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Achievement gap dominates school candidate forum

Original post made on Oct 2, 2018

In the four-way race for two seats on the Mountain View Whisman school board, each candidate laid out a vision for how to close one of the biggest achievement gaps in the state.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 11:43 AM

Comments (27)

32 people like this
Posted by Wheelers words
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Wheeler often has nice things to say. Historically, and she’s been around a long time to research this, she never actually _does_ anything. I will be voting for anyone but her.

5 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Video link to the League of Women Voter's MVWSD forum from the article:
Web Link

Video link to watch board meetings:
Web Link

26 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 2, 2018 at 2:08 pm

None of the candidates want to address the systemic problem in our district: our neighborhoods, and therefore the schools, are segregated. Conley even points out the problem and then decides that it's not worth addressing:

"Conley described it as somewhat of a fool's errand to aim for walkable neighborhood schools and balanced demographics -- given the differences between single-family neighborhoods and high-density apartments -- but said it should be a district priority to make sure all schools offer a high-quality education."

We need a better crop of candidates. None of these people are offering anything but different flavors of the status quo.

18 people like this
Posted by @Weird
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm

While socioeconomic and racial segregation across our neighborhoods certainly does contribute to the differences in achievement levels across the district’s elementary schools, this is a problem that a school board is not equipped to solve. Thus, the candidates weren’t asked to solve that problem. They were asked if schools should prioritize diversity in their enrollment or neighborhood centric enrollment. I find it “weird” that you suggest a school board could do anything effective to address the underlying issue of where people live. They must instead deal with the reality of the city where they are.

24 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:28 pm

They can do a lot. On the obvious, direct side, they don't have to reinforce the neighborhood segregation. On the indirect side, they can work with the city to fix zoning that bans apartments in certain neighborhoods. Even further, the district owns land that it could build affordable housing on.

As I pointed out above, though, all the candidates are offering is different flavors of the status quo.

7 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:51 pm

You need look no further than the Stevenson School to see the obvious. Privet school where the entire school has all the support and parents. Segregation in plain sight. The board will never address the real issues. Koe6y

8 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 11:14 pm

so other than forcibly assigning people to schools and bussing them around, are there any more realistic ways to "diversify"? Other than just waiting for the low income families to be pushed out of the district.

4 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 3, 2018 at 4:13 am

The school board members should raise money however Trump did and hand it out to families to narrow the wealth gap. Then, they should hire better parents and guardians for low-performing students and make sure everyone speaks the same language. I am thinking French. And school board members should never be allowed to have any jobs or families of their own. No time for that.

15 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 3, 2018 at 7:20 am

We already "forcibly assign people to schools," we just choose to do so based on the Mountain View zoning map.

For one what's wrong with school buses? Our city is only 12 square miles.

I proposed two other ways to fight segregation: work with the city to lift the ban on multifamily housing in certain neighborhoods, or use district land to build affordable housing.

This is why our current crop of candidates is so disappointing, they look at the biggest problem facing our district and throw up their hands in defeat.

28 people like this
Posted by Fed Up Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 3, 2018 at 8:33 am

Wheeler and Coladonato need to go. They are the cause of the achievement gap and have approved some ridiculous actions by Superintendent Rudolph, his sidekick Ghysels and his "yes people" from North Carolina. All the while the achievement gap persists. Throw them all out and next year go after and get rid of Gutierrez and Company. Only then can a new group of administrators take on the achievement gap. Until then, it's just money and precious time wasted.

11 people like this
Posted by @weird
a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

There is what you call “segregation” in every school district. In Los Altos, Gardner Bullis (not the charter school- don’t get me started) and Covington are the rich schools. Santa Rita and Almond are the “poor” schools. And that’s ok! We’re at Santa Rita and we absolutely LOVE it. It’s an 8/10 and my kids are getting an amazing education academically and emotionally. In Sunnyvale, West Valley is far superior to the elementary school that has 1200 students.
We own a home in Monta Loma too and after 5 years of a horrible education there we started to rent it out and moved to Los Altos. Our tenants go to private schools.
My point is that you just can’t make every school equal. Areas like Castro City- we’ll, if you take a poll, the residents there will likely 90% not want to be bused to Bubb. Their community is by Castro. And the parents by Bubb paid a premium to live there. Period. This is how America works.
I get it. We loved Monta Loma *neighborhood* but not the school! It’s hard and doesn’t feel fair. But it’s life.
And I do agree that some board members are horrible. Wheeler and Coldonado HAVE to go.

13 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 3, 2018 at 9:09 am

I guess I didn't expect an outright defense of segregation in our schools, but instead was hoping people would want to address it since they care about the achievement gap.

One major point, though, as you say "And the parents by Bubb paid a premium to live there. Period." These aren't private schools, they're public schools. Should people in the district be able to buy their way into better public schools?

9 people like this
Posted by Fix the System
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 3, 2018 at 11:16 am

Schools have little incentive to integrate when doing so hurts their bottom line. Title 1 schools, schools with a high number of students in poverty, qualify for extra funding and programs. Why would districts spread those students around and loose that funding for those kids who need it most? The system is set up to support poor kids in poor schools, not to support poor kids in integrated schools. This is a shame because research suggests that all kids do better in integrated schools. Our district is broken in many ways but don't blame the board for this one.

12 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 3, 2018 at 12:26 pm

I expect the board to do what's right for the kids in our schools. We should integrate our schools because, as you pointed out, "research suggests that all kids do better in integrated schools." Instead, every board candidate is endorsing the status quo, and some posters here are stating that this is the way it should be.

11 people like this
Posted by @weird
a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2018 at 12:35 pm

I’m saying this is how it is. How do you propose changing it? Busing 1/2 the Castro kids to Bubb and half the Bubb kids to Castro? Then you’re breaking up communities. Who decides who goes where? Does this become a social experiment? Money actually does buy education. Those in EPA don’t get as good of an education as those in Los Altos. It me just how it is. Kids at university of Phoenix don’t get an education like that at Stanford. It starts in kindergarten. Not sayiyoys tight. Just saying how it is.

14 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 3, 2018 at 1:56 pm

I've already laid out several ways to address it. That's what we elect the school board to do, but none of them have the appetite to take on these problems. We elect the school board to enact policy and move towards how we think the district ought to operate, not just maintain the status quo.

These are public schools within the same district; millionaires shouldn't get better public schools in the same district, at the very least.

24 people like this
Posted by Fed up with district
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:37 pm

There are things that can be done and need to be done.
First vote Wheeler and Caldonado out.
Start recruiting new blood to run for school board for when Guiterrez, Wilson and Blakey's terms end. That needs to happen now.
Attend school board meetings and have your voices heard.
Advocate for all children not just the wealthy white.
Get rid of Rudolf and Ghysels (his henchman).
Rudolf's executive cabinet members are afraid of him, and until he goes nothing will be done to improve instruction.
Fire Pete Gorman who coaches all the cabinet and then trains them all in his superintendents academy. If you think it smells fishy you would be right.
Follow where the money is spent and follow where the new hires are coming from.
Right now it seems to be a powerful people trying to make a name for themselves not trying to do what is in the best interest of all children.
Get involved.....

10 people like this
Posted by @ Fed Up with District
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 4, 2018 at 8:23 pm

You seem to think you know a lot about inner workings of the district. How could you possibly know how member of the executive cabinet feel about Dr. Rudolph? Student achievement is improving under his superintendency so he must be doing something right.

13 people like this
Posted by @ Fed Up with District
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2018 at 10:51 pm

@ Fed Up with District is a registered user.

I am 100% with you. Nevermind the person who is clearly part of Rudolph's inner circle questioning your comments.
Rudolph is not the reason achievement is increasing. Rudolph rules by fear and intimidation, and hires 'yes' men who echo whatever he wants.

Bubb is Bubb because Cuesta Park is a strong community, and the principal at Bubb is exceptional at managing the B.S. at the district while simultaneously keeping parents and teachers happy. I don't know how she does it.

Ellen Wheeler needs to go!!! Please don't vote for her. Her time is up. All she does is show up at random school events, MV city events and PTA meetings, and then proceeds to only talk to her favorite teachers or administrators. Wheeler has zero interest in hearing actual parent concerns. Zero. Classic self-important, career bureaucrat.

Coladonato seems to put in about 50% of the time as Wheeler i.e he is not as visible at school events, but when he is at a board meeting, he asks contrarian questions that many in the audience are thinking, but are not allowed to express subce the board meeting format limits audience comments.

After spending extensive time and effort studying and meeting with the board and district, Coladonato and Devon Conley have my vote. If you have kids in the district, and don't have time to research the facts on your own, these are the candidates you should vote for.

9 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

Folks, Please remember that School Board Trustees represent everybody in the District. Those of us whose kids have moved on, thus "old", still have an interest in a well run district. I don't happen to agree with @Fed Up above, except that what our community needs is for more people to take time to be active in our community. With a City Commission, With a School District Committee, at a school site, whatever! The last time we had a "throw the bums out!" election, We got Steven Nelson! How did that work out for our community? Be interested, vote with care. Pay attention to actions and not just words.

11 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Seems like the MV Whisman School Board, school administrators, and principals have been promising for many years to narrow the "achievement gap", they have tried many things, and none of them have worked. Could it be possible that most of the "gap" is due to issues in students' homes and neighborhoods over which the schools have no control? My sister was a teacher in a coal-mining town that was socially and economically stratified and she and her friends had a saying: "It all begins and ends at home." Schools can only do so much, and the rest is up to the parents.

8 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 6:17 pm

> Could it be possible that most of the "gap" is due to issues in students

If only we could dumb down the overachievers we could all be performing equally poor and there would be no gap

4 people like this
Posted by @ me
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Well that actually was our experience at Monta Loma so they’ve tried it. We had to bail and run for a real school district. Still trying to catch up.

16 people like this
Posted by ML Family
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Really too bad some have had a bad experience at Monta Loma, we've loved the school and school community!

4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:31 am

Wheeler is the most dedicated and participative board member in MVWSD. She's smart, has extensive experience, and always works for the betterment of children in the district. She has been a calming and steady board member, a champion for early learning as a means to close the achievement gap.

Four more years!

11 people like this
Posted by Another ML Family
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Same for us, Monta Loma has been great. There’s one poster who keeps coming back here with the same story and those of us who were around back then, when the school was under the previous leadership, have a good idea who it is. Probably best for all that they found a way to get in to another district.

3 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Voter
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 15, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Thanks Chris Chiang for posting the video link.

Here's a transcript (not by me) of the questions and answers from the candidates forum on Sep 26, along with deep links into the video for each question (so you can find the question you're interested in and see the candidates' answers). Hope this is helpful for people!

Web Link

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