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Will MI create a segregated school? Why? Why not?

Original post made by Still Curious on Mar 30, 2007

Will the MI school, choice or charter, serve all kids in Palo Alto equally? What happens if a school serves only one racial group? Would the school district face legal action by supporting a school that is racially unbalanced?

Comments (25)

Posted by It's the law!!, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 30, 2007 at 7:58 am

Web Link


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 8:24 am

Absolutely, either way it would serve all kids in Palo Alto equally. If choice, all kids would have an equal chance at the lottery for a slot matching their language (1/3 of slots reserved for native English speakers, 1/3 for native Mandarin speakers) and an equal chance at the lottery for the slots up for grabs (1/3). If charter, they'd aim for something similar.

The school may end up with a racial mix disproportionate to the district's mix. In that case, they'd have to show they're doing outreach.

Don't see what law could be used to challenge this or who would want to. The district's lawyer said explicitly that a choice school does not need to maintain any particular racial balance. S.F. tried imposing racial quotas to weed out Asians at Lowell, and look where that got them.


Posted by Parent of a prek, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 8:30 am

Parent - you are describing what they will do for Kindergarteners. How will they admit 3rd graders when they have turnover?

Do we turn away 3rd grade students that don't speak english from our regular PAUSD classrooms? Would that be legal? Would that be morally just?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 8:49 am

Yes, that's for kinders. Third graders would have to pass proficiency tests in Mandarin and English.

Legal and just? Of course it is. It's not like they can't get an education in Palo Alto.

In any case, it wouldn't be practical or advisable to insert a kid without both languages into such a program. They'd just fail. What kind of parent would subject their kid to sure failure? (Also, would you insist that every kid can attend AP Calc, even if they have not completed the precursor courses?)


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2007 at 8:56 am

MI should not be implemented in PAUSD. Having said that, any discussion of MI should insist on a lottery system without any constraints. It should be a true lottery with no information as to nationality, language spoken at home, etc. To do otherwise would be unfair to ALL the kids in the PAUSD. Why should English and Mandarin speakers receive 2/3's of the available slots? Who came up with that concept? If English or Mandarin were not my native language, I would consider the system a discriminatory one.


Posted by Tired of the yammering, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 30, 2007 at 9:04 am

"What happens if a school serves only one racial group?" asks Still Curious.

Still Curious, why not apply your curiosity to researching whether there exists any school in California that serves only one racial group? Does any such school exist? Does any school seek such a distinction?

Methinks you are not so much Still Curious and Still Rabble-Rousing.


Posted by Tired of the yammering, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 30, 2007 at 9:08 am

Correction: Methinks you are not so much Still Curious as Still Rabble-Rousing.


Posted by Par, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 9:15 am

Parent - so you are saying you think its justifiable to turn kids away from our classrooms because they don't speak English?

So, you don't mind if we turn Chinese kids who are english language learners away from Hoover, Fairmeadow, Duveneck, Hays, Addison? We can still educate them, we could put them over with the EL teachers where they still get (some type of)education. It might not be as rich and advanced as the regular schools, but its still an education.

And that would be fine and dandy with you.

Or - its not OK to do it with English as a barrier, but it is OK to do it with some other language as the barrier?

Wow. I'm wondering if you are really even listening to this. Or maybe that's how you really feel, in which case this conversation is falling on deaf ears.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 9:31 am

Kate,

Perhaps you missed the many posts that explain immersion. The successful immersion models, proven in repeated research, require that one third be native English speakers and one third native speakers of the target language. Each group models linguistic behavior for the other.

Par,

As a district, we have an obligation to teach all kids, whether they are native English speakers or native Chinese speakers. But we don't have an obligation to let all kids into the late stages of a program that requires previous knowledge. There is a big difference.






Posted by pre, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 9:53 am

Parent - I'd agree - we are not obligated to admit everyone/anyone to late stages of programs that require prerequisites - a good example would be AP classes which are culminations of years of honed achievement in that subject.

But 2nd grade? 3rd grade? That hardly qualifies as late stages of a program. If we were talking about middle school or high school I'd agree with your argument. Calling elementary school 'late stage' of anything for anyone is far fetched.

Barriers to entry for young elementary age kids seems to me quite an elite, inequitable system that is being designed. You might find legal footing, but I don't think you'll find moral footing.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 10:09 am

Pre,

It may sound far-fetched but it is accurate. By second grade, the native English speakers speak Mandarin quite fluently (able to express themselves in everyday conversation) and read significant text blocks in Mandarin. By the end of second grade, they have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours immersed in Mandarin, listening to the teachers instructions, hearing stories, writing sentences.

Toss in a kid who doesn't speak Mandarin, and he's going to sink. Toss in enough kids, and you'll sink the program.

Morally, I don't see the distinction you draw between elementary kids and high school kids.




Posted by Me, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 30, 2007 at 10:43 am

I don't see a distinction between qualifications at elementary vs secondary either.

Our elementary schools already have qualifications. Some kids are selected for GATE, some not. (Is that fair? Depends on whether you got selected.) Some kids get into band/orchestra in 4th grade because they already have some proficiency based on private music lessons. Other kids get the recorder, or some just get more singing. Selection is based on qualifications. (Are qualifications fair?) Have you ever noticed when a play or other stage performance is put on that teachers quietly choose the strongest students for the most demanding parts? Qualifications again, but nobody even knows the criteria. Is that fair?

Same thing for all, or some thing for all? Which is fair?


Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 30, 2007 at 11:54 am

Me --

My understanding is that kids get into Band/orchestra based on a lottery. Is that not true? That does not require qualifications, just luck (and I suppose the level of interest that would cause you to apply for that lottery in the first place).

And as far as GATE is concerned, at my kids' former Palo Alto elementary school, the principal didn't even test or i.d. for GATE and didn't give any resources at all that I could get the principal to enumerate. The principal said on many occasions that the district had no funding for GATE and therefore i.d.'ing the kids was beside the point. GATE is supposed to be a natural extension of differentiating the curriculum. Which is also a problem.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Do they do anything with GATE here? I've had the feeling that the district avoids because we're a Lake Wobegone on the subject.

I remember the gifted program back at elementary school. Every year more and more kids got to go to "special class" once a week. At the end of which only about five kids were left in the classroom . . . making the the official dumb ones. Surely, there are better ways . . .


Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 30, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Seems to me the kids aer all aware of who goes out for special supplemental help too, but maybe not as obvious as being the one who's left. Also, seems to me there are some kids who really are far and away accelerated, esp. in math (I might add, not my own kids) who are foced to sit in classes and do the same worksheeets as everyone else when they grasp the concept and become proficient in the skill in a much shorter time. Are there schools in the district where kids can "test out" of sections of the standard grade curriciulum? And if so, what do those schools do with the kids when they test out? Do they give them some accelerated work to do? If so, why can't that happen at each grade in all the schools?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Natasha,

Given where we are I'm not surprised by some super math genes around here.

I just know Ohlone--there it's student-paced and mixed, so it's possible to accelerate without it being a huge issue. One class can have nonreaders and readers at a third-grade level as a result.

I think sometimes kids are moved up for a particular subject. They're all assessed.

I had a nephew (another district) who was accelerated in math (by about four years). He ended up doing an online course through a Stanford program (Not sure if it's around, but it was geared toward the top one-half percent of students). He attended a math class, but did work from the course instead. He then took several courses at Berkeley while in high school. I think it wasn't a bad solution because emotionally there's no way he was ready for college, but he could move at his own pace.

Interesting thing is that some of his siblings showed the same aptitude, but chose not to accelerate in the same way.


Posted by Parent of a prek, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 2:21 pm

No, there is no 'GATE' program in this district, and there is no special programming for kids that would qualify for GATE. All kids at all levels are lumped together in same classrooms. That's a fact.

In fact, Mandy laments this, you might ask her more about this.

The only special services are for special needs kids, kids with learning disabilities, kids who are english language learners. At the elementary level every kids is treated equally. The PIE funding changes also attempted to ensure equalizataion of the funding across schools on a per pupil basis.

Is anyone aware of ~any~ filtering on criteria or abilities that occurs in our elementary schools - other than the 'special needs' categories? Please educate us for better understanding


Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 30, 2007 at 2:38 pm

Hi Parent of a prK --

My kid got no encouragement at all in her grade because she was well-behaved and competent and all of the underachieving or acting-out kids took all the attention. That does NOT feel particularly like all children being treated equally. And lest someone object to my characterizing the reason for her neglect in this way, I can assure you that an aide informed me that was exactly what has going on.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Parent of a prK,

It honestly feels like a by-the-teacher thing.

At the same time, my sense if that teachers around here have been so inundated by demanding parents (it takes only a couple to make it feel like it's everybody.), that there's a tendency to kind of tune out. I've heard estimates that 60 percent of the kids in PA might qualify as gifted--I think the teachers get just a bit jaded and occasionally skeptical.

Nataha,

I can easily see what you describe with your daughter happening.


Posted by A Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm

PreK,

For the past decade or two, the emphasis in the U.S. has been on teaching to different levels within the same classroom. It's called differentiated instruction, and is the standard everyone claims to follow. Some teachers are better at it than others.



Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Be careful what you wish for. You may regret playing the "segregation card." When the lawsuits start, this is going to tie up PAUSD for many years.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2007 at 4:40 pm

If one examines the immediate region around Palo Alto plus Palo Alto, i.e. East PA, Menlo Park and Mountain View, then many of PAUSD schools appear to be quite segregated. Parents exercise "choice" by buying into Palo Alto Real Estate and buying into a neighborhood school. PAUSD is all about "choice" as expressed by money.


Posted by HRC, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2007 at 11:13 am

It's funny to watch a bunch of liberals design their own schools. They end up with schools more racially segregated than anything seen in the deep South before Brown v. Board of Ed. True colors emerge.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2007 at 1:59 pm

HRC,

Who are you assuming are liberals? PACE? In what way?

Most of the schools in PAUSD are way more integrated than the Jim Crow South.

Or maybe you don't actually like statistics.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2007 at 3:55 pm

What I didn't understand about HRC's post was that I thought charter school laws were basically conservatives way of working around the fact they couldn't get school vouchers passed. So I'm a little confused on what's conservative and what's liberal when it comes to creative schools.

Maybe HRC would be willing to explain exactly what's liberal and what's conservative in this argument? Cause I sure don't know - but I know what I am, and it would probably surprise HRC to know what side of the argument I'm sitting on.


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