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Ken Dauber Endorsed by 3 More Student Publications

Original post made by Student Advocate on Nov 5, 2012

Hello Palo Alto:

Have you voted yet? If not, please take a look at these informative editorials about your choices.

Thanks for supporting our schools!


Ken Dauber was endorsed tonight by the Paly Voice, the Paly Verde Magazine, and by Paly's beginning journalism students. Dauber was previously endorsed by the Paly Campanile. The Paly editorials can be read here:

Paly Verde: Web Link

"We commend Dauber for his commitment to promoting student wellbeing and the concrete actions he has taken to achieve his goals. He has, for instance, advocated for a PAUSD homework committee, worked actively to establish time limits for homework, founded parent group We Can Do Better Palo Alto! and pushed for the alignment of graduation requirements with California's a-g requirements.

Dauber also believes in making sure that "best practices" are implemented across the district, including the implementation of Schoology. We agree with Dauber's philosophy that board decisions should to be driven by data from quantifiable research conducted by the district, an approach that we believe will most accurately and efficiently determine what "best practices" are.

We applaud Dauber for his commitment to board transparency and accountability, as evidenced by his pledge to make all his communications with other board members public and to push for clearer board decisions."

Paly Voice: Web Link

"Ken Dauber has our support mainly for his stances on the achievement gap and student mental health. First, Dauber has focused more on closing the achievement gap than any other candidate. He plans to "advocate for investment in teacher professional development and curricular improvements to support differentiated instruction at all levels of the curriculum," according to Dauber's website. The Paly Voice believes that Dauber's commitment to helping underprivileged and minority students have a level playing field is a necessary next step in an already successful school district. Dauber also focuses on improving student mental health, as he was a co-founder of We Can Do Better Palo Alto, an organization whose goals include managing homework amounts, promoting Tutorials and Advisories and preventing the overlap of tests and projects for students, according to the We Can Do Better Palo Alto website. We think that this is important because having many tests and projects in the same day or week can be extremely stressful and does not leave time for students to pursue their passions. "

Beginning Journalism Students: Web Link

"Dauber has been a strong advocate for change. Unlike other educational advocates, Dauber was willing to take initiative. He formed the student advocate group, "We Can Do Better Palo Alto", in order to help increase student-well being. Due to Dauber's involvement in various programs aiding students, we believe his experience will allow PAUSD to implement new and refreshing programs that will decrease student stress."

Paly students 4 different publications join the Weekly in endorsing Ken Dauber as a candidate with great ideas for PAUSD. It is particularly heartening that the students have endorsed Ken's ideas and his efforts for change.

Comments (17)

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 6, 2012 at 6:50 am

Trying to cover up the fact that Gunn students rejected Ken's "signature issue" of TA at Gunn are we? ( see story from yesterday where the Oracle rejected TA at Gunn).

This entry wouldn't count as electioneering by the PA Weekly would it?

Posted by Student Advocate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

Thanks for the reminder about the Oracle editorial. Ken was also named one of the top 3 candidates by the staff of the Oracle, which (like the Paly Voice, the Paly Verde, and the beginning J students at Paly) rejected Heidi Emberling due to her lack of knowledge about high school and her failure to answer questions at the forum. As to TA, the students indicated that they did not want to bring "best practices" to Gunn, echoing their mentor/advisor Kristy Blackburn, who happens to be the leading opponent of TA among teachers at Gunn and who organized the opposition among teachers last year. It is not surprising that these particular Gunn students working closely with Blackburn articulated that view.

However, the staff of the Oracle acknowledged that they do not current receive "comparable" services to those at Paly and supported making improvements to do so. What they did not do was insist that their program is currently as good as the one at Paly. This is an important fact, and is the direct result of Ken Dauber's work to develop and publish data on this point. Perhaps this is why, as the editorial noted, Ken received a large number of votes for first place from Oracle staff members and finished in the top 3 candidates, ahead of Emberling.

Posted by Melissa too, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2012 at 7:59 am

Melissa was the only other candidate endorsed by the Paly students yesterday-- and she is also the only other candidate who supports a single counseling model at both of our high schools. I'm voting for Ken and Melissa, a great team.

Posted by Student Advocate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 8:07 am

@Melissa too, right you are. I am also voting for Melissa as well as Ken. I agree, that they will be a great team for our students. Let's listen to youth voices and vote for the smart, capable and committed team of Caswell and Dauber.

Posted by Ducatigirl, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

We all know Paly likes Dauber and Caswell, but what about Gunn? Do the students there endorse these two? Gunn students have already stated that they do not want TAs like Paly has, that they are happy with things as is, which Dauber disagrees with.

Posted by Melissa too, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2012 at 9:38 am

Actually when Gunn students were surveyed almost 80 percent wanted TA. Not surprisingly, Gunn students want comparable services too.

Posted by misinformation ftw. , a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

Melissa, that's just plain wrong. When Gunn students were surveyed, out of over 1500 responses only *one* mentioned TA. And, from the wording, it looked like that *one* response was written or strongly influenced by a WCDBA parent.

Posted by Student Advocate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

No, Melissa is right. In 2009, Principal Noreen Likens added a question to Gunn's WASC survey asking students whether they would like to have a teacher advisory period. Likens supported implementing TA at Gunn, as did then-student body president Max Keeler, who with Likens had come to the School Board in 2008 in order to petition for implementing TA at Gunn. In response to the WASC surve, 78% of Gunn students supported implementing advisory at Gunn. The following year, Likens retired, and Katya Villalobos abandoned the effort to implement advisory on a school wide basis due to opposition from a small vocal group of teachers, led by Kristy Blackburn (who is also the union leader at Gunn and used her position as union leader to organize opposition to it).

Students have supported implementing advisory at Gunn for years. They know that they are not getting what they need and want counseling improvements. What they may not know is that adding enough guidance counselors to bring them to the same teacher/student ratio at Paly would cost millions. TA has a 45/1 counselor/student ratio. Gunn has a 300/1 ratio. It's time to bring change to Gunn and stop this cross-town rivalry that is preventing the spread of best practices.

Ken Dauber has run on this issue because half of our students are getting worse services. Melissa Caswell has also supported a unified guidance model.

It's 20 years past time to bring to Gunn what Paly kids have. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by The facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

I can't speak to what Gunn students were thinking back in 2009, but all those students are either long gone or graduating this year.

In a survey given last Spring, Gunn students' rated their guidance program well ahead of Paly's on key, overarching measures.

Paly students on TA sessions: only 33% thought the sessions were valuable.

Paly students on their college counseling program: only 50% said that it provided valuable input compared to Gunn students' 67%. Paly's TAs are not picking up the slack: the only TA session scheduled for seniors when college application questions begin to crop up is in mid-December, after UC applications are due and a week or two before the deadline for many of the rest.

According to both high schools' students, Gunn's guidance program trumps Paly's on other key measures:

Gotten to know students well: 59% Gunn compared to 53% Paly

A valuable resource for students: 72% Gunn compared to 57% Paly

Web Link

Posted by Student Advocate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

Are you seriously continuing to argue that Paly students are not more satisfied with TA than Gunn students are? Even the Gunn students themselves don't agree, and the Campanile, Voice, Verde, and other Journalism students at Paly endorsed Ken because of his support for TA which they all like! Esther Wojcicki who invented the TA system endorsed Ken. Please, just stop. It's embarrassing.

Posted by The facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:02 am

The question the board was working on is how to improve guidance at both schools, not which school polls slightly better so that we know which system to abandon which is Mr. Dauber's approach.

These numbers show that there is room for improvement in both programs. They certainly do NOT show that Gunn students would be best served if Gunn moved to TA.

I am happy that some Paly journalism students are happy with TA. Perhaps they are in the 33% who gave favorable survey responses or they wanted to ensure that Gunn students don't get better guidance services. We don't know. (BTW - Neither the Verde nor Voice cite Ken Dauber's stand on TA as a reason for their endorsement.)

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

One thing's for sure - it's time for new members on the school board. Otherwise, it's a cicular endorsement scheme keeping the old guard in place for any overly-long period of time. Please, if any of you aspire to serve, consider running next time around.

Posted by Student Advocate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

Paly doesn't "poll slightly better." On over 200 measures in which the identical question was asked at both schools, Paly scored more than 5 percentage points ahead of Gunn on over 90% of the questions. Gunn only scored ahead of Paly on 5 which are the 5 you keep talking about. Will you just stop spreading these falsehoods for once and for all? Let's just deal with the facts as they are rather than as you might wish them to be.

Paly's students and teachers agree: TA is great. The display of Gunn teachers slamming Paly and TA at the last board meeting on this topic was something that should never have happened and should never happen again. And with Ken Dauber on the Board, it won't.

Posted by misinformation ftw., a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

Both Paly and Gunn are failing students in exactly the same areas. Even if your numbers were correct, the fact that Paly is failing Gunn by 5% points less does not advocate for TA adoption at Gunn. Forcing a failing system onto Gunn is not the answer.
Look at the data, identify what is wrong and fix it. Don't simply adopt a system that isn't working and doesn't address the most serious issues raised by the students at either school.

Posted by The facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

Sorry, but in my stats class a 5% point spread was not considered statistically significant. But even if it was, in another post awhile back people pointed out that We Can Do Better omitted from its analysis survey questions that did not show Paly TA in such a good light which put the objectivity of its "200 measures" in to question.

Interesting statement you've posted -- that Gunn teachers "slamming Paly and TA" at the last board meeting won't happen with Ken Dauber on the board. That wasn't my take away from that meeting.

Sure sounds like you are saying that Ken Dauber only "stands up" for teachers who agree with him and that there will be repercussions for teachers who express views that don't.

Posted by Student Advocate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Here is the data for anyone who would like to look it over:

Web Link

The sample sizes are given so anyone who would like to perform simple statistical tests can do so. What you will find is that 5%+/- in this instance given these sample sizes is a rough approximation for a .05 significance test. However no claim as to significance is made here, and the fact is that 5% is a big gap and that all the gaps run in one direction. No questions that were comparable were omitted. Some questions were duplicates. Palo Altans are smart enough to look this data over for themselves and come to their own conclusions about it. TA is not a perfect system and no one is making that claim.

The claim is that it is far superior to the system currently in use at Gunn and everyone knows that. The question is merely what to do about that. Any solution aimed at providing "comparable" services also has to have a plan to provide those comparable services with comparable dollars. If a plan to do that exists it has yet to be brought forward.

Posted by The facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Student Advocate,

Ken Dauber's view is not that TA is better (which is debatable) but that it is the "best."

Ken Dauber, September 23, 2012: "I've urged that Gunn make a plan to implement an advisory system for Gunn students -- because we have a years of data and supporting research that show that this is a best practice for delivering guidance services to high school students."

Web Link

You might want to let him in on the fact that there is no "supporting research" out there that shows teacher advisory works better than the system Gunn has now either.

Web Link

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