Race Card Fatigue
Original post made
by Pauline Navarro, Juana Briones School,
on Jan 27, 2007
I am tired of seeing some proponents of Mandarin Immersion cry "racism" against anyone who opposes placing another immersion program right now in Palo Alto, even a Mandarin one.
To any of you who have paid attention to the school board meetings over the last 6 months, you have heard people with and without accents from all over the world speak against it for every reason except "racism". In fact, I have heard many say the "anti-racist" reason of wanting to keep all of us, all races and abilities, integrated together. How odd, exactly what my generation worked FOR in our country.
I have paid attention, and have heard people from Russia, Japan, China, Israel, Germany, Belgium, Argentina, India, Spain, France, Vietnam, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, and Indonesia. Those were just the people I noticed. I have no doubt I missed some "nationalities".
They were all opposing another immersion program for the good of the whole of the district, many of them not wanting our district to splinter into little schools for each "tribe", as one speaker put it so well.
People of good faith and good will may disagree on whether or not MI should go into our district right now, but to keep trying to polarize this into a race issue is disgusting.
I doubt that people of all colors and cultures, from all over the world, are "racist" against the Chinese.
We are all tired of the big lie which is desperately trying to split this community into racial divides and dupe us into believing that opposition to another immersion program is racism.
We each contribute our own flavor to the whole "stew" of Palo Alto. Anyone who tries to divide us back into the ingredients of the recipe is a....well, you know.
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2007 at 11:57 am
Observer, you should take a closer look at Patty Fisher's article in the Merc. You'll see she specifically says she DOES NOT attribute the MI opposition to racism.
But you prove my point - in that she first raises the ugly racist red flag, and proceeds to dismiss it ~herself~ in a very well known political tactic to plant the seed, but avoid culpability for accusing people herself. IF YOU TAKE HER AT HER WORD, she DOES NOT not support the racist argument. But she did a great job of sullying the opposition in the process, right? And you took her bait.
So to further Pauline's point, the MI opposition has nothing to denounce, because the only ones making racist points are a few MI proponents, in floating their unfair, unjust, and unsupported accusations. Which is just enough to make it 'truth' in some peoples eyes.
By the way - I don't see the MI Proponent leadership "stepping up to curb - or at least publicly condemn such comments". Should that lead us to the conclusion they are driving this slimy mud slinging? The thought has crossed my mind - especially since most of the articles, editorials, letters, sound suspiciously similar.
Secondly, the MI opposition argument on the issue of money has always been:
A private style elementary school, that reaches a small percentage of the district, benefits no one PAUSD except the lottery winners, and delivers a highly favorable educational content to those who get in, is not fair. (This would apply to any language academy; Chinese, Hewbrew, German, Japanese, Spanish) or any other subject; music academy, a football academy, a basket weaving academy etc.) And yes, there are many MI opposers who feel the same way about SI for the same reason.
AND SO, the ability of ~any~ affluent small special interest group (notice that's a MONEY statement, not race)to show up with a program that otherwise would have NO BENEFIT to PAUSD, Would have NEVER shown up in a priority setting process, or would never have otherwise come to the table, and to get that moved to the top of the list because they showed up waving a check around in a board meeting - is wrong.
And for the district to have allowed (even encouraged!), a small group of individuals to purchase a feasibility study - which in essence created an appearance that they were 'buying' 1/2 of an elementary school for their custom program, is wrong. Conflict of interest.
And for there to have been no public disclosure of WHO were the funders - creates issues of transparency in government.
So, again, your wild imagination that someone was talking about Chinese people when they mentioned 'affluent people' or any of the rest of the money related issues, is just that - wild. And completely out of line. How about you just knock if off now. You couldn't be more wrong (And frankly I believe you know it is wrong, but persist because you recognize it as a politically expedient smear tactic.)
To Another Observer: If a racist is someone who treats people differently based on race, then a classist must be someone who treats people differently based on socioeconomic status. That's funny, because the MI opposition point of view I've heard, is to try to make sure everyone in PAUSD is getting equal access to public education, and educational content parity. Or at least to make sure that basic, special, and enrichment curriculum opportunities are based on a sound community wide priority setting process, not based on the ability for someone to show up with check in hand. That seems sort of the opposite of a classist as far as I can tell.
Maybe you are suggesting that I am classist because I am denying rights of rich folks to receive special beneficial treatement in a public school system that is intened to deliver all children equal access to education. You got me. How very rude of me.
Yes you are right! I think people who want wildly customized education, significantly enriched, significantly different than the basic public school system can offer to all, should go get that through a private school - and pay for it.
I just show up every day and give my kids to PAUSD. Guess what - they're coming back just fine.
Posted by Lynn
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 30, 2007 at 12:05 am
Now, Wolf, if you're going to excerpt people's posts, please don't take them out of context. The entire text of What's good for the goose's post was as follows, in response to Pauline's comment that she liked the idea of a language immersion summer program:
You have not been listening to the board. Our district is stressed out, and we cannot afford to spend any time or money on this kind of project until our house is in order. We need to complete planning for increased enrollment, the five-year plan, attendance areas, roll back the cuts made prior to Prop. A, and then initiate a plan for world languages before we can even begin thinking about this kind of summer school program.
Once that is finished, the summer school program should be considered along with every other item on our wish list to see if it fits within our priorities. After all, bread-and-butter subjects like science and math are more important than elite, private-school offerings like this.
If your suggestion makes it that far, then the district should undertake a study. But since the entire program MUST be cost-neutral, somebody will have to pony up for the study. (This will automatically make it suspect.)
The study needs to look at whether having an attractive summer-school immersion program will make Palo Alto so attractive that families will move here. The program will have to somehow reimburse the district for attracting these children. The study will also examine whether it is possible to guarantee that the racial and economic composition of the summer school will match the entire district. Last, this suspect study will need to decide whether a program that will benefit only an elite few fits our notion of fairness.
Of course, the program will have to be run based on tuition and not take a penny from the school budget. That means it will have to cover district overhead, air conditioning, and wear and tear on the carpets.
So, let's get back to basics: we need to plan and think this through before we can indulge the starry-eyed dreams of a vocal, monied minority. If the board decides, judiciously, to nix this idea, these parents can always send their kids to private school. Gail Price did research and found that these families have enough money to pay for it.
I'm sure that you, Pauline, of all people will see the sense of all this."
In other words, Goose was being sarcastic.
If you want to start referring to previous posts, however, it's clear that there has been some bad behavior on both sides. Let's see, how about this one, written by someone participating in a favorite game amongst some of the pro MI posters, calling everyone who contributed to the opposing point of view "Lisa."
"Happy Hannaka to you, too! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Poor Parent, take some Pepto Bismol for your ailment and perhaps some anger management classes for your New Years resolution.
Plenty of people have read the feasibility study, and only a few are complaining as loudly as you on-line and undoubtedly to the board and staff. I'm sure if you had a civil discussion with the board and staff about these questions, you'd get more information than was presented in the feasibility study. You could even draw the same conclusions as the feasibility study.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If you really want an interesting perspective on perception and reality, check this out with the audio:
Please, Lisa, let's have some peace on earth."
Posted by Moutains out of molehills, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Dec 27, 2006 at 12:01 pm
See what I mean? And to Observer, it's inaccurate to refer to the Merc reporter as an "outsider." She is a PAUSD parent, just like me and lots of other people who care passionately about what happens to this district.
We are not racists, but we do have expectations that our questions will be answered, and my questions, to date, have not been. It's just not good enough for me to be told that "the district experts have said that it will work." Sorry.