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Newcomer joins Palo Alto school board race

After-school program director joins incumbent, four newcomers

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Christopher Boyd, who runs a STEM-focused after-school program in Palo Alto, plans to run for a seat on the Board of Education in the November election.

Boyd did not grant an interview but confirmed his candidacy to the Weekly.

Boyd is the director of InstED, a nonprofit program that provides students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes, including computer science, robotics, astronomy, neuroscience and physics.

InstED's "philosophy emphasizes learning by positive thinking and exploring how to find solutions to problems, instead of only analyzing those problems," the nonprofit's website states.

"While we will use technology in the classroom, we will also emphasize games, learning by doing, and developing leadership skills and social skills," the website reads. "Many researchers have pointed out how play is important in developing healthy, well-adjusted children and we set aside time for play every day."

Boyd has been InstED's director since 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He is also a general partner at Automation Research, an organization for research and development related to automation, and from 2009 to 2010 was the director of technology for the University of California, Davis.

Boyd will be running against incumbent Ken Dauber, the current president of the school board; and four newcomers: special-education parent and advocate Stacey Ashlund, attorney Shounak Dharap, parent Kathy Jordan, and recent Palo Alto High graduate Alex Scharf.

There will be two open seats in November. Board member Terry Godfrey, whose term expires then along with Dauber's, is not running for re-election.

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Comments

19 people like this
Posted by More emphasis on writing, history, civics, arts, please.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 20, 2018 at 11:49 am

More emphasis on writing, history, civics, arts, please. is a registered user.

Like we need more emphasis on STEM in PAUSD schools. More emphasis on writing, history, civics, arts, please. STEM is just fine. We need to pay more attention to other subject areas that build well-rounded critical thinkers and writers--people who make good citizens--not just engineers and scientists.

No thank you.


13 people like this
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2018 at 12:24 pm

>>>We need to pay more attention to other subject areas that build well-rounded critical thinkers and writers--people who make good citizens--not just engineers and scientists.

There's no money to be made in being a well-rounded critical thinker. OK for writer or college professor.

In real world, the $$ is in science & engineering or medicine.


6 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Zhao

Do I detect sarcasm and cynicism in the dismissal of "well-rounded critical thinker"?

First, if you are not a good communicator, your potential for advancement is limited. Multiple high-tech firm are known for their higher-level management meetings resembling a fast-paced debate.
Becoming a "salesperson" for ideas quickly becomes an important part of the job of a rising STEM professional.

Knowledge of history and civics can be a much better education in how organizations actually function because courses in organizational behavior tend to be about the *theory* and give students no sense of how "dirty" and complex the real world is. Unfortunately, most high school (and college) history and civic courses are taught in a way that they also don't teach this.


22 people like this
Posted by Michelle H
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Zhao: The core mission of public schools in a democracy is to prepare students for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, not to turn out high income earners with little interest in contributing to and improving the world around them.
And how sad that students would be encouraged (pushed) to pursue any field of study purely because it currently has the highest income earning potential rather than because they have a genuine interest in and aptitude for that field. That is, if nothing else, a recipe for misery and dissatisfaction whether or not you “achieve” success as defined by $$ goals.
History and civics are every bit as important as science and engineering. If we are to solve the very real crisis we find ourselves in as a nation and world, with democratic norms being violated on a daily basis and climate change placing our planet in peril, then we need to be educating students to be engaged citizens capable of thinking and collaborating across the humanities and sciences.




Like this comment
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm

QUOTE: In real world, the $$ is in science & engineering or medicine...Zhao

QUOTE: If we are to solve the very real crisis we find ourselves in as a nation and world...then we need to be educating students to be engaged citizens capable of thinking and collaborating across the humanities and sciences...Michelle H

Simple solution. Major in science/engineering/pre-med if so inclined & then take some breadth courses in the humanities (usually required anyway).




5 people like this
Posted by Indie-schooling
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2018 at 7:10 pm

I would love to hear from some InstED students and families. It sounds like a nice program.


11 people like this
Posted by Indie-schooling
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2018 at 7:18 pm

There is so much to learn today compared to 100 years ago. Yet the curriculum hasn't changed much. It seems to me that a broad education in high school with an emphasis on abilities (like reading, writing, basic math, critical thinking) and understanding how the world works (power literacy with civics through civic projects) rather than testing ultimately serves kids better. Abilities tend to be honed better in interest-driven activities. I'm not a fan of contrived activities to develop critical thinking. I'm definitely not a fan of teaching to the test.

Glad to be indie-schooling. When you strip away all the unnecessary overhead of school, there is time for a life full of learning and love of learning. I'm not suggesting that can't happen in school, they're doing that at DTech (which is not for everyone because of the STEM emphasis), but we could learn a lot from the customized flexible education they offer.

Thank you to everyone volunteering to serve on the school board. Even though we have left the system, we will be looking for people who will cultivate an environment of collaborating with the community. I


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2018 at 12:09 pm

I'm happy that so many PAUSD study AP Calculus, but--

I've seen this boom/bust cycle before. After Sputnik, a big STEM push. Then, a glut of STEM graduates. Then several smaller amplitude boom/bust cycles. Sure, right now, a boom in STEM jobs and graduates.

"In real world, the $$ is in science & engineering or medicine."

"LOL"

Historically, after every one of these booms, there has been a bust. That reminds me-- what PAUSD students are NOT getting enough of is-- world history.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2018 at 2:56 pm

I would like to know why the idea of trimesters was never explored fully.

At the time the school calendar was altered to get the first semester ending before Christmas break, many suggested the trimester idea as being something worth doing to bring back the school year into the September - June model.

This year school started August 13 for high schools and students were required to report back the week before in some cases. This is getting bad, that means that school returns before August is half way through. It is tantamount of attempting to put a square peg into a round hole. It doesn't work. Just because we have done it for a few years, there are still many people who would prefer to see the calendar go back to school year starting in September. It is what makes the most sense for summer plans.

I would like to see the B o E following through with its promise of exploring the trimester model. We could be leaders and pioneers instead of followers on this trend of treating summer break as suiting those with high school students ignoring every body else including those who cannot get time off work to travel until July.

Many overseas travel opportunities and study abroad for high school students are designed for second half of July start with end of August end. American students are not able to take part in these programs which would be something so many of our students would benefit from.

Give us back August break.


4 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm

"We could be leaders and pioneers instead of followers on this trend..."

Being a pioneer on school scheduling is not something the schools should aspire to. They have important things they fall way short on - look at the results of low-income and special needs students. They need to keep their eye on the ball.


1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: "Resident" and agreeing with "Paly Parent" on "We could be leaders and pioneers..."

There was a popular saying in the tech industry "You can always spot the pioneers ... They are the ones with arrows in their backs."

Better to learn from the mistakes of others, and try to figure out the crucial factors in their successes.


2 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

"In real world, the $$ is in science & engineering..."

Actually, no. The appearance of this is the result of averaging over many disciplines when it is but a very few disciplines that are hot and many are doing poorly.

Even within hot disciplines there are large differences between subcategories.

And people who are "too early" to a hot discipline can be big losers. Doug Engelbart is a classic example, being a revolutionary in computing. PARC built on his work, but allowed Steve Jobs to appropriate it (book: Fumbling the Future). By the time the Intellectual Property created by him and his group got into widespread use, it had entered the public domain (no royalties). Silicon Valley is littered with people who were "too early" to many important technologies.


20 people like this
Posted by Old Professor
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 21, 2018 at 5:37 pm

>>>Do I detect sarcasm and cynicism in the dismissal of "well-rounded critical thinker"?

Too much critical thinking can be dangerous...look what happened to Nietzsche. *L*


7 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 21, 2018 at 9:04 pm

I promote: reading, writing, and math
Stick (first) to the fundamentals
Extras are fine, but the basics MUST be solid
No reason for boredom; great teachers are worth their weight in gold (for a fun cliche)
Get rid of schemes like “Everyday Math”
Join society as an educated individual
Do some self-directed learning/reading
Get exercise
Limit electronics
Be familiar with scholarly research, use libraries, they offer wide resources
Learn history
Be self-disciplined
Discourage reliance on Tiger Moms (do projects in class, if necessary, to ensure students complete own work)
Learn true life skills
Understand beating others on a test (SAT, AP) is not a valid motivation
Do your best, be authentic
Try new activities
Consider local volunteering or (gasp!) work/internship - but NOT at Mom or Dad’s company or employer (as opposed to the patents arranging everything for younor a trip paid for by parents to Central or South America to list on your college apps)
Vote


14 people like this
Posted by not a serious candidate
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 21, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Hard to figure out what his deal is. Why enter so late? Why not give an interview? He has no campaign website, no social media sites that I can find. His company, InstEd, has a website that looks pretty amateur and if you click to register it's a time machine I guess because we're back in 2016. There's reference to a 501c3 on the website but I can't find it anywhere. Keep digging, Elena!


Like this comment
Posted by kids
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:04 am

kids is a registered user.

I think the schools need to evaluate the block schedules and how the long blocks of time are being used. I also think with a new board and some new leaders they should try to consider data on the achievement gap, stress levels with having to sit through the long lectures and somtimes missing days of instruction. It would be nice to place the blame on a simple fixable problem. I think the schedules works well for the arts and the science labs, but for languages/writing and math, kids without tutors are missing out on the daily support and checking for understanding they need at school to succeed. Sometimes there could be class that meets on Th and then not again until Monday. The kids are given 2 days worth or work to do on their own and I just wonder how kids without help or kids with ADHD manage. I know kids tend to not look at every class every day and that can be a mistake for math skills and world languages and overall achievement of all kids. KIds tend to bundle huge amounts of work rather than pacing themselves with less amonts every day. So maybe when the new schedule is an old one and with some new people in, they might look at who benefits from the block schedules and who does not.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:20 am

Paly Parent and others.

I think we need a BoE who can make a big difference in the way we educate our children. American education is falling behind the rest of the world. Our high school graduates are failing in ways that the rest of the world are succeeding and it is not due to required American Politics or mandatory Algebra II.

Most Americans have very little business acumen, very little knowledge of what is going on in the rest of the world, and very little desire to know either. They are graduating college without employable skills. There is very little wonder than the big companies in Silicon Valley want foreign educated workers - they are much better educated and ready to work. This trend is getting worse, not better, as the rest of the world do a better job of educating their children to be competitive in the job market.

The average American can't compete with those 18 year olds from overseas who have spent more hours actually learning in the classroom. They also have probably done work experience, and know how to dress for success and write a resume. Our schools are failing to make a great many of the graduates employable in a competitive job market.

Trimesters, is definitely something that could/should be a good starting place for improving the time available for our children to learn in school.


5 people like this
Posted by A Drop-Out (20)
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 22, 2018 at 12:35 pm

American youth are more casual than their foreign-born counterparts.

Living is cake (if born into the upper-middle class) so why bother with the hassle of studying stuff just for the sake of learning it?

A far as business acumen is concerned, you don't need to spend or waste time earning an MBA as other successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have proven. You don't even need a BA/BS in many instances. Just be a visionary with an eye for stuff that is inherently disposable & somewhat profitable.


4 people like this
Posted by HR Department Associate
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 22, 2018 at 2:28 pm

...Most Americans have very little business acumen, very little knowledge of what is going on in the rest of the world, and very little desire to know either.

...The average American can't compete with those 18 year olds from overseas who have spent more hours actually learning in the classroom. They also have probably done work experience, and know how to dress for success and write a resume.

>>> That is partly because many parents and students from overseas view coming to America as a genuine opportunity to succeed in life vocationally.


>>> On the other hand, a typical response from a presumed born in the USA youth/quote:

"Living is cake (if born into the upper-middle class) so why bother with the hassle of studying stuff just for the sake of learning it?"

Blame the parents for either coddling their children or not instilling a practical work ethic.

Yes. Many young Americans will be left by the wayside due to their own sloth and sense of certain entitlements.





5 people like this
Posted by spare the rod
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 22, 2018 at 4:14 pm

"Blame the parents for either coddling their children or not instilling a practical work ethic."

Fear is a great motivator, but these days it is considered child abuse.

Yes, growing up here now is cake.


Like this comment
Posted by A Senior @ Gunn
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2018 at 6:07 pm

I sincerely hope the above post from Gunn senior is a troll with nothing better to do with their time.

Otherwise, there is no hope for the youth of today.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2018 at 7:41 am

If only the BoE was concerned about educating the children as a priority. Instead we have them quaking in their shoes with concerns of appeasing unions, lawyers, litigation and other secondary matters.

For education to improve in this country, there has to be an attitude of improving the system. The status quo is outdated. The rest of the world are strides ahead and American schools are sticking their heads in the sand. I am not saying that these other issues aren't important or even relevant, but they are taking away from time to investigate ways of improving the actual prime mandate of educating children and preparing them to be contributing adults in society. It is always time to be innovative and improving methods for educating children. Our children grow up so quickly and the school years pass so quickly and nothing is being done to ensure that they are benefiting from the best education methods anywhere in the world.


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