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Mountain View's achievement gap is one of largest in U.S.

Original post made on May 24, 2016

Officials at the Mountain View Whisman School District have long acknowledged the achievement gap, a gulf in student performance divided by race and family income. But recent studies by Stanford University show that the disparity between white and Latino student achievement in Mountain View is unusual -- it's bigger than in almost any other school district in the country.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 4:15 PM

Comments (63)

14 people like this
Posted by Oliver
a resident of Bailey Park
on May 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Curious if programs like the PACT could play a fact in segregation, low test scores?


22 people like this
Posted by Very high bar
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 24, 2016 at 5:40 pm

The gap has also got to be related to the fact that this area also has an extremely high number of highly educated parents. This isn't anyone's fault, but it lifts the bar even further away from the middle. I read that this area has one of the the highest concentrations of people with advanced degrees, by population percentage. That equates directly to a high performing population of kids, and yes, one of the bigger gaps.


20 people like this
Posted by @Oliver
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 24, 2016 at 6:49 pm

The article calls out the scores at Theuerkauf and Castro, why do you ask about Stevenson? Why not ask about Huff as well then?


7 people like this
Posted by Elementary school mom
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 24, 2016 at 8:12 pm

This isn't too surprising- the above commenter is right. We have some very, very smart students and we also have a HUGE ESL (English as a second language//still learning English in 4th and 5th grade population).
My question is this, though. Why is that, in Mountain View where rents are sky high and home prices, though now dropping, are also sky high?


38 people like this
Posted by Wrong goal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm

The goal shouldn't be "closing the achievement gap" but raising everyone up. Closing the achievement gap can be achieved must as easily by not allowing students to exceed grade level as by making sure all students attain grade level.

My solution: integrate schools, integrate resources, and challenge each and every student to excel from wherever they are.


12 people like this
Posted by @wrong goal
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm

AMEN. Your goal is the same as that presented by the Los Altos school district.
The MVWSD - or rather, Superintendent Rudolph's goal - is to let the top performers slide down while working hard to get the low performers up. But what about our ignored high achievers?


32 people like this
Posted by Hold on
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 24, 2016 at 9:14 pm

OK PACT parents, pull the fangs in. Oliver has a completely fair and reasonable question. While I support your program, I see everyday the harm it causes to my neighborhood and our neighborhood school. Let's face it, if PACT didn't exist, all our schools would be better - Landels would probably be rated a 10 by now, Monta Loma probably a 9 or 10, and I'm betting even Theuerkauf would be an 8 or so. Yes, Castro would probably still struggle as I don't think many students from that neighborhood attend PACT (so closing PACT would have little effect on them), but still, most of our schools would be ranked within a much closer range. More importantly, they would all have their share of active parents planning events, driving on field trips, and volunteering in the classroom, which would likely help struggling students at all those schools. This is the point the article was making.

While I don't support closing your school, you shouldn't assume you've played no role in the incredible inequities that currently exist among our district schools. At least acknowledge there are some downsides to your school's existence and think about what you can do to better support your fellow Mountain View residents.


6 people like this
Posted by Oliver
a resident of Bailey Park
on May 24, 2016 at 11:16 pm

@ resident of another Mountain View community
I look at the whole district as one where the PACT in my opinion seems to segragate themselves.
The PACT program effect every child in this district. If you can't see that, you only prove my point.


5 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 25, 2016 at 7:25 am

@Elementary school mom

"English as a second language: ESL"

Yes! We have a new acronym!

Acronyms lives matter!
Acronyms lives matter!
Acronyms lives matter!


23 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on May 25, 2016 at 7:29 am

This issue isn’t as simple as segregate or desegregate. First, no one should ever support students being denied their local school to go to a segregated further away school or carving out affluent blocks to be sent to further away affluent schools, where this is the case, it should be bravely addressed. More often in Mountain View, local neighborhood patterns lead to concentrations of poverty.

Our achievement gap is far less about race, and more about poverty. So I’d like to speak in terms of poverty, not race. We can do so much more to solve the achievement gap by providing early childhood care, quality afterschool care, parenting education, and adult education, than simply spreading poor students across further away affluent neighborhoods that may not have the concentration or priorities to provide more services. (Recent NY Times article: Web Link)

If MVWSD is bold enough to give our poorest neighborhoods a school environment utilizing the best practices of the best urban schools (like IDEA Public Schools in Texas: Web Link), and services equal to the best community schools (like the Harlem Children Zone: Web Link) then by all means, keep schools local, even if poor.

A desegregated district that doesn't address poverty simply replaces segregation between schools with tracking within schools. Yet, if a district does nothing fundamentally different between rich and poor neighborhoods, then, yes, a heterogeneous mixing of social economic groups across the city is significantly better than poor neighborhood schools with insufficient resources and services.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 25, 2016 at 7:49 am

Mr. Chris Chiang. Do you support the strong tracking within schools that is happening in Graham and Crittenden? Specifically in the math programs. As a teacher with much secondary school experience - what do you think?


19 people like this
Posted by @ALLYouCanEat
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

ESL is a new acronym? You must not be in the loop. This one is ooo-ooold and used very regularly. Welcome to the present.


12 people like this
Posted by @Oliver & Hold On
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2016 at 11:41 am

This article is not about the gap between schools, this is about a gap between different demographics at the same school and same district. Moving high test score kids from Stevenson to a school with lower average scores would raise that school's average but it would do nothing for the gap. The gap exists at Stevenson, Huff, and every other school in the district. If my memory serves, Theuerkauff actually had a smaller than average gap between the different demographics on last year's SBAC.

I apologize for appearing to have fangs out but I am tired of Stevenson being blamed for every problem in the district. This is a national problem and one that needs to be addressed nationally as well as in our district, but I fail to see how the existence of a EITHER of the choice programs has an effect on this particular problem.


17 people like this
Posted by Former MVWSD Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 25, 2016 at 1:27 pm

@Steve Nelson, strong tracking int he middle schools? The only thing tracked/laned is math. I went to middle school in the early 80s and was laned for math, science, English and social studies. Basically, all academic subjects. I would hardly call anything done in MVWSD strong tracking.


22 people like this
Posted by @Hold On
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I see the point you are making about PACT and the effect it has on other schools. And I agree that Monta Loma and Landels would be more highly rated overall if PACT didn't exist.

But I don't think that just spreading the same affluent students around to different schools would do anything to help the kids at the bottom. It might bring the averages up but how does that help the kid still struggling to learn English in 4th grade? If you look at the low-income students at PACT, they actually do worse than average, so mere proximity to advantaged students isn't a magic bullet.

What I think that does do, and what it did at Castro before D/I was separated out, is mask the problem. If the school is an 8 on Great Schools overall, who notices that for low income kids, their school is a 3? I'm glad there is data and research being done so this problem doesn't stay invisible.


7 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on May 25, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Well, we won't have the biggest gap forever. Has it already been getting smaller or is it still growing?


3 people like this
Posted by Sharon
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Achievement gap is even worse in Los Altos.


5 people like this
Posted by KD
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Inverted bell curve.


10 people like this
Posted by Graham Mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 25, 2016 at 5:56 pm

I'm so tired of this being blamed on income level. The low income family's children get free lunches, subsidized medical, and school materials/activities paid for if they can't afford it.

The ESLs have a language barrier, like anyone would have going to another country. That's got to be a factor. I think the problem is when they get behind (especially in math) it snowballs on them, because you have to build on what you know. In the beginning they are too busy learning English.

Also, the kids need to do their homework. That doesn't cost money and helps a lot. My daughter doesn't get a tutor, and she gets straight As. When she has problems, she visits with the teacher at lunch.


8 people like this
Posted by @ Graham mom
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Noted, and agreed. But to be honest, usually ESL = low income level. It's just how it is.

If the ESL kids did their homework, got enough sleep, took school seriously, had a vision of college, and visited their teacher at lunch with questions like your daughter does (and this is a SWEEPING generalization of course- I'm sure some do!), then the free lunches and 3-4 special classes/tutors per day they are pulled out for would help more.


5 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2016 at 6:38 pm

I think we should all get ahold of a new book titled "Why Busing Failed". It is an in depth study of what happened to the goal of helping segregated students learn more in school in a number of school districts - notably the infamous Boston school system. The author makes a strong case for the idea of transporting students being a mistake simply because across our great land nearly 80% of all elementary and secondary students are "bused" to school. In our area I think many students are helicoptered in by anxious parents. Lets see if perhaps we can focus on the general idea that all children should have a real shot at a quality education, and one that mixes in all sorts of differences so that our kids are prepared for the real world, not just the Google backyard. After all, segregation deprives all students of the experience of "other".


3 people like this
Posted by WrongTest
a resident of North Whisman
on May 25, 2016 at 6:49 pm

What we're seeing here is the impotence of our testing procedure. With all the focus on outcomes, we have neglected to test for the process itself. The data doesn't provide any direction because we didn't ask about how students are being taught, only whether they performed at the end.
What if the impact of ethnicity is on students' expectations for future jobs and financial success? Which could then trickle back into academic effort and performance.
How about we put the teachers back in charge of investigating teaching methods? They're the experts here, right? Everyone else is just throwing around their opinions. We don't need more speculation, we need some professional insights.


7 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

Kids and adults put effort into what gives them the best rewards. Drop a kid into an environment where he is way behind the competition and expect him to flourish is wishful thinking. It would make more sense to put the disadvantaged kid in an environment with older kids who are tasked with tutoring.


9 people like this
Posted by Margaret
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 25, 2016 at 8:20 pm

I did not see any comments about preschool education. Have any of the under performing students had the benefit of high quality preschool education? Before elementary school is the best time to address literacy issues. What happened to Head Start or universal preschool? Also if a parent only went to school through 4th grade in their country of origin, how are they going to understand the importance of education or how education works in the Us.


10 people like this
Posted by @ Margaret
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 25, 2016 at 9:02 pm

MVWSD offers all-day preschool all summer to low income children. Sure, it's not a full school year but it's something, and it's free, and highly recommended. I'm not sure how utilized it is, perhaps due to the points you being up about the importance of education. But it is there and encouraged (and could be used as free daycare at the very least!).


7 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 26, 2016 at 9:03 am

There have been many studies of the economics and efficiency of good pre-school learning. MVWSD has the highest rated program in the county (there is a relatively new state methodology). The studies, for example on Head Start, show that continuing economic disadvantage work has to be done (my favorite is academic summers) at least through 3rd grade. If a good PK start happens - and it is allowed to dissipate - no academic gains persist past 3rd grade.

Who wants to spend more public education money to target students like this?

It turns out, we the State of California. That is the legislative goal of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and its regulations in the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan). District are required to account (accountability) for how they spend the extra 20% of state mandated funds for Target students (disadvantaged and ELL). $$ does not solve problems by itself - but all effective programs do cost money. PK? Teachers and rooms (and social support). Summer make-up/keep-up academics? Teachers and rooms (and social support).

Your local board of education is responsible for the LCAP public policy in your district.

Steven Nelson is one member of the MVWSD board of education. these are his own opinions


18 people like this
Posted by @ Hold On
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 26, 2016 at 10:40 am

You say that if Stevenson PACT families were spread throughout the district, "More importantly, they would all have their share of active parents planning events, driving on field trips, and volunteering in the classroom." As a Stevenson parent, I can tell you that that wouldn't be the case for me - one of the reasons I was excited about the school was the fact that parent participation was normalized and built into the school's identity. My husband and I both work full-time, but we find the time to be in my son's classroom because we know it's part of the Stevenson ethos. Honestly? We knew ourselves well enough to know we almost certainly WOULDN'T get involved if we weren't at a program where this expectation was laid out this way. Further, it's a lot easier to go to my boss and explain to her that participation is expected of Stevenson parents where possible, which is why I need two hours every other week (knowing that I'll make up the time on evenings and weekends). If we weren't at a school where that was so normalized, I don't think I'd be comfortable asking her for that time off.


17 people like this
Posted by Choice Schools or Not?
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 26, 2016 at 10:46 am

Agree the right metric isn't achievement gap but proficiency. However the story doesn't change for Mountain View if the focus is on proficiency. The Voice had an article (Web Link) on this at the beginning of the school year and someone posted an analysis (Web Link) which confirms this as well

Now, are publicly funded choice schools helping or hurting this? Some questions to consider:

Q: How often do parents volunteer in a choice school (e.g., Stevenson) classroom?
A: On average a lot more than parents at other schools (this is a good thing). This is a self selected group

Q: What are the capabilities of the parents who volunteer at Stevenson and Mistral?
A: These are educated parents (usually with a graduate degree), many have put their careers on hold for their children's sake (moms and dads). This also means they can afford to do so, which means generally on the wealthier side of the socio-economic spectrum

Q: If the choice school weren't there, would these parents have volunteered in their child's classroom in another school regardless?
A: Probably yes, given the commitment of these parents

Q: Are the parents involvement benefiting ALL kids in the classroom?
A: Yes, in theory this gives the teacher more time and allows for more small groups and 1:1 time with students that need it. However, it does baffle me as to why Stevenson has greater proportion of their ESL and SED kids not testing proficient. I can think of two reasons (1) Stevenson has the smallest SED/ESL population that statistically might be too small to make generalizations and (2) given Stevenson's focus on PBL, maybe they aren't good testers? I wonder how these kids have done in middle school and high school. PACT has been around long enough to study this.

Q: Does having these choice schools which attracts these self selected parents who otherwise would've been volunteering at Theurkauf (100 @ Stevenson), Monta Loma (60 @ Stevenson), Landels (70 @ Stevenson) a form of segregation?
A: One could make an argument that it is, which is what @Oliver and @Hold On were trying to make. However, I want to be clear that I don't think it is the fault of the parents. The district needs to figure out how to retain these parents at Theurkauf, Monta Loma and Landels

Q: Is having publicly funded choice schools hurting?
A: It is definitely not hurting the students who go to these choice schools. This is why there is a long wait list for these schools in our district. If you get in, it is likely going to help you more than if you didn't. As for those who don't get in, the jury is still out. Arguments against publicly funded charter schools in general might highlight how it might be hurting.

My answers to the questions posed I believe are true at Stevenson and probably to a slightly lesser degree at Mistral as well. So the policy questions for our district is, how can the two choice schools in our district benefit not just the students who get in, but the entire district? (here is looking at you board members) The more provocative question is if it is deemed that it cannot benefit the entire district, should public money support them?


7 people like this
Posted by @ Choice Schools or Not?
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Perhaps we were cross-posting, but as I said in my comment above yours - as a Stevenson parent, I can tell you that for me, personally, your assumptions in your second and third question are inaccurate. First, neither my husband nor I has taken time off for our kids (and no, we couldn't afford to do so if we wanted to - living in Mountain View means we barely save any money as it is) - we both work full-time (me a pretty basic 40-45 hours per week, him more like 60-70 hours per week), but we take turns volunteering in the classroom. What's more, no, I don't think we would be volunteering in the classroom regardless - I am pretty sure that, if our son were at a different school, we'd attend one field trip each per year, and maybe go to a couple of evening events, and that would be it. I have no idea if my experience is aligned with the average, but there you have it.


10 people like this
Posted by OfficeWorker
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Tired of people blame Stevenson for everything.

As a Stevenson parent, I see white kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids and black kids at the school. There was even a handicapped kid on wheelchair at school. Where is the segregation?

There are school parents that work at google and makes more, and there are parents live in mobile home that makes less. Where is the segregation?

As ESL parents, my wife came to US as refugee with nothing. I left home country barely speak any English, worked in restaurant washing dishes to put myself though higher education. It's the parents attitude towards education that makes the difference. Every day I spend 1/2 hour to help my child with reading and writing. And I know some parents in same class don't do that.

How about a ESL child who became the first Hispanic astronaut: Web Link

IT IS THE DRIVE AND ATTITUDE!


5 people like this
Posted by OLD DATA
a resident of another community
on May 26, 2016 at 9:07 pm

2012. How about 2016?

It's all being changed drastically by the housing price increases. What's really unusual is how evenly the district had been divided between low income
students and upper middle income. 50-50. That's unusual.

Someone asked about preschool. MVWSD has a preschool program for low income kids, but not for everyone. It can't handle the demand.


6 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on May 26, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

The Achievement Gap is a problem that can only be solved with resources and time. Figuring out which resources and how much time is probably the big initial question. It can be solved for children in the schools where those children currently attend. As Mr. Chaing pointed out, early childhood education, and solid after school program would be the best start. The fact is that so many families need these two particular programs. Yet they are mostly contracted out throughout the district and staffed by people who are not certified teachers. These programs need to be absorbed by our district. They need to be staffed with qualified teachers and they need to be available to engage students further after school to help students solve the problems in their educational trajectories.

The earlier we solve these issues for these kids, the sooner we can begin talking to them about colleges and post high school programs. In some successful school districts, they begin talking to students in the third grade about college aspirations. Having these discussions early changes a student's attitude and mindset about college and helps them recognize the goals they need to attain in order to get to college. Further, having the discussion early demystifies college and makes it an ordinary part of the educational experience rather than just something that only wealthy or successful students achieve.

I'm sure there are other things that could be added to the equation. But these issues would be a great start.


4 people like this
Posted by Gap leaving town
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 27, 2016 at 8:25 am

Soon, with rising residential rents, there will be far fewer children from economically disadvantaged (aka poor) families in Mountain View schools. Apparently, that is just fine with most homeowners. Maybe, like Palo Alto, the City of Mountain View will noin in buying a small mobilehome park and announce that it has done its part to preserve "diversity."


7 people like this
Posted by Maps
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2016 at 9:12 am

Some places are more expensive to live than other places. Some places are more expensive than most everywhere, and yet other places are less expensive than most everywhere. I wonder if Woodside or Aspen had to deal with these cost of living transitions waaaay back in the day. "Why it's getting to be that a logger can't afford to feed his family in Woodside anymore the way housing costs have gone up"


11 people like this
Posted by Hold On
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2016 at 9:24 am

I'm certainly not an educational expert, nor will I pretend to be here. I realize Stevenson's SED/ESL kids don't perform as well. However, if I remember correctly from past discussions, Huff does very well with these students and is really the only school in Mountain View where these kids perform decent. I'm not talking about the gap. As other's have stated, that is a bit of a flawed metric. But just looking at test scores of SED and ESL kids, Huff SED kids do the best out of any school in the district. Why? I have no idea. But I don't think we have enough data to say that "sitting next" to affluent kids in class won't help poor kids.

There are numerous studies that state that poor children do perform better when there is a higher number of affluent students attending their school. Studies aside, I hear my Stevenson neighbors kids talking about field trip after field trip, arts focus programs, rocket day, etc all being lead by their Stanford educated parents. I hear Theuerkauf and Monta Loma parents complaining their field trips often get cancelled because they don't have enough parents to drive. (A problem I don't think would be fixed simply by requiring parent participation at those schools, as was suggested above.) That to me is clear inequity.

Closing down a school can be very hard on the children at that school, so I'm not suggesting Stevenson be shut down, I want to be clear. I do hope that Stevenson parents realize that by opting out of their neighborhood school, they are part of the problem (not the whole problem, for sure, but a piece of the puzzle) and think of ways they might be able to help minimize the negative effects their decision has on the rest of their neighbors, thus helping the school district overall.

@Choice Schools or not - Thank you for your post. I really like your analysis, and from the Stevenson parents I know, I think you are quite accurate. I'm sure there are some exceptions. But the way you've framed the problem makes me look at it from a different perspective.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 27, 2016 at 10:26 am

@ Hold On - you are exactly right about Huff. The academic achievement data show significant increase in Economic Disadvantaged (aka ELL) students at Huff during the time that it has had Smith as Principal. A great study case in how - enlightened administration - working to enlighten wealthiest parents (more time & more graduate degrees) can make significant improvement in raising ED/ELL (= Target student) academic performance. It is not magic.

The 'wealthier' parents at Huff have stepped up to this challenge. Principal Smith has lead them. But it has been the enormous investment of parent time and resources (and a special external grant) that has enabled. And the results, although not previously of much attention to our community, have been embraced at the national 'awards' level.


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

@ various Stevenson parents: There are various measures and trend plots of, let us say, "economic segregation" that highly suggest that this "elephant in the room" has not been discussed in the Board Room. This is a matter of public policy.

Web Link

Stevenson Free and Reduced-Price Meals chart, % decrease by 1/2 over 2011-2015 [14.7% to 7.3% ]
MVWSD % decrease by 1/7 over the years 2011-2015 [ 45.6% to 38.6% ]

Web Link

Data collected by the California Department of Education (CDE) through the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). Aggregate data files are provided by the CDE – Data Reporting Office at Web Link.

These are my own opinions, and, I think, "things that are true" (Trustee Wheeler's "informed opinion" may differ :)

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD


9 people like this
Posted by Noblesse Oblige?
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2016 at 11:16 am

@Steven Nelson

Why is it the "wealthier" parents are being asked to lead by example and shoulder the work of closing the achievement gap through their "enormous investment?" Now its not just the money (property tax, parcel tax, bonds, donations to educational funds/PTA etc.) its more and more of my time. Shouldn't ALL parents and MVWSD do their part in educating children?

People want the village to educate their child, they are just unwilling to do the work themselves.

Change that attitude and maybe you'll see more change in the achievement gap.


6 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on May 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm

economic segregation affects all schools, why single out a single school? Especially since schools don't control enrollment.



7 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm

@Wrong goal

"The goal shouldn't be "closing the achievement gap" but raising everyone up."

Oh geez. That is assumption by... everyone. It's called a "gap" because even when the bottom scores are above average, it's an indicator that something can be done to bring the bottom scores up towards the higher scores.


3 people like this
Posted by Ethel
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

You blame income..minorities..whites...black..not driven..driven.etc..it is not just that but have you guys heard about ACE quiz...Adverse Childhood Experiences...check it out Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2016 at 5:51 pm

"Hold On" claimed, based on no direct knowledge or facts:
"...if PACT didn't exist, all our schools would be better -..."
"More importantly, they would all have their share of active parents planning events, driving on field trips, and volunteering in the classroom, which would likely help struggling students at all those schools."

Your assumptions are wildly incorrect and I can give you some of the reasons why.
In a phrase, "lack of neighborhood buy-in" would doom any such efforts.

For the PACT method, or any serious parent participation method of education, to function there must be 3 factors present which no "neighborhood school" can gather together.

For example, the families of the Slater school never did, nor did the Castro School families. And certainly, the Huff families are far wealthier and even more capable of massive volunteerism and yet, even at Huff there is not a significant fraction of the parental involvement that Stevenson has.

PACT requires several major "leaps of faith" by everyone involved.

First, you must have 100% of the school staff to buy-in to the methods and parental involvement. The principal, admins, teachers, and even the maintenance and security staff must all accept and cooperate in order for anything remotely similar to PACT to function or to allow even the most motivated parents to volunteer. Oh, and the School District leadership too.

Second, you must have a carefully crafted set of principals, practices and infrastructure designed to provide the opportunities and expectations for the parents to understand and want to fulfill.

Third, and the most difficult requirement, you must have 100% of the parents
of the kids in the school to buy-in to the whole package of the methods. 100% of the parents must be accepting and comfortable with their kids having daily interations with multiple adults that are not teachers nor staff, but members of other families, most of whom they wont know more than to say "Hi" and many of whom you may never meet at all.

In any diverse and mobile population, such as we have in Silicon Valley, it would be a practical impossibility to convince all the families in any neighborhood school to be comfortable with knowing their kids will be constantly interacting and even developing friendships with many other adults.

As proven by the lottery request matrix for Stevenson, there is only a small fraction of families in each neighborhood who feel comfortable with such methods and involvement of other parents.

We have about 3600 K-5 kids in our district and yet only about 550 of those kids have even applied to get into Stevenson and those kids are scattered all over the district.

At least "Hold on" admitted:
"I'm certainly not an educational expert, nor will I pretend to be here."

And yet, here you are pretending to be an expert on PACT and of course getting everything wrong in the process.


3 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2016 at 6:03 pm

@Me
a resident of Willowgate asked:
5 hours ago

"economic segregation affects all schools, why single out a single school? Especially since schools don't control enrollment."

Because the haters here need a scapegoat to blame everything on.
That's what haters always do, they pick "the different" as their enemy and then twist around everything to make excuses for their hate.

In this case, many of the haters of PACT have admitted in the past that they wanted their kids in PACT at some point in the past 20 years, but the District-run lottery didn't come out they way they wanted, thus they feel compelled to hate and lie and denigrate what they couldn't get for their kid.

Basically, "If I can't have my kids in PACT, I don't want PACT to exist for any kids!".

I hope that answers your very insightful question.


4 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm

@OLD DATA a resident of another community wrote
"What's really unusual is how evenly the district had been divided between low income students and upper middle income. 50-50. That's unusual."

While I'd be surprised if it's really 50-50, your point is quite correct.

In Mountain View we have a highly unusual demographic with large numbers of families with both parents being college graduates and also large numbers of families where neither parent has had any college education at all.

With very few families which fall in-between educationally speaking, thus an unavoidable "gap" in kids test scores. This "gap" most closely tracks the educational "gap" of the parents. The educational gap of the parents is the direct cause of the income gap of the families.

One of the major reasons why the old "API Scores" system of school rankings got scrapped is that when the data was carefully examined it was discovered that the API scores tracked only ONE factor almost exactly and all other factors were only rough correlations at best.

The one factor that most accurately tracks with student achievement scores has been the educational background of the mothers of the kids.

(Side note:
Yes, there are plenty of "Mr.Mom's" where the mother works the more demanding job and it's the fathers who jump in to help their kids get the best education, but even in "Mr. Mom" situations, the mothers are far more involved than the average father is.)

It's generally true, across all cultures and economic and educational levels, that it's the mothers who get most involved with their kid' education. Mothers are the primary parents who check on homework and keep informed on every aspect of their kid' educational progress and ask about what's going on in the classroom.

The mothers with college education almost always place a very high value on the education of their kids and are most willing to sacrifice their own career potential to do what they can to help their kids have a better future and they have the fundamental education to help their kids understand their school work in much higher grade levels than mothers who have no such background.

Parents without any higher education are mostly working very hard already just to keep a roof and the kids fed and have no way to do much more than that. What they can do is have faith that living here with these schools will give their kids a better future than they had themselves. Which is mostly going to be true.

Even families who barely speak any English and have not even graduated high-school can see their kids grow up to have much better lives, and their grand-kids even better, simply by finding a way to continue living here and sending their kids to any of our schools.


3 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2016 at 7:14 pm

@Wrong goal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm
"The goal shouldn't be "closing the achievement gap" but raising everyone up."

That ideal is simply not politically correct anymore.
Some years ago there was a program called "GATE", now abandoned. Programs like GATE were developed long ago because schools discovered that a large percentage of kids who went from good grades and good behavior in the first few years of school to being highly disruptive and self-destructive and often dropped-out of school in later grades were in fact highly intelligent kids with great potential.

The problem was these kids were bored out of their minds beyond the First grade. When their teachers gave an explanation of a new concept, these kids got it the first time, did the exercises and were ready to move on to the next new thing. Instead they found themselves sitting there most of their day while the teacher re-re-re-explained the same concept to the other kids multiple times in multiple ways.

These kids often quickly learned to hate school and became major behavioral problem for the teachers, so the schools developed programs, like the now politically incorrect and abandoned GATE program, to provide meaningful challenges for every child based on their natural abilities.

"Closing the achievement gap can be achieved must as easily by not allowing students to exceed grade level as by making sure all students attain grade level."

Correct, and the politicians chose to push DOWN on the highest achieving kids, because that's the easiest thing to do, rather than the harder job of providing all kids with a challenging education and pushing all kids to do their best.

"My solution: integrate schools,"

If by "integrate schools" you mean by forcing the shuffling of kids around to various schools farther away from where they live to force each school to be a mirror of the overall demographic of a district, then I have to point to the utter failure of all such attempts across the nation. Look up the term "bussing" and what a huge educational disaster that turned out to be.

If you mean by the "magnet school" philosophy, where you invest in targeted schools in such a way to make that school highly attractive to those parents who can commute their kids to these "magnet schools", then I would agree with one proviso. Magnet schools, done properly, can greatly help smooth-out the natural lumpiness of demographics based on residence location, but it cannot ever make the demographics of any school actually match the demographics of the whole district.

"integrate resources, and challenge each and every student to excel from wherever they are."

Correct, but as I mentioned, the politicians have no interest in "every student", only in those they can exploit for political purposes.
Which is why the politicians engage in culture wars and why they prefer to punish those high achievers and pretend to enrich the lower achievers. In fact, the politicians never manage to help those most in need of true help, they just exploit them.


21 people like this
Posted by Choice Schools or Not?
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

@ST Parent

The context of the comments in this thread is by pulling out the more involved and affluent parents out of neighborhood schools into choice schools, is it hurting said neighborhood schools.

The implication is not that the district should implement something akin to a PACT program in the neighborhood schools. However, if the neighborhood schools could retain these parents what might they bring to the neighborhood schools.

The hypotheses being (1) there would be more volunteers in classrooms than currently in those neighborhood schools allowing for richer teacher/student interaction (2) more opportunities for field trips if there are more organizers/drivers (3) potentially a higher PTA budget to allow for support for SED/ESL students. By (self) selectively taking these parents into a separate school, a form of segregation is taking place is the argument.

Therefore the predicament becomes, if I can't get my kids into PACT and my kids education in the neighborhood school is now worse than it would've been had there been no PACT at all, how am I supposed to react? This is the sentiment you are hearing. They aren't attacking PACT parents, they are showing some resentment to the fact that their child's education is getting diluted perhaps because of PACT - even more so if they applied to PACT and weren't lucky enough to get their child's name pulled in the lottery.

If a PACT parent hasn't spent time in neighborhood school classrooms, they should at least be open to listening to understand this situation. Also, it would help if the parents of the neighborhood school parents highlight with some specific examples how this "dilution" is taking place.

Most importantly, the administration needs to figure out a way to solve this predicament. I am hoping Principal Smith at the District Office might have some ideas after what she has done at Huff.

Now, in full disclosure I feel obligated to say I am a Stevenson parent myself


4 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 28, 2016 at 11:32 am

@Choice Schools or Not?
a resident of Rex Manor
Full disclosure? Many people have been made to feel guilty for making the best choices in life for themselves or their kids. That does not make it a rational feeling.

Why don't you claim that parents who can afford a better house in a better school zone are "hurting" the other schools by not buying a home near a poorer performing school instead? Why don't you blame the people who live in the Wagon Wheel zone for not sending their kids to Theuerkauf?

After all, by sending their kids to Huff, they are hurting Theuerkauf.

"However, if the neighborhood schools could retain these parents what might they bring to the neighborhood schools."

"what might they bring" is nothing but wishful thinking.

If the public schools could retain parents, then private schools would not exist to drag away all the highest achieving parents and kids. Your whole premise fails from the start.

The existence of alternative schools is a RESULT of the neighborhood public schools FAILURES, NOT the cause.

If PACT never existed, the other public schools would be no better than they are now. The amount of parental volunteerism would remain the same as is typical for public schools.

You may have missed the fact that the article clearly states that the only school districts which have solved the achievement gap are the districts where all the schools and kids are seriously below grade level in their performance. Think about that for a moment.

You want every parent to ignore what they believe is best for their own child and only decide what to do based on what they are told MIGHT be best for all the other kids within the arbitrary boundary of their school district.

"@ST Parent
The context of the comments in this thread is by pulling out the more involved and affluent parents out of neighborhood schools into choice schools, is it hurting said neighborhood schools."

An utterly false premise based on further false assumptions and no supporting facts which has been cherry-picked by the haters.

Your "logic" creates an even worse real-world "achievement gap" by pushing the most educated families and highest achieving kids into private schools where those parents do nothing at all for the public school system.

Basically, if you are a well-educated parent and you instill a love of education into your child and by your efforts and your child's efforts your child does well, then you are evil and must be shamed and punished for your accomplishments.

It's a drag race to the bottom for everyone!


9 people like this
Posted by PACT problem
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Unfortunately, PACT is illegal. It requires tuition in the form of volunteer hours, yet it is a public school and takes money and precious campus space. It's defenders will claim that the volunteer hours are not mandatory, yet in the same breath will claim that without parents volunteering, the program is a failure. So, in a very real sense, this extra investment by parents IS mandatory.

Not only that, but if parents do not volunteer, aspersions are cast and pressure is brought to bear. This will be violently denied, yet if you look at "Pact Parent" / "ST Parent's" aggressive postings, is it really so hard to believe?

My vote is to shut down PACT as a school and create small programs in all neighborhood schools. Oh, yeah... give Whisman their neighborhood school back!


14 people like this
Posted by Choice Schools or Not?
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm

@ST Parent

Thanks for engaging in this debate. This is an important one even if some of the solutions need to happen outside the local district office.

Firstly, this isn't about an individual family's choice about where they send their kids to school. Given a set of circumstances, a family would choose what is best for them and their child. It isn't anyone else's business to tell them what to do. In MVWSD, if this means families pick Stevenson (or any other school) as the best choice for their child(ren), they don't need to apologize, feel guilty or otherwise have to justify their choices. I wasn't intending to do make anyone feel that way, which was why I disclosed where our kids went to school (not because I felt guilty)

Having said that, we can still engage in a policy debate which this discussion is turning to be. Public education in the US in general is set up in such a way that it is a two-tier (maybe multi-tier) system and as such this doesn't provide equality of opportunity (not outcome but opportunity) for every child. We see this across school districts (Ravenswood vs. Palo Alto) and within school districts (Huff vs. Theuerkauf)

Solving this has levers at both the district/local level and at the state/federal level. At the state level, if the constituents believe that public schools aren't equipped/competent to provide good quality education, then they implement policies like in FL and LA with vouchers (as an example). That is not the scope of this discussion.

Within a district, there are levers like redrawing boundaries (or no boundaries at all like SF which has bad consequences), having choice schools etc. There are definitely many more. I was specifically focusing on choice schools because that is where my personal hands-on experience is.

What I was saying was from a public policy perspective, it isn't sufficient if the choice school provides better student achievement for those in the choice school but it has to have a positive or at least a neutral effect for the rest of the district too (the delta can be greater for those in the choice school but it cannot be negative for those not in the choice school). If not, there is no difference between the choice program and a private school, with the exception that the choice program is publicly funded.

Regarding the Huff point that was made. Yes, the same argument (self selection of affluent parents) holds there. Is this a form of economic segregation? Yes, I would say so. This is a fundamental problem of US public education that needs policies at the state and federal level to solve. However, there isn't a realistic option of "If Huff didn't exist..." You can redraw boundaries but it is an unstable equilibrium. If a school is perceived to be better, market forces will make the neighborhood pricier and it'll become a self fulfilling cycle.

That in essence is the difference between a neighborhood school and a choice school. The "economic segregation" in neighborhood schools, unless state level policies come into play, happen because of market forces (home prices). In a choice school like Stevenson it is because of district office policy. The latter will always (and probably should) be held to a higher bar


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2016 at 9:40 am

@PACT problem - unfortunately you are blowing a lot of smoke. The Stevenson program as far as I have dug down has been completely within the state constitution requirement of free public education for a couple years. Their only offense seems to have been their recruitment and advertising wording (PACT Foundation).

This problem - was widespread throughout the state. It took a drastic warning letter, from the office of the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, to whip in line offenders in many, many districts!

Stevenson and the recruitment that the Foundation does is entirely legal.

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD, this is his opinion
I have not voted and will not vote to shut down PACT. If that is your platform - run for public elective office. :)


4 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 4:04 am

I forgot the Middle schools evidence!

A baseless "transfer conjecture" is being pushed that claims that the parental volunteerism that exists in such organized abundance at Stevenson, would somehow fully or even substantially "transfer" across effectively to the neighborhood schools if Stevenson parents would just take their kids out of Stevenson and switch to their neighborhood school.

Of course, this means that ONLY the parents of Stevenson should be shamed into abandoning what is best for their own kids and instead sacrifice their kids future to benefit the kids of other parents at the neighborhood schools. Benefit the kids of the very parents who already do not step up to help their own kids the way the Stevenson families do.

I should mention the Middle School Conundrum.

Stevenson kids move on to middle school with their highly practiced volunteerism-minded parents. The Stevenson families have 6 years of volunteerism practice and know how to schedule it into their lives and they certainly have the will and desire to volunteer to help their kid's school.

When Stevenson kids go to Graham or Crittenden, the "transfer conjecture" would predict that there should be a huge wave of active Stevenson parents practically breaking down the doors at Graham and Crittenden to establish all sort of committees and organizing putting 2 parents in every classroom as teaching assistants, organizing arts focus, music, field trips, parent education and all the other things the parents do at Stevenson.

Of course, no such volunteerism happens. The Stevenson parents don't jump in and take over the middle schools and turn it into a volunteerism paradise.The middle schools, like the neighborhood elementary school are simply not set up to encourage, organize or manage large numbers of parent volunteers,

Stevenson provides a service to the whole entire district by giving volunteerism-minded-parents a place and structure where they can give their time in a manner which benefits kids in our district who will then go on to our middle schools better prepared for that step in their education. Without Stevenson, virtually none of that time/effort would be donated to any of our schools.

Steve son also benefits all our schools by taking kids who would not do well within the rigid traditional style of elementary education practiced at the neighborhood schools and it gives those kids an environment where they can learn to the best of their abilities so when they move to the middle schools, they are better prepared. Such kids stuck in rigid traditional schools become problems, not high achievers.


3 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 4:17 am

Steven Nelson stated:

"I have not voted and will not vote to shut down PACT." We've heard that before.

The above is a very politically "safe" remark, because it has little to no effective meaning in the context.

As you know very well, your statement has not answered the real question!
Can you also state so clearly that:
You will not vote to shut down Stevenson as the home for PACT?

It's easy enough politically to claim you wont quickly kill PACT outright,
but it's another to say you will not vote to shutdown Stevenson and
you wont vote to move PACT away from the 16.9 acres site. By moving PACT away, you will cause PACT to die a slow and painful death anyway.


5 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 5:12 am

@Choice Schools or Not? wrote:
"@ST Parent"
"This is an important one even if some of the solutions need to happen outside the local district office."

Zero local districts have even noticeably reduced the "achievement gap" by their own efforts, it's clear this issue is in fact beyond the abilities of a normal Board of Trustees. Our totally dysfunctional Board, can only make things worse.

Public education in the US in general is set up in such a way that
it is a two-tier (maybe multi-tier) system "

Which exactly tracks the local job market.
If the parents need college degrees to get employed, then those kids will
generally do much better than kids who's parents work jobs that do not
even require a HS diploma. Educated parents => educated kids.

Nothing any school district can do to smooth-out the local job market.

"Solving this has levers at both the district/local level and at the state/federal level."

All the local levers are connected only to light bulbs that come on to make people "feel" that they have done "something" ad so the politicians can get reelected, but accomplishes nothing meaningful for the kids.

"At the state level, if the constituents believe that public schools aren't
equipped/competent to provide good quality education,"

Our MVWSD school are fully equipped to provide a quality education, the only thing lacking are the highly educated parents in the homes of the lower achieving kids.

"Within a district, there are levers like redrawing boundaries"

Good, lets close Huff, put a 450 cap on Bubb and open Slater at 450 and redraw the boundries to push all those highly educated parents into Castro, Landels, Theuerkauf and Monta Loma. And cap Stevenson and Mistral at 450 too.

Given the way the people self-select where they live based on their income, which is based on the parents educational level, nothing short of mass bussing will change the perceived school achievement.

"What I was saying was from a public policy perspective, it isn't sufficient if the choice school provides better student achievement for those in the choice
school..."

In fact, that is all the Choice schools need to accomplish or prove.

Every school has a set of resources and a set of kids self-selected by parental education level.
All each school must do is provide the best education it can for the kids who show up at it's doors.

"but it has to have a positive or at least a neutral effect for the rest
of the district too (the delta can be greater for those in the choice school but it cannot be negative for those not in the choice school)."

Why? Why place such an irrational burden on only the "choice schools and let the neighborhood schools get away with doing a lousy job?

"If not, there is no difference between the choice program and a private school,"

Of course there is. ANYONE can have an EQUAL chance to get into Stevenson or Mistral WITHOUT paying the massive tuition of a private school.
A homeless family living out of their car can get in to Stevenson, but could never get into a private school.

"Regarding the Huff point that was made. Yes, the same argument (self selection of affluent parents) holds there."

Ah, so admit that your assertion that there is something "special" about "choice schools" demands they must not only accept kids from everywhere in the district, but they must also benefit the kids who did not get in or even apply...
You're admitting the issue has nothing to do with choice, but rather about a "class war" between those who have more now and those who have less now.

However, there isn't a realistic option of "If Huff didn't exist..." You can redraw boundaries but it is an unstable equilibrium. "

Why not? What would be wrong with closing Huff and redrawing the boundry lines to make the other schools all get a slice of the Huff poplation?

"If a school is perceived to be better, market forces will make the
neighborhood pricier and it'll become a self fulfilling cycle."

If the existence of "choice schools" causes the public to perceive this district as better, then more MOTIVATED parents will move here for the chance of getting into one of the choice schools or Huff.
That benefits the entire district. Mode demand, higher tax base, better paying jobs, higher percentage of volunteer-minded parents, etc.

"That in essence is the difference between a neighborhood school and a choice school.
The "economic segregation" in neighborhood schools, unless state level policies come
into play, happen because of market forces (home prices). In a choice school like
Stevenson it is because of district office policy. The latter will always (and
probably should) be held to a higher bar"

Again, no fact, no logic, just self-serving declarations of judgemental thinking and bias.

If all of our schools were allowed to be district-wide choice schools and each school was allowed to develop their own special flavor to attract families to those schools based on their family interests and their understanding of their own kids, that would certainly fix your problem.

In any case, it's the mother's existing level of education that drives all of this, which is why ZERO school districts in the USA have managed to do anything to significantly reduce the achievement gap.


5 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 5:52 am

"PACT problem", lied repeatedly

Last thing moved to first, because it's the only true thing about the "...problem" poster's agenda:
"Oh, yeah... give Whisman their neighborhood school back!"

Ah, now you expose your true and ONLY agenda item!
Everything you have lied about was only because you hope your lies will somehow get you a walking distance school for your kids, you care nothing for anything else. Your hate is misplaced, complain to the Pentagon for shutting down Moffet.

"Unfortunately, PACT is illegal."

Factually incorrect, already settled.

"It requires tuition in the form of volunteer hours,"

Factually incorrect, there is no legal requirement at Stevenson or Mistral for any money or donation of hours.

"yet it is a public school and takes money and precious campus space."

OK, you got one correct.

"It's defenders will claim that the volunteer hours are not mandatory,"

Which we say because it's true.

"yet in the same breath will claim that without parents volunteering, the program is a failure."

If ZERO parents volunteer their time, then why would any of them bother to come to Stevenson?

So, zero parents giving their time would simply mean that all the things that make PACT so successful would be limited to only those things that the teachers can do by themselves.

So, somewhere between zero and 100% is a point where the flexible nature of our parents can compensate for whatever parents don't do their part fully. Some parents do more, some do less, some do nothing at all. We make best use of whatever we get.

We don't keep time-sheets on our parents, we don't really know how many hours each parent has given or not given, nor do we care to know or track such things.

"So, in a very real sense, this extra investment by parents IS mandatory."

Another lie there, it's not mandatory, it's flexible. If a parent who has time available sees a need, they fill it no matter who was originally scheduled to do so.

"Not only that, but if parents do not volunteer, aspersions are cast and pressure is brought to bear."

That is another complete lie, not supported by any facts or examples.
We don't even have any way to track how many hours the parents give.

Applying pressure on parents, let alone insulting them is utterly counter-productive. Only when parents feel comfortable and appreciated will they continue volunteering. Give another parent grief because you feel they are not doing their "fair share" and they wont do more, they will do less or nothing at all from then on.

"This will be violently denied,"

Well, we like to avoid violence.

"yet if you look at "Pact Parent" / "ST Parent's" aggressive postings, is it really so hard to believe?"
Your lies are easy to dismiss.

And where exactly have I cast any aspersions against ANY Stevenson parent claiming they did not "give enough time or money"?????

Never happened!

"My vote is to shut down PACT as a school and create small programs in all neighborhood schools."

All of the neighborhood schools have had 20 years now to establish small programs in their schools, NONE has chosen to even attempt to do so. Not Slater when PACT was there, not Castro when PACT was there, not Theuerkauf with PACT next door, not any of our neighborhood schools has done anything outside the typical traditional school model.

If the neighborhood schools want to set up parent volunteerism, or PBL or field trips or any of the things the parents at Stevenson make possible, we are only too happy to let those other schools come to Stevenson and learn everything about everything they are interested in.


4 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 6:09 am

I forgot the Waiting List parents mystery!

Each year something like 180 kids are on the Stevenson waiting list.
These are kids who's parents wanted to have their kids at Stevenson.

These parents already know all about the requests for volunteerism at Stevenson and have decided they want to do it and can handle it.

Meaning, that every year about 150-180 families are prepared to give to their schools and be active volunteers and still end up back at the traditional neighborhood schools.

The mystery is why don't those already volunteer-minded parents become big organizers and volunteers at their local neighborhood schools? Every year another 140-180 families make the choice to commit to volunteerism and lacking the PACT structure at Stevenson, they simply do not have any useful structure in the neighborhood schools to provide these willing parents the opportunity.

If you go to any of the neighborhood schools and ask who was applied to Stevenson but the District Lottery didn't land on their number, ask them how many of them put in 20hours per month volunteering at their neighborhood school and if they don't ask them why not? They were ready to do so at Stevenson.

The neighborhood schools should be chock full of parents on campus who wanted Stevenson, but instead turned all their efforts to their neighborhood school. But, this is not the case.

The level of volunteerism at our neighborhood schools is not noticeably different from other districts neighborhood schools. And the Stevenson hopeful parents are not the dominant force for volunteerism at the traditional neighborhood schools.

The schools need to have the plan and buy-in and structure to get the most of willing parents. None of our other school have even tried to do that.


4 people like this
Posted by ST Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 6:21 am

Choice Schools or Not?
Please see the real relationship between cause and effect.

You wrote:
"@ST Parent
The context of the comments in this thread is by pulling out the more involved and affluent parents out of neighborhood schools into choice schools, is it hurting said neighborhood schools."

No, what is hurting is that so many of the local jobs do not require college education to perform them. If every job in the area required a higher education, then the families would have higher achieving kids regardless of income.

Income only sort of tracks student performance, but the educational level of the parents tracks virtually perfectly. And the education of the parents comes FIRST in the chain of events.

The cause, the root cause, is the parents lack the level of education that would allow them to be engaged and helpful to their kids educational process.

My parents were highly educated, multiple degrees, math, science, chemistry, etc... and yet, we were still so poor that we qualified for free lunch and excess government food.

And yet, all of us kids in my level of the family tree have gotten college degrees, mostly by working or student loans we paid back on time.

Parents who do not have even a HS diploma are hardly in a position to help their kids with their homework past elementary school, if at all.

Parents with college degrees can help their kids with homework even if they don't have the money to do much else to help their kids.

The TRUE "Achievement Gap" is really describing the "educational gap" of the parents.

You want kids to do better in school, go teach the parents first, or at least a chapter ahead of their kids.


29 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2016 at 8:48 am

I have no skin in this game, but was trying to follow the issues and the perspectives in the comments.

Observation in passing: "ST Parent" from Rex Manor should be permanently banned from commenting on the Voice website. What he/she is trying to say is beside the point (and few people will even get that far). It's these unreadable, off-putting, MANY-SCREENFULLS-LONG posted comments (several in sequence, no less!) that show obsessive insensitivity to how people communicate effectively online.

Read Strunk and White. "Vigorous writing is concise."


8 people like this
Posted by Oliver
a resident of Bailey Park
on May 30, 2016 at 9:42 am

It's so nauseating that pact parents feel that they give more than other families. To say a child can't do well because parents are uneducated, doesn't make them bad parents. I read many educated fools right here. Just the fact you need to put down families is truly a lack of education. So check yourselves!!'
Research yourselves the scholars that went on to do great things that started with humble beginnings.
While your art it look up the definition of 'humble' .


16 people like this
Posted by To Reader and Oliver
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 30, 2016 at 10:25 am

I agree. This concersation effectively ended with "ST Parent" and his angry rants. He should be blocked as he has just angrily/bitterly ruined any positive commentary being made from other commentators. It's a shame, really.


16 people like this
Posted by @ST Parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm

@ST Parent

I tried to read most of your posts and what I summarized as the main point is that the mother's education level is the most important factor in a child's education. If that is the case then,

Wouldn't the PACT students do just as well in any other school too? Why a separate school? It is the same mother regardless. Actually data seems to indicate that is the case - Huff and PACT (similar levels of parent education) have similar test results Huff may even be better. So why a different school?

At the other end, what should children whose parents aren't educated do? You say these parents must get educated first? Wouldn't that be great - "motherhood and apple pie comes to mind" What if they aren't able to for whatever reason and still want the best for their children? Is it the child's fault? Should we build a wall around them and say "sorry we cannot help you, your parents aren't educated enough"?

Wake up @ST Parent. This is about public education. That means ALL children - not just kids of educated parents, not just kids of parents who pay taxes, not just kids of parents who value education - but ALL children. So calm down and think about that before going on another series of rants.

You, through your comments, are making the community think all PACT parents are bigoted and self-centered like you. I am sure that is not the case.


13 people like this
Posted by Monta Loma Teacher
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm

I've been teaching in MV for over 12 years and the one thing I've noticed is that the white and Asian (especially) students are better behaved, more intelligent, and more motivated than the rest. The quality of education isn't the problem, it's that we're holding students to the wrong expectations and failing to prepare them for the sorts of jobs they actually wind up taking. Not everyone is college material and we nede to realize that if we want them to be successful in life. This is something I constantly tell parents, but it's sometimes a tough pill to swallow.


10 people like this
Posted by Hold On
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2016 at 5:41 pm

With regard to your comment on middle schools, I can also use middle schools as the perfect example of what I'm saying. Once the Stevenson kids integrate back into Graham and Crittenden, the schools even out again. Yes, I realize there are some differences between those two schools, but the differences are small, much smaller than what you see in our elementary schools. To simplify, Graham is rated a 9, Crittenden is rated a 8 - not a lot of difference. The same happens at our high schools, both rated pretty equally.

At the elementary school level, if Stevenson didn't exist, I'm betting all of our elementary schools (with the exception of Castro) would be an 8 or higher. And I don't mean to discount Castro, I just think there are not a lot of Castro kids at Stevenson, but I know there are many, many Theuerkauf neighborhood kids there.

Maybe parent volunteerism doesn't carry over to the middle schools because smart parents realize that at some point they need to step back and let their teenagers manage things for themselves, and middle school is a great place to do that.

In another one of your posts you asked, "The mystery is why don't those already volunteer-minded parents become big organizers and volunteers at their local neighborhood schools?"

The answer is that we lose a number of them - they either enroll in private school, decide to homeschool, or move. Those who do enroll in the neighborhood schools likely do volunteer, but often feel overwhelmed because there are too few volunteers to help carry the load. It would likely be a different picture if there were more volunteers to support each other, sort of like what you have at Stevenson.

As for being a jealous hater, our children are still young, so we have yet to even apply for Stevenson. I guess we could get in, but I'm not even sure anymore if that is a good thing. Quite frankly I'm not sure what we'll do, but I do get tired of seeing the split that happens in this neighborhood between the kids attending two different schools, or more likely moving or attending private school. It's a weird experience, and really feels like there's a better way. So I'm watching all this as we decide what we will do in a couple of years with our kids.

But I appreciate this discussion, especially the commentators who are respectful and eager to listen to others, not to just speak over them.


9 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

hold on now, maybe I'm missing something but I don't see any reason whatsoever that ST Parent should be banned or blocked. In fact, I find 'his' (or hers?) message to be succinct and informative. In fact it seems to me he/she is putting forth a harsh reality that apparently a few of you don't want to hear. Hence your request to ban....typical, you don't agree so it should be published.

@Reader, maybe you can clarify what it is you don't understand? I too have no skin in this game but I just kind of found it interesting that you're calling for STParents posts to be banned when I can't see anything offensive or against the terms of posting here?


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