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District responds to 'testing fraud' charge

Original post made on Jun 17, 2011

Palo Alto School Superintendent Kevin Skelly expressed confidence the school district will be able to resolve charges of "testing fraud" by parents of an elementary student. The family claims their daughter's teacher for two years filled in answers on her tests to conceal the girl's learning disabilities and need for extra help.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 17, 2011, 9:16 AM

Comments (60)

Posted by parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

This is so believable. The family should be suing the district for more than that because it will take more tutoring and therapy to catch her up now. Plus, the emotional distress was intentional, either to save money, to fit the agenda or educational philosophy of the principal or to keep achievement gap in Spec Ed from growing.

Congratulations to this family for being so courageous!

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:36 am

School districts in general do not want special ed kids because of the additional financial burden. It most cases it takes the threat of, or a actual law suit to get them to do what's legally required to educate the kids.

What's surprising here is PAUSD has a good program that runs K through 12. What was the teacher thinking?

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

Not surprising unfortunately. Two lost years for this child that will continue to make things even more challenging for this child. It is well-established that the earlier and more intensive the intervention, the better a child with special learning needs will do. How sad, and completely inexcusable. If, in fact, this teacher altered tests, s/he should be fired immediately.

Posted by George K., a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

If this is true and the family has a case, then I don't understand the logic of suing for emotional distress for an amount 10x the amount of the compensatory education. This appears on the surface that it was the act of an individual teacher, and not a pattern of behavior by the school district. Shouldn't the primary objective of their suit be to obtain the education the child needs and deserves?

Posted by danny, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:53 am

Old news. Rumors of en masse "illness" of lower performing students during state testing have been around quite a while. Lake Wobegon has to have good test scores...

Posted by Tony Putulin, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

It is unfortunate that the Weekly allows this kind of sensationalism without getting the "other side" of the story. This is journalism at its worst. I wonder if Chris Kenrick really took the time to truly research this very sensitive and oftentimes polarizing issue. Thank you Chris for your unbiased reporting!! The Weekly should have more of you.

Posted by parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

George K., this IS a pattern in PAUSD. Ten years ago, the principal at our neighborhood school actually yelled at us, yes raised her voice, when we refused to remove our dyslexic child from the STAR testing. Our child ended up scoring in good standing with respect to the PAUSD goals.

We had high hopes for the new administration to curtail this type of persecution but it seems the whole incident occured within the last few years. Carol Z. was notorious for letting this "don't ask, don't tell" scenario go on. The discrimination mainly effects kids who are learning disabled or have attention related problems or aspergers/autism. Severely disabled kids are are taken care of because people can see clearly what is happening with them.

Posted by T in MP, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

Wow! Why is there no discussion of the employment status of this teacher? If proven, these facts should lead to immediate termination. There's just no excuse. As to the district's liability, well, if they were asked to look into it and refused... That's also a failure. Probably not a termination offense for any one person but definitely a liability.

Posted by parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

T in MP, this is a longstanding POLICY of the district.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm

School districts don't want to admit a problem exist and society pays later. If a child has learning disabilities and the district fails to take corrective action, they usually end up in prison. Nearly 80% of the current residents of our jails have some type of learning disability. Here the teacher clearly new a student had a problem, and failed to notify the parents. The teacher should be fired. Some students obviously get help while others get passed along in school. The schools should address this problem early, for the students own self esteem and in the long run a lower cost to society.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

No compensation for emotional distress. They should have acted. How do they know that the girl was not cheating or getting help from a friend? Don't waste my tax money.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Isn't there testing fraud regarding whose test scores are reported? I heard that learning disabled students' test scores are not included in STAR testing reports anyway.

While it was wrong of the teacher to fake the test results, this is not permanent damage to the child and the family should only be awarded the cost of extra tutoring for the child, not half a million dollars. This student is in elementary school and still has time to catch up. Kids really don't learn much in elementary school for the 6 years they are there. Math calculations and how to write are easy to catch up on. It only takes a child a few weeks to memorize math facts. My child had a horrible second grade teacher and was behind in third grade and had to catch up but is in honors math now. And it did not take much work to catch up.

Posted by HouseofCards, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

And so it is that the house of cards known as PAUSD begins to collapse. My daughter went through elementary school never learning long division. Teacher said she must not have been paying attention when they covered it. What, they covered it once?

And just wait til the cheating at Gunn H.S. becomes public. Stuff like the student "TA" who sold test answers with the teacher's knowledge and all the kids knew. Ha ha, love to see the truth coming out.

Posted by Concerned Retiree, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

If this case is proved in court, then the teacher certainly should be fired and her pension curtailed -- just as if she were employed in the private sector or at a private school. Private school teachers are usually held to higher standards than those in public schools (and defended by the teachers' union) and they usually do not have generous pensions with medical benefits.

I trust whatever the outcome of this case that there are new guidelines put in place at PAUSD around standardized testing.

Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

The claim looks pretty convincing. I'm very sorry for what happened to this girl. I would, however, ask her parents to be mindful of the effects a $1M payout would have on PAUSD. It would be a shame if the misguided actions of one teacher lead to budget cuts affecting all PAUSD students. Is $500k emotional + $??? punitive damages really necessary? Is this about justice or money?

Posted by A-Little-Eraser-Goes-A-Long-Way, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

> It would be a shame if the misguided actions of one teacher lead
> to budget cuts affecting all PAUSD students.

The district has plenty of insurance. While the yearly premium might go up a little if the suit results in a settlement of this size, it won't come out of district funds.

Posted by Local mom & Teacher, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm

It makes no sense for the teacher to "doctor" a students assessments in this way. I am a teacher in a nearby HIGH performing district. It serves no benefit to the teacher to alter a students work in this way. I find it interesting that there is no information from district in this article.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

The child's homework during those two years should have told the story.
I cannot understand why the district refused to assess the child when requested...they are required to by law.

Posted by Mildred, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by PA Teacher, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Yes, please let us hear the other side to this story. I am a teacher in the district and agree w/ local Mom & teacher, there is no benefit to "doctor" an assessment. What good would it do to hide that a student has a disability! More information would be great Chris. Thanks!

Posted by parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Dear Mom from Another Palo Alto neighborhood, that is the point with learning disabilities. What some children learn very quickly, others take years to learn. It may seem like kids learn little in elementary school but when you have memory problems math facts do not stick, sequential steps for things like addition and long division do not stick. Some kids need lots of practice and more years of growth just so their brains can forge the connections to make writing possible. If a kid has trouble decoding or tracking, they need specialized instruction. Cutting two years out of that process is making a serious impediment much, much worse.

Posted by RT, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

If proven true, the teacher will probably be "counseled", "re-trained" and promoted to an administrative job at the district office managing STAR testing.

Posted by bill, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

And where was the elected School Board all this time? The statements that cheating is known by students can't be a surprise to anyone - including the superintendent and other teachers.

This calls for a complete investigation of the "system" from the top down. No white washing to deflect responsibility. No coverups to protect jobs of poor teachers.

Posted by parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

PA teacher, an assessment like the STAR test is a test of the school. Of course the school and the teacher look better if the kids get perfect scores. A low score on the STAR test is an indicator that the child needs to be tested for learning issues - a process which is actively discouraged in Palo Alto by the district. Some principals hold it against staff when they suggest testing to a family - a phenomenon we have experienced as a family. Conditions may be different at your school but our elementaries have lot of autonomy.

Posted by Barron Park, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I don't understand the comments that seem to presume the claims are true, and that PAUSD or the teacher are known to be at fault. Anyone who has been witnessed the tort complaint process knows that initial allegations need not be entirely (or at all) true, and that excessive allegations are commonplace. We don't know yet what is real and what is not. And, with a public fury like some of what's above, we may never know.

When they are available, the PAUSD staff may respond (as they should) with something like "no comment due to pending litigation." They are in an awkward position because the plaintiffs have both the motivation and ability to try the case in the press and create an uproar. Without having to prove anything. The District will (presumably) respect the privacy of the child and save their substantive comments for the courtroom. Unless railroaded into settlement by a public drumbeat, like some of the comments above.

The facts may all be true as alleged. Or it may be that there is only a smidgen of truth, and the public is being played like a cheap fiddle by a smart lawyer.

Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm

It's very hard to fire the teacher -- it becomes a union issue. And just like with many other issues, Skelly would rather not go up against the Teachers' Union. See, he gets paid the same whether he fights them or not, so he doesn't need to complicate his life because of one pesky student's learning disability. Much easier to go attend a taxpayer-funded "leadership" course. Huh? Where's the leadership?

Posted by Question, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Same teacher in 2nd and 3rd grade. Could it be Ohlone then, with its 2 year classes?

Posted by Alumni Mom, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm

If you think your child needs an assessment, you need to make the request in writing. By law, the school district has a certain number of days (I think 40 or 60--but check and keep them accountable) to perform the tests. But you must do this in writing--email works as written request, but I would make the request of the school and send a copy to the district at the same time. Verbal requests are often ignored or comes down to "he said/she said". Early intervention is key. Why ask for $500K? Because this child wil probably need private tutors through high school and maybe therapists to get over the fact that she has been made to feel stupid.

Posted by Chris Kenrick, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Tony Putulin, PA Teacher, Barron Park, etc.:

I will add the school district's comment on this when and if it becomes available. Until then, as you correctly observe, the article represents only the viewpoint of the claimants.

Posted by not quite, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

"Same teacher in 2nd and 3rd grade. Could it be Ohlone then, with its 2 year classes?"

A lot of elementary schools have bubble classes, which have the same teacher across years. Teachers may also change years.

Posted by Mom w/children w/IEPs, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I'm looking forward to learning the other side of this story. I have a hard time believing that there is any kind of coordinated effort by anyone within PAUSD to prevent children from getting into the resource program. As a parent whose children have had IEPs since 2nd grade, I know first hand that the school and the district have been very supportive of my child's needs. further, they often suggested services IN ADDITION to what I had asked for. Does it always go perfectly? Heck no, but not b/c of any premeditated ill intent. Case workers & resource teachers are overloaded, resources are stretched too thin.

Posted by Aaron, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

This is the obvious result of 'outcomes-based' education. It is a real scandal, and it should not be ignored. Objective testing is the only way for parents to determine if their kids are learning anything. Most parent don't have a clue, because the education establishment wants to sell them wolf tickets.

Posted by Mellie, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

This makes no sense to me. There would be nothing gained by "re-doing" a child's STAR test. If a child's school performance warrants a special ed eval the school "team" looks at a lot more than a STAR test. The STAR test wouldn't even come into play until the following year after it had been scored. Additionally if a teacher were to waste his or her time doing this for no for seeable reason I think that he or she would take the time to erase the marks completely. Sloppy erase marks sound more like an unsure student than an adult trying to perform sabotage. The scores of one student wont make or break a school's API. This whole thing is weird and doesn't quite add up from the information given. There's got to be more to the story.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm

The school has to respond to a parent's request for an assessment - they do NOT have to assess the child if they do not think the student is "disabled". The definition of disabled is somewhat up to the District, but must significantly impact one of more life activities. From

The District IS required to convene a team of teachers/staff to review the student's information within 15 days. The school then decides whether or not to further test the student. They are NOT required to test the student further if after reviewing the information they have (grades, report cards, etc.) they think the student is fine.

The cooperation varies hugely from school to school in Palo Alto, with some principal's realizing that providing a little help at an early age can head off significant problems later and some principals choosing to ignore the problems. Our experience has been very positive.

Posted by PA mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I cannot believe that the parents let this alleged situation prolong for two yrs. I would think negligence should also be placed on them. Standardized testing is one measurement of progress. Academic progress must be shared among parents, teachers and the child somehow. If the parents knew about the teacher's participation in cheating, they would also be considered as co-conspirators. Poor kid!! I wonder if the parents really have the kid's interest in mind. or is it just greed!

Posted by Judy, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm

It is unfortunate that the parent's unproven allegations against their child's elementary school teacher elicited such overwhelming negative responses from so many people in the community. Some points that should be considered:
1. It is difficult to imagine that the teacher could exert so much control that no other professional (teacher's assistants, reading specialists, etc.) would not have noticed the alleged discrepancy between the student's classroom performance and test scores.
2. It is possible that a Response to Intervention model (RTI) was developed for this student before undertaking an assessment for special education services
3. The parent's could have referred their child to the school's Student Assistance Team to explore the issues relating to their concerns about their child's academic performance.
4. It is also interesting that the student was found eligible for special education services under the Other Health Impaired (OHI) category rather then SLD (Specific Learning Disability). This suggests that a performance/ability discrepancy along with a processing disorder was not identified in the assessment process.
A question to consider therefore, is the possibility that the suspicious erasures on the Star testing were the result of test anxiety/impulsivity/attention issues rather than teacher malfeasance.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Times are very, very tough for personal injury attorneys these days.

Who is the plaintiffs attorney in this case and what is their contingency--33%--50% or more.

Their is an incentive for attorneys in these cases to inflame community opinion as a strategy to force the defendant--ie PAUSD to settle out of court.
We have only heard the plaintiffs side of the story so far

The matter is case based upon potentially obviously biased statements--not under oath and for potential financial gain--by the plaintiff.

In Texas-to level the playing field--they have passed a " loser pays" policy for civil litigation

We should do the same in California--to end the flood of spurious litigation

This case may be spurious--it may have merit--we do not know

Therefore we should take a neutral position in the press and forum about this matter.

Posted by wow, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

after reading this article and the PA parent comments, i can't imagine why any teacher or administrator would want to work in this town.

This is 100% lawsuit-happy parents trying to cope with the fact that their child isn't harvard bound.

Someone has to pay after all. Why not sue for half a million for "emotional distress" while you're at it?

Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Did Skelly say anything about the fraud? Did PAUSD investigate the parent's claims? If they did investigate, what did they find out?

I could *not* care less about this family's issue(s) with PAUSD. I care whether there is a teacher committing fraud in the district

Chris, did you ask Skelly whether they have investigated the fraud and what they have found out? What is the School Board's role in the investigation?

Posted by Tony Putulin, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 4:36 am

Thank you, Chris! This is more like it. I agree with Dr. Skelly that this is a legal matter. Withholding divisive comments at this time is the proper and prudent thing to do. I may sound biased and I am if it means revealing the honest to goodness journalistic truths.

The current school administration has done more for the Palo Alto community than any of the previous two combined in the last three years. A lot of people will disagree with me but that's okay, this is the beauty of democracy. Only in Palo Alto! That said, this does not give this administration or any prior administration the license, let alone the blanket right, to conceal the truth. Let the legal system does its job. You will be amazed about the possibilities.

We are truly blessed here in Palo Alto for having the best of the best. But oftentimes, we tend to corrupt ourselves and in the process, "kill" ourselves. Like our representatives in Congress, we have forgotten about civil discourse.

One teacher's curse should not leave all teachers in the District branded for life. That would be too cruel. Teachers are and will remain our number one asset no matter what anybody says. And parents (including me) must own up to our parental responsibility. We should stop blaming everyone but ourselves.

My family moved to Palo Alto ten years ago because we heard so many wonderful things about this beautiful city. Let us keep it that way. As for the "testing fraud" issue, this too will pass but not totally forgotten. At the end of day, the issue will be resolved in its proper forum, the court system, not in the trial by fire world of the public media.

Posted by MooZooGoo, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

I'm not surprised.
In elementary school, our teacher openly announced that (s)he had accessed and edited our answer sheets post-STAR. The teacher claimed it was to address stray marks, but the absence of a culture of respecting the integrity of the examination was apparent, and the issue that needs to be fixed.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

"...said the family's lawyer, David Tollner.

"They want the district to understand this is unacceptable behavior. It is not about the money."

Yet they want--

"The family of the student, who just completed fourth grade,is seeking damages of

$500,000 for "emotional distress,"

$50,000 for additional education costs,

and punitive damages

and attorney fees,

according to a legal claim recently filed against the Palo Alto Unified School District."

Web Link

Tell us again-"It is not about the money."??

$ 500,000 + $ 50,000 + attorneys fees + punitive damages

Altogether the threat to PAUSD will be up to $ 1 Million !

With the treat of destroying a teachers career.

Nice work

Posted by Jean, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

Excellent detective work on behalf of this family. No surprises about PAUSD the only reason the scores are so high in PA is because of the after school, schooling the students attend.
By the way, not everybody expects their child to go to Harvard, they just want them to be literate when they graduate H.S. I believe that is where the .25% extra tax dollars is suppose to go.
I especially love the comment "I could not care less about this family's issues." What a way to show your true colors. This child could be anyone of (our) kid's.

I cannot believe the comments that have been said about this family's child. What happened to the Cornerstone Project and the caring of our children? No wonder we are worried the RR tracks

I wish the little girl the best, there are many great researched based academic programs out there.

Posted by Nixon parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

Look at the comments to the story in the Mercury News. It sounds like the child had an aide in the classroom. With the School District unable to comment, much information is missing. Without referring to this story, I want to praise the teachers and aides at my child's school for how much they care about each child and how hard they work.

Posted by some guy, a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

The lesson here: when you're faking the test, don't make it 100% correct. It makes it look faked. You have to put in at least a few wrong answers.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I was going to write my own comment, but WOW said it best

"Posted by wow, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, 21 hours ago

after reading this article and the PA parent comments, i can't imagine why any teacher or administrator would want to work in this town.

This is 100% lawsuit-happy parents trying to cope with the fact that their child isn't harvard bound.

Someone has to pay after all. Why not sue for half a million for "emotional distress" while you're at it?

And we wonder why we have to pay so much for staff and teachers to come here.

Posted by Interesting, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 2:39 am

Where's the link to the lawsuit? Anyone notice that the school district did a lousy job redacting the names? You could still see the child's name, school, and teachers name. You are suppose to black out the names, then photocopy, then scan.

Posted by Grandma, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Unfortunately, poor teachers get into the system, even unethical ones too. They are, of course, protected by their Union who will not allow a tenured teacher to be fired.

In my experience as a parent I remember a 2nd grade teacher in an elementary school being counseled to try a different career, and she did resign of her own free will.

Posted by former Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I don't know much about the subject in question - special ed - but the story reported here - so far - makes me think someone was coached into this scenario. It doesn't ring true or seem straightforward at all. I just can't see a teacher doing this. There may be some issue with the child but the scenario sounds concocted...anyone else have this sense?

Posted by Denese, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Cudos to the parents for sueing PAUSD. Until parents start sueing the school district there won't be any change. Teachers and Coaches behavior will be swept under the rug.
Look at the former Jackie McKavoy and how she treated students. it was not until parents threatened to sue and they new a few of the parents of the kids were lawyers.

Sad thing is with the budget as it is the school are loosing money, on the other hand it will make PAUSD get rid of the horrible teachers and give more support to the more student centered teachers.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm

How can people assume this allegation is true? We should be supporting our teachers who have to manage difficult and anxious parents on daily basis on top of educating our children. Looking at the anger this has stirred up in our community. How can this be in the best interest of our children? One side of the story has been told and peope want this teacher fired? If and when names come out can you imagine the emotional stress this child will have from other children who hear about this from their parents and peers? Everyone please take a deep breathe and let the story u fold before making usumptions. Remember many teachers in the district are giving more homework against their better judgement to appease the intense parents in our community. Please be kind to our teachers! Hopefully the truth will be discovered without further "emotional damage" to this child.

Posted by Another parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2011 at 8:38 am

The parent above is correct. Nobody is guilty until proven. It's very difficult for teachers to manage parents these days. Everyone wants to hear their child is Stanford bound and Everyone wants to have someone to blame when they think their 4th grader is not on that track yet. The attorney is a genius, look at how the media loves this story. Does Palo Alto need this press? Support our elementary teachers! As a parent of a child with a learning disability in Palo Alto I think the kids that need support get it, sometimes disability is difficult to diagnose, and takes time. The family may have finally gotten "other health impaired" bc they screamed law suit. We can only speculate. I worry for the child as well if this gets out.

Posted by The Truth, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

PAUSD is not an ideal school district for learning disabled children to attend. Even our smart students feel dumb in this district due to the competition. My child feels stupid being in the second lane of math (which is the top lane in other schools). I grew up here and the parents have always been college-educated. The kids here are generally more intelligent than in the rest of America. Yes, I want my children rubbing shoulders with them, but it makes for more academic stress.

Posted by Northside parent, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm

All of us have had wonderful teachers and not so wonderful teachers. But, what might not fit for some, is outstanding for others. When something like this reaches the media, we automatically think the worse. Its based on our past history. Nothing is ever perfect for everyone so its too easy to think the story is fully believable. Its what sells advertisement. Never mind if its one sided. Anyone ever thought that maybe its Administration and not the teacher?

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

This provides a great opportunity for under employed lawyers and parents looking for cash.

If your child is not doing well--sue PAUSD

It is a treasure hunt--paid for by Palo Alto taxpayers

Shakedown artists are abundant

This case will attract them in droves---times are tough for lawyers these days

How about the difference in score between Paly and Gunn?

Take a class action case against PAUSD

Hey--it is other peoples money

Tell you what--you give me $50,000 upfront--if I win I will get 50% and refund your money

If we loose? well sorry about that--actually you now owe us another
$ 20,000 plus expenses and $30,000 for " expert testimony"--well they have a PhD from somewhere

Look you are out $ 100,000--but you could have got more

How is the kid?

Never mind--I got paid

Posted by Parent, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Jun 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

When you speculate that maybe the administration changed the test scores your assuming this claim is true. The child could have been anxious about the tests and been changing the answers or looking at somebody's test and changing the answers. Parents that actually go to this extreme are probably stressing their kid out at home? Who really knows what's going on but I agree with the person above that lots of students can have different experiences with the same teachers. We are going to lose good teachers from this- who wants to work in Palo Alto with all the intense parents. I see them daily and it's hard to listen to all the intense judgement if your child isn't on the AP track in elementary school. I was once told my 9 year old is too old to start AYSO bc he's been left behind. Really? I wish people would relax maybe just a little?

Posted by Another local parent, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:29 am

Don't you think a teacher or administrator would erase their marks if they were going to change test scores? This story sounds fishy!

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Assessments are expensive--I've been told $5K. Not all learning disabilities are obvious.

In this case, the school was rapidly growing and focused on other changes. The principal, I think, wanted the "problem" to go away. The teacher involved has good qualities, but is also weak and, I suspect, tried to make the problem go away through unethical means. Why not do a neater job of it? Probably because the teacher wanted to make it A) look like the child's work and B) didn't want to really face what s/he was doing. As I say, not a bad person, but a weak one.

It should never have happened, but I'm sorry to say I think that it did. It's the indirect result of growing our schools rapidly--about 50 percent in this case--but not expanding support staff--i.e. the same number of reading and math specialists for half again as many kids.

I'm not a PAUSD employee, just another parent who happens to know part of the story.

Posted by parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

what school has grown by 50% in the last few years? mercury had an informative piece this morning with quotes from lawyer.

Posted by mp parent, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Many schools cover up how poorly a child with learning disability is doing. We have recorded on tape Menlo Park SD personnel stating that is the strategy - limit the homework for a child who is struggling father than find better ways to teach that child. Our chilld wasgiven straight A's even though we know much of the school work was incomplete or not turned in. They did this so they could argue the child does not need an IEP. The STAR test results showed our child was below level. School would say our child is just a poor test taker and is really a straight A student. So not to worry and no need to do anything. Many parents can't afford the legal fees, so these poor children go for years getting farther and farther behind. The schools don't have the budget or have other priorities, so kids with special needs get screwed. So sad.

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