Town Square

The Santa Clara County Board of Education race

Original post made by C.O.C.-Concerned about our County, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2012

This race has always gotten very little attention from the media. The people who run for that Board have usually not run in a political race before. They meet once a month. Their meetings are not televised,and the notes form the meetings are scanty. However, in truth they manage about 270 million dollars. They oversee several schools in the county. And they are the deciding board when a charter school is petitioned and their District turns it down. Dave Cortright and Grace Mah, are running for one seat. The past 2 weeks there have been 2 articles in the Post, and today a letter to the Editor. The first 2 articles by Jeramy Gordan were crucifying against Dave. And when I checked it out- not accurate, and misconstrued. And yet he said nothing positive about Mah. Interesting. Today, the writer who was quoted and was the initiator of a character assassination- with her giving malicious intent where it did not belong; is acting like a victim. Apparently some people objected to her cruel descriptions. She wrote today that Dave's criticisms of the Bullis Charter School will not hurt this school but will hurt the:"small struggling charters down in San Jose." Well she clearly has not heard Dave. That is exactly why he got into this race. He cares about the underachieving students. He cares about the achievement gap that the Bullis of Los Altos and those supporting it- do not care about. Her child is at Bullis Charther School. She must know that it does not serve Special Education and English Language Learners. There is one non profit that funds only one school in Los Altos- Bullis Charter school! As I have said before this Board has approved 20 charter school this year, yet the county does not have the staff to over see them. She worries that Dave will need a long learning curve. She does not need to worry. He is very bright, a fast learner, was educated at Stanford. And has already attended many of their meetings. He is set to go. This Board needs a new, fresh member. Someone who really does care about all of the students not just those in the elitist, privileged Bullis Charter school. He knows that the intent of the Charter School Laws was to help underachieving, underprivileged students. The direction of the current Board, with Mah show that they do not. When voting consider Dave Cortright. HE has the right intentions!


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Posted by Local yokel
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Oct 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Local yokel is a registered user.

I agree with C.O.C. I am voting for Dave Cortright because he is a very bright guy who understands the intent of the charter school law. Dave realizes that charter schools are not a panacea and need to be considered carefully on a case by case basis. Grace Mah's allegiance to charter schools stems from using the threat of a charter to force the Palo Alto Board of Education to approve the school she wanted. Charter law was an enabler for her agenda! During Grace Mah's tenure on the County Board, it has gotten a reputation for being a rubber stamp (19 out of 20 have been approved this year alone!). I'm voting for Dave because I feel he would provide a fresh perspective and more balance to the decision making process.

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Posted by George
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by C.O.C.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

OMG- George I can't believe what you just wrote. Game over? What game? You are saying more about yourself and nothing about Dave! However, I see what dirty politics is about. And you are just adding to it. Show some integrity- don't make it worse. Mah applied for that position 5 years ago and the only experience she had was that she was on the YMCA Board and volunteered at her son's school. Rose Felicetti and Barb Spreng had way more experience. The only difference that people noted was that Mah was pro charter, and the others were not. If approving 19 out of 20 charter schools is what results from some experience on that Board well I say - lets go for less experience, but more intelligence, integrity, and a real concern about all of our students not just the ones in elitists schools that need less attention not more. And yes stop the BCS from suing the District so that this Board can get back to other issues. But as long as Bullis sues and makes unreasonable requests yes this Board needs to focus most of its time on these Charter schools. George do some home work on Charter schools - many are shut down after a few years. And most do not do better than other public schools. Of course if you do not allow in Special Ed. and ELLs( like BCS))the test results will be higher. Lets get a more functional County Board- Vote for Dave!!

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Posted by C.O.C.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm

This was written by someone else but I found it to be a good summary of Dave Cortright's qualifications:

1) Dave has a designer's approach to education. By that I mean that he starts with the fundamental question, "what's the problem that we're trying to solve?" -- an approach that is key to creating a future that is consistent with our desires. He specifically talks specifically about this in the context technology in the classroom -- social media in particular. I agree with his basic premise that technology is not some magical solution to education and am supportive of anybody who wants to take a step back and pursue a more measured inquiry.

2) Dave believes that inspiring and supporting teachers is critical to educational success. Teacher's are one of our nation's greatest assets and their contributions and dedication should be celebrated and honored by all of us. We ask them to take on an impossible job and then we vilify them for having the audacity to ask for fair pay and benefits. Regardless of what the anti-union, witch-hunting crowd might claim, teachers are NOT the enemy and I am proud to stand beside a candidate who is willing to stand up for those who take on the heavy responsibility of educating future generations.

3) Dave believes that the SCCBOE needs to strengthen and improve its relationship with the local school districts under its control. This is consistent with his philosophy about teachers and indicates a fundamental philosophy that services start at the micro-local level and that the higher-up administrative organization, such as the SCCBOE, should be working WITH AND FOR those service providers to empower them. This is indicative of the type of bottoms-up approach that I believe is absolutely essential to the success of locally-delivered governmental services such as education.

4) Dave believes that the SCCBOE should take a more active role in the dispute between BCS and LASD. In the video he explicitly states that the SCCBOE is the third party in the relationship between BCS and LASD. He is dead-on right. Unfortunately, the SCCBOE has completely abdicated their responsibility in the debate as seen by Candidate Mah's utter lack of leadership on this issue. In her statement, she completely withdrew from the issue, stating that it was solely up to BCS and LASD to resolve the facilities dispute. This from the very chartering authority that should be monitoring and governing all the charter schools in their domain.

5) Dave's belief in and dedication to public education is fundamental to his being. In his closing remarks, Dave spoke of his family's multi-generational commitment to public education -- a commitment I never heard from the other candidate. Although Candidate Mah is clearly more experienced, even she admits that experience is the advantage of the incumbent. By contrast, Dave has a personal commitment, civic mind, and new perspective that will be invaluable to the impact of the SCCBOE in the coming years.