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Original post made
by Interested Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 17, 2007
Interesing no comments on this post. A couple possibilities:
1. its going well - interested kids signed up and are learing, which would throw a bit of cold water on the idea that MI proponents were claiming that the only reasonable way to teach Mandarin would be through a full time full school day full school year immersion program - in other words would show that there are viable options.
2. its going poorly - not many interested, and/or they are not learning much. Not such a great idea afterall? Not this overwhelming demand that they claimed? All talk, no action from the community demanding Mandarin education from the public school system?
Or maybe you're hearing no answer because they want to hold this close to the cuff, so they can proclaim fabulous sucess without any real evidence - which would be par for the course on the MI issue.
Interested Parent and Parent,
I wasn't sure what a Mandarin Immersion (MI) program could possibly be in a one-month summer session so I checked the course catalogues for elementary, middle and high schools to see what was offered. At Middle School, under World Languages, Beginning Spanish, Beginning French, and Beginning Mandarin were offered. There was no difference in the course descriptions apart from the language itself. So unless there was some other Mandarin language offering at elementary or high school there was no "Mandarin Immersion" or even "Intensive Mandarin" on offer.
I'd be interested to know how all of the foreign language classes went. That's the kind of data that will be helpful for the World Languages Task Force to consider next year.
Interesting, because here is a copy and paste of the recommendation from the Board minutes on MI, Jan 30th. So they decided not to do the Mandarin summer school class as Immersion? I wonder why not? Regarless, I would still like to know how it went, who signed up, were they happy with the results...
Action Item#5 (approx p8-10):
Recommendation #2: Implement a Mandarin Immersion summer school program in PAUSD for middle school students provided there is sufficient enrollment in summer 2007.
Maybe there was insufficient enrollment!!
Recommendation #2 reflects the loose use of the term "immersion" that characterized a lot of the public debate about the Mandarin Immersion program.
For the word "immersion" to make it into the recommendation was an error. You cannot teach the curriculum (language arts, science, mathematics, social studies,...) in a one month course introducing students to a new language. That kind of instruction is the heart of the Dual Immersion model used with Spanish/English at Escondido and with Mandarin/English starting at Ohlone in Fall '08.
What the district could provide was a chance for middle school students to get familiar with a new language, have some fun with it, and see if they want to continue with it later on.
It seemed to me that the board was responding to the concern that no one but a few students was getting a chance to try out the new language that there was so much buzz about locally. Before the board decision, I think Spanish and French were the only languages available for middle school summer students.
By mistake to you mean a mistake in their thinking that would lead to the suggestion of such a thing? Or a typo or bad editing?
I'm not sure why you can't teach someone how to count to ten, or name colors, or basic vocabulary words or sing a simple song, in an immersion style. Even a 4 week beginners course can teach 4 weeks worth of beginning language using an immersion method, can't they?
Can't you teach the curriculum of language in an immersion style?
And I disagree that the "Immersion" term was used loosely. People understand very well that Immersion means to teach the PAUSD curriculum in Mandarin language to English and Mandarin speakers alike. And that Immersion is a very specific language education model versus other options the district ~could have been looking at~ for Mandarin language education. In fact, one of the predominant arguments was that Mandarin really HAD to be taught in an immersion style, versus part time FLES alterantives, because other ways would not be effective and would be a big waste of time. So I'd be quite suprised that the district would consider offering an INEFFECTIVE way to teach Mandarin when they just got finished arguing that Immersion was really the cadillac of methods for Mandarin aquisition.
The use of the term in public debate could have been a bit loose by some who were not clear on the concept, but the STAFF was quite clear on the concept. The recommendation for an MI Summer School class came from a staff report, not from a public debate forum.
So, I'm thinking it wasn't an accident, an error, or a mistake in thinking. I think the Superintendent and Staff were actually suggesting a 4 week summer Mandarin class in the Immersion method.
So, I'd really like to understand now, more than ever, why they didn't go with an Immersion method (if they didn't), and how their non-immersion class went.
You are right, actual data inputs from all the language classes will provide good info for future world language programming decisions. I hope we'll see the district start to look for data for their future decision making.
Sometimes "immersion" means simply that from the beginning to the end of the class only the targeted foreign language would be used, without explanations, instructions, etc. in the students' own language (or languages). Maybe that's the way they used the term in the recommendation and it could well be how all the classes were taught this summer.
I wish there could be consistent use of terminology. At Castro in Mt. View the program is described as Dual Immersion, Spanish and English. At Escondido it's referred to as SI (Spanish Immersion) but it's really Dual Immersion, Spanish and English. Same for MI at Ohlone: they're talking about Dual Immersion, Mandarin and English.
Sounds to me they should call it bilingual.
Another way immersion is defined is a program that offers the (non-linguistic) curriculum--at least in part--in the target language. So on that usage, Jerry is right: You couldn't hope to teach, say, history to beginners in Mandarin over a short summer course.
I had taken the Immersion comment to mean that all the hours of the day in the summer school program would be devoted to learning the language ( in this case, Mandarin). It isn't exactly "immersion" in any of the senses of ONLY speaking the language, but it is more intensive than the 1/2 morning classes offered at the middle school level.
I hope that the kids were offered an "all morning" type program.
You're right that it's really bilingual education. Dual Immersion is a method of delivering bilingual education that has had good results in a variety of contexts. Bilingual Education got into trouble in California when it was poorly implemented and often consigned Spanish-speaking students to classes where they had little contact with native English speakers and got little instruction in English. The Dual Immersion model doesn't have these drawbacks.
Dual Immersion truly is bilingual education, and it's tough to do piecemeal. That lies behind some of the resistance to setting aside MI--Mandarin(English)/(Dual) Immersion--for other ways of accessing Mandarin language instruction.
They had a two-hour class each day, 8-10. Here's what the catalogue says:
MANDARIN - BEGINNING
Section: 6696-1 8:00 - 10:00
This class, designed for beginning Mandarin speakers, will utilize a content-based language teaching approach,
incorporating a variety of hands-on activities. Prior knowledge of Mandarin is not required.
Back when I did an immersion language program at the college level, it worked the following way:
10 weeks covered the curriculum of a regular college year's worth of language instruction.
We met from, as I recall, 9 to 4.
All instruction was in the foreign language. More importantly, all of our questions and conversation and writing was in the second language. The one exception was that we did get subtitles on the films we saw.
We were also to speak in the foreign language during lunch and any breaks.
I don't think a two-hour class would do that.
OP, I wouldn't expect a 4 week summer school class to do much of anything besides a rudimentary introduction (of anything - cooking, language, music, etc), or some supplemental tutoring or bolstering of subjects already 'taught' (ie: 7th grade math review).
So whether or not you'd think it would work, it was indeed suggested by the District Staff, who had been studying the mandardin immersion question for over a year, so one would have to assume they didn't make some sort of vast typo (or thinko) when they wrote the 'mandarin immersion' summer school recomendation. Or could it have been just all an error in JUDGEMENT? How uncharacteristic of that staff! Why would our esteemed educational experts at 25 Churchill have suggested something infeasible or something of non-value, or something they had no intention of actually offering? Something doesn't wash.
The question still remains - what WAS the Mandarin offering in summer school - (if not MI, why not?) Regardless of what they actually did, can they explain what they actually did, and how it turned out? Specifics like, how many kids signed up, what was the demographic (what was their entering language level, languages spoken), what method was used, how did the kids respond, how far did they get, what were their actual results.
I wasn't really judging the effectiveness of a program, just giving an example of the structure of a college-level summer immersion program for comparison.
Mandarin indeed was taught at Jordan's summer school for 4 weeks, each day from 8 to 10am.
Here's what I heard:
The class had about 17 students in it: Asians (1/3 or so), Caucasians(1/3 or so), and 1/3 the rest. I think the limit was 20, so it was full or almost full.
Some spoke no Mandarin before, others spoke a little.
It was taught mostly in English. Kids were taught and learned words (numbers, family names, etc.) and common phrases and read, recited and drew Chinese characters.
The summer school semi-immersion is a non-intimidating way for kids to be introduced to a new language, whether it is Mandarin, Spanish or French (all offered this summer). A foreign language class taught in a straight 2 hour stretch 5 days a week over a several week period is hard to find elsewhere and seems just about right in duration to keep kids' attention, especially at 8am in the summer.
No surprise, with those 40 hours of instruction (equal to about 1/5 of a school year), a lot is learned. Did they become fluent? No, but I doubt anyone who enrolled their child expected that.
Whether more of the same or 1 period a day or total immersion all end up with the same result eventually, I do not know.
One "problem" with teaching Mandarin or any language over the summer is how a child, once started, can continue learning the language so he or she doesn't forget it. A child taking Spanish or French over the summer can continue with that as an elective during the school year. Since Mandarin is not taught in our middle schools, those taking Mandarin must find their own continuing education privately or wait until high school before they can take it again.
Thanks for the information about the summer school Beginning Mandarin course for middle schoolers. Sounds like it would have been a fun class to take.
Mandarin, unlike a lot of languages, is widely available and affordable around here--so, yes, it's private, but it is affordable.
Summer School - thanks for the information. So it sounds like, lo and behold, Mandarin can be learned through methods other than the most drastic most 'perfect' immersion method. This supports the testimony of Norm Masuda in board meeting on the MI question, where he stated that the high school mandarin electives were doing just great!
Someone ought to inform staff at 25 Churchill.
070721 The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR) article, July 22, 2007
Lessons in Mandarin
That was an interesting link to be posted by an MI supporter. Although it portrayed MI as a wonderful program (which I’ve never disputed), it highlighted exactly the issues that MI opponents are concerned about. For example, what do you make of the following excerpts? (Taken from Web Link “Lessons in Mandarin” by Anne Williams of The Register-Guard, July 22, 2007.)
CASLS found that 32 percent of interested parents live outside district boundaries but said they would consider moving into the district or paying tuition  to give their children the opportunity to be in the program. Another 13 percent said they were considering only private schools, but probably would opt for public schools if Chinese immersion were available. Another 11 percent said they were considering only district alternative schools, such as Eastside or Buena Vista, the Spanish immersion school.
This demonstrates that these programs do in fact attract a significant number of families from outside the district. This has been a concern to MI opponents all along, given PAUSD’s overcrowding problems.
Based on that data, Falsgraf said, the Chinese program would probably have minimal effect on neighborhood schools, as just 44 percent of prospective students would be likely otherwise to attend them.
Falsgraf said he hopes those findings will reassure district officials and some neighborhood school advocates, who worry that the program will further undercut neighborhood schools that lose many students from stable, educated, affluent families to alternative schools or other schools with more advantaged populations.
Okay, so they also worry about neighborhood schools, but their conclusion is very different from PAUSD’s reality: they actually LIKE the idea that they can fill their immersion program with families who are new to the district. Clearly they don’t have the overcrowding problems we do here. Their motivation isn’t to satisfy their current families by adding a new program, but rather to make their district highly desirable in order to attract new families while families currently attending neighborhood schools will mostly stay put. A brief visit to their school board’s goals Web Link confirmed that: “The district must also decide how best to respond to declining enrollment and regional enrollment patterns”.
Equity is Superintendent Russell's chief worry. He believes Eugene's system of open choice and alternative schools is partly to blame for the aggregation of poverty in certain neighborhood schools, and he said he wants to avoid creating another program that attracts disproportionately few low-income, special education and minority children.
So they’re worried about inequity, too. Only difference is, here in PAUSD it’s the parents who are concerned, not the Superintendent. Lucky Eugene. Maybe things will change with Sup. Skelly?
Incidentally, the Eugene school district is HUGE. Web Link has a list of all their schools: 27 elementary, 12 middle and 9 high schools. They already offer Spanish, French and Yujin Gakuen Japanese immersion programs in grades K-12. Their model of ‘neighborhood schools’ is different from ours, too: their district choice policy allows any student to attend any school, provided there’s space. And – get this – they have 3 charter schools.
So let’s see, they’re not afraid of immersion programs, they’re not afraid of charters, they allow (encourage, really) students to choose a school, and their goal is to attract more families into their school district. Hard to compare this to PAUSD’s situation, isn’t it?
Another MI Supporter, the opposition you see has little to do with how wonderful an MI program could be for the lucky students who get in. The problem is how MI adversely affects our district as a whole.
Yet Another Parent - Absolutely beutiful analysis. Perfectly on the spot, right on the mark. I hope you will send a copy of the last three posts to Skelly and the BOE.
This is so critical - what MI means to PAUSD is completely NOT about whether immersion works, or whether Mandarin would be a neato subject to teach our kids.
Shame on the MI supporters for continually selfishly pointing to how fabulously enriched the few kids will be that win the lottery, and refusing to see the bigger picture issues for the district.
Keep bashing. This article is one of many which show what Mandarin immersion programs are happening around the nation. I'm glad you think this article is more objective than some of the opponents' opinions of the local papers to Palo Alto.
I hope you can find articles or testimonials of how programs are not working, failing, and hurting the districts that they are in. And that they are unbiased.
Just increasing everyone's awareness of that great outdoors outside of our ivory tower.
Lets get this straight. Mandarin Immersion is a great idea and it works for those who get it. No one is denying that. I am sure that when MI comes to Palo Alto it will be equally wonderful.
What isn't wonderful is that for the rest who don't get MI (or SI). They get nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nought. Zada. Get it?
MI Supporter, it’s not my intent to ‘bash’ MI. I have no doubt that it will be a great success: it has the backing of Grace Mah and PAUSD, and I believe that they each have the skills and the commitment to make it successful for its participants. I say this with great respect.
Further, I’m not against MI because of envy. There are plenty of opponents who feel that MI shouldn’t exist until there’s FLES or something for the rest of the students. Although I respect that position, that’s not what motivates me. If MI solved other critical district priorities, then I’d be in favor of MI with or without FLES.
My position has been consistent from the start. (I hope proponents can read through this list as calmly as I wrote it.)
1) MI distracts the school district from focusing on its predetermined priorities.
2) It exacerbates the overcrowding (which IMO will become the district’s single biggest issue in the coming years) and now limits the district’s solutions since MI students will have to be treated as a unit.
3) It sucks for those at Ohlone, and even more for those who are Ohlone waitlisted.
4) It’s being introduced before the district has fully committed to serving all families wishing to participate in the existing choice programs: SI, Ohlone, Hoover and even Young Fives.
5) The board originally voted ‘no’ with solid reasons to back their vote.
6) The board changed its vote because of the fear of a charter, not because it felt like any of items 1-4 were addressed.
7) The analyses the board used when changing their vote was skewed – they didn’t have access to balanced research data.
Those are my logical reasons for opposing MI. I have a few emotional reasons which don’t stand on their own, but act more as ‘enhancers’ to my opposition:
1) I didn’t like the tactics MI used to get their way. (I have a policy with my kids: if I say ‘no’ or ‘wait and see’ and they continue to pester me, the answer becomes a solid “NO!” Same goes for the “if you don’t give me my way I’ll …” tactic.)
2) I never felt like the proponents gave any of the above reasons serious thought. If there was any rational debate where the proponents acknowledged the issues I raised above, it was before I joined the conversation. So personally, I didn’t feel my rational (or Gail Price’s, for that matter) was heard or acknowledged. I still don’t.
3) I didn’t care for the debate style, which I won’t get into – it’d deteriorate into scab-picking so let’s leave it be.
Back to your point. I’m not interested in digging up articles against MI. (Another MI Supporter took care of that for me.) Seriously, it matters less to me how MI helps/hinders other school districts. We have to look at how it affects us, right here within PAUSD. If I were in Eugene, I’d be on your side. :)
I don’t feel it’s ‘bashing’ to discuss the merits and liabilities in a calm manner. To avoid doing so is irresponsible.
In fact, the Eugene school officials seem to be looking at the liabilities in a calm manner and attempting to address those.
I see no such balanced approach in PAUSD.
And since PAUSD has a completely different set of issues (which Yet Another Parent articulated nicely in original post), our issues can not be as neatly excused away as Oregon has been able to do for their own situation. In fact, I suspect that this is why the MI supporters will not touch the actual issues but persist in the tactics we've seen. They actually don't even care what the issues are for the district, as long as they get their thing.
I also think MI supporter and Another MI supporter continue to miss the point by arguing that immersion works to teach a few kids Mandarin. Which is SO not the point.
It's interesting to see yet another parent and parent infuse such emotion into their comments (despite attempts to be calm).
As I see it, it's interesting to hear what's going on in other parts of the country about MI. Nothing wrong with that. The reporting seems neutral, which many opponents had such problems with locally.
But yet again, some opponent has to rehash their issues - which were never denied by the board or MI supporters.
Interesting how some people won't let go and move on.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Seriously, just because MI was most recently voted in doesn’t make it right for the district. Why settle for something that you don’t believe is right? That is one of the major differences between proponents and opponents: one side wouldn’t let it go until they got their way, and the other side said, “fine, it’s not right, but whatever.”
Makes you wonder when is the right time to let it go, and which side gets to decide that?
p.s. I re-read my latest post to look for the 'infused emotion'. I couldn't find it - maybe it was infused by the reader?
Having to comment on writing calmly (otherwise, what?) seems fraught with emotion. Repressed, thank you, but still there. It's like telling us you had to bite your tongue. Again, thanks.
So, what is your next step in overturning MI? Is that your constructive next move?
When will you be ready to move on?
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
I’ll be ready to move on when MI proponents are ready to admit that implementing MI at this time causes serious problems for the district.
There! Now you have “fraught with emotion”. :-) As for the earlier post, try reading it in a monotone voice and maybe you’ll get it. I was sure it’d be misinterpreted, thus the comment. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
So, wait until MI supporters admit there's problems. OK, then what? Do you expect the district or board to change its mind again?
Move on? Sheesh, you've got to be kidding. We're talking about a program that must, if it expands to a full strand, overcrowd a school that already has a waiting list and is currently at capacity.
And the district HAS NO PLAN AS TO WHAT IT'S DOING IN THREE YEARS.
Meanwhile, we're faced with serious overcrowding issues--discussion of which took a backburner to the endless MI debate. So how were these dealt with? Oh, by instituting another magnet program--you know, programs to attract even more students to the district.
Why on earth should anyone move on when there's a damned mess ahead of us?
The only moving on you're talking about involves shoving one's head in the sand.
Just so I get my observation right. OhlonePar, you won't move on until MI kills MI, then deals with the overcrowding. Is that what you would like?
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“So, wait until MI supporters admit there's problems. OK, then what?”
I’m still waiting for MI supporters to address CONTENT issues. I got that it’s wonderful, but I don’t see how that wonderfulness justifies its impact on say, overcrowding, bumping the Ohlone waitlist or jeopardizing a bond measure.
See, your kind of ‘moving on’ is to say that MI is wonderful so let’s get to work on that wonderfulness. (Oh, and opponents, could you please shut up?) My kind of ‘moving on’ is to ALSO recognize that it’s damaging to the district – let’s get to work on minimizing those effects.
If you want ‘healing’, acknowledge and address the negative impacts of the program. Do it with the same zeal and commitment that you’ve shown for MI, and then we’re moving forward again as a unified district. I’m not interested in moving on (as in step aside, MI is coming through); I’m interested in moving the district forward. That can’t be done without examining the whole situation, warts and all.
How about you, observer? Will you help the district navigate through the obstacles MI has introduced? You’ve got to see the obstacles before you can steer around them. Are you willing to do that? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Observer, I can answer your question. MI needs to not be happening. So if that's a board revote now, in one year from now, or in three years from now, then so be it. If it means there is no suitable long term location for MI which defacto shuts it down, then we wait three years and come to it three years from now. Seems to me it will be a bigger disappointment down the road after three years of work and a bunch of wasted resources, then it would be now. But so be it.
Observer, yes I certainly DO expect the district BOE to change its mind again. If not now, then soon. ASAP. Why wouldn't they? Why shouldn't they? They made a bad error in judgement by putting it through under duress so they should just go back to their original stance. Or a new board and a new superintendent should bring some reason back to the decision making process.
The opposition is not going away, and telling folks to move on doesn't make the reality of the issues disappear.
I notice the MI Proponents weren't 'moving on' the day after the original vote, they started angling for a board revote immediately (comments to the effect of the charter threat were in the paper that very night, if I recall). Why do proponents decide when its time to 'move on'? Its all well and good to admonish people to 'move on' when you've got your way, then its time for everyone else to go away. Rich.
OK, now I get you. You will continue to "angle" to get the MI decision reversed. Either now or later. Once that's done, you will move on.
We can’t move on until the issues are addressed and an attempt is made to solve them. To address the issues, they must be discussed. This isn’t ‘re’-hashing. Re-hashing is when you discuss something that is over. MI isn’t over – it’s just beginning. MI-related problems won’t go away by ignoring them.
OhlonePar beat me to the punch line, although the image I had was slightly different: denying these issues exist is like sticking your head in quicksand.
I’m looking for suggestions from pro-MI people for what it takes to get you engaged in solving the more troublesome effects of MI. Working hard to make MI the best program ever isn’t enough. No matter how incredible MI becomes, the problems won’t disappear on their own. It’d be nice if the pro-MI people took some responsibility in these areas, rather than leave the warty issues for the anti-MI people to sort out. That doesn’t lead to a path of ‘healing’. Resentment will continue to fester; meanwhile the pro-MI people look around and wonder why everyone’s still so upset and why they can’t seem to move on.
If you’re shrewd about it, Observer and other pro-MI folks, you’ll use this viewpoint to your benefit. Your actions in the next months and years will largely affect if & how the opponents will come around.
Observer, I’ll ask you again: Are you willing to help the district work on solutions to the problems MI has introduced? (If you’re curious what was deleted at the end of that previous post, it was a plea for a truce. I guess they didn’t like my word choice. I look forward to a constructive discussion.)
Oh, I get it observer. Angling for the reversal was passion for the cause and perseverence. Angling for a return to the original vote and damage control is refusal to let go. Not hypocritical. Not at all.
My kid's at Ohlone--you know, the school that's going to be overcrowded when MI comes on board. The school whose program will be competing for space on its own campus three years down the line.
There is no moving on because the problems are there. There's no plan for what happens to MI in three years. And the pro-MI crowd so clearly and obviously can't even begin to deal with the very simple fact that two programs will be competing for space.
So, what's going to happen in three years--I haven't heard the PACE crowd say anything like--you know, Ohlone will be too crowded, so if we can't find a better solution, our program should be shut down in three years.
No, you guys are going to fight tooth, nail and charter threat for your precious program (and lack of private-school tuition bills). You're not going to move on, are you?
I realize that the PACE crowd doesn't like the fact that they've made they and their cause unpopular, but what on earth did you expect?
"My kid's at Ohlone--you know, the school that's going to be overcrowded when MI comes on board." No. The district is overcrowded; Ohlone was going to have to expand anyway.
"The school whose program will be competing for space on its own campus three years down the line." No. MI will be part of Ohlone, not competing with it.
"So, what's going to happen in three years" Too soon to say.
You're just rehashing old complaints.
Move on. The district has.
"The District" has not moved on - only the former Superintendent has moved on (thankfully), and hopefully the new one will bring some clarity on this - The district is made up of the parents, students, and residents of this community The Administrators, Staff and BOE work for us - not the other way around. So "the district" will get over it when we the people say its over - not the other way around. And we say it ain't over, its just barely started.
The complaints are going to get older and older and older until they get solved - nothing been solved, let alone even discussed.
So I recommend "Get Over it" starts getting over the idea of wanting to refuse talking about the real issues that are just growing old out of neglect. If they want the issues to stop being 'old' they need to start stepping up to face them.
And yes, better believe it will be 'us against them' mentality at Ohlone. Ohlone and MI are not interchangable and its absolutely absurd to suggest such a thing. Susan Charles is going to be in a position of turning away classrooms full of waiting list for real Ohlone in order to house MI. If MI weren't there, those classrooms would have been real Ohlone. So MI'er you are an unwelcome encroacher on Ohlone (whereas if you would have signed up for the actual Ohlone program you would have been welcomed) - no matter what you desparately wish to believe 'the district' was saying with the approval of a forced march pilot program.
Get over it - why too soon to say? Because the AAAG already tried to solve that problem, over the course of the year, with wide representation across the community and could not find an adequate solution after a full year of trying, (even with the urging and prodding of MI's most desparate ardent supporters, including District Staff)
So I maybe you think its too soon to say because the issue hasn't 'gotten old' by your terms. Meaning if we would just wait three years to press this then you can claim the issue has magically disappeared because it 'gotten old'.
Relevent issues don't get old. Like untreated wounds they get infected and fester.
This rhetoric is old. You're stirring the pot by inventing "issues." The community has moved on, but it will take time for you.
You ask why it is too soon to say. Because the district has not figured out how it will handle increased enrollment. Once those decisions have been made, the district can think about where MI will fit best. It would be a waste of time and effort (and drama, as I read through these posts) to try to make a decision about MI three years down the road without having the other pieces of the puzzle. I can see you're focused very narrowly on one thing that concerns you, but the district has to be solve many issues simultaneously. This is why the district thinks it's too soon to say.
The district has several concrete scenarios for how to house MI, if it proves to be a successful program. These will be broached publicly farther down the line.
"Get Over It" -- the district isn't overcrowded; it's under-schooled. If PAUSD would stop leasing public school sites to private schools, then there would be no shortage of campuses and classrooms. But it's financially advantageous for a Basic Aid district to do things that discourage families from utilizing the public system. When PAUSD leases public school sites to private schools, it creates unpleasant crowding, overflowing, and long commutes for the public schools. Getting turned down from a "luck" program encourages a "sour grapes" attitude which also sends more families to private schools. Leasing public sites to private schools makes private school attendance convenient. Since PAUSD gets all the local education tax, regardless of how many families abandon the public system, there is little motivation to meet the customers' needs. That's why LAH's PAUSD school has been closed for decades and 40% of LAH kids go to private school.
If you look at the AAG minutes, there are not enough LAH kids to support its own elementary school.
Get Over It,
Obviously, the district hasn't.
And, no, Ohlone wasn't scheduled to expand over its capacity to 620 students--which is what is needed for a full strand of MI. In three years, the school will be at capacity, but MI will only have half a program.
Without MI, Ohlone would go from 3 1/2 strands to four. Which is something it could handle. Three cubicles instead of six.
MI is already competing with Ohlone for space--because of MI, the large waitlist at Ohlone is going to continue--as will the perception of choice programs being only for a few and their siblings.
There's almost no crossover--of the 80 or so families who expressed interest in MI--ONE said Ohlone was their second choice. Hell, I think we know exactly whose family that is. So, yes, it's competing for space. And the last thing most MI parents actually want is an Ohlone-style program. I've heard zero interest in it from any MIer with one exception.
So, are you willing to see MI stop after a 3-year-trial period? Because if all the MIers agree to that and agree to no charter threats, then maybe the MI debate is over. Otherwise, it's a continuing mess.
Your own comments simply support the argument that MI should have been tabled until there was some longterm plan for it.
"The district has several concrete scenarios of how to house MI down the road" ??
Please elaborate. I am a member of the district and I have no idea where these may be. I think the AAAG has no idea either.
Just to add to parent's observation. MIers are seen by many Ohlone parents as taking up spots they'd like their friends' families to have in the Ohlone program.
All in Good Time,
If the district doesn't know where a program's going to go in three years, it's incredibly irresponsible to start it. Again, are you willing to have the MI program shut down in three years if there's no space for it?
"Ohlone wasn't scheduled to expand over its capacity to 620 students"
Whoaa, Nellie. You're ahead of yourself. It's still not. You missed the point, which is that the Ohlone site would have had to expand anyway.
"MI is already competing with Ohlone for space--because of MI, the large waitlist at Ohlone is going to continue"
The waitlist was there. The waitlist will still be there. Nothing to do with MI. That's a pretty big sense of entitlement you're squatting on.
"So, are you willing to see MI stop after a 3-year-trial period? Because if all the MIers agree to that and agree to no charter threats, then maybe the MI debate is over."
That's up to the district. But if the experiment is unsuccessful and MI is shut down, it would be natural for interested parents to pursue a charter. Why should they agree not to pursue a charter?
"MIers are seen by many Ohlone parents as taking up spots they'd like their friends' families to have in the Ohlone program."
Possibly. Many people tend to be selfish.
All in Good Time - wow like a page right out of a mystery novel. Perhaps we should send your post to JK Rowlings for HP 8. A secret society is plotting and scheming to take over the local school district, and sends cryptic messages about the impending doom anonymously online, promising all will be revealed 'in good time'. What suspense. What intrigue. What a slimy villian you've conjured. Its absolutely spine tingling.
So, if there's one thing we can know for sure from your post is that we have the MI contingent alive and well, working clandestinely on 'the district' in the backrooms of 25 churchill - scheming and plotting to install their program in one of our neighborhood schools permanently. I'm sure you are out there now rallying your secret donors to put together another 'offer they can't refuse'.
Well, thanks for the confirmation anyway. For anyone who was confused about how all this works, this should clear your confusion right up. Its all about backroom deals and cozying up with 'the district'.
I think I'll take a copy and paste of your post (hope others will as well) and send this to the BOE and Skelly and ask them exactly what being cooked up behind our backs.
All in good time -- I have to laugh when I read your accusation that MI opponents are focused on one narrow issue and not the overall picture in the district. wow. Even the majority of the Board stated that MI was not in the best interest of the district. If you disapprove of focusing on one narrow issue, perhaps you should not have pushed monomaniacally for MI now, your way, with banners of racist allegations streming from your speeding train.
Get over it -- your view of Ohlone as "having to expand anyway" and yet the waitlist continuing at the same level regardless of MI is simply bizarre. Either Ohlone was going to have to expand anyway, in which case the Ohlone waitlisters would have had a chance to get in that they don't currently have if not for MI, or it was not, in which case there was no room for MI in the first place. So which is it?
If the MI experiement is unsuccesful and the district shuts it down, then the threat of charter school would basically be a non sequitur:
A charter school has to attract students away from the local school district by promising a better quality education than the school district provides. This is not a forced matter - the charter people would have to actually attract CUSTOMERS away from PAUSD, based on their value proposition and their results. So if a proven failing program goes out and tries to become a charter because the school district shuts them down - it would be VERY difficult to impossible to convince parents that their kids would be better off in that charter than in PAUSD regular.
In fact, I think they already face this now - in no way shape or form have the MI proponents provided any proof or data showing that they can offer a better educational result than PAUSD. If I were a parent considering an experimental startup program, with no data to backup the claims, only evidence being a handful of similar fad programs barely springing up in various spots across the country, and the only REAL example program (being Cupertino) won't provide demographic statistics/results for their kids, and with that program showing a high turn over rate - I'd be BEYOND skeptical - especially since my alternative is a pretty much guaranteed excellent education in one of the existing PAUSD schools.
Now, if you are a resident of a failing school district, and you are a native mandarin speaker who's kids need to learn both English and Mandarin - then it sounds better. How many of those do we have here? Not many.
Get Over It,
No, once again--Ohlone could expand and stay within district limits if it expanded a half strand, bringing Ohlone's program up to four full strands instead of the current 3.5. Ohlone's waitlist has more than enough families for this.
MI is a FULL strand program, so DOUBLE the students and OVER the capacity of any elementary school.
Let's try that again--MI, as a full strand program, entails double the number of students and cubicles than a half-strand expansion of Ohlone. So, an expansion of 60 students v. a full strand of 120. Six cubicles, when the site's approved for three.
The 620 figure comes from Susan Charles. She wants to add a special ed class to the one that's already there.
And, as I thought, you don't want MI shut down in three years, so you'll threaten charter again.
So, major disagreement about use of district resources. We DON'T agree.
So quit the nonsense about getting over it--unless you're will to admit MI should not be put in place at this time. Oh, and that you guys are basically queue-hopping.
What I've not heard is how the district plans to keep tabs on the MI program, both in terms of success and in terms of cost. It feels like foxes guarding the henhouse to me.
It's interesting, though, the MIers use the growth of China as an argument for MI. I wonder, though, if that very same growth is going to lead to a drop in immigration from China. Just recently, I've run into people moving *back* to China and Hong Kong because of the change in economic opportunities.
I was interested to see in those projections of population growth in California, that the Asian population is projected to increase from 11 percent to 13 percent of the total over the next 40 years. And that includes people whose families originated in India, Viet Nam, etc. as well as Japanese Americans whose ancestors came over a 100 years ago.
I wonder if getting enough native Mandarin speakers is going to be a big issue for the program. We may already be seeing the peak influx of immigrants from China.
"No, ... Ohlone could expand and stay within district limits if it expanded a half strand...."
What "could" happen is irrelevant. Ohlone and all schools will be impacted by wider issues in the district including increasing enrollment. You are part of the district, OP, not independent and need to take into account others outside your narrow group. So far, only a three-year MI pilot has been approved. So Ohlone will expand by 60 not 120.
"Oh, and that you guys are basically queue-hopping." Getting all fancy with Britishisms, eh. Naw, but this statement betrays a big sense of entitlement. Please think of others and don't simply insist it is your turn.
"If the MI experiement is unsuccesful and the district shuts it down, then the threat of charter school would basically be a non sequitur"
The failure of one program wouldn't mean the whole concept is flawed, just that it had been poorly implemented. There is pent-up demand in the community for MI, so attracting families wouldn't be an issue. Those who are interested are well informed and know of the extensive research going back decades showing the effectiveness of this type of education.
I guess you are not among those well informed.
Get Over It: "So far, only a three-year MI pilot has been approved. So Ohlone will expand by 60 not 120."
Wrong. In three years, Ohlone will expand by 80. Remember, the pilot begins with TWO classrooms. By year three, there will be the need for four modulars to accommodate MI. The district has never even addressed this inconvenient fact, to my knowledge.
Get Over It -- you just don't get it. Language was not on the district priorities list or the strategic plan. MI was not approved. Then it was approved under threat of charter as the lesser of 2 evils. That makes MI a hostile line-jumper.
"You are part of the district, OP, not independent and need to take into account others outside your narrow group." In Gestalt therapy, you would be told to "make that into an 'I' statement". As in, "I am part of the district, not independent, and need to take into accout others outside my narrow group." You and the proponents did not take your own advice. Get over it yourself.
OP wrote: "MIers are seen by many Ohlone parents as taking up spots they'd like their friends' families to have in the Ohlone program."
so Ohlone is for the current students and their friends only? I saw many posts blaming MI supporters being too selfish. Aren't we seeing the same behavior here?
OP wrote: "We may already be seeing the peak influx of immigrants from China."
i beg to differ. go take a look at the open houses this weekend.
Whoa there another get over it! Are you suggesting that a person can just observe an open house and figure out what ethnic and national origin people are, what their heritage is? Where they came from? what kind of educational experience they'll favor? Whether they are new immigrants or been here for 2 or more generations? Just by looking??? Really? Dare I point out that we have a pro-MI person showing signs of... No I shant say it.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming...
I believe that what's more relevent than the China to US immigration rate (growing, flattening, or declining) will be the effect of China's economic growth on interest in learning Mandarin. I believe the novelty of the communication gap will wear out soon (ie: fad) just as we saw the big frantic push for learning Japanese wore down. Because economic growth in China will be a catalyst for more English fluency in China, and will reduce the pressure to learn Mandarin outside of China. Globalization will put 'westernization' pressure on China (which is exactly what they are fighting now by prosthelitizing Mandarin language education).
Evidence? Go take a look at some articles and papers about the effects the Beijing Olympics are having on China right now. Here's a quick one: "China on an English Learning Spree"
And another quick one about economic globalization effect:
"China becomes biggest global market for English learning"
Well, this is just a difference of opinion. No need to call names.
You think the priorities list constrains all decisions, placing the board onto a treadmill that leads inexorably in one direction. I think of it as guidance for decision making about district-wide issues. Choice programs are by definition not district-wide issues and there is no reason, in my opinion, not to move forward with a choice program. The priorities, in other words, have nothing to do with MI.
The priorities should never have been used as a fig leaf to delay a decision about MI.
You have a narrow focus that won't allow you to consider other issues and priorities in our district.
I believe, from talking to various parents, that most of the advertising about Hoover and Ohlone programs are by word of mouth from friends or neighbors. There are very few people who sign up for these programs who had not heard about it from someone and had it recommended to them. When my child entered kindergarten I had not heard of either of these programs and when the informational meetings came along I just wasn't interested in programs I had not heard previously about and wasn't interested in even attending the informational meetings. I feel sure that most of us would do the same unless had had recommendations previously. So, yes, people do want to have their friends in Ohlone or Hoover come to that (and probably MI and SI too).
Interesting. Some say, Get over it. Some even say, The community has gotten over it, why don't you? No, the Community hasn't. Some of us, even without school kids, think a severely inappropriate thing is being foisted onto the PAUSD. Limiting further the already
crippled ability of neighborhood schools to function properly, and causing unneeded and
expensive overflow traffic. To repeat, limiting the operation of neighborhood schools.
Not because it's "MI," but because it's another "Choice" or "Lottery" program, whatever its
focus is. So those of us in the "Community" who are saddened by this new Lottery program
have not gotten over it. Just because we don't debate with its proponents. We silently cheer
for those with energy, who struggle for what's right for the Community as a whole. And we
will keep cheering for them.
OhlonePar asks if there will be enough native Mandarin speakers. I thought that this requirement was being relaxed to accept any child, regardless of native language, who had been sufficiently schooled so that he could speak Mandarin as well as a 4-yr-old native Mandarin speaker. Is this true?
Palo alto mom: If the AAAG minutes say that LAH doesn't have enough kids for an elem. school, then they didn't see the 2000 Census. Anyway, it depends where you draw the boundaries. For example, the Briones "neighborhood" was plumped up with overflowed kids from all over. An LAH school could be used the same way, unless there's a law that says that kids can only travel from LAH to PA to attend elem. school, rather than the reverse. But Supt. Callan objected to reopening an LAH school because it would encourage kids to return from private school. In other words, PAUSD would need to serve more of the LAH customers who have always been paying for a neighborhood school, same as PA, without getting one.
I do not think the AAAG saw Cesus material. The figures they were working from in LAH were just the numbers of those residents in PAUSD. There were also figures from the birth rate as a guide for 5 years before kindergarten, but the birth rate and kingergarten rates are way out of balance due to the fact that many families move into the area when they have preschoolers rather than before kids.
Sohill and Fred:
No, it isn't a shake down of current generations, knowing your turn will come. It is making a reasoned choice to live within the "rules" of the game, set by the voters. What is unreasonable is to buy into the rules, then try to change them out of looking at your neighbor.
As for "benefiting from the current benefits while not paying for them"..Excuse me? Should I charge you for the roads I paid for and schools I built BEFORE YOU WERE BORN yet are still using? I paid the taxes of the schools when my kids were there,..and still pay, but at the rate that I agreed to. The biggest users of the "benefits" are the younger people. We older people don't have kids in schools, don't use the parks, drive a lot less, don't use the library services for all the kid activities, don't use the Recreation Services Dept at PA like folks with kids..there are many things we pay for, willingly because we signed onto it, that we don't use.
I think you need a bigger vision.
As for "the money is in the house". You presume an awful lot. Many of us bought the house we could afford with the taxes we could afford. Then took money out of the house to add on as our families grew. And will keep paying that mortgage until we are 70. To tell me that it is right for me to have to decide between moving or re-financing or even "reverse" mortgaging my home when I am 65 is absurd.
Your point that other states have rising taxes is accurate. But, you must remember that those states with too high taxes are losing taxpayers and thus the tax base that pays the bills. The ones that are seeing this are instituting Prop 13 like laws. The ones that aren't, in spite of rising property taxes, just haven't hit their tolerance yet, because they are seeing rising prop taxes on houses that have gone from $100,000 in value to $400,000 in value in the last 10 years...not 1/2 million to $1,000,000. I, and a lot of professionals, make virtually the same amount no matter where I live. When you tax us too much, we leave for friendlier places, then what happens to your "benefits"? Remember that by the late 90s California was losing MORE taxpayers than it was gaining, and this was during an economic "boom".
I strongly advise you guys to think about the long-term consequences to what you are advocating. You would get more money for a few years, but your tax base would gradually decline and the housing market plummet..in 10 years you would be worse off.
Nancy - I'm sorry MFC said that about LAH kids, they have every right to go to school in Palo Alto.
Get Over it,
I've seen the open-house thing. I didn't say we'd seen the peak, I said I think we may be seeing the peak. An open house, though, doesn't tell you who's buying.
My point about Ohlone families and their friends is that there's a strong social reason why MI families aren't going to be greeted with open arms. MI removes the possibility of expansion from a program that has a large waiting list. There's almost no crossover.
As for your various accusations--well, it's not often that I see such a great example of projection. Sounds like you know darn well that MI is queue-hopping, thus, your accusation that I'm not aware of that I'm not part of the district, and your ad-hoc bristling at my use of a "Britishism". For someone whose presumably pro-global and pro-second language for your kids, it's odd that you're so touchy about any "foreign" influence on my English.
And, yes, Ohlone families tend to like families that share their values about education and community. The PACE crowd shows every sign of not being that way.
I just love, by the way, how you're trying to weasel out of the problem MI causes three years after it starts--do you really think kids in the MI program should have their education derailed in three years and the MI program shut down? Because if you don't, it's stupid to pretend that where the program goes in three years is not a major issue. (Along with will the MI crowd really accept no expansion of the program into the middle schools and high schools?)
We all know better, so quit trying to play us as fools.
I am watching this conflict, between the MI and CI cultures closely. I am confident that the MI culture will win. The MI culture will fight for what it wants, but the CI culture will sing cumbahya and protest about "too much pressure on our children".
I have posted before on the site that there is too LITTLE pressure on Palo Alto kids. The MI people will DEMAND homework, hard work, study, grades that mean something. It will be a zoo, and MI will win.
After three years, the question will be where the CI parents will try to send their kids, not the other way around.
This conflict is very good for PAUSD. It means that we will, finally, start to grow up about the competitive world in which we live. It is not about how well U.S. students do relative to other U.S. kids. It is about how well U.S. students do relative to Chinese and Russian and European and Thai and Indian...etc. kids.
Thank you MI parents for forcing the issue. I wish you well at Ohlone.
Ah Aaron, you're back. Hmmm, okay, if constructivist instruction is so bad, how come Ohlone does just fine scorewise?
By the way, despite being a squishy Ohlone type, I do like decent spelling. "Cumbahya" isn't even phonetically on. I wouldn't rag on this, but that kind of sloppiness undermines your point. It's also indicative, frankly, of your willful ignorance about Ohlone's educational philosophy. I say willful, because I spent some time before explaining it to you and now you're back making the same sort of erroneous assumptions you made before.
By the way, you do realize that the lead MI teacher is likely to be Monica Lynch? Not only does she teach at Ohlone, she sends her kid there. There will be a very definite attempt to bring Ohlone's curriculum to the MI program. My guess is that it won't make most of the MI parents happy, but it will hardly be the case that the entire school will drop its educational philosophy. Instead, there will be demands to change the MI program to something with which those parents are more comfortable. There will also be attempts to blame CI for the MI kids not progressing as quickly in the early grades as their peers at the traditional public schools.
As for the global competition thing--get back to me when the U.S. quits having the majority of top universities. Also when you realize that you're making apples to oranges comparisons in that you're comparing all U.S. kids to the privileged kids in India, China, etc. Even in first-world England, most kids are out of school at 16. A much smaller percentage go on to university-level education.
CI = cooperative immersion
Cumbahya is indeed incorrect ("Kumbaya" is correct). I have only sung that song a few times in my life, and I googled the name (got the spelling I used, but it is wrong. Thank you, OP, for correcting me. I like red marks on my papers, because I learn immediately that I have made a mistake. I have heard that Ohlone does not use red correction pencils. Is that right, OP? If so, I predict that it WILL be using them within three years.
No, your information is incorrect. Ohlone teachers correct student work and at least some of them use red pens.
But you're working from a false premise here. You're assuming that no one at Ohlone is familiar with what goes on at other schools in the district. I have friends with kids at every single elementary school in the district, except for Juana Briones, as well as at several of the private schools. Palo Alto's not that large a town.
Just because Ohlone wouldn't be your choice, doesn't mean those of us who did choose did so out of ignorance. I wanted it because I knew my child well and knew it was a good fit. And it has been--though, despite your fixation on cooperation--because the structure makes it very easy for a child to work at his or her own speed. And, yes, since I do see peers from other schools, I know slippage isn't a problem.
Ohlone is an open campus. I suggest that you take advantage of this and arrange to visit some of the classrooms and see what they're actually like. See how that evil cooperative stuff actually works and what classwork is actually being done.
You really seem eager to see Ohlone families ostracize MI kids. That's pretty mean-spirited and low. Anyway, I know a bunch of Ohlone families, and they are not nasty. They are nice. I would guess the newcomers will be welcomed.
Why do you feel Ohlone is entitled to expand its regular strand before MI comes into being? Again, this springs from a huge feeling of entitlement. It's not rhetoric: you just don't take into account the rest of the district.
As has been pointed out, it is not possible to make a decision now on where MI goes in three years without looking at the district as a whole. I'm sure you'd be the first to howl if someone suggested a concrete solution now in the absence of information about increased enrollment, etc. It will work in the community's favor to defer this discussion.
Why would any MI supporter accept "no expansion of the program to middle schools and high schools"? That is also a discussion to have in a few years.
Oh, and if you want to use your Britishisms, feel free. It doesn't bother me, just seems like an affectation coming from you.
I think many of us here are getting over it. We are accepting that MI is now a given and will be in place at Ohlone in the school year 2008. That does not mean that we are not still wounded and the wound will leave a scar.
For MI to succeed and to succeed in becoming part of the Palo Alto way, we need to find that the MI families are willing to become part of the PA family. The majority of families in our schools are wonderful, we volunteer at school, car pool, joining ayso, little league, swim teams, ballet classes, and interact there with those families, etc. etc. Yes, there are some families who find that this is difficult for them because they work, or they have other commitments, but they still tend to be pleasant people to be with.
If MI families are cut with the same cloth, we will find them in all the sorts of venues that everybody is in. If they are not and want to be elitist and look down on the rest of us, then the scar will be ugly and will heal badly.
This is really the way the cookie will crumble in the next few years. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Yes, there are still many hurdles to get over, but the nitty gritty is what is going to happen in every day life and that will be the long and the short of it.
Get Over It,
I'm just assessing the situation. The MI kids are unlikely to have much crossover with other Ohlone kids--they'll never be in the same classes, for example. There's an innate conflict between the desire of the MI crowd and the Ohlone crowd.
It's not a question of entitlement, but a sense of fairness. Ohlone's been oversubscribed for *years*. Expanding Ohlone's lottery by a half strand makes it easier for people to get into Ohlone. The MI strand, because it's so small and draws from another group simply worsens the resentment many people ALREADY feel about the choice programs.
Ohlone has more applicants than any other choice program in the district and the second-longest waitlist. Less popular programs, such as Spanish Immersion have been expanded, so why make sure the most popular choice program in the district is limited by a program that is unwanted by most of the district?
It's idiotic not to plan ahead--or, in the case of MI, politically convenient to pretend that no long-term controversy exists. Personally, I care way too much about kids and education to think they should be bounced around. One of the obvious reasons for not pushing through MI now is that there is no long-term strategy for it.
And obviously my turn of phrase got under your skin. I don't know why you care, but you do. It's sort of funny, though, that you think you know me. Did you come over for tea and crumpets?
I'm sad that you see such pessimism in the MI program working with and integrating with the Ohlone program.
I don't see any evidence for your view that the groups are so opposite in interests and objectives. I appreciate that you have developed that opinion based on some of the MI process, but none of the steps in puttig MI in Ohlone has shown an indication to me (and a number of us) that the MI folks don't or won't or can't work together with the Ohlone community.
Unless you're speaking for a number of folks, please state as such your opinion as such - just yours. And I'd appreciate more specific evidence of how incompatible MI is with Ohlone.
Susan Charles and PACE members have all expressed a promising future of cooperation and enlightenment and an integrated program where the MI kids *will* work with all kids. I don't see your justification in casting such a negative attitude and projecting bad feelings by the MI families.
Please lighten up.
Far be it for me to defend OP, but I think he is on to something.
The MI group did not request Ohlone. It was assigned to them. Why should they accept the "Ohlone Way", as demanded by principal Charles? Could there be a middle ground? For instance, could they share the farm and recess together, but allow the MI kids to follow a direct instruction apporach? If not, why not?
I simply cannot imagine that the MI parents want the Ohlone Way for their kids.
I think OP is merely pointing out the inevitalbe conflicts that cannot be papered over by warm and tender feelings.
"For MI to succeed and to succeed in becoming part of the Palo Alto way, we need to find that the MI families are willing to become part of the PA family."
Arrogant, exclusionary and elitist. MI families are already part of the PA family. It is people like you, who assume they are not, who do not really live up to our community values.
"I'm just assessing the situation." No, you're not. You're rooting for trouble and egging on malcontents to treat school children badly. Pretty low.
Your private notion of fairness justifies for you a sense of entitlement, but it is still entitlement. Ohlone's been oversubscribed for years. So what? MI supporters have had nothing for years. It's only fair they get a program.
As for planning, again, you seem not to get it. It would be lovely if we could plan all PAUSD details for the next 10 years, but we live in a real contingent world, where decisions are interlocked. It is not possible to make decisions in isolation.
"tea and crumpets" I guess "affectations" hit the mark.
You're also expressing a (valid) negative opinion which I do not agree with. I have seen no evidence that the MI families do not want to follow the Ohlone Way. In fact, there are a number of MI families who are happy with the Ohlone Way.
Yes, Susan Charles insists that MI be part of the Ohlone Way, and not a separate different educational philosophy. And I agree with her. Ohlone uses supports and lives and breathes the Ohlone Way. MI people who want to be at Ohlone understand that. I have not heard of any MI families who want to or will work on changing the Ohlone Way, even for the MI program. So, I ask for your evidence to the contrary.
I can now see that there are two people (Aaron, are you an Ohlone parent?) who project negative futures for MI at Ohlone, but I don't see any of your reasons for believe so.
You can be half empty. I see it half full.
Aaron: "I simply cannot imagine that the MI parents want the Ohlone Way for their kids."
Aaron, you don't know who the MI parents are. Even they do not know who they are, because they haven't been chosen yet. No one will know until the winners of the lottery are determined next year. And in fact, to even enter the lottery, they will be obliged, along with other Ohlone hopefuls, to write an essay demonstrating their understanding and support of the Ohlone Way collaborative model.
You say, "Why should they accept the "Ohlone Way", as demanded by Principal Charles?" The answer is that, there wouldn't even be MI if Susan Charles hadn't agreed to host the program at Ohlone, because there was no other school in the district that had the physical space. Her terms were that the new program be the Ohlone Way or no way. So that's the program that has been approved by the board and the program that will be implemented in Aug. 2008.
It sounds to me like you think that Susan Charles is a pushover and that she and the warm, touchy-feely school she runs can easily be manipulated by the MI parents you presume to know once the program is in place. Sorry, but you've got the wrong idea. Susan Charles is one tough cookie. In a battle of wills between her and say, Grace Mah, should Grace's child turn out to be one of the lucky 40, my money's on Charles.
Susan Charles and Grace Mah in a steel cage match? Sounds like fun. Let the games begin.
Get Over It,
MI has had nothing for yeras? No, they've had access to public schools and numerous affordable private Mandarin programs. Now, they want free intensive language instruction while most kids in the district will get nothing. Gee, and you can't see why there's resentment?
And, let's face it, because you don't like my viewpoint, you've been stooping to weird little personal attacks. It's not persuasive.
I've stated before I speak only for myself, though I have talked to many parents at Ohlone. They're a low-key lot, but I've been surprised how widespread the resentment is.
Again, there's a very basic conflict here--MI limits any expansion of Ohlone at Ohlone. After three years, either a mega-elementary school is created, MI is moved, or Ohlone's own program is reduced. No matter how you slice it, that conflict-of-interest is there and it will affect how the program will be viewed. Because of the space issues, it's not a rosy win-win situation.
There has been no interest from the MI crowd in Ohlone's educational philosophy. You're right that they've agreed to it because Susan Charles was in a position to put down the ground rules. Fact is, when families interested in MI were surveyed, only one of, I think around 80, was interested in Ohlone if there was no MI. Hoover and SI were the popular alternates. So, yes, there's a factual basis for my thinking that there's not much of a crossover here.
However, I know Ohlone and I've done immersion language at the college level. From what I know of the demands of a language like Mandarain, I don't see a natural merging between student-led learning and, frankly, the drilling needed to learn Mandarin. The MI/Ohlone program is going to be an experiment. And given the adult players involved, yes, I am skeptical.
You're not the first person who's found himself inadverdantly agreeing with me. These things do happen . . . but Here We Go Again is right. Susan Charles is classic iron hand in velvet glove. Or let me put it this way--she led the rebellion against Mary Callan. Note that Callan has left and Charles is seen by the schoolboard as having saved their collective asses. I mean, that's about as neat a political trick as I've seen in a while.
Charles will make sure that the MI teachers are loyal to her--Monica Lynch already is. Charles has the reputation of protecting her teachers and keeping pretty tight control of the school. People online have complained about the Ohlone essay requirement--but I suspect if a parent seems to have strongly anti-Ohlone views when applying to the MI program, well . . . at the very least, Charles and co. will be able to red flag them.
Or to put it another way, Charles has a lot of institutional tools and clout at her disposal. She knows how to use them.
Will the MI parents be happy with all this--happy converts to the Ohlone way? Some of them, but I think a lot of them are going to be unhappy about not having a more traditional immersion program. At which point . . . well, if Garland opens, my guess is there will a definite push by MI/PACE to get in there. A lot of PACErs are private-school parents--they are, I think, going to want more control over "their" program than they'll get from Charles.
I sometimes wonder if the real longterm plan is to wear out Grace--let her kids in MI, so she has stake in the continuity--and then count on no one else in PACE having the dedication (or time) to try for another charter. And because afterschool and weekend Mandarin is so widely available and affordable, demand for MI/Ohlone drops enough that the program closes--sort of like French 5 at Paly.
Get Over It------"MI supporters have had nothing for years. It's only fair they get a
program." Do you think that is a logical statement?
Get Over It
I fail to see how families who are yet to have children in kindergarten are part of the PAUSD family (which is what I meant when I said PA family). I am not saying that they won't integrate, I am just waiting to see how they will integrate. If they become members of our family in whatever capacity they choose to integrate, then that is fine. If however, they become arrogant, exclusionary and elitist (which is what you accuse me of rather than me suggesting these terms) then we all will fail to become one happy PAUSD family.
I am not saying that this will happen. I think that if things go well at Ohlone and in the community as a whole, then yes we will get over it. But if there is still a division between groups, then things will not go well. There is already a community, it exists. It is up to those joining the community to enrich and to embrace what is already there. Not change it or avoid it.
"There is already a community, it exists. It is up to those joining the community to enrich and to embrace what is already there. Not change it or avoid it."
We had a community at Escondido, but the choice crowd decided that change was just fine. Once one choice program is approaved, there will be more. Why not? It is called precedence.
PAUSD now has four choice programs: DI, Ohlone, SI, MI. There will be more, until all choice programs are done away with. Until that day, nobody should complain about changing the community. It has has already changed, and will change even more.
The MI crowd at Ohlone will probably be like oil and water with the Ohlone crowd. They deserve each other.
"Do you think that is a logical statement?"
Sure, if you follow the discussion. OP claimed Ohlone should be allowed to expand its program before any new programs are added or other programs are allowed to expand. OP justified this by saying Ohlone has the most applicants, has the second-longest waitlist, and has had a waitlist "for years." Since MI has had no program for years, their claim obviously supersedes Ohlone's and everybody else's-- on OP's logic.
OP, above, has trouble following his/her own comments in saying MI supporters have "access to public schools" and so shouldn't be allowed to have a program. Since Ohlone waitlisters also have access to public schools, I suppose we can ignore all future calls for Ohlone expansion. On OP's logic.
Nice, try. Even if we let you substitute PAUSD for PA, there is no reason to think these families won't have older siblings in the system.
How revealing that you would pick out MI families and suggest the possibility that they will not integrate, thus subtly insinuating that we can expect problems or that there is a serious question hanging over the heads of MI supporters as to whether they want to be part of the community. Do you have the same question about Jews integrating at Ohlone? What about African-Americans? You worried they will not embrace the system and try to change it? Jury still out on the Europeans?
Despite your attempts to create resentment and fear, Ohlone families will welcome MI. MI families will happily join the Ohlone community. Ohlone will change the viewpoint of some MI supporters (just as it has changed the mind of previous Ohlone families). And MI families will enrich Ohlone.
Both sides will learn and grow under Charles.
Thank you, Get Over It!
You've painted such a positive future that I and other MI supporters envision.
I wish more people would give the MI families more credit and benefit of doubt.
Get over it
You are really trying to make difficulties where none exist. Jews, African Americans, Europeans are already in Ohlone and other schools. They are not a new group. Here I am trying to be positive and say that I will be open minded if I meet a MI family and accept them at face value (I am not at Ohlone and my kids are older so there is an "if" I meet them). If they are the same sort of people as everyone else then I will not differentiate, they will be part of the community.
I come into contact with lots of PAUSD people through PTA meetings, sports teams, other extra curricula activities. I enjoy meeting new people. I have met some people that I don't get on as well with as others in my acquaintance, but I don't expect to. We are all different. The purpose of my post was to say that I am open minded and will enjoy meeting MI families when I come across them. I was not being negative and not trying to cause problems. You are the one who has credited me with motives I have not shown. You are the one who has called me names. I am trying to break down barriers and you are the one who has invented them.
My post was full of cliches because I was light heartedly trying to show that I am willing to be a peacemaker. You have shown your attitude to be difficult. I hope that the MI families I meet don't have the same attitude. I look forward to making new friends and finding that we are the same type of people even though we choose to educate our children differently.
Sorry, Parent, you're not getting off that easy. You said:
"If MI families are cut with the same cloth, we will find them in all the sorts of venues that everybody is in. If they are not and want to be elitist and look down on the rest of us, then the scar will be ugly and will heal badly."
Casting such aspersions on people who don't participate in all sorts of venues is pretty harsh. Seems like you're brushing broad strokes against MI families. How about those you grant being busy or working?
Aren't MI families allowed to be busy, working, and not elitist?
Get Over It... Thanks for your reply. I follow the discussion. Wanting something for a long time doesn't equate to it being only fair one gets it. You can easily think of many examples in living where wishing for a long time doesn't create fairness in getting it. At any level of society.
"Wanting something for a long time doesn't equate to it being only fair one gets it. "
Get Over It,
Of course you're allowed to have your program--you're allowed to have a charter. But should your desires have priorities over everybody else's? I've never seen any compelling reason as to why that should be the case. Particularly since it's of little benefit to anyone outside the MI program and will actually be harmful in terms of overcrowding a school.
The bulk of Ohlone's spots go to siblings. This is the case with the other choice programs as well. MI will shortly have the same situation. I'd rather see more spots in fewer programs because a larger number of families would get access to choice programs. I consider this more fair because we ALL pay for these programs, regardless whether we have access to them.
I find it amusing that you and MI supporter are now pretending that none of us have any idea who the MI supporters are. I know several of you and have seen you in action. I have no issue with parents who want Mandarin for their kids but recognize that the district has other priorities and that compromise would have been a better route longterm. But whiny queue hoppers are a different matter.
Fact is, the Gang of Nine had a large component of International School parents. One supports MI because she was able to hire full-time nannies who spoke Mandarin. None of you has ever shown much concern for the district--such as the overcrowding issue. So, yeah, elitist kind of fits--though obviously not creme de la creme enough to disregard private school tuition.
Get Over It, it's rather funny to see you talk about how chummy things are going to be at Ohlone given your tendency to take silly personal swipes at opponents. Susan Charles can't really order parents to mingle and since your kids and mine won't be in the same stream there's no reason for us to be one big happy family. It's not as if the MI crew has shown a talent for ingratiating itself.
Though it will be fun to see you try.
Seriously, I expect it to be one of those ships passing in the night. Socially, a school within a school, though not as official as the situation at Escondido--particularly as the MI folks will be trying to get out--say to Garland.
Get over it.
You still wish to split hairs with me. I did say that many families are work and busy but they are still nice people. I did say that it was attitudes. I know many families which are busy and work and still manage to do things at schools. I am talking about attitudes.
There has been talk on various threads that MI families somehow appear superior. My point and this is the last time I will explain it is that it is down to perception. If I perceive an MI family as nice, friendly, willing to join in as much as they can, then I will judge them as part of the PAUSD community. I expect that MI families will be this way. I have no reason to believe that I will be wrong. However, it has been suggested by others that this may not be the case. If there are any MI families who want to appear superior, then we will find it hard to get along with them. I have no idea if there will be any that fit this category. I feel sure that the majority if not all will not fit this category. What I am saying is that time will tell. In 2 years' time (after one year of MI), we will know if the families are fitting in or not. Yes, I think the majority of them will be new to the district with MI as their first child in kindergarten although I would imagine that there may be some with older siblings. These families who are already involved in the community will be used to doing so. For those who are new, the kindergarten year is a year where everyone learns the way PAUSD works, the volunteering in the classroom or with jobs at home, driving for field trips, attending little performances, etc. etc.
This point of mine was meant to be a bridge building exercise, not making more problems. I am being open minded, waiting to see how it works. I am not being antagonistic, you just expect me to be so. Get off your high horse and give me credence for what I am saying.
You're looking hard for a justification that Ohlone should be allowed to jump the queue but not coming up with much.
You want fewer programs because a larger number of families would get access, but that doesn't follow either. I favor expanding any program that can show a sustained oversubscription. That would is the best way to create access.
Kinda strange that you seem to think you know the MI supporters and that you think it's relevant. There are many of us who have not signed a petition or taken part in the organization but are supporters. Further, there will be others who hear of the program between now and February who sign their kids up. So despite your claims of omniscience, it's not really possible you know who they are. And it's a little creepy the way you want to personalize it. Taking silly swipes? Reread your post.
MI parents won't need to ingratiate themselves any more than Ohlone parents will. There will be a few nasty bomb-throwers hoping for a fight, but both sides will learn from each other.
Branching out, eh dude? In German, we say it thrice: toi toi toi. Vielen Dank.
Get Over It,
Actually, I picked that one up from a Canadian. My German's limited to menu items, travel queries and lieder.
But onto my meta-point here. Please note that you can't let this subject go. You can't even ignore my tweaking you about language.
And yet your signature is "Get Over It". Think back--remember your self-righteousness about how those opposed to MI were still opposed to it? How they weren't getting over it?
But here you are, unable to let go of the smallest thing in your earnest, competitive way.
In other words, you, yourself, are an excellent illustration (as is Al, still angry about Escondido long after his kids are gone) of why these issues just don't disappear.
Ever done a mediation? There needs to be a shared reality. Your defensiveness makes that impossible. *You* will be one of the reasons why the MI/Ohlone mash-up will have serious challenges. No, not even Susan Charles will solve all your problems.
Anyway, tootle-oo and, of course, au revoir.
"But onto my meta-point here."
Hm, your meta-point, Opie, seems to be that you can't let this go. Thus your earnest effort, over months, to foment anger via your posts. You write as if you must reluctantly share news of great resentment toward MI children (not by you, heaven forbid, but by others!), when it is transparent the resentment is really yours. It is a low tactic to target children.
1. You, Opie, will continue to obsess and post sniping, personal attacks against MI supporters and their children in your best "I'm just sharing some unhappy news" tone.
2. The issues you harp about (the "serious challenges" that "just don't disappear") will all be resolved.
3. MI will be embraced by Ohlone families.
4. Ohlone will be embraced by MI families.
5. In three years, the district, Susan Charles, MI teachers, and MI parents will calmly map out the future of MI and Ohlone, taking into account district growth, etc.
6. I will check townsquare, and you will still be bitter.
The do-ers will do and the talkers will talk.
Yes, good bye then, Opie.
For your own sake, mon copain, you really ought to
I started this debate on the fence. My main concern was having an ethnically base program would balkanize the Palo Alto school district into little enclaves. I posted my concern about this early in the debate hoping to hear a response from MI supporters, but didn't get anything substantial on this message board.
Since then I've encountered a few MI supporters at my child's school, and the behavior of the parents of these kids only increases my concern, that the motivation for SOME of the MI parents is to keep their kids in the Palo Alto school district but to not have to mix with "kids of different backgrounds". (I'm putting my words mildly here.)
I think putting MI at Ohlone is a very good choice and is the only condition under which I currently would support it, after my experience with one of the pro-MI parents.
I have a great deal of respect for the principle of Ohlone and will fully support her. But, I anticipate the some MI parents after getting MI as a foothold will agitate to have MI on it own campus, in an attempt to make it their own private enclave. IF that happens we should end the program right then and there.
I do sincerely hope the every attempt is made to ensure the the Ohlone kids and the MI kids interact as much as possible during the school year. That ultimately would be a very good thing, and would end my chief concern about MI.
Don't balkanize the Palo Alto school district.
DBPA....Of course. A school will be captured, usurped, whatever. In precisely 3 years. Without a new Lottery Program, it could have been used as a pure Neighborhood School, helping with the crush of new enrollment. And the name of that school is Garland. The traditional PA concept of Neighborhood Schools will tip further into the realm of Lottery to the Right, and Lottery to the Left. Parents, keep your cars in good shape!
I think the main issue with trying to mix the kids at Ohlone is that the two tracks can't cross over at any point. The MI strand kids will never be in the same class as the non-MI strand classes. Even in its current state, Ohlone tends to be comprised of mini-communities because kids stay with the same teacher for two years and siblings get the same teacher. And because of sibling preference, that is the situation for most kids at Ohlone. I know of at least one incoming kinder class made up entirely of younger siblings.
There is a fair amount of interage mixing, with both the mixed classes and the buddy classes--also, because there are only ten kids per grade per class, there's a lot of mixing possible when the kids change classrooms every two years--but this won't be MI.
Escondido has, apparently, a split school problem--I think Ohlone won't have the same have/have-not issue that creates such resentment, but there's a big natural separation. Given how large Ohlone proper is, I expect to see a little isolated MI enclave.
Which I think is what MI wants.
How about some creative thinking or better understanding of how MI could be done, instead of assuming the worst?
I don't know what Susan Charles has in mind, but I can envision the following scenario.
MI students in K1 would have 80% of their class time in Mandarin, and 20% in English. (Those percentages have not been finalized, but are proposed.) Both MI K1 classes would have mixing between them, perhaps both in Mandarin and English units. In addition, the MI kids can spend part of their English time (20%) mixing with the other 3.5 strands of English Ohlone classes.
If 7 K1 classes in English can mix, I don't see why two more couldn't mix in, too. On a topic basis all in English.
Could that work? Would that work? I think so.
What about art, p e and music. These classes are taught by travelling teachers and in other elementary schools the classes are mixed up. These specialised teachers can't speak Mandarin so they will have to be taught in English. This must be where the integration can take place.
The seven K/1 classes don't really mix, though they share curriculum. The K/1 classes mix with a 4/5 "buddy" class and share free time with some of the special ed. students. Even though each class will get the same Spectra art project, they do it in their own class.
THe mixing to which I referred is the shuffling of students entering the 2/3 grouping. Though there, once again, because of siblings staying with the same teacher, some kids are more likely to be in the same class than others. It's not a neighborhood school, but it's very much a community school. I've been surprised, actually, by how much I see of classroom parents and how little I see of parents with kids in other classes--even if I know them. It's partly that you know you're in for a long haul, particularly when more than one child's involved.
Susan Charles seems to have some idea of bringing in a bit of Mandarin to the main Ohlone strands, however, she said she wouldn't be doing that immediately. I think, frankly, the difficulty of the language for English speakers is going to make a smidgen of Mandarin pretty useless. While I think any language is suitable for immersion, I really think a FLES program in California should be in Spanish. It's the de facto second language of the state and there would be some possibility of quasi-fluency in a FLES situation without a ton of drilling.
On the plus side, I doubt there will be much overt rudeness. Ohlone parents are a relatively polite bunch. I think, though, the structure of the school, the very different educational goals the two sets of parents seem to have and the overcrowding/waitlist situation make the one big happy family scenario unlikely. I know Susan Charles thinks she can bring value to the school, but her attempts to sell the Ohlone families on this have fallen flat.
From my perspective--and I'm far from alone--MI at Ohlone takes away more (in terms of loss of space, limiting of Ohlone's own program, huge question mark three years from now) than it gives (some phrases in Mandarin? A song or two?).
Also, in my opinion, the political fall-out could be very damaging, increasing resentment of the choice programs and making school financing more of a challenge. But I think that's a more general district issue and a bit outside the social dynamics of an Ohlone?MI mash-up at Ohlone.
Interesting that we just can't let this MI thing go. It still irritates us. I'm actually glad to see that. I really don't want people to forget what happened here.
It's more interesting, but saddening to see that some people are happy to keep rubbing the sore spot without any purpose other than to not forget.
How about something positive like how to make sure this doesn't happen again?
Whining is irritating, too.
It's only rubbing a sore spot if you assume that it's a done deal. The Trustees reversed their vote and they can do it again when voters let them know that pandering to a small group of vocal parents, to the detriment of the district as a whole, won't fly in PA. Very few non-parents understand the impact of the Trustees' decision. A little good old, PA-style activism could change things in a hurry.
OK, so reality check and parent and OhlonePar are going to try to reverse the board vote. At least that's constructive (figuratively) action. What can I do to help, if I want to reverse the board vote, too?
You start with changing the board. Bye-bye, Camille.
You also moake it clear that having no-exit plans in three years isn't acceptable.
The school board does check into these forums, they're as good a place as any to air one's concerns.
Given how much is up in the air, I see no point in silence.
First, people need to keep writing the board and the superintendent, to make sure they know that they expect to see transparency in the development of the program, in the reporting of the results, full disclosure of the financial results, and as OP said, the three year exit plan.
And OP - I just LOVE the way you described Susan Charles above. I can't wait to see the fireworks. What a blast that will be to watch!
I happen also to think you are right about the 'wearing down' you mentioned. I think the MI crowd is probably out there shooting themselves in the foot right now. Im sure they are shouting up and down the Peninsula (or farther?) about the hqard won, finally approved, PAUSD MI program, to make sure they drum up enough business to populate the program for the first few years. But I bet they are NOT advertising the little 'compromise' Ohlone Way philosophy that that MI program is going to get stuck with. And therefore, they're out there attracting a whole lot of people who are going to be blindsided with that teaching philosophy who will be showing up with an entirely different expectation (Chinese style educational philosophy for a Chinese language program - that's what most prospective customers probably logically assume.) Only a few of the PAUSD MI core really understand what the Ohlone Way will mean for that program. And so a whole lot of unhappy customers-to-be are probably being lined up right now.
So I suspect we'll see 1-4 years of really painful bickering and battling. And the core MI parents will be bitter and overworked, and their kids will be suffering the consequences of a disjointed and embattled program (that was going to be very tough anyway under the best of circumstances). And parents even a fraction less committed than the hardcore MI supporters will leave the program for the sure bet of regular PAUSD classrooms. In about 3-4 years I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few of the key MI supporters slip quietly out of the picture, and the remainders will be battling the school district for big changes and a much bigger committment to Mandarin schools run 'properly'.
The district in about three years will be looking at Camille, Barb and Dana like they were nuts.
MI Supporter: I would have to assume that the 20% time in English will be more than full trying to pack as much English language education in as possible. I hardly think they'll have time for buddy sessions or art time during their 20% English time - how do you expect these kids will pick up their English reading, writing, spelling - up to grade level, if not during their 20%? I'd love to know. Do you mean to say that they teach English in Mandarin? Fascinating.
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