News

School board eyes greater consistency at Palo Alto's high schools

Report reveals need for more teacher collaboration time, course alignment without sacrificing teacher autonomy or innovation

Armed with a wealth of data on consistency – or lack thereof – across courses, subjects and teachers at Palo Alto's two high schools, the school board plans to tackle this year longstanding problems like inconsistent grading practices, test and project stacking and homework quality and quantity.

The board discussed for almost two hours at its first board meeting of the year Tuesday an in-depth course-alignment study conducted by global information services firm Hanover Research Group at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Hanover researchers spent time at both Palo Alto and Gunn high schools, surveying students, teachers and administrators and conducting three student focus groups. They also analyzed course documents – syllabi, unit maps and calendars, pacing guides and homework schedules – submitted by core subject teachers at both high schools and also put together a "best practices" report for the district with examples of successful alignment strategies employed by two "exemplary" school districts elsewhere in the nation.

With some clear lines drawn between student, teacher and administrators' perspectives on the level of consistency at the two high schools, the report points to a need for more teacher collaboration time; better communication between teachers, departments and schools; and an understanding that the district is hoping, ideally, to create more alignment without sacrificing teacher autonomy or innovation.

"We're trying to look at high quality and fairness in curriculum without having universal consistency in terms of teaching methodologies," said board Vice President Heidi Emberling. "We'd like common outcomes and goals and we also like innovation in teaching, so it's kind of a balancing act."

One of the board's six draft goals for this school year, also discussed Tuesday, is to "foster conditions providing a coherent district approach for aligning course curriculum frameworks, grading practices, homework expectations, project and testing schedules, and summative assessment instruments."

The Hanover surveys, which were administered in March and April and produced usable responses from 3,345 Paly and Gunn students and 140 staff members, found various disconnects between student, teacher and administrators' perspectives. While teachers report that grading practices are consistent within the same courses at each school, most administrators surveyed disagreed, Hanover found.

Another mismatch is between student and teacher perception of time spent on homework: Students report that homework expectations are generally most demanding in math and science courses, but teachers in those subjects may underestimate how much time students spend on their homework assignments.

Board President Melissa Baten Caswell said her son was in a situation last year with a teacher who thought he or she was giving two to three hours of homework on an assignment that took her son significantly longer.

"When I talked to parents, that was happening with all their kids," she said. "If we don't do something systematic we're not going to make any kind of impact on it."

The board also approved Tuesday night an update to the district's homework policy, imposing a 15-hour cap on the weekly homework load for all high school students.

"Students who choose to enroll in Advanced Placement, Honors, or accelerated courses should expect higher homework loads, but not to exceed an average of 15 hours per week," the updated policy reads. The board approved this policy update, along with several others, with no discussion as part of its consent calendar.

And while 95 percent of high school teachers said they believe their own classes prepared students for the next level of course, 85 percent of teachers thought their students arrived prepared for their course, and 60 to 74 percent of students believe that the previous year's course prepared them for their current course across subjects.

Leila Nuland, Hanover content director for the Palo Alto Unified partnership, said via speaker phone at the board meeting that as both a researcher and former classroom teacher, she was not surprised by the differences between the various groups' perspectives, though she cautioned going "item by item" and comparing them.

"Often times as classrooms teachers you're looking at your curriculum map or your teaching guide and you're saying, 'Yes, I hit all of these points and this is what we needed to cover,' whereas students may not have retained all of that. We know that students lose some of their knowledge over the summer, for example. I think that that can explain some of that gap."

Nuland noted that her team's course document review did find inconsistencies between teachers and courses, particularly in grading scales, confirming a frequently heard student concern about instructors who teach the same course but give out drastically different grades.

Gunn Principal Denise Herrmann noted that differing policies on practices like extra credit or late work can also make a big difference for students, but might not be something that teachers are talking with each other about.

"(That's) why teachers might think in general, 'we're consistent,' but we see more the extreme cases where some of those more minute practices can very much skew a grade from teacher to teacher to teacher," Herrmann told the board. "I think that, again, it is from our whole-school perspective – those differences stand out to (administrators) more than they may to an individual teacher who may not have time to talk about what they give extra credit for."

Hanover found the greatest variability both across and within courses at Paly and Gunn in history and social science courses.

Math courses showed the highest level of alignment and consistency at both high schools, Hanover found, though Paly math teachers give "A's" for grades at 88 percent and above while Gunn math teachers give them beginning at 90 percent.

Emberling said she would like "more clarity" around whether teachers, departments and schools want board-level guidance around policies for things like makeup work or giving "zeros."

Gunn's new student board representative, Grace Park, said that increased consistency could address student angst around schedule changes and "teacher shopping" – students wanting to switch teachers because they got one with a bad reputation or simply don't like the one they got.

Gunn senior Nina Shirole also spoke to the board during open session about standing in line early in the morning on the first day of school last week with more than 100 other students who were frustrated with the limited support they received from counselors on making schedule changes.

"I think if we were to have some sort of consistency among teachers, a lot of this stress behind it at least would be alleviated," Park said. "That's discounting all the stuff like after-school sports and extracurriculars. This whole idea of consistency is one of the reasons why students try to change classes."

The use of Palo Alto's online school-management system, Schoology, was also brought up as a solution to many of the issues raised in the Hanover report, particularly test and project stacking.

"Perhaps most troubling to Gunn and Paly students when discussing course alignment at the high school level is the perceived limitations of cross-subject coordination when planning tests and assessments," the Hanover report reads.

Per the district's new contract with the teacher's union, all secondary teachers are now required to post all course information, homework and grades on Schoology. Herrmann said Tuesday night that hopefully, more universal use of a calendar function on Schoology will help students see far ahead of time and talk to teachers when test and project stacking might occur.

Paly's student board representative, Emma Cole, said that all her teachers this year are posting everything on Schoology.

"It's a huge improvement," she said. "Truly, I think that will help a lot."

Herrmann said that Gunn students have reported that "most but not all" teachers had activated their Schoology accounts by last week. She said she set an expectation that all staff members talk to parents at back-to-school night this week about their use of Schoology.

Board member Ken Dauber said he would like to see the board hear a progress report at its next meeting on teacher use of Schoology.

A group of Gunn teachers, led by math teacher Diane Gleason, also began meeting in May to come up with innovative ways to address test and project stacking, Herrmann said. Gunn also replicated an effort already in existence at Paly this year, opening a schoolwide test center that will make it easier for students to schedule tests at alternate times if they have multiple assignments due on the same day, Herrmann said.

Both high schools are also making efforts this year to be more strategic with teacher collaboration time, their principals said Tuesday. Seventy-two percent of teachers reported in the Hanover survey that they feel there is insufficient time for collaboration across the district, although more than half agree there is sufficient time at their schools.

Both Paly and Gunn have formed Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, which are groups of "course-alike" teachers that meet on a weekly basis. Paly also has "learning strands," which are cross-departmental groups that meet once a month to discuss focused topics. (A recent one was homework.)

Gunn's new block schedule also includes dedicated teacher collaboration time each week, and the school's PLCs meet every Monday afternoons to discuss topics like common assessments, interventions for struggling students and course alignment.

In other business Tuesday, the board approved an increased housing loan for Superintendent Max McGee, who has said he has struggled to purchase a house in Palo Alto with the $1-million loan included in his original contract. The board unanimously approved 4-0, with member Terry Godfrey absent, a $1.5-million zero-interest loan. The entire loan amount is also now repayable to the district one year from whenever McGee ceases to be superintendent, up from nine months previously.

The board also unanimously approved the appointment of the district's new associate superintendent, Markus Autrey, who began work on Aug. 1.

Comments

15 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:13 pm

"found various disconnects between student, teacher and administrators' perspectives."

All I can do is shake my head about the fact that we needed to spend what(?) on a consultant to tell us this. Getting help improving communication and trust would have solved that problem and a lot of others.


29 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:17 pm

"In other business Tuesday, the board approved an increased housing loan for Superintendent Max McGee, who has said he has struggled to purchase a house in Palo Alto with the $1-million loan included in his original contract. The board unanimously approved 4-0, with member Terry Godfrey absent, a $1.5-million zero-interest loan. The entire loan amount is also now repayable to the district one year from whenever McGee ceases to be superintendent, up from nine months previously. "

Max: you shouldn't have had any trouble buying a home with a $1 million interest free loan and a $300,000 salary and $750/month car allowance.


5 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Eh, given how few houses have been on the market and how quickly they get snatched up, I can believe McGee has had problems buying a house here. He's up against cash buyers. I've seen people quite well-off just give up buying in the current market.

Of course, this may all change with the recent stock market.


12 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Did McGee own a home at his previous school? Did he sell it, or is he renting it out? If so, shouldn't the District be examining his assets to see if he has enough in pocket to buy a home here? If they aren't reviewing his finances (like a bank would)--how are they fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to the voters and property tax payers?


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:35 pm

So where has he been living for the past year?

And more importantly, who has been paying for it?


24 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm

My question was not to get everyone peering into McGee's personal finances, that's his business, but frankly, he chose to come out here, and he's making a kingly salary even for this area. He's making an exorbitant salary for a school district administrator. He could arrange for additional financing and afford a home. Maybe not a $4million home next to Marisa Meyer, but a home in a decent Palo Alto neighborhood, and even a pretty good townhome if he wants something new. He won't even be paying half his income for his mortgage like the rest of us. Giving him even more money is like a raise that he doesn't need and frankly, doesn't at this point deserve.


8 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

> My question was not to get everyone peering into McGee's
> personal finances, that's his business,

When a employee of a publicly-funded agency asks for a significiant, no interest loan, that agency has an obligation to do due dilligence regarding the employee's finances, just like a bank would.

Sorry--but McGee's assets should have been provided to the district (not subject to public access unless the employee fails to repay his loan(s)).


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 4:26 pm

I don't think anybody wants to know McGee's personal finances. However, if PAUSD is in any way responsible for his interim housing costs, renting or otherwise, I think it is valid that the community should know.

When somebody is moved across the country for work there is usually some type of arrangement whereby the employer pays for short term housing until such time as something more permanent is found by the new employee. I would imagine that this normally has a 3 month window at most. If this is the case and McGee is financing his accommodation himself that is as it should be. But, if his temporary accommodation is still being financed by PAUSD which corresponds to Palo Alto taxpayers, then I think we should know.


9 people like this
Posted by Stop, you're killing me
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2015 at 4:35 pm

This forum is an absolute riot. The post title is about homework and course consistency in the high schools, and the thread almost immediately devolves into a petty bickering squabble about the superintendent's housing and finances. [Portion removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2015 at 4:58 pm

@stop,
Before you criticize others, pleaee bother to read the article they are discissing, which says,

"In other business Tuesday, the board approved an increased housing loan for Superintendent Max McGee, who has said he has struggled to purchase a house in Palo Alto with the $1-million loan included in his original contract. The board unanimously approved 4-0, with member Terry Godfrey absent, a $1.5-million zero-interest loan. The entire loan amount is also now repayable to the district one year from whenever McGee ceases to be superintendent, up from nine months previously."

I believe that makes the above discussion absolutely on topic. Nice (nasty) attempt to try to divert it, though.

The board just gave McGee, someone who already makes a kingly salary, a raise with no real public discussion. We just gave the another tax because they pled poor for things like teacher salaries. That should deserve some real discussion.


12 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm

> I don't think anybody wants to know McGee's personal finances.

McGee's salary is a part of the public record. When it comes to loaning money at zero interest to employees, the District has every right to know if it is dealing with someone with a credit default in his history.

It wasn't that long ago that a former Superintendent of the Santa Clara County Board of Education wanted to effectively default on his housing loan:

Web Link

(Notice that the SCC BoEd did offered a $1M loan at 0% and 3%. Why the PAUSD is offering a 0% loan is something the Board should be explaining to the public.)

Even in Palo Alto--a million dollars (or more) is a lot of the public's money. The District should be performing best practices when handing that money out to employees.




14 people like this
Posted by Skelly is laughing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm

We made these same mistakes with Kevin Skelly. And remember all the Town Square posters who asserted that we couldn't get a replacement for him. Max McGee is that replacement, he had a three-year contract with him and we should leave it at that and let him demonstrate that he is worth almost a million dollars in salary and another million dollars in loans. He has so far been adequate in my opinion, not exemplary and worthy of $300,000 plus per year. Thank you Measure A and PiE for making all these quasi-automatic raises possible.


8 people like this
Posted by Stop, you're killing me
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2015 at 6:19 pm

@What are we teaching our kids:

The article in question is 37 paragraphs long; there is a single paragraph devoted to the issue of McGee's housing. There is one single comment on this thread about the 36 paragraphs having to do with the schools, and there are 10 comments on this thread about the single paragraph regarding McGee's housing.

I see no reason to amend what I said previously. This forum is ridiculous, and makes Palo Alto look completely lame. And I said it because I DID read the article before commenting.


8 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2015 at 6:54 pm

@Stop,

[Portion removed.]

This is how reports on school board meetings go. The article dealt many things, including with a $500,000 extra loan (lots of $$$) McGee is being given on top of a million dollars the district gave him in his contract. People were commenting on it. [Portion removed.]

People were talking about an important issue over which there was a conspicuous LACK of public debate. If you wanted to talk about something else in the article, you might have simply posted about it, instead of posting more than once attacking people for a reasonable discussion (and not letting up).

The community discussing school district issues - when school districts are set up to allow local control - is healthy. Attacking people for discussing those issues is what is lame.

Our superintendent makes an enormous compensation for a school district employee, as do MANY people working for our district that most of the public could not name. There seems to be almost no checks and balances on the growth of that compensation. Even in times of belt-tightening, the salaries of the admins don't go down. Our paying way too much and handing out gold like it's water whenever someone asks (if you read business research on motivation) provides a negative incentive to performance, not a positive one, and it invites corruption. That's a big deal, and it's not getting dealt with.

The issue of leadership performance and exorbitant compensation, without mechanisms to control it, are very apt for public discussion. [Portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Skelly is laughing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 7:28 pm

I agree with a couple viewpoints, obviously the one that throwing money at administrators or teachers will increase performance (it doesn't), but also the one that Palo Alto is lame. Recent years have not been good in PAUSD.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 7:39 pm

There is another thread discussing homework. There is no reason why this one shouldn't discuss finances.


Like this comment
Posted by Tax Matters
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Not sure the "0% interest loan" approach really works. The IRS imputes an interest rate on zero interest loans, based on market terms - here's an article explaining Web Link. I would guess that, if audited, McGee would have the imputed interest counted as taxable compensation.


38 people like this
Posted by Homework Limits!!!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 26, 2015 at 9:06 pm

Last night the School Board passed an amendment to the Homework Policy (AR6154) that limits homework in high school FOR STUDENTS IN AP and HONORS to 15 hours per week, including weekends. It was passed last night on consent calendar and there was no discussion so perhaps the reporter missed it. It was first discussed at the special meeting on June 23.

The language in the policy regarding "If you take AP and Honors you're on your own" was deleted and replaced with the following:

"Students who choose to enroll in Advanced Placement, Honors, or accelerated
courses should expect higher homework loads, but not to exceed an average of 15
hours per week."

FINALLY!! This coupled with the requirement that all teachers use Schoology, as well as the Focused Goal on Test and Project Stacking are incredible progress. The credit for this goes to Ken Dauber, who conceived of all of these policies, rules and limits, and then stuck with the hard work of getting them done through meetings, committees, elections, and more.

This progress is proof positive that democracy works. When the people want reform, and they are dedicated to that goal, they can through the political process achieve progress and ultimately attain that goal.

We Did Better Palo Alto.


3 people like this
Posted by Stop, you're killing me.
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm

The undeniable fact is that 76 words out of a 1623 word article (about 4%) have to do with the supe's housing compensation, yet the majority of people commenting on here seem to have their knickers in a twist about that, while ignoring the other 96% of the article, which has to do with important school issues that have otherwise been very vexing topics that directly the well-being of students in this district. As I said before, I did read the entire article, and my point remains quite valid. Squabbling about the superintendent's housing compensation while ignoring the pressing issues that directly affect the health and well-being of the students of this district paints a very poor picture of this community.

I'll leave it to others to determine how dire the fleecing of Palo Alto taxpayers has been by the giving the supe an extra $500K when he is competing in a real estate market where multimillion dollar houses are routinely sold to all-cash buyers for well over the asking price before they are even listed. If you want to attract top-tier talent, you gotta be willing to pay for it.


12 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2015 at 11:33 pm

@Stop,
The fact that 100% of your posting has been to criticize other people for discussing the issues in the article and to repeat yourself nastily over and over again/get your nickers in a twist about people commenting on the above article is what is lame.

Did it ever occur to you that the part of the article that has been discussed the least in the article might perhaps deserve the most public discussion? If they said, "And in other news, the school board elected to shred all the documents at 25 Churchill" -- gee, would that deserve no discussion because it's one sentence?

You have now gone on and on for several post criticizing others for discussing board business, yet you have contributed nothing to the discussion. They already attracted McGee and have a contract with him. He's getting paid handsomely enough to afford a home by getting a loan to augment the interest free million dollar loan he's already getting. I wonder how much more he's making than Tom Torlakson? We don't have to pay him more to attract him, he's already here and already on contract with us. We didn't vote for Measure A to have it thrown away on perks and salary increases that will ultimately do nothing for our kids but fleece their parents.


11 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 27, 2015 at 12:21 am

@Homework limits: Can you clarify? Upperclassmen take anywhere from 1 to 5 AP classes per year. So the new rule states that they shouldn't have more than 3 hours of homework per weekday even if they are taking 5 AP classes? The math there just doesn't work. I support homework limits, but 3 hours is just not enough if a kid is loading up on AP classes. In regular lanes, homework is often 3 hours.


4 people like this
Posted by Stop, you're killing me.
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 27, 2015 at 5:50 am

"We didn't vote for Measure A to have it thrown away on perks and salary increases that will ultimately do nothing for our kids but fleece their parents."

I think this says it in a nutshell. You feel like you're getting fleeced. And somehow it's Max's fault, because he got a really great loan to buy a house and your taxes went up by $120. Life sure is rough in Palo Alto.

You're still ignoring the other 96% of the article, which has to do with our kids and their well-being. If calling me nasty makes you feel better, have at it.


17 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:41 am

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

There was such an odd video by the paly principal on schoology apologizing to the kids for making them stay on campus during school hours for tutorial and asking for advice on the simple matter. (By law, the kids have to be accounted for and on campus during school hours) This was the most awkward thing I have ever seen and made me feel horrid about campus safety. She looks so scared and is asking for them to help her as if she was totally incapable of making a decision. A good leader would have just said, sorry, the party is over with tutorial. You will get a cut if you leave. What is she afraid of?

Why does administators think it is ok to defer their job they are baing paid for to children or outside sources. Is it the trendy thing to do? Look helpless and clueless?

I am not sure why outside sources are needed to tell the admin. and staff to teach to very clear state standards. Many other schools do not have such difficulty in this very basic task.


13 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:26 am

same thread here. Why are administers so helpless? Can't he just commute? Is he thinking he is governor?

Actually, it might make sense for the district to buy and own a home for the superintendent to use. They could make a profit and attract some talent. They could live in the top floor of the new theater.


4 people like this
Posted by Stop, you're killing me.
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:39 am

"Why are administers so helpless? Can't he just commute?"

Seeing as how he moved here from the East Coast, that might be just a wee bit problematic. The tolls alone would be killer.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:42 am

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I believe that at one time there was a house on Churchill that was owned by the District in which the Superintendent lived. It was sold when one Super decided that it did not meet his family's needs.

I would love to know which house it was and how much it is worth now. I wonder where the money went too.

Does anybody have any memories of this or is it just me?


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

Yes, here it is. School District sold the property because Don Phillips chose not to live in it.

Web Link


21 people like this
Posted by MiddleSchoolQuagmire
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:59 am

It has long been known that Jordan has issues - when will the school district survey the three middle schools for consistency and vertical alignment?

(and general student engagement)


5 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 27, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Actually, I believe McGee still does return to the Chicago area as his home base and would still be treating this as a 2nd home. His $300,000 salary is only for the school year. I won't say more but he is living in plenty nice housing now locally, he is not commuting.

He is an adult capable of using Google to investigate housing, who agreed to a very generous compensation package. The school district operates to educate our children and had no interest in enriching an already ridiculously rich compensation package for a school administrator.




6 people like this
Posted by hindsight is 2020 in 2015 market
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2015 at 3:46 pm

According to Zillow, that house was sold by the district for $737k in 1997, resold for $1.5m in 2009 and is now valued at $3.2 mm.

In all seriousness, how many people commenting here could afford to buy their own house in today's market?


16 people like this
Posted by Speaking of Consistency
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm

When we had our previous house for sale three years ago, many people from China came to look at it. Many stated that they wanted their kids to attend the best high school in Palo Alto.

I always replied that Gunn had long been the best high school in Palo Alto, and had better scores and higher Ivy League admissions rates to prove it.

These people in China would always respond with, " But no one in China has ever heard of Gunn! We want our kids to go to Paly! Everyone in China knows Paly."

So I guess it's really about the name brand, not the "best",


13 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:49 am

What is the big deal about the money for McGee? He has been productive and is worth it!

The big waste of money was Skelly's compensation! He did absolutely nothing for our district but allow it to worsen. We paid for a figurehead!


6 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:33 am

@Mom,
Well, that speaks loads about Skelly that we're ready to crown anyone who just ties his shoes. And about our need for some kind of real checks and balances on district administration.

McGee makes $300,000 for about 220 days of work. He gets a $750/month car allowance, full bennies, and an interest free $1.5M housing allowance which itself is worth - off the top of my head - what, another $100k a year? Compare that with the President of the United States who makes $450,000 for a full year's work. Or with federal judge with 30 years of ecperience on the bench in San Francisco, who mkes (inclluding locality pay) about $160,000, no housing or car allowance.

Compare that to school board members, who make - zero. For a lot of time and responsibility. And City Council, who make less than a thousand a month. Also for a lot of time and responsibility. And yet, we have no trouble getting what are arguably just as dedicated a pool of people, whether we agree with them or nit. In fact, I would observe that having people with some intrinsic motivation would get us far better results (which is indeed what the business research shows). We are probably having to fork over more so McGee doesn't hav to take out a higher rate loan since this will probably not be his primary residence (that's in Chicago).

If our purpose is that every School Superintendent should be a jetsetter, then mission accomplished. If our purpose is getting the best for our kids for what we spend, we're making a mockery. Try putting forth an initiative for our children that costs as much as McGee - unless you are suggesting something that is already a pet project, good luck. For that much money, we could probably put together a crack team of Stanford graduates and experts who could really get results,

McGee is still basking in the applause for tying his shies. In other ways, such as avoiding records requests, avoiding accountability for district employees at their worst, sweeping the hardest problems under the rug, restoring truth and trust, in some ways, he's been worse than Skelly. I like McGee, but at some point, we'll all tire of oohing and awwing that he isn't the last guy. If you go back and compare how each responded to the suicide clusters, really search on old stories and read, well, Skelly doesn't look so bad. We should be considering how we do better than both for a fraction of the cost.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:46 am

We have just passed an extension and increase to a temporary parcel tax. We were told that if we didn't do this then we would be losing teachers, increasing class size and various other basics. This scared many voters into voting yes just to appease the District.

Of course it is now essential that we question all expenditure. After all, we are paying for it. McGee may have a hard time finding somewhere to live. Many of us are finding it hard to pay our bills due to the increase in parcel tax and property tax.


19 people like this
Posted by Speaking of Consistency
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:13 am

Middle School Quagmire is soooo right. The middle schools in Palo Alto, Jordan in particular, are so. Ad that many parents take their kids out of PAUSD and put them in private schools for the middle school years. Some never return to PAUSD, but those that do are better prepared for high school.

I am told it has always been this way, that very little attention is given to middle schools in PAUSD. You don't adolescents REALLY need the attention here, and they are being failed.

Also, why has Jordan historically been the worst school ( not just of middle schools, but ALL schools) in the district??


1 person likes this
Posted by Speaking of Consistency
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

WOOPS......should read, "so bad...." and, " Very young adolescents...."


8 people like this
Posted by First World Problems
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:50 am

Life here in Palo Alto can be so difficult. The schools are terrible, the superintendent makes way too much money and he got a much better deal on his mortgage than I did, my parcel taxes went up by a whole $120, the price of real estate has gone through the roof, and the traffic is terrible, with way too many people driving their Teslas over the speed limit. I just don't know how I'm going to make it.

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:09 am

@FWP:

I'm not trying to be antagonistic here...but you're clearly not happy with living in PA. You should look at moving to another town if you feel that PAUSD stinks, parcel taxes are too high, etc. There are other cities that have lower real estate prices (or rental prices), lower local taxes, etc. I would try Mountain View - MVHS and LAHS are fantastic schools and score just as high as Gunn or Paly.

This won't alleviate your traffic concerns and people speeding through neighborhoods --- but at least the real estate prices are lower than PA and the school district does a nice job.

I would also recommend any of the towns that are served by the Fremont Union High School District (high schools are: Homestead, Fremont (Sunnyvale), Monta Vista, Cupertino, Lynbrook) --- again, great schools and lower real estate costs.

Good luck and I hope things will get better.


8 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Well, FWP, I for one enjoyed your tongue-in-cheek comment.


6 people like this
Posted by another mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

@crescent park dad

I think you missed the humor in the post by First World Problems. Seems to me that post was written with tongue in cheek.

But there are so many complainers on this thread (and virtually anytime is posted about the schools online) that your comments probably do apply to them ;-) Really, if Palo Alto is so bad and the school board is so bad, there are plenty of other cities nearby that you can send your kids.


5 people like this
Posted by First World Problems
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:10 pm

@ CPD:

It's important to read really, really carefully, and do your research. Palo Alto is a complicated town, and things are not often what they seem to be.

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Truthseeker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Truthseeker is a registered user.

I love Town Square. If only we could do this in person.


11 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I see discussion about the issues, and then I see people like @FWP who have nothing better to do than spend their time attacking those who are discussing the issues.

@another mom
"Complainers" per your definition are the ones who solve problems, protect the vulnerable, and make things better. Complainers you are behaving like, like FWP, seem to have nothing better to do than sit around attacking people trying to make our district better.

@FWP,
I don't know where you live, but my tax bill for our schools will amount to about $20,000 this year. We are not living high on the hog once the basic expenses are paid for. Your ridiculing others for being concerned about how well our schools manage our money is just not civil discourage and I wish the moderators were just a wee bit as trigger happy with trollish behavior like that as they are with hard-hitting but accurate commentary about the issues. People who post (repeatedly) just to deflect the conversation and who have nothing to add but whining about and attacking other posters should be deleted as the trolls they are.

When you have a school system in which dozens of employees are making more money than the governor of the entire state, the budget rivals the budget of the entire city, and there are literally no checks and balances on those expenditures and the performance for that money, that's a serious problem.

What I've seen in this district when there are problems is more sweeping under the rug (including the harm that does to the children and families involved) than solving problems. The people making those huge salaries have an incentive to prioritize the retention of exorbitant salaries and benefits over doing a great job for our kids. Teachers should be just as concerned - there have been casualties among them who were on just as terrible a receiving end as the families.


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Posted by First World Problems
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:47 pm

@First World Problems

I believe graft and corruption, leaders with unchecked power who are paid more and more without accountability, and failure of the populace to deal with it effectively is actually a worse problem in the third world.

The budget of the school district rivals that of the City of Palo Alto. If you look at how we spend our money in Palo Alto relative to other districts in the top 100 (not a few handpicked ones, but all of them), we're at the very bottom for actually spending the money on the students.

Also, you don't seem to understand how our schools are funded. Measure A, which you seem fixated on, is not the majority funding for our schools, it was a supplemental tax. The majority of our school funding comes from our PROPERTY TAXES. Our own contribution to the schools this year (I wasn't even bothering to include Measure A or other supplementals) will be on the order of $20,000. Many families will pay more.

If you would like to disagree about an issue, welcome to the discussion. Your continuing to criticize the rest of us for trying to discuss the article is getting tedious. (See the definition of "troll" in the dictionary.)

Weekly/Elena Kadvany,
Rather than letting us continue to argue about this, will you please consider doing a comprehensive story about district salaries, pensions, costs, and where our money is going to our schools/employees/administration? What really is the cost of administration in our district, and how does this compare with the most well-run districts in the top 100? When you cite salaries, please cite two numbers, the actual payment and pro-rated per annum so people can compare. (Because if you pro-rate McGee's salary per annum, he makes more than Barack Obama, and that doesn't include his housing allowance which now is the equivalent of about $100,000 a year.)

Another story that would be really helpful would be to take a look at how well we got what we were promised in the facilities bond -- you do realize that the oversight committee doesn't do that, don't you?


3 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:53 pm

@another mom,
"Really, if Palo Alto is so bad and the school board is so bad, there are plenty of other cities nearby that you can send your kids. "

That's a good point, "another mom". Please leave your contact information and make a legally-binding commitment to pay my moving costs and increased taxes (let's say for, the next 15 years?) I would be THRILLED to take you up on that. We don't make nearly as much as McGee does and won't have anyone giving us an interest-free loan either, so our mortgage will also be at a higher rate. Thank you for offering.

You seem to have missed the humor in Crescent Park Dad's post. Well said.


1 person likes this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:04 pm

What are we,

But Obama gets free rent. :)

Seriously, guess it was a mistake to sell off that house. I do think it is hard to buy right now anywhere near the median, which is what now? $2.4 million? McGee's probably in sticker shock like everyone else who comes here--I've seen people from NYC go into sticker shock here.

So, annoying as I find district management, I guess I just don't feel a lot of anger about this particular thing. Other things yes--oversized schools, a building spree that doesn't seem to include opening a 13th elementary or an alternative high school.

First World Problems,

So if we're not suffering from, war, disease, famine and death we're not allowed to notice problems or discuss what to do about them? In case you missed it, we had a group of kids kill themselves last school year. We have kids with high rates of depression and feelings of helplessness. We have a screwed-up public university system that no longer offers an affordable college education to most of our kids.

These are real issues and if they're beneath you, I suggest you find another thread that is more worthy of your regard.


Like this comment
Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Dear Fellow Onliners,

I applaud this well-reported article, and also cheer for:

Ms. Herrman's perceptive comments about teachers having different practices;

Ms. Emberling's cautions about a balance between standardization and innovation;

the fresh perspectives of student reps Grace Park and Emma Cole, as well as Gunn Senior Nina Shirole;

Ken Dauber's compassionate focus on student and teacher well-being.

It seems as if we still share a lot of worries about homework amounts, however.

The drawbacks of an across-the-board homework limit are that it can't be enforced (except with great hair-tearing for everyone involved) and is a one-size-fits-all that doesn't take advantage of teacher ingenuity, student idiosyncrasy, or differences between classes.

The community campaign Save the 2,008—now on the agenda for the Board's meeting on Tuesday, September 8th—proposes an ingenious homework solution that offers a nightly, high-tech way for students and teachers to "talk" with each other about homework amounts, giving students a safe and powerful voice and their instructors a way to listen.

It's called ClockTalk and you can learn more at: savethe2008.com

It could be built by our very own whiz-kids and would be an improvement over Schoology or any of the other clumsy, mass-marketed educational products that are designed to lighten Districts' wallets rather than meet the real-life needs of kids and educators.

Since ClockTalk asks a little more of our classroom professionals—who are always being required to do more and more, whether it's (as this article conveys) Professional Learning Communities, intra-school collaboration, inter-school collaboration, complete revision of their homework practices, and (at Gunn) complete revision of their lesson plans, unit plans, and semester plans at the same time they're being handed Common Core and a huge noisy building project—ClockTalk will tick along smoothly only if the five other measures of Save the 2,008, which bring stress relief not only to students but their teachers, are adopted too.

We want our kids to have buoyant spirits, and dispirited teachers cannot model this.

Come to the Board meeting on Tuesday, September 8th, speak up with us for Save the 2,008! The item comes up around 7 pm.

Sincerely,

Marc Vincenti
Gunn English Dept. (1995-2010)
Campaign Coordinator
Save the 2,008 — bringing hope to Palo Alto's high-schoolers


5 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm

@OPar,

If you prorate McGee's salary for a whole year, that's around $485,000, not including his housing and car allowance. That's being paid at a higher rate for the months he works than Barack Obama, in pure salary. McGee may not live in the White House, but $1M interest free loan in addition is not chicken feed and should allow him to buy something on such a generous salary. Again, he accepted the package, he's from an urban area and would have had to be a real idiot (which he is not) not to know it was expensive here. We just gave him a huge pay raise without having to call it that. Much as I like him, I don't frankly think he deserves that.

There were some city council members or some mayor in some small town in California who were making like $800,000 a year, and they got into deep doodoo for that (as they should have). Point is, the California governor's office has a committee the examines and re-sets the governor's salary periodically, especially during an economic downturn, they sometimes reduce it. The responsibilities of the governor are so much greater, yet he makes half of what our school district superintendent makes, and less than quite a few administrators in the district office that we could function quite well (maybe even better) without.

McGee's salary is closer to those misbehaving mayors than it is to the governor's of California. If that was the only way we were headed in the former direction, I wouldn't be so concerned. Trouble is, it's not, it's emblematic of a problem of stewardship in our district. That is NOT disconnected from a spirit of stewardship in performance and the impact on our kids.


5 people like this
Posted by Know Weigh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:54 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:30 pm

@Know Weigh -- wrong thread.


4 people like this
Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm

It looks like Super McGee is paid for 224 days of service, which is pretty much a full year. 5*52=260 weekdays - 10 holidays - 15 days vacation = 235, so another 11 days off, sick days, maybe a few more school holidays, etc. So it doesn't seem appropriate to annualize his salary for comparison purposes.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:56 pm

@What are we... -- regarding your $20,000 -- if that's your property tax bill, less than half of it goes to PAUSD. The PAUSD take is 44 cents per $100 of assessed value.


3 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:06 pm

@Do the Math,

If the Weekly does a story in which they look at administrative costs, they should provide two numbers, the pay, and the annualized salary. I'm sure they will do the fact checking to ensure which way of calculating is correct, yours, mine, or neither.

It's not really necessary to annualize McGee's salary to see that he's making disproportionate money compared to other work of much greater responsibility, including in expensive areas like San Francisco.

It would be one thing if he were just a highly paid figurehead, but we were careful in all other expenses, but that's not really the case. We have many, many employees making similarly large salaries. They just consider it part of the culture here, even while excellent performance for all children and families (especially where there are problems) is not. If you look at business research, paying TOO MUCH can actually be part of that problem.

An arms race in district employee salaries is a concern because, in addition to all the other issues, their doesn't seem to be any mechanism to pare away or reduce either salaries or administration. And Palo Alto appears to be way at the bottom of schools in the top 100 in terms of what we are spending on our kids.


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Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:10 pm

What are we:

Do the Math is right. School superintendents don't take off three months in the summer. Construction projects, hiring people, planning for the upcoming school year. All sorts of things go on. Yes, I think McGee gets a good salary, but I also think it's a hard job in this district. The last two superintendents pretty much fell down on the job. So far, I've liked McGee better than his predecessors, but it's still early.


1 person likes this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:17 pm

@OPar,

A lot of people who work in the public sector have a hard job. If you had to choose between superintendent and being the person who deals with the public at the DMV, I think most people would choose the former (and handle it better). And yet we are arguing about paying people who work for the City an $11 per hour wage.

I would feel a lot more generous toward the new Superintendent if he had dealt with any of the really tough personnel problems (and that fact that he didn't will come back to haunt a lot of families and students with mental health issues and maybe him). If anything, he's been worse about transparency and records requests than his predecessor. He's been more savvy with the media mainly. I do think he's a smarter guy. But he hasn't done anything to warrant what is essentially a major salary increase, just because he asked for more money. (I wish it was a tenth as easy to get a records request filled with this district as it is to get the board to hand over gold when administrators ask.)


1 person likes this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm

What Are,

Sorry, I missed the part where DMV clerks were making policy decisions. And I wouldn't hire the last DMV clerk I met as school super.

There's a lot more decision-making to be done as the superintendent and a lot more is weighing on it. So, I'm all for arguing over what decisions he's made as super or what he needs to do. I'm just not that outraged over his salary. Nor am I surprised he's having a hard time finding a house for $1.2 million (80 percent mortgage/20 percent down)


3 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:36 pm

@OPar,

Our school board members are involved in setting policy for our district, and they make exactly $0 each with no housing allowance (and no health benefits).

You're missing the real issue which is that we already had a contract with him that he agreed to. That contract in itself is the result of a process by which our district spends more and more for administration with no process to reduce or pull back. You have now repeated yourself numerous times that you have no trouble with paying McGee, I got that, and paying him the equivalent of about 10% more salary just because he asked.

But it's troubling to anyone who has ever fought for important school programs or teacher raises (or full-time hours) or important (and promised) measures involving student health and safety and been told we couldn't do it because of money, less money than this. I don't look at this in isolation -- it's troubling that we quite literally have no mechanisms for wiser stewardship of our resources, for prioritizing expenditures.


5 people like this
Posted by green mom
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:13 pm

Disgusting! no wonder the city is a mess,and the projects stuck.... everybody eating each other alive, what happened to our common goal? our children? improving the schools? will this cannibalism lead us anywhere? Are all these forum members adults? the parents of the Palo Alto children? Lets get down to the real bussiness, how to improve the moral around here...


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:29 am

Look at the bright side -- we're deploying our own tax dollars to further inflate our residential real estate market.


4 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:56 am

@musical,
Our real estate prices ride with the quality of our schools. We can only ride so long on a reputation based on eroding reality. We have had more than one suicide cluster. Last year, around fifty students were removed from school and taken to hospitals for mental health care, and two hundred at one school were on suicide watch lists. (Paly, which already has a block schedule) I don't think much was really done to truly change things. Administrators were only willing to address some things,not others, and those things they were willing to do were strikingly ineffective at stopping the problem the next time. All the kids are already talking about how stressed they are.

Take heart, though, if that is your concern. Sometimes very expensive areas have high prices because the quality of life is really high, but everyone sends their kids to private school.


10 people like this
Posted by MiddleSchoolQuagmire
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 29, 2015 at 6:34 am

@what Are We - I agree with your post immediately abov. The suicide cluster is a PROBLEM.

But from a priority standpoint, Admin pay is an expense, not a problem.

Interest on the extra 500k at PAUSD rates costs about $25k./yr. sure it was not in his contract, sometimes you gotta suck it up and support your employees when conditions change.

It's an expense, not a problem.

Problems are :
- suicide cluster
- test and project stacking
- Jordan (engagement, teacher bullying, consistency, English)
- low innovation rates

Like, literally it has taken 5 years to solve the problem of too much homework. And it is still only partially implemented. How is that a pace of innovation anyone can tolerate?

When Mr Vincenti talks about teachers needs for individuality and innovation differently across different classrooms, isn't that just a stalking horse language for "we aren't going to address the big student problems. Teachers value their own discordant approach over student needs"

There is a total rejection of authority, of the students mental health, of the community priorities, of the board.

The PROBLEMS above aren't being solved because teachers don't value and priorities them.

THATS a PROBLEM. In such an environment, I wouldn't worry about expenses.

Let's look at test stacking objectively as an example of a PROBLEM:

- known from surveys since at least 2010
- in that 5 yrs, there have been ~ 6000 man hrs spent in teacher collaboration between Paly and Gunn.
- if this were an item of discussion and innovation even 5% of their time, we should have seen a dozen proposals.

Let's face facts: they ain't discussing our students #1 cause of stress. Teacher innovation and collaboration is spent figuring out how to avoid Schoology and homework policy, not spent solving real problems.

All our problems follow similar story arcs.

Admin pay?

Pffh - that's nothing compared to your real problems.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 8:08 am

The real problem about student stress is the college application process.

If this could be changed from the top, then there would be less need for the cut throat environment the schools have to play into to get the top dogs into the top colleges.

If the college application process was something more like the UK where eligible students were placed in universities in an orderly manner according to their preferences and results, there would not be a dog eat dog mentality for students to beat each other. If students did not have to beat each other the teachers could actually teach all the students and give as many As as the students were worthy of them.

PAUSD could be leading the way in protesting the college application process.


7 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 29, 2015 at 10:21 am

@Resident: College apps are a problem but that's not going to change overnight.

There is severe grade deflation in PAUSD. Our "B" students are "A" students at public schools elsewhere (in the country, not at surrounding private schools). Grade deflation is affecting our college acceptances. Colleges view the SAT/ACT scores/school profile and understand that the students are bright. Grade deflation leads to parents paying for tutors even in easier classes, just to guarantee and "A" grade. Some teachers only distribute 1-3 "A"s per class when most of the students in the class are capable of "A"s. What is so wrong with distributing more "A"s to deserving students if they do the work? Why is our curriculum more difficult than other public schools? Because the teachers know our children are more intelligent. There are certainly ways to teach children well without stressing them out, and there are some at Paly who understand this.

I grew up in Palo Alto and graduated from Paly and it's clear that there are more intelligent children in Palo Alto compared to other public schools. I moved to PA in elementary school from an East Bay, working class city which had a reputation for good schools. In that school, I was in the gifted classes, won academic competitions, teacher's pet. When I moved to Palo Verde, I was no longer a star, but just a regular student. Palo Alto has been long known for its excellent schools and people move here for the schools, so most of the children are more intelligent/capable of success. High rent/mortgage costs lead to more filtering.

Compare our children to children in the Midwest public schools, where we lived for 6 years and our children attended "good" schools, and it's night and day. Clearly, our children would be earning 4.2 GPAs in their high schools while they struggle to earn "A"s in PAUSD.

Yes, these are anecdotes and generalizations and there are intelligent people all over America, but the filtering of the Palo Alto residents cannot be denied.


3 people like this
Posted by What are we teaching our kids
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 29, 2015 at 10:45 am

@MiddleSchoolQuagmire,

While I agree we have problems, you are being short-sighted about how different things are related. Of COURSE expenses are related to student services. We just got through an election in which we were told the money was needed for our students' mental health, to pay for employees who were desperately needed, and that something like 70 teachers would be laid off if we didn't approve it. You can make excuses about an individual increase in salary just because someone asks, but it's indicative of a culture in which our money is not under great stewardship, and that has consequences to our children.

Look at your own list. You cite "low innovation rates" as a "problem". To quote from a book (one of MANY that cites copious research on the subject) "Everything is Obvious - Once You Know the Answer" by Duncan J. Watts:

"A number of studies, in fact, have found that financial incentives can actually undermine performance." The writer in particular points out in the same paragraph the connection between overdoing financial rewards and "hampering innovation". And further in the same page, cites circumstances we all remember of high school teachers cheating on tests BECAUSE OF the financial incentives. He also points out research that found that no matter how much we have, we always think we deserve more (but that when we get more, it doesn't improve the quality of our work). In a school district that exists to educate and serve children, there have to be checks and balances, or this will result in PROBLEMS, from abuse of power, from misusing resources.

It would be less troubling to me if I hadn't seen so many PROBLEMS in our district in which the proposed SOLUTION was rejected because of money, in some cases, far less money than was given out here, for no apparent benefit to our students at all.

The fact is, overpaid people are much LESS likely to stick out their necks to solve PROBLEMS, if that is your concern. If it was just McGee, but we otherwise had a great system for keeping useless and expensive (and sometimes pernicious and hurtful) administration from gobbling up the resources that would otherwise help our kids, I would say fine. But we don't. We don't have anything. The results are inevitable, including real consequences to our kids. Having employees in key positions who are burnishing their resumes and have every incentive to keep a higher and higher salary rather than serving our kids best, even when it's hard -- that's a PROBLEM. (Not saying that's McGee, I'm pointing to the larger problem.)


4 people like this
Posted by MiddleSchoolQuagmire
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 29, 2015 at 11:22 am

Fair enough. Let's put money to work for us rather than against us:

No raises until the problem list is solved.
No new tenure until the problem list is solved.

Teachers want to innovate? Fine. There are your goals. Innovate.


8 people like this
Posted by Skelly is laughing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 1:40 pm

From Mom: "I grew up in Palo Alto and graduated from Paly and it's clear that there are more intelligent children in Palo Alto compared to other public schools."

Assertions like this border on delusion.


5 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm

outsider is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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