Egg wars (link #1) – it is this time of year…
I have posted the following question several times since the famous 2009 Gunn egg wars, in various ways.
May I suggest to try to imagine, for example, a hypothetical situation: What would be consequences faced by Minorities – African American/Hispanic/Tongan, from EPA, studying in Palo Alto High if they were the ones caught damaging Gunn’s new track throwing eggs, part of a “group activity tradition”?
Would anyone argue that consequences were too harsh?”
I have no doubt that should minorities have practiced egg wars on Gunn’s track in 2009 no one would have questioned the consequences. I also have no doubt that minorities students are well aware of that.
@They are in it together – you wrote (link #1) – “…The number of folks who recognize the deterioration of the PAUSD brand is increasing, but it hasn’t reached the point to where Skelly is compelled to act.”
I can not see how the departure of the three you mentioned will change everything.
After the (first) OCR case was published, many called for impartial investigation. Such investigation should spell out to the tiniest details all that went wrong.
The occurrences that had the OCR investigate, PAUSD Board meeting in secret to consider not cooperating with Federal Agency (link #2) and all the rest (currently known) could have presented themselves only in a very specific culture/atmosphere. Understanding the infrastructure that enabled the actions of those you mentioned is called for.
A new culture of best practices cannot emerge without considering the current culture/atmosphere, and identifying the reasons that enabled the current culture to thrive for such a long time.
I believe that impartial investigation will trigger such discussion and realization, and that such investigation is absolutely crucial even if those you mentioned were to depart tomorrow.
Link #1 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/10/11/special-education-numbers-down-inclusion-up
Link #2 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/07/12/in-secret-school-board-weighs-not-cooperating-with-federal-agency
@ Paly parent – Thank you for your very kind response (link #1) to my open letter to Ms. Mendoza.
After I watched her addressing the board, I felt compelled to try and express my support. I was especially appalled by the contradiction between the way the board reacted to her and the beginning of the meeting – celebrating unity, condemning bullying etc. (link #2). I felt that I had to try to express my admiration, respect, gratitude and shame.
At this point it seems to me that nothing really changed. I noted on July 21 (link #3) that -”… As to other influential elected representatives – I would not hold my breath, nor expect any meaningful act from any representative who is aware of what is going on and who has not already stepped forward. More than that – I would not try to address such representatives. I think that if the occurrences are not compelling enough for the representatives to step forward – it is probably a waste of time to try to convince them. The above is about anyone who is local, and is probably aware of the (first) OCR settlement, at least. Keep in mind, this was all triggered by bullying… I have expectations only of those who are not by-standing.”
BTW – This thread (link #3) was started by Curious. It was locked fast. The title of that thread was: “PAUSD VP Barb Mitchell falsely accuses OCR of interviewing students without parental consent”.
On Jul 12 the Weekly published an article (link #4) titled “In secret, school board weighs not cooperating with federal agency”. I commented there that “… More than 3 months ago I called to form a Shadow PAUSD board, a very unusual suggestion. I could not foresee, then, the occurrences that presented themselves afterwords. Past events that happened prior to the info about the (first) OCR settlement had me estimate that independent investigation was not about to happen. I’ll just mention now the CF carrier (that went the court way and national media way) and math teachers letter that was kept in the dark.”
Obviously, I could not foresee in July the CF carrier issue presenting itself, again. The CF carrier case was one of the occurrences reinforcing my perspective, my understanding of the patterns/modus operandi. My understandings that had me call for an independent investigation.
I mentioned yesterday when writing about the CF lawsuit the connection to lack of accountability.
On Jun 28 the PA Weekly published a great editorial (link #5) titled “Accountability not in lesson plan”. I think that the title of the editorial relates nicely to the reasons that had me write the letter to Ms. Mendoza.
By the end of the day – it is about an Education system. It seems to me that celebrating unity cannot coincide with the response to Ms. Mendoza last week on the board meeting, and holding children accountable (having consequences) cannot coincide with the lack of accountability so nicely described in the PA Weekly’s editorial.
Link #1 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/10/13/open-address-to-ms-mendoza-the-lady-who-brought-the-office-of-civil-rights-ocr-to-pausd-and-few-related-thoughts-
Link #2 – http://www.midpenmedia.org/watch/pausd_webcast/October/PAUSD_100813.html Board recording. Celebrating unity @0:00 hours. Ms. Mendoza’: 1:46 hours
Link #3 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/07/17/pausd-vp-barb-mitchell-falsely-accuses-ocr-of-interviewing-students-without-parental-consent
Link #4 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/07/12/in-secret-school-board-weighs-not-cooperating-with-federal-agency
Link #5 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2013/06/28/editorial-accountability-not-in-lesson-plan Weekly editorial titled – “Accountability not in lesson plan”
Responding to the article about the CF carrier lawsuit titled: “Family says teacher breached son’s privacy” (link #3).
The family faced, then, an arbitrary decision. There was some discussion, then, about discrimination (Link #1). Luckily, the family was able to challenge that decision, and won in court (link #2).
I think that situation gave a glimpse of the modus operandi of PAUSD. All is not disconnected from the recent discussion about Special education, the reasons that brought the OCR to PAUSD, the lack of accountability, lack of transparency , and yes – a much needed independent investigation.
While I hope that the court looking into “behind the scenes” of this matter will unveil some of the practices, I assume that this law suit will be signed, privately, and we’ll never know the details.
I think that the family suing is not the right “address” for complains, but the PAUSD officials who got used to operating without accountability. Ms. Mendoza who addressed the PAUSD Board last week is another example of parents who had enough.
I would not be upset by the family suing, I think there is no way to imagine the impact of an arbitrary decision made by those in power. It seems to me that the community can benefit from an objective inquiry that may spare others these type of situations.
Link #1 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/index.php?i=3&t=19172
Link #2 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2012/11/06/sixth-grader-back-at-jordan-after-health-case-settled
Link #3 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/10/15/family-says-teacher-breached-sons-privacy
@curmudgeon – you wrote (link #1) “… Can’t speak for Poland and S Korea, but Finnish teachers are almost totally unionized. Draw your own conclusions. “
Have you looked into the social network available for all in Finland, including the teachers? Have you checked the Finnish public health insurance, maternity leave, and so forth ? The US seems to be unique in the aspiration of having public employees without basic security network. While I totally agree that some teachers should not be teaching – their union (or any union in the US, for this matter) seems to me to be taking the role that is covered by the social network in other countries.