School board opens grandfathering floodgates | May 25, 2018 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - May 25, 2018

School board opens grandfathering floodgates

Entire neighborhoods could be exempt from new school boundaries

by Kevin Forestieri

Mountain View Whisman School Board members took a lax approach to enforcing new school attendance boundaries last week, with a majority supporting exemptions for more than 250 kids in select locations of the city.

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Email Kevin Forestieri at kforestieri@mv-voice.com

Comments

38 people like this
Posted by Thank You Trustee Wilson
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 26, 2018 at 8:43 am

Thank you Trustee Tamara Wilson for being a voice for reason and leadership.

From the Article:
The only trustee who stood by the task force's original, limited exemptions was board member Tamara Wilson, who was absent but submitted her comments ahead of time. She wrote that she was not interested in special treatment of certain neighborhoods, and that it would be impossible to justify the well-being of one child over another.

"I do not support any piecemeal plan to give preferential treatment to one area over the other — to do so will set a precedent making all future boundary changes impossible," Wilson wrote.

Wilson, the only board member with a child who would be affected by the school boundary changes, said it would be "short-sighted" to disregard the task force's recommendations because of favoritism or political gain, and that the school board has a track record of ignoring "countless" task force recommendations.

"We are not in the business of gerrymandering to achieve the ends of the loudest group in the room," she wrote. "This is not good governance."


31 people like this
Posted by P.T. Barnum
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm

The circus goes on.

Wheeler and Coladonato are just pandering for votes in the wake of getting rid of half the principals on false pretense while Rudolph hires his friends from North Carolina. They know their seats are in jeopardy in the fall so it's time for parent voters to cash in on what they want. We could probably get back GATE classes at this point in the fire sale. All the more power to the parents. And very glad to see students not uprooted from schools and Gutierrez getting beat at his own games and rhetoric. He'll be a very lame duck going forward. Blakley's voice is no where to be found thankfully after her terrible treatment and statements about our beloved principals. Her neighborhood must have gotten to her on this issue over that vexing achievement gap that all love to talk about. At least Wilson is willing to stand firm. She appears to be the only one with courage and conviction. The real casualties are the district task forces which are losing any real meaning or bite as they waste participants time and energy.


23 people like this
Posted by EPTF member
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm

EPTF member is a registered user.

I speak for my own impressions of events and my opinions only, not the whole EPTF.

In my opinion, grandfathering and special exemptions are emotional and political issues. They are not issues that could have been solved by reasoned discussions and data-driven analysis as the EPTF was assigned to attempt.

The 2 groups within the EPTF originally came to a pretty solid majority consensus on grandfathering. We could support either the Board choosing to have no grandfathering at all, or a 1yr grandfathering for 5th graders and their siblings to remain that one year and then move to their new school.

I was satisfied with the Board choosing either option.

Then, at the first Board meeting where the 2 sub-groups of the EPTF had their first draft ideas presented by Dr. Rudolph, the Board remarks and the public comments basically threw the EPTF consensus out the window. When we heard from the focus group representatives at our next-to-last meeting, it became clear there was no consensus at all among the families asking for grandfathering. This made it impossible for the EPTF.

Dr. Rudolph then correctly decided that the grandfathering issue was not an issue that could be decided on any reasoned or data-driven basis and was a purely emotional and political issue which could only be dealt with by the Board itself. Dr. Rudolph pulled grandfathering out of the EPTF scope of work and dropped that hot-potato into the laps of the Board.

In hind-sight, I think this is where the entire grandfathering issue should have been all along.

I would say the exact same thing for the issue of gerrymandering or handing out "special exemptions" to hand-selected areas for various chosen justifications. These are also purely emotional and political decisions which are not appropriate for any reasoned discussions or data-driven task-force and should always been in the hands of the politics-driven Board.

I was grateful to hear Trustee Wilson stand up for the cause of doing what is best for all the students and all the schools and the taxpayers. Given that hers is the only voice to really put the entire district and all the students first, I would assume her voice will remain the sole opposition to some complicated politically motivated set of exceptions with weak justifications and no equity for anyone. Not to forget the costs of such favors. The district budget will take a hit, thus the educational support of all the students will too.

I fear the same sort of complicated weakly excused mess of politically motivated tangled web of justifications will end up being approved by the Board when they consider the actual full set of Enrollment Rules that will eventually cover all the schools.

On May 31st the Board will hear a hastily cobbled together set of suggestions, exclusively for the "neighborhood schools", and make their final votes on Jun 14th. The Board is also slated to make their final decision on the whole grandfathering mess in the same meeting.

I will be interested in hearing what Trustee Wilson has to say, but not looking forwards to the actual decisions of the Board on all these tangled issues.

I hope the Board will make reasoned and data-driven decisions, but I wouldn't bet money on it.


11 people like this
Posted by Elephant in the room
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 28, 2018 at 5:30 am

Now, it would be interesting to see, how many of these parents, who think their children would be “harmed” by being assigned to TH or Castro, also “stand with DACA” and are oh so liberal on their FB and Twitter. Time to walk the talk!


9 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Castro City
on May 28, 2018 at 9:45 am

Racist much, Elephant in the room?


10 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2018 at 9:57 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Seems like this board is acting as a fully-functional three-ring circus. (not "dysfunctional"?) One "Please Everyone" ring. One Logical ring (without a majority in it), One Too Complex to understand ring.

And at least one trustee trying to stand with one foot in two rings!

I think the analysis of Kevin in his earlier reporting - and 'ETPF member' are about as close as anyone will get to explaining 'reality'.

Too bad 3 on the Board can't face the reality - those minority numbers of parents, who didn't want to attend a closer/more-minority-class school during the Boundary Wars, will raise up their flags of rebellion, and fight again.

So much for the elected Board (majority = 3) being able to advance a "community wide" decision? Gee - I hope not.

[Trustee Coladonado - are you going insane? It was a waste of money & resources, to build a new neighborhood school in Whisman/Slater, to have it trickle-filled with kids over 10 years. Gutierrez - 100% support "a neighborhood solution" the is not just your own neighborhood! Get both-of-your-feet in the ring with Wilson)

This Board needs some gonads.


8 people like this
Posted by EPTF member
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 29, 2018 at 1:42 pm

EPTF member is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson

"Seems like this board is acting as a fully-functional three-ring circus."

Funny, I always am reminded of the 9th circus court of appeals...

"One "Please Everyone" ring. One Logical ring (without a majority in it), One Too Complex to understand ring."

Indeed and you know who is in which ring based on the proximity of the election.

"And at least one trustee trying to stand with one foot in two rings!"

Maybe just jumping from one to the other depending on the current conversation.

"I think the analysis of Kevin in his earlier reporting - and 'ETPF member' are about as close as anyone will get to explaining 'reality'."

I thought Trustee Wilson tried to do a good job of speaking a bit of reality, even if she did it through the voice of Dr. Rudolph.

"Too bad 3 on the Board can't face the reality"

Kinda one of the core characteristics of a politician, like keeping track of the next election.

" - those minority numbers of parents, who didn't want to attend a closer/more-minority-class school during the Boundary Wars, will raise up their flags of rebellion, and fight again."

Sigh, you always go straight for the race card, sheesh.

Nothing I know about Mountain View suggests racism is a significant factor in where parents wish to educate their kids. I do see even before families move into Mountain View, they check "Great Schools" and look for the simplistic "rating" number to decide where they want their kids to go to school. People who moved into M.V. long before they had kids also often looked at the "Great Schools" ratings as one factor to choose where they live.

The sad thing, the tragic thing, is that families blindly accept these simple-minded school ratings and few ever bother to dig deeper.
All our schools are "great schools", but the way they are being rated does not reflect reality.

When an ethnic or language group is concentrated in one area, that area draws even more people of that ethnic or language group, that is a perfectly reasonable reality.

Racism is not the issue. Every parent wants their kids to have a better life than they had themselves and they will do whatever they can within their specific practical limits to achieve this generational progress.

As a child my family was poor and got free lunch at school and government powdered milk and blocks of cheese and huge sacks of lentils. As an adult my family is better off than my parents, but that does not mean we are millionaires nor that we are anywhere near being able to retire nor able to pay for our kid to go to college.

"So much for the elected Board (majority = 3) being able to advance a "community wide" decision? Gee - I hope not."

I fully expect the Trustees facing the voters soon will lean towards as close to forever grandfathering so no (or the fewest) families will ever need to see the inside of a new school.

I expect the battle cry "diversity" will also result in a similar decision by a third Trustee and maybe fourth too.

If I were to predict, I would say that only Trustee Wilson will be standing alone on the principals of what's best for the district as a whole, the entire set of students as a whole, the teachers, the budget, the future, etc...
I expect her vote to be the lone hold-out.

"[Trustee Coladonado - are you going insane? It was a waste of money & resources, to build a new neighborhood school in Whisman/Slater, to have it trickle-filled with kids over 10 years."

Not going insane, just facing election.

"Gutierrez - 100% support "a neighborhood solution" the is not just your own neighborhood! Get both-of-your-feet in the ring with Wilson)"

I would love that, but I would not bet on it.

Hey, the EPTF had 2 solid ideas that almost all members could support, but It's pretty clear neither of those ideas has a chance.

"This Board needs some gonads."

You've got to know what motivates people, as in each individual person, not some blanket assumptions about everyone being motivated by the same things.


9 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 29, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Weird is a registered user.

EPTF member, did the task forces ask the parents at lower-performing schools whether they would prefer to send their kids to Huff or Bubb?

A constant refrain from those "in-the-know" is that, simultaneously, those parents love their lower-performing neighborhood school and if we were to open enrollment demand on Huff and Bubb would overwhelming and close all the other schools. Is this what you think would happen?


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

"Racism is not the issue." But economic elitism?
Segregation does not depend just on racial/religious images (for instance in current India/Hindu nationalism, or Turkey/Muslim nationalism) Segregation also can depend on economic class. Which is what I was referring to.

Many richer parents are dead set against sending their kids to mix with poorer family students. Fact of Life.

Only white people are prejudice (said a mother-in-law of a journalist?) Tell that to those subject to "Castilian superiority" in Latin America, Mexican settler superiority over native peoples California, Yankee colonization of CA, and about the same time Libero-American colonization and domination of Liberia, West Africa. (freed US slave resettlement)


5 people like this
Posted by EPTF member
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 1, 2018 at 2:11 am

EPTF member is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson

""Racism is not the issue." But economic elitism?"

Why can't you see that the main issue is the educational background of the parents?
Education creates opportunity, which creates wealth, which offers wider choices, which allows people to have the housing/schools they like, which allows each generation to have a better life than the prior one, etc.
Everything goes back to the educational background of the previous generation.

Why must you always ascribe evil intentions as the cause of anything you think is imperfect by your standards? Let me posit a theory...

I can see it would be highly comforting to think that way, after all, it implies deliberate human control of most outcomes is possible.

However, if something is less than perfect and is just the current snapshot result of natural, historical and/or random events beyond any deliberate human manipulation, then the world would seem a much more frightening place because most outcomes are beyond human control. (which they are)

"Segregation does not depend just on racial/religious..."

Nobody claimed otherwise, but historically, when the government conducts policies designed to create "Segregation" it's usually a tribal thing of some sort, not usually income.

Claiming evil intentions of the leaders of Mountain View to create "Segregation" in our schools is not only insulting to our city, but is insulting to all those families that suffered/suffer under real evil intentions.

"Segregation also can depend on economic class."

By the use of the term "Segregation" you are implying a deliberate and proactive policy of the government to specifically attain the goal of preventing kids of different income levels from going to the same schools regardless of where they live. The specter of "evil intent" is exactly why people use that loaded term.

"Many richer parents are dead set against sending their kids to mix with poorer family students."

So, you think most wealthy parents spend tens of thousands per year for the primary purpose of making sure their kids never play with a poor kid?

How about the more likely theory that: People who can buy the very best education for their kids will do exactly that?

If a poor family won the lottery and then decided to send their kids to private school, is that because they suddenly became afraid of the poor kids that they lived next door to before?
Have they become evil too?

"Only white people are prejudice (said ..."

Way too many people to count have claimed that on the TV news among other places. And yet somehow, people who say that don't get called out on how racist that sounds.


10 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 1, 2018 at 9:00 am

Weird is a registered user.

EPTF Member, it's understandable that you're having a difficult time facing up to the real impacts of our housing and school assignment policy in Mountain View.

The fact that we have rich and poor areas in Mountain View isn't just some random accident as you like to assert. Our zoning places low-income, multifamily housing in certain areas, and single-family houses for wealthy people in others. Then, we've assigned schools based on those neighborhoods.

It's certainly comforting for you, especially as someone who bears some responsibility for which kids go to which school, to assert that this is the natural order of things and not the result of decisions made by ourselves. However, that's just not true, and your refusal to see that is simply burying your head in the sand.

Should the best public schools in Mountain View be reserved for those who can afford the nicest houses? Why not simply open up enrollment so each family can choose which public school they want to go to?


2 people like this
Posted by Joel Lachter
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 1, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Joel Lachter is a registered user.

Weird, while I agree with much of your post, I am curious about why you seem to think that the best schools are next to the nicest houses. Is that based on test scores? Because when I look at the test scores broken down by income, parental education, ELL status, etc, it looks to me like I a kid who scores 2300 at Huff, would score 2300 at Theuerkauf or Bubb or Mistral or Castro. Schools (at least when comparing across MVWSD) don't seem to affect test scores. However, people seem to judge schools by their test scores. If it doesn't affect your child's test scores, what makes it better to go to a school filled with rich kids with well educated parents rather than a school with poorer kids whose parents have less education? I am not convinced that it is. Is there some other factor that I am overlooking that makes you think Huff is better than Theuerkauf?


Like this comment
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 2, 2018 at 12:21 am

Weird is a registered user.

Joel, this was a response to what EPTF Member said: "How about the more likely theory that: People who can buy the very best education for their kids will do exactly that?" in reference to rich parents buying access to the best public schools. However, I'm eager to see your regression analysis of test score breakdown. Please post a link.

If there is no difference between the schools, there should be no problem in allowing every parent to choose which school their child attends.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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