News

Larger classes top list of proposed school cuts

Palo Alto school board to discuss suggestions today, vote Feb. 23

Boosting elementary school class size by one student and cutting discretionary funds for school principals are among the budget cuts proposed for the Palo Alto school district next year.

The Board of Education will discuss the $3.7 million in cuts, proposed by Superintendent Kevin Skelly, in a study session today at 12:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.

The board will be asked to vote on the slate of 25 cuts -- proposed to help bridge a projected $7.6 million budget deficit for 2010-2011 -- on Feb. 23.

With 11,680 students on 17 campuses, the school district runs a general fund of approximately $154 million.

Besides the $3.7 million in cuts, Skelly hopes to make up the gap by using $2.1 million from an undesignated general fund balance, and $1.8 million in revenue from a proposed increase in the parcel tax. Voters will be asked to replace the existing $493-per-parcel tax with a new $589-per-parcel levy this May.

The proposed class size increases would bring class sizes to 22 in kindergarten through third grade, and to 24 in grades four and five.

The proposals also call for "incremental" increases in middle school class size, and a one-student increase in ninth and tenth grade math and English class sizes.

The boost to elementary school class size is the largest single item on the list of cuts, achieving $600,000 in savings. The next-highest is the proposal to cut principals' discretionary allocations from $105 to $70 per student, yielding $402,500.

Other items on the list include transferring state deferred maintenance income to the general fund for $350,000; collapsing six under-enrolled classes at two elementary schools to four classes for a savings of $200,000; reducing 5.75 full-time-equivalent support staff positions for $320,000; and reducing the budget for office supplies to save $160,000.

The proposed cuts come after a wide range of suggestions from principals, parents, teachers and staff.

More than 50 ideas came in from the public to the e-mail address balancedbudget@pausd.org.

Suggestions ranged from giving students credit for on-line classes to replacing certified librarians with "classified librarians" to requiring all supplementary programs, such as summer school, to be entirely self-supporting.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Erin Mershon
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

Here we are on the slippery slope back up to 30. Great news.

Isn't the 24 kids in 4th and 5th grade already going against what the original parcel tax was supposed to be used for? We voted for that to have class-size reduction in 4th and 5th grades just like the K-3 that the State was funding. Where is the oversight?


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:38 am

What percentage of the school budget comes from the parcel tax vs. from other tax sources?


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Posted by Erin
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:48 am

I believe it's about 6 percent.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:52 am

I assume that the other 94% comes from some mix of sales taxes, income taxes, and property taxes. Anyone know how much from each?


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Posted by Erin
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

You can find the financial statements on the PAUSD website if you search "financial". It's a tough document to break up and you have to know what the terms mean. Property taxes are broken up by the parcel tax, bond, and general. The district doesn't get much funding from the state but it does get some for things like class-size reduction, food service, and transportation.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:20 am

Erin - the increase in class size is not due to lack of oversight, its a case of the "least bad" places to cut because of the economy.

The 2009-2010 budget is at Web Link page 5 has funding broken down by source. 72% comes from property tax, the state is 9% (down from 12 I believe). Other sources are the Parcel tax, lease income, federal, and local income.


Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

It's time to consider following the example of Menlo Park public schools and limiting enrollment to students who live inside the district.
At this point, about 750 students are bussed in from East Palo Alto to attend Palo Alto public schools at no cost to their home district.


Like this comment
Posted by Capbreton
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Good. We should have done this ages ago. I went to elementary school here in the 60s and we averaged 35 kids per class with no problem. Actually there is a *huge* upside to this. With 20 kids in the classes each kid feels "entitled" to speak all the time, including the disruptive screw-offs, which destroys quality teaching time for the other students. Many teachers I know have observed that with 30+ kids in class that there is clearly no time for everyone to talk so they actually get to teach more and the disruptive children are quieter.

Grow the class size, solve the budget problem and improve the learning curve in the process. What's not to like?


Like this comment
Posted by reality check
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

"Here we are on the slippery slope back up to 30. Great news."

It's going to happen anyway. The "Open Enrollment" provision in "Race to the Top" will mean that Palo Alto schools will fill to capacity. I doubt Palo Alto will have the luxury of dictating what "capacity" means. We might as well start the process now.


Like this comment
Posted by Erin
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Capbreton,
I would like to invite you to come to my daughter's Kindergarten class at Walter Hays and see what she's learning and then tell me that you did the same in Kindergarten in the 60s. I actually dare you. I went to school here in the 80s and 90s and it was NOT the same. 30 kids in the class and we did not have the same standards and we did not have the same make up of kids in the class.

I really wish people would stop pretending that this is a good thing for our students.

Reality check - no one has any idea what the actual stipulations of the Race to the Top legislation will be yet so let's not overcrowd our schools just to preempt something that might not happen.

I don't believe this is the "least bad place to cut" because this cut hits the kids directly, and in the end this is always about the kids.


Like this comment
Posted by Average Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Erin:

ONE more kid per class. Please...

There were 27-28 kids per class in the mid 1990s or even later, and everybody was fine. I know, my oldest was there.

Maybe it's time for you to start considering enrolling your child in a private school if you can't deal with one more child per class.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

@Mom of Old PA: The MP schools did not cut-off Tinsley. They discussed it and then quickly said "bad idea".

Further, you should do a little more fact checking on your financial assertions. The state *does* transfer funding for the Tinsley program kids to PAUSD...albeit not equaling 100% of the PAUSD cost/student, but it is incorrect to say that the Ravenswood District doesn't pay. Technically they don't - since the state sends the money directly to PAUSD, but at the same time they don't get the money for those students either.


Like this comment
Posted by Erin
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm

You're not getting my point. It was one more last year. Now it's "just one more" this year. When is it going to stop? I think they can keep class size down and still find the money. They just need to try harder. This is the easy solution.


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

My first of 4 kids is now at college. When she was in kindergarten there were 30 in the class and they played most of the time. She did not learn to read in kindergarten and the only math she did was count to 20 and they had a letter of the week which barely got them through the alphabet by the end of the school year which was the sum total of her writing. Even in 1st and 2nd grades, the amount of learning was minimal. My youngest is now in 6th grade. The difference in standard between my first and last is incredibly different at every grade level. Fortunately somewhere between them the lower class size came in and that plus a longer day a couple of times a week in kindergarten and a few minutes more during the week for the other grades were the reasons the teachers were able to increase the amount of learning.

If we increase the class size to what it was at the beginning of the 90s, then consequently the amount of learning should also go back to the standards of the 90s. We have increased the grade level standards so much that the only way to keep these standards where they are is to keep the class sizes low or increase the hours in the day.

Do we want kindergartners to go back to playing, to keep the classes small, or do we want them there another hour per day?


Like this comment
Posted by Capbreton
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Erin;

I think the gist of my comments -- and a few others -- is that we had decades of elementary class sizes here ranging from the high 20s to mid 30s (in my case). (BTW, I went back and counted heads in old photos -- 34 was the lowest number I experienced -- and yet I managed to make it into an Ivy League uni unscarred by the experience.)

If there's an issue with the "what" that is being taught in your child's kindergarten class then the relation/relevance to class size is not the likely issue.

My earlier comment on better teaching happening in larger classes makes total sense from a social psychology perspective. If, and I saw this in my kids' classes -- still have one in middle school -- you have three or four "cut-ups" in the class disrupting everything, they are far less likely to do so with 25 disapproving peer faces than 15. It's really Social Psych 101, which we've somehow lost sight of in the PC-driven belief that smaller classes are just inherently better.


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Posted by katie
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Capbreton - I am a teacher with twenty years of experience and here are my observations: If there are more kids in the class, there are more 'cut-ups,' statistically speaking. The number of kids who misbehave is not necessarily static; it could change with growing numbers. And for the kids who are disruptive class clowns, a bigger class means a bigger audience. And in the last twenty years -- ten, even, kids are coming to school with greater and often more profound needs, definitely more than when I was in school. Managing a class of 30 versus 24 is completely different. Just some observations.


Like this comment
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Capebreton - You appear to have only read part of what Erin wrote. I'm the parent of a 7th grader. All the way through, school has been much more challenging and stressful than it was when I was in elementary school and junior high. It's great that you went to an Ivy League school, but would you get in today? I went to Stanford, and I'm not at all sure I would. About "cut-ups": A child in my child's 5th grade class caused trouble and diminished the experience of every other child in the class. More children would not somehow have stopped the interruptions, inappropriate comments, and general noise-making.


Like this comment
Posted by California Civics
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

When considering local school funding issues, background on "Serrano v Priest" would be useful.

Feed that into Google or Wikipedia.


Like this comment
Posted by cblasey
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I've had several teachers tell me that the increase in students this year was difficult. Those of us who work or help out in the classroom understand that when working with young children, even one additional child can be significantly more work. Teaching young children is a very hard job and making it harder will not benefit anyone.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Increased class size is probably inevitable, but, it is too bad all the same. Smaller classes bring closer relationships between students, parents, and teachers. That has been a big plus to our family, although for some kids and parents it probably makes no difference at all. Not all children are able to produce high test scores in a vacuum.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Erin, Parent, Capbreton:

Between 1995 and 2005, I watched kindergarten turn from being "Kinder Garten" to becoming what first grade used to be. By the end of high school, another year has been picked up. Many Gunn and Paly seniors have effectively completed their first year of college. This is probably a good thing for the truly gifted, who used to be bored in high school, and it makes little difference for C students. But, it may be very stressful for what used to be "B+/A-" students who now feel a lot of social pressure to try to go to a top school. Not everyone is cut out to go to Harvard or Stanford.


Like this comment
Posted by EPA kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:36 am

The Ravenswood City School District could use the funds from the State of California that would come from the students from East Palo Alto who attend Palo Alto schools.

General fund spending per student for PAUSD is somewhat over $10,000 per student. The amount received per Tinsley student is a lot less. There are approximately two Tinsley students per class on average.

I wonder whether the Tinsley students require a disproportionate amount of resources. As PAUSD is trying to "close the achievement gap," how many of the students on the wrong side of the achievement gap are Tinsley students? I would guess a disproportionately large number.


Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:50 am

Those arguing for parcel taxes here are most likely all teachers or union bosses. They will attempt to do a special election to thwart the popular vote, so that only proponents know about it and thus vote for it. Some of these union interests want you to worry about how it could seem that class sizes are slowly and constantly raising again. However, they don't want you to focus on their steady increase of parcel taxes all the time. They will continue to ask for more no matter what.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:05 am

It helps to hear a variety of opinions on this. In my case, I attended schools in two states, my kids did the same, I had a relative who was a very prominent HS teacher in yet another state, so I offer a wider perspective than those who were raised in PA and their kids have ONLY attended school in PA. You may have too narrow a view of things! I really don't think a minor addition in class size should be any issue. Some teachers don't want extra work, of course. Some teachers can handle a class of any size perfectly. My casual understanding is that class size reduction has been reasearched and there is no real effect. The effects may be soft effects (like some teachers being happier). Let's throw out one more example: the parochial school (which I have not had direct contact with but understand to have good discipline as well as typically HUGE class sizes, all throughout history!)So - perhaps it is an issue of class control and discipline, rather than the exact number of students that should be the focus.


Like this comment
Posted by reality check
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:37 am

"no one has any idea what the actual stipulations of the Race to the Top legislation will be yet so let's not overcrowd our schools just to preempt something that might not happen."

That's right. Sticking your head in the sand is the best approach here. Don't bother planning for legislation that has passed. Just ignore it and hope it won't impact us.
Sheesh!


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

There are some very interesting and informed posts here as to whether class size makes a difference.

There does seem to be a (perhaps irrational) fear of class sizes of more than 20 kids.

Capbreton says, “I went to elementary school here in the 60s and we averaged 35 kids per class with no problem.”

So, what is different now? Yes, I know kids have iPhones and other distractions. But what SPECIFICALLY makes it different/harder for teachers with more than 20 kids in a class (and why are aides needed)?

If 'cut-ups’ disrupt classes, why aren’t they disciplined (sent to the principal’s office, whatever)? Historically, parochial schools had a lot more discipline than public schools.

What data is available to show how class size affects student success?

PS: If we're worried about class sizes now, just wait until the city approves more "new urbanism" dense housing units!


Like this comment
Posted by New Suburbanism
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:27 am

Pat of Los Altos is correct. We need "new suburbanism". Even bigger lawns, great big lots, very wide open visas all around us to be enjoyed in the spleandor of our 1950s utopia.


Like this comment
Posted by Be Informed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:40 am

So far I have read many complaints, and have seen a fair amount of mis-inforamtion. Yet, I have not seen any suggestions or reccommendations on what to do as an alternative to increasing class size.

I am looking for specific ideas, not just fiscal restraint which is a catch all for a lack of specifics.

As for any secret elections, if you are reading the papers (any local paper) you will discover that nothing is secret.

I would encourage all to become informed - not just issue talking points that are either lacking in details or meant to ruffle feathers.


Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:42 am

I got a suggestion- increase class size


Like this comment
Posted by former teacher/PA resident
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:55 am

As a former elementary teacher, PA resident/mom for 30 years my thoughts:

With enough physical space, teacher expertise, parent support and an individualized educational program - the size 20 - 30 works fine. With "disruptive" children
and "non- disruptive" children. When my boy started PA schools (class sizes - 30)
another Mom/former teacher gave me good advice : "Just add what the teacher/school
cannot/does not give your son - and you will never go nuts being hyper-critical"

We loved all our years in the PA schools (80s/90s). Best wishes and thank you Palo Alto


Like this comment
Posted by former teacher/PA resident
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

A response to Erin -be careful of the new "ambition-blinders" in PA .
Research "helicopter parenting" and the dangers of starting the "race to the top" at 5 years old. Maybe you could fight for some of the qualities lost from the 80s/90s and the different
"make up" of those classes. I am in favor of learning and academia. I am also very aware of
the pressure on PA parents to compete through their offspring. Best wishes to your family.


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm

We just toured Paly on Saturday. It's interesting that the newest facilities are the pool and an athletic field. The classrooms, by contrast, seem poorly maintained and inadequate for the number of students. Maybe it's a question of differing priorities, but I'd start by cutting spending on athletics before cuts to the classroom experience.


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Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Reverse Tinsley and the problem will be solved. No teacher wants to stand up and say that the program is a disaster for fear of retribution. But the Tinsley kids eat up more resources per student and are drag on PAUSD in general. East Palo Alto should educate it's own students, period.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

parent/Old Palo Alto: you are spot on with your observation. We had nothing to do with sports at Paly and were dismayed at the attention lavished on that, including from the principal at the time. The most recent principal has been much more balanced in terms of attention devoted to all subjects/interests/concerns at Paly.


Like this comment
Posted by Erin
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Former teacher - if I took your advice and that of your friend I wouldn't have a care in the world. I know my children will be fine no matter how big the classes get in Palo Alto because I can supplement whatever they need at home. That's not enough for me though. I know there are kids out there without the same support at home and those are the kids I am arguing for. The ones whose parents are not involved and have no idea this discussion is even occurring. They are the kids who will suffer if class sizes increase because they will have less individualized instruction and will not feel comfortable speaking up in a larger group. It already happens at the high school level and it's a shame we can't do something about it. Our kids really do deserve more.


Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Erin, you said you're kids will be fine, and those of people like me who actually take care of their children will be fine, but then you end by saying our kids deserve more. Well OUR kids are going to be fine. The kids of those who are irresponsible won't. That's a bloody tragedy, but no I don't have endless cash for everyone else or their kids. Sorry. If this were the only welfare exacted from us through taxes by the state that would be one thing, but you've nickeled and dimed us far too much and for far too long.

And I'd rather a kid be in a large class than not be fed. There are far worse things that could be suffered by people because their parents lack sense


Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Erin, you said your kids will be fine, and those of people like me who actually take care of their children will be fine, but then you end by saying our kids deserve more. Well OUR kids are going to be fine. The kids of those who are irresponsible won't. That's a bloody tragedy, but no I don't have endless cash for everyone else or their kids. Sorry. If this were the only welfare exacted from us through taxes by the state that would be one thing, but you've nickeled and dimed us far too much and for far too long.

And I'd rather a kid be in a large class than not be fed. There are far worse things that could be suffered by people because their parents lack sense


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

The Paly pool was funded largely (totally?) with a donation.
The Paly and Gunn artificial turf fields were funded by a donation.
The Paly soccer field was updated this year to take advantage of the current downturn in the building industry (also known as costing less). The field did not require the extensive upfront planning that the buildings at Paly (and the other schools) require, so it was completed first. Same with the pool at Gunn.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2010 at 3:54 pm

palo alto mom, thanks for the info on the donations funding the pool and turf fields.

Were these donations through PiE?

I’m still dismayed that the Gunn Aquatic Center and the Paly Theater are such high priority items on the way the bond money is being spent.


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm

The pool and turf donation had nothing to do with PiE, they went directly to the District. (The Paly pool was before the current Administration was in place.)


Like this comment
Posted by observer
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm

My childrens' middle school classes including 6th grade have been around 28 students within the last five years. The higher numbers do not always get reported.

When some of us went to school with 35 kids in a class, the nuns were allowed to hit kids. We should not compare numbers using today's standard of teacher/student interaction without realizing that the standard for that interaction has risen but in doing so some of the deterrants for bad student behavior have been removed.


Like this comment
Posted by Wazzit Anonymous?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Who donated the $$$ for the turfs and pool? There should be a sign posted for their generosity.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Pool
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm

The Paly pool was the result of a major fund-raising effort by a group of Paly parents at the time. I believe they were parents of aquatic athletes and found the old pool inadequate. There were some big donors, I seem to recall. The people who contributed are recognized with plaques and such. The pool construction was completed in 2006.

For more info read the article at
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Pool
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

As to the turf I read this in the Paly Voice online (dated Sept.) 2008):

"Another source of excitement over the summer came from the construction of a new all-weather, synthetic turf football field.

"It's great,"" junior football player Kevin Brown said. "It won't get muddy and you can wear turf shoes, which are lighter.""

The construction was made possible by an anonymous donation. The new field will save Paly money in maintenance and water costs."

Note: the pool may have been finished in 2007, not 2006, I am not sure. And I am not sure weather all donors were recognized with plaques and such. It may have applied to only part of the donations.


Like this comment
Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Class size influences the effectiveness of some teaching strategies, and schools can only accommodate so much crowding.

Business wants employees who can collaborate and work in groups. It takes years to teach children the kind of independent learning skills, assertiveness, and focus to learn subject matter and navigate the social milieu in a group-learning setting. Group learning is now actively fostered.

During the heyday of large class numbers, there was a lot more lecture-based teaching. Today children do more hands-on learning requiring sets of manipulatives and apparatus. Storage space as well as desk space and group areas are needed and will get tighter. I don't remember what happened to the eighth grade state algebra test, but I suspect prepping kids between K and 8 will result in more intense math teaching in larger classes with more homework.

Crowding on campus also affects what we expect of school ambience.

More children on campus places greater pressure on the play area at recess, and more play equipment is a good thing to minimize conflict and bullying.

Schools could find themselves at capacity for shaded eating space. When schools were being built in the'60s, it was expected all children would walk home for lunch. Consequently, Palo Alto schools do not have cafeterias. Hot lunches are bussed in in hot packs and picked up in a make-shift station in a multi-purpose room or atrium, and eaten on picnic tables in the breezeways—all year 'round. Of course students can bring a lunch. In some schools, lunches and backpacks are stowed in moveable cubbies that are rolled outside the classroom to make more space inside.

While an increase in students can cause more portable classrooms to be brought in, there is no way to increase space for other activities. Libraries don't get larger, nor do storage closets and bulletin board space. Assemblies in the MP room will get tighter too.

I think there is a limit to saving money by crowding children into classrooms. That limit is the quality of the education that can be offered in the way we have been doing education. Back to the lecture.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Pool
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

jb

This comment makes me chuckle:

"Class size influences the effectiveness of some teaching strategies, and schools can only accommodate so much crowding.

Business wants employees who can collaborate and work in groups. It takes years to teach children the kind of independent learning skills, assertiveness, and focus to learn subject matter and navigate the social milieu in a group-learning setting. Group learning is now actively fostered.

During the heyday of large class numbers, there was a lot more lecture-based teaching. Today children do more hands-on learning requiring sets of manipulatives and apparatus. "


My oldest child, who was in classes of 27-28 kids in elementary schools in Palo Alto in the late 1990s, did MORE of the group and manipulative activities that you mention than my youngest child who went through with 20-22 kids in her classes in the past few years!!!!!!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Love the politicians
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:11 am

Your legislators and political leaders and education leaders wants a nice distribution of wealth or resources.

In other words, let's get a nice average for CA. Gifted? Send your kids to a private school or home school. Lot's of excuses on the "system" by your legislators when if fact they are not doing their jobs for you but for their future votes. Yes, the largest growing population of voters is hispanic voters, not middle class whites and ivy league grads. Sorry, you'll have to work harder so that you the political leaders who vote into office can distribute it "fairly".


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