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Time to Discard Tinsley

Original post made by Resident on Jan 26, 2007

The time has come for all parents with kids in Palo Alto schools to demand that the welfare of Palo Alto students come first. Tinsley was a compromise by our school district many years ago whereby kids from East Palo Alto would be allowed to attend our schools based on the concept that discrimination was running wild in all of the surrounding communities and the only way we could remedy this situation was to offer seats in our classrooms to kids from East Palo Alto. Our schools are badly overcrowded and this poorly designed compromise needs to go. Let's begin to put the education of Palo Alto kids first. Tinsley is a relic from the past and needs to go now!!!

Comments (54)

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 26, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Call me crazy - but I'd like to combine the EPA and PA school district into one. School (and life) is about a lot more than the size of your class and the class of your classmates. Maybe it would reduce the violence in EPA if the kids felt there were more options open to them. Maybe it would reduce the stress in the PA schools if the kids and parents realized that school is about more than how many AP courses you can take, did your grade beat everyone else in your class and getting into an Ivy league school. Maybe it would help all of our students to realize that being a kind, honest, caring person is more important than your transcript and SAT or Star test scores...

Posted by PA Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2007 at 8:30 pm

PA Mom

I like your reasoning, but try telling that to the parents of one of our over-stressed seniors trying to get into a good college. Unfortunately, it isn't the students who have to learn these lessons, its the parents.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 27, 2007 at 12:59 am

Hmmmm, I had the experience of going to a racially and economically mixed high school. People pretty much divided into their own groups and there was little mixing inside or outside of class. Menlo-Atherton does a good job, but it's a real challenge.

I have mixed feelings about Tinsley. I don't oppose it in principle, but I do have issues with out-of-district kids bumping neighborhood kids from their own schools. I'm also not sure how truly underprivileged all the Tinsley kdis are. I was at a Tinsley-family home some time ago--it was quite a bit bigger and nicer than mine. I wonder to what extent Tinsley has become a way to game the system--getting the benefits of PAUSD without the sacrifice.

Posted by Pauline, a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jan 27, 2007 at 1:10 pm

I was raised in a racially mixed environment, but we were not far apart economically, so I can't comment on that aspect. I can say that we all played together on the playground and in our neighborhoods, not noticing what color we were one way or the other. I think that has stood me in good stead throughout my life.

I left that environment and moved to Louisiana in the middle of 10th grade in 1973. It was a rude awakening. On the first day there, I asked an African-American girl where a classroom was, and all she could do was look at me with wide eyes. I thought she was just shy, but after we cleaned up all the blood from the race fight that broke out around us from my inadvertently breaking the "no interracial talking" rule, I learned that she was trying to warn me to shut up... Later I learned that she couldn't believe anyone was so stupid as to actually cross that barrier, so of course we became friends, though out of necessity in "secret". Just a short 15 years later the world was very different, and when I visited I was amazed to see black-white couples walking down the street arm in arm or pushing baby carriages..and nobody cared.

All this to say that I don't know the right answer on Tinsley, but I do know that ideas about race and division can change rapidly, so I would prefer to keep us as integrated as possible to keep us from reverting back to a world I would rather not return to.

Maybe Tinsley is the best way to do this. If it is, then I hope we can figure out a way to keep it.

I like the idea of rewarding the motivation and courage it takes for EPA families to send their kids to "our" schools in order to give their kids the best chance possible. I imagine myself in a situation of not being able to afford to live in PA itself, but I can in EPA, which, in fact, I did for a couple years in my 20s, in what was called then "Whisky Gulch". I imagine doing the best I can, and wishing I could give my kids the same chance that the PA kids get.

And I think about the benefit of decreasing hostilities based on race because of being mixed in together, and of giving motivated families and kids the chance to pull out of poverty through education.

Maybe there is abuse of the system, and maybe there is starting to be tension over student spaces, but I would prefer to try to fix the abuse or the system, so we can keep what is good about the program, than throw out the whole thing.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2007 at 1:36 pm


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 27, 2007 at 3:09 pm


I think the ideals behind Tinsley are good. At the same time, I don't how much the current reality jibes with those ideals. If you can buy a large house in EPA instead of a condo in PA because of Tinsley is that a goal that the PAUSD should subsidize?

I mean, the good thing is that EPA is not nearly as underprivileged as it was 20 years ago. I'd be really curious, though, about who is actually using Tinsley. And who should be using it. In some ways, it made more sense when PA was lily-white. But at this point, it's ethnically (though not economically) diverse.

Though honestly, I think I'd have little issue with Tinsley if it weren't for kids getting bumped from their local schools. Surely Tinsley could be adjusted a bit.

Posted by Pauline, a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jan 27, 2007 at 3:59 pm

I have to admit, I was only talking about "philosophically". I am really ignorant about anything concerning the details of Tinsley.

And, I do know EPA has changed a lot since I lived there. I remember gunshots down the street..I think there is a 4 Seasons Hotel and a medical facility there now!

I know that it was the murder capital of the nation when I lived there, and that has gotten much better ( in spite of the horrors this last week!). And that, in general, the whole area has picked up quite a bit.

So, it would be interesting to re-visit it and get all the facts.

Have to admit, I am not volunteering to do it, though!

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 27, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Yeah, Whiskey Gulch is now a Four Seasons Hotel. Just bizarre if you remember the gunshot era (which I do.)

My knowledge of Tinsley is real anecdotal and small. (i.e. I know some kids and Tinsley families and I know of some others. Also the experience some of the north PA parents had with the BoE re: overcrowding and Tinsley last year) I've Googled for better info, but didn't really find much. I'd like to see some demographic stats on it. There are clearly some poor areas in EPA, but it's not all poor the way it was 20 years ago. They've got a much better tax base now--what with Ikea and Home Depot.

Posted by PV Parent, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jan 27, 2007 at 6:30 pm

As far as EPA and Tinsley goes, I know of at least one family (who has told me of several others known to them) who tried to get into the lottery for Tinsley and failed, then decided to get into PAUSD by renting an apartment in Palo Alto instead of the house they rented in EPA. This is a very hard working family, both parents working at least two jobs who wanted the best for their kids. They had a reasonable rental house in what they thought of as a nicenighborhood and moved into a pretty dismal apartment here (dismal compared to what they had before). They do not get on as well with their neighbors here as they did there but they are pleased to be able to have their kids in Palo Alto schools rather than EPA. This family deserves to have a good chance and hopefully at some stage to move into a nicer home (be it apartment or not) in Palo Alto. They feel they have made a huge sacrifice for their kids but they think it is worth it. I am very pleased to have them in our school, contributing to the community. I would rather have them than some of the other families who just drop their kids off at school then vanish for the day (but that is another discussion altogether).

Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 27, 2007 at 7:41 pm

PV Parent,
The families you referred to are valid residents of Palo Alto if they are in fact living in the rental homes they rented in Palo Alto and are not just using the Palo Alto address to scam the system. These families are like every other Palo Alto resident who purchased or rented a home in the this great city in order to attend our schools. The issue here is why East Palo Alto, with all of its current tax base funding, cannot seem to provide schools for the many children of East Palo Alto who, if given the chance, would prefer to attend their own neighborhood school. These kids deserve a sense of pride in their own community. The Tinsley decision (1979) is obsolete. East Palo Alto deserves better. Those in power in East Palo Alto need to do better for their residents.

Posted by PV Parent, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jan 27, 2007 at 8:22 pm

PA High School Parent

That is my point exactly. Many in EPA want to get their kids into decent schools. They tried to get in through Tinsley, but when they couldn't do it that way they decided to move. To them, that was the less favorable option, they would rather have lived in a cheaper neighborhood with a nicer home. Still, it was better to move than to have their kids in EPA. They tried the system which didn't work for them and instead moved a few miles to meet the same end.

The reason they tried this is because they believe that PA schools are better than EPA schools and were willing to make what was to them a sacrifice. Fortunately, they are honest hard working people who do what it takes to better themselves. Realistically, they knew that staying in EPA schools and mixing with the other kids there would have been a detrement to their kids. They didn't want their kids associating with possible drug dealers, etc. Who can blame them really. These sort of people are not the troublemakers of EPA but the honest citizens who are going to succeed in life however they can. They do it legally through hard work and sometimes personal hardship. They deserve a break. They chose not to stay where they were to enable themselves to do better.

This is what happens to the best of EPA. They really don't want to stay in an area with so much crime. They know that for their kids, staying there means a higher likelihood of their kids getting into gangs, etc. So they get out. Consequently, the ones who remain, are the ones who do not care so much and this ultimately runs down the community there. The best get out and leave the rest to put up with the worst. Usually, it is harder for someone to pull someone out of a hole than for them to pull another in. This means that the divide gets bigger as the best get out of the area and the rest get pulled in further and further.

How those in EPA can improve the schools and the community is a difficult question. I don't think the decent folk there want to wait to find out. The more of what has been going on the past week happens, the more this will happen. I hope that things do improve, but my feelings are that this is the fact of life and while crime stays, the best will flee to somewhere better. Tinsley is one of the few redeeming things that is actually helping the city.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2007 at 7:03 am

EPA is in a different county than Palo Alto. San Mateo County has at least 5 high schools, some in neighborhoods that make Palo Alto look like a Hooverville. Relief to any perceived or actual racial discriminaion was entirely within the capabilities of that county. Palo Alto was inapropriately named in Tinsley and poorly served by a board that decided to make the grand gesture. The failure to demand a sunset is unforgivable incompetence. Perhaps another lawsuit is indicated.

Posted by Pauline, a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jan 28, 2007 at 8:33 am

I got stuck back at the "lottery" point.

I have been told for 10 years here and there ( I know, anecdotal, but I can't verify everything I hear every day) that "anyone from EPA who wants to come to PA schools can".

So, that isn't true? It is a lottery? Any clue what percent of applicants actually get in? If it is a lottery, why are the numbers being accepted lessening? ( as I heard in one of the Board meetings, perhaps incorrectly)

Anybody know?


Posted by Pauline, a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jan 28, 2007 at 8:35 am

BTW - I ask this because I always wondered why so few EPA folks were interested in their kids going to PA schools, and this would at least answer some of the question of how many are actually interested.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 28, 2007 at 1:10 pm

I thought the basis of the Tinsley lawsuit was overturned some time later and that Palo Alto could opt out.

I have total sympathy with anyone who rents crummy digs to keep their kids in Palo Alto--I was there until recently and a lot of families do rent in PA though they could buy somewhere else. It's a bit why I'm not totally on-board with the noblesse oblige of Tinsley. A lot of people *in* Palo Alto are sacrificing to send their kids to PAUSD schools.

I completely understand applying for Tinsley if you're in EPA, I just wonder, overall, if it's really the best longterm solution. Walter Wallis is right in that we are in a different county--San Mateo has a long history of not wanting to shoulder its civic burdens (aka why BART never came down the Peninsula)

Posted by PV Parent, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jan 28, 2007 at 1:53 pm

EPA families have a lottery to get in. Each year there are about 100 kindergarten spots (I think it is 100) and any siblings to those already in the program get in automatically (how exactly a sibling is defined in these unusual families is another question because I think there are often a large number of siblings) and the remaining places go in the lottery. These spots are then divided equally through all the schools, including the choice programs, and divided into the different classrooms so that all k classrooms get a couple. These children are guaranteed a place in pausd schools until they graduate. If they drop out for any reason, they are not replaced. This is probably what the Board means that there are fewer Tinsley students in the higher grades.

Posted by 14k/yr, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:20 pm

I think the Tinsley program takes 50 students per incoming kindergarten, not 100.

As for getting out of the Tinsley settlement, good luck. I have never seen a way out of a settlement, other than to claim fraud on the part of the other party. Also, where is the school district going to get the millions to pay for the suit? Where is the school district going to get the millions to pay for the other side's attorney fees once it looses?

Instead of "undoing" the settlement, the PAUSD could file a new cause of action. But, I can't even imagine what would be the basis for the suit. Who in their right mind would argue that 14th amendment rights of PAUSD students are being violated?

The get out of the Tinsley settlement cry is little more than a fever dream of the group of Palo Alto who had opposed the last parcel tax. It's a settlement people; grow up and face reality.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:21 pm

It still amounts to one extra school. We don't have an extra school laying around.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2007 at 12:00 am

Okay, the PAUSD site says 60 transfers a year and that more may be added if kids transfer out. Only new kids in K,1,2 are eligible, so you would have some natural attrition in the higher grades. It's minority only--not sure what that means now--one of the Tinsley kids I know is Arabic, another's Japanese. Maybe a minority in PAUSD?

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2007 at 6:30 am

Tinsley was failed social engineering and a slap at the people it was supposed to help. Kinda like handing old clothes down to the maid.

Posted by PV dad, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm

According to Superintendent Callan, EPA schools get significantly more funding per child than PA schools, something like $13K per child per year vs. PA's total of $10.5K pcpy. This should completely negate any argument that Tinsley is addressing economic disadvantage of EPA school district.

It's all well and good to be generous to our neighbors in times of surplus. But we are now facing a City Council bent on packing as many high density condos within our city limits as possible. Our schools are close to, or at capacity now and we will face a crisis when those condos begin filling up. I think the days of Palo Alto trying to solve all the problems of the region are past...we must take care of our own citizen families first. So yes, let's sunset Tinsley by any means we legally can.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2007 at 9:31 pm

East Palo Alto needs their high school back. Don't wait until all the land is gone.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck School
on Jan 30, 2007 at 8:36 pm

I was told that Tinsley applications are available in Spanish.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Jan 31, 2007 at 1:34 pm

How about if EPA starts an MI program? It would make everyone happy.

I am not being facetious. It would help the EPA students who got into the program get a leg up, and draw students into a district that actually gets more money for every new student it attracts.
And, it is close enough that it woudln't present a hardship on the PA residents who got in, and we could make it a "quid pro quo" situation, where we take Tinsley kids who want to come here, if EPA takes PA kids who want to go there.

I am not being facetious.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Draw the Line,

I think that's a really interesting idea. EPA already hosts lots of charter programs, so the mechanim's in place. It would probably help create diversity in EPA and it would help balance the Tinsley issue. It would probably draw some strong students to EPA and leave some wiggle room for Tinsley transfers to the PAUSD so that neighborhood kids didn't get bumped.

Are charter schools open to kids across county lines?

Posted by JC, a resident of Duveneck School
on Jan 31, 2007 at 3:24 pm

If EPA gets back its own high school, like it had once called Ravenswood (where IKEA is now), it will be 'racially segregated - predominantly Latino, Afro-American, and Tongan. Then there will be a 'racial segregation' lawsuit forced by do-gooders with a mission, the Feds will come in and order court-ordered busing, kids being bussed from Carlmont and Woodside will pass EPA kids who are being bused over to Woodside and Carlmont, and the entire scenario will start all over again ala the 60's. Then like the early 70's there will be parents in Paloi Alto who will push for busing of PA kids to EPA, the students to be chosen by choice or lottery.

What is so wrong about having an excellent high school in EPA that concentrates on what is best for the children of EPA - and leave color of skin, race, or nationality out of the picture. Many of these chlidren have special needs. It can happen. It could be a great high school if the lawyers and social activists just get out of the picture.

Posted by Holding my nose, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 3, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Yeah, let's build excellent schools in EPA, and everyone from PAUSD will flock there. And if they don't, well, the Feds will just have to implement a reverse Tinsley program to ensure multiracial enrollment in EPA. When EPA kids come to PAUSD, we call it a lottery, but in the reverse direction, it would be called a draft. How about we do it bidirectionally and call it an "exchange" program?

I don't like this thread.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 3, 2007 at 9:23 pm


It's not a draft if it's voluntary. And why *not* have excellent schools there? Is that so inconceivable to you? Ravenswood is better set up for charters than PAUSD. If, say, you put an MI charter (or a French charter or a music academy, or whatever) that couldn't be fit into PAUSD for space and financial reasons, why wouldn't that be a good thing? It would increase educational options for everyone.

Posted by Resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2007 at 3:28 pm

I noticed a few days ago that Menlo Park School District AND Ravenswood School District both turned down a request for the transfer of a block, or maybe just an apartment building, from Ravenswood into Menlo Park.

Neither liked it, Menlo Park turned it down because they are a basic aid district ( sound familiar?) and Raven because they are facing declining enrollment ( how they get their money) and don't want to lose students.

Sounds like Ravenswood is a perfect place for an MI, SI, and any other school which would draw students.

Posted by NewPAMom, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2008 at 9:21 am

Happened to come across this thread, and while I don't know the exact
mechanics of Tinsley, I can offer my own experience of the VTP. There
are 4 EPA kids in my child's Kinder Class of 20 - that's 20%. I don't
know how many the other two Kinder classes have - everybody gives me
the impression that it is "uncool" to ask. In the beginning of the
school year, some of the parents made an effort to get the contact
info of at least one parent per child in order to organize
volunteering efforts etc. Almost half the academic year is over now,
and guess how many children's parents haven't even bothered to send
in their contact info? Yes four.
Is this not an abuse of the system - to send your kids to another
community's school district, but to be completely indifferent to any
efforts to actually become part of the community even if only on the
school campus?

Posted by Mama, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2008 at 9:25 am

New PA Mom,

You might want to post this on the Reopening Garland Top Priority thread which is discussing Tinsley. This thread is two years old so people may not engage because they have already seen it.

Posted by None, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Uh, school districts have little to do with towns that may share their name with... PAUSD includes parts of PA as well as LAH. That said, in California, districts aren't supposed to cross county lines and PA and EPA are in different counties. I'm all for repealing the odd Tinsley arrangement on those grounds, but saying PAUSD is for PA is not correct either...

Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Sep 7, 2009 at 11:40 pm

To the point of EPAs not wanting to engage in our community, there was a nice girl who wanted to play with my daughter outside of elementary school and my daughter wanted to play with her. I asked the mom repeatedly about meeting and she failed to commit.

Most of the EPA kids do not engage with the PA kids so they feel like outcasts.

My son had two separate projects and each time was placed with EPA students who failed to do any work on the projects. They also failed to give their phone numbers and addresses and didn't want to meet outside of class. One said he had to take the bus home and his parents didn't drive. We offered to pick him up but he declined.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by another perspective, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2009 at 5:36 am

Tinsley kids do not only transfer to Palo Alto. They transfer to Menlo Park and Portola Valley at least. I know some families who preferred to transfer to PV because Palo Alto is so unpleasant about Tinsley and besides the education was better in PV elementary and middle schools.

There is a lottery. Not everyone who apples gets in, not by a long shot. And not everyone who enters the lottery even has the opportunity to move to Palo Alto. Saying that this is viable demonstrates a real ignorance of the conditions some kids live in. I volunteered in my kids' classroom and one lovely little girl, who often seemed checked out, said she had trouble sleeping because of all the gunshots outside her house the night before -- again. None of our kids deal with this over in Palo Alto. For many, if not most, the biggest problem is that they were overscheduled with enrichment.

Given the gap in experience, is it so inconceivable that EPA parents don't want to mix? Maybe they just feel the chasm is too big. Maybe it is all they can do to get their kids into PA schools. Maybe they lack the extraordinarily high education level of many Palo Alto parents and that makes them uncomfortable. Really, why assume that they just don't like us and don't want to be a part of "us?" Honestly, how completely lacking in compassion or empathy.

As far as kids not completing projects, my middle school kid has plenty of, as she calls them, "dimwitted slackers" in her class that she hates getting paired with and -- guess what? -- they are not all Tinsley transfers, not by a long shot. They are boys and girls who would prefer to flirt and talk about fashion and gossip than get down to work. To talk as if only the Tinsley kids-- and all the Tinsley kids, by inference -- fit into this category is really insulting.

This thread is really disturbing because of the tone it takes about "them." As long as Tinsley is in effect, there is no "them." There is only the roster of all PAUSD-enrolled kids. If this is the attitude of the parents, it's pretty clear where the kids' attitudes come from. But then, so much of what *I've* encountered in Palo Alto is "my kid only" type of demanding. Should I assume every Palo Alto parent cares only about his or her own kid to the exclusion of the rest? Experience tells me otherwise. Please, stop the stereotyping.

Posted by George, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Try talking to Palo Alto officials about cancelling Tinsley. Push on that a bit. I did. It could easily be shut down, but the people in power like it because they believe it's helping kids from EPA. They don't want to discuss it.

Posted by Tinsley Mom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

It's a shame that people can consider getting rid of the Tinsley Program. I grew up in East Palo Alto, where dear friends were killed or mugged just walking to and from schools. Survival was just a part of life. Maybe the areas in the borderline of EPA have changed, but people, take a drive a little deeper into EPA. Attend a schools day in EPA. I dare you all. Would you even consider sending your child for a day at any of these schools. As a parent I'm fortunate that the Tinsley program is available. I believe all children deserve a great educate, and it's sad that we have to send our children out of the area to get it.

It's not easy on our families. People still discriminated today, and it's sad but what are parents teaching our children. Children tend not to see a difference but parent of these children do. And let's be honest, what is the percentage of Tinsley Student in Palo Alto Schools. How much is really taken away from Palo Alto Families.

I'm thankful for the Tinsley Program. If there's a bus full of students that have to be transferred out for better future, I'm all for it. People, we have decreased crime rate in EPA, and it's thanks to multiple programs. We will all suffer if EPA goes back to what it used to in the late 80's.

A Tinsley Program Mother

Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Sep 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

If PAUSD were not overflowing, no one would care. We pay our high mortgages for PAUSD and our children should be able to attend the schools in our attendance area. Sure, we would all like to help out the less fortunate if we had space in our schools.

I agree with Tinsley Mom that we are snobs who only visit EPA for its retail stores. But life isn't fair. Communism doesn't exist here.

Is there any tracking to find out what happens to the Tinsley students after high school? Do they attend universities? Are they really doing something with the superior education? They have the minority status to help them be admitted to colleges and they have the PAUSD stamp on their transcripts. What are they doing with it?

Posted by Tinsley Mom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

Wow, I never once used the word "SNOBS" nor will I ever do so. I know life isn't fair, I continue to live it. I have worked hard and will continue to work toward improving myself and helping those around me.

My son is expected to go from high school to a university, and I will continue to push for it. I will also expect him to someday, come back and help enrich our communities.

I wish success for all our children.

Posted by My 2 Cents, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Tinsley Mom:

Honestly, the only people I see pushing discrimination are the teachers and schools..and they don't do it out of meanness, they do it out of a constant desire to remind kid that are "different races" and that America has a "history of racism" and that Barack Obama is historic because he is "African-American" etc etc. Frankly, I think this ADDS to discrimination because it makes kid think that

1) Color counts

2) Only whites did slavery and only blacks freed themselves from it

3) Must be a problem if we still keep emphasizing it.

I grew up in the military...never even NOTICED the color of my friends, and nobody ever talked about color or anything at all. Never noticed the religion of my friends, and nobody ever talked about it. Those of us who went to church/synagogue shared the same building..just changed the decorations around a bit. For goodness sakes, nobody cared! I grew up on military bases, going to school on military bases. Guess what? Nobody noticed or cared about anything except going to school, where the next base was etc. Ok..well, we had ONE ism, and that was "rankism". Kids DID know whose Dad ( or Mom, though that was rarer) was of a higher rank, but of course that was not related to anything in those days except ability.

And then we got out of the military and I hit the public high schools...and was slammed with race and religion and all kinds of isms. And my kids went to private school, and never any problems, until they got to the public schools..then emphasis on race and problems.

So, I honestly believe we perpetuate our "isms" in our public schools and in our politics. If we wouldn't point out to kids in elementary school that there are diffferent colors and religions etc, I don't think they would even notice or care!

And, lastly..I mean, honestly...isn't it ( and I don't mean this to start troubles, honestly...) isn't it racist to deny some EPA residents Tinsley status on the basis of color? The Tinsley program is based on COLOR in EPA, not simply being an EPA resident..That bothers me tremendously. It implies that someone some races are less capable of overcoming their location than other races. I don't like that at all...

Well, nuff said.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm

2 cents, well said.

We have a very nice black male pediatrician who my kids loved. When my daughter heard about black history month in kindergarten she asked me "Why do we have a black doctor and not a white doctor like us?" I had no answer she liked. In fact I had no answer I liked. I really did not like the question.

And the one part about slavery that never gets taught is that it was black africans that caught the slaves and sold them to the traders.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Blacks are now a minority in East Palo, times and demographics have changed dramatically since the time that Tinsley was forced on PAUSD and PA taxpayers.

East Palo Alto needs to fix its own schools and stop freeloading on PAUSD.

Posted by My 2 cents, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Parent: Thanks for the kind words. Gotta say, that was a very sad story about your kid and pediatrician. And encapsulates well the problem with the constant attention "we" ( not in my family) pay to "color".

We need to stop focusing on our inherent color/gender etc genetic "differences", period. It only divides us and feeds the victim/rage/chip on the shoulder stuff.

After a particularly trying experience where a teacher made it clear that there were white people, then there was everyone else, pointing out by default to my young child that he wasn't white, I asked a very wise, patient woman I know how she dealt with all the stuff in the schools about color with her kids. She told me "Honey, I just tell them the truth, that none of that matters because our blood is all the same color". I loved it as the perfect way to state exactly how I feel, and have raised my kids the same way. You would probably be able to tell who I am by saying that phrase around the schools and seeing which kid lights up!

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

The demographics of EPA have changed in EPA to a minority Black population, the demographics of Palo Alto has changed to an increasing Asian population.
Tinsley is no longer relevant nor fair, it needs to end at the end of this year 2009 for good.

Posted by Yikes, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Your 2,

You are confused. Teachers point out the discrimination that exists. They do not actually create the discrimination themselves. They do not teach about racism "out of a constant desire to remind kid that are "different races."" They do this because racism exists. BTW, pretending that racism does not exist is really just a kind of racism.

What the teachers are doing is good because the kids realize that color does count.

"I grew up in the military...never even NOTICED the color of my friends, and nobody ever talked about color or anything at all ... For goodness sakes, nobody cared!" Sorry, you cannot be serious. Racism is also in the military.

"If we wouldn't point out to kids in elementary school that there are diffferent colors and religions etc, I don't think they would even notice or care!" This would be funny if it weren't so out of touch and misguided. And racist. Have you been to America?

Posted by 2 cents, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 2, 2009 at 7:53 am

Yikes, have you ever been in the military?

Keep believing what you believe, and be sure to teach your children how they are victims and discriminated against all the time...see how far they go in life and how happy they are.

Or, if you wish, you could try to break the chains and teach them to get to work, and overcome any -ism thrown their way. Ya gotta remember, whatever -ism is inherent in color, has been inherent in being female through all colors, and somehow women of all colors in this country have figured out how to get ahead anyway. Do you think they did it by sitting around worrying about being discriminated against? Or did they just shrug, and get to work? Yet, we don't drill into our girls' heads how horrible all cultures have been to women..we don't tell them that they are victims and owed anything, ...we don't tell them that they are discriminated against all the time in movies, in literature, in careers, in veiled comments, in life and have them believe it is useless, may as well give up.

It really is time to stop the divisiveness and the guilt and the blame and start taking responsibility, each and every person, for himself and for his kids ( or herself and her kids) and stop buying the whole "victim" thing.

Let me tell you something, which you won't believe. My grandmother was sold to my grandfather for marriage in Africa. Shockingly enough, I don't carry the "woman as victim sold into slavery" around with me, though I am her color, and her gender! Guess what? Time for everyone else to stop letting the sins of their ancestors hang around their necks also! And our teachers/politicians don't help our society one whit when they don't let it go. May as well focus on the horrible English who fought us in the revolution and drill hatred of them than continue drilling the hate that we still drill.

Posted by 2 cents, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 2, 2009 at 7:59 am

Sorry, got led astray from the thread.

So..answer me please, it racist to grant Tinsley based on color in EPA, not just the fact that one lives in EPA? Doesn't it imply a certain ..ism if you will...that somehow some races can't overcome their locale, and others can?

Just like I was insulted that Democrats were somehow the only ones crying "foul" in Florida in the hanging chads ( what..are Democrats the only ones dumb enough to not know how to use the ballots???), I am insulted that somehow only a couple colors in EPA are considered necessary to give help to, and others aren't, though they are all in the same boat. It offends, deeply, my sense of "we are all one color blood", and implies that, somehow, we have decided that some colors are less competent than others. Yuk.

Posted by Yikes, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2009 at 9:33 am


Er, teaching children about racism is not the same as teaching them that they are "victims and discriminated against all the time..." Where do you get this stuff?

It's odd that you assume that those who acknowledge racism don't teach their children to "overcome any -sim." You clearly have no ability to put yourself in another's shoes and you're arrogant: Minority kids don't need a lecture from you in overcoming.

I do agree with you that it is time to stop the divisiveness. The best way to do this is to educate our children about racism and its effects.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

My experience is that young children are accepting of anyone and everyone they come into contact with. We have to work hard to teach them about not talking to strangers, not taking candy from people they don't know, which adults are trustworthy (teachers, babysitters, police, etc.)etc. Children on the whole do not need to be taught to treat everyone the same. On the other hand, they do have to be taught who to be careful of, who not to trust, to be wary of strangers, not to open the door to anyone who rings the doorbell, etc. etc.

Likewise, it is when they start being taught about differences in skin color, or religion,even girls v boys, or anything else, that they start seeing differences for themselves and treating people who are unlike them differently.

Any type of teaching to show how similar we all are will backfire. Children already know that we are similar and when they are taught about the differences then we have to teach them again to accept everyone regardless of the differences. It is this teaching them twice that causes the problems.

Posted by Yikes, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

First, minority children learn about differences because they see how they are treated as compared to others. They learn this at a young age.

Second, non-minority kids are clueless longer because they're not getting the short end of the stick, but they eventually pick it up on their own.

Only by teaching them about racism can we end racism.

The whole notion that teaching causes racism is laughable. That stance is either willful ignorance of the real world, the kind of ignorance only those who are not discriminated against can afford, or a racist ploy.

Either way, teachers are committed to social justice, so they're going to teach the kids regardless.

Posted by judge not the cover, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm it...if it is done under the name "social justice" then it must be being done correctly.

It is dangerous to fall for the cover without examining the book. Or, put it another way, it is dangerous to judge on color, not content. This has been said throughout time in many ways, and it never gets out of date.

Posted by 2 Cents, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Actually, the scary part to me about Yike's comment is the following:

"Either way, teachers are committed to social justice, so they're going to teach the kids regardless."

Unfortunately I fear tht is actually, arrogantly, true. I certainly hope that it isn't true that teachers believe it is their duty to teach whatever they believe is "social justice", instead of teaching what they were hired to teach!!

Back to the question, it acceptable to you to treat a human being of one color differently from a human being of another color? This is what Tinsley is...

Posted by Yikes, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 3, 2009 at 9:03 pm

"is it acceptable to you to treat a human being of one color differently from a human being of another color?"

That depends on what color each person is and on the kind of treatment you're talking about....

Posted by Yadi-Yadi-Yada, a resident of Professorville
on Oct 4, 2009 at 5:33 am

"Children need to learn to co-exist as humans and not focus on getting into good colleges" .. this is the gist of most of the conversations related to Tinsley ..

Wake up ! Look at our workforces - how many Americans do you find in research jobs? Our graduate schools are full of people from other countries (no, I am not complaining .. these are hardworking people who eventually become integrated with the fabric of usa )

Tinsley has been in existance for years now..its a very small percentage. These are hardworking families who are looking for better opportunities .. let them in. Don't spend another millions of dollars trying to evaluate if the program should be canceled. Put these dollars to better use !

Posted by proud Tinsley participant, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

This is a very ignorant, and selfish way of looking at the welfare of children. I understand that there may be some discrepancies and problems with the structure of the Tinsley "compromise", however, discontinuing this program would cut off the opportunity for so many bright, young children. The program should be revamped, because it is out of date, but should we focus only on one group of children because they are fortunate enough to live in a good school district? The government has set boundaries, but there used to be a time when people found ways around those boundaries for the betterment of people as a whole. My child deserves the same opportunities as the next child, and who am I or anyone else to take those opportunities away? We accomplish more by working together than we do by separating ourselves. Your statements sound like these children in the Tinsley program are inferior, I would hope that this is not how you intended to have come across.

My two sense...

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