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Guest opinion: Bullis Mountain View means more options for kids

Original post made on Dec 17, 2018

In an op-ed, parent Heather Schoell explains why she's a proponent of Bullis Charter School's proposal to open a campus in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 17, 2018, 5:13 PM

Comments (14)

28 people like this
Posted by all for choice...
a resident of Jackson Park
on Dec 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm

I'm all for choice and progressive education. But as a mom of three kids in the public school system, I'm saddened to learn that opening a charter school in Mountain View will seriously strain the public school budget in a way that could very likely cut the new RTI program as well as delay the launch of a new science and history curricula. I say let's slow down and make this work for everyone! Charter schools should be an option, but not at the detriment of existing schools. When only the privileged get a good education, society as a whole will suffer.


27 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Slater
on Dec 18, 2018 at 10:08 am

I think that things would have gone smoother if Bullis didn't come in like a steamroller. Work with the district. Follow the California Charter School Association guidelines rather than coming in at the last minute that the law allows.

Let's get Bullis in here. But kicking off the process with a "we're legally allowed to start the conversation less than a year before we want facilities and if you don't like it then we'll take our fight to the county or state" attitude is not productive.

I live in MVWSD so I never followed the Bullis/LASD saga but now I get it.


20 people like this
Posted by Limbic Hijack
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2018 at 11:46 am

this is not about education, it's about politics, power, cultural exclusion, and emotions. "choice" and "parent choice" and "school choice" and "educational options" are all CODE for "the right to choose the community within which my child is educated and socialized" regardless of the educational programs in question or their child's actual needs

well-intentioned parents can't tell what their child needs educationally any better than the professional teachers, most of whom have Master's degrees and years of experience educating hundreds of students. why are district teachers bad but charter teachers good? they all graduate from the same colleges, go into teaching to nurture students and work for roughly the same pay

but every parent who emotionally feels deeply that their child DESERVES something different or better than they have will scratch and claw to be included in a community of likeminded separatists instead of putting their shoulder to the wheel of progress to improve their district program. charters are about parent emotions and entitlement rather than educational needs. that's why charters score no better or worse on average than traditional district schools


14 people like this
Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm

As with behavior we see on the roads, in business and in politics, this seems to come down to a struggle between those who are concerned with EVERYONE versus those who are just trying to get more for themselves. In this case, educating ALL our kids versus educating MY kid. What's the point of a public school district?


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 18, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

There have been many of the same separate-and-not-equal questions ("separatists" to be kind) of the way that Stevenson choice program school has operated for the last ten years. There are only so many "live wires" I was willing to yank on while I was in political office (a Trustee of the MVWSD for 4). This type of problem has only been publicly addressed by a past Principal of Stevenson - when he felt he spontaneously had to 'speak up' to a mother who expressed strong "separatist" views. I had the particular privileged viewing point in history - of sitting next to him in a MVWSD public meeting when he spoke.

BMV will have, for sure, some of the same problems (as a progressive Republican, I take these social/political problems very seriously). But WITHIN the MVWSD ...

"Asking the hard questions about" Stevenson Choice school. Will Dr. Rudolph and/or a majority of the Board ever do this in the next 6-9 months? It is time. ST has now had a decade!


18 people like this
Posted by Douglas
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2018 at 3:21 pm

Choice is great in a competitive marketplace for goods and services, but our public school system (like the rest of our government) is not the place for it. If you aren't satisfied with our public schools (which are charged with educating ALL our kids), then get involved and work to improve them, or else there is another choice for you: private schools.
I fear a charter school will simply divert resources away from our existing schools and hurt the district overall, which hurts our community.


13 people like this
Posted by No
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2018 at 3:26 pm

BCS claims that their educational model is superior. They point at the slightly higher test scores their school has over the LASD ones. But that is not the reason for the difference. Because of the extra effort that is required to get in, parents that are more likely to go through this are more educationally focused than the average. Kids with educationally focused parents are more likely to test better than those with other priorities. This process of “creaming” transfers the top performing students from the truly public schools to the charter schools.

So, is BCS’s teaching methodology responsible for better test scores? Of course not. Creaming is a way to fake success.

Now, BCS wants to expand to MV, but knows that their bad reputation for attacking LASD would make this problematic. So, they claim that their school would market itself to economically disadvantaged families. Sounds good, right? But...they refuse to make economic disadvantage an enrollment requirement. Or even require a minimum 50 percent of their students to qualify under this standard.

BCS knows that their favorite type of family, elite and affluent, will make up the bulk of their applicants and the school will receive high test scores. They will shrug their shoulders and say, “Poorer families don’t want to come to our school. Not our fault! “. They will continue their “creaming strategy” and take more and more district resources.

Say NO! to Bullis.


1 person likes this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@all for choice ... RTI: At $1.8M per year (and climbing at 12% just since the start of the 2018-19 Budget cycle) I couldn't think of a better way to free up an unproductive chunk of change! There has been essentially no improvement of academic outcomes for Target Students (Economically Disadvantaged and Hispanic especially) since RTI was first implemented in all schools - after a 2 school-1-year pilot.

About $30,000 more has been recently contracted for a 'consultant study' of why this RTI is not working in MVWSD (after $2M spent). Cut failures - even in public programs - and go on to the next idea! Competition for public resources in education, Gov Brown - he's My Man! BTW, in case you might not know, he was a founder of a Public Charter School in Oakland. And Gov Brown signed the new law making CA for-profit charters illegal! (rah)


8 people like this
Posted by Yeah but...
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Nowhere in BCS MV’s proposal is a minimum enrollment of economically disadvantaged students mandated to keep their charter. Their request is insincere... how much money will the district have to fork over in legal fees every time BCS gets upset?


10 people like this
Posted by Spade
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Let’s call a spade a spade, not all parents are thrilled to live in a multi million dollar house yet be assigned to a 60% poverty rate school. Heck, even LASD parents are not all happy with their schools.
Until MVWSD only caters to the needs of low income and underachieving, letting high achieving and even middle of the road kids fall through the cracks, there will be demand for alternatives.
Not everyone is interested in having their kids sitting with the kids a couple grade levels below. An overwhelmed teacher can only offer so much differentiation.
This is not separatism. This is realization that your kid will not fix issues with other kids that stem from their family situation. And not wanting your kid to be a pawn of the equality game.


2 people like this
Posted by Free choice works
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

“I'm all for choice and progressive education. “.

So some say BUT and here comes the anti choice rhetoric. The BCS will only siphon funds if they offer better educational services than the exiting public school. If they don’t they won’t survive. The same cannot be said for the current monopolistic public system. It can fail children all it wants and never go bankrupt.

So why all the outrage over a voluntary choice. Pure politics to protect an inefficient bureaucratic system. Shame on opponents that oppose a voluntary choice to allow some parents to choose a better option for their children.


Like this comment
Posted by my choice: NOT THEM
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm

To: Free choice works

Go ahead and use your right to choose the way you wish. If you think you're so smart about curriculum and learning styles, fine, I suspect you don't know a whole lot about it, but choose as you wish. I, on the other hand, understand people and know very well how to choose the sorts of people my children should mix with, and my expression of choice is 100% as legitimate as yours.

I am sure you agree that the real world is filled with sorting functions, and school choice is just one more. There is ALWAYS plenty of demand for social sorting functions and the rights to use them.


5 people like this
Posted by Free choice works
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm

@mychoice,

Except for your arrogance that you somehow know more about what’s best for your child, than I know about mine, you essentially agree w me. Choice works because it’s voluntary. Of course people sometimes make mistakes but these can be easily fixed.


Like this comment
Posted by Arrogant much?
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 19, 2018 at 1:21 pm

@FreeChoiceWorks

To paraphrase... "Except for your arrogance that you somehow know more about what’s best for your child than [professional educators]..."


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