Town Square

Best teachers, better counseling top school-survey goals

Original post made on Apr 13, 2008

Better counseling and attracting the best teachers are top priorities students, teachers and parents want to see in the new Strategic Plan for Palo Alto schools, Superintendent Kevin Skelly told the school board Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 11, 2008, 12:00 AM


Like this comment
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Wait a second, let me get this straight. First, parents are asked to choose between foreign language instruction at elementary schools and other all-encompassing no-brainer priorities such as “hiring good teachers”. Second, parents of middle and high school kids are asked to think of how important elementary school foreign language instruction is for THEIR child. Finally, to further minimize the risk that foreign language instruction will be chosen as a priority, if parents have children in elementary schools and in middle or high school, they are asked to pretend that their youngest child does not exist for purpose of filling out the survey. Then, amazingly, and in spite of all this, 46%!!! of parents chose foreign language elementary school education as a priority for their child, and that is a BITTER PILL for those supporting foreign language education? Get real!

True, between 1. oxygen and 2. preventing the release of predatory animals on school grounds, and 3. foreign language education, foreign language education is only a third priority, but there is a clear groundswell of parent opinion in favor of foreign language education as a key curriculum priority for elementary school. The PAUSD has the world’s most amazing and committed teachers---let’s not allow administrators to stop us from bringing the curriculum into the 21st century! What’s shocking is not only that the PAUSD administration is so oblivious to parents’ stated priorities, but also that they are apparently not capable of finding a less obvious way of manipulating the survey results.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Seems like the district is doing a decent job of controlling the process and driving to a result they want. That's a far cry better than the process that gave us MI and the former Super's melt-down.

FLES is way expensive (see TF report); way disruptive (according to the principals); and way less important than doing a good job delivering the fundamentals for a good price. Parents who think it is a top priority for them can easily sign-up for after-school/weekend programs or private schools.

To let it become a cause celebre ("MI got theirs; we want ours") would just create another sideshow on a second tier isse. So good for Skelly et al for keeping the process under control.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm

From my recollection, we were asked to choose 5 priorities and put them in order. The fact that someone may have put languages 3rd, 4th or 5th does not mean that they are low priorities. The low priorities are the ones that have not been picked at all. It is very hard to choose the order of top five, in my opinion choosing five means that they are all important, not just the top 1.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2008 at 10:59 am

The fact that there were no other priority subjects to choose from, besides foreign language tells me that the priority ranking from this survey is garbage. The survey is certainly not giving us implied hidden messages that foreign language in the elementary schools is a high priority, any more than its giving us an implied message that English Language educations is a low priority. We know very little abuot the priorities of the district with this survey. How do you know that if English, Math, Science, Technology, and PE were listed as options in the survey that language would have even made the top 5?