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Five candidates compete in race for the Mountain View Whisman School District board

Original post made on Oct 12, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic completely disrupted the way schools operate. Now decisions on when, and how, to reopen schools largely falls on local school districts, raising the stakes in this Mountain View Whisman school board election.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 12, 2020, 5:24 PM

Comments (14)

49 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:43 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

OMG,

Manny doesn't even have a college degree?

He had no training in SPECIAL EDUCATION? He has no training in MENTAL HEALTH?

Doesn't he have any CERTIFICATIONS for performing his work?

No wonder he was let go, he didn't have the qualifications to perform that job.


19 people like this
Posted by Middle S Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 13, 2020 at 11:11 am

Middle S Parent is a registered user.

@Steven Goldstein

First of all, he may have certifications and training in some of those areas. His bio above doesn't rule that out. He was not hired as a teacher so no reason to sneer at him because he only has "some college".

More importantly, if he were really unqualified for the positions he has held with the district, that would reflect poorly on the district for hiring unqualified personnel, not on him. The fact that he served as union president for the district's classified employees means that he was certainly highly regarded amongst his peers.

Easy to sneer at someone who doesn't have a full college degree. Having such a degree isn't always a recipe for success however.


[Portion removed due to violation of terms of use]


27 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 13, 2020 at 11:27 am

Nora S. is a registered user.

Other individuals with "some college": Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. A college degree is neither a necessary nor a sufficient marker of competency.


53 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 13, 2020 at 11:53 am

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

In response to Middle S. Pareant:

I have no problem you demonstrating my background, it is public and shall remain that way. This is again a form of Cyberstalking because I am not running for office, thus you’re just trying to intimidate dissenting opinions. You are not journalists and I am not a newsworthy topic. I am not running for any office. BUT you said:

“First of all, he may have certifications and training in some of those areas. His bio above doesn't rule that out. He was not hired as a teacher so no reason to sneer at him because he only has "some college".”

Even as a Special Education Assistant, his work requires at least a certification due to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Federal Rehabilitation Act. In order to follow and document the treatment of an Individualized Education Program. If he did not have this qualification, the Federal and State funding would be threatened. IEP’s cannot be created, nor progress notes cannot be written without a qualified professional. In fact SJSU has a Teacher Certification Program found here (Web Link). Here is a typical Job posting for a Specia Education Instructional Aid (Web Link) It specifically states:

“Qualifications

Experience:

Relevant, 1 year (Preferred)

Education:

Bachelor's (Preferred)

General Duties for Instructional Aide (full time):

Aide the student in their least restrictive environment, including assisting with their curriculum development, functional communication training, building peer and teacher relationships with the student, etc.

LEARN AND APPLY THE STUDENTS BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLAN/BEHAVIOR SUPPORT PLAN IN A SCHOOL SETTING

USE BEHAVIOR ANALYTIC/EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICES IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY ENVIRONMENT

Students are in various grades from 2nd grade to junior college.

OPPORTUNITY TO WORK TOWARDS YOUR REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATE”

In effect he was never qualified to do this work.

In this case disciplinary action was not the cause of his resignation, it was the required qualifications he was needing that forced the School Administration to let him go. Now it can be defined as Manny not acquiring the necessary qualification that got him forced to resign, and not “misconduct” per se.

But Manny is clearly out of his element when it comes to his qualifications. My Human Resources Management training would have told me he should never worked in special education because he doesn’t have the training. Too many people here want unqualified educators working in the schools.

In so far as Nora S. you said:

“Other individuals with "some college": Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. A college degree is neither a necessary nor a sufficient marker of competency.”

The REALITY is that he was doing work that he was not allowed to do. Why he got the job is questionable. I am wondering if some kind of unrelated or non bona fide criteria was used.


42 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 13, 2020 at 2:23 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Laura Blakely's claim for 20% teacher retention improvement was done with 'tonge in cheek'. The metric she is referring to comes only from the 3 yr New Teacher granting of tenure calculation/ and only from the 2019-20 year! 10 teachers. Who would leave a new job - in the middle of a pandemic - if you were given tenure?

The Average Teaching Experience (all 250 of so teachers) has not improved under Blakely's tenure - and continues to lag the county, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Cupertino (only beats Sunnyvale). MVWSD's Average also falls many years short of the California Average.

Data from the California Department of Education & Ed-Data and the MVWSD.


15 people like this
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 13, 2020 at 3:02 pm

Jenny is a registered user.

Blakeley is quoted as saying, "the district is still providing intervention to students who are struggling as well as those who want more challenging work."

My middle schooler is bored out of her mind and not getting access to any more challenging work. I wish I knew how to get her into a class situation where she would be challenged.


43 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 13, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

I think there are many individual stories - and 'cause it's hard - there will be a lot of problems overall, in MVWSD as well as LASD. But / as a parent / what do you think of the last 4 years? How have the current Board incumbants been helpful in 'overseeing' the administration of the schools? Are you going to Vote on That, or how Nice a Board member is?


13 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2020 at 9:22 am

Parent is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson:

Where was your tongue and cheek when you ran the last sup't out? Goldman's resignation was widely believed to be due to Nelson and Goldman even threatened to sue and to keep him from doing that, the board (including Chiang) gave him a taxpapyer-funded $250,000 parting gift and...wait for it...kept all the documents private so parents could find out what was going on.

Where were your "transparency" and "brown act" issues back when you all (Nelson/Chiang) were pulling these stunts? Oh and let's not forget you very recently publicly offered candidate Velasco money to sue the district, which of course would have to be defended with taxpayer, district funds. But we know, you reeeaaally care about money for the kids. Lol.

Not to mention you are the reason poor Chris Chiang resigned before his term ended. You must lay awake with pride every night, practicing your man-roar and chanting "must not be nice, must not be nice" like those those "nice lady". Thanks for all your mansplaining over the years. And loved how to you told a black superintendant to shut up and sit down down until he was called for. Take your latent racism and sexism somewhere else - it is rather outdated. I can't believe more people don't call you out for your crap!! I guess some are just too gleefully happy to support some man who is constantly publicly trashing the people that work the very people that so hard to take care of their kids. "Nice ladies" can often get more done at the end of the day than man-child, chest-pounding, tantrum-throwing fools. Trump administration is calling and it wants you back.

From the article above:
Nelson served during this time:
"...2012 to 2015, during arguably one of the most challenging times for the Mountain View Whisman School District. Labor negotiations with the teachers' union had soured, the Measure G facilities bond had been precariously planned, the superintendent resigned and the district's achievement gap, data later revealed, was among the largest in the country. School board meetings were also notoriously contentious, with frequent arguments, drama, raised voices and even the occasional walk-out."

So....how helpful were YOU in "overseeing the administration of the schools". Seems like you were more helpful in running people out of the room.

THAT is "what I think of the last 4 years," thanks for asking Steve!


45 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 14, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Parent, Ms., glad you remember (or were given Closed Session notes or comments that are AGAINST THE LAW)!
Chris Chiang and I have reconciled. Years ago! Water under the bridge lady.

The revelation of one of the largest achievement Gap in the country was for 2009-2012, before my and Chiang's (and Lambert's) time. I did not "negotiate" with the teacher's union and piss them off! Go look who did (it's in the official minutes) or look back at Voice coverage, maybe a YouTube.

Laura Blakely is a very good "we set the What, he sets the HOW" type of trustee. She stays out of Dr. Rudolph way! She does not spend a lot of time on this, and rarely submits written questions to the superintendent before board meetings (ask for her correspondence - It's Public!). I'd much rather have oversight by people who understand the "HOW" of education.


55 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Teacher
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 20, 2020 at 11:24 pm

MVWSD Teacher is a registered user.

Manny Velasco was rude, condescending, and arrogant in his demeanor while working on our school campus. Please do not defend him or pity him. He should not “lead” anything and should not be in any part of MVWSD. Please vote for someone else!


3 people like this
Posted by Middle S Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 21, 2020 at 10:28 pm

Middle S Parent is a registered user.

@MVWSD Teacher

And we should believe you and that you are even a teacher? Everyone I have spoken to (a dozen people) who knew Manny have told me that he was a kind, considerate and thoughtful person.

He also served as the sole School Staff representative on Site Councils for four schools and in the same role for the same four schools as an ELAC Representative, see Web Link [and search for "Velasco"].

Do you think he would have been selected for that role if he weren't competent and well liked?

It is so disgusting the character assassination going on here!


41 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 21, 2020 at 10:55 pm

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

In response to MVWSD Teacher you wrote:

“Manny Velasco was rude, condescending, and arrogant in his demeanor while working on our school campus. Please do not defend him or pity him. He should not “lead” anything and should not be in any part of MVWSD. Please vote for someone else!”

Again, the idea he signed away any ability to work for the school system in any way is a declaration that he knows he was ill fitted to be an educator.

In response to Middle S Parent you wrote:

“And we should believe you and that you are even a teacher? Everyone I have spoken to (a dozen people) who knew Manny have told me that he was a kind, considerate and thoughtful person.”

The fact that he AGREED to never work for the school systems in this area surely is evidence that he was ill fitted to be an educator. Don’t attack a school teacher, what evidence do you have, like an affidavit or testimony by a sworn witness to prove your claim? You wrote:

“He also served as the sole School Staff representative on Site Councils for four schools and in the same role for the same four schools as an ELAC Representative, see Web Link [and search for "Velasco"].”

Yes that PDF document shows that in the personnel report to the board, he resigned on January 10,2020. I read the ENTIRE report and it never documented he was a member of any role regarding ELAC. Why are you making such an inaccurate argument? So when you wrote:

“Do you think he would have been selected for that role if he weren't competent and well liked?”

The report you cited did not indicate he participated in anything you claimed, his name appears ONLY on page 8 of 292, again only showing his resignation. You are not describing the record correctly. So when you said:

“It is so disgusting the character assassination going on here!”

There is no evidence to prove that. The record clearly shows his resignation, and that we all know he agreed not to be an employee of the school system. In fact this action could force him to repay back the money he was provided because he is violating the settlement agreement. He WILL be an employee of the school system again.


4 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Teacher
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:37 am

MVWSD Teacher is a registered user.

@Middle S Parent

I am a teacher and knew Manny. It sounds like you are listening to others and have no first hand experience. Your “dozen people” might have had a good interaction with him but I did not.

No need to get upset. I offered a comment so others could see the opinion of one of his former colleagues.

I do not believe he would be a good leader.

Listen to others before judging.
That is what I teach my students.


4 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2020 at 2:03 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

My feeling is that there is terrible leadership and management within MVWSD. The heart of the problem is the achievement gap, rather than it just being a symptom of a bad administration. If success is reached in addressing the achievement gap, then that will improve the overall situation for all students.

Whether or not the person claiming to be a teacher is a teacher, there is very faulty logic in the comments made here about Manny V. She claims to have had enough contact to form a useful opinion, but the bio shows that Manny V worked for the district for 15 years. She doesn't address the simple question that if he was truly so terrible, how did he hang on so very long? And how did he rise to positions of such relative importance as being a Union president? His most recent job was an important one where qualifications of getting along with people were essential, namely he interfaced with district families struggling and needing some extra support. His job was to be their advocate. It seems that having such advocates would be a good way to help improve educational outcomes and address the achievement gap. Eliminating the positions is a step backward.

I would say that the job of the school board is oversight, not leadership. They may need to fire the superintendent to change leadership, but their work doesn't replace the necessary leadership from the person in the role of Superintendent.

I'd vote for Manny V and vote OUT Blakely as an incumbent. She doesn't seem to truly have the interests of the lower income kids in mind.


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