Original post made
on Nov 2, 2012
Thank you for all the positive letters about Ken Dauber. I have been watching him for past couple of years and feel very strongly that his ideas would benefit the district immensely. Barbara Klausner's statement, "In fact, the district has recently moved forward on several of the issues embraced by Mr. Dauber, and his comments have contributed to the depth and breadth of our discussion." should be recognized by voters as evidence that Ken has many good ideas that the district needs and has already benefited from in order to provide an environment where all of our students can thrive. To the many critics who are spreading falsehoods about Ken's style not being a good fit I would point out that Barbara's letter states: "he has continued to engage constructively and with civility in our public discourse." Barbara has not endorsed any of the candidates but I think her letter comes as close as one could get without giving an formal endorsement. Thanks Barbara for recognizing Ken's board worthy qualities. I also think that Esther Wojcicki's letter is outstanding and should serve to assure those people who think that Ken is not liked by teachers and administrators that this is just plain false. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] I am glad that facts are starting to be looked at rather than a bunch of groundless assertions which are nothing more than opinions being bandied about in whisper campaigns throughout neighborhoods in PA. Let's move on and do what's best for our kids. Thanks for all the positive letters Weekly as well as all the endorsements from individuals as well as local publications. We can change and I am so excited about all of the benefits our students will derive from new board members. Thanks to Barbara Klausner for your service to the district. You did some wonderful work on behalf of our all of our students.
[Editor's note: The following post has been edited to remove language and characterizations that either present information out of appropriate context or is disrespectful. All posts to Town Square made in the final days before the election will be held to a higher degree of scrutiny and will be edited when necessary to keep political debate as constructive and thoughtful as possible.]
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As a former co-president of the Palo Alto Council of PTAs, former Project Safety Net steering committee member, and a member of the Developmental Assets Committee I've invested thousands of hours in our schools and our kids, as have many other parents in the district. It is so disappointing to see people so polarized on the candidates.
I do not, in good conscience, support the candidacy of Ken Dauber, because while his intentions may be good, his methods of making changes in the district have been incredibly divisive [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Because many parents and I shared some of Mr. Dauber's concerns, I met with him to ask him to work more closely with other parents and community members by joining the community collaborative Project Safety Net, whose work he frequently referenced. He chose to continue to work independently through his Facebook group, We Can Do Better Palo Alto [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff]. I frequently spoke at Board meetings decrying the tone and tenor of the remarks from We Can Do Better, Palo Alto members particularly related to changing the guidance model at Gunn, as being a hindrance to making any change. I think the fact that many people commented on my "bravery" to speak up testifies to the atmosphere of fear at these board meetings.
There are many parents in this district who have effected positive change by working collaboratively with those who need to implement said changes. Mr. Dauber has not done this in his effort to implement changes in the counseling system at Gunn High School. He wanted Dr. Skelly and the board to mandate a change to the advisory system at Gunn without giving the staff and faculty time or opportunity to make their own, educated decisions. He wanted Dr. Skelly and the board to mandate changes in the math curriculum. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] For change to be successful, there must be buy in from the people who are to make the change. Being "told" what to do does not lead to buy in.
Mr. Daubers actions were in direct contrast to the statement from Ms. Wojcicki's letter of support for Mr. Dauber above: "He knows that teachers are the key to an excellent learning experience in the classroom and wants to locate decisions as close to the classroom as possible. In his own words, "I am not in favor of top down control." He strongly believes that teachers should be able to structure their teaching according to their professional judgment"
When Mr. Dauber did not get fast enough action from the top down on counseling changes, he filed several Freedom of Information Act requests [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The staff at Gunn deserve to be part of the decision making process instead of being mandated a change to a system that is not without its detractors at Palo Alto High School.
Mr. Dauber is a very smart man and I think he does genuinely care about the kids. Unfortunately, [portion removed] I think Mr. Dauber has burned too many bridges to be able to work effectively with the rest of the board, staff and many parents in the district. Yes, he uses data, but data can be manipulated and data can be left out. [Portion removed.] In my opinion, if Mr. Dauber is elected, I think the board will be paralyzed for a long time because it will take a significant time for Mr. Dauber to build any trust back.
Although I have moved from Palo Alto, I still deeply care about the kids and the schools. [Portion removed.]
I know that supporters of Ken will be upset/angry with me for posting this as they so strongly believe in him. I, however, cannot get past the damage that has been done to the district due to his actions.
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Barbara Klausner says Ken's "tone at our meetings has always been civil and his comments have been result-oriented and data driven. In fact, the district has recently moved forward on several of the issues embraced by Mr. Dauber, and his comments have contributed to the depth and breadth of our discussion." Doesn't sound like a climate of fear to me. And I venture to say that Esther Wojcicki knows a lot more than Micaela what teachers need on the school board.
This letter is a perfect example of the negative whisper campaign that is hurting our local politics.Shame on Micaela for writing it, shame on PTAC for having its name in the letter, and shame on the Weekly for leaving it up here.
It's ironic that Micaela Presti, of all people, would submit such comments against Ken Dauber. She opposes a candidate who has demonstrated his commitment to reducing student stress, while she has cut bait and moved her kids to Marin.
She previously championed the Developmental Assets program, especially regarding the need to show students respect. Funny she didn't even mention Ken's strong endorsement by Paly's nationally-recognized student newspaper. If we only consider students' opinions about their lives when we agree with them, wouldn't that be more of a Developmental Liability?
Ken Dauber is the one who attended every board meeting for a year (or so it seemed) to ask the board to formally adopt a goal of reducing student stress. Shouldn't he be applauded for his bravery too, instead of criticized for his tactics?
Micaels has accused Ken of manipulating data to his advantage. Ken was the only candidate who noticed, much less mentioned, that a significant percentage of black kids had been removed from the improved test-taking pool. Perhaps the others didn't want to offend anyone.
The most offensive comment in Micaela's letter, and there are many, is the notion that you cannot tell teachers what to do. When the math teachers said they could not be expected to teach certain courses to minority and bussed kids, due to brain theory and other reasons, actually, top down control is appropriate, and someone needs to tell them what do to. Ken did students a huge service by insisting on the math changes that have resulted. Perhaps we should ask, what would Micaela have done?
The main reason Micaela seems to oppose Ken is because of "damage" and "divisiveness." Damage to whom? Not to students, who are the issue here. The divisiveness is created by [portion removed by Palo Alto Online] letters like this one. The sky is not falling, folks. Ken Dauber is good for the Palo Alto school board.
Again you can see why such an environment of fear has been created.
Determinant and Micaela's postings are examples of why I have decided to support only Ken in this election. He has run an entirely positive, issues-oriented campaign that has been free of negative attacks on other candidates. There is plenty that could be said about other candidates Camille in particular but Ken and his supporters have not gone there.
I know Micaela and don't particularly like her, but she's not running so her personality flaws are not really the issue. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] What matters more to me is that she is listed as an endorser on all 3 of the other candidates' web sites, as have some of the other sources of negative campaigning in this election, yet none of the other candidates have ever repudiated any of the attacks made on their behalf.
For example, there is no "climate of fear" in Palo Alto. Listen to Barbara Klausner: "Mr. Dauber has been an outspoken advocate at board meetings for certain changes, primarily revolving around academic stress and student well-being. He has been insistent and consistent with his calls for change and transparency. His tone at our meetings has always been civil and his comments have been result-oriented and data driven. In fact, the district has recently moved forward on several of the issues embraced by Mr. Dauber, and his comments have contributed to the depth and breadth of our discussion. He has not always prevailed with the results that he specifically desired, but he has continued to engage constructively and with civility in our public discourse."
Let's try to focus on issues, like achievement for all kids, unnecessary stress, counseling, and keep out of the gutter and fear-mongering. If there is fear, it seems to be of actually having a debate about what really matters.
"The staff at Gunn deserve to be part of the decision making process instead of being mandated a change to a system that is not without its detractors at Palo Alto High School."
My children go to Paly and we have been very happy with TA. Micaela has never had a child at Paly and for her to do a drive-by shooting of Paly's wonderful teachers who serve as my kids' advisors [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Esther "Woj" Wojcicki personally invented the TA system! She endorsed Dauber. Case closed.
As Barbara Klausner has stated in her very balanced letter, Ken has always been civil. That matches my experience with Ken over the past year.
I'm not sure if the people who are bandying accusations about under the veil of anonymity are credible. I suppose anyone is free to conjure up an environment of fear in their own head. That does not always correspond to
There are also those for whom any change to the status quo is seen as a threat.
You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Those generating the fear of course do not see it. That is why so many bullies are in denial.
As history has shown, not all change is good. Especially when it silences dissenting voices through fear.
The only fear I see is the fear of addressing the issues. When it comes to support for student emotional and academic well-being, Ken is a champion. If your concern is for students, what's scary about that?
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