Balancing achievement with 'assets' | December 30, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 30, 2011

Balancing achievement with 'assets'

Palo Alto schools seek more 'supportive environments' in 2011

by Chris Kenrick

The year began with a triumphant parade for youth, with thousands cheering as Palo Alto High School's state championship girls' volleyball team and boys' football team rolled down University in cable cars Jan. 8.

This story contains 1024 words.

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Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at


Posted by Look-At-The-Big-Picture, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

> While kids possess many strengths, or "assets," the
> majority said they do not feel valued by their community.
> And the older they get, the less valued they feel.

At the current costs to educate children in Palo Alto, the taxpayers are spending about $175K per student for their “free education”. Additionally, each child is costing the tax payers about $3K for City “services”, and about $2K for County-provided “services”, and maybe $5K for State-provided “services”. On top of that, the Federal Government is spending about $10K per person in the US for “services” (which includes children). At these prices, from birth to age eighteen, the “public cost” is about $400K per child.

And what exactly does Palo Alto, or the taxpayers, get back for this “investment”?

Before 1980, or so, it was not all that uncommon to find local kids working in the community—cutting grass, doing yard work for their parents, and older neighbors, working in local stores, delivery papers, volunteering in local hospitals. Looking back in older versions of the Palo Alto Times, one can see that older high school students volunteered as crossing guards for local elementary schools. After high school, many of America’s young people would join the military, helping to protect the county, and to hone their high school education with more practical skills.

But today—we don’t actually see very many of Palo Alto’s children actually doing anything that even looks like physical, or manual, work. They are off playing “soccer” on fields that cost $5M an acre to provide. They are swimming in Olympic-sized pools that cost millions to provide. The kids of only thirty years ago have disappeared from Palo Alto’s neighborhoods—replaced with “illegals” who are “doing the work Americans won’t” (we are told). And as for the military—too many of these kids are contemptuous of our military, and its past achievements.. thanks to their education in local schools.

It’s nice that Palo Alto’s kids are doing well in school. For the vast sums that are invested in these schools—they should be performing well. But we have to remember that this “education” is a gift to these kids .. and unless they do something with this “gift” .. it’s not easy to find much in them to appreciate.

Maybe it’s time for those who claim to be our leaders .. our “political betters”, to actually look at the big picture .. and put all of the costs to the public on the table when they start claiming that we (the public) don’t appreciate the kids in the schools.

Posted by Ann, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Mayor Espinoza, can you address the educational situation (discrimination, A-G requirements, etc) of our Latino children? You are Latino, só, why not try to embrace your own people to make a difference in our kids lives. They will probably not see another Latino Mayor here in Palo Alto anytime soon.

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