Original post made
on Dec 12, 2011
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What no one seems to be considering or admitting is that Castro is actually TWO schools on one school site. One is the Dual-immersion program -- lottery for anyone who lives in MVWSD boundaries, half English-speakers who commute to Castro for the DI program and half native Spanish-speakers mainly from the Castro neighborhood. The second school at Castro is the English-only program. The English-only program is nearly 100% segregated, nearly all kids who live in poverty and do not speak English. English-only classrooms typically only have ONE English-speaker in the room -- the teacher. And while those teachers are some of the absolute best teachers one could hope for they have everything stacked against them and the kids in their classroom. Where else in the district will you find ALL the kids are ELLs, ALL the kids are low-income (many in extreme poverty/crisis), many have special needs, etc. Those teachers have the same student-teacher ratios as in other classrooms -- which is ridiculous because the needs are SO much greater than anywhere else you will find in the entire district.
There is no way that the people who have been buying and improving homes in the neighborhood North of Shoreline that was zoned for Bubb and is now zoned for Castro will put their kid in an English-only classroom at Castro. If I were a home owner in that neighborhood I would have at least pushed for preferential spaces in the Dual-Immersion lottery at Castro because that program is phenomenal -- and both English-speakers and Spanish-speakers in Dual-Immersion outperform their peers in the district.
What's the answer to the incredibly unjust situation that currently exists for Castro's English-only program? I'm not sure, but it certainly isn't for the district leaders to turn a blind eye and just pretend that people are going to be naive and enroll their kid at Castro English-only instead of Bubb.
The children in English only component are getting a great deal compared to what they would get in Mexico. A few actually go on to be first rate students. The rest wallow, unsupported by their parents, drop out by middle school, or join gangs. Blame the city for placing out a welcome mat illegal, and blame unscrupulous apartment complex owners for allowing people to live in squalor, and then blame the city again for doing nothing about it. But blame the school district for property owners stupid enough to buy near or in a ghetto?
mv-mom, You are incorrect in your assumption that English-only program does not have English speaking students. When I substitute teach at that school (as I have for 5 years) I have much more problems with the DI lower classes (because I don't speak Spanish). Ned - we hear the same phrase, from Los Altos parents, when we sent our kids to high school. "gangs, unsupported, drop-outs". Ain't true. MVLAHSD has the third lowest drop-out rate in the county, just below Saratoga and Palo Alto. (thanks to Superintendent Grooves and Pierce at Alta Vista).
mv-mom, I agree, it is a real shame that the student-teacher ration in the low grades was INCREASED at this school. This is a change I would try to fix if I was on the Board, the current Trustees do not seem willing to touch! I bet Principal Crates would like a few more lower grade teachers!
Ms. Harrison's feelings are explicitly supported by 2010 Census block data. These changes do actually segregate more renters into Castro School.