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Open address to Ken Dauber - please form Shadow PAUSD Board

Original post made by village fool, another community, on Mar 21, 2013

I have posted the following under the thread dealing with Strategic plan - Web Link

The following is an open address to Ken Dauber. I wish I could have Edmund Burke or Eileen 1 edit.

Dear Mr. Dauber,
I am writing to call upon you to form a Shadow PAUSD Board.
I do not know you. You recently posted here - calling for an independent investigation. Seems that it is not about to happen.
I think you have everything necessary to lead a Shadow board - heart, basic common sense and integrity. In no way I am undervaluing your academic achievements and titles. It seems to me that you are trying to promote basic village values. �Village� as in: It takes a village to raise a child.
My suggestions as to goals of Shadow PAUSD Board, bearing in mind that it is not Enron (as one commenter noted), but a public education system:

Short term goals of Shadow PAUSD Board: Investigate. Document. I am suggesting to call for input about incidents from the past decade. Reasons for the suggested long time frame:
1. Trust is easy to lose, extremely hard to gain. Given the fear of retaliation that was mentioned many times - hopefully graduates, or parents of graduates, will come forward. Hopefully trust can be rebuilt, slowly.
2. If past incidents were real - quite possible that some of those responsible are still around. Many of the staff members work decades in PAUSD.
3. Find out where and why the previous Strategic Plan failed to outline the process flows indicated by the recent OCR investigation. The excellent editorial initiating this discussion mentioned systemic issues. Such issues should have been noted by the previous Strategic Plan.
4. Try to figure out how the future Strategic plan will address these issues. A classified employee quoted part of the current survey, above. I do hope this input is not correct. In any case - survey questions are very important.
5. Maybe past employees will come forward? Those who retired? If their trust or support can be gained, it may impact others.
6. Hopefully current employees will come forward, and not only teaching staff. Many of us know that secretaries, for example, often are the most knowledgeable about the organization. I'm hoping for insight that could be gained if all levels of district employees were to come forward.
7. Possibly you'll find out that there is nothing to worry about. That would be a very important outcome as well to the many concerns posted lately.

Long term goals of Shadow PAUSD board: Many. A good start may be investigating the possibility that the current type of governance is not suitable to the current local culture. It is quite possible that this board model was set when there really was a village, prior to Corporate America culture taking over.

I hope you will consider my appeal.
Thank you
Village fool

Comments (39)

Posted by Too little, too late
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Almost anything Ken Dauber does so soon after he lost the election will look suspicious, like sour grapes. Personally, I voted for him and I think it was a grievous error that he lost. He is just going to have to sit things out for awhile.

Posted by This must be a joke!
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm

"It takes a village" subculture does not exist in Silicon Valley. Perhaps it exists in some small, mini towns in America.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Those who dislike PAUSD are free to leave the system. There is no perfect public school district, but overall, we have been happy with the PAUSD teachers and administration. The critics need to try other school districts to appreciate what they've got here.

Posted by Marjorie Cranston
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Mr Dauber's is a strong honest voice. I appreciate his effort and involvement and I hope he keeps it up for a good long time to come. Thank you.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

@editor - While I totally agree that any comments about kid's/families personal affairs should be removed, and I wish those comments were never posted - May I ask not to remove comments portraying commenter's opinion of my post? of "me"?

And - the following, definition of Shadow Cabinet, is copied from - Web Link
"..The Shadow Cabinet is a feature of the Westminster system of government. It comprises a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government, and whose members shadow or mark each individual member of the Cabinet.[1] Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party gets into government. It is the Shadow Cabinet's responsibility to criticise the policies and actions of the government, as well as offering an alternative program...specifically its shadow cabinet is called His or Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.[2] The adjective "loyal" is used because, while the role of the opposition is to oppose Her Majesty's Government, it does not dispute the sovereign's right to the throne and therefore the legitimacy of the government... In other parliamentary parties, the membership and composition of the Shadow Cabinet is generally determined solely by the Leader of the Opposition..."

Posted by former Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

I don't know about the practicality of the OP's suggestion, but it would be an improvement to have some additional perspectives - intelligent ones like Mr. Dauber's - on a regular basis. Shine more of the light of day on what is going on. I voted for him, though I have not met him. I was impressed with most of the points he has made...and dissatisfied with many of the current Board members. I dislike insider's club-by stuff...

Posted by villager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:44 am

Village Fool:

This is an interesting suggestion. It would, however, be quite difficult to get to the bottom of this matter without access to current employees. One reason for that is access to current district employees. The second reason is that the district does not comply with the California Public Records Act and delays unreasonably in filling requests making it very difficult to discover information in any kind of timely way. The district also has engaged and will certainly engage again in a deliberate effort to smear any citizens making Public Records Act requests to try to discover information. Ken Dauber discovered that Dr. Skelly was disobeying the school board on Gunn counseling by using the Public Records Act and both Dr. Skelly and board members publicly attacked him for making those requests. It is hard to get information from the district through the PRA, even though the entire point of the PRA is to allow the public to find out things exactly of this nature -- whether our district is following federal civil rights and state civil rights laws.

Sadly, they will delay in filling those requests, and then force any citizen trying to discover information to sue them to get it all the while having their reputations destroyed in the community while the board looks on happily. Information is hard, if not impossible to get. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The right answer is the appointment of a fact-finding commission that can access employees and records without any restriction or resistance. The longer the district does not do that, the more likely a lawsuit, with subpoena power and full discovery becomes. Ironically, this team of dysfunctional non-managers are bringing on the very result they fear.

Posted by Let's do it
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

The public deserves the truth. If the school district isn't going to give it to us, why not do it ourselves? Might be enough to scare the school board into action.

Posted by hahaha
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

" I wish I could have Edmund Burke "
I would love this as well, it would be sooooo amusing!

Posted by T. Babcock
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I think our current school board is already a shadow school board, isn't it?

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm

village fool is a registered user.

@villager - I totally agree about your: "The right answer is the appointment of a fact-finding commission..." It is my understanding that Ken Dauber suggested that, and others. Initially, I thought that there is no way to underestimate the importance of the independence/lack of conflict of interest of the members of such committee. As time pass, this initial sense just intensifies.
At this point - may I ask who would you trust to appoint the committee you suggested? Thank you for your thoughtful response. I am curious as to the portion removed from your post.

@former Paly parent - I totally agree with your: "Shine more of the light of day on what is going on". Could you please elaborate, without personal details, as to the insider's club you did not like? I'm asking since many postings following the news about the OCR findings mentioned atmosphere in schools - in one way or another. If you think that your disliking is relevant - will you please share?

@editor - I totally agree with your: "No well-functioning organization develops tactics, programs or products without having first determined strategies and goals..." you published today in the Editorial about High School counseling. Seems to me that it correlates nicely with the short term goal #3 I listed above. This short term goal can easily be re-written as:
3. Find out where and why the previous Strategic Plan failed to outline the process flows indicated by the recent OCR investigation/High School Counseling/any other systemic issue. The excellent editorial initiating this discussion mentioned systemic issues. Such issues should have been noted by the previous Strategic Plan.
I think this goal/question is extremely important. That was the reason that had me post this open address initially under the thread dealing with the Strategic Plan, even though it was clearly a "dead thread".
I think that checking this question may provide some clues as to the roots of the systemic issues, at least roots of some of these issues. Some answers, or at least some pointers to the whereabouts of possible answers may be within reach. May I ask if you are interested in this question/goal?

Posted by villager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm

You raise excellent questions and points. You are very thoughtful about these issues. One at a time:

1. Yes Ken has called for this, along with the Weekly (although the Weekly called for a committee of board members which is a fox/henhouse problem as you point out. In my opinion (and I believe Ken and also Andrea Wolf called for variants of this at the last meeting) there should be a Blue-Ribbon panel, modeled on the Christopher Commission following the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. It was chaired by Warren Christopher, and appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley. The commission was composed of professors, lawyers, community leaders, university presidents, and judges. Obviously it was investigating a much bigger problem involving a greater scope of inquiry, but the model is a good one. They had a staff, interviewed witnesses, consulted experts, and developed many proposals for reformed practices and greater accountability. It is a good model and one we can emulate, albeit on a smaller scale.

I would suggest someone like Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former Freshman Dean at Stanford and a lawyer by education. She is generally respected in the community and an involved parent. I would also suggest Stanford Law Professor Marcus Cole, and many good Ed School faculty familiar with issues of school accountability. There are doubtless other similarly well-respected members of the community, but I would shy away from "insiders" as chairs of the commission who are former school board members as they generally lack the independence necessary, or at least the appearance of that independence. It would probably be well to
have someone like Susie Richardson on the committee, and she would be an ideal candidate as she is smart, independent, and has spent years as a leader of Facing History so she understands the problem of bullying and intolerance in a serious way. Most other former school board members are probably insufficiently independent and would tend to be seen (whether accurately or not) as whitewashing the situation.

Because of the legal aspects of this matter that would be hard for a non-legally trained person to understand the committee should either have lawyers on it or have the ability to retain its own counsel to advise it. Given the expense of hiring counsel I would think selecting individuals who are themselves lawyers or law professors would suffice.

Finally, I would suggest teachers and admins who are trusted and considered to be master teachers with good reputations among parents and educators in the district. Sandra Pearson springs easily to mind but I have no doubt that there are other good candidates.

Such a committee should have the broad charge of fact gathering and also of developing process improvement recommendations and of issuing a full report and a redacted version (that omits names of students and personnel as appropriate in accordance with privacy laws). This report would have the effect of restoring confidence among the public that we have gotten to the bottom of what went wrong and made the necessary course and personnel corrections to ensure it does not happen again.

Without such a report, as in the case of the LAPD, it will be very hard to restore that trust. You can see that in the editorials of the Weekly and in the comments in TS. The public has lost confidence on the Superintendent and his staff and the board has become open figures of fun. The way to change that runs through an independent commission process and the sooner the better.

Scandals like this one have a rhythm. Typically there is the revelation, the outrage, the demands for dismissals. If there is a prompt fact-finding, it can defuse community suspicion and anger. Delay creates the appearance of cover-up whether it is the reality or not. The delay in just telling the truth here makes it appear much that Kevin and the board are hiding something and the lawyer's conduct and memo did not help this any.

Board: appoint an independent panel of esteemed citizens -- people respected as independent by all sides. Then tell the whole truth to the public and make course corrections to restore public trust. Take charge. Stop deferring to Kevin while he cuckolds and misleads you in public. Every day you delay is another day that you are trusted and respected less.

Posted by former Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

@village fool
I am a former district parent, so not privy to any current insider info...I write now from a general perspective, believing that an open system with an open process is best when we are discussing public matters like the public school system.
This means being thankful that here we have the news media thoroughly following and reporting on the district's actions, for example. I can't understand some posts on this forum wherein someone decries the news media for reporting something unfavorable (about PAUSD, the superintendent, whatever). While I don't welcome such reports, I think we need to know what is going on.
I think local government and school officials can get too cozy - and operating without a lot of oversight may lead to secret situations that we have a right to know (like this recent OCR deal, which shocked me, though as I state I no longer have kids in school).
I think wealthy and/or connected and/or politicially savvy parents/individuals that do exist here may come to dominate public systems unless there is a lot of oversight. Important decisions are made and a lot of money is spent, too. I am a taxpayer and I care how my money is spent. Meantime, a lot of the public are super busy with their own lives, but we should remind ourselves to not let public employees get too cozy within their secure world.
Furthermore, I find the superintendent to be extremely well-compensated, and this person should be fully capable of interacting with the news media and the public as head official of the district, without padding the payroll by adding a 150K/year public relations "official."

Posted by village fool
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

@villager -Thank you. At this point I think an External Audit is needed. I think that by nature, the LA committee you mentioned was an external audit. Given LA size and the subject of investigation - most likely quite remote from many there - makes that committee external audit. Easy to find committee members who are independent and lack conflict of interest. More than that - I think that most likely, any Black Man who is first college graduate in his family had experienced, in one stage of his life, or another, some kind of discrimination. The type of discrimination causing these riots. I'm sure that the LA committee had at least one member who can relate to that type of discrimination - personally,and yet remotely. All the above contributed to the fact that the LA committee was, most likely - by definition, independent and lacking conflict of interest.
A committee formed along your suggestions can not be independent, here. In no way I'm undervaluing, or criticizing, any of the citizens you mentioned, or others. It is a small community.
I would define - The King Test. King, last name - after Rodney king. An imaginary family. I would ask myself - would the King family think that the kids of the members you suggested, above, would have been treated the same way as the kids of the King family? They could attend the same school, here (most likely not in LA). Many questions. Again - in no way I'm undervaluing the reputation of any of the citizens you named, I just think that LA model does not apply here. Not after time passing.
Having written all the above - I would have totally supported your suggested committee should it been formed within reasonable time after first time being called for. One point/issue at a time, you wrote. There may be other possibilities out there - I picked the open address, above, hoping to have this type of discussion. And - I do hope that Mr. Dauber will consider my appeal.

@former Pay parent - Thank you.
Yes - even ignoring the kids - this is an extremely serious matter. It is about our tax $. All of us. Palo Alto, California and beyond. You mentioned the "coziness" etc. Another reason I find the goal #3 above is so crucial. It is nice to note that in this case, trying to the right thing seems to be serving both the kids and the tax payers.

Posted by villager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

you're probably right. The time may well have passed for relative insiders to have credibility. I do think that the committee needs to include members who have uncompromising civil rights values and who are not trying to curry favor with the current board. That probably excludes anyone with children currently in the district. You're probably right about the optics of having waited and having to be dragged to it as well. The longer they wait the more important it is the that the auditors have credibility. But I don't think it's too late yet. Just that it is getting there. It's almost getting hard to watch. Melissa Caswell for example -- I think she wants to do the right thing but it's very hard to manage someone like Kevin who rejects being managed. He should probably be dismissed but if she calls for his dismissal and doesn't get other votes (and who would that be? None of them I can think of) then she marginalized herself. She looks very unhappy and very frustrated. Or the Weekly publisher basically throwing up his hands in his own editorial and saying "best we can hope for." What does that mean? Why? Well because the board won't do its job and until it does, he's right.

I think you have very thoughtful things to say but it would be very hard to do what you suggest. Without the cooperation of the district, it would be very hard to get at the truth just using the California Public Records Act. You could probably get some things but it will be weeks from now and it won't be the whole story. I suppose it would be better than nothing. How much better remains to be seen.

Posted by Ken Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I'm puzzled and disappointed that the school board hasn't put in motion a public accounting for the issues raised by the Office for Civil Rights investigation and finding. Our elected officials owe the community an honest, transparent and independent appraisal of what happened, what went wrong, and how to fix it. I and many others, including other members of We Can Do Better Palo Alto, the Weekly, and other parents and community members, have urged the board to take this step.

I don't think we should give up on that expectation, despite the lack of response from board members to this point. After all, all board members except Camille Townsend told the Weekly several weeks ago that they support a full fact-finding. We will shortly bring to the school board a resolution under California Ed. Code section 35145.5 for a fully public and transparent investigation to give board members a vehicle for fulfilling that commitment.

California law gives citizens the right to request public documents from public agencies. We used that right a year ago when it was apparent that the school district and the school board were not being transparent with the public about counseling at Gunn. I think such a course is a poor second to full transparency and accountability, and I'm hopeful that the board will choose to act soon to make it unnecessary.

Posted by pimping your own posts
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

"California law gives citizens the right to request public documents from public agencies. We used that right a year ago..."
How much money has the district spent on these requests? Do you really think it is right for the district to be spending so much money on trivial requests such as this: Web Link
"I have gathered in conversations with some of you, heard a hint from Kevin Skelly yesterday, and then confirmed in a conversation with Charles Young today that district staff have sent you communications that essentially argue that I, at least, and perhaps others in We Can Do Better have have directed inappropriate comments to staff."
Seriously, with each passing post you make, I give thanks for the results in the last election.

Posted by Duveneck dad
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2013 at 10:06 am

Pimp wants to change the subject from this case of our district's failure to protect the civil rights of a disabled child, to the point of failing to respond to physical assault. If I were a district staff member who failed to follow procedure and then covered it up I would do the same thing. I want something simple: a school district run by people who follow the law and tell the truth and don't need document requests to have it extracted from them. And oh if they would focus on the public's business rather than petty resentments that would be a nice bonus.

Posted by Villager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

Today's mercury news insider column wonders why the PAUSD board hasn't fired Skelly yet in light of his bungling of 2 civil rights cases and concealing them. As I wrote above the longer the delay the worse this will get. Eventually it could become a national story. The board is now tarnishing the PAUSD brand they have have to act

Web Link

Posted by former Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thanks, Villager, for that web link. I recommend everyone check it out - San Jose Mercury News

Posted by Thx, Villager
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

It is true that almost everywhere in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, people are talking about the Kevin Skelly fiasco. Apparently in other communities, such a grand screw-up would not be tolerated, and the supe would have been gone months ago. This man is really making Palo Alto, and Palo Altans, look bad for tolerating him so long. he apologizes, but his eyes show no remorse. No court would ever give him the mercy the Board has shown him, and shame on THEM, he does not deserve it! He truly seems to think this is no big deal!

Well, it is a big deal, and the fact that it happened in PAUSD magnifies it to the outer communities, and deeply tarnishes the Palo Alto name, the PAUSD name, and the Scool Board members names.

Since the Council is so big on polls, they ought to take a poll on this one: should Kevin Skelly lose his job over bullying issues and the resulting coverups? The answer is obvious to everyone BUT the Board and the Council, who are in such denial they probably would not believe the results of the poll and claim it to be rigged.

Protecting Skelly makes the Board members accessories to his actions and inactions, therefore they are culpable as well. It isn't much different than harboring a criminal, if only they would open their eyes and see that. How can the district go forward and reclaim what is left of its reputation without terminating Kevin Skelly?

Posted by people have spoken
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

and I hate to wake everyone up, but this ship has sailed. WCDB lost the election. Skelly has apologized. I trust our school board. Time to find a new cause.

Posted by Eileen 1
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm

@people have spoken

"this ship has sailed" Are you saying that no matter what the school board does or does not do we cannot have any input since the election has been held and they are our elected representatives? I disagree with this. Whether I voted for them or not, they represent me and the rest of the community. If I am not satisfied with what they are doing I believe I have the right to comment in real time. I do not believe my only opportunity to participate in the process is at the ballot box.

I would like to know on what basis you say "you trust our school board," because I find it very difficult to assess what they do since they do not seem to do much in the public board meetings. Since I can't see them "doing" much I am left to judge them based on what they are NOT doing. The things they are not doing alarm me. They are not appointing an independent commission to look into the facts of the case brought to the OCR - an independent panel that would explain how PAUCD came to be one of 14 school districts in the nation found out of compliance with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. They do not appear to be irritated that Gunn has been working on getting a comparable counseling program to Paly's for a few years, and now they say they will need a few more before they achieve something as strong as Paly's program since first Dr. Skelly needs to determine what "comparable" means.

I want to trust them, but in the absence of their appointing an independent commission to evaluate and report back to the community with an evaluation of what happened in this case, and what can be done in the future to prevent it happening anywhere else in the district, I do not trust them. How can I trust when they behave as though they are hiding something?

Posted by Eileen 1
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I also think that Susie Richardson would be an excellent person to serve on the independent panel that several people have mentioned on this thread.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm

@villager, past Paly parent - Thank you for joining this ride early on, helping keeping this thread alive. villager - thank you for the Mercury link.
I do want to think that this ship have sailed-ship being independent investigation.
villager and I seem to agree - time have passed. I urge you to consider the imaginary King family I listed above. Their trust needs to be gained as well. All, here, seem to know the candidates for such committee. I am sure the King family do not. I do not. villager agreed that those who had/have kids in PAUSD need to be excluded. What about those who know the schools investigated? Jordan middle (mentioned in another thread discussing child molesters), those who have spouses working in PAUSD, family members? Gaining the King's family trust will take serious effort. This effort should include a committee without any shread of conflict of interest, even seemingly.

@Ken Dauber - Thank you for responding. Several weeks have passed, you mentioned, most board members agreed to such committee. Several weeks is a long time. Longer than the time given to Gunn, letting them know of the counseling presentation. Time passed does not give any confidence that PAUSD Board is eager to figure out what went wrong, and how to fix it.
Again- in no way I'm undervaluing any citizen mentioned. I just think this model is not applicable to PAUSD anymore. Several weeks. I would have totally supported this suggested committee should it been formed early on.
Civil Grand Jury? - I am not familiar with the procedures/processes of having such. The following is a link to one, Santa Clara county, looking into education $ in 2009: Web Link

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:26 pm

@Ken Dauber - The latest, this morning, shadows everything.
My apologies for my apparent rude response, above. I'm wanting to extend my open address - I addressed you above, listing the reasons I thought you are qualified to lead a Shadow Board.
Following villager input above (observing the board), I'm adding now- seems that you are not impacted by the concern of being marginalized. Initially, I did not list that - the integrity umbrella. Rereading villager post had me specify. Thank you.
@villager - Thank you.

Posted by Midtown parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm

A community as smart and affluent as ours is should be able to pull off some simple fact-finding. The school board ought to make it happen but if they are too beholden to the bureaucrats then Mr. Dauber is fine with me. I voted for him, by the way, in case anyone wonders.

Posted by Clean house
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I had to laugh at the comment about trusting the school board. I am jealous of the poster's ability to ignore that they have fiddled and supported Kevin Skelly's apologetic buffoonery suicides to the withholding of information that would have affected his employment and the November election. It is sad that the Weekly, not even a daily, and the Daubers had to work to give the public a small taste of the truth. That should have been Kevin Skelly or his lieutenant, Charles Young. Again, I envy those of you, my fellow voters, who are satisfied with our leadership. I am not satisfied with their performance and each day of silence and inaction makes it worse. I vote to clean house. Fire Skelly, even though it will reveal how badly the board performed in granting him four years of employment. It may reveal more. Fire Young. I've met him a few times and was terribly unimpressed, but this fiasco of not managing the complaint process effectively is unforgivable. We pay these two well to manage at a high level and to let them go when they don't. Do more administrators need to go, as in Holly Wade and Michael Milliken? Probably, but who on the board would have the necessary moral and professional credentials to do it? Thank you for starting this thread. That there have been posters to this thread despite being hidden way back here says a lot about the level of dissatisfaction with Kevin Skelly and the rest.

Posted by your own posts
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2013 at 8:20 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by your own posts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2013 at 1:53 am

village fool is a registered user.

@editor - may I ask why my previous comment- asking you what it takes to have a posting removed, was removed? I asked about other comments. Why my comment, asking, was-removed completely, without even a trace/trail that I commented?

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm

village fool is a registered user.

Ken Dauber -
Time have passed since I first addressed you. Time has many perspectives here. By the end of the day - it is about kids, and their families. The excellent editorial accompanying the news of the first OCR investigation mentioned systemic issues. Kids and families who are impacted by the systemic issues do not have time. I thought, then, that an immediate symbolic action, and clear statement is called for. The reasons of my initial address, above. The tip of the iceberg was mentioned many times. Pandora boxes, maybe? Also - info as to systemic issues may be impacted by potential quiet settlements. Time may be a factor here, as well. Shadow Board was my "solution" - quite possibly there are other ways.

@editor - Fear of retaliation was mentioned many times.That might be a systemic issue. It just makes sense that transparent atmosphere is less likely to trigger such fear.
I happen to agree with another posting stating that this is your board, you pay the bills and have the saying. Having said that, may I ask to open this thread and others dealing with these issues, make them open to all again? without needing to log in?

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm

village fool is a registered user.

Dear Mr. Dauber - I have addressed you more than two months ago calling to form a PAUSD Shadow board. Seemed to me, then, that investigation was not about to happen.
"Villager" wrote above that - "Scandals like this one have a rhythm. Typically there is the revelation, the outrage, the demands for dismissals. If there is a prompt fact-finding, it can defuse community suspicion and anger. Delay creates the appearance of cover-up whether it is the reality or not..." It was only the info related to the second (or third? or forth?) OCR investigation, and other inputs such as those provided by "Curious", that kept these issues on the public agenda. I am more convinced than prior that such investigation needs to be totally independent.
The latest info as to the closed board sessions dealing with litigation had me wonder - Who are the board member serving? Info about the first OCR case revealed that the parents tried to contact the board members, seeking help. Seems that a closed session could be about a case where board members were contacted by community parents who ended addressing the OCR. I am wondering, simply - on what side are the board members? Closed session makes it clear that the board sides with the district officials - anyways, always. Should concerned parents try to contact the board members regarding concerns they have, knowing that the board always sides with the district officials? Conflict of interest? Seems to me that a transparent environment, where best practices are the law, would have spared those issues, and have the kids better served. That was the initial reason of my address, above. Seems to me that institutional by-standing, atmosphere where fear of retaliation seems to be affecting actions, was not established in one day, or one year. Seems to me that no correction, or healing can start prior to understanding what went wrong, why. Seems to me that the Ohlone event presented community members trust. I have suggested the Shadow board as a symbolic statement, and hopefully a way to start to investigate until any other formal procedure may take place. Possibly there are other ways. Hopefully there is a way to look seriously, continuously into issues, without having the OCR giving painful reminders.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2013 at 11:15 pm

village fool is a registered user.

Dear Mr. Dauber - Summer time. I addressed you, above, calling to form a Shadow board, to look into past events. I think it is interesting to note a shift in the tone of recent threads, and also in the apparent increased interest since the OCR settlements became public info. Less than a year ago, I responded to Stephen Levy's question with my thoughts as to the reasons that the flood of comments stop once a thread is restricted only to those logged in. It seemed to me, then, that fear of retaliation within the school system was not ever admitted as a reason for silence. Not anymore. I noted at the time my belief that this fear represents some deep rooted issues. Link- Web Link
Posted by village fool, a resident of another community, on Aug 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm village fool is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Stephen Levy - Thank you. I think that not all anonymous comments/subjects/situations are made alike. I think that Peter's thoughtful response applies to other types of posting/subjects - those are really where "everything goes." An example of those would be a thread you started few days ago: Web Link

This thread we're in now is different. I think that many who comment are afraid, as embarrassing as it may sound. Some of the anonymous commenters above have kids in the school system - I'm assuming they will not take any chance of having any type of retaliation for expressing their honest point of view. Their concerns are real, and I think of great interest to all. Some anonymous commenters apparently do not even trust the editor; you can see above, and in other threads, that they think the editor has an agenda, and that may prevent some people from registering.The fascinating part is that commenters above do care - dearly. Otherwise they would not take the time, or post so many comments - this thread is just a sample. The following link is another example - an anonymous satisfied parent responding to an anonymous teacher, asking teacher come forward... I have posted a response there. - Web Link
This occurrence about which you asked my thoughts represents, I think, some deeply rooted issues. Having written the above - I am well aware I'm posting anonymously here, I'm not proud of doing that.

O Curious, Where Art Thou? I am hoping that you are enjoying a well deserved break, and that you'll be back. Your informational threads had quite an impact. It seems to me that after your most recent post about the summer school fees, silence was imposed(???). Most threads dealing with these issues have now been restricted to registered users, thus stifling the discussion.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

village fool is a registered user.

Dear Mr. Dauber - Sorry for my late address. I learned only last night that the board was going to follow up on the Gunn guidance issues (Thank you "Curious"). I am sorry - I did have ample time to collect my facts, research.
Almost three months have passed since I first addressed you, calling to look, basically, into the iceberg, the possibility of Pandora Box.
As far as I recall - only documents that were provided after exercising the Brown act revealed that Gunn officials were instructed, sometime way in the past, not to consider the "North" TA program. I do not know if these instructions were ever retracted.
I have listed an imaginary King family above - may I suggest to have in mind, when considering the following, a potential academically driven kid of this family? It seems to me that this family may reflect the "silent majority" - those who can not afford private college planing and application counseling or do not have the access to in house advice that many in Palo Alto have, naturally.
Few questions that come to my mind, below, using North and South (a notion mentioned many times). Obviously, I am no professional in polling etc.
1. Is it possible that not all within the school system feel free to speak their minds?
2. Is there any way to figure out the root of Gunn's teachers resistance to the system used in the North? Especially important if the answer to #1 is yes.
3. Was Gunn ever given freedom to explore all options?
4. Is it possible to really know how effective the north system is ?
4.1 Is there any way to know % of those who are satisfied that use some outside support for college planing and applying?
4.2 Any way to know if the King family ever responded?
4.3 Any way to know if the King kids ever responded?
5. Is it possible that the South satisfaction level responses are impacted by knowing what is going on in the North?
6. Is it possible that those who did well in the North would have done the same in the South, and vice versa? specific students do not have control group.

Basically I am suggesting the possibility that the data available now may be contaminated by the lack of transparency and lack of best practices. When there is fear of retaliation and lack of transparency everything is possible.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

village fool is a registered user.

Dear Mr. Dauber - I addressed you three months ago calling on you to form a PAUSD Shadow Board. I could not foresee, then, any of the events that presented themselves. I just knew that independent investigation is a must. I compared in other threads the (first) OCR report to initial lab test performed on a patient. First warning sign. It is very clear to me that no illness can be treated prior to being properly identified. It seems to me that no steps have been taken by those in charge to better identify the issues. Meanwhile - the public attention seems to be shifting , fast, from one issue to the other. None being properly addressed - I'll just mention now the Gunn guidance issue that was on the agenda just very short time ago. I have mentioned, above that I think that nothing can be counted on, anymore. The data collected may be contaminated etc. This week presented another issue - personnel. I doubt that PAUSD can attract top candidates to positions these. I doubt that any outside capable potential candidate will join a district that seems to be in the - cover up - phase.
"Villager" described, nicely, above, the dynamics of this, or any scandal. I have suggested the Shadow Board as way of looking into issues - until any other formal procedure may hopefully take place.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 29, 2013 at 6:06 am

village fool is a registered user.

I am sorry to see that all the events that presented themselves reinforced the need of an independent investigation. I have called for a Shadow Board, an unusual suggestion, in the hopes of having independent investigation - fast. I am not familiar with the formalities of other possible options. I have listed, above, a link to a Grand Jury investigation that looked into spending education $ in Santa Clara County - (Web Link ). The Grand Jury report from 2009 was titled - WHO REALLY BENEFITS FROM EDUCATION DOLLARS? (Hint: It’s Not the Students).

I have posted the following under the editorial dealing with accountability (Web Link
I can not see how any correction can result only from letting go of the one in charge and changing the board. It seems to me that a serious discussion about accountability/transparency/etc is just a preliminary, crucial step prior to being able to consider changes. It seems to to me that the atmosphere that enabled the issues triggering the OCR investigation and all the rest was not created recently. I'll just mention the infamous case of sexual abuse by a teacher in a middle school years ago - as it turned out, all knew for a long while, and no one stepped forward to protect the student and address the issues. There was, and still is, unfortunately, an atmosphere - corporate culture, that enabled that. It seems to me that those mentioned above just perfected the existing law of the land. I am trying to say that without an independent investigation - spelling out the things that went wrong to the tiniest details, and spelling out the new standards that will - hopefully - emerge, nothing can change. I found the following in one of the documents that were released after the Weekly exercised the Brown Act. I am quoting the Superintendent here, again:
"As I often say, the community and staff take their cues from us in terms of how they relate to each other." - 9/2010. I have pasted this quote, along several others here - (Web Link
It seems to me that the OCR have found pretty compelling samples of the cues given, and taken in terms of - how to relate to each other. It seems to me that nothing can change when the job security/family health insurance/retired plans etc. of all employees is dependent on the unspoken rules/codes of conduct of the current corporate PAUSD culture.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2013 at 2:43 am

village fool is a registered user.

Dear Mr Dauber - I have addressed you here more than three months ago after I realized that I lost trust. I did not believe that an independent investigation - promised by few PAUSD board members - was about to happen. I was hoping to be proved wrong. Unfortunately - I was not. Unfortunately - all the actions of PAUSD (actions of which I am aware) just added to my initial perspective of cover up, my perspective that the well being of all the children is not top priority, my perspective that even when talking about $ - public funds could be better spent and produce better results. All resulting, so I believe, from the law of the land - the atmosphere, culture.
Sandra Pearson, former Paly principal and an acclaimed past PAUSD official, wrote to PAUSD board regarding the new communication PR position. Her letter was published here - (Web Link I have posted the following in the thread dealing with the new PR appointed position here (Web Link ).
I am not clear about the sequence of events that had the PR coordinator hired. Last I remember - the position was put on hold. However, I must admit - I was not following closely.
I am addressing those who think that I (and others) are criticizing PAUSD for some weird hobby we have developed. I am suggesting to consider the possibility that we do care dearly about all the children, and that each us have some supporting evidence to have us think that - something is not working right (quite an understatement).
At this point I think that those who lost trust will not regain any because of the new position. On the contrary - I am pretty sure I am not the only one to wonder if some of the new system supporting postings on these threads are not part of some paid PR campaign.
As to the PR position - I found the following in one of the documents that were released after the weekly exercised the Brown Act. The following, Superintend quote, is from 02/11, prior to the significant (or any other adjective you want to use) "wave" of public record requests:
"..The discussion at St. Marks Church was unpleasant, and I don’t think productive. In hindsight, I can see some things we could or should have done better, but I think the deck was stacked against us. I am going to sit down soon with Tim Dyson, a CEO of a PR company, to seek his wisdom on how we can better address the clear frustration some people have with our work. " 02/11
I posted the above quote along few others here (Web Link I am copying also the following - it seems to me to that this one adds up perfectly to my understanding of PAUSD modus vivendi and perspective of the community:
"They need to make the decision, and he firmly believes the community will accept the decision and move on. This seems accurate and it reflects what has happened on other issues, like MI. It seems to me that when the board makes a decision and moves forward, the rest of the community will accept the decision and move forward. I guess this is a long way of saying, if we lead, the community will follow"...10/2010

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2013 at 5:44 am

village fool is a registered user.

I am confused - I am not clear how the the recent inputs and this article, among others (Web Link add up. Will the procedures/agreements with the OCR be followed?
The discussion that was triggered by the (first) OCR report addressed bullying and by standing in way that makes sense to non lawyers who care about all children. A parent commented in the first board meeting after the (first) OCR case became public that identifying bullying does not call for legal education - a heart should be suffice (I am sorry - I can not recall the exact wording). It seems to me that all parents want to think that bullying situations will not be ignored.
Addressing bullying is not rocket science - I am pretty sure that most parents support intervening/up stranding, also by peers, and would not promote by standing/ignoring. By the end of the day, it is about an education system.
It seems to me that legal issues/questions would not present themselves in a culture and atmosphere of best practices and trust that the well being of all children is top priority and concern. Such trusting, best practices culture could handle exceptions that present themselves everywhere.
It seems to me that trust can not be restored without transparency and accountability, and that nothing can happen prior to "system analysis" - understanding the iceberg, the systemic issues mentioned in the editorial accompanying the information about the (first) OCR agreement. It seems to me that understanding the systemic issues call for an independent investigation. I want to thank, again, the family who came forward with the OCR agreement.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2013 at 6:10 am

village fool is a registered user.

"...As I often say, the community and staff take their cues from us in terms of how they relate to each other..." 9/2010
Given this past quote of the Superintendent which I provided above and in other threads, it seems to me that a clear statement may be called for - what is really going on? are all the statements/agreements made after the (first) OCR agreement the was made public still in place?
A clear statement as to - What are the current educational values? It seems to me that it may be quite challenging now to understand the cues that are to be taken.

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