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Original post made
on Oct 5, 2012
The problem with the whole "lets rush to adopt TA" push is that there is NO even close to conclusive evidence out there that TA works or excels in promoting positive outcomes for the students.
When Paly students were surveyed a few months ago about their TA system, only 33% said that their TA sessions were valuable.
When Paly's most troubled students went the extra step and sought out their guidance counselors, only half said they helped them.
When both high schools' 12th graders, after having had years and years of experience with their guidance systems, were asked if their system was a valuable resource, Gunn’s 72% approval beat Paly's 57% by a wide margin.
Research that proves TA is better? None. A study about TA, out of the UC a year or two ago, says that the research on TA's benefits is "murky" at best.
It is pretty risky to run a school board campaign based on a platform that data proves that Gunn needs to adopt Paly's TA model urgently and, even better, TA has been tried, tested and proven to be better for 20 years in our own hometown.
Ken Dauber's quote: Paly - "we have years of evidence that teacher advisory is delivering guidance services more effectively" than at Gunn.
Sure doesn't seem that way when I look at the data.
All I can say is that I am glad that my last child is a Junior in a PA high school, and that we will exit this school district in 2014. I am alarmed by the turn things have taken in this district in the past few years, largely because of the actions of a very vocal although not large group of parents and their influence on the board. This election also worries me. Our schools, in my opinion, are on the wrong track and on track to lose their excellence. Again, not a huge issue for our family since we are almost done. I am just alarmed for the future of the school district.
Here's the data from the district's survey of students at Gunn and Paly, completed earlier this year: Web Link. It supports the fact that Paly's teacher advisory model is delivering much more effective services than Gunn's is, even though the counselors at Gunn are individually good.
That's why the school board directed Gunn to bring its guidance services up to Paly's and to take a serious look at teacher advisory in doing it. See Web Link for the Weekly's editorial about it.
Or you could listen to Melissa Caswell and Barbara Klausner from reporting on the March board meeting at which this data was presented (Web Link):
"But board members and others kept returning to the surveys, with high response rates at both schools, reporting consistently higher levels of satisfaction with counseling at Paly.
"We can't have different investments at the two schools in something as important as this," board member Melissa Baten Caswell said.
"I'm OK with small differences, but this just seems like we have major differences, and I don't understand it in a community with only two high schools.
"I'd like to know what's going to be different next year as a result of this," Caswell said.
Klausner cited a comparison chart prepared by the community group We Can Do Better Palo Alto, which reformatted data from Zhang's student survey into a direct comparison of satisfaction levels at the two schools.
"Given that Paly's numbers ... are higher, I'd like to look at those and figure out if there's something to be adapted," Klausner said. "There's something our students at Gunn are not getting."
They're still not getting it.
I join the board in hoping that Gunn will take a serious look at TA and read through all the student survey responses so that Gunn can find its way to a guidance system that is better than TA with its counseling sessions that only 1/3 of Paly students find valuable.
I hope Paly will do the same to bring it guidance approval ratings up, way up.
Barb Klausner said she was drawing from Ken Dauber's data but clicking through that link I see that Dauber's data does not include the survey questions and student responses I posted which show TA in a less glowing light.
Cherry-picking what raw data to look at and then saying that that data is conclusive evidence that TA is the cat’s meow is not objective decision making. It is what scientists call confirmation bias, actively seeking out information that confirms one's preconceptions and ignoring evidence that doesn't, leading to statistical errors.
In other words, be careful, statistics can lie.
It is clear Ken will be the one. He is a person that will not give up an a issue that concerns our students. He qualifies academically, and his experience in life as a parent are of great sill become very handy when trying to take decisions that concerns our students. Vote for him, to improve things especially the social and emotional health of our students. It is type to stand up for them. God bless our students.
Thank you Ken for being willing to run for school board.
I am not in total agreement with all Ken's ideas but I do think that he is making waves in Palo Alto and it may be time for someone who is like that on our board. I think with the right balance, Ken would be an addition, asking the tough questions and looking at the bottom line on anything that comes up. I would not like to see more than one "Ken", so if Barbara were also running I don't think they should both be on the board at the same time as the weight would not be even. It is definitely time for fresh blood and Ken just might be it.
The one aspect that does slightly concern me about Ken is whether he would keep his comments brief enough at board meetings. Sometimes these meetings go on and on, and having a board member who is unable to comment briefly without being repetitive is a must. His election material is very wordy and long, which makes me wonder if his participation would be the same.
As a longtime board watcher I am a fan of ken's 3 minute comments at school board meetings. He seems to have a knack for clarifying issues and says what he thinks which is refreshing. I like the detail on his website I would rather spend a few minutes reading than get a few soundbites but not much more like some of the other candidates. Fewer pictures with kids and more words would be fine with me. I'm really happy that we finally seem to be having discussion of issues this time around.
The Daubers have angered and alienated many with their biting and sometimes disrespectful criticisms, primarily directed at school staff, and they have scared away some potential supporters who don't have the stomach for such confrontation.
I disapprove of some of the Daubers' tactics and personal attacks and the charged environment they have helped create!
I've seen Ken Dauber in Board meetings and talked to many people who have worked with him on school issues like on the homework committee. They say that he is calm, smart and collaborative.
I also see that former Board presidents Susie Richardson and Diane Reklis, who I think are some of our finest members are endorsing him.
I have also seen over the years in Palo Alto that being clear and direct gets a negative reaction particularly if you're not in the in-crowd. I think we can see some evidence for that here. The best antidote I know of is to stick to the issues. Finally we have an election where we can talk about serious questions facing the district so let's do that.
Anyone watching the paweekly video of Ken and any of the debates or who has met him knows that we could only be so lucky to get someone as smart and calm as that on our school board. He is clearly a world-class leader who could be doing anything. It is amazing that he wants to do the thankless job of being on this board esp with all the personal attack he has had to endure. As a Googler I know that teams fight over having Ken as a member and leader.. Pipe down haters! Go Ken Go!
I like that Ken tells the truth and stands up for our kids. He has my vote for sure. A lot of the good things that are happening in the District like better counseling at Gunn (maybe!) and homework policy and Schoolology are things he has been pushing for. As a Gunn parent I know that the advising is really hard to get but I didn't know until Ken started talking about it that Paly has a whole different system that means that kids actually get to talk to somebody.
I do think that sometimes he could be clearer I can't always follow the numbers, especially when he's talking about STAR tests and achievement. Not everyone has a doctorate in math. But when I went to the parent education night about counseling at St. Marks he made a lot of sense with those numbers.
[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
I have tired of reading Michele Dauber's too-lengthy postings on the Town Forum and due to their length, I no longer read her postings. However, I would appreciate someone like Ken, who is not afraid of confrontation. There are Board members who followed like lemmings due to fear. While I don't agree with all of WCDB, at least I know Ken would have the intellect to debate and review both sides of an issue rather than be pressured into voting a particular way based upon pleasing others. Leaders don't care what others think; they do what they think is best. Which is why our Superintendent is not a leader but more of a follower.
"The Daubers have angered and alienated many with their biting and sometimes disrespectful criticisms, primarily directed at school staff, and they have scared away some potential supporters who don't have the stomach for such confrontation.
What is a "potential supporter?"
SInce when are the schools aiming to please "donors"?
"...at least I know Ken would have the intellect to debate and review both sides of an issue rather than be pressured into voting a particular way based upon pleasing others. Leaders don't care what others think; they do what they think is best...."
I also think that Ken Dauber will debate and review, all sides of the issues, and work in the best interest of students. I have actually appreciated Michelle's lengthy postings and think both have contributed well. to the various issues they have been involved with.
Thank you Ken Dauber for running, you have my vote.
Can we please stick to the issues? All you trolls are just ruining this for everyone else. Editor you are being overrun by trolls again .
Editor are you really going to allow the candidates to post dueling advertising and endorsements in this space? I thought this was going to be issue driven discussion. Do you want to encourage a PR flash mob of your forum? This spam was reposted in several threads.
issues and Advertising,
I think Town square can detect if anyone would be posting with different names. And it seems issues are being addressed. I posted about the issue of candidate style. I was trying to make the point that I have liked Ken Dauber's style.
I have never met him, and do not even have a poster on my lawn for him. I've previously followed his involvement from the re-broadcast board meetings, and also in various threads here. I also recently saw the weekly video where he addresses important issues and how he would deal with them, which are acceptable to me. He's an extremely qualified candidate.
I think that although Ken Dauber may have respectable ideas, he's proven to be a much-too radical force in the district. Although constantly pushing for an immediate implementation of an idea could be perceived as beneficial, in many cases, this is simply not true. Problems that merit this kind of solution are "do-or-die" circumstances (like the push-forward of the Breast Cancer drug through the FDA in less time than anything ever had been before) NOT the Palo Alto "Well, maybe it will function better if I do this....?"
Also to note: "If elected, Dauber said he would go even further, advocating public posting of all communication between school board members and district staff, except that related to legally protected personnel and student issues."
To be quite frank, this is a terrible idea. It will reduce contact that the superintendent needs to obtain a realistic comprehension of faculty opinion to politicized-babble and prevent any form of understanding of staff opinions... too radical an opinion exposed and their head is on the chopping block: are they really going to be honest?
Reading the comments here, it seems the only criticisms of Ken are personal attacks on Ken by a few insiders. (and it looks petty and small minded)
When I see the videos of candidates, and consider who I want advocating for my kids I think it's clear. I'm voting Ken.
To C, these ideas sound mainstream up me. Let's get to work getting something good like Schoology in the hands of all students. Let the public see communication between board and superintendent (not superintendent and teachers , that's not what Ken said). We might have fewer surprises that way.
Ken has a PhD in Sociology but is smart enough to be an engineer at Google?
How can you not vote for this guy? ;)
Just kidding...but he probably is the only candidate who built his own election website. He is a disruptive force (a good thing) and while some may not appreciate his style, sometimes you need to be direct in order to get things done. Put your sensitivities aside and listen to his substance.
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