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Town Hall Mandarin Immersion meeting at Ohlone on Thursday

Original post made by Concerned Citizen, Midtown, on May 26, 2007

PAUSD TOWN HALL on MANDARIN IMMERSION
District personnel & other professionals will meet with the public to provide a summary of charter school laws, choice schools, and financing, and to receive input from the community.

Thu May 31, MP Room, Ohlone School, 7 p.m.
Location: 950 Amarillo Ave.

Web Link

Web Link

Comments (15)

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for posting this.

I hope the intentions of this meeting to truly to receive community input on MI. I hope it is not just meeting to try and justify approving a new choice program which is not part of a strategic plan.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2007 at 1:40 pm

I do hope the meeting is well attended and worthwhile. It is not very convenient for many parents as there are school concerts, baseball games, dance displays, etc. all happening at present. But for those of you who are really interested in the debate, or just interested enough to want to find out more, please attend and make this worthwhile.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2007 at 3:47 pm

I agree, it is worth it to email the BoE if you can't attend


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Good point. If you can't attend, email the BoE and state which side you are on.


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Posted by TIM
a resident of Downtown North
on May 29, 2007 at 2:46 am

I immigrated to the US from France with my family. Do I get a French language immersion program for my children too!?


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Posted by just another neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2007 at 5:47 am

Of course! Just get a handful of friends and neighbors (ok if you have married couples sign separately under different last names to lengthen the list) to threaten to form a charter school if they don't get what they want. Oh wait. Maybe not, because speaking French won't give your kids an advantage when they launch their theoretical business careers 20 years from now.


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Posted by Simon Firth
a resident of College Terrace
on May 31, 2007 at 9:41 am

I won't be able to attend the meeting tonight, but I'm curious:

Does anyone know what the structure of tonight's meeting will be?

Is there an agenda posted anywhere beyond the vague description at the PAUSD website? (The PAUSD site says: "District personnel and other professionals will meet with the public to provide a summary of charter school laws, choice schools, and financing and to receive information from the community.") Will there be presentations or simply a Q&A free-for-all?

Does anyone know whom exactly those 'personel and professionals' will be?

Do we know who will be able to ask questions of whom -- it strikes me that many people are as anxious to ask questions of PACE and PAEE members as they are people from the district--will PACE or PAEE members be given a platform to speak, or only official school district representatives?

And will there be a vote at the end to express the sense of the meeting?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Simon Firth
a resident of College Terrace
on May 31, 2007 at 9:42 am

I won't be able to attend the meeting tonight, but I'm curious:

Does anyone know what the structure of tonight's meeting will be?

Is there an agenda posted anywhere beyond the vague description at the PAUSD website? (The PAUSD site says: "District personnel and other professionals will meet with the public to provide a summary of charter school laws, choice schools, and financing and to receive information from the community.") Will there be presentations or simply a Q&A free-for-all?

Does anyone know whom exactly those 'personel and professionals' will be?

Do we know who will be able to ask questions of whom -- it strikes me that many people are as anxious to ask questions of PACE and PAEE members as they are people from the district--will PACE or PAEE members be given a platform to speak, or only official school district representatives?

And will there be a vote at the end to express the sense of the meeting?


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Posted by yet another parent
a resident of Escondido School
on May 31, 2007 at 10:19 am

Excellent questions, Simon. My burning question is whether ALL FIVE board members will be present. I realize that only two may speak, but shouldn't they all be present to at least listen?

Things have changed since the last vote. The issue of overcrowded schools has bubbled to the surface, as has community reactions to MI. Of course the charter-choice threat surfaced since then, too. I would like to think that all 5 board members are taking those things into consideration, and are willing to open-mindedly listen to the public's views of those changes.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2007 at 10:22 am

I think many people would love to ask PACE questions and to hear their answers. But it might be scary for them to even be there tonight let alone to answer questions. It would take guts. But then again PACE already has more guts than me.


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Posted by PA parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2007 at 12:37 pm

"Guts"? or "A Lot of Nerve"?


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Posted by who is paee?
a resident of Barron Park
on May 31, 2007 at 1:03 pm

is there a spokesperson for PAEE? there doesn't seem to be one voice behind the opposition, just lots of different comments and opinions. I suspect they will have a chance to ask their anti-questions. what does the audience want to ask of PAEE?

Or you, Simon? What do you need to know?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2007 at 1:25 pm

paee's not demanding a program, whereas PACE is relentlessly driving a particular program into an unwilling community. So, what WOULD they like to ask of paee? I don't know if you'd ask the Patriots to explain themselves for defending against the Redcoats.

Yes, there does seem to be a lot of different and varied voices of opposition. Interesting how that is. Thats because there are not just 9 or 10 people against it.

I think the mistake is in thinking narrowly about labeling the pro side "PACE" and labeling the against side "PAEE". Those are just two groups of private people that decided to give themselves a group name. There could be 20 more powerful groups and thousands of individuals out there without names. I think it would be much more constructive and instructive to actually get a truer feel for numbers of supporters on both sides with a community wide survey or vote.

By the way, I believe Simon listed his questions in a previous post.

I would like to know who the secret donors were for the feasibility study - who is it that has bought 1/2 of a community school from PAUSD?


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2007 at 1:33 pm

PAEE's agenda, such as it is, seems to be that there should be language opportunities for all elementary kids before we add another small immersion program.

Other people don't think foreign languages are a priority.

Other people want MI, but not forced down the district's throat.

There isn't a single opposition.


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Posted by A.J.
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 3, 2007 at 8:30 am

It occurs to many that many people in this debate think nothing of the controversy now because they say we've heard it all with the SI program. They think this will all die down if MI gets this program. (I don't think that's going to happen.)

The trouble is that this way of doing things is what made MI so controversial this time, that was brought up when SI went through, that the next language would be harder. In a way, the MI effort is being hampered by being the same as the SI effort. If we put through this MI program this way, it will virtually lock out any future immersion attempts in other languages.

We should be considering other kinds of fluency instruction. I just looked it up, and that school in Mountain View that teaches fluency is Yew Cheung. From a posted article already on this forum: "Only 30% of Yew Chung's daily class time is conducted in Mandarin (about 1.5 hours per day) by a separate native Mandarin-speaking teacher who has been specifically trained in the Yew Chung methods."

Why not see if this method can be brought to Palo Alto schools? For example, if the program could be offered at Hoover, without changing the curriculum too much during the day but by adding on instruction of 1.5 hours at the end of the day for anyone who wants to learn Mandarin fluency, this would be an opportunity that could be offered to all Hoover students without needing a new separate campus. It would probably fit better with Hoover's direct instruction philosophy already. I could see this kind of program being more of a pilot for the possibility of having other similar fluency programs at any of the other PA campuses that want it -- in fact, if such a thing were put through, it should be with the promise that any other PA campus that wants it (in whatever language) could get the same thing. Since it would be kind of an elective that only the kids who want to take have to take, you wouldn't have quite the same problems with extending the school day issues that FLES has. This would also make summer immersion programs a natural extension. The problem I see is that this would make FLES more difficult, but that would be offset by the language fluency opportunity available on ALL campuses. The advantage is that this doesn't require a separate campus and languages can be added and changed as the district needs. It doesn't take away flexibility from our overenrolled district, it's more fair, it doesn't lock out future programs and changes, and it still provides a proven fluency program.

Has anyone explored this possibility? I would think it could be implemented by next fall, too. It could be implemented without impacting Hoover the way the proposed dual immersion program would impact Ohlone and without changing the size of the school. It also presents the possibility of allowing the kids in higher grades to begin getting the language instruction, rather than just kindergarteners to start. (I don't know if this is true for sure, it would depend on this teaching method, though I suppose you could just give all kids in the beginning the same opportunities as the kinders if that is the case.) And this is more likely to fit with Hoover's existing educational philosophy. Then also because all campuses would be promised the same opportunity, Ohlone students would still get their language opportunity, too, only they could pick Mandarin or even another language. And we would be giving a fluency opportunity to all PA kids. It occurs to me that this would even allow more than one language fluency program at a given campus. And it might not even be more expensive to do that if the teachers already speak those different languages. I have to admit, this would probably also be easier and cheaper than FLES, but again, it would at least be a fluency/language opportunity for all PA kids.

Also, this doesn't lock out other very different kinds of programs in the future, if everyone at a given campus wants to do something very different but modeled on this approach, they could do it. We also have an existing program, Yew Cheung, to go to for guidance. How does that sound? I think Nico pointed out in some forum that PACE hadn't really considered another type of instruction. Wouldn't this be the time for everyone to consider it in the interest of compromise?

Sorry for posting this on multiple threads, there just seem to be so many scattered threads on MI right now.


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