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New school boundaries in store for MV Whisman?

Original post made on Nov 15, 2011

Mountain View Whisman School District officials are considering changing the attendance boundaries of three local elementary schools next year. "We're doing our best to get kids into their neighborhood schools," said Superintendent Craig Goldman of the proposed changes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 14, 2011, 8:21 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by Teacher, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:04 am

This is a move back toward racial segregation in the schools plain and simple.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:19 am

Since the PACT kids left Castro I'm sure the test scores have suffered. It has become the barrio school. The only diversity you see is in the DI program.
Although I would love to send my daughter to a neighborhood school I don't want her in a classroom where the kids can't read,
If the board members are stupid enough to think that a middle to upper class family moving into the area will put their child into a low performing school, they've got another thing coming.
Also, how fair is it for those of us who pay high property taxes to not have a decent school to send their children, just so some mother doesn't have to walk an extra few blocks?

Posted by Litsa, a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:41 am

I agree with Teacher. This is a total 'keep the other side of the tracks where it is' split.

Posted by Pat, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

This is a copy of the letter I sent to the board. Remember to make your voice heard before they make a decision:

Our kid is half-Spanish, half-Anglo, speaks Spanish and English perfectly, I have a MA in Spanish and am a full-time instructor of Spanish at a community college, my husband just finished his PhD in English at Stanford, and is currently doing a post-doc. We have both published articles in our fields. We live in Latham St. We tell you all this because Latham St. is not as homogeneous as the board might think (judging by their idea to keep the barrio in the barrio school). Unfortunately, Castro does not reflect this diversity or MV's overall diverse population. The reality is that Castro is a very segregated school where there's no diversity of any kind: racial, socio-economic, in the educational background of the parents, linguistic. And this with the current school boundaries. I can't imagine what will happen with the new ones or picture any of the people at the Board sending their kids here, unless it were to the DI, of course. We know because one of our kids go to DI and the other got sent to Castro English-only.

Confining the whole neighborhood to Castro would reduce busing, of course, but what the Board is not saying is that it will also entrench the segregation currently in place. The board can't pretend not to know this (or maybe that's the idea--let the Latinos stay where they are and let Bubb whiten). In this great social experiment we are undergoing this year, we can tell you there's a different way our kids get treated at each program, in their respective grades. In DI there's homework, not so at English-only (for fear parents will teach their kids to do things the wrong way or will simply not be there to do homework with them, teacher dixit). There's a shutterfly site where we get notice of everything going on at DI; there's no email communication or website announcements coming out of English-only. There are parent volunteers at DI; there's one at English-only (my husband).

Overall, changing the boundaries is a racist idea hidden under the sunny banner that most parents want to walk to their school. Well, naturally, but only if it's to a good school. Nobody minds busing their kids to another one when it's for their benefit. The Board is equating being poor with being naive, or worse, too ignorant to realize they're being asked to agree to their kids' segregation. And, of course, they are counting on them not protesting--how could they? They're too poor, too busy, too recently immigrated here to make their voices heard.

I hope the people of MV who want diversity but not segregaton will protest.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Pat- since you've put all your (and your husband's)credentials out there what is your suggestion in getting a more diverse school? If I sent my child to Castro right now she would be sitting bored out of her skull doing extra worksheets because the other kids can't keep up (don't know how to read/ do simple math). I'm sure since your son who is not in DI is doing homework because you and your husband must give him extra work to do.

You know what will happen when you get your diverse school (which I'm doubtful will ever happen)? They'll just start tracking the kids and that's segregation by other name. If they get enough "high" kids to ever go there, those kids will get tracked into the higher Language Arts and Math classes and the rest will be tracked into the "lower" LA and Math classes.

I do not doubt that there are immigrant parents who want a better education for their kids, but when it comes down to it...many parents who do not have an education use school as a babysitter. When the kids go home they get shoved in front of the tv or the computer games (yes, even the poor kids at Castro only talk about their new iPhones/xBox). This is why they are not reading even at the 4th and 5th grade level. I want to send my child to school where parents are on the same page about the educational goals for their kids...and I don't see that at Castro (except for DI).

I will be contacting the board about keeping the same boundaries. Initially I thought it was about bringing more diversity but families who are buying houses in this area will either put their kids in DI or send their kids to private school rather than dong EO at Castro.

Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I don't get it. It sounds like the commenters in this thread want more diverse schools, but they don't want to change the district boundaries to make that happen.

"We tell you all this because Latham St. is not as homogeneous as the board might think"

I am happy to hear Latham St is a diverse neighborhood. Let's make the local school equally diverse by letting the local kids go to it.

Posted by Simple Logic, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Neighborhood kids should get priority, once all the neighborhood kids get into their neighborhood schools, we should THEN discuss what to do if there is any extra space.
To suggest this is some form of racism cheapens the crying wolf every time you see a puppy.

I wonder how tolerant some of these commentors would be if someone, using the logic as in the above posts, were to cry out racism when preference was given to a kid outside the neighborhood that eliminated a seat for the kid who,lives around the corner from the school.

The claim of racism is pathetic and creates a victim mentality, which is something that will absolutely hold a person back.

Posted by Ron, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Pat's comment about the "social experiment"is laughable. Moving kids to the school closest to them is not a social experiment. It is simple logic. The social experiment is what they are doing currently, sending kids to further schools in some misguided attempt to force diversity.

Posted by smith, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I agree with Ron: the sons and daughters of the leaf blowers should go to one school, and we who have the lawns that get blown should have a school for our own progeny. Property owners of the world, unite! Enough with these dangerous social experiments.

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Simple Logic:

You clearly have no knowledge of simple history and the issue of segregation in schools. The changing of boundaries will have the effect or racially segregating the schools.

You must be a product of public school.

Posted by Pat, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I don't know what the solution is --to bus everybody from everywhere until the school reflects the population? I know it's complicated to have diverse neighborhood schools when the neighborhoods themselves are segregated. In that sense, I see nothing wrong with forcing diversity through busing. Ideally, we should have no qualms about sending our kids to any school within our district.

Of course, we all want to walk to a great neighborhood school but what happens when we do it at the expense of others? And by great, I don't know exactly what it means, either --I'm not sure this endless testing gives us much insight into a school. But maybe it's better to have schools where different kids mix together than having a school for affluent kids and a school for poor kids. Maybe we should discuss what a great education means.

The boundaries and the busing as they are haven't accomplished much for Castro. But the idea is not to ghettoize Castro even more with the new boundaries.

Posted by smith, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

O Pat--where have all the flowers gone? To Google? Good grief!

Posted by Ann, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Where will the kids who live in Oaktree Commons end up? We are on the block of California, Ortega, Latham and S. Rengstorff. I think it means our kids will remain at Ortega.

While I think it would be great for our kids to speak both spanish and english in school (or chinease, french, german, italian) that skill can't make up for all the other skills our kids have to have to thrive in the 21st century. The reality is Castro is in the bottom 20th percent in school performance so parents who really want to ensure a top quality education are not going to be happy with thier child attending Castro.

I've been renting my house out for the last 5 years and I have to declare to all parents that Castro is our elementary school and I have lost potential tenants because they don't want thier child(ren) at Castro. I've even contacted the District several times to see if I could help get potential tenants kids into a different elementary school and until this year, when Castro was impacted, I was told no can't happen.

So I am disappointed that my block or super block is not up for moving from Castro. I guess I'll have to attend the meeting to lobby for a district change, course I was hoping for Almond as it is easy to cross El Camino that to cross Central/Alma.

Are there affordable, accessible programs for the parents and children who have limited language skills and may also be below grade level so they can catch up. Should they be in year round school so they can catch up? Yes, I know who pays for this....

Posted by proudcastroparent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

It seems like some who comment do not have specific information. Castro API scores have risen considerably and is now over 800. It is now considered a 'Great School'. All sub groups performances have improved dramatically. It would make sense for more neighborhood kids to go to school there and grow within their immediate community and continue adding to the 'Great Community' that it is and that extends beyond academic performance.
If you need more specific information to back up some random comments made, you can go to and look up the schools test scores, broken down into subgroups and you will be equipped with more substantiated information.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Aren't those scores from last year when the PACT students were still there? If so, we'll see how the numbers are for this year, although the DI students will float the school.
I don't pay a lot of attention to test scores since schools bring out the guns in the Spring and start training kids on how to take tests.

Posted by Castro Parent, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

The PACT program has been at Stevenson since 2009, so they did not support test scores at Castro for the last couple years. Castro has been improving across the board thanks to the leadership of the principal Judy Crates, many fine teachers, and the efforts of parents. The DI program at Castro is not only a place to learn Spanish, but to be in with a group of students and parents who are committed to education. I think the DI program at Castro is the best elementary education in Mountain View.

Posted by Simple Logic, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 16, 2011 at 7:02 am

Hi Ned. You have no idea what you are talking about and it seems you've decided to try insults rather than actually making a point.
Enjoy that.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 16, 2011 at 7:23 am

I think most people know that DI is a good program. The problem is with the EO program.

Posted by sam, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 16, 2011 at 7:55 am

What is the problem with the EO program? Is it that the test scores are low? Or are there other problems?

Posted by castro mom, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm

@ sam..I don't know. My daughter was in EO at Castro and did great! She's at Crittenden now and doing very well. She works hard at her studies. Judy Crates does so much for the kids--I should know, I worked closely with her for two years. She is intense, but she is amazing. Personal feelings aside--she is great for that school. Anyone should be proud to send their children there! Due to my daughter's EO teacher, and others, my daughter got a great education and prepared her for middle school. You get out what you put in. And by the way, my family is considered a low socioeconomic group. We get reduced price lunch and are labeled as such. That doesn't define me, though! I am working on a college degree!! I strive to give my daughter every opportunity to succeed. Thanks for letting me rant.

Posted by castro mom, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

And, I'm sorry I just gushed so much about it, but I can't stand by and let others diss Castro. Judy runs a tight ship, and she works hard to keep her students, parents and teachers accountable. She cares very much how her school is doing. She actively engages as many parents as she is able.

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I've substitute taught in the DI and regular classes at Castro and there is no performance problem there that a higher parent API (affluent parent index) wouldn't solve. Crates was principal of our oldest son for 9 years, and 'her schools' helped him get into a great college. From the 2010 Census data - the populations in all of the shifting Areas are just around 50% hispanic - and most homes are rentals.
2010 STARs Castro 5th English 12% below "Basic" Huff 4%
2010 STARs Castro 5th Math 6% below "Basic" Huff 11% !!!!
Other news! Downtown is Booming! Great, maybe the CA Supreme Court will listen to the legal arguments of the Santa Clara County counsel and Close Down the Downtown redevelopment district sucking away school property taxes. Jan 15 is the day of doom.

Posted by Tired of rhetoric, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I wish people who complain about segregation would stop. The reality is Mountain View, like any city, does have a diverse population... which are usually broken down by neighborhoods reflecting different races, socio-economic levels, sometimes even political and religious. Force busing kids between different neighborhoods does NOT solve anything. Congratulating yourselves on what a diverse person you are because your kid attends a class with a kid who is of another race is bull, at the end of the school day most of those people are going back to their homes/neighborhoods and socializing and living amongst "their own." Yes, there will always be a few exceptions to the rule, but after watching kids/families at our elementary and middle schools these kids aren't even interacting with each other in the classroom or on the playgrounds, unless there is forced interaction.

If people who are impacted by these new boundaries don't like them, how about DOING SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE about them. As Steve, and several others have pointed out, Castro has made leaps in testing scores, which seem to be the "indicator of choice" about successful education. If it is not for you personally, how about working on what is your success indicator, better community at your school and neighborhood, more parent involvement, helping increase the reading and math scores of all the students, etc... Stop trying to solve your problems by forcing them to go to schools in other neighborhoods, they know it's bogus and you are doing them no favors in the long run. While you can pretend you are making a difference by doing this, at the end of the day everyone is going home to their "real lives."

Posted by Castro Dad, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Castro Mom:

Is that the same Judy Crates who turned the student's Halloween parade into the parade that was all about her as the center of attention? What a chaotic and embarrassing mess that was. I was definitely not impressed.

Posted by sam, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

Here's an interesting context for this discussion: Web Link

As for the previous comment: the Walkathon, like the Halloween parade, was similarly vulgar and unimaginative. The kids marched around under a blazing sun in figure eights with too-loud and often inappropriate music blaring. Surely there are more creative ways to raise money. But just because Crates has proven to be a poor organizer of these two events doesn't mean she's a bad leader of the school.

Posted by Andrea Gemmet, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Nov 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

The following comments have been moved from a duplicate thread, which is now closed:

We bought a home specifically for the schools associated with it and I imagine many people rent or bought homes for the same reason. I think it is unreasonable, unfair and just unnecessary to change these at will, for feel-good reasons. The next action will be moving around the middle and high schools I'm sure. Stop trying to do this type of busy work that has major ramifications to many citizens of Mountain View and focus on getting scores up in the existing environment.
by Outraged Nov 18, 2011 at 12:00 am

This will serve to further segregate the Mountain View schools into racial and socio-economic sections/schools. I noticed that the boundary changes move the children living in "high density housing" to lower performing schools. Many parents do rent or buy based on the school the property is associated with, it can be a significant change in property value if a property is associated with a different school. FIY, my student will not be impacted by this change, but I see the trajectery of the proposed changes as a concern.
by Concerned Nov 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

Posted by Castro Parent, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Castro Dad, My kids are always greatly entertained by Principal Crates dressing up in her gorilla and other costumes. She puts herself out there for the kids, not for herself. And, in any event, the impact she has made should be measured in the school's culture and academic performance. By those measures, she has made good progress in a difficult environment.

Posted by Walkability, a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Looking at a map, the changes to area 1 and 2 make perfect sense. But the change to area 3 is less obvious.

I don't care how "safe" people say that crossing at Central Expressway and the railroad tracks are -- they are NOT AT ALL safe for kids unless Mountain View adds a pedestrian overpass.

Posted by castro mom, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm

@castro dad--yes, the same judy crates. i didn't see the parade, but i did see a picture of her in a gorilla suit. yeah, she does some pretty kooky things, but i think the gorilla/banana thing is new. well, to me it is. She should probably stick to administration, not theatrics. i hear you, and thanks for the comment. I don't necessarily like her, but i had a respect for her in the academic area, not dressng up and being all silly.

Posted by Interested Observer , a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Please - lay off Judy Crates! These posts are about school boundaries - not individual principals. She's done and is doing a fantastic job at Castro. Academic progress has improved greatly under her leadership. She dresses up for the kids - not for herself!!!

Posted by Castro community, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This is about boundaries, but as a point of clarification, Dr. Crates was using the gorilla costume as an incentive for students to read during the summer and raise money for Walkathon.

I would like to know what exactly makes a school a "good" or "bad" school. If you want to use test scores, then you should know that if you are a white student attending Castro, we have a 1000 API for white students. I think schooling is about more than this, and I think our parents feel the same way. Interacting with students who are diverse (not just racially, but politically, academically) , can be useful in thinking about dealing with the diverse world ahead.

Many people here are exhibiting what is called privilege. They aren't seeing the racism because its not overt and it systematized ingrained within our historical policies. I think people are saying "better schools' but what they really means is a place with few students of historically disadvantaged subgroups. This isn't an overt correlation, but the schools that are considered "good" schools are also those with less diversity in terms of race, socioeconomic status, and parent education level.

Huff, one of the "good" schools in MVWSD, a few years ago had a teacher who was allegedly emotionally abusive for many years. I don't know the exact details of the specific case, but from people who worked around her and parents, this was a known issue. Now, I know one man's abuse is another man's "tough love", but it seems to me that this sort of issue would be more important to parents than the schools API.

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