Town Square

Immersion program is not a high priority

Original post made by Jamie Maltz, Greenmeadow, on Jun 15, 2006

The superintendent made a puzzling and potentially misleading comment in "PAUSD News from Your Schools" (inserted in the Weekly on June 9).

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Posted by enoch choi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2006 at 12:13 am

For arguments supporting mandarin immersion see the comments by Nerissa & Jocelyn here:
Web Link

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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2006 at 5:25 pm

Great! Excellent! So I'll just pop over to the district's community priority survey from March of this year, posted online, and marvel at how highly the community, parents, teachers and students value language over other subjects.... Oh wait a sec... 6th out of 12 in subjects of importance for Parents, and 10th out of 12 in subjects of importance for the Community... I don't understand. So the PAUSD constituency is not yet on board with the value of language over other competing district priorities?

Well, that's OK, whether they know what's good for them or not, at least we've got a plan. So we have a proposal on the table to offer the critical Chinese language to students across the district in a comprehensive, fair and balanced way. Or at least some language... Oh. Well... not exactly.

But that's OK, lets just cram a program through ($ talks you know) that sneaks under the radar of district/community priority setting, and offer a fabulous, designer, enrichment program to just a lucky few? To heck with everyone else! We should just carve out a private little piece of the district for our own personal use, to do with it what we see fit. Yay! I can't understand why people aren't all for it.

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Posted by Pauline Navarro
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Sep 17, 2006 at 12:49 pm

If you look at chart 7b, it shows that foreign language instruction AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL level is last out of 11 priorities for us. The priorities listed above are generalized for all grades, this chart is specific to elementary school.

Yet, the Mandarin Immersion program proposal started with the ELEMENTARY school, and was approved by the Board for a feasibility study for implementation in the ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

There is more. Somehow, between the time the Board approved this level of feasibility study ( for elementary school) and PAUSD wrote the US Department of Education and asked for a grant to implement this program, the grant request changed to requesting funds for a k-12 program.

If we get the grant, this is what is called a "pregnant project". In other words, we would have the money given by the Feds to implement a program that is the lowest in our priorities for elementary schools, and which was not approved by the Board for study for the 6-12 years.

I think this is also called an "end-run", and it concerns me greatly.

I am not saying that anyone did this on purpose, because I don't really believe any of the folks involved in this process had any devious intentions. I am just diagramming how an idea which seems so pretty on the surface can potentially grow into a done deal before it becomes obvious that it is completely against what we want in Palo Alto,and is taking time and resources away from our priorities.

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Posted by Grace Mah
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 18, 2006 at 9:11 am

With regards to the secondary school Mandarin foreign language program, Chinese 1 has started at Gunn and Paly this fall, two classes at each school. At the high school level, the district is committed to providing appropriate advanced preparation up to AP Chinese in the following years.

The middle school program is also planned to start in two years, to dovetail into the high school program. The middle school plan will require enough enrollment to start, but Chinese 1 would start in Fall 2008.

The high school year Mandarin classes, 9 - 12, were approved last year. The grant application includes materials for high school and middle school.


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Posted by Jamie
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2006 at 4:52 pm

When was the middle school program discussed and approved by the board?