@info on on Special Ed –

You started a thread on Palo Alto Online asking of ways to find info about Special Ed (link #1).  I am responding to you here in the hope that you will see my response since I cannot post online. My IP address is blocked and anything I post from another place noting “my name” vanishes.
The California Department of Education (CDE) maintains a site that may have some answers to the questions you asked. I do not know if you are familiar with this site – dataquest (link #2) below.
You can find all sorts of info about Special Ed, Enrollment by disability, enrollment by race, dropouts, etc., and you can compare district level, school level, etc. (not all info is available in all levels).
As an example – I just saw that PAUSD had on 2015/2016 118 white students and 20 Asian students who have been diagnosed to have “Specific Learning Disorder.”
Having written the above, I would take the info with a grain of salt. I say this because PAUSD was under investigation by the CDE.  This investigation was not reported to the public when Special Ed successes were presented to the school board three years ago. I refer to this meeting (link #3 below) when I wrote an open letter to Ms. Gaona Mendosa. I  must admit that I did not follow the resulting investigation closely – the random comments I read during the past three years indicate that Superintendent reported to the public only after the investigation ended and all issues were corrected. You may want to also check Edmond Burke’s blog (no longer active), which also referred to the CDE investigation.

And a few additional notes/questions (bearing in mind that I did not research current situation):
– You may see references to “specific learning disorder.” This used to be the biggest % of diagnosed disabilities.  Last I checked, California’s students are shortchanged on the National level compared to Vermont, for example. Meaning that, in order to qualify in California, a student has to have a “bigger difficulty” than a student who attends school in Vermont.  Students in other states may get the support they need early, while California students will not qualify. This inequity will have long term impacts not only the lack of support, but inequity (on a national level) where other states may have accommodations for SAT impacting college admissions, etc.
– Private placements:  Way back I heard of students attending Charles Armstrong school at PAUSD expense. Those who shared this with me and were interested in exploring this issue told me that private lawyers were apparently involved in some placements and the info about the settlement between the student’s family and PAUSD was to be kept confidential. I do not know if this info is correct. If it was correct, I do not know if the students were part of Dataquest’s statistics, nor how to see this expense. I do not know if there is a way to see how much $ PAUSD spent on legal settlements.  Also – if this info was correct, I am wondering if any underrepresented minority student was ever sent to such school.
– If the bit I mentioned above about Charles Armstrong school is accurate, it may be part of the explanation  (along other similar bits) why many thought that PAUSD’s Special Ed  was better years ago, as those who had the means to hire private lawyers got what they wanted.
*Both threads related to Stanford.
*Both threads were locked completely, no more commenting during the  June 11th’ weekend.
*Both threads share the same last line posted by the modertor:
“Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.”

Thread #1: Editorial: Stanford’s deafening silence

link: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2016/04/08/stanfords-deafening-silence


Last comment before closure:
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm
Re the “deafening silence,” I think it’s quite telling the Joe Biden, the US Congress, the Mayor of New York City and so many other public officials have shown leadership in holding events where they responded to the victim’s statement and in some cases held public readings of her letter.Those events were 3,000 miles away. Where was the local leadership?

[Portion removed.]


Thread #2: Stanford task force recommends expulsion as ‘expected’ sanction for sexual assault

link: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2015/04/08/stanford-task-force-recommends-expulsion-as-expected-sanction-for-sexual-assault


Last comment before closure:
Posted by Nonsense and innocence
a resident of Old Palo Alto
15 hours ago

While I agree that sexual assault is a matter for police, and universities should improve reporting.

But I disagree with the “innocent until proven extreme” conjecture.

Let’s put this in perspective- most organizations have rules they administrate for members. (Not judiciary!)

Example – business has a right to refuse service to unruly customers. The library can revoke my library card for not following their rules. I don’t have to be found guilty by a judge and jury of drinking a soda in the reference section. The librarian can handle that – I lose privileges when I break rules. No judge needed.

Students who cheat on exams lose the privilege of going to that school – they are expelled. There is an administrative process to determine cheating, with accusations, and appeal (usually to a disciplinary board)

I see no reason why sexual assault isn’t a rule on campus.

There could be an administrative process just like cheating. With review and with consequences (we aren’t talking jail – just the loss of privilege of attending that specific college).

You lost your library card – now you gotta get your books elsewhere. No judge needed.

So I see no problem with a reasonable administrative process.

Now we can discuss what that process looks like: is the accuser required to file a police report? Is there a disciplinary board? Do the have written guidelines? Is there appeal? Is there a range of punishments ( suspension 1term, 2 term…permanent)

All good things to discuss. All legal.

And it can be a parallel process to the judicial case.

Judge decides if you go to jail.
School decides if you can attend their school.

What do Stanford, NASA, and PAUSD have in common?
Long story short – keeping up appearances. A few appearances, at least. All three institutions are accountable (or should be accountable )  for  the well being/safety  of their students/employees.
I’ll relate to NASA now while Stanford keep providing insights as to the establishment’s attitude towards sex assaults victims,  (I am not referring only to the recent verdict), and PAUSD produced many stories relating to the most vulnerable kids. 
Let me remind all of the Challenger crash. I am assuming that most of the parents of Stanford and PAUSD students were too young to follow that investigation. Prof. Feynman, a Noble prize winner, was part of the investigation committee. 
Link #1 –  One of the many interviews with Prof. Feynman. I think that the second part of this clip may provide insights on the lengths that were gone to in order to keep up NASA’s appearances. The challenges Prof. Feynman faced en route to presenting his findings. How come many in NASA knew of faults, and no one talked? 
Link #2 – Recent interview with an engineer who blames himself now, after 30 years, for not trying enough. “I was one of the few that was really close to the situation,” Ebeling recalls. “Had they listened to me and wait[ed] for a weather change, it might have been a completely different outcome…”
Dear Michele and Ken Dauber, 
You both could have had the public embrace you. You both have chosen the route of “do as I do” instead of “do as I say”. 
It so happens that the recent  weeks place you, both, on the other side of the institutions’ interests in keeping up appearances.   I addressed you, Mr. Dauber, more than three years ago asking you to form a Shadow PAUSD Board (link #8). I am well aware it was an unusual suggestion. I could not think of another way to have a trusted place  to share concerns/incidents etc. AND provide a mechanism of practicing  some Checks and Balances. Churchill led a Shadow Government, I thought, why not try here? Nothing to lose (I thought). Even Albert Einstein related to this issue (quote above).  I have addressed you several times since, last time asking you to resign (link #3). 
I did not know you. I read your family story, and I heard a fraction of the tactics that were used to silence you. 
Your family story – Michele, you wrote recently
“… As a society we have to acknowledge the threat of suicide just as we acknowledge cancer, diabetes, and car accidents. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people under 24. ….    I think that suicide, particularly of a child, scares people. They don’t want to talk about it openly because it is too frightening. …  There is no way to describe the depths of the sorrow experienced by families like mine and like the Lees. We are members of a club that no one wants to be in — but which does not discriminate. Anyone can experience this devastation…” (link #4).
While I in no way want to cause more pain, here, it was clear to me that your family’s experience took you both along the routes you went.  You both could have had it easy – public opinion wise. Who would disagree with the teachers’ strong union? Disagreeing was suggesting a raise of 9% instead of 12%, if I am not mistaken.  It takes a strong inner conviction as to doing the right thing to dare face the union. Not to mention the  actions relating to Ken’s candidacy, I could not figure out the rationales behind some of those actions.   
I thought that your personal experience must be the root of your  dedication, both of you, in trying to advocate for the kids in front of the PAUSD board before Ken was elected.   
And the recent year presented the events at Stanford, still unfolding. I remember your writing, Michele, more than a year ago –
” Victims of sexual assault have routinely reported to me a three week wait to see a counselor. Even with a call from a faculty member it is difficult and entails red tape to push the appointment sooner. Everytime I have raised this issue I have been told it is fixed, only to have another student contact me to tell me a similar story. I no longer believe it when I am told that this has been “fixed” because I have heard it so many times only to hear that it is not from students….  I have recent personal experience assisting a student trying to be admitted inpatient in which I personally waited with the student for many hours in the ER and found this to be appalling. This is evidently the same treatment that every student in need of inpatient psych care receives even if they have a doctor at Stanford and even if they are a victim of sexual assault on campus. It felt completely unnecessary, and retraumatizing. I think that the university should take a serious look at fixing this process. ”     (link #5)
Again – Leading by example. 
This all connects, I believe to the culture of keeping up appearances/no talk.  Local appearances are wrongly prioritized which leads me to a local link. That is the Palo Alto online. I have written many times about the ongoing censorship. Detailing the measures taken to prevent me from commenting will be very long. I cannot think of any of my  comments which violated the terms of use. Last I read the terms of use, noting that the censoring was not a violation of the terms of use. I have provided many samples of the ongoing censoring (link #6).  I noticed long time ago that inconvenient discussions are being silenced, systematically  by the moderators. One way of silencing  was to enable comments only to those who are logged in. 
While the  thread which addressed PAUSD secret meetings was the last straw for me,(link #7) , I am still grateful to  the Weekly for providing the initial info, which will hopefully will lead one day to a serious discussion. 
And the discovered local missing link – David Starr Jordan.  It seems to me that all the local problems which are ignored and hushed up so to keep up appearances conform with his theories. Even Lars Johnsson’s  first couple  of threads  trying to promote petitions were restricted. The Moderators attitude changed when the momentum changed. This is not the first time when the Weekly joined a cause which was silenced by the Weekly short time before. Unfortunately, the moderators were able to keep up appearances and keep out of the public eye other inconvenient discussions relating both to Stanford and PAUSD, for example.
Is the censoring worth it?  Does anyone  want to regret in 30 years not doing enough? Not talking enough? While the Daubers will not regret what they do, change cannot happen before the issues will be discussed. To the tiniest details. Independent investigation anyone? (link #8)
(Personally, I think the school’s name should not change before a detailed account is given of the ways that those whom David Starr Jordan looked down upon are/were treated.)
I mentioned and quoted MLK  many times. “Why We Can’t Wait”, and – 

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

A quick response to you – You both responded on the thread reporting the retirement  of the director of Secondary education. (link #1).
Mr.  Vinceti – you mentioned institutional memory, community memory.
And I am wondering. Institutional memory? How? What does the community know about the institution? I am talking about the community at large, not specific families and friends who cannot forget. 
My take on the lack of past info was the base of my open address to Ken Dauber  three years ago to form a PAUSD shadow board.  (link #2). I suggested to call for public input about the past decade.  I was hoping to find a way to create community memory and understanding of the institution.  
Sadly,  it seems to me that we are not any closer now to institutional memory than we were three years ago.
Ms. Gaona Mendoza  – I wrote to you several times. I wish you and your  child  all the best.
The  first time I addressed you I  mentioned the Civil Liberty Act of 1988. While correction is not always possible, no thought can be given to a possible better future without a clear grasp of the past. Acknowledging wrong that was done is the first step. Always. Even before apology.  Acknowledgment cannot be skipped.  Obviously, no acknowledgement can be given to unknown facts. 


Many noted  the connection between the past and possible future correction/change. I have quoted quite a few of them during the past years. Here are few samples:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” -George Orwell

And —   “This is the way they work. If they do not talk about it, maybe people will think that the problem does not exist.”Ms.  Gaona Mendoza (link #4)



link #1 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2016/04/27/palo-alto-school-districts-secondary-education-director-to-retire
Link #2 – http://www.paloaltoonline.com/square/2013/03/21/open-address-to-ken-dauber—please-form-shadow-pausd-board
Link #3 – https://villagefoolopenboard.wordpress.com/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 #4 – https://villagefoolopenboard.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/this-is-the-way-they-work-if-they-do-not-talk-about-it-maybe-people-will-think-that-the-problem-does-not-exist-ms-mendoza-101913-here-is-my-take/