Town Square

More kids, new tech at elementary, middle schools

Original post made on Aug 20, 2012

When Mountain View's elementary and middle school students start school on Monday, Aug. 20, they may notice some new faces, both at the desks around them and at the head of the class, as enrollment has grown and faculty has been increased throughout the district.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 20, 2012, 9:49 AM


Posted by Nicole, a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Nick, Please read the comments on teh EDI article, let's have a real artcle on the merits and results of that (with student and anon teacher input). Sort of depressing we have 5 teachers just for evaluating, not teaching :( Google, I do appreciate your donations. Maybe the next one can be a chef and some healthy local food for school lunches.

Posted by Sally, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

The "best EDI teachers" have nothing to do with being a good teacher. It would be fun to watch one of these glorified flash-in-the-pan EDI teacher give the more experienced teacher advice on how to teach.

Posted by Not A Happy Camper, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

We should terminate politically correct Craig Goldman, superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District and find someone with real down-to-earth teaching ideas.

Posted by CuestaParkMom, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm

When it said the teachers would be freed from teaching a class, I was unsure if this meant elementary teachers who would not teach at all, or middle school teachers who would give up one teaching period to do the EDI coaching.

Posted by Irma, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

It's all about getting to the low-end learners. We will know when EDI is successful when the teachers are comatose and drooling while implementing EDI methods and while the low-end raises their scores a few points.

Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I believe all the schools implement Differentiated Instruction of some kind to meet the needs of all the students. I know ours does.

Posted by Teacher helper, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I am sure none of you actually understands the pros & cons of EDI. It is SO easy to just criticize all the time. EDI does help some teachers. One ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC middle school teacher says that his teaching got much better because of the EDI tools. (And, he teaches advanced students)

It is just a set of tools to use with all the other teaching tools they have been using. It has actually been working in many instances. Some teachers do not need it, but some do.

Posted by EDI Police, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Looks like the EDI police are out in force :-)

Yes, EDI does help some, but other than that it's just another one-size-fits-all flavor of the week!

Posted by Castro Mom, a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm

It's not that EDI doesn't or does work. I went to the info. session and so much of it seemed like common sense (getting feedback from the kids, not just calling on those kids who raise their hands), but there is no acknowledgment it might not work/be needed for many kids, might make them more bored if they get the material right away and still have to sit through the lesson being taught in multiple ways. It is a way to simply raise test scores? And we spent, what, $500,000 on it? It does come with $1 whiteboards and popsicle sticks (or are those extra? :) I worry about a teacher who needed to realize that good teaching is not simply "talking to kids for 40 minutes with no feedback" - which is what the other article stated.

Posted by momofLandels, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I'm extremely disappointed in the school my son attends, Landels. He stopped receiving homework in May, and rarely got any throughout the year. My son considered 4th grade as a "vacation" compared to the intense education he received in Evergreen School District in San Jose. He had AMAZING teachers! They were extremely tough, lots of homework, and went the extra mile to contact me with any issues via email or phone. Heavy emphasis on math and writing. Just fantastic. I say Mountain View School District is BELOW average! We hired a tutor to help our son during the summer and he was at the top of his class. The tutor said he wasn't prepared for the 5th grade at the time he was assessed after June. Now he is, but most can't afford tutors and extremely disappointed in our education system here. We can't expect Google to bail us out of all our problems. Google is on my crap list. People can't afford to buy a house here unless you work for Google or Facebook. Driving regular, good folks out of town. Thanks.

Posted by Landels Mom, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm

The problem with Landels is that the principal has no idea what she is doing! EDI won't even help that situation.

Posted by momofLandels, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I was born and raised here, and Mountain View has been ruined by all the high-tech companies. They've driven up the price of housing (to a ridiculous amount). The education system use to be better. For the price of housing, I'd rather live back in Evergreen in San Jose. At least you can get a decent house for the price and an excellent education (Matsumoto was an excellent elementary school). Leaving!!!

Posted by momofLandels, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Yep! The Landels Principal doesn't know what she is doing. Time for her to go! I complained to her countless times about things and never a returned call or email.

Posted by Loraine, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thank you Castro Mom - you hit the nail right on the head about EDI. I have heard more than once from teachers that it is really just using common sense. One teacher who has taught other places and was just trained in it by MVWSD told me that it is rather condescending - by pointing out the very obvious things teachers should be doing anyway.

In answer to whether the 5 teachers who are on assignment to coach EDI are teaching also, the answer is no. Google is paying for their salaries so they are totally devoted to this assignment -roving around between the schools. That accounts for 5 new hires among the schools to replace them

I also think that the Voice needs to read the comments from the last EDI article they published and include other viewpoints on school issues besides just what is fed to them by the district office. It seems strange that Google is so devoted to this program. Just wondering how this was selected.

Posted by Assignmentsweb, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 21, 2012 at 3:44 am

Thank you for your valuable post and thoughts.Your post is really usefull to me and all the readers.
I hope for many other post and views from you.thank you

Posted by educated in Sunnyvale, a resident of Castro City
on Aug 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm

No technology will overcome either lazy students or lazy teachers.
I was in one of the first classrooms with the new exciting technology: Television (which turned out to be useless).
I also had a computer terminal in our classroom in 1968 which was only of use to those who wanted to learn COBOL.
The most important piece of technology I ever used in school was my Slide Ruler, invented by William Oughtred and others in the 17th century. The Abacus and Slide Ruler are still faster to use than any calculator.

Posted by mvwsd mom, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

Peer coaching among teachers is a good thing.

Taking your five best teachers out of the classroom and replacing them with newbies is NOT a good idea!

We experienced that in our family. In 5th grade, our eldest child had "Ms. A" who was the district's "teacher of the year." She had a fabulous year with a teacher who was super organized, good teaching skills, etc. When our younger child hit 5th grade, "Ms. A" was a special teacher on assignment and younger child had "Ms. B" who was a first-year teacher who had very little skill in classroom organization, managing student behavior, providing timely feedback, etc. It was a miserable year for our younger child, who complained for the first time ever how much she hated school.

Freeing up a skilled veteran teacher to observe and coach for part of the school day might be a better route.

Posted by Teacher, a resident of Castro City
on Aug 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

They aren't the five best teachers. They are the ones to latch on to EDI at the district's request and their reward is to be coaches. EDI hardly requires such a huge waste of resources. But that's what you have here.

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with EDI as one of the components of a teacher's "toolbox" as one writer wrote. I'm a bit confused by the differentiated learning (different level) comment by the Sup. Direct Instruction is one of the most common (i.e. common sense) traditional ways of teaching. It is more suitable to a more level class. I've been through teacher credential work - EDI is a very good consistent way to do this common teaching method.
About 5 experienced teachers being moved out of classrooms (I hope not!). There's evidence from economists that teachers improve their efficiencies most in the first three years. One of the causes of failing schools - moving the highest quality teachers out to other schools, or losing them to other (better paying, more supportive) districts. This is one reason massive state-wide 'class size reduction' can hurt poorer schools (when it happen in just a few years).
@Teacher - I'd agree, it does not require 'huge resources'. It only requires incremental work.

SN is a candidate for MVWSD Board and a 5 yr substitute teacher in the District.
He loves teachers that use 'sticks' and finds the 'paper in plastic sleeve' whiteboards frugal

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

woops - the correct 'teacher talk' is "equity sticks". These are simple, cheap popsicle sticks used as randomization devices. Research in classroom has shown that it is IMPOSSIBLE not to favor calling on some kids! Sticks (with names or seat #s in middle school) in a can gives you a "draw lots" tool. 5 years ago, I always could tell the best teachers (IMO), they had these prepared by the second week of class.
As I pull out and call a student, I put the stick on my desk. Occasionally I will allow a "pass", but that stick goes back-in-the can. By the time all sticks are gone - all kids have been called. Brilliant in it's simplicity and ease-of-use. And 'drawing lots' has a long human history of (usually) fairness.

Posted by Castro Mom/Nicole, a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Steven, I just asked my son whether he had whiteboards, which I thought you could get for $1. His exact words, "well, we have paper in a plastic sleeve" :) I had no idea.

What I find a little disturbing was the popsicle stick method (which I see nothing wrong with) was touted as this great new tool for teachers to use as part of EDI. I assumed the good teachers already had their system of ensuring they were not always calling on the same kids. The teachers did acknowledge they would return certain names who needed more help. I do hope we also provide times for calling on kids who want to raise their hand and be picked. I worry that teachers are forced to use EDI for everything (except perhaps art and music), which is what I understood from the meeting I attended last year. I did hear they don't use it in advanced math in elementary school. I only have direct experience with Castro elementary school right now.

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Castro Mom/Nicole The "equity stick" method has been explained in standard teacher training textbooks for at least the last decade. I've also found it a very convenient way to 'redirect' kids who are ALWAYS trying to get the teacher's social attention by raising their hand. [put kids into groups for games and let the teams compete for fastest, but anyone in the team MIGHT get hit the ball]. EDI is applicable up through high school. I saw a county "Teacher of the Year' use it in chemistry - only she would sometimes throw in up-and-down the row, or zig-zag calling, to let kids know that a question was coming.
Plastic sheet protector + white paper = about 11 cents! $1 boards make too good a frisbee (hey these are 5-6-7-8th graders)!

Posted by Ike, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Wow! If this is the level of discourse that EDI produces, I'm not impressed.

Posted by divergent, a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I, too, am disappointed at the level of discourse in this article. EDI isn't about whiteboards or equity sticks, teachers have been using these "common sense" tools regardless of EDI.

Someone posted that there is nothing wrong with EDI. Wrong! EDI epitomizes the worst of teacher-centered pedagogy. I won't go as far as calling it a "scripted approach" to teaching, but it's pretty darn close. Not only does it removes creativity and divergent thinking from the classroom, there is no room for collaboration, project based learning, and just as important, learning activities that promote social and emotional development among students.

I am surprised Google chose to invest their money in this program. Given that Google's founders were "out of the box" thinkers, they are putting money into a program that does not promote creativity or divergent thinking. Someone at Google messed up big time.

Still not convinced that EDI is not what we need in our schools, check out the following link, Direct Instruction advocates love this:

Web Link

If EDI were a tool that teachers could use when appropriate, then this wouldn't be much an issue. It's not! Teachers are expected to implement EDI in all their subjects, all the time, without any deviation from the "script." Hence, the term "EDI Police" has now emerged among community. There used to be a time when teachers were hired and expected to make professional and educated decisions about our children in the classroom. EDI's "teacher proof" lessons allow anyone off the street to deliver "learning" to our kids. Who knows? Maybe your kindergartener will be solving Algebra problems very soon. Can't wait to see your 6th grader solving Calculus equations.

Someone asked if this is a way to raise test scores. Yes! Check out this link:

Web Link

I'll leave you with this excerpt from the article link above:

Door #1: If our goal is to accelerate short-term learning of predetermined and easily tested academic knowledge and skills (regardless of broad and long-term effects), then direct instruction would be judged to be clearly more effective.

Door #2: However, what if we want what works best in the long run for the range of goals we value most for children, including real-world competence in subject matter plus creativity, love of learning, initiative, problem-solving, independence, critical thinking, citizenship, good decision-making, communication skills, leadership, and to be caring, happy, and healthy? If we really want this, then education with substantial child-initiated and jointly-planned learning is clearly superior.

Posted by Teacher, a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Moderation is required. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. You'd think we'd have figured that out by now. All that the board and Mr. Goldman will succeed in doing is driving the really good teachers out of the district with things such as the "EDI police"! It's already started. A good portion of other teachers will just start to tune out the district office that pushes the notion that only they can dictate to teachers how to teach in a classroom that they never step foot in to students whose names they don't even know.

Posted by Castro Mom/Nicole, a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thank you @divergent, what great articles. I suspect Google maybe jumped on the bandwagon that we can solve school problems with new methods, by investing in various solutions and see what works, like we do in the corporate world. This EDI company just seems like one more trying to grab some public education money. Check this out
Web Link
(I don't know how to do a web link :)

Posted by Nick V, Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Aug 29, 2012 at 11:51 am

Nick V is a registered user.

I see there are people here apparently unsatisfied with the EDI program. Please email me at and perhaps we can set up a time to talk on the phone. To the commenter saying that I should talk to anonymous teachers, I'd be happy to consider doing that. Of course, I'll have to speak to them and confirm their identity before granting anonymity. Could you encourage some to reach out to me? I will be discrete.

Nick Veronin