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'They gave us our child back.' How nonpublic schools serve the education system's neediest students

Original post made on Jan 10, 2020

Twenty nonpublic schools in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties serve some of the education system's most vulnerable students when their public school districts can no longer do so.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 10, 2020, 6:55 AM

Comments (27)

17 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 10, 2020 at 9:12 am

Some students are not best served by being in a public school that seeks to save money off their backs, and instead give rich raises and benefits to administrators and staff.

Other, regular students can also be endangered by having students w relatively severe issues continuing to attend the public school, like the student who threatened to shoot up Gunn, for example, and apparently is now attending classes at Paly. What? Why? What about our students? What about staff? Or the student who was found to have sexually assaulted multiple victims, and allegedly attacked another one at Paly, but was allowed to continue attending school at Paly, even though administrators knew of his record. What? Why? What about our students?

Student safety is more important than inclusion, imv.

And overall student safety is more important than the district avoiding a lawsuit from these damaged students for removing them from campus, and sending them to an alternate school, imv. But wait, that would mean possibly spending money defending a lawsuit from those students' parents for moving their kids, meaning possibly less money for raises and rich benefits for administrators and staff. So much for overall student safety. They prefer to keep the money for themselves.


11 people like this
Posted by See Sth Say Sth
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 10, 2020 at 1:27 pm

The US K-12 education has been Led astray by the prestigious progressive educationists for decades; our public schools have deprived countless children of their future. Adults keep ignorant, or keep silent, at the anti-intellecualism takeover of America K-12 education. Therefore, all will have to swallow the bitterness of a dysfunctional K-12 education system.

The Stanford GSE faculty have been at the helm of pursuing, promoting, and implementing destructive reform math in California and across the nation. NCTE guidelines lure teachers into effortless, "child-centered" ELA teaching. Anti-intellectualism originating from Stanford's GSE and other education schools have hijacked American K-12 education. In response to declining test scores, PAUSD is hiring the most destructive educators to "reimagine" its middle school math. What a dark age for U.S. public education! What a tragedy for the disadvantaged kids who rely exclusively on school education!

Please read Web Link; Web Link; Web Link.


24 people like this
Posted by Elaine Hahn
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 10, 2020 at 2:53 pm

As a proud parent of an Esther B. Clark school alum, I can testify, first hand, on the life-saving, life-changing aspect of that school. The amazing staff at EBC work to help students learn coping skills and other skills they need in order to transition back into the least-restrictive school setting appropriate for each student. At least in the case of my child, he needed to be in a non-public school setting in order to gain the skills he needed to be in a more "inclusive" environment. EBC helped my son change his trajectory from one of depression and hopelessness to one of hope and gradual, continual success. Our family will be forever grateful that Esther B. Clark school exists.


14 people like this
Posted by DGSanJose
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Good information.

Would have been good to hear about special education for kids other than autism. Autusm gets the bulk of attention and resources, although there are many other conditions.


13 people like this
Posted by PAUSD was great for my kids.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2020 at 6:10 pm

My children, recent graduates of PAUSD and now in very competitive colleges, got an excellent k-12 education and were very well prepared for their college experiences.
My oldest just graduated and is doing well in the work world.

Not everyone's experience in PAUSD is like yours.


23 people like this
Posted by @pausd
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2020 at 7:32 pm

@ PAUSD,
I think you might be missing the point. The article isn’t slamming PAUSD. I also attended PAUSD K-9 and received a great education but my brain is typical. Neurotypical students need very different learning environments than special needs students. These non-public schools are a god-send for the students who need more than what PAUSD can offer for THEIR child. Many, many thanks to all who work in and advocate for special education. It really does take a village (or 10).

@DGSanJose,
I agree. It feels like the services for autism are overwhelming, which is wonderful, but hard when your family needs more than it can get for a different condition. We are at EBC for other issues, it’s actually not really for autism. Good luck to you.

~ Current EBC parent


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2020 at 9:37 pm

I’m confused about the mention of a mod-severe special ed program at Duveneck. It existed for 1 Year from 2018-19 then suddenly closed with little notice to the families who then were forced to move their special needs child to schools outside their neighborhood. Horrible. But, new director sounds promising ..


5 people like this
Posted by Eve Sutton
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Elena Kadvany and Sammy Dallal have created an informative, empathetic portrayal of special education in and around Palo Alto. Readers can keep this resource handy to expand their own understanding of students, families, teachers, and schools–– or to help newcomers.


27 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2020 at 1:17 pm

I'm always glad to hear when other families and children get what they need.
Our district could be serving such students, but unless an ethos of honesty, openness, and working with families can take hold, it will be just another window dressing we spend money on that actually hurts kids who need help.

[Portion removed.]

My kid didn't even need to be sent to another school, but needed honest evaluation and accommodations for common LD's. Although the district did an evaluation in early elementary school, they basically hid it and did nothing, and falsely claimed the problems were being handled privately.

Our family and our child were bullied and overtly harmed by administrators [portion removed] for their own reasons, who in turn made things horrendous for all of us. We have had to pay a lot of money for our child's alternative learning, and said child needs further evaluation and help to do well in college, but we're still afraid to approach the district because of the backbiting and retaliation. I see no evidence that they would be open and honest with us, and when I've made efforts to consider it and pull together records, I've had so many nightmares because of what happened, I stopped. I have called the new superintendent's office to make an appointment, but no one ever calls back.

Our district does really badly for kids who are what's called "2e" - not just those with autism, but those with common learning disabilities the children may be able to cover for, performing enough to advance with their cohort, but not nearly to their potential, and not getting the services or education they need to thrive later in life.

The damage to these kids can be lifelong. The district has a new dyslexia initiative, but seems to want (as is their habit) to only address new kids coming down the pike that they've never harmed, and to ignore other common learning disabilities like dysgraphia.

They have a duty to the kids in the district NOW, including those they know have been ill served. Most people don't sue, even in the face of the ludicrous evidence of overt malfeasance that employees keep throwing at your feet (laughably and tragically believing they are actually protecting the district through their further harm of students and illegal actions).

Ken, Todd, Jennifer [portion removed] -- you have a moral and legal duty to ALL children in the district, even if you don't like their parents, even if the district has done terrible things to them already. Turnover in the district is not a replacement for your proactive observance of the Childfind provision of the IDEA. Shame on all of you for making ridiculous excuses like "you can't boil the ocean." Sure, but you CAN do right by children who have been hurt by illegal and immoral behavior by employees of our wellfunded school district. [Portion removed.]




22 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Clarification:

"Our district could be serving such students IN HOUSE, but unless an ethos of honesty, openness, and working with families can take hold, it will be just another window dressing we spend money on that actually hurts kids who need help.


20 people like this
Posted by Stll hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Further clarification:
"
The damage to these kids can be lifelong. The district has a new dyslexia initiative, but seems to want (as is their habit) to only address new kids coming down the pike that they've never harmed, and to ignore other common learning disabilities like dysgraphia. "

No matter how many times things go badly when they thing they can just pretend there is a clean slate, that turnover solves everything, the district still behaves as if only they just pretend like they never did anything wrong and start anew THIS TIME things will all magically proceed in utopian splendor, and nothing will go wrong despite their never having come to terms with the need to develop a value of honesty, compassion, service, openness, and working with (and for) families. Predicating any effort on that flawed premise dooms it from the start. They never learn.


10 people like this
Posted by @ still hurting
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 11, 2020 at 1:31 pm

You need an educational advocate. Let me know if you’d like a recommendation.

Also, PAUSD has a horrible reputation for special education. You’d be better served in other cities like Los Altos. It’s worth getting an advocate to move districts or eat yourself to a NPS.


19 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2020 at 2:30 am

@@still hurting,

Thank you for offering. I can't afford an advocate. I had a lawyer for awhile but in the end, the cost wasn't worth it, and I regretted not having that money to put toward our child's education.

We can't afford to move, that's not an option, either. I'm afraid I don't know what an NPS is.

We need further evaluation, and some very remedial help at this point. I'm just not up to making my family vulnerable to the possibility of underhanded personal attacks like we experienced before, including against the physical health, emotional health, and academic future of our child. I could never have expected people who work for a school district to be so nasty and vengeful. Our first need is to protect our child.

I wish there were an impartial arbiter we could go to and bring all the evidence, and ask for the services our child needs now, but it's not worth getting in the sights of people who would actually overtly go after a sweet kid with a learning disability and overtly hurt them (or try to move board members who know about it and just ignore you).

I did keep OCR people up to date, but then despite my overtly stating that I did NOT wish to file a complaint, someone in the office opened one anyway and I had to close it (with someone in the district apparently crowing in a deliberate misinterpretation of what happened). I watched during the Title IX investigations but they never welcomed any complaints except sexual harrassment. The review of our special ed by that consultant was such a joke.

The effort fighting the district just wasn't worth it. In the end, we just needed to put our efforts (and limited funds) directly to support our child. At least we could try to heal emotionally from the institutional abuse and retaliation. Just the other day, this many years later, my child relayed a really disturbing story about how a teacher had leveled a serious threat and I finally understood why certain things happened. I think they realize that if they make your child feel unsafe and abused enough, you will probably leave.


19 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2020 at 6:16 pm

@PAUSD,
"My children, recent graduates of PAUSD and now in very competitive colleges, got an excellent k-12 education and were very well prepared for their college experiences. My oldest just graduated and is doing well in the work world.
Not everyone's experience in PAUSD is like yours."

Your comment is emblematic of why problems don't get fixed. The view that somehow the need to fix problems or that an ethos of identifying and fixing problems is somehow incompatible with a great school district ends up hurting students with special needs or problems. There is no such thing as perfection. A great organization aspires to do a great job solving problems rather than relentlessly covering them up and pretending they don't exist.

All the children who COULD have as good an experience as yours if they were afforded very simply accommodations, for example, are legally entitled to those accommodations. They are legally entitled to the district proactively identifying those problems and helping, rather than spending tons of money fighting families to avoid helping.

We want to be able to say the same as you did of every child who is capable of it. What if the district fought families to take away their children's eyeglasses, so that a whole bunch of kids who would otherwise succeed, aren't able to read, and end up with cumulative educational deficits throughout their schooling? If your children had perfect vision and thus got the best our district has to offer, how does their good experience bear on the situations of those who don't, except to remind us of how important it is to accommodate children where it is eminently possible to do so?

And what if there was a law requiring districts to be proactive when it suspects children need eyewear? This is a very close analogy to what has been happening with our special ed department. We have employees who would rather dig in on portraying children as irreparably blind (and destroying these children and their futures) than just taking responsibility for doing the right thing by them (often very simple). That is also a close analogy to what has been happening in our district.

The only way the district can honor its own vision to help every child reach their potential (and honor their legal and moral duties to all children), is if it begin to develop some compassionate, effective, proactive processes for helping and solving problems. Instead, they just keep acting like the only people they have to respond to are the tiny fraction of the wronged who sue, and that the way to handle problems is to keep starting with a blank slate and pretending those who were hurt do not exist.




17 people like this
Posted by Resident of Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 12, 2020 at 8:23 pm

As a parent of two sons on the autism spectrum, who graduated PAUSD, I have had nearly 20 years experience dealing with the system - anything from 504's (which were nothing but window dressing) to IEP's, special classes, non public schools, and reintegration back. I feel that the district has come a long way from only providing support for functional issues (handwriting, more time on homework), but hardly any for the emotional and social problems that are typical for the condition.

My younger son was initially misclassified with behavioral issues, despite an autism diagnosis. This led to eventually having him (mis)placed at Esther B. Clark. While a great school for some students, EBC had clearly no program or plan to support students on the autism spectrum, and he ended up spending much of his time in the "quiet room" (isolation cell basically...) and being punished. He eventually transferred to Achieve Kids, and stayed several years there. Achieve has been great and I will be forever grateful to their teachers, aides, psychologists and other support staff. They were able to help him to the point where we were able to transition back to Gunn around 10th grade.

The district high school education is a mixed bag. The special ed department at the school was generally quite supportive, and we were lucky to have a wonderful case manager there who stayed with him until graduation. Likewise some of the teachers were far more open to accommodate students with different learning needs.
But he school did not truly support integration, and I had to constantly advocate to get him services he needed. Socially he was isolated. The special ed students were sprinkled through the different classes, so there was little opportunities to make friends. The regular ed students were not interested in connecting with them, so my son was almost completely isolated socially during high school. He has not a single friend from PAUSD.

The district focus has been to get him to take and pass the required classes so he could get out of the system. Understandable given that his education is more costly than regular ed students, but disappointing, considering all the lip service being made on inclusion.
We were lucky that his case manager was fully committed and supported us along the way, but that certainly was not the case for the district office. For example, getting them to approve an additional year at the high school was a long struggle. It was clearly necessary for a student who cannot manage a full academic load, and struggling after transferring back from a non public school, where the focus was on behavior and social skills, and less on academics. But we got a lot of pushback until they finally agreed. I had the impression that the district either did not care or did not believe that a student transferring back from a non public school can or should earn a high school diploma, especially if it requires remaining an extra (expensive) year in school.

But by far the greatest failure of the system was in helping him (and maybe other students) transition to life after graduation. The focus of the district is to move them along and ensure they get either the a-g diploma requirements as quickly as possible, or transition to a post secondary non academic program, so they can graduate (and thus no longer be eligible for services - once they graduate, they are no longer entitled to costly services...).
As soon as the academic requirements for a diploma are fulfilled, you are out. Even if the students can't study or work independently. Teaching independence living skills is a far secondary priority compared to graduating them out of the system as quickly as possible.
So little to no vocational training, college transition support, etc., behavioral training, to prepare them to a life in a post high school world where school aides, and integrated support and services, are no longer offered. And little to no information on what is available out there.


15 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2020 at 10:22 am

@Barron Park Resident,

Thank you for sharing your story. One thing in particular really strikes me, and that is how hard you had to fight, instead of being able to use your energy to create positive solutions for your child and others. (At any point, did you experience the utter distrust of win-win solutions that we did?)

You sound like an amazing person, and it's too bad all of your efforts couldn't have resulted in changing things overall for the better. You shouldn't have had to constantly advocate to get the basics of what your child needed like that. I have heard from many people who didn't feel they were able to advocate the way their child needed, and legally they shouldn't have to.

We have long been living with the circumstance in this district of grossly uneven treatment, and seemingly special treatment for board members' kids and some parents (particularly those who can afford advocates and lawyers).

I am grateful for this article but do wish it didn't have to rely on a relatively well-off board member's experience. I'm sure Collins has never had to fight like you have for the basics since getting on the board. And at least it doesn't sound like you or your child were singled out for viciousness and retaliation for fighting, so at least that's a good thing (although no one should ever have to reach to something like that to say something good about a school district, i.e., at least THAT person wasn't gaslighted, yay!)


4 people like this
Posted by Rich
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2020 at 6:39 pm

My two children attended EBC about 15 years ago and greatly benefited from the experience.


12 people like this
Posted by @ still hurting
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 13, 2020 at 8:49 pm

I resonate with your response on a deep level. The force(s) that administrators use to belittle, traumatize, lock out, etc etc students and families in need should be illegal. Well, it is. But I digress. I’m going to assume you are in PAUSD but I have heard a nearly identical story in MVWSD as well. You are exactly right that advocates are incredibly costly in advanced cases such as ours and it’s simply not fair. Money talks, as it was pointed out in this article with Mr. Collins.
The only thing I caution you about is further trauma for your child from repeated actions by teachers and staff at school. When school is a terrifying place to go, students are further traumatized each and every day. To face trauma on top of the other disabilities they manage each day is nearly intolerable. I know the ripple effect to the family can seem even greater. Everyday I wait for my phone to ring wondering if something happened at school and if I need to go pick (him/her) up; I’m always on pins and needles while walking on eggshells wondering what’s going to happen next.
I don’t pass any judgement whatsoever if you say you can’t move; but even if you can get into a shared apartment in Mountain View in the LASD, you will not be met with the attitudes you are facing in your district office. There are decent districts, there really are. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. Trust me, I really, really do understand. You sound like an incredible parent.


2 people like this
Posted by Observations
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 14, 2020 at 9:01 am

Not being involved, but having read recent articles, my observations:
Some parents require of the school district special services; some demand mainstreaming. One reads periodically of complaints demanding each of these, so it must be hard to ever satisfy parents.
People move here to rent at a modest rate (sometimes) while placing special needs kids in our district. This is a very good deal for these parents, since we homeowners fund the fancy school district and special accommodations through our astronomical property taxes. You are very lucky people.
I know a special ed teacher in another large, relatively nearby district, and things are much better here.
What is to account for the massive rise in the # of students who are in mainstream ed but who get extra time on SAT?


6 people like this
Posted by Property Taxes
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:19 pm

A Board member may have said he moved to Palo Alto for it's Special Ed program, most families do not. Families who move to Palo Alto before their child is born do not move to Palo Alto for services, since they do not know their as yet unborn child will have a disability. Even if they know their child has a disability, they do not know they will need special education services before they are born.
Many people with disabilities do not need services. If children does need services, they may only need them for a short time. Districts try to catch and work with disabilities early. For example, it is very normal with children with autism to start school in a program to teach them skills, then mainstream into a neighborhood school by kindergarten.

Most services are only provided in a group lasting for 20 minutes a week. In a group of 4, that is 5 minutes a week of service for the child. Many services are available to all students, such as mental health services (most clients are not disabled), study skills and some social skills classes.
Most disabled students do not attend NPS schools. The vast majority do remain in their local district school. Another group attend a different school in the same district with a special needs program for part of the day, and mainstream into classes as much as possible.

It is unimaginable to think anyone would every move to Palo Alto to get a child placed in an NPS. The legal process required is so extensive, no one could ever say it will end up in an NPS school. A lot can change during this lengthy process. A child may respond well to interventions, they may improve as they grow older, they may end up with a teacher who "gets them", the new District school may have program. (Not all schools in PAUSD are equal, some have therapists at the school site 4 days a week, some only a therapist who drops in 1/2 day a week. Kids from certain PAUSD school without support staff do tend to have worse outcomes because of the inequity between PAUSD schools).

Never seen a PAUSD teacher or administrator who wants a child to be put in a special placement. It is never their goal. They try to make it work at the local level first. Even if a teacher were to push for that, there are many levels of review to ensure a children are not locked away for having a disability. It's the law.

One problem with the article is leaving the impression most NPS placements cost $15,000 a month. Most are far, far less, $36,000-$45,000 a YEAR is more common. NPS tuition is often cheaper than the cost of a full time aide and services in a PAUSD school.

Renters are not lower forms of life from home owners. Property taxes are included in their rent, making the rents higher. Although the home owner pays the taxes, the owner also benefits from the hefty appreciation in home values over time. Renters do not. PAUSD voters chose this system of school funding. If it is unfair to some, and I tend to think it often is, you can always vote it out and go back to taking payments from the state. I don't like paying taxes for other districts, but I also believe it is my duty to educate all children in the State.

The exception to all this are some (not all) Stanford properties. No one is blaming the parents living on Stanford properties with lower rents than they would get on the open Palo Alto housing market. Taxes not paid for schools on housing on Stanford land is unfair to those who do pay the taxes. This does have to be resolved.

In terms of school services and activities, each child is different. We don't complain about meeting needs for drama, music, art, sports. How many students are on a schools basketball or football team? School sports teams are not open to all students, and only a few benefit from District expenditures on it. Parents do also donate a lot of time of money to sports, but the district still pays for the coach(es), stadium lights, practice time, secretaries, equipment, etc. No one would every accuse sports or choir families of taking too much from the District or being "lucky". NPS and the disabled students make an easy target, being vulnerable and easy to blame for any District budget problem, accurately or not.


12 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:43 pm

@Observations,
"Not being involved"
Thank you for admitting that your opinions are not based on any direct experience.

"Some parents require of the school district special services; some demand mainstreaming. One reads periodically of complaints demanding each of these, so it must be hard to ever satisfy parents."

Or maybe, different kids have different needs, and sometimes the parents know better what they need than backbiting administrators?

My family pays through the nose to fund other people's children to go to our district, and I don't begrudge anyone who can't afford it, that's what public education is. I do resent being pushed out by illegal and traumatizing actions, and having to pay for the favoritism.

@Property,
"Districts try to catch and work with disabilities early. "

Districts SHOULD try to catch and work with disabilities early. They are legally obligated to, even if the parents say nothing. Ours does not. Where a child of a board member gets a special placement, our child's early assessment was buried and nothing was done, except to punish the child later as if the problems were the child's fault. In our district, people with the money for lawyers and who otherwise are favored get these things. The rest of us have lifelong wounds to nurse.


15 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:51 pm

@Property,
"School sports teams are not open to all students, and only a few benefit from District expenditures on it."

You make very good points. This is an interesting one -- Palo Alto has many homeschooled students (dozens that I know of, probably a few hundred all in all), and they pay property taxes, too. The City, not the school district, pays for middle school sports, pays for the after-school teen center, etc, yet the policies and opportunities favor kids in the schools and practically shut the independently educated ones out as if they don't exist. By the way, our district has an obligation to those kids' special needs, too. They don't even allow those kids to take standardized tests at district schools.


2 people like this
Posted by Support Public Schools
a resident of Addison School
on Jan 14, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Want the benefits of public schools?

Maybe go to a school.

btw: there are not Hundreds of home school kids in town. Provide a link to prove it.


14 people like this
Posted by A resident of Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2020 at 6:07 pm

@Obesrvations

You wrote:

“ People move here to rent at a modest rate (sometimes) while placing special needs kids in our district. This is a very good deal for these parents, since we homeowners fund the fancy school district and special accommodations through our astronomical property taxes. You are very lucky people.”

This is such an insulting and demeaning comment, that I don’t even know where to start. People move to the neighborhood that can best serve their needs and the needs of their children, as long as they can afford the rent and manage the commute - whether the child has special needs or not. True, some districts have less resources, and the services may be less comprehensive, but this directly results in worse outcome for the child with special needs. By that I don’t mean whether a child gets into their top choice teacher or class or college - this is about whether the child can Attend or graduate school at all. Of course any parent will try what they can to ensure the best outcome in that case - Whether they are renters, homeowners, or homeless - no difference.

I am both a homeowner AND a parent of a special needs child (born after buying my home, by the way), and I don’t begrudge any parent who makes the sacrifice to rent (Or buy) in the school district they deem best to serve the needs of their child. Incidentally, Palo Alto is probably not always the best - Mountain View and Los Altos may have better programs for some (or most?) disabled students.

Anyone who thinks that parents of children who have issues severe enough to merit placements in NPS are “lucky”, is clearly too insensitive and heartless to realize what challenges our families and children face. Do you seriously think any parent wants to put their child in a non public school or get expensive services to “milk” the system? Do you have any idea how many other options were tried and failed before families, teachers and other support staff finally make that decision? And once the child is in the non public school, the school district is still involved in the child’s education, and we all work to find a way to hopefully integrate them back to the home school. Non public schools have drawbacks - the child no longer attends school in the neighborhood, the population is too diverse to allow for high level academic program, so the academics tend to lag behind - making it hard for them to integrate back if they can, and other issues. These are truly last resorts.

At the end of the day, our children all will grow to be adults. Investing in the foundations early on can make the difference between a person who will never be independent and one who may be able to support themselves for the remaining 50+ years of their life post high school.



16 people like this
Posted by Still hurting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 8:21 pm

@Support,
“Want the benefits of public schools?
Maybe go to a school.”

Please do the courtesy of reading what I wrote before. A lot of us were pushed out and our kids not only denied the educations but were proactively HARMED by behavior of district employees. Would you tell that to a kid who was molested by a teacher while the district did nothing about the teacher?

As a local and taxpayer, my family is entitled to the benefits of the LOCAL schools but denied them.

Your post also seems to assume that homeschool and public school are two different things, they aren’t. The majority of people I know who homeschool locally do so through public programs, However, they don’t nearly have the financial support that kids in our local brick and mortar schools do. People accept the second class status because of the freedom, or because they have no other option if the local schools have traumatized their children and they can’t afford private.

The one group I am most familiar with has dozens of Palo Alto residents. It’s just one group. When the Weekly did a story on homeschooling, they interviewed people in groups I don’t even know about. There are several public homeschool programs that serve Santa Clara County. That’s another group that has dozens of students in Palo Alto. Many homeschoolers go to community college - based on observations of student numbers in local community colleges, there’s another large group, including many Palo Altans. I shared my observation, no one is counting because like you, they demonstrate zero care about kids who have been pushed out.

If the local school district were more open to supporting all kids, they would know.

And by the way, of the dozens I know, there are a disproportionate number of gifted boys with learning disabilities, “2e” students who were not only NOT getting what they needed from our schools, they were being harmed in various ways.



2 people like this
Posted by @hurting
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2020 at 6:56 pm


Dear Still hurting,

Thank you for sharing for experiences. I hope that your journey will present some corrections. Those who walked your way know the importance of shared insights and support.

FYI, your censored comment can be found (before being censored) on the page I dedicated on my blog to the ongoing censoring.
I copy and then post comments before and after they are censored (only a tiny sampling) here:
Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto before and after).

BTW, You are in good company. Here's sampling of censored quotes. I titled this blog post:
What do Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Miguel De Cervantes, and Shakespeare have in common? All were censored by the PA online.
Link: Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto twain Shaw Orwell have in common)

I hope you will see this comment, it will vanish soon.

Thanks again. Wishing you and yours all the best.
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Posted by Pauline Navarro
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:49 am

I just found this article. I am very impressed with the entire content, true to the spirit and the work that all our incredible staff INSIDE the PAUSD do as well as the work of the non-public schools. Extremely well researched and lovingly written. I have to thank Elena Kavany for being such a trustworthy journalist.

I also have to thank PAUSD. They showed a tremendous ability to absorb and usually extremely well manage and educate 3 very different types of children in our home, from one with Down Syndrome and Autism to othersevere emotional disturbances of several kinds; with aptitude levels from perpetually pre-K to, frankly, genius; with placements in various programs in and outside of district, and involuntary hospitalizations. We could not have asked for a better school district to be in, and thanked God every day that we accidentally landed here. Were there occasional blips? Yes. Occasional well-meant but very ill-said comments? Yes. Some cultural pressures components that were not the best for our kids? Of course. Everyone was human, after all, and mistakes and biases happen. The key for us was open, kind communication and teamwork with the incredible PAUSD staff. Our kids are grown now, and on their paths. Because of PAUSD, they could not have gotten a better start.


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