of course. My own attempts to move our 4 children (2 of whom are interracial) to Ventura (a different attendance area), the only school with a sensible multi- ethnic student body, were blocked by the Superintendent until we threatened to move them and their ADA money to the innovative K-3 integrated school in Menlo Park. Change recreated Palo Alto as a gentrified bastion of privilege and East Palo Alto to an Hispanic majority school system. BUT the problems of school integration didn't diminish. The Tinsley case was to benefit minority children AND majority children. Emphasis was and is on children.
Children in a resegrated Palo Alto would be deprived of participation in an environment which more closely represents the real world. There is a whole lot more to segregation than ehtnicity. Tinsley wasn't about the money...it wasn't about property values...it was about making life better on BOTH sides of the freeway for kids and for adults. Some people didn't get it then and they still don't get it now. Progress, like liberty, is something that has to be regained continually. Anecdotes about I-Phones and pipedreams about letting EPA pull itself up by its bootstraps and new property tax dollars are insulting. How about remembering Martin Luther King for more than the day off on January 20th!
Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 11:35 am
Keep in my mind that there are less than a 20 individuals posting on this thread. Hardly a representative sample of any of the communities involved. Things are not as skewed and polarized as this thread seems to indicate.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm
Observer - that's some real diversity - especially w/the residents from Ohio! I'm betting that the *economic* "diversity" is more on a par, however. I've seen more economic diversity in my area than in many neighborhoods of surrounding towns due to the transitional nature of rentals as well as the reasons people rent here.
Posted by EveryDayImHustling, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm
I should further add that what I dislike in this thread is the notion that Tinsley is all about race, that there aren't any minorities in PA, and that the only way to get those (non-asian) minorities into PA is with Tinsley. There aren't many of us in PA, admittedly, but we do exist and our children do just fine without any legislation! Trying to equate the Tinsley settlement with MLK is preposterous.
Maybe it was the case in 1972, but in 2012 it isn't about race at all. It's about socio-economics. If my kid's peers are are studying hard every day and have focused and involved parents, then great! I don't care where they live. However, my (limited) experience with EPA parents over long periods of time does not demonstrate such involvement, and I'm not going to experiment with my kids future. My children WILL perform well and they WILL excel. I leave nothing to chance. It has nothing to do with skin color.
In addition, I want to have something in common with the parents of my child's friends. My parents went to top universities, as did I, as will my children. I like being around educated, progressive people; ethnicity is secondary. Furthermore, Black does not equal "African-American", just like Hispanic does not equal "Mexican". America is evolving. In a 2012 Palo Alto there are black people here from America, Africa, South America, Europe, etc. who frequently have nothing in common except perhaps ancestral lineage and understanding the various levels of racism in PA. If we can't have a reasonable conversation about private vs public school, or whether we should tutor, or which summer camp we should sign up for, then I'm just not as interested. Sharing horror stories is not enough.
As a matter of fact, Tinsley makes the racism in PA much worse. Look at the parents running around last year talking about how poorly black students are performing and trying to change the graduation criteria. Why???? How many of those kids actually lived in PA? Excellence must be part of challenging stereotypes. You can't just legislate it all and you can't simply cry "racism" as an answer to every Tinsley challenge.
We feel a very, very integrated part of the PA community and love the diversity, which we add a lot to by living here. The idea that abolishing the Tinsley program will 'resegregate Palo Alto' is just wrong. We will still be here, and there are more of us coming as the country continues to change, but Tinsley is not helping accelerate that in any way whatsoever.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm
VTP or the Settlement from the Tinsley suit didn't result from ANY court RULING. All settlements of a suit have to be approved by a court But there is no ruling on issues at all. The parties harmer the settlement themselves. I am sorry to say that
very few people on this forum understand anything about Tinsley and therefore have no coherent way of speaking about it. There is even an idiot who decided that my explanations mean I support Tinsley (and I am not discussing my support). I too came to Palo Alto a long long time ago and I am sorry to say in many aspects it hasn't better at all.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm
Hmm, That's a very narrow minded comment, about people from Ohio. And btw, we have at least four rentals within this two blocks, and a broad range, economically speaking, as well. People are so used to hearing generalizations about Palo Alto that they just believe them. As I don't accept broad generalizations about East Palo Alto, I'd prefer you not do that about us here in Palo Alto. We work very hard to afford to live here, and the extra burden of educating children from other towns means some of us don't get to make choices about where we'd like to contribute to helping others. Because of this judgement, it is decided for us.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm Hmmm is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Observer - too bad you can't take a joke! Two of my besties are from Ohio. I've even enjoyed songs about Ohio!
The "extra burden"? My heart bleeds for you. Too bad that we don't hear about the "extra burdens" that Palo Altans pay for in other ways - they seem to be limited to complaints about gasp! righting the wrongs of the very recent past & the continual present. I've been a resident of & educated in Palo Alto & still spend a lot of time there. I know about Palo Alto's version of "diversity" & you totally nailed it.
If you worked less hard to live there, would it make the "burden" of educating children from other towns easier? My tax dollars educate children that were never mine - should I complain about that?
Posted by Observer, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Yes, anyone who works contributes to education. Here in Palo Alto, we do that, and more, because of Tinsley. It is not a choice. If I had a choice, I would contribute to others in a way I see fit, rather than having it dictated to me as restitution for something I did not do. Tinsley has perpetuated the mistaken belief that those people over there are somehow lesser than the ones over here and that they just don't have what it takes to build a good school system and need to skitch off others in order to succeed. This perpetuates stereotypes and also robs the East Palo Alto schools of some of the best student minds and some of the most capable parents in the mistaken belief that somehow it's just better over there. It takes away local pride, ownership, responsibility, and denigrates the local community. How is this a long term benefit?
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm Hmmm is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
It's your opinion, not fact - both about me & about Tinsley. It'll be interesting - & perhaps uncomfortable - to see what happens w/Ravenswood School District. Not only have many of their administrators been unimpressive (there are currently some decent ones, IIRC), but their checkered past is the polite way of saying they weren't focused on doing the best they could. Heck, one of their school board members was convicted of battery, wanted to bring prayer back to the public classroom & got into trouble for using the school district's credit card for personal expenses (he wasn't the only one who got into trouble for that).
Frankly, all of this talk about Tinsley, while being the main subject, also keeps people from noticing the other issue - why does Menlo have so many school districts? Ravenswood also serves Menlo Park. Why are the people east of 101 lumped into that school district? This is another example of the conspiracy Tinsley brought to light.
If EPA didn't have charter schools, they'd be totally hosed given how slow Ravenswood has been in making improvements. EPA residents also have to see education as a literal investment - something other parts of the peninsula realize. Many EPA residents are way too short-sighted - they want their kids to either not finish high school to begin work, or to start work as soon as finishing high school - but w/out many of them even learning a good trade. Fine, be an auto mechanic, aesthetician, tree trimmer, pharmacy tech, administrative assistant or landscaping assistant - learn a solid trade that can also lead to small business ownership if you want to go there. But encouraging your kid to take a fast food, low paying service sector or janitorial job because you're low income NOW isn't going to elevate education in EPA. It sucks that the kids who come from families who believe in education have to be at the mercy of those who don't invest in education for all - & that's the way it currently is here.
I have seen parents LITERALLY push their kids so that they take a job application for a summer jobs program - & these are kids barely 14, just leaving 8th grade.
You know what I'd love to see here? People who value education as much as they value getting a bargain, who want to learn as much as they want to make money, who value quality over quantity, whose sense of excellence can grow faster than the comfort of mediocrity. If they instill those things in their kids & demand it of their schools, things will improve. Until then, it'll all be about survival & striving for mediocrity.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm
I agree wholeheartedly, Karen, w/your last sentence. When kids live in a household where education matters, they read, learn, grow, discuss, take intellectual risks and no matter where they end their academic training, they keep learning. The life of the mind is precious. If our brain works well, we can make the rest of our lives better.
I have been lucky to be exposed to some of the best minds in the US in early adulthood and the results of that still manifest in my life. From the other end of the spectrum, I saw a neighbor who didn't graduate from high school, continue to learn and grow via reading and educational TV. He told me that the self-esteem he developed by learning this way, as an adult, is what gave him the courage to work toward an important goal: buying a house. He's now a homeowner in another local city and very involved in his child's education. His spouse is the only family member to have finished college AND go to law school. He's white & he & his wife both grew up economically disadvantaged. This isn't necessarily relevant to Tinsley, but can you imagine that thirst for learning & knowledge, w/the additional obstacles of racism?
Posted by Mary, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Shame on you folks! Tinsley was a good idea to enforce Brown v. School Board of Topeka, KS - voluntarily. School districts in poor neighborhoods will always be doomed to have inferior school as compared to schools in PA, Beverly Hills, Piedmont, and Shaker Heights. Serrano v Priest was supposed to end this practice in CA. But it is business as usual in Amerika.
Posted by Marie, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on May 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm
Bravo to the young people mentioned in the article. They are true role models and heroes.
Shame on the ignorant & uninformed comment writers of which there are many. The thoughts expressed indicate a great deal of frustration, anger, & disgust with the "system." This system sets us against each other. The greedy real estate agents keep the housing market inflated. Covert racism of PA white staff keeps the misconceptions alive. In the 1970's teachers could afford to buy a home in PA. Not today!
You must not displace your anger on the folks on the eastern side of 101. They do believe in education as a priority, but cannot always make your morning PTA or other parent meetings. We are all not billionaires.
Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm
So you are against Tinsley.....
You are right you have earned the right to live in Palo Alto without having your kids and yourself being mistaken as coming from EPA......but no matter how much money you make or where you live to some people you will always just be different and even without Tinsley when you go around people will think you are from EPA regardless. Is it easier to just blame Tinsley than to accept that there are some racist people where you live? Racist people are everywhere unless you move into cave and even then some wildlife are racist too.
You are also correct in that you don't want your kids to be corrupted by those EPA kids......But wait ....most of the people who buy drugs in EPA are from PA. Not to mention and I don't mean to be insensitive but I don't see EPA kids harming themselves.
Posted by Get over it, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm
When people start arguing racism and bigotry, they have lost the argument. This has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with abuse of the PAUSD. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Life isn't fair. There will always be rich and poor - get over it. Palo Alto can't save the world.
Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm
@Get over it
You are right we can't save the world and neither can the company that I work for, but we keep trying and helping people one cancer patient at a time. If we thought like you did I wonder how many of your family and friends wouldn't be around right now!
Posted by Just Me?, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm
I do my best to keep up on the local issues in spite of my cramped schedule, and appreciate the community response to these topics presented by the Weekly. I can't help but note, however, that some people seem to have a lot to say about almost every issue (e.g. Hmmm, Sharon), complete with repeated posts and responses to everyone else who tries to have a voice.
I'd like to see the WHOLE community's reaction to articles, but am often distracted by the tete-a-tetes that transpire between bickering posters with nothing better to do. This is my request that adults respond once, maybe twice if they really feel strongly, but not three+ times arguing their point over and over It's just juvenile, time-wasting, and prompts others to ignore ALL your posts.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm
Just Me? - just skip the posts. No one's forcing you to read them & if you don't care for the debate amongst regular commenters, skip the regulars who comment. We don't need to dance to your special needs, just as you don't have to read our comments.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] If PAUSD & the other schools districts hadn't engaged in abusive conspiracy, Tinsley wouldn't exist. Palo Alto hasn't been asked to save the world. Your district has been ORDERED to abide by a settlement, as have others. Get over it.
Posted by EveryDayImHustling, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm
Mike - I HAVE thought about it. Extensively. You clearly did not read my posts. Of course I'm different and of course there are racist people everywhere.
My point is that I don't care. I don't have time to complain because I'm busy working, as did my father, as did his father before him. I'm not blaming Tinsley for anything. It just doesn't work and is pointless. Why should we continue a pointless program? Can anyone quantify ANY tangible benefit Tinsley has provided either EPA or PA in the 25 years it has existed? Exactly.
If the Asian kids are outperforming everyone, then my kids just have to work harder and compete. And they do. That's reality. I don't want them to change any graduation criteria. My kids will make it on merit, and merit alone, despite any racism they encounter along the way. They just have to brush that sh** off and keep on moving. That's reality.