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Scholar shares research on Tinsley program

Original post made on Jan 14, 2012

A scholar analyzed academic results of students in the Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program. But she said the social outcomes of the program are likely to be just as important as academic outcomes when it comes to the long-term success of the student.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, January 14, 2012, 10:14 AM

Comments (73)

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Posted by JasonB
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

Most of the Tinsley students are not doing very well academically and need a lot of extra help. It is quite noticeable. This is a lot of extra pressure that these kids endure and socially they are being identified in a negative way. With all of the enrollment concerns in Palo Alto I think the Tinsley Program should be phased out.


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Posted by More-Questions-Than-Answers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

A number of questions arise from this article:

Will visit the Ph.D. thesis become available to the public (on line) anytime soon?

How many years of baseline data was involved in the study?

How exactly did this "scholar" actually get access to the names of the VTP students, in order to gain access to their individual test results. If the student information was voluntarily rendered—no problem; however, the article doesn't say that. If it was given by the school districts, by what authority did they release what is supposed to be confidential information?

Generally information about student performance is anonymous, meaning that the city of residence cannot be found in the test data in a way that would identify individual students. By implication, the location of the school tends to provide the nearby residences for kids in schools that are not "magnet schools", but there's no evidence in the records that a school or more schools is actually designated as "magnet" in a given school district.

The article doesn't indicate whether all of its student data for the VTP students was used, or only a subset of the total program participants.

Information about students who applied, but were not accepted -- -- would certainly seem to cross all reasonable lines of privacy if this information were made available from the school districts without the permission of the individuals. So, how was this information made available to this "scholar".?

Were non-disclosure agreements involved between the researcher and the school districts?

Interesting that the Palo Alto subset was not broken out -- -- which implies either that the researcher didn't have access to privatcy information, and chose not to highlight the subgroups as well as she could have.

Interesting choice of words : "in in the program". Under the circumstances, students are either enrolled in the PAUSD, or other participating VTP schools, or they are in the East Palo Alto schools--presumably Ravenswood.

Questions about how this researcher got access to it I get any information about special education students also should be asked.

"In the program"--the general perception was that the Tinsley kids were not be given any special treatment, but simply they were to get access to the "superior" Palo Alto/Menlo Park school systems. So, is there a "program" that treats Tensely students differently?

Without these details, and the actual data from the research, this thesis may not be all that useful. Virtually all of this information is available on-line from the State. So, what's the "value added" here?


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

To me, this sounds like Tinsley is a success. Compared to those not admitted, the Tinsley kids are much better in science and history and a little better in math and English. Perhaps as (or more) important, "[T]hey felt comfortable talking to anybody, of any social class. They felt they could operate in a broader social world even if that process is sometimes hard."

I am a little surprised that the lead paragraph of this story was about the negligible math/English benefit, rather than about the significant science/history and self-esteem success.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I am pleased to hear about this study but I too have some questions and thoughts.

Those who applied to the program and didn't get in probably have families who are willing to help their kids and as a result do better in Ravenswood generally. It would be very interesting to compare this data with kids in EPA who didn't apply as well as those who did apply and didn't get in.

Also, it would be interesting to see how they compared after high school graduation, did they generally go on to get college degrees? Did they start college and drop out? Or did they go into vocational education or start working straight after high school?


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Posted by No more Tinsley
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

560 students is equivalent to an entire grade level at Paly. It was fine when enrollment was down in the 80s but we are overcrowded now and EPA is in San Mateo County. The students should attend San Mateo schools. Here's some 2009 data:

"Of the 22 "Tinsley kids" who graduated from Gunn and Palo Alto High schools in June, 21 reported plans to go on to college, according to Palo Alto Unified School District officials.

Of Palo Alto's 21 college-bound VTP graduates this year, 10 were headed to four-year schools and 11 to two-year schools, Skelly reported.

Among those going to four-year schools, five have parents who are college graduates, three have parents who attended some college and two have parents who did not complete high school.

Of the 11 heading for two-year colleges, two have parents who are college graduates, two have parents who attended some college, five have parents who are high school graduates and two have parents who did not complete high school."

Web Link

PAUSD is a college prep district. Our high schools have about 3800 students. Out of two senior classes (Gunn and Paly = 1000) only 10 Tinsley students were going to 4-year colleges?

The program isn't helping enough people. Why? Because PAUSD high schools are already rigorous for our Palo Alto students and most parents here already have bachelors and graduate degrees while most Tinsley parents have no college education. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

My children have been friends with some Tinsley students in elementary school but it's too difficult to sustain past elementary school. Tinsley students find each other and hang out together because they have more in common.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I support helping those less fortunate than us, but the Tinsley program is not helping our schools.




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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

@JasonB -- the Tinsley program is a desegregation settlement of the Tinsley lawsuit.

@NoMoreTinsley -- the Tinsley program is a desegregation settlement of the Tinsley lawsuit. How sad that you are part of the Paly community and are on record as saying you don't want Tinsley kids there.

Our principal should know that there are people like you both out there in our school community, who identify the children on a negative basis and don't want them at Paly. They need a positive socio-emotional experience like all the children, and this is important data about how some people feel about them.

While the purpose of Tinsley is to settle a desegregation lawsuit, not to "help our schools," all the children in PAUSD benefit from a desegregated school experience. If you want to discuss realities of ending Tinsley, it was already addressed in another thread, search PAOnline and educate yourself.

Let's try treating people as individuals with respect and common decency. Happy MLK weekend to all!


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Tinsley - just another feelgood experiment hat no one has the guts to terminate.


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Posted by Also Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

@Concerned Citizen - it is strange you find it "sad" that some oppose the Tinsley program. If we didn't have the court settlement (foolish - a settlement without a sunset provision), you could never get PAUSD voters to approve such a program on such a scale today. The cost alone would kill it, forget about the social issues. Do you think otherwise?

Is VTP good for the kids who get in? Perhaps - given the extra resources available, I would hope so. Is it bad for the kids who are left behind? Almost certainly yes - the program skims the cream of engaged families and some of the better kids.

This program on this scale is a failed policy from a bygone era. A shame it is so difficult to admit and do something more productive.



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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Related: see this article on recent studies of the Head Start program, showing that it has meager benefits at huge costs to taxpayers.

Web Link

Of course, vouchers and more school choice (especially choices outside the public school system) do more to help the poor obtain better education for their children. But, given that the Democrats are bought-and-paid-for by the teachers unions, good luck with that.


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Posted by YEA RIGHT
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2012 at 5:20 am

sounds to me that this article is trying to find a way to due away with the Tinsley program...its just an ecuse...lame article


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2012 at 7:56 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

What is better, an hour in the classroom or an hour on a bus?


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Posted by Walter says
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2012 at 8:22 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

To those who criticize the Tinsley transfers; may I remind you that a Judge signed off on the settlement. Therefore, by Court order Palo Alto is required to accept a certain number of East Palo Alto students into our schools each year, so you better get used to it.

Critics have always wanted to stop the program. This can only be done by filing a lawsuit and providing the Courts with good evidence as to why the transfers should be stopped. I think there is good evidence to the contrary, because students from both Palo Alto and East Palo Alto benefit from integration, which is what the original lawsuit was all about.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2012 at 11:34 am

The VTP program is good for both the VTP kids and the rest of the PAUSD students, but is it now doing more harm than good to the students of Ravenswood as a whole? Between the Tinsley agreement and all the charter schools in Ravenswood, a LOT of funding that should be in the Ravenswood District is lost every year.

It might make more sense to use the $$ spent on VTP to provide additional funds to Ravenswood and benefit a LOT more students.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm

to Palo Alto Mom:

It is true that districts like Ravenswood get left further behind when funding is diverted to charter schools. I don't know whether Tinsley involves that kind of funding loss for Ravenswood, but I like idea that we should help more East Palo Alto students.

Ever since moving here ten years ago I have been shocked by the stark dichotomy between the education opportunity in Palo Alto, where most students are white or Asian, and East Palo Alto, not a mile away, where most students are Hispanic. It's as bad as the Jim Crow south (where I grew up). I've often fantasized that we could merge the Palo Alto and Ravenswood school districts. I think that would get the attention of the smart and wealthy people in our community who could make education better for the East Palo Alto kids.


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Posted by No more Tinsley
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm

@Grandma, re your statement: "because students from both Palo Alto and East Palo Alto benefit from integration."

There is no integration of the students in our schools - they have opposite backgrounds. Even in elementary school, it takes a whole lot of effort to include VTP students in birthdays and playdates for various reasons such as transportation and finances.

In middle and high school, the VTP students find each other instead of trying to integrate.

Our children don't need VTP to experience diversity. There are plenty of Asian, European, and Hispanic immigrants in and around Palo Alto and they are hard-working adults. If anything, our students learn negative stereotypes by having Tinsley students in our schools because most of the Tinsley students are not at the same academic levels as Palo Alto students unless they have parents who help them at home and prioritize academics, most of whom do not.

We can't save the country, folks.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

to No More Tinsley:

No, we can't save the country, but we can help our neighbors. As human beings, shouldn't that be one our core principles? If not, what are we?

As to the rest of the country, we can set a good example. The longest journey begins with a single step.


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Posted by Also Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

@Mac Clayton - you wrote "I've often fantasized that we could merge the Palo Alto and Ravenswood school districts. I think that would get the attention of the smart and wealthy people in our community who could make education better for the East Palo Alto kids."

So the idea is that the "smart and wealthy" need to go save the poor hapless kids and families of Ravenswood? That's the problem with the whole Tinsley-type mentality - the idea that there could ever be a decent Ravenswood district for EPA families never even enters the discussion. EPA cannot be "saved" unless it wants to save itself. Goodness know it cannot be saved by well-intended Palo Altans.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm

to Also Concerned:

The problem is that opportunity is not equal. Here is a link to a good piece by Paul Krugman (a Nobel-winning economist) talking about the tremendous advantage enjoyed by children born to privilege, and the difficulty the poor have in overcoming their circumstances, no matter how hard, in some cases, they are willing to work.

Web Link


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Ravenswood gets 12,987 per student (actually a surprisingly high amount), so that means they loose 7 million dollars in funding just because of the students in PAUSD. They doesn't count the other VTP students or the charter schools.

Mac Clayton - I like the idea of combining PAUSD and Ravenswood too. At the very least, it would allow all the EPA kids to attend high school closer to home (I think they are now split up between all the Sequoia Union High Schools.)


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-$13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

> Ravenswood gets 12,987 per student

This is a key point, which needs elaboration. The PAUSD is spending just a few hundred dollars per year more than Ravenswood--yet the results are very, very, different. Why is that? If the State is going to be spending this much money in East Palo Alto, shouldn't it expect the same results as in Palo Alto?

So .. are the teachers incompetent in East Palo Alto? What makes the schools "bad" on the other side Highway 101, and "good" on this side of Highway 101?

Clearly there is something different between these two communities. Isnt' it time that that difference be identified and openly discussed?

> Charter schools ..

The funding issues associated with "Charter" schools is not as simple as several posters have suggested. While "Charter" schools have not really proven themselves, in terms of unqualified successes compared to unqualified failures in the "District" schools, they have not really distorted the funding issues in most situations. It would be best not to bring up "Charter" funds diversions unless providing a case study that proves that the creation of a "Charter" school has actually decreased the academic performance of a "District" school from which the "Charter" students were originally enrolled.


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Posted by Also Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm

@Mac Clayton - not sure of the value of the Krugman editorial - there's no relevant analysis or data there, just his observation that the rich attend better schools than the poor. Not sure he one the Nobel for that one ;-)

Why do you think EPA/Ravenswood is incapable of addressing their own issues and improving their own schools? Financing appears not to be the main issue, given the spending per pupil others have quoted. Why do you think the "smart and wealthy" people of Palo Alto can fix what the (poor and dumb?) people of EPA cannot?


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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

No More Tinsley says: "There is no integration of the students in our schools - they have opposite backgrounds." The Court Order would like you to work on blending those two opposite backgrounds, and not remain closed off to integration."

If you don't like Tinsley you are free to file a lawsuit in an effort to overturn it, but you will have an enormous uphill struggle to convince the Courts.


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Posted by No more Tinsley
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Palo Alto has been trying to help EPA, but in 2009, only 5 EPA students per high school in Palo Alto graduated and proceeded onto four year colleges (and half of them had parents who had college degrees).

Of the 11 heading for two-year colleges, 2 have parents who are college graduates, 2 have parents who attended some college, 5 have parents who are high school graduates and two have parents who did not complete high school.

In addition, Tinsley students are minorities (Caucasians do not qualify) so they have affirmative action in their favor, thus their SAT scores and GPAs can be lower when applying to college, and still only 5 seniors per school were admitted to four-year colleges.

To the sympathizers who think Palo Alto can help the EPA/East Menlo Park students attend college (who have parents with no college degrees), the data confirms that it's hardly possible. PAUSD secondary education is already difficult for students from privileged families. How can one expect a student from a poor, uneducated family to succeed?

Almost thirty years of Tinsley - isn't that enough time to prove that busing students to Palo Alto schools has failed? We need those spots for Palo Altans who have more promise of attending college.



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Posted by Maya
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

"What is better, and hour in the classroom or an hour on the bus?" Really? Do you presume to know? Are you a Voluntary Transfer Student? Have you met or worked with any of these students? You write about them as if they have no opinion or formidable thoughts about their education. After that "hour" on the bus some very good things happen, at least for the students at the elementary level. They are welcomed, they are included, they are valued. They contribute, they work, and they learn. The parents of my VTP students state that they prefer to have their children in PAUSD schools for the educational opportunities which, at the elementary level, are apparently lacking in Ravenswood. The decision to phase out the VTP program should come from those enrolled in it, not from bystanders and nay sayers. As I read these posts, I picture my earnest students, (VTP), full of pride and hope. It's a good reminder to me to work even harder to prepare and equip them to be resilient to the negativity that is pervasive at this longitude and latitude.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm

No more Tinsley - so we should only educate kids in PAUSD who want to attend 4 year colleges? If they don't attend a 4 year college, you consider them a failure? No wonder kids in Palo Alto are so stressed.

What shall we do with the kids who want to be chefs, bakers or photographers? Musicians, artists or heaven forbid - a hair dresser or mechanic. They are the "failures" of PAUSD?

Ravenswood students have challenges that most of our students do not, ask some of the Palo Alto parents who volunteer in Ravenswood schools. Our students seldom come to school hungry on Monday because they haven't eaten much all weekend. And I'm pretty sure that none of our students have seen a parent die of a gun shot wound.


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-$13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

> The Court Order

It would seem that "Tinsley" is a Court "settlement", rather than a Court "order"--

Menlo Park considering suspending Tinsley Settlement:
Web Link

Turning away Tinsley students requires permission from a San Mateo County Superior Court judge, and is something no other district has done ..
--

Terminating Tinsley might be as easy as simply announcing that the PAUSD will no longer be accepting new applications for the VTP program, and let the whole thing wither away over time.

The original demographics of East Palo Alto that led to the Court settlement have changed radically. With East Palo Alto receiving sufficient funding to spend almost the same money per student as Palo Alto (and more than other Santa Clara and San Mateo districts), funding can no longer be an issue. So, it's quite possible that the "Courts" might very well see that whatever reasons that instigated the original litigation are no longer present, and the "remedy" of forcing East Palo Alto students into surrounding city schools no longer needed, or even a good idea.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

So out of 60 Tinsley students who enter PAUSD in kindergarten, only 22 of them graduate from our high schools? Our schools are obviously too difficult for them that 2/3 drop out. We are wasting our resources on them. Be reminded that they also qualify for free/reduced meals. While our students pay $3.75-$4.25 for lunch, they pay 40 cents or their lunches are free.

The underlying problem is Tinsley students do not have parental support for their education and we can't change that. On a Sunday, I found a binder at Jordan, so I phoned the number listed. The parent answered the phone and did not realize his son didn't have his binder at home. Nor did the father want to drive over to pick up the binder. He asked me to leave the binder in front of the office so his son could pick it up on Monday. Students at Jordan Middle School always have some sort of homework on the weekends. I guess the father didn't care about his child completing his homework.

If anything, San Mateo should be footing the bill since EPA is in San Mateo County.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2012 at 8:41 am

Huh - Once VTP students reach high school, we no longer provide them with transportation but the Ravenswood District will (to Sequoia Union High Schools). I think much of the "drop out" occurs between middle and high school.

As far as the binder - my kids often shoved things into their backpack vs. the binder and the student could have easily had what he needed already. Many teachers put worksheets online and the student could access it that way. Perhaps the parent was just unable to meet you. I've had kids leave things at my house and just ask my son to bring the items to school on Monday.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

A concept whose time has passed. Palo Alto schools are already overcrowded, and any special attention needs to be devoted to our own students who reside here in Palo Alto. The Ravenswood District needs to learn to develop their own students without looking to their neighbors to the west.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

Happy MLK day. Here's hoping that intolerance will go away someday. Seems like Palo Alto is not there yet.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

What's intolerant about a 25 year history of providing this program? The times and demands of our own school district have changed. Valuable resources within our district should allocated for our own students. I'm sure that the Ravenswood District would rather stand and achieve on their own, rather than turn to someone else for assistance. That is the legacy of MLK. Keep the guilt trip to yourself.


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Posted by Carlos
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

As many have already mentioned, the Tinsley program was a settlement that our city leaders didn't fight effectively when it first came up, and to some it probably felt like a 'feel good' experiment at the time. Well, this 'experiment/settlement' has not helped anyone in the long run.

As someone who grew up south of the border and can relate better to some of the transfer students who participate in this program, I don't see how this 'forced' desegregation experiment can be further justified. The Tinsley resources would be better spent improving the schools in the communities where these students live.

I think anyone running for public office locally would get overwhelming support if he/she would push to end this program. Not easy, but our court system has overturned other decisions that became irrelevant over time.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

When the Tinsley lawsuit was in full swing, many Palo Altans and PAUSD leaders got on the multicultural bandwagon and supported the Tinsely suit and steamrolled a new multicultural program for the PAUSD. Getting into college took second place. There was a push to cross bus children from the PAUSD to EPA both ways - and some wanted it mandator- by lottery. The district hired a Multicultural Director, Afro-American Sid Walton who brought in programs and speakers including the Oakland Black Panthers to talk to the high school students. There was also a lot of academic chaos in the schools with New Math and New English. (Also LSD and pot were the rage) There was more emphasis on multiculturalism than academics. Getting on this bandwagon was the social and political thing to do to the expense of academics. Some churches supported it. Palo Alto was, however, forced into this lawsuit and its outcome. It's not in the same high school district or the same county.


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Posted by Come on
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

This is not a tolerance issue.

Everyone from all races and backgrounds are welcome to attend the Palo Alto Unified School District schools so long as you live in the school district. That's one of the big reasons why we pay exorbitant home prices in PA. This seems fair and objective.


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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

@Also Concerned, yes I find it sad that bottom line some people don't want these Black and Brown children in our mostly white and Asian community. They are children remember, and yet they are stigmatized and ostracized as is shown by these posts. Happy MLK day, and you probably think that is obsolete too. Go to court then and fight Tinsley. We shall overcome, some day.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

Academics aside, there is the emotional aspect of placing a Tinsley child into such a high achieving school district. Developing self esteem is very important at the elementary level and I wonder if being in their own academic environment with all of their neighborhood friends wouldn't be healthier for them emotionally. Our hopes of them blending in socially and academically is not happening. The gap is just too high which is leading to the academic and social segregation everyone is trying to eliminate.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

MLK had a dream that one day all peoples of all color could be side by side and judged as equals not by the color of their skin.

It is about time we started doing that and not classifying who should be allowed to do what based on the color of their skin.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

"Bussing," as Tinsley type solutions were called in the south, is a difficult and divisive issue. There are good arguments on both sides, but these facts remain:

1. The nation's schools have re-segregated to pre Brown v. Board levels.

2. The education opportunity in schools with predominantly minority populations is generally inferior to those in white schools. This results from poor funding more than race.

3. Income inequality is growing. It is now much greater than during the Civil Rights movement, greater than any time since the 1920s.

4. Income inequality makes upward mobility harder.

Palo Alto is not all rich folks, but we are very well off. Many here made their place by their own hard work and enterprise. That personal success, and the struggle for it, can make us think that if we can do it anyone should be able to. Economists tell us this is not true. Being born poor is a substantial impediment to upward mobility.

Maybe that's just the way it is. Maybe those of us who are lucky (or have made their own luck) owe nothing to those who are not. I don't think that is the way we feel toward one another, however. Times are a little tougher now, so perhaps we are a bit hunkered down, looking primarily after ourselves, and that is understandable. Our future, though, as a country, depends upon our children. Not just the ones born to us, or adopted by us, but those all around us. We cannot prosper if we do not educate them and give them real (not imagined) opportunity to become important parts of the economic fabric of our society.

I don't know how well Tinsley works. The article that started all this seems to say pretty well. I can't see how, as rich as our community is, with the generous support of PiE, for instance, that it can be hurting Palo Alto students to spend some money for the Tinsley program. If we don't do it, who will? I don't see how we can just turn away from the reality that poor kids need help.

Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when his children "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." It is a fair thing to wish for, and a test we should all hope to pass.


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

> The nation's schools have re-segregated to pre
> Brown v. Board levels.

Please cite source.

> The education opportunity in schools with predominantly
> minority populations is generally inferior to those in
> white schools.

Please cite source.

> This results from poor funding more than race.

New York City Tops Per-Pupil Spending:

Web Link

The results of the very high spending in NYC, and Washington, DC are abysmal, academically. Funding in these situations can not be the excuse for almost a total failure of the public school system.

Nationally, according to the US Dept. of Ed., the average per-pupil spending is about $10,500.

> I don't know how well Tinsley works

The PAUSD has refused to provide anything that comes close to a realist analysis of the results of "the program" over the years. In effect, the District has pretty much claimed that the Tinsley/VTP results are a "state secret". Since the California Department of Education started to release raw test data on its web-site, a lot of demographic data has become available that allows people to make intelligence inferences about the success of the VTP students. And occasionally, the District releases some information—as it has within the last few month. This sort of transparency is rare, however.


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Posted by 94303too
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

Here we go again. Too many Palo Altans are liberal with their mouths and politics, but not with their time, hearts or pocketbooks. How can you quantify the value of an opportunity that Tinsley offers to an individual child? One Tinsley Palo-Alto-educated student is now the mayor of East Palo Alto!

There is great value to having Tinsley students in west-of-freeway classrooms, for ALL the students in those classrooms. Sadly, the tenor of many of these comments reveals the elitist, racist and ignorant mentality of many (thankfully not all) living west of 101. Imagine what effect your comments could have on East Palo Alto students reading them (or do you assume they can't read)?!

Social interaction between students on the east and west sides of the freeway is hampered by (1) exaggerated fears and (2) lack of safe passage over the freeway for bikes and pedestrians anywhere in EPA. A bike bridge (like the ones PA and MP have long enjoyed) is long overdue for EPA.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

to Ravenswood-is-spending...:

Here's a Harvard Education School study that covers most of what you asked for citations for:

Web Link


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

94303too: So much for your solution - there IS a bridge between Palo Alto and EPA on Newell Road.

Anyone who thinks integration between races will ever occur is in a pipe dream. People hang out with those who have similar upbringings and interests. Cultures on opposite extremes will tolerate but not integrate. Those who can cross over have completely assimilated to the Caucasian culture.

To you bleeding heart liberals, you may spout off about helping EPA to make yourself feel good, but would you really live in EPA and feel more comfortable there? Invite them over for dinner at your house, attend events and activities with them? You are asking us Palo Altans to integrate and become friends with Tinsley students and you don't even do it.

Many reasons why the VTP has negative effects on the students: The Tinsley students lose one hour of sleep due to busing, students may become frustrated with the rigor of the academics, they are mixed in with others who have more privilege. All of it is bad for their self-esteem. When we have children in Palo Alto who feel stupid because everyone else is so smart, imagine how the Tinsley students feel.


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Posted by Palo Alto parent
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm

As a long time member of the Palo Alto community I welcome the Tinsley students and their families to Palo Alto. I am really embarrassed and sorry to see so much negativity directed towards that group. It is a sad, ugly stain on our community that we cannot be more inclusive and welcoming and helpful when we all have so much.The variety of scholastic opportunities we give our youth are enormous. They are real advantages. We all work hard on making our school district excellent in so many ways. Wouldn't a little more understanding and compassion be excellent attributes to model as well?

My white children have benefitted from all of the diversity of our community. It enriches their lives because we all have valuable things to teach one another.

About the challenging programs in our schools I have to wonder, how many in our community use tutors? I am not aware of any family which hasn't used tutors. I know that our family has spent many thousands over the years on outside help (having found the help provided by the schools insufficient). I know other families of sufficient means who have left the district for private schools because the district was too difficult for them. All were from families that were dedicated to education and all the parents held college degrees. If our family didn't pour these additional resources into our children's education I don't think they would have made it through the Palo Alto schools. I would be curious to know more about the real numbers here. I think it is part of the story, too.


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Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I've put my money and my heart where my mouth is. I started volunteering in Ravenswood in 1996. I'm still there. The schools were a mess when I started. The progress--especially in the last 5 years--is phenomenal. CST scores for low-income (not all Tinsley) students in PAUSD are almost the same as for Ravenswood low-income students. And that's in the low 700's. Scores are on-line at Web Link Ravenswood scores are on the rise.

There is still a huge educational gap. Look at starting salaries for teachers, class sizes, electives offered. PiE raises about $4 million/year. Ravenswood has a foundation now. It is donating about $750,000 to Ravenswood this year -- primarily for a longer school day and summer programs. You can help. www.ravenswoodef.org.

The parents in Ravenswood by-and-large really care about their children and their education. But they are not themselves educated and need help navigating the 'system.'

Charters and Tinsley both encourage the problem, not help it. They pull away the families who want to be involved and help all kids, leaving behind the students and families who are struggling the most. Imagine PAUSD without all the good peer examples.

I had 5 children who went through PAUSD. They had a few truly awful teachers along the way. Not most, but a few. But we got through the year with our own family support and tutors where necessary. EPA families don't have that luxury. Ravenswood has managed to 'retire' or fire their poor teachers recently. Those left are doing great work!


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Posted by 6th grade math teacher
a resident of Addison School
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I teach 6th grade math at a school in San Mateo. I am actually so happy that there is some study being conducted regarding the Tinsley students.
I have a few Tinsley students in my classes and I cannot have them receive extra help after school because they have to take the bus.
The students cannot get extra help after school -- they are the students most in need. When I ask the administration if there could be an option to have a later bus for the students, they indicated that the cost was prohibitive.
Why do we have this program if we are not offering MUCH NEEDED extra help to these students. My students are failing and I cannot even get the parents to meet with me to discuss how to turn this around. This program needs to seriously be reevaluated. Transportation options MUST exist for later departure - both for academics and extracurricular activities. It's not fair to the students. Who are we appeasing with this program?


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Posted by Show me the numbers...
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

How about a companion analysis by PAUSD staff - something from the source, so to speak?!

As thankful as I am to have a dissertation requirement cause someone to take a quantitative look-see, the owners of the program should be beating their own drum loud enough for the public to hear.

PAUSD has or should have ALL the data, can protect identities, and should be interested in telling us all just how things are going.

And, while they are at it, how about expanding the analysis into the high school student base and a double-take on the math departments at both high schools? Why is the math performance less than science outcomes for Tinsley kids ...or is it? Especially at the high schools, is one department sending more students to special ed? Do those referrals have anything to do with internal methods of judging department performance based on student grades...?

The District should be telling us how the VTP is working. Hold the District to stand and present. Until the District publishes, keep the program.


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Wow! I am embarrassed and ashamed to share this privileged town with some of these commentors. Our neighbors in East Palo Alto are the ones to decide if he transfer program is beneficial for their children. My son wrote this poem when he was a student here: "Tall tree Reality" "In a town where children don't climb trees/And dogs don't chase mailmen anymore/Theres a freeway that divides the world/Commuters jam airways with handheld illusions/Of happiness and sip lattes from silver mugs as they drive/Grafitti scares them; they look right and never left/Palo Alto East complete with tamales, jalapenos/ And soul.We're streetcorners filled with Mexicans,plywood,windows/ And Kwanzaa festivals with greasy ribs and braided hair/Our barber shops croon Porgy and Bess/(that's Miles Davis)/We're Americans, after all/Live the world outside your staring eyes/Look around and see us/Our children climb trees and grow strong."
There are tears in Dr. King's eyes.


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Posted by Also Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Wow, some of our town must be in a time warp. I was bused in the 60's and 70's - most of the country has recognized this program as a failure, but the flame still burns in Palo Alto. Mutti has it right - "charters and Tinsley both encourage the problem, not help it. They pull away the families who want to be involved and help all kids, leaving behind the students and families who are struggling the most."

Playing the racist card is silly - put it away. It isn't racism to oppose a policy that hasn't worked (reduced poverty? increased housing integration? improved educational outcomes in Ravenswood?), it is just practical common sense.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Tinsley is not an example of Palo Altans being generous. It was a punishment by the courts for having worked very hard as a community to keep our school standards high in spite of things like Prop 13. It is a false assumption that all Palo Alto kids are born wealthy and priviledged. Not true and even if it were, punishing them for it is wrong. Tinsley has disempowered the Ravenswood school district and promoted the endless lie that those folks over there are incapable of building a great education system in the face of the Prop 13 challenges that beset us all. I say, this is not the post Civil War South, and the fact that we have two communities near each other that are different is not the fault nor the responsibility of those in the more wealthy one to redress, it is the responsibility of the citizens of East Palo Alto to raise the level of their own district. I would love to see them do it.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Yes, Dr. King would have tears because this program is not open to all EPA residents, only those from certain skin colors. We have poor disadvantaged white and Asians as well as AA and Latinos.

I know of one family from Italy who bought a home in a gated community in EPA and managed to get in to VTA as Latino. They are wealthy and well educated and if they had not got in they would have chosen private education because they could afford to. Living there was a cheaper option than Palo Alto but they still got the schools!

A much fairer method would be a means test, but no we still have to have a race test.


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Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Wow! Is this the 1% struggling with the idea that life is different for other people? Or the 1% struggling with the idea that they are part of the village it takes to raise a child? Loosen your grip guys.


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

> link to Harvard study

Thanks for the link.

Couple of key points to begin with –

1) Article/data is 10 years old,
2) Study does not seem to talk, even remotely, about student performance. It seems to see "Integration"/"socialization" as the only goal of the public school system.
3) Study does not seem to acknowledge the impact of illegal immigration on the public school system
4) Precludes No Child Left Behind -- -- which has provided additional insight into the performance of students throughout the country.

What seems clearly missing from this study, and so many others emanating from the graduate schools of education, is any sense that culture plays more of a role in student achievement than race does. It's so very easy to count red faces, and green faces and blue faces .. and then to theorize how "race" is involved in the differing educational outcomes. But it is so much harder to actually get into the homes, where these kids live, and to observe the differences between how the parents of the high-achieving students interact with their children, and the parents of the low-achieving children. As a result, graduate schools of education, and all too often the professional education industry, promulgate the unproductive goals of "race" that seem to totally miss the goals of education.

The purpose of the public school system is to educate the nation's children. This Harvard study (and many, many, others) seems to be less interested in that goal, than most parents are.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

to Ravenswood-is-spending...

It's true that the Harvard study is a decade old. It covers a long period of time, though, and the problems it addresses have not been remediated. In the last decade, the rich have become richer and the poor poorer. School segregation has not changed. Most minority students still go to predominantly minority schools, and most of those schools perform less well than white schools.

Perhaps it would be better consider this issue in terms of poverty, rather than race. Race is a charged issue, but few would argue that poverty is an impediment to education and upward mobility. And it crosses color lines. Poor white children in Appalachia are as disadvantaged as poor blacks on the south side of Chicago.

There are some thoughtful comments on this string suggesting that the Tinsley program takes the most motivated kids (and parents) from Ravenswood and does nothing to help those left behind. That is a fair point. Personally, I would much rather see us figure out how to help the whole Ravenswood school district. But I don't see Palo Alto doing that. We are doing Tinsley, even if a court forced us to, and it is helping many children who would not otherwise have that opportunity, so unless we can get behind something more comprehensive, I favor it.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

BTW, in general, in this area, the "1%" go to private schools, not Palo Alto public schools. The work district parents to do raise funds, help teachers, staff programs, reward district staff, etc, etc, is not a racist activity and is not intended to opress anyone else. It's what any community can and should do for its students and its schools.


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

> I would much rather see us figure out how to help the
> whole Ravenswood school district

What part of $13,000 spending per student do you not understand? For decades, we have been feed the never-ending pap of the education industry that "more funding" was the problem. With spending at $13K per student in the Ravenswood district—which is more than in many other, higher performing districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties--the "funding" issue has been addressed. But, money does not seem to equate to student performance in this district.

And who is "we", by the way. As stated, it would seem that having the State step in and assume control of the District would be one way of "helping" them—since it seems to be clear that East Palo Alto is too small to operate a school district on its own. Another method, called "reconstitution", might help—but "we" Santa Clara County residents have no political authority in San Mateo County to press for such "help".

So .. we are left with the basic fact that sending low performing children to high-performing schools does not result in their "magically" becoming high performing students too. The question of culture, and parent involvement, is still on the table—unanswered.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

to Ravenswood

The questions of culture and parent involvement are not unanswered, or at least not unaddressed, but they are complicated, and change takes time. What is needed along the way are helping hands. I'm sure you help when you can. That's the best any of us can do.


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

> The questions of culture and parent involvement are not
> unanswered, or at least not unaddressed

Really? Care to cite some sources?

While we don't have any access to the research of the person whose thesis is the basis of this thread, what do you want to bet that "parent involvement" will not see much treatment?

> help ..

Most people pay their taxes, which ultimately translate into "help".

The problem here is that "education" is not something that can be "painted" on .. it is probably more cultural, than not. Simply sitting in a government-mandated classroom, listening to a government-mandated curriculum, is not going to provide the necessary motivations to work at learning--which only parents can do.


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Posted by Come on
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

Who funds the Tinsley students? San Mateo or Santa Clara County?

If PAUSD gets the same funding for Tinsley students as PA students, then the Tinsley program is basically an affirmative action program.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 17, 2012 at 11:24 am

to Ravenswood-

"The San Mateo County Office of Education administers the Tinsley application process. Once students have been assigned to PAUSD, the VTP staff works closely with parents. We offer workshops which provide parents with the tools they need to ensure the academic goals they have for their children are met."

source: Web Link

This has been enlightening. With best wishes, I'm signing off now.

Mac Clayton


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Posted by No more Tinsley
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

Why is PAUSD (Santa Clara County) assigned 60 Tinsley students while Menlo Park School District (San Mateo) receives only 24? While EPA is in San Mateo County?


From the Menlo Park School District website: Web Link

Each year, 24 students from Ravenswood School District are assigned to kindergarten, first, or second grade classrooms in MPCSD.

Currently there are about 170 Tinsley students from kindergarten through 8th grade enrolled in our District.



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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

PAUSD receives Tinsley funding from the state. The state essentially re-directs the funds that would have gone to the Ravenswood District (per VTA student) to PAUSD.

I forget the amount, but I do remember reading that PAUSD does not receive the full per pupil amount that Ravenswood would have received.

Besides the lower funding per VTA pupil, there are added expenses: PAUSD provides extra services for the VTA students that the district would probably not have to provide otherwise to the students who live within the PAUSD boundaries - e.g., bus transportation, school meals, etc.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

Sorry for the typo - VTA should be "VTP".


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm

> 3. Income inequality is growing. It is now much greater than during the Civil Rights movement, greater than any time since the 1920s.

> 4. Income inequality makes upward mobility harder.

Too true. "if you take all of the income gains from 1979 to 2007, so all the increased household income over that period, around 40 percent of those gains went to the top one percent. And if you look at the bottom 90 percent they had less than that combined…. that top one percent saw its real incomes increase by over 250 percent between 1979 and 2006." Web Link

Who Are the 1 Percent? Web Link


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I am not convinced that an hour on the bus is equal to an hour in the classroom. Classroom time is where it's at. We have had 25 years to prove the superiority of Tinsley. Let's see the evidence.


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Posted by Ravenswood-Is-Spending-$13K-A-Year
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

> 3. Income inequality is growing. It is now much greater than
> during the Civil Rights movement, greater than any time since
> the 1920s.

What in the world does this have to do with student performance of VTP students? And please try to link in the supposed "higher standards" of the PAUSD Math department, at least where Algebra II is concerned in your answer.


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Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

Have any long term studies been done to track the students from the Tinsley program to see if they have done better economically over time than others from their community who did not participate in the program? Has there been any follow up with former participants on their views of the program? It would be interesting to know more about the long term effects.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There have been NO reported studies that could call Tinsley into question. This is intentional.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Janet real
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

How to apply for tinsley program? Or where to get an application?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Janet - here is the link for info and an application

Web Link


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Palo Alto Mom - your informed comments here have been very illuminating - thank you.

It's too bad that many commenters don't do any research on Tinsley before commenting or examine their own biases beforehand, either. It's sad that so many people are unaware of Palo Alto's scary & anti-civil rights history from not all that long ago. Stanford is a repository of much of that info & I think the public can access it even if not affiliated w/Stanford.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jose Mendoza
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Is Tinsley Program Accepting Students Going To 7th Grade?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Answer
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Tinsley students are accepted in kindergarten , first, or second grade. And if a Tinsley student leaves after kindergarten, they are not replaced.

Web Link


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