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Important PAUSD Vote on January 9th

Original post made by Jamie Maltz, Charleston Gardens, on Oct 31, 2006

Please be aware that the results of the Feasibility Study for the Mandarin Immersion proposal have been moved up by the District Staff and will be presented to the Board on December 12th. The Board Vote on MI has been scheduled for January 9th.

Please note that there will be no board meetings between those two dates for public comment. The time between the presentation of feasibility study and the final board vote is almost entirely HOLIDAY time, with school schedule resuming on January 3rd.

If the public is interested in the results of the feasibility study and/or would like to comment on the Mandarin Immersion program, they should
a) plan on attending the December 12th session and the January 9th board session. Normally held at 7:00pm at 25 Churchill.

b) please send letters, emails or phone calls to the board if you feel there should be more time available for community input between the feasibility study presentation and the final vote.

For the sake of transparency, and to avoid the appearance of trying to railroad this important decision through under the community radar, I would like to see a Town Hall Meeting forum scheduled in January. I assume improved public awareness is something most sides of this issue could support.

Jamie Maltz

Comments (5)

Posted by Anybody Listening?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2006 at 3:01 pm

So I guess no body notices, or cares, that this is more of the same from the district staff.. The fact that they are manipulating the schedule for this to occur during a time when nobody will be listening or engaged in school issues, is very typical of the vast level of respect that MC and MC have for the community they 'serve'.

The feasibilty presentation is on 12/12. There are less than 3 days before the holiday break, and 3 working days after the holiday break, before the scheduled FINAL DECISION on MI, which has now been moved up to 1/9. There are no board meeting schedule between. I guess they could really care less about the community input on this matter.

(My goodness people, even if you agree with the program, you MUST disagree with this tactic. Next time it could be YOU at the wrong end of MC's pet project.)

Well, thank goodness this is a program that fits squarely within this district's TOP PRIORITIES. There will be no VALID community objections to this program anyway. They could really have just spared us all this pesky community dialog (woops monologue), and just let us know there was nothing that could be said, no evidence that could be shown, that would impact their decision.

Posted by Pauline
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Nov 3, 2006 at 1:41 pm

I agree. It looks bad for the "sneakiness" quotient. This wasn't even a publically announced change in newspapers and e-news and through the schools. It has just appeared out of nowhere.

I tend to believe that folks mean well and just goof up, but this sudden, unannounced departure from the schedule that we have all known about and planned for over the last 5 months...well, I am starting to wonder if there is a pattern emerging here. Good grief, we all know that if you want to "bury" a news item you release it late Friday. By extension the time to get a "sticky" issue through is when our culture is traditionally occupied with the busiest time of the year.

The "trust" issue seems to be broader than just with the management team. I am losing trust rapidly that this process about MI is anything resembling "unbiased" on the part of the MCs ( Marilyn Cook and Mary Frances Callan). Nobody else schedules these agendas, as far as I know, so it looks bad.

If anyone involved in the agenda making process sees this, please pay attention, and schedule AT LEAST one meeting for public processing before the Board takes action. Maybe we should all write and ask for this.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2006 at 4:21 pm

Chalk another one up for the Sneakiness Quotient:

I understand that PACE is currently shopping for big name sponsors for a Delaine Eastin speech to happen in PAUSD in Palo Alto in November, to convince a fabulous school district like PAUSD to provide language education. This is another wolf in sheep's clothing, as PACE expects to parlay this into PROOF POSITIVE that Mandarin Immersion is supported by the community and all these big heavy hitter organizations. Well lets watch and see if these organizations step up to an actual endorsement for PACE's MI Proposal or if PACE tries to twist it in to this without their express consent.

(Support for language education does NOT EQUAL support for MI> Some believe PAUSD needs to prioritize, and if a language offering is part of our top priorities, then a language strategy to reach all children is needed.)

To their credit, I understand that (of ALL organization who are declining to support this PACE driven engagement,) that PAUSD has declined because of the controversial nature of MI, and the appearance that so endorsing would look like an endorsement of PACE. Good for them. But our League of Women Voters, and PTAs, etc.? What are they doing on this. Do they KNOW what they're doing on this?

Mountain View School District and Mountain View League of Women Voters is sponsoring this idea. Does this automatically imply they endorse PACE's MI proposal? Do they even realize the motives of PACE for pushing this at this time? How big of them to endorse the a speaking engagement in Palo Alto, regarding the spending of PAUSD funds, in PAUSD, on luxury programs.

Does Delaine Eastin support PACE's MI proposal for PAUSD?

And why so many outsiders interested in convincing PAUSD how to spend PAUSD tax payer dollar on PAUSD kids?

(I wonder if Delaine Eastin supports language education programs that reach across our communities elementary children in a way that gives equitable benefits to all children who need it or want it, or if she favors winner-take-all type lottery programs. I ~think~ she favors focusing on closing the achievement gap. I wonder if she thinks language education should be focused on that first (ie: English Language Learners) or if second language should be part of the core curriculum for all children in the State of California, or if it should be a wild benefit program only a few lucky kids get access to?

Maybe if anyone besides PACE is allowed to ask any questions there, someone will ask the sponsors and the speaker these questions.

Maybe the Newpaper reporters who cover our schools would be motiviated to learn more about if and where our state and local politicians stand on MI, if anywhere at all...

Posted by Matt Passell
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 7, 2006 at 10:16 pm

Make no mistake, in addition to Dr. Callan, most of the board has already made up their mind.

I spoke directly with Camille Townsend on this issue several months ago, and she said, in so many words, why would we spend all this money on a feasibility study if we weren't going to go through with it? Evidently she hasn't looked up 'feasibility' in the dictionary.

Mandy Lowell has told a parent that they either had to accept a school closure or a choice program. She told the parent that her school was in the wrong place. This pre-judgment puts to shame the Attendance Area Group's work. And don't forget that she originally abstained from the MI Feasibility Study vote, but only after there were three votes in favor already.

Dana Tom, after professing that the district should be run like a business, with stated priorities and strategic goals, then voted in favor of MI, even though neither choice programs nor language in the elementary schools appear in the PAUSD strategic plan. I've also heard that after initially opposing the location of a choice program within a 3-strand school, he is backing away from that position.

Posted by Concerned Parent in Barron Park
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Nov 8, 2006 at 9:19 am

I totally agree that the Board has already made up their mind. I can't believe that they have no interest in hearing what the public has to say about this topic. They are much more concernced about how they look, about what they accomplished during their term in office. There is so much going on in the District right now (communication and remuneration issues between district leaders and the management and the questioning of whether Mary Frances Callan job is secure) that I find it hard to believe the Board wants to ONCE again try to SNEAK this in and pass the MI plan. As far as I can see the Feasibility study was just a smoke screen to make us think they were doing do diligence on the issue. We really don't need another choice program in our district, what we need is to offer all kids an equal education. We should be studying how we can implement a language program in all of our neighborhood schools. A program that offers language to all of our kids at a time when they can easily absorb new information.

The Board should definately think about about a Town Hall meeting before they vote on the subject. These people are representing us - ACT LIKE IT!

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