Families want Palo Alto schools to offer Hindi as a foreign language. The school district says it's complicated. | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

Town Square

Post a New Topic

Families want Palo Alto schools to offer Hindi as a foreign language. The school district says it's complicated.

Original post made on Jan 16, 2020

Palo Alto Unified parents are eager to work with the school district to offer Hindi as a world language at its two high schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 16, 2020, 9:24 AM

Comments (85)

47 people like this
Posted by Reality...
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 16, 2020 at 10:32 am

The reason this is "complicated" is because PAUSD is fully entrenched in serving its current employees rather than its community. Rather than staffing our needs, we sadly just serve the needs of the staff and the teachers' union.

On issue after issue, folks get flummoxed by PAUSD's communication and are puzzled by its motivations. Once you realize it's all about serving teachers, things get crystal clear. Why is PAUSD pretending we would need to invent new curriculum in-house? Why has PAUSD said the Hindi group would need to find a Hindi teacher ALREADY ON STAFF to propose it?

It seems to make no sense, until you realize it's all about serving the current staff and union. They matter more than the community and kids. Until / unless Palo Alto parents become as strong of a political force as the union is in the face of the board, it will stay this way.


14 people like this
Posted by community member
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 16, 2020 at 10:54 am

I am hopeful that this is a good sign for the future: "He said that the district is looking at more ways to accept credit for courses offered outside the district."

There are many great classes in various subjects being taught outside of our public schools. If credit for those classes can be applied for high school credit, that would be wonderful.

Unfortunately, they do not currently offer Hindi at Foothill. But at least it seems like the idea is being given some thought.


22 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2020 at 10:56 am

@Reality

This is just what is happening. The district is run by and for its employees. Parents and taxpayers should focus on passing bond issues and fundraising, not trying to interfere with the educational professions.

Seriously, this is a wonderful idea. India is very important to the world and Silicon Valley. I have personally recruited and worked with dozens of Indian engineers. They are well-trained and very practical. They also have a wonderful sense of humor and a unique and sympathetic view on Americans.

Indian language and culture are also closer to our own than one might think.


14 people like this
Posted by Reality...
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:11 am

@Community Member

I don't share you optimism in the least. In fact, the response you mention amounts to the district saying (essentially), "No, we won't look at meeting your kids' educational needs... but we will consider perhaps not actively standing in the way of you meeting them elsewhere."

I disagree that this is an attitude one wants from one's district and board. It's the usual spin one expects from Churchill.


59 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:15 am

@Reality - sure, spin your conspiracy theory. I'm sure it has nothing to do with things like: there isn't a single public high school in the US offering Hindi today; the need to offer a 3 year sequence, despite students dropping off while keeping above a minimum class size; that at low numbers there would be a single teacher with less than a full-time position, very difficult for staff stability and professional development. Don't believe those are real barriers? Sunnyvale and Fremont, two local towns with large, thriving Indian communities, don't offer Hindi in their high schools either.

The easiest thing in the world for the school to do would be to hire a casual instructor and offer a one-off class. But since they actually do care about the kids and their long-term success, they don't want to start something unlikely to be sustained.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:25 am

Isn't this what was said some years ago about Mandarin? Isn't this what brought us Mandarin Immersion? Isn't this what many of us said about setting a precedent for the future. At the time of the MI debate we were told that there would be a committee looking into FLES (foreign language in Elementary Schools) which of course never happened.

Now it is Hindi.

From my friends and acquaintances in the Indian community, many couples speak different languages and their only common language is English.

Basically now after these comments I am speechless (in English of course).


12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:34 am

I'm curious. Are there any Asian-Americans on the school district management team? Does the cultural background of the school district management limit their ability to serve the students in the school district?


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:41 am

@Reality - Nope, you are confusing things again. Mandarin Immersion is an elementary program; Hindi is about a high school elective program. So basically unrelated except for they both involve a language other than English. Both Paly and Gunn offer Mandarin, and did long before Mandarin Immersion was started in 2009.

And yes, there was a full FLES committee in 2007 - here's the article about their report to the board in Jan 2008: Web Link.


13 people like this
Posted by Reality...
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:42 am

@Community Member

Of course those are real barriers. Do you remember when they applied to Mandarin? This group seems very open-minded and willing to help work through them.

With any hostilities aside, I do feel that the pattern from our district of serving itself first is really clear across many many issues, and requires no conspiratorial elements. If the union wants something, no challenge or rule is too big an obstacle to take on. When they don't, no excuse is too small to seize upon.

That's my perspective across a lot of time watching PAUSD deal with many issues. Sadly, a growing fraction of the community feels this way. It's fine if you disagree. By the way, I'm not saying anyone is evil. It's just the momentum and local incentives of a bureaucracy, in my opinion.

One question -- Why on earth would there be ANY question about what you say the district is "looking into," that is, releasing kids from taking foreign language on-campus to take accredited course(s) elsewhere that we don't offer? Surely you would consider the needs of the teacher's union as at least a big part of why this may be problematic, no?


13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

[Post removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 1:25 pm

Dear fellow parents,

I am grateful for you taking the time and energy to try to pioneer something to enrich our kids' educations. I hope your efforts kick off a more open interaction between the administration and parents to help our district innovate on behalf of our kids.

Giving district administrators the benefit of good faith (which I know, is a LEAP of faith here), from the district standpoint, I think they don't want to have to juggle another ball after parents are done pushing for it. They don't want to have all the responsibility for another program without the kind of energy that you are displaying now coming from faculty or from a school to keep things on track into the future.

I think now is where we start to think about how to bring the benefits of independent education into our schools.

For example, San Jose has for over 30 years had a program that allows families to work with a district-based independent study educator to craft their own educations. The students can take up to 2 classes at the local school (and extracurriculars) without permission, and up to 4 classes physically at the local school with permission, but they don't have to use district curricula for independent study if the child would benefit from something else. The program uses state independent study laws; our district is already set up to create such a program with no need for board regulation changes.

The San Jose program only grants credit for courses in their catalog, but they will transfer in credit from outside WASC-accredited programs, too.

What about this idea? We create an expanded independent study program. Something mainstream instead of hush-hush and reeking of favoritism like our district has traditionally done. In the PAUSD version, we could allow students in the program to take as many site-based classes as they want (up to the district limit), while also allowing them to take new courses from WASC-accredited sources like Hindi, or online courses, as part of their school day.

If the district could set aside a physical space for some of these independent courses at the elementary, middle, and high school level, or even use Cubberley, and work with parents and STUDENTS over time to bring in new classes, improve old ones, etc, then the district won't have to deal with any of the overhead and personnel concerns it has now that make for reluctance to start a new Hindi program. Students could branch out in their learning in a way that doesn't add more time commitments. It would also be easier for them to take more advanced college-level work (with less time commitment) and do independent projects.

Students are really able to do far more when they have more freedom, with less time commitment. The world and the state of knowledge is changing rapidly. Why not let students and families bring in new courses in an independent study program that students here could avail themselves of for part of the day?

This would also make it easier for students to spend part of the day at a community college, where they have even broader course offerings. Having a program, not specifically only for one subject, but that allows families like these to bring in an evolving panoply of subjects, that meet the kind of quality standards that this Hindi program does, could better serve the diversity of our student population (and I don't just mean culturally). If this Hindi program remains strong over the years, it could be rotated out of the IS location and into a traditional classroom, and something else could take its place.

I think it's only a matter of time before our district is sued over how badly it serves (hurts) 2e students -- why not make a program that allows students more freedom in their educations, but that also removes any of the barriers to innovation that the district faces when it comes to incorporating a traditional new program?


38 people like this
Posted by Downtown parent
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 16, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Hindi? Then the District should start with Russian and Arabic in a first place.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Please don't assume some kind of conspiracy. This makes perfect sense:

>> "The district would also have to hire a credentialed teacher "with no chance of filling a five-period schedule," he said."

Hindi certainly makes sense based on the number of native/second-language speakers worldwide, which would place it roughly tied with Spanish ranked at number 3-4 after English/Mandarin at 1-2. But, to be fair to future students, the school district has to have a sustainable program. What happens if there are only 6 students for Hindi III ? Probably OK with the parents and the students, but, the district can't afford to fund a full program for 6 students for every language. There are high startup costs, so the sustained demand has to be there. For example, I'm surprised that neither Paly nor Gunn offers Russian and/or Portuguese, for example, which also have both a lot of native speakers, and, a lot of native speakers here. I guess the demand is not there. BTW, demand from parents is not exactly the same thing as demand from 18-year-old students. ;-).

Regardless, good luck.


18 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study Rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 2:37 pm

@District parent

If families wanted to bring in those additional languages in the independent study model I have just proposed, then it would be possible without the kind of resource commitment and overhead that the district is worried about when it starts a traditional new program.

Having an independent study program like I have just proposed would allow the district to add and subtract outside vendors or even online courses where there is need on a yearly basis. For example if there are 5 students in the district who want to take Arabic, then if they ssign up for the independent study program, the district could allow them to take an accredited online course for one of those languages or a course at one of the community colleges or a course online through college. If year over year there are more people who sign up to take Arabic, then the district could consider offering an on-site traditional program the way these parents might be able to do with Hindi, or if there is enough sustained interest, then the district could offer a traditional program.

Having an independent study program that allows students to lead with what works best for them, and allows the district to support and see what works without any significant costs. They can see what deserves traditional model support over time. The district can innovate, without having to invest in the overhead they have to put into a traditional program. It also allows students to meet their educational needs and interests as they arise. Students can design “one-of” courses.


82 people like this
Posted by Hebrew, too, please.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm

My family has spent a lot of money teaching our children Hebrew. I would like the public schools to teach Hebrew to save me money too, though I have not asked for that.

My neighbor speaks Farsi at home and has spent a lot of money on lessons for her kids in her native tongue. She says she'd like Farsi taught, though she has not asked for that.

In the words of Mick Jagger, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might get what you need." What do you really NEED? Remember that money spent on Hindi, Farsi and Hebrew is money that will not be spent on other things we NEED. The budget and staff resources are not infinite. What would you be willing to cut to get what you want? Can you get broad consensus to support that? Think carefully about this question.

Wants and needs are very different things. When requesting public resources, consider what may need to be cut to give you what you want. Consider the overall public good.


44 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 16, 2020 at 3:24 pm

We are in the USA and should be focusing on the English language. As a taxpayer into the school system I expect that the money is spent on making sure that all students in the public school system get the same education across the board.

There are core classes that all are suppose to take in order to graduate and there are elective courses. Those elective courses are to prepare the students for work or college acceptance. We are not suppose to politicize the education system so this whole topic will require a lot of thought as to where they are going with it. If no colleges will accept that language as an accreditive class then why are we spending money on it? The education system is suppose to prepare the students for college acceptance in an American college.
People who have a strong feeling about this should be directing their students for an educational off-campus class that is not supported by taxpayer money but by the donations of the parents who support those off-campus classes. Trying to use the taxpayer funds to support off-topic items should not be allowed. That should be supported by the funds provided by a local church.


28 people like this
Posted by kp
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Foreign languages should be offered as an elective, no question. But all of our students should be learning to read, write, spell, punctuate and speak in English - first and foremost!
Second languages are not written (thank goodness) on our street signs! Which also makes me wonder why we have drivers study books in all these languages other than English?!? Makes you say "Hmmmm"!
Whatever, my kids are done with PA schools, and we are done with PA altogether.
Good riddance Shallow Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by Interesting
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 16, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Interesting fact is that I understand education, particularly high school and third level education is all through English!


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 4:05 pm

Posted by Hebrew, too, please., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> When requesting public resources, consider what may need to be cut to give you what you want.

That is a good thought. Hopefully, students are studying some language(s)-- I think it is a public good if students know diverse languages. The top 10 in worldwide speakers are, roughly in order,

English, Mandarin. Hindi, Spanish, French, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, and Malay/Indonesian.

You could also make a good case for adding numerous other languages, a few of which are or have been available in PAUSD before: Latin, Greek, Hebrew; Urdu, German, Swedish, Italian, Swahili, Wu, Yue, etc. But, as stated before, for any language, the sticking point for the district is sustainability.


47 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Hindi?!? Uh, no in this country, we speak, read and write English. If parents want language immersion classes for their children in various languages, i.e., Farsi, Hindi, Hebrew, Chinese, etc., then they can pay for them themselves. We don't need to be able to speak Hindi, Farsi, etc,, to get a job here in Silicon Valley or in this country...just a good command of the English language. I would be very unhappy if my taxpayer dollars were spent on language classes in our public schools for languages not predominantly spoken or needed for survival in this country.


13 people like this
Posted by Eva Dobrov
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 16, 2020 at 4:24 pm

A complicated issue which is sure to have a lot of opinions. In our house my boys are bilingual in Russian and we pay a tutor to come every week. I wish Gunn offered Russian as a foreign language, but it doesn't. Given the current state of world politics a good case could be made to add Russian. Plus, there is a decent sized Russian community now in Palo Alto. However, I’m not holding my breath as these additions are very difficult and a case can be made for other languages too.


9 people like this
Posted by Historian
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm

The Indian culture is based upon speech & debate and bluntness, unlike the American language with is interpretation and reading between the lines. Don't expect this request to extinguish.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2020 at 5:08 pm

Posted by pearl, a resident of another community

>> no in this country, we speak, read and write English. If parents want language immersion classes for their children in various languages,

You will be pleased to know that, for example, UC schools require English proficiency-- not to mention that most classes are in English.

>> if my taxpayer dollars were spent on language classes in our public schools for languages not predominantly spoken or needed for survival in this country.

You will be displeased to know that many degrees at many US Universities require some proficiency in another language other than English. For example, your taxpayer dollars are spent at UC and CSU and community colleges on foreign languages. Here is the list of qualifying languages and classes at UC Berkeley:

Web Link

I believe that you can be exempt if you show proficiency on entry in Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin, or Japanese. (Obviously don't count on my unofficial list, double-check for yourself.).

(Probably the major deficit from any time during the last 400 years is that Greek offerings seem a bit thin compared with the old days when Classics were a bigger presence. Latin is still there.)


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 16, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Why is German ONLY being offered at Gunn? Why is it not offered at PALY as well?
It's baffling why 2 high schools in the same district are so vastly different.
Forget common core curriculum, but one school offers middle school science trip to Marin County and the other middle school doesn't.

One high school offers German but the other doesn't.


14 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 16, 2020 at 5:47 pm

What be the handiest language today and why not have some choices and start kids in first grade. There are so many resources!!! There are plenty of high quality grammar programs that are online UC accredited and then they could have classroom time with labs and speaking. They may even be able to pass the SAT subject area tests for languages.

Lets bring Latin back! At least the classic stories and some root words and grammar. Kids are really lacking in a foundation that lends itself to language aquisition in middle school and up without very basic grammar. There is none.

COMPLICATED is the word they use often now. It really means that they are done listening and you are not making sense. It is the new, 'Thanks for sharing" but even ruder.


9 people like this
Posted by local_alum
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 16, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Do I remember correctly that Russian was taught at Wilbur back in the late sixties?
( I think Mrs Sradanovic became a local Raging Granny.)


52 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Why do these people feel so entitled that just because they speak a certain language at home that the public school system should incorporate a curriculum to teach it to their kids. There are a lot of different languages out there. Sorry, but Hindi isn't that enticing to learn for many people who are not Indian. Nobody is making a scene about teaching schools teaching their kids Hebrew or Russian because it is more convenient for them. These parents don't have to spend a lot of money or time sending their kids to private language courses anyway; they make it sound like a necessity. A lot of families out there don't have the resources to do that and therefore teach their kids at home or speak the language at home.

The most irritating thing about this is that the main argument that these parents are giving is basically: I'm Indian, we speak Hindi at home, and I want you to teach my kids Hindi so that I can save money and time driving them to classes. It isn't a fair argument. Hindi just happens to be their native language, and if their native language was something else, then they would be fighting to have that language taught at the public school level.


44 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2020 at 7:52 pm

"a Gunn High School freshman, travels to a Hindi school in Fremont every Sunday for a three-hour course in the language she's been learning since kindergarten."

Poor child. How awful it must be to have to travel for 20 minutes to go to a class for a few hours that your parents voluntarily picked out because they want you to learn their native language.

I mean, seriously? I can't get over how privileged these people are. When I was in high school I had a part time job for more than a few hours, multiple days a week. I don't feel sorry for these people at all. They can afford to send their kids to expensive language classes and are still complaining about how they want more convenience and how things should be easier and better for them. Don't they realize that not everyone is Indian and that people have other points of view on this?


8 people like this
Posted by Historian
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 16, 2020 at 11:26 pm

@Resident: You obviously have not been through the PAUSD system. Every school is different. Elementary schools have different field trips, including overnight ones, some for a week, some overnight, Walter Hays, not at all. Gunn has a different bell schedule than Paly, they offer different classes. Paly adopted a new, terrible world language program that Gunn did not.

German is offered at Gunn but they only open a class if enough students sign up for it, they are not going to allow only a few students in a class. No one is interested in the German language these days.

And by the way, I am Chinese. Why do they teach Mandarin in PAUSD instead of Cantonese? We were here first. There is no rhyme or reason, except that the squeaky wheel will succeed here.


15 people like this
Posted by Matthew McClain
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 17, 2020 at 12:06 am

I feel that what is missing is a clear statement from the Board of where the bar is, and any effort to ascertain whether the Hindi advocates are there or close.

No one wants massive demand without a program. Just as no one wants a program with insufficient enrollment, and kids stranded on the path to meeting their college requirements. The effort to discern honestly where Hindi is on this spectrum seems lacking.

For example, if we conduct a survey seventh-grade families, and 1/6 of kids / families say they would enroll in Hindi, it should be a clear yes! If it is very low, but everyone wants Russian, or Farsi... then sobeit. Maybe all of our families and kids ARE super keen on Spanish on its own merits. If only we knew.

Transparency and responsiveness to community demand are key... and obvious... and missing...

This type of engagement with community should be our "matter of course." Yet we see nothing of the sort.


19 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study Rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2020 at 1:35 am

@Matthew Mcclain,

Why should we have to pick and choose, though? Why can't the kids who want to take Russian take Russian, and the kids who want to take Hindi, take Hindi? Why can't we let the kids choose more (in most schools, any) languages earlier than high school?

If the constraint is that every course has to look just like the chemistry and English classes conceived in the industrial revolution (as we still have today), then there is a limit to what they can do. But the universities require two years of a language and prefer two languages when the students apply to college -- why shouldn't those be languages most relevant to students' lives?

Again, if we incorporate principles of independent education, we can do this, and it can be cheaper than starting a program even for one language. You are right, no one wants a program without demand and vice versa, and things will change from year to year. Why not set up a system that by its nature has the flexibility and choice baked in?

It's called a school/independent study hybrid, and other districts have done some form of it for decades, it's nothing new. The district already allows some favored few to do some form of this already. As usual, its those who have an in or have lawyers. Why can't we just allow all students to benefit from the district offering such a program?


7 people like this
Posted by local_alum
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 17, 2020 at 2:03 am

Given our Palo Alto ethos, we should teach endangered languages before they go extinct.


12 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2020 at 8:05 am

So, for example, DTech High School, a public school on the Oracle campus, allows students to leave early for outside classes they don’t teach there, like advanced math or language. They work independence into the education.

We can’t do that because our head of secondary instruction has a fixed traditional mindset about school and is aghast if you suggest real independence.


16 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2020 at 8:17 am

Another example, why not have adult school classes at Gunn,too, and let community members and gifted younger kids make up the difference when there aren’t enough high schoolers in a given class? To the poster above - I took Cantonese through a junior college years ago, at a high school site, that’s exactly what they did. Would love to take it again.

Why not let Gunn kids take courses that are less than 5 credits each but teach the language better over a longer period of time? The community based courses could be accessible to everyone and help our high schoolers have contact with a greater variety of ages and know that learning can be rewarding even if it’s fun.


10 people like this
Posted by anonymous2
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 17, 2020 at 11:46 am

@ use independent study rules.


I agree about secondary instruction staff. Told them that Foothill had upper level math classes and the teachers were credentialed and would teach at the HS sites as Los Altos does. They kept non credentialed teachers from Canada college and make the kids take an evening class instead. Her excuse was that this is the way it has always been done. This is a program in cement in a changing world. The computer science program is so far behind and the math is such a mixed labyrinth that kids have poor footing unless they have tutors. They spent a bit of time setting it up and it is above pay grade to change or look outside bubble. We regret placing our children in lock step land. D tech, homeschool, charters etc. seemed difficult, but filling in missing information with tutors and finding ways to prepare for SAT and college on the side should have happened in school, not AJ tutoring. New parents, you have been warned. Their reputation and high performing kids are due to parents and Aj tutoring and it takes away too much time after school.


11 people like this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2020 at 11:29 pm

Apropos the comments from "Pearl" and "kp": I you speak two languages, you are bilingual whereas if you speak one language you are American. It seems a shame that foreign language instruction doesn't start sooner than high school, since the earlier one starts to learn a language, the better.


4 people like this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2020 at 11:30 pm

If...


6 people like this
Posted by Trygve Dillon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 18, 2020 at 1:53 am

[Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Not a bigot
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 18, 2020 at 7:22 am

[Portion removed.] The truth is that people of Indian origin represent a substantial percent of the local population. For those of you who cant digest that fact - get over it. India represents the largest technology partner for Silicon Valley. A knowledge of Hindi and Indian culture is mandatory for a good working relationship with colleagues in India. This is not about Indians wanting to get Hindi as a freebie. It is about realizing that understanding how to work with India is a critical requirement for our kids success in the future, especially if they wish to have a career in technology.


18 people like this
Posted by Escondido parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2020 at 7:34 am

I don’t have a high schooler yet, but I do have some thoughts. I’m bilingual myself (Russian) and I spend a lot of time and money and energy to make sure my son is fluent as well. However, agreeing with the poster above, I wouldn’t as for it in high school because I am keenly aware that resources are limited.
Now, I went through middle and high school in Cupertino. I took French for 3 years, and even layered on already bilingual set up if the brain, my French out of high school was shaky at best. The way languages are taught in US just does not work. There needs to be constant interaction and language immersion even if it’s just an hour a day. My son is in Spanish immersion and the results are amazing (it does help to start out bilingual From birth for new language acquisition).
So with all due respect and sympathy from a fellow parent trying to keep a language going - I don’t think adding Hindi is a reasonable request at this time. What should be done is figuring ways to teach languages in a way that would actually be effective. And start introducing them in elementary rather then wait till high school.


23 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2020 at 7:55 am

All the Hindi speakers I know speak excellent English. They were taught in school through English. English (and in particular British English) is the one language common to most Indians. All official forms and documents contain English.

I am not sure why the Indians doing this are doing it. In India, most people would want their children to have the very best English, grammar, literature, etc. Yes, it is nice to be able to speak your native language, but as to how useful it is going to be to the children in the future, I am just not so sure.


25 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 18, 2020 at 9:42 am

I can understand why parents want their children to be fluent in their native language. In the past migrant world people came because of major wars in which their homelands were destroyed. Migrants of yesterday worked to blend into the new country which has accepted them because the US during those wars participated in the wars of their home countries. Today's migrants are here in part to make money to send home to other relatives in countries that are struggling. They do not have a great desire to blend in - but a desire to enrich their home countries and return. So the worm has turned on the historical motivations regarding living is a foreign country.

While politically interesting that is a separate issue regarding the taxpayer supported school system which struggles with local politics. The school system has a requirement to have a universal set of requirements so that all participants in the school system have the opportunity to get a standardized education which puts them in line for college acceptance. That alone is a challenge since we need qualified teachers to make that happen. People thinking now that the state school system is suppose to allocate funding for their unique needs is not something that should be supported. Those parents need to subsidize collectively a teacher on their own time and place for enrichment in their native tongue.


13 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2020 at 10:40 am

Thank you, Resident 1-Adobe Meadows! Well stated, that's exactly where it's at! Thank you for your observations, and accurate summary of the issues.


25 people like this
Posted by Former Palo Alto Resident
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2020 at 10:51 am

@Not a Bigot

I attended high school in Palo Alto several years ago. There was a large Asian population at the time, and I recall most of those students enrolling in French and Spanish. Nobody ever used the argument that their native language should be taught at school. In fact, it was the opposite. Families focused on teaching their kids their own native language or sent them to Chinese school or wherever else, and encouraged them to learn a different language at school.

Just because more and more Indian families moved to the Palo Alto area doesn't mean that we should be changing the public school system to start focusing on India and Indian languages. We are living in the United States and the primary focus should be on learning English. Any foreign languages offered are an added bonus. This is a PUBLIC school system. Be grateful that your local public school offers as many languages as it does. There are other families out there that are from different backgrounds and it is absolutely unfair to them for a school to focus its resources on one specific population...especially if it makes up a larger percentage of students now.

I disagree that a knowledge of Hindi and Indian culture is mandatory for a good working relationship with colleagues in India. First of all, that can be said for any country. Lets teach Hebrew then; there are a lot of companies in Israel and working relationships with Israelis. I have worked with people in India during my career and had no issues what so ever. Most everyone that I spoke to spoke in English. Knowing Hindi is not a necessity. If they want to work with colleagues in the US then why not have them learn English. And a working knowledge of Hindi should be good enough. Indian parents should speak Hindi at home and teach it to their kids. Most of my friends who speak second languages fluently learned from their parents, not at school. There is always the option of learning it through online programs, in college, or various private classes.

I still get the notion that this is sort of "freebie" (as you put it) that the parents are asking for. It sounds like they want to save time and money. And oh, of course they will throw in that Hindi is a global language etc. But their main argument is that they want their kids to know THEIR native language. As someone said above, it their native language was something else, you better bet we would be hearing an argument for that too.


9 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Thank you Resident, Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, and Former Palo Alto Resident. I have emailed this news article, along with comments, to Don Austin, Superintendent, PAUSD.


23 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2020 at 1:20 pm

It’s great that parents want their kids to learn the language and culture of their ancestors, whether that’s Latin, Hebrew, or Hindi.

However, our public schools should focus on preparing America’s future generations for the future. The future is a combination of English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Indians from different regions already speak English to each other, and everyone in mainland Europe learns English. Koreans are learning English and Mandarin as second languages. That’s the future.


23 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2020 at 9:14 am

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2020 at 2:36 pm

All of the objections are moot if we allow an Independent Study program as I described above.

The only thing standing in the way of providing this and a whole panoply of different courses to better meet the diverse needs of our kids, including advanced math, the arts, etc, is the distrust our district has for win-wins.

The district already allows the families to use the accredited program to satisfy foreign language credit. The families mostly want to bring over the program so kids don’t have to choose between taking this and leading balanced lives. The district has real concerns about incorporating the program as a traditional one and don’t want the added responsibility.

The parents and district can resolve this by creating an independent study program for PAUSD that makes some space and funds available for onsite courses as chosen by people in the program. If PAUSD wanted to see how one works, they might ask the former principal at Gunn about how Fremont’s public COIL program works.

Parents: start reading about independent education and homeschool. The dirty little secret here is that the district’s tight control is unnecessary, not a constraint of public or cost effective education, and diminishes most kids time, intellectual development and advancement. Your kids will be happier, more mature, and have more learning and on their resumes for college if they have more independence in their educations.


12 people like this
Posted by Over 12000 students
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 19, 2020 at 2:46 pm

These parents would do well to understand the full range that PAUSD needs to teach and who it is required to reach before demanding this for their own kids. I hope they are already big PiE donors too because so much of what our district offers, in languages and electives, is not paid for by property taxes alone.

PAUSD can improve in many areas, but offering a foreign language for every population is not one of them. I hope the rest of what they said was not as arrogant as these quotes.

"We don't want to just be told that it cannot be done," Sundararajan said.

"That transparency has to be there from the beginning. We don't want a repeat of 2015 and 2017. Everybody has very limited time and energy. Generations are just going without reaping the benefit of something."


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 19, 2020 at 5:32 pm

In case you have not noticed on other blogs we have a major problem keeping teachers who are experienced and qualified in their respective jobs. We have basic quality of life issues for the teachers and students - what they get to eat, how much recreation time, how much funding is available for the tools of teaching so that teachers are not subsidizing the school budget on their own salary.

There has to be a priority list for school budgets as to how funds are allocated. And people have a carve out on their property taxes for the school system. And do not forget that there is a retirement program that needs funding. The budget for the school system is not a bottomless pit that everyone can use for their own set of priorities. It is really unsettling when some people throw around the "Bigot" word in the hopes of shaming people. Not shamed - a budget is a budget and the state is going to educated everyone who is willing to learn no matter what color they are. That is what standardization is all about.


9 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2020 at 7:23 pm

I don’t know why everyone is talking like I haven’t just proposed a solution to everyone’s concerns. The Independent Study program at SJUSD saves/even makes money for their district, and has been around for well over 30 years.

@Resident1’s Post is another reminder of why it’s hard for the district to take on a program like a new language in a traditional way, and why IS is the answer. A lot of kids, especially boys with executive function problems would be better off with IS, too. So would the profoundly gifted ones.

Not every problem has to be hard to solve.


11 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2020 at 7:26 pm

“PAUSD can improve in many areas, but offering a foreign language for every population is not one of them.”

Actually, use IS and update your mindset from the industrial revolution, and we can, and even save money.


17 people like this
Posted by Leeka Ganapathi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2020 at 10:44 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2020 at 10:51 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2020 at 7:55 am

>> All the Hindi speakers I know speak excellent English. They were taught in school through English. English (and in particular British English) is the one language common to most Indians. All official forms and documents contain English.

Indeed, many immigrants know English grammar better than most Americans. However, there is still a need for foreign languages to be taught. Which ones are taught is a question of teacher supply and student demand.


4 people like this
Posted by Jon Keeling
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 20, 2020 at 12:58 pm

@Use Independent Study rules

Please email me at jon@svkarate.com so we can have a mature discussion regarding the state of education.

Thank you,
Jon Keeling (not afraid to use my real name here ;-) )


3 people like this
Posted by Bal Thackeray
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 21, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Marathi, not Hindi. No discussion.
You though I was dead. You were misinformed.


16 people like this
Posted by Sikhs Get No Respect
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 21, 2020 at 4:30 pm

If Hindi is going to be offered so should Punjabi.

Sikhs are always getting the short end of the stick...we drive taxis, run liquor stores, gas stations and/or operate automotive garages.

[Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2020 at 8:19 pm

With respect to many immigrants supposedly speaking better English than most Americans, I suggest going back East. Meet more people than Silicon Valley techies. Really.


6 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2020 at 8:57 pm

@jon keeling,
Thanks for offering, but I don't really want to have a side discussion with someone I don't know. You are welcome to post here, though.

By the way, this kind of program has been suggested to various higher ups in PAUSD. Their response was not what I would call mature.

[Portion removed.]

The fact is, this is the 21st century. There are districts around the whole Bay Area that are making independent education opportunities available to their students and saving money. This could be no different. What is it to you if the district is able to do things differently and let some students get the language if it doesn't cost more or cause the district any burden? The district is already letting these students use the course for credit.

The fact is that when students are able to use their time more wisely through independent education, they'll do better, and that makes the district look better.


6 people like this
Posted by Sikhs Get No Respect
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 22, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Come to think of it...when was the last time you saw an East Indian MD wearing a turban and sporting a beard? Or at Google?

Instead we often get mistaken for being from the Arab world...by ignorant people.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Jan 22, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Well, my niece wants a new pony, It ain't gonna happen. Let's put our public tax dollars into something that will benefit ALL students, not just a select group.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 22, 2020 at 10:52 pm

Since we are talking about the school system and money the paper had a very large article which was discussing the State taking money from the school budget and moving it to the "Judiciary" budget. It must take at lot of money for our state AG to keep suing everyone and anything.

As a taxpayer we start with a set of assumptions as to where our property tax dollars are going, then everyone starts debating as to how their particular group can benefit. So any arguments as to which language to teach, the one mentioned that has no follow though in college, assume there is a bottomless pit. Now we find out that the State will move money out of budgeted sections to other with no announcements or notification.
However what the state will do is ask for more taxes. I am going to read the Voting Book that just came in the mail and check out how the subject of "taxes" is weasel worded. Meanwhile we need to get more transparency on the discrepancies in the budget system.


2 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2020 at 11:36 pm

@Resident,
You wrote "Well, my niece wants a new pony, It ain't gonna happen. Let's put our public tax dollars into something that will benefit ALL students, not just a select group."

Is your objection that you think it has to cost more to allow individualization in education? Certainly, if the district insists on ONLY offering industrial revolution-style traditional classes, then it would.

But it's not necessary to educate that way anymore. There are examples around the Bay Area of independent study programs, including with public schools, that save -- and even make -- money for districts, which giving the students who need that kind of freedom a far better and broader education. I have made some suggestions above, and all I keep hearing is kneejerk NO! we can't do something different because of money. Get with the 21st century! We CAN offer every child who wants different languages individualized instruction, for less money. It wouldn't even take new board regulations, everything we need is already in place at the state and local level. A

ll we need is a willingness to help every child reach their creative potential (as was the district's own vision).


4 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2020 at 11:48 pm

I feel like I'm in that book The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, in which a bunch of characters that were rescued from a smelly dark barn are out in the sunshine with a feast in front of them, and they can't enjoy or taste anything because the only thing they can see is the dark barn interior.

Wake up! We could be doing so much better for so many more students with no more money or resources than we already have. Choice in education does not have to mean big top-down traditional school programs. It probably does mean we have to have people in leadership who can handle the idea of student freedom.

I hope these parents realize that the typical way the school district deals with parents with new ideas is to humor you and string you along until you give up, and if you get pushy, to punish and harass you or your children. They'll set up meetings about languages just to keep you running in place and never move on the matter at hand. Well, unless there is a billionaire or famous person in your group, then they'll ask how high when you say jump, and let your school have something that none of the others get.

An independent study program/hybrid program is a great way to help a whole additional segment of kids to succeed better, with less stress. It would be a way to offer additional languages without costing a lot of money and creating the obligations of a traditional program.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2020 at 9:47 am

The problem we have is that the funds available for a traditional program of education across the board that puts all students in the line for college is getting absorbed into other non-related budget crises. We need to focus on having qualified teachers and clear leadership on how to move the students through the system so they can get into college with a qualified program. That is all students in the CA system. Right now the specter of the retirement system is draining away the funds and the state is busy trying to weasel word that process. Every tax issue you will see now will be to shore up the retirement system through weasel word issues. We need to get our stories straight here and focus on the priorities in front of us - not get derailed by groups trying to impose their want and needs on the taxpaying population.


4 people like this
Posted by anonymous2
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:15 pm

This school district can not offer standard instruction for a-g credits for average HS graduation and UC applications. To manage this, parents HAVE to hire tutors and kids have to sit in class all day and then get instruction after school.

Fix this First.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:19 pm

2 no Respect

This SHOULD be a large part of the education of children, but you are right, it is all lumped together instead of individualized and then gernralized racism or just wrong information occurs form a poor education.

If not Hindi Language, then a clear class in Mideasten History and Geography, for 7th graders and on up.


2 people like this
Posted by Of Thee I Sing
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 24, 2020 at 6:58 am

Learning a second language is crucially important for most children. The brain is wired to easily learn additional languages between 6 and 8 years of age. Thus the language instruction needs to happen in elementary school if it is to be effective. The Mandarin Immersion program succeeds in this.

The great number of languages spoken in Palo Alto is something that makes it a wonderful place to grow up. That fact also means that there are a lot of adults who could potentially offer informal instruction outside school. (Why would a kid need to go all the way to Fremont to practice Hindi?) Palo Alto has abundant public facilities where classes could be held. There are also cultural organizations where language instruction would be a logical part of the programming. (All the kids learning enough Hebrew to pass the Bar/t Mitzvah exam being an obvious example.)

If informal instruction gets big enough, that would perhaps indicate a need for classes in the public schools. Have the current Hindi advocates fully explored this route?


2 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:38 am

@Resident-1,
"We need to focus on having qualified teachers and clear leadership on how to move the students through the system so they can get into college with a qualified program. That is all students in the CA system. "

How is letting some of the kids learn Hindi at odds with that? Letting a kid use their EDUCATION time learning a different language than everyone else learns could be the thing that distinguishes their college application. A good student can be UC ready and qualifiable without having all the UC a-g credits. A student who otherwise struggles with the busywork of PAUSD can distinguish themselves if they are given more, not less, freedom to learn what works for them. If a student whose parents are from India but who grew up here is more motivated to learn a second language because of family relationships, that should be supported, especially if it's not skin off our nose.

Using an independent study program, the district could achieve both expanding choice for students in the district AND helping students who don't handle the treadmill as well as others but are otherwise smart, to distinguish themselves and learn more AND reducing costs.

The problem here is people not understanding how to foster intellectual independence, while being tied to old industrial-revolution-era ways of educating. I'm not suggesting throwing out the baby with the bathwater, I'm suggesting that it's now possible to let people choose what works for them in many areas of education. The result will be a better reputation for PAUSD, better experience for more students.


3 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:45 am

And by the way, the kids can already use Hindi to satisfy their UC foreign language requirement.

The parents here just need to understand that they are wasting their time trying to get the district to adopt a program in the traditional way. Literally, the district is trying to waste their time.

Finding a way to ensure the program runs on parent energy rather than asking the district to do that (hence their point that usually it's teachers who introduce new programs), and demonstrating that way is cheaper and has been successful elsewhere could help. You're not doing that for the district, but for the public to understand. The district people don't believe in win-wins. Then when the district still ignores you, leverage complaints by 2e families to get an independent study program anyway. Just saying.


3 people like this
Posted by ron swanson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 25, 2020 at 5:24 pm

All public schools should be shut down and money refunded back to tax payers. Government should only provide services that private sector cannot provide or too expensive to do individually (eg., military, roads, bridges, judicial system etc.,). Public schools are run for the benefit of teacher's union who churn out Bernie Sanders supports who vote for more government intervention in their lives and the cycle continues..


8 people like this
Posted by Sophie88
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2020 at 8:53 pm

Those who advocate to teach Hindi in the Palo Alto public schools are selfish, entitled, and trying to take advantage of other people’s tax money. If I were mean, I could say those people are trying to remove other non-Hindi speaking kids from future competition when they are all pursuing career opportunities.


1 person likes this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2020 at 10:59 pm

@Sophie88
What a sad a limited idea of education you have.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:24 pm

What I want to see is qualified teachers in the required disciplines and that is paying them a good salary and making sure that they have all of the tools they need for the classroom. That is where the school budget should be directed. And we need a good class size so that the teachers are able to manage the classroom and give individual attention where needed. It is about time, space, support systems, and a good administrative plan that supports the state requirements for graduation. We can't get wrapped up in some disagreements as to how the budgets are assigned. There are the other programs out there that have a higher priority - children that are marginal due to physical / mental disabilities that should be a high priority. Assign the budgets to accomplish that then find out how the retirement system is going to affect this all. Anything left over? Maybe.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2020 at 8:16 am

If PAUSD really valued foreign languages, they would start in elementary schools. They would also allow foreign language credits and exams done by outside accredited language schools to be used for the high school graduation requirement.

A friend of ours has a daughter who does competitive synchronized swimming. She has to practice 6 days a week for a minimum of 2 hours. I also know of someone who does competitive ice skating who practices each day for similar amounts of time. There was also the case of a ballet dancer who practiced with the San Francisco ballet and performed regularly. Each of these were able to use their activity to cover the PE requirement and I think that the same type of system could work with foreign language requirement.


4 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2020 at 8:55 am

“There are the other programs out there that have a higher priority - children that are marginal due to physical / mental disabilities that should be a high priority.“

Serving all students to the best of our ability in this district is currently not about budget, it’s about developing a service mindset, working with rather than against families.

The huge legal budgets we spent were not in service of protecting the district, but of protecting the district’s ability to avoid holding administrators to account and to avoid developing a healthier attitude. CYA is expensive. That money could have done a lot for our students, in the right hands with the right attitude. How many children could have been evaluated for disabilities for ~million dollars spent on CYA in just one year? (If we assume about 15-20% learning disability rate, the answer would be ALL OF THEM, for just one or two year’s legal fees.) But we only save that money or get to direct it properly with the right attitude and behavior, which the district culture never learns because of an utter disinterest in (aggressive svoidsnce of) holding bad behaviors to account (as opposed to giving it raises and paying for its degrees).

In fields like malpractice, major systematic studies show the risk of malpractice lawsuits even when there is undisputed malpractice resulting in injury or death is almost infinitesimally low, less than a quarter of one percent. Of suits that are filed, which again, are a small fraction of what would be filed if even a majority of those clearly injured sued, only about 10-15% of suits might be considered not clearly malpractice. So, while it’s still serious business if any doctor is wrongly sued, and it can happen, the big picture is that patients have a far, far greater risk of suffering injury or death from malpractice than doctors do of being sued, most malpractice is committed by a small percentage of repeat offenders, thus the medical profession’s attitudes toward self-reflection and improvement has everything to do with protecting patients from malpractice and their insurance rates.

Furthermore, other studies show that when there are malpractice suits, about half the cases are on behalf of a child who will need expensive care in the future, and the other most significant reasons are related to patients wanting to prevent what happened to them from happening to others, and in those cases (about half) sincere apologies and sincere efforts to change things can head off a suit, and even if there is a suit, result in much lower costs because people are after the apology and fixing the problem that caused their injury. We could learn a lot from this.

The Harvard Medical Practice studies were huge undertakings to understand what was the subject of a lot of unhealthy speculation.

When it comes to litigious behavior, over and over again in different areas of business and life, we see that the reality is different than the hype. In cases of mass food poisoning, studies find over and over again that only about one percent of even serious cases are reported to authorities (with serious implications to public health).

Yet in our district, we have had a history of administrators assuming that if anything is wrong, everyone will complain, and only dealing with problems when forced (yet look at how people came out of the woodwork when they felt safer to make Title IX complaints only after investigation by the federal OCR). We have a history of administrators increasing liability through their unethical or illegal behavior, and hurting far more students than complain or that upper mgmt ever is willing to know are affected. And we spend money on legal fees to keep these bad administrators, we pay for their degrees and promote them, and never hold them to account. Even board members who talk a big game about reform, ignore their duty to the Childfind provision of the IDEA unless they cannot avoid it by the very small percentage of the harmed who take action. The system never gets real reform and we are condemned to eventually repeat.

In evidence-based frameworks for school indoor air quality management, the most important aspects are mechanisms to take complaints at every school site, to inform the public of their important role in reporting problems, to funnel reports to a central district person(s), to respond by using every report to fill out questionnaires to elicit information and fix problems (prevent big ones) per evidence-based understanding.

In our district, instead they avoid adopting evidence-based standards with all their might, avoid understanding the consensus in environmental science, spend money on expensive testing that the state public health department says are useless, then claim everything is fine based on testing the science says can’t ever show that. The research does show that such actions increases district liability. And yet, in that and virtually every other area, our district ignores the mainstream science and avoids the take-responsibility-for-your-actions path.

So it really galls me to hear that we in this wealthy district do not have money to offer a language, especially when coming into the 21st century and taking advantage of the flexibility of independent education could give us the ability to adopt a lot of languages for no more money.

Overall, just developing on administrative culture of doing the right thing would save us enough money to pay for such things even the traditional clunky way.


4 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2020 at 9:04 am

@Resident
You have the right idea. The district does already allow the students to use their Hindi classes for credit. But they could go further to let students who do to shorten their school day commensurately, and offer space at least for the Hindi classes here. An independent study program and space could manage things like that.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2020 at 12:49 pm

As it happens, I grew up in multi-ethnic communities and went to multi-ethnic schools and then worked in multi-ethnic workplaces. And, I can't help but be amused by some of the recent language struggles in the schools. Because, folks, this is what I've already seen before, for decades: kids who moved to the US before about age 10 become Americanized whether or not their parents, or, right-wing socio-political forces want them to or not to. They learn English, they speak English, they probably can understand what their grandparents are saying but can't actually write well in their grandparents native tongue. Some parents are desperate for their kids to hang on to the ethnic/linguistic family heritage, but, it fades away, despite Hindi school, Cantonese school, Mandarin school, Spanish immersion, Swedish Saturdays, Greek weekend camp, or Swahili lessons.

I'm not knocking foreign language study *at all*. I think it is very useful. But, for those parents out there among you who are just really wound up about it-- relax. Have fun with it. Don't ruin your, and/or your kids, lives over the school issue, because if your kids don't become Americanized, your grandkids will. If you stay in the US, you will lose this battle eventually. My advice-- enjoy your family language around the dinner table eating your favorite foods, and tell bedtime stories in your family language. It can be a warm memory for them, and maybe they will remember enough to be able to tell a story or two to the grandkids. Seriously, drop the angst about it-- I have known countless people who know some __(pick a language)__ but won't use it and think of it only negatively, and roll their eyes whenever language school is mentioned.

"Have fun" -- now there's an American concept that drives some people from the old country crazy. ;-)


Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 26, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Talking about the past - I grew up in the Los Angeles Unified System. Busing students was the norm - each school needs a required number of students to stay open. Families keep moving out to newer housing which is cheaper so the school has to open new schools and make sure the existing school have enough students. At some point the school system shut down the non-academic classes because it could not afford them. Language was an elective - Spanish - because we had a Latino base in LA. Lots of textbooks and teachers in that language. You need more than a classroom, you need textbooks and an approved program that can be accredited. You need a program approved by the state. You need teachers that are approved and accredited.


9 people like this
Posted by Stick With English
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 26, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Why do so many of these ESL people/parents stress learning these various foreign languages?

During the 1980s (when Japan Inc. was in full bloom) learning Japanese was the big thing. Next it was Mandarin during the 1990s through early 2000s.

Now it's Hindi? Give me a break.

Is this language thing based on whatever country is raking in the money?

If so, Hindi doesn't count as most of their really good engineers & MDs are working in the United States...where incidentally, English is spoken.

When in Rome, speak Italian.


Like this comment
Posted by Espana
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 26, 2020 at 6:17 pm

Habla?


3 people like this
Posted by Use Independent Study rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2020 at 3:26 am

The article points out that the program is accredited.

The knee jerk antipathy to student choice and independence displayed here is really kind of tragic, especially given the smart students here.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 28, 2020 at 8:47 am

You will note that we have other topics on this system - a number of which are concerned with the School system needing more money and figuring out how to tax the residents. Also a change in management in the school with people leaving and the cost of replacing them.

People initiate a blog to figure out what the public sentiment is so they can gauge their approach. We have now established that the school system is short of cash and short of management. Thinking that some great decision concerning what languages the taxpayer is going to support is not working based on the other higher priority issues right now - money and management.

The school system has to get their priorities straight and should get audited as to how the funds have been spent to date. Start with facts and accountability then worry about who pays for language classes after the dust has settled.


1 person likes this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 29, 2020 at 7:28 am

The word "Complicated" is used often now and really means it is above their pay grade to do anything new or different

Thank you for sharing means the same thing basically which is that you are bothering them and they will do nothing.

Resiliency is the word they use when children have the burden of their non action because it was too complicated.

Transparency or the new one, "sunshining" a topic is not clear to me.

Hiring people that care about kids and are not confused or are afraid to trust parents rather than ones that will only stay "in their tiny box" is something to consider more than a single program. Other districts are going forward, this one is stuck in silly polls, research and meetings while the kids have a very static old curriculum . A key to a good educator is on that can use policy to help kids and a bad educator is one that will find tiny clauses and use Ed code only for negatives.


6 people like this
Posted by This Is America...Speak English
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 30, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Wait just a minute...just who is clamoring to promote Hindi as a learning language?

The East Indians who have migrated to the Bay Area from India already speak the language & chances are their children understand it as well.

So is learning Hindi for non-East Indian students? India was once a colony of Great Britain & most East Indians are bi-lingual...so what's the point?

If push comes to shove, we're going to have to have every language offered on the CA DMV handbook (as well as Social Services) eventually offered.

The thought or concept is absurd.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Portland's Thai food darling Pok Pok will be popping up on the Peninsula this spring
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 3,844 views

Flying: How to lower your impact
By Sherry Listgarten | 19 comments | 3,075 views

Premarital and Couples: Here Be Dragons!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,484 views

Overachieving in High School: Is It Worth It?
By Jessica Zang | 18 comments | 2,264 views

Pseudo-Primary for CA Senate District 13: some thoughts
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 1,589 views

 

Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details