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Parents picked for district language committee

Original post made on Oct 18, 2007

The Palo Alto school district has selected four parents to participate in the Foreign Language in Elementary Schools committee.

  • FLES committee parent bios

    Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 18, 2007, 2:49 PM
  • Comments (6)

    Like this comment
    Posted by Parent
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Oct 18, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I truly wish the members of this committee good luck and sincerely hope they can do better than the AAAG and HSTF. I would also like to know more about who the other members of the committe are, not just what they do but names please.

    Like this comment
    Posted by interested
    a resident of South of Midtown
    on Oct 18, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    If possible, I would like to have the names of everyone else on the committee, names and jobs, also, please.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Parent
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Oct 19, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Considering the amount of interest that there is in FLES, I am surprised that we have not heard more about this. Were there many people who applied and did not prove successful? Do we feel that this is a good group of people? I think Simon Firth was interested in being on this committee, does this mean that he was not chosen? Do we know if any of these people were pro or anti MI?

    Like this comment
    Posted by Simon Firth
    a resident of College Terrace
    on Oct 21, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Since I'm mentioned here, and as a point of information I can confirm that, yes, I did apply and that no, I was not asked to serve on the committee! I saw in one report that some twenty people offered their time -- a number I expected to be higher, frankly.

    For what it's worth, I don't think stances on MI pro or contra ought to have made a big difference here (and I have no idea whether they did). The task of the committee isn't to argue for FLES over MI, or FLES in addition to MI or anything else--it's simply to come up with a viable FLES option that the community and the BOE can then consider when setting priorities next year.

    When that day comes, I personally hope that the committee will have found a clever way to offer FLES that works practically, financially and that fits elegantly into the progression of language offerings that the district offers K thru 12.

    I do think FLES is really important. My stance on MI has always been rooted in a sense that it’s fundamentally unfair to offer elementary students significantly different curricula based on luck; and from the feeling that languages should been seen as core competencies rather than curricula frills. I know the latter in particular is not something upon which everyone agrees but I get the strong sense that ever more parents and educators believe this to be the case, rather than fewer.

    With FLES, I hope, we'll return to the elementary model that has stood the district well: that although the methods of instruction may vary, all children get to study the same subjects in all elementary schools. I think that parents would be very happy with the different outcomes in terms of competency that the two language models – immersion and FLES – offered their children, especially if they saw how each fit into the structure of further language study in middle and high school.

    Because I believe in the fairness of that model I think it is really important that we get a viable FLES program in place soon. Without it, I fear, a culture of lucky winners and embittered losers will continue to corrode an educational community that will need to be united if it’s to raise the support (and money) necessary to successfully navigate the challenges it faces over the next five years.

    So I, too, wish the members of the committee good luck with coming up with an exciting, and affordable FLES proposal.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Parent
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Oct 22, 2007 at 2:50 pm


    Thanks for your response. I for one, am sorry that you were not chosen. I really like what you have said on the subject before and hope you are still able to stay on top of what is going on.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Simon Firth
    a resident of College Terrace
    on Oct 23, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Thanks, Parent -- I'll try!

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