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School board supports limits on open enrollment

Original post made on Sep 25, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman School District is drafting a team of parents and faculty members to take on some of the biggest problems facing the district, including overcrowding, lack of diversity and families fleeing lower-performing schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 25, 2017, 1:47 PM

Comments (46)

27 people like this
Posted by Focus on equity
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

I support the idea of trying to make the schools more equitable. The gap between rich and poor is stark between schools like PACT and schools like Castro and that alone needs to be fixed.

But there's also a huge "opportunity gap" between what kids at PACT get as part of their education and what kids at other schools get. Arts, field trips, special science opportunities go on all year long at PACT, but they are sporadic and infrequent at other schools. It's just not right and it's not fair to the kids. Yes, I realize that parents are what make all those fun things happen at some schools but a more equitable spread of parents with time and money to volunteer and donate would mean that more kids benefit-- not just at certain schools.


26 people like this
Posted by PACT Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I will readily own the fact that I wouldn't be volunteering if our kids weren't at a school where it's built into the ethos the way it is at Stevenson PACT. When we were considering my older son's Kindergarten options, my spouse and I had to admit to each other that we would probably have the best of intentions, but fail to actually follow through. We both work full time, and it's incredibly hard to give as much time to Stevenson as we do. But we do, because we know it's part of what makes the school a special place.

TL;DR - Don't assume that Stevenson parents would volunteer at the same rate if they were at schools other than Stevenson.


17 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

I too was one who also initially favored grandfathering in the change, but the merits of a quick uniform move are compelling.

Moving students to their new boundaries eliminates the problem of parents driving to multiple schools. Moving even older elementary grade level students to their new schools that align with their middle school options would actually help them acclimate them to middle school better than keeping them in an elementary school zoned for a different middle school.

In the end, how each school creates student community programming (student buddies, welcome committees) to integrate "new students" to their community will be the real measure of whether the transition is smooth or rough for students and their families. So the heavy lifting to make this process smooth will be up to the school sites, rather than the board or task force.

Setting the district-wide programs (Mistral DI+Stevenson PACT) to a neighborhood lottery is a reform long overdue. Neighborhood quotas is far less tricky than trying to balance social economic factors directly.


15 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood school parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm

As much as I would like to see more parents give their neighborhood school a chance, just like I did, I realize it's not going to happen while we have over 50% low income students at certain schools. It means kids are high needs, parents are often willing to take but not give back to the school, establishing friendships can be challenging, academics may suffer, etc.
parents will continue to flee as long as there are high concentrations of poverty in certain areas of the city. Dilapidated apartments next to million dollar homes is never a recipe for success.


11 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

It is cruel to the children to force them to change schools where they have build relationships with other children and teachers just to make things easier for the administration.

Some children do fine with those changes, but others, like children with special needs, are harmed each time an administration subjects them to change for the sake of some abstract goal. The children don't care about that. What they DO care about is they miss their best friend, who will now go to a different school, or the teacher whose classroom they visited as a toddler while an older sibling was their student.

Mr Chiang is living in a dream world if he thinks that every school can or will create a welcoming environment for these kids who are uprooted for the sake of improvements from which they will never benefit. No matter how nice the new kids are, they aren't kids you played with in the sandbox in kindergarten. Friend aren't fungible and you don't know much about kids if you think they are.

Children should not be forced to go where they don't want to be just to make the district leaders happy. They should be grandfathered to the school they currently attend UNLESS the specifically ask to move to the new one. And don't try to say this can't be done. A new high school was built in my attendance area when I was growing up and the upper grades were all volunteers who CHOSE to transfer. Those classes were smaller for a couple of years, but that changed quickly. This also isn't a remote example, as the district was Fremont Unified across the bay.

This district needs to serve the parents and children first. The administrators have already proven they don't make great choices (like about math programs), so I wish they'd listen now.


17 people like this
Posted by Supporter of all children
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Make education an even playing field.
The PACT school is run as a privet school with our tax dollars.


18 people like this
Posted by ex-Hooli person
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm

How noble, sacrificing others' children in the service of progressive ideals.


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent alum
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

I know that when I started at PACT, we were so happy at Slater and had a very nice, diverse population. We were moved to Castro, but again happy with a diverse population. However, when we moved from Castro, many families did not come with us. They chose to stay at Castro, where their family could walk to school. We lost so much of our diversity.
Then, as we did tours of Stevenson, the families felt there was not enough diversity, so they did not feel their child would be comfortable.
We really wanted diversity. We worked with the District to try to help get that back, but it did not work.


12 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2017 at 10:33 pm

Lack of diversity at Stevenson is not Stevenson's fault. They just happen to be clear about their priorities and what kind of commitment they expect from parents. People who only want to take take take -don't want to be there. The ne might argue they are intimidated, but I think they just have different needs and priorities.


5 people like this
Posted by minority report
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2017 at 10:48 pm

Trustee Lambert was in the minority (60 - 40 percent opposed) on the Board vote to have neighborhood school facilities for all neighborhood “Quadrants” in the district. That was no more fictitious than the reality that 70 percent of the district’s kids are currently in their own neighborhood elementary school. Mr. Lambert - that means that it is not “entirely fictitious” by more than 2:1. As President of the School Board, for a year, Trustee Lambert had the power according to Board Bylaws to call a Special Meeting of the Board to address this issue (priorities). He could have put it on Regular Meeting Agendas. Mr. Lambert obviously did not know how, or care to, use the power of his elective office to force this important issue of public policy into discussion.

The electorate should be wary of electing to local legislative bodies those who are unaware of the power of local legislators to change local public policy, or who have a ‘let the Administration run all those things’ type of attitude. If Lambert needs a further fiction/reality check on how well supported “neighborhood schools” are to the MVWSD electorate, I hope that he will go back to note that such a strong advocate* as Tamara Wilson ended as Top of the Race in the 2016 Board election. And Peter Darrah, who was in opposition*, was not elected.

S. Nelson is also a retired MVWSD Trustee, with his own “2 cents”

* Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

It seems like the district is constantly trying to move kids around in an effort to be equitable. While it is a noble cause, it just isn't realistic in a town where there is such a huge wage gap. The boundaries will constantly be changing as the city continues to gentrify. And while parents are willing to volunteer at their child's school, there is no way the majority of them would be willing to volunteer elsewhere in an effort to make volunteerism equitable. The equity target will be constantly shifting. I'd rather see the district try to increase performance in the underperforming schools.

And honestly, we opted out of the district after the first few years and moved our kids to private. There isn't a day that I think we made the wrong decision.


16 people like this
Posted by Jenny G
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 12:09 am

I don't understand why so many people are mad at Stevenson PACT. The PACT parents are working their ass off to make the school so special. It is the parent volunteers that make the field trips, science project and art classes possible. I do not think PACT take any more resources from tax payers Han other schools do. It is the PACT parents who made the differences. I agree with another PACT parent here, don't assume Stevenson parents will volunteer at the same rate if they are not at Stevenson.


15 people like this
Posted by @ supporter of all children
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2017 at 6:49 am

Not all children actually like the same things. There are things about the methods of teaching at Stevenson that does not serve all children - the moving from activity to activity; the art classes where all kids are mixed grades in each classroom; even the field trips, which are not just for fun.

It also does not suit all families. Many parents don't want to volunteer, especially as much as is done at Stevenson to make the program work. Some families do not believe in the same philosophies - they want more homework, they believe field trips are just for fun, they want it to be more like the school they grew up in.

All schools should not be the same because all people are not the same.


4 people like this
Posted by @ Neighborhood Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 6:52 am

Not entirely true.

There was plenty of diversity at Slater and Castro. Some of those parents did as much as anyone, and some could not do as much - but they did what they were able.


8 people like this
Posted by Mistral parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 26, 2017 at 7:01 am

I love Mistral, but it should never have been formed as a school. Instead, every school should have one or two Spanish classes per grade with the choice program bring offered at the neighbourhood school rather than at a central location.

Likewise, the learning model of PACT should be incorporated into all the curricula so that iir project-based learning is an option for all.


19 people like this
Posted by CP resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2017 at 7:36 am

These conversations are necessary, and it will be no easy task. However, before the district begins these tough actions, they first need to ensure effort is made to audit enrollment to ensure current students are legitimately in the district. I'm willing to bet there are many students that are attending neighborhood schools using falsified residential information.


9 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 9:29 am

Regarding the proposed changes to the enrollment process at the choice programs: it is difficult to imagine how quotas could possibly make a lottery system more fair. Think about it. A lottery is random and therefore inherently equitable. Quotas are by their very nature biased. Why would anyone think that introducing bias into a completely nondiscriminatory school enrollment system would constitute an improvement?


15 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

It is simply impossible for the volunteerism seen at Stevenson to be created at other schools because the critical infrastructure does not exist at other schools. After 20 years of PACT providing an example of how to do it, ZERO other schools have adopted any of the required infrastructure. Everything that makes Stevenson "special" is a direct result of the culture at the core of why PACT was created and has been "baked in" from the start.

Same problem with the concept of spreading "Dual-Immersion" to other schools. Once again, the infrastructure of Dual-Immersion being baked in as part of the whole school is what is required to make it work at all.

Sure, any school could offer a Spanish class, but the DI method is about the kids learning from each other, native speakers, and in every single class, and on the playground. That's why the DI enrollment tries to maintain a 50%/50% ratio between native English and native Spanish speakers.

My family did not apply to Stevenson because of the parental volunteerism, we came here because we believed that the alternative teaching methods as a whole were a better match to our child. If we ended up at some other school where volunteerism was not an integral part of the school, we would not have become volunteers. The parental involvement is an integral part of the teaching methods.

And I remind you that we don't see anything like Stevenson level volunteerism rates at the middle schools. While some parents from Stevenson may do some volunteering at the middle schools, the infrastructure simply does not exist to allow much more than limited opportunities for the most dedicated to the concept.

The middle schools may have individual classes teaching other languages, but there is nothing like DI going on at any other school.

It's a complete fallacy to assume that the individual parents on their own will somehow force themselves into the structure of some other school where the school lacks the organization level required to provide a whole system to support such volunteerism.

The vast majority of parents simply do whatever the school culture and the administration supports, some wont even do that much, and a few will try as hard as they are allowed to do more, but without the infrastructure nothing out of the ordinary will happen.

Choices are inherently good, and our district is lucky we have some choices.


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 9:58 am

I totally agree that we NEED to implement a serious requirement to verify residency of all the kids in our schools. Now, maybe what we will find is that we don't have a significant number of families cheating, if that's what we find, then we can back off on the residency checks. However, right now we have no idea how common residency cheating is, so what we have are assumptions based on rumors and guesses.

The problem with not knowing is that ignorance warps the process of making good decisions and warps public perceptions of our district and schools. Until we make a concerted, effective, clear and publicly transparent effort to verify the legal residency of all kids at our schools, any decisions made about enrollment policies also cannot be relied on to accomplish any particular goals.

I don't think the public is going to take the district enrollment goals seriously until we have serious data on residency open to the public.
(not about specific families of course, just statistics)


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 10:32 am

Nora S. wrote:
"Quotas are by their very nature biased."

Exactly!
Those families who believe in the Stevenson methods could live anywhere and only by allowing a totally random lottery for the entire district is it equitable.

The district should carefully examine where the kids live (once they actually bother to verify residency) who apply to Stevenson or Mistral. That should be a very accurate report card telling the district where they need to focus their efforts to improve poorly perceived schools. The length of the waiting list is an indicator of how poorly our district has historically failed to improve the perception of our schools.

Even if the actual problem is nothing more than false public perceptions, the district needs to fix that or the problems will persist. Quotas wont fix anything, it is simply a handy way of passing the buck by the politicians and district leadership.

The whole idea that you can "force" families into schools they don't want is insane and leads to apathy and inaction by the district on improving any school. By having a quota system, all you are doing is giving the district a free pass on their failures to improve the schools.

Quotas will literally accomplish "nothing", meaning quotas will result in the district doing nothing about the real problem of improving our schools and public perception of our schools.


12 people like this
Posted by Pro-PACTers Still Unconvincing
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:03 am

Philosophy is great to hide behind but what if that philosophy (intentionally or not) creates and maintains vast inequities in the community? There have been repeated claims in the Voice comment threads that if PACT didn't have the time and financial resources provided by parents, the program couldn't survive, so we can call those: requirements. A program that requires so much resources in time and money from participants to survive discourages diversity and creates de facto economic segregation.

The diversity problem at PACT is persistent, and the fact that so much money is spent preserving a choice environment for more well-off families lends credit to the discussion and criticism of non-equitable spending within the district.

Several PACT supporters above have mentioned their conditional support for volunteerism stating that PACT parents would not volunteer at a neighborhood site at the same rate. Either they wouldn't be compelled to do so because they require the social pressure to do it, or they feel that there some undeserving "takers" who might benefit (those would be kids by the way), or some other such nonsense. Let's be clear that this type of PACT 'volunteerism' is not in the spirit of true volunteerism and it is deeply offensive to equate PACT-compelled involvement to those who volunteer at their neighborhood school sites without the sense of pressure, feelings of superiority, or self-serving. Maybe it's good these 'volunteers' are all localized at one site so the neighborhood schools don't have to use even more of their limited precious energies trying to encourage volunteerism from the entitled elite.

The real "takers" in the district are the parents at PACT who benefit from the public funding and enrollment policies.

PACT has been unable to diversify itself after many, many, many years. It is time for limitations on enrollment in (and changes in the participation rules of) the PACT program to encourage diversity, increase support for neighborhood schools, and create some semblance of a more equitable district.

Go Superintendent Rudolph!


8 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:25 am

@Focus on equity of Rengstorff Park

"I support the idea of trying to make the schools more equitable."

How about focus on actual QUALITY not purely subjective "equity"?

Moving kids around has NEVER accomplished "equity", nor could it. Regardless of where a kid goes to school, they still have the same economics and the same family. Those are the primary factors effecting the educational performance of individual kids, not the school, the family.

The problem with Focus on Equity is that, if history has proven anything, the only way to achieve perceived "equity" is by destroying anything perceived to be "better" than anything else. It is far easier to destroy the best than to copy it.

In the entire USA, the ONLY school districts with no or very low "achievement gap" are those district where every school is FAILING equally!

If Huff, Bubb and Stevenson vanished, that wont improve the educational performance of the kids at Castro or Theuerkauf one bit, nor will it improve the public perception of those schools.

"The gap between rich and poor is stark between schools like PACT and schools like Castro and that alone needs to be fixed."

Oh, you mean forced school bussing? That has NEVER worked.
Or do you mean setting an income cap on who may attend our public schools?

"But there's also a huge "opportunity gap" between what kids at PACT get as part of their education and what kids at other schools get."

Other schools have had 20 years to learn from PACT and bring parts of what PACT does into their own schools, but NOTHING has been done by those other schools. It is NOT the fault of Stevenson that the other schools and parents of those other school have failed to bring those things to their schools as well.

Freedom of choice is a good thing, don't destroy it in the name of "equity".


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:45 am

@Pro-PACTers Still Unconvincing

"There have been repeated claims in the Voice comment threads that if PACT didn't have the time and financial resources provided by parents, the program couldn't survive,"

Nor would many of the programs at other schools survive without the volunteerism of those parents at those schools. The difference is in the magnitude and organization of the established infrastructure and the passed forwards culture. These provide the parents an effective framework to make it worthwhile for the parents to put so much into the program. The same was true when PACT was at Slater and Castro.

Without that infrastructure and culture, then yeah, the haters would get their wish and the "different" would get destroyed. Most of the haters who have given reasons for their hate were parents who wanted their kids in PACT, but they did not happen to win the district run lottery.

So, if they cannot have it, they don't want anyone else to have it.

It is so much simpler to destroy something good than it is to improve something in need of improvement. It takes actual effort and careful thought to actually do good things, but hate and destruction are easy!

You just hide behind "equity" claims to justify destroying something you perceive to be "better" than what you got, so nobody else can have it.


16 people like this
Posted by Better late than never
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

A regional quota system at PACT will only hurt our neighborhood school, Theuerkauf. A quota limiting people from our neighborhood from attending PACT will also mean less families with children moving into our wonderful neighborhood to begin with, thus punishing the neighborhood school further. Those families will choose to move to the neighborhoods where they have a better chance of getting in, which will likely impact Huff and Bubb just as much as today.

A priority entrance policy (or quota) for lower incoming families is a great idea. This helps save PACT from itself. This will make PACT more diverse, allowing it to truly live up to it's progressive educational goals of learning through a connected, diverse community. With some luck, it will lower the test score ratings for the school making it less attractive to families who prioritize test scores. My friends at PACT tell me the culture of the school as changed a lot since their test scores shot up. If PACT scores were more modest, this would also help the neighborhood schools compete better for students against PACT like in the Bubb and Huff neighborhoods, and more of them may get to keep their kids.

My family fell in love with PACT for it's teaching philosophy and whole child educational approach back when it was only rated an 8. By the time our eldest was entering kindergarten it was rated a 10 and we we pushed out by the sheer number of applicants. We have never been able to win a spot, so my children had to go without something we truly believed in and supported.

Our experience does make me beg the question as to why the district doesn't simply add another PACT like program at one of the struggling neighborhood schools like Theuerkauf? Or maybe a STEM PBL program? This will add people to those schools voluntarily, without forcing a move. (Forcing families to move will be unsuccessful anyway.) A program like this could be added to the whole school or just a classroom or two as there is demand from families. This could be opened up to people outside our neighborhood as well. This way all families can get a choice, not just the lucky lottery winners.

I am hopefully these changes will help all MV schools grow stronger. All this action is unfortunately too late to help my children, but for the hundreds of families with young children I see everyday at the parks or walking around our neighborhood, I hope it won't be too late for them.


3 people like this
Posted by Supporter of all
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

To " not all children actually like the same thing" do you hear how arrogant you sound. Not on my dime one district same method across our schools. Oh and by the way sounds like it makes you feel good to throw the word deversity around. Equal education for all.

Somewhere in the board of education this program is walking s fine line.


6 people like this
Posted by Supporter of all
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I'm curious am I the only one that hears the arrogance in these parents coming from the PACT.


8 people like this
Posted by Pro-PACTers Still Unconvincing
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

@ST Parent

The problem (and data) with equity and PACT is not hidden. It's been around for a long time, come up again and again, and is being brought up once more in the article above.

I get that you are a loyal acolyte of the program and are always there to defend what benefits you perceive you have (i.e. something to lose for you). What I don't understand is the leap you make that because I believe the program is flawed and takes funds away from students who need them more I'm somehow "jealous". Makes. No. Sense.

There are elements of programs at Stevenson that work but they require resources beyond what public education is funded to provide. The myopic rants of some well-meaning parents trapped in a club mentality (infrastructure, culture, philosophy, whatever) isn't serving the greater MVWSD community. ALL students are important and some need more help than others. Simply indulging wealthier parents who are more than able to but don't want to volunteer at a neighborhood school is something for better-funded districts to allow.

Scaring away less wealthy, more busy parents by claiming that they would hurt the lifeblood infrastructure or culture of a school by not putting in 'volunteering' time and having their "taker" kids attend - that smells of economic bigotry.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm

@Supporter of all, you asked, "I'm curious am I the only one that hears the arrogance in these parents coming from the PACT."

I was the first PACT parent to comment, and I tried to explain what I saw as a flaw in the argument that some make about whether it would make a difference in volunteer rates if PACT parents were at other schools.

I tried to put forth my opinion and genuinely engage. Can you tell me how you read my comment as arrogant?


21 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Having been at an interesting place in the district at one point, I can tell you that Huff and Bubb FAR surpassed Stevenson in terms of fundraising. So if one wants to "fix" the inequality, it doesn't entirely have to do with Stevenson. Stevenson was once more diverse than both Huff and Bubb, again, I think gentrification is the issue.


8 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2017 at 2:54 pm

> it is difficult to imagine how quotas could possibly make a lottery system more fair.

Quotas would virtually guarantee entry in the choice programs for the children in the attendance areas of the most favorite schools. That's fair, right ;)


5 people like this
Posted by PACT Alumnus
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Both of my chidlren attended Stevenson. When we started I was a single parent of two, renting and working 45-60 hours a week. My family is not elitist, nor are we wealthy. I am tired and frustrated by the number of people in this community who write disparaging remarks about the Stevenson community. I volunteered, as much as I could, as a working parent. Other than Walkathon and the occasional teacher gift, I was asked for $300 per child, which was completely optional. This is less than the ask at the elementary school where my oldest attended Kindergarten. My first few years, I was unable to give more than about $50 total. I was never made to feel like a lesser or poorer member of the school, and nor were my children. There are opportunities for families who work to do what they can, when they can. My family joined PACT because of it's teaching philosophy and whole child educational approach. I encourage any family, working, single parent, or low-income to apply to PACT before disparaging it. And if you feel strongly that the program is flawed, help work with the community and district to improve it or replicate it.


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:20 pm

@Local Parent - incorrect data you are using. So ... please back it up with primary sources!
"Stevenson was once more diverse than both Huff and Bubb." I think most of us on this discussion are talking, rightly, about "economic diversity" So the numbers to use are the percentage of SED - lower income kids.

Stevenson since its founding, year 2009 14.1 percent
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 (percent)
10.3, 10.9, 7.3, 9.3, 6.9
Bubb
27.9, 26.6, 24.2, 22.8, 19.1

Stevenson has had a slightly higher economic diversity than Huff's year 2009 13.7 percent
8.4, 9.5, 8.7, 7.0, 7.0
Web Link

PER STUDENT, I also think that PACT Foundation raised more. But what about comparison of Stevenson and it's neighbor school , "neighborhood program" TH?

Wealth is a terrible thing to waste. But it also can be (IMO) a terrible thing to concentrate! Concentrating parent wealth - in a few public schools - is a legitimate concern for a LEA legislative body (the Board) to consider and consciously choose to mitigate!. According to state data, Stevenson has had the largest concentration of (parent) wealth in the MVWSD. [the statistical tables for the old API] Huff follows, then Bubb.

site recommended by the CA state PTA, Stealth Wealth for Schools / Ed100 lesson 8.11
Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:53 pm

@Steve Nelson, I should have said PACT. It was before the Stevenson campus. And I was referring to ethnic diversity, which is what I think of as diversity. Too often people see ethnic and socioeconomic diversity as the same thing.

And honestly, I don't care to engage with you and your antics. You personally were a big part of the reason we left the district.


9 people like this
Posted by Noname
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:08 pm

My child goes to one of the less desirable school in the district.
I don't understand what posters are talking about when they say they need some special conditions to come in and volunteer. Our school is in desperate need of parent volunteers and I have seen nothing but gratitude and support when I volunteered. I was never micromanaged and/or seen teen resistance to my help. And, there are many ways to volunteer, not just traditional PTA.
I am not a Stevenson hater. I like their philosophy, and I wish every school would adapt at least elements of it. However, an average school is struggling as it is, and does not have parents who would be willing and able to make significant changes.
But if each of us, instead of self-segregating in a special program that fits the needs of our very special kids, would give their business to a neighborhood school- maybe we wouldn't have such gaps amongst them.
On the one hand, I support capping a percentage of kids from each neighborhood. Because maybe this will help bring some families back to their neighborhood schools. On the other hand, where there is a will there is a way, and people will always find a way to avoid what they want to avoid.


19 people like this
Posted by MT View
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

It is interesting to read the comments about equality. The focus seems to be on tearing apart a good program and spreading out the 'wealth'. It is almost as if the parents over the course of 20+ years building the program and passing it along to the next generation don't deserve it.

Wouldn't society as a whole benefit if we take the best ideas and try to apply them to other school programs vs the tear down method? If you think it's not possible for other schools to become better without splitting up pact why is that?


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 27, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Noname of Another Mountain View Neighborhood

First...

"My child goes to one of the less desirable school in the district."

In my experience talking with parents from the schools poorly perceived, almost all of them have said they were very concerned about the quality of education their kids would get at their assigned neighborhood school BEFORE they got there, but once their kids got started and the parents got familiar with the school, they said they were happy with or even impressed by the school they had been told was not a good school.

The progress reports from the district on student achievement strongly suggest that even the schools with the worst public perception are doing a great job of educating the kids and progressing them through their K-8th education. When you look at how kids progress, that is a far better indication of the quality of the school itself.

I can only conclude that the true difference in the quality of education among our various elementary schools is very small and the way we measure the "achievement gap" has nothing to do with the quality of the schools, but on issues not controllable by our district.

I think the old system of rating schools should have been killed-off many years ago because it NEVER provided any information about the actual quality of the schools. The primary factor the old system measured was the educational backgrounds of the parents. That lead to a false public perception of the schools. I only hope the newly established system will be actually useful in judging the quality of our schools, but only time will tell.

Politicians love to declare a huge problem that only they know how to solve. The way the politicians have chosen to measure achievement gap and school performance provides the politicians with another issue to flog, but give the public no meaningful information nor any actual solutions.

Which is why almost every school district in the nation shows a substantial "achievement gap".


5 people like this
Posted by Noname
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm

@MT View
Unfortunately, the application of PACT methods is virtually impossible if middle class parents flee the neighborhood school. Who is going to implement it?

@ST parent
It depends on how you measure the quality of education.
Yes all kids will learn how to read and write and count. But will they al get the same amount of field trips? Of fun but challenging tasks, aimed at developing the smarts and not just teaching to the test?
I honestly don't know how to make sure all kids get the same quality school experience. It will just never happen that ALL the neighborhood families decide to stay and support their school, especially if it has too many low SES kids. It is sad but true.


31 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Our kid goes to Mistral and we love it.

You are delusional if you think that we'd ever send our children to Theuerkauf if Mistral no longer was an option. The real alternative is private school, or moving out of Mountain View altogether. With the RV craziness and the incompetent city administration, Mistral is pretty much the only thing keeping us in Mountain View at this point.


8 people like this
Posted by Landels
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Landels is a registered user.

Feel free to send your kid to a private school and spend all that money just because you can't have your kid in the "popular school" rather than participating in making the district schools better. Feel free. The district will gladly benefit from not having such parents complaining senselessly about our schools and doing nothing to help, and you'll make room for more parents who are willing to help make our community schools as great as they can and will be.


26 people like this
Posted by Better late than never
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 28, 2017 at 9:33 am

Actually Landels, you have it completely backwards. The parents fleeing for private schools are exactly the parents the district need to attract if they want to provide all kids in the district with a good education. These parents bring time, better education levels themselves, money and a true belief that education matters that benefits any school their children attend. They tend to do a lot more work for schools then low income parents. Nothing against low income parents - they have understandable reasons why in many cases they aren't able to provide as much support so I don't fault them at all, but you will struggle to improve a school with 75% low income families. That is just fact.

If the district follows your advise our schools will continue to produce mediocre results for all the children attending.


21 people like this
Posted by @ better late than nevee
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 28, 2017 at 9:40 am

THANK YOU. Sometimes I feel alone but you and I are in the same camp. We left monta loma after 5 years, the last 2 being horrible. I tried giving more and more and more but it takes a village and there isn't one. You can't change everything alone can you?
Many, many of my kids friends left by 2nd grade and looking back, it's a good time to go.


9 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

"Feel free to send your kid to a private school and spend all that money just because you can't have your kid in the "popular school" rather than participating in making the district schools better."

Interesting. This entire brouhaha was supposedly driven by the concern that it was a tragedy of great proportions that many parents were opting out of the neighborhood schools to send their kids to Mistral and Stevenson. Yet when I pointed out that many of those parents were not going to send their kids to their neighborhood schools anyhow, your answer was good riddance. To a cynic like me, it sounds like your real goal is to disrupt Mistral and Stevenson... After all, Mistral and Stevenson without the wealthier parents already exist -- they're called Castro and Thuerkauf.

"you'll make room for more parents who are willing to help make our community schools as great as they can and will be."
Uh, no. There's plenty of room already for more parents who are willing to get involved in making the neighborhood schools better. It just so happens that there aren't any takers. I'm not taking anyone's spot.

By the way, I know nothing about Stevenson, but the characterization of Mistral as a "privet" (sic) school is thoroughly inaccurate. It is wonderfully diverse both ethnically and socioeconomically. Yes, wealthier parents do most of the heavy-lifting in terms of volunteering, but we do it with joy as it benefits our entire community and see it as a way to give back to it. It is this sense of belonging in such a great community that makes many of us react so negatively to the prospect of it being disrupted with no obvious benefit to anyone.


10 people like this
Posted by Anti-angry
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2017 at 10:09 am

Pretend PACT doesn't exist in MVSD. What should be done to improve the neighborhood schools?


10 people like this
Posted by Improve
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2017 at 11:19 am

the schools are all fine. spread the under-performing kids evenly across the schools and the schools will get closer in average. The under-performing kids will still under-perform though.


6 people like this
Posted by Landels
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 30, 2017 at 10:57 pm

Landels is a registered user.

Not sure where you’re going with all of that. The fact is that our schools will not improve without the consistent help of parents willing to get involved. Parents constantly threatening to move their kids to private schools, particularly the ones who are doing so because they may not be able to get the school they want, rather than jumping both feet in at the school to which they are assigned are not going to do the district any good. So, again, I say, good riddance. There are plenty of great parents willing to commit to our schools, whether they be Mistral, Theuerkauf, Stevenson or otherwise, and help our district improve. I know, because I spend a lot of time working with these folks and have done so over the past few years.

As parents in this community, we need to decide that our entire district is worth our efforts, not just two schools on one side of town as we have typically been doing. I think each of ours schools are amazing, and are run by amazing administrators and have amazing teachers. I’ve put my time and efforts behind these schools since I moved here and will continue to do so because it benefits all kids. And I’ll say this again, if there’s a bunch of parents out there pouting because they can’t have the popular school and are threatening to go private because of that, good riddance.

Now let’s get to work.


15 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Old-Timer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Mountain View Old-Timer is a registered user.

I am amazed by the persistence and tone of this conversation. I feel like I have been reading the same posts for decades.

My wife and I moved to Mountain View eons ago. Our children were born and raised here. We are very grateful for the wonderful education the MVWSD provide them.

I volunteered a lot in my children elementary school: in science class, math class, book groups, Walkathons, field trips, school garden plot, PTA fund raisers, so much so that it sometimes felt I was spending more time at school than my children were. My wife volunteered a whole lot more at both their elementary and middle schools. Some parents did nothing. For some parents the sum total of there volunteering was suggesting additional things I could do to further enrich their children’s educational experience. By the time my youngest had moved to middle school, I wished we had sent them to PACT. There, at least in theory, the load is spread move evenly among parents. PACT does not receive more district resources per student than any other elementary school. It provides a different learning experience only because the parents commit to volunteering their time. I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with that.

We have been living in Mountain View long enough to remember the CEL program at Monte Loma which was in some ways similar to PACT. It did not last in large part due to lack of parental support. We have also been here long enough to remember the drama about shutting Slatter and moving PACT to portables at Castro, then the problems with overcrowding at Castro and the decision to move PACT out of Castro to it’s own campus at the old (leaky) district offices. Through the years, as PACT has been pushed and shunted around from one campus to another, the PACT parents have consistently made the best of what they were dealt. I wish other parents were as committed.

Our city has changed so much in the decades since we first moved here that I sometimes do not recognize it. However the flood of mean spirited anti-PACT comments that are posted every time the Voice publishes any story about the MVWSD has been the one constant over the years. I read them again today and know this is still Mountain View - the city I love. Like Uncle Benjy’s crazy rants at Thanksgiving they remind me I am home.


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