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Town Square

Civil rights lawyers scrutinize school district

Original post made on Jul 24, 2013

In a bid to start a conversation on addressing poor academic performance among students from the Ravenswood City School District who attend high schools in the Sequoia Union High School District, a group of Bay Area civil rights lawyers has issued a report that attempts to put the Sequoia district on notice that its interactions with Ravenswood are under scrutiny.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:50 AM

Comments

Posted by Not Much Difference Between Palo Alto, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2013 at 11:22 am

Not much difference on how students of color are doing when they attend East Palo Alto Schools and Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]


Posted by give me a break, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Is there anything in the report that suggests the parents of these kids need to focus more attention on the education of their children. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Is this a real issue, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I attended one of the Sequoia redistricting sessions, and the topic of open enrollment was a significant part of the discussion. I was under the impression that all of the Ravenswood kids that did apply for open-enrollment to MA did get in to MA. If the Sequoia district did accommodate all such requests to attend MA, I do not understand what the problem is.

Also, the article does not mention the charter school that many Ravenswood kids elect to attend. Who has priority on attending the charter school?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Why is this article even posted for the Palo Alto publication? It has nothing to do w/Palo Alto [portion removed.]


Posted by BG, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

East Palo Alto does not have a local news website or paper so its nice to be able to read articles of stuff happening in our community that otherwise we would not be informed of. It'g good that Palo Alto online publishes EPA articles.


Posted by Not exactly, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

If this was not an attempt to bait PA readers to follow the article by starting with "Civil rights lawyers," then why doesn't the title read "Civil rights lawyers scrutinize Ravenswood"?


Posted by IB Brocovich, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm

It would appear that that many Palo Altans feel that their entitlement should result in not giving a darn about what happens across the highway. What happens across the highway and to all of the people of our immediate community (including those from a different, God forbid, county) has a tremendous impact on us all (or should!).

I recall the times when EPA was given the name "Murder Capitol of the US" or something of that nature. At that time, the surrounding police departments (including Palo Alto if I am not mistaken) came in to aid the beleaguered, overwhelmed, underfunded and understaffed community of East Palo Alto. There was a turn around after these outlying communities lent a hand to help EPA. Even though many Palo Altans could have said, "So what, if they want to kill each other in gang and drug warfare let them have it" they did not (Thank God!). I was heartened to see other communities reach across the highway to help.

We are not an island and sometimes we should consider being our brother's keeper; particularly when our privileged circumstances dictate that we can help with little impact on our lifestyles (God forbid we should have to put off buying that new Tesla or sending our child to that expensive private institution of learning, or forego that fancy dinner downtown or that bottle of vintage Chardonnay(very Palo Alto!).

Thank you Palo Alto Weekly for reporting news occurring outside the city limits. Receiving this local news will mean that we will not be limited by our city's citizens of limited compassion.

For those who think the Weekly is cashing in on the Civil Rights Lawyer headline, methinks that our district has created too many of their own Civil Rights Lawyer headlines or Office for Civil Rights (OCR) headlines as the so very astute PAUSD FF and F layer pointed out is Office FOR Civil Rights and not Office Of Civil Rights (thank you thank your Laurie Reynolds!). What would we do without this law firm which enables the PAUSD to continue to send increasing sums of our hard-earned tax-payer dollars to every year?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm

@Hmmm - maybe, hopefully, the past few months had very few realize that the "other" can be closer than perceived before. Maybe the past few months had very few realize that the attitude towards the "other" from the other side of the highway is a crisp reflection of the attitude to any "other" from "this side of the highway".


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Good points, Village Fool. I guess my comments will keep getting deleted. Let's see how long it takes for the "mirror" to break by deleting my comments. Dog forbid Palo Alto not make something about themselves.


Posted by Local Educator, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I wish to appreciate what IB Brocovich has written. I work with East Palo Alto high school age youth and appreciate our many educational partners, including the Ravenswood and Sequoia districts. Scrutiny is not a bad thing, and, at the same time, there are good people doing tremendously challenging work and they deserve praise. There's nothing wrong with raising and talking about issues. There's nothing wrong with paying attention to what's happening next door. Peace.


Posted by blame one, blame all, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I'm sure the PAUSD school district board and staff is somehow responsible for this.


Posted by IB Brocovich, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I have also witnessed the great things that are being done across the highway and quite frankly, given the choice, I would much prefer that my child attend East Side Prep (even though my child is white)than Castie (sp.). East Side has done a phenomenal job of educating their students and their success rates at college admissions is stellar.

PAUDSD is not what it is chalked up to be and I am thinking that perhaps it is time to cash out on my house before the property values plunge too much. If we continue to have the problems with the upper echelons in the administration as well as have an ineffective and unresponsive (at least to the voters that elected them) school board, we could very well drop a rung or two in huge home sale prices.

Money speaks and when my money is going to pay lawyers and spin doctors to protect the Supe then my money is strongly considering saying, "bye, bye". I really don't want to leave PA but given the current climate I really don't want to raise my children here.

I really don't want to have my children witness the bullying as well as the cheating and overly competitive behavior that the students engage in. Plus, unless we can get a transfer to Paly my children will have to endure the abominably inadequate counseling system that is in place at Gunn and shows no evidence of changing any time soon (even though Skelly was directed to investigate implementing TA at Gunn by the Board). This has been put off for yet another year. How long do our kids have to wait (well at least the Gunn kids) to be on equal footing with Paly as far as counseling goes? [Portion removed.]

Fundatmental values do count and honesty and openness are qaulities that every individual should try to cultivate. Skelly fails miserably in this arena as do the school board members. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm

> It would appear that that many Palo Altans feel
> that their entitlement

Most people in Palo Alto were born somewhere else. They did not grow up here. Increasingly, people in Palo Alto are from Asia--particularly India and China.

So--where does all of this "entitlement" stem from? Simply owning a house here?

This pernicious claim about "entitlement" is more than off-putting. It speaks to a state of mind that perhaps considers itself to be well-educated, does not carry any of the attributes of education that support critical thinking, or intellectual honesty.

People in Palo Alto work hard, as do most Americans. The benefits that fall to people who work hard, and plan prudently for their own lives and families, can hardly be seen as a by-product of "entitlement".

It is way past time to ignore those who are always blaming others for their lot in life. Perhaps the aristocracy of late 18th Century France were "entitled"--but nothing like that can be found in Palo Alto, or anywhere else in modern day America.


Posted by IB Brocovich, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Bob: I appreciate the fact that as you state most people were born somewhere else other than Palo Alto; however, trust me, there is a whole element of people in the "prestigeous North End (read the real estate ads to get a read on this)of Palo Alto who would like to call the shots on many policy decisions in Palo Alto. These policies range from development to school district policy. It is just a fact of life. It is pretty evident that some of this old money establishment likes to influence the elections as well.

I know that it is impossible to turn back the hands of time but what happened to the old fashioned values of fairness, honesty, etc.? I blame the parents for setting a stage which encourages bad behaviors to emerge. If so many students didn't feel the need to get into one of the most prestigious universities in the country they wouldn't feel the need to sabotage the student next to them's lab experiment (happened in high school) or 1st graders would not be cheating in a purely-for-fun "math lab" small group setting with no grades. I witnessed this at Duveneck and it says something about kids feeling pressure even in the early elementary school years.

And yes, some people think that even owning a home here makes them entititled (sorry to say!). I have a very differing opinion. They feel that they "have arrived" so to speak. Manhy of these "hard working" Palo Alto transplants feel that if test scores and Ivy League placements are what you measure the success of a school by (Skelly thinks this a great measure!) then this is the best place to have their child educated even if it is woefully inadequate in so many ways. This inadequacy unfortunately has resulted in some very unfortunate consequences during the suicide cluster and it looks like things have not improved much since then.

If nothing chages, nothing changes.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm

It's not hard to figure it out, Bob - they'd behave as they do anywhere that they live. It has little to do w/how hard they work, it has to do w/how they view themselves & others. The others mean those that they feel superior to & that they believe need to be dictated to by them on how to live their life. Please don't pretend you don't know what I mean - that's intellectually dishonest. Please don't pretend that one has to live in Palo Alto for X number of years for this to occur - you'd be wrong - no matter how much education you have.

Did you read the report? Not that it's Palo Alto's business, except for the fact that of course they helped create this problem w/redlining.

IB - did you know that the most densely populated part of EPA is on your side of the freeway?


Posted by IB Brocovich, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Hmmm: Yes, I did know that there are lots of apartments on this side of the highway and that the dividing line for the county and the town of EPA vs. PA is the San Francisquito Creek.

I should not make reference to "across the highway" to denote EPA as opposed to PA. You would be surprised how many Palo Altans don't know that EPA starts right on the other side of the bridges (near Newell and the ones at University). So saying "across the highway" has immediate recognition to many Palo Altans as being EPA.

The Chaucer St. Bridge (don't know whether it is called this) has Menlo Park on the other side. Interesting fact that when you are driving along the "Creek Road" on the San Mateo County side you will know immediately when you have left Menlo Park and are now in EPA by the potholes and ill-maintained road. There are very little resources in EPA to do these little extras that Palo Altans take for granted like repairing the roads when you need to get a weekly wheel alignment.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm

"There are very little resources in EPA to do these little extras that Palo Altans take for granted like repairing the roads when you need to get a weekly wheel alignment."

Really? Have you driven down Hamilton lately? Have you cycled it? If you take that for road for granted as a "little extra" do you mean extra headache? Have you been on the parts of Woodland that have been repaved? I'll have to start taking notes on all of the bad roads in Palo Alto that I've driven on lately. Barron Park neighborhood comes to mind...

What you wrote proves the entitled ignorance of many of your town's residence - they don't even know where my city's boundary starts & theirs ends!


Posted by IB Brockovich, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Hmmm: Agreed that the roads ain't what they used to be in Perfect PA! But, that being said, in general the roads are much better than in some of the "poorer" communities (EPA comes to mind and also East Menlo Park). People in PA used to get charged homeowners insurance rates that were the same as those in EPA because one of the zip codes is the same (or at least used to be) and that is 94303. I know a woman who used would say she lived in PA and got a PA library card because the zip code on her utility bills was one shared in PA and she just conveniently dropped the "East" off her address.

Yes, many Palo Altans are ignorant about a number of things (tsk tsk...please don't tell them as they get a little ticked off when accused of not being perfect in perfect Palo Alto!). Strange things happen in this world! The fact that there are people like Bob (in the comments above)who stated "entitled"--but nothing like that can be found in Palo Alto, or anywhere else in modern day America." exist makes me wonder. Not in Perfect Palo Alto.......no entitlement here, no siree!


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2013 at 9:32 am

> trust me

Since I don't believe you, why would I ever trust you?

> there is a whole element of people in the
> "prestigeous North End (read the real estate ads to
> get a read on this)of Palo Alto who would like to
> call the shots on many policy decisions in Palo Alto

And your point is? These people, commonly called "the political class"—can be found everywhere. You identify "education policy" as an example of "privilege". You are aware that the California Ed Code drives most of the major policy decisions in the schools? If you are talking about the issues surround "site councils"—then have the intellectual verve to say what you mean. Moreover, why don't you actually provide a few details, rather that drifting in/out of the clouds.

> bad Duveneck student behavior

And this relates to "privilege, how?

> some people think that even owning a home here makes them entititled

Entitled to what? Do Palo Altans, when in other cities, demand to go to the front of any line that might be formed when they arrive at some location, like a restaurant? Do Palo Altans demand to be seated in the front of any/all churches they attend—claiming "entitlement? Do Palo Altans manage to avoid traffic tickets, simply because of their zipcode? Do they avoid paying taxes? The short answer is: they don't!

Simply throwing out verbal "race bombs" really isn't advancing any discussion about any thing.
----


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2013 at 9:35 am

> There are very little resources in EPA to do these little extras
> that Palo Altans take for granted like repairing the roads
> when you need to get a weekly wheel alignment.

East Palo Alto is too small to generate the necessary financial resources from its tax base to provide the necessary services, improvements, that are required. The town should return to the status of unincorporated San Mateo County.


Posted by Money talks, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I welcome the lawyers to visit Palo Alto for more discussions on civil rights. PAUSD needs it. Sure, the Bobs of the world don't feel that there is privelage here, but I would disagree. I see white privelage in action everyday. Fortunately, I'm white so I get to benefit from it, just as I find that my Palo Alto residency helps in many circles, including education, except I still have friends and colleagues bring up the suicides more than the civil rights violations and complaints.


Posted by reality check, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jul 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Well, Money Talks, you're way ahead of me. I've never had a "friend or colleague" bring up either suicides or OCR. In fact, I know of very few people in Palo Alto that are even aware of the OCR complaints. It's amusing the hear all the "recall" cries when most people in Palo Alto don't even know there is an issue. Yeah, that's going to succeed.


Posted by Check reality, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

reality check has to get out more often. I work in education and the suicides come up quite a bit, not so much the OCR issues.


Posted by Thibault Serlet, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Old Palo Alto, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

[Post removed.]