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on Jul 11, 2014
The letter from Vivian Zhou, the Gunn High junior, is timely, well-written, and important.
Ms. Zhou puts her finger squarely on a school problem—continual, everyday cheating—that is debilitating for these very competitive students to have to face.
The problem is a source of worry for students—of anxiety, resentment, and in particular a sense that the adults of the community are not interested in taking care of their well-being by protecting them from this.
Cheating is not so much a moral issue in our high schools as an emotional, mental health issue. The adults in the community make it worse by doing their children's homework for them, or hiring tutors who do the homework (e.g., heaving "editing" of an English essay).
In an town that cares about "student stress," it is striking that the stresses caused by cheating are not of greater concern.
This issue, right now, occupies the same place as steriods in the Major Leagues or doping in the Tour de France once did. It's plain as day that it's happening, but no one will act to stop it.
Ms. Zhou is brave to take a stand on this issue, worth of praise for having written about it so well, and deserving of the people who will listen to her on this issue.
Gunn English Dept. (1995-2010)
Vivian Zhou neglects to mention one of the biggest causes of cheating: reprisals from patents who set impossibly high standards and goals for their kids. Some of these parents threaten their teens with sending their dog to the pound, or grounding them for a year, or worst of all, with disowning their own child!
Many school cheaters are motivated by fear: specifically. What their parents will do NOT if they fail, but if they merely do not score highly enough to please the parents. These are parents who also give their kids additional homework after school, force them to spend an extra 1-3 hours per day with tutors, and forbid their kids any extracurricular activities that are not purely academic ( forget any clubs, athletics, or fun).
At some point, this must become a case of diminishing returns and stained relationships with parents.
It is unfair to blame the rampant cheating in Palo Alto Schools totally on the schools themselves.
Many of the colleges must share the blame, especially the UCs, because they play favorites, and their favorites are NOT the California native students they are legally required to give priority to
RE: "Thousands of Gallons"....... I have seen this wasteful phenomenon, too, not only in new constructions, but also in remodels where a partial or full basement are added to an existing home. The water table is pumped put for months. Doesn't it return when there is enough rain and cause problems to the basement? One neighbor, who did this in the late nineties, has to pump water out of the water table whenever it rains for more than a day or two, or her basement will flood! This has been a terrible waste, losing water that could have been stored or diverted!
The absolute worst, though, was when Larry Page's house was being built: water was pumped out and diverted to a storm drain on Bryant for nearly TWO YEARS!
Such homeowners should be forbidden from digging basements if the have the bad judgment to build over an aquifer!
Jaclyn Schrier neglected to mention one VERY big problem with Paris: smog so thick you could almost cut it with a knife!
Not as bad as Beijing, but on many days in the late spring through early autumn the smog lessens visibility. If you go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, you are above the smog level and you can look down on a thick brown layer obscuring the whole city.
The historical buildings in Paris ( Versailles, too, for that matter), especially the medieval cathedrals, are having their fine ornamental details literally eaten away and dissolved by the sulfur in the air pollution. The famous rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral is now so blackened with smog residue that unless it is cleaned, it lets no light through to the interior. I have been disappointed on two trips to Paris, a decade apart, by not being able to see this famous stained glass from the interior of the cathedral--something I had read about and anticipated seeing since high school!
Another neglect of Ms Schreier is the crazy Parisian traffic--worse in some arrondissements than others, but absolutely terrifying in the area surrounding the French government offices. Drivers ignore the traffic lights and speed lights, endanger pedestrians, and change lanes far too frequently trying to get ahead of the heavy congestion. Lots and lots of accidents and many pedestrian deaths in this area.
Parisians we have been acquainted with think Palo Alto drivers are wonderfully safe and polite by comparison, and think Palo Alto has NO traffic congestion worth complaining about! They also think we do not have a smog problem.
Ms Schreier, pay more attention next time you visit Paris: I used up a month's worth of rescue inhalers in one week, when we were there just two years ago!
In reference to your September 26 article “The Ecstasy of Embodiment”, I am glad to see this enriching movement practice through expressive, ecstatic, meditative dance reaching the general public through your publication. I have been involved in this practice for over 18 years, taking a weekly class right here on the mid-peninsula for 14 years. Yes, ecstatic dance has been available in this area for much longer than the 4 years your article implied. I was perplexed by how your Arts and Entertainment Editor failed to uncover or mention that ecstatic dance in the form of Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythm dance practice has been thriving on the mid-peninsula since 2000 under the tutelage of Claire Alexander (Ecstatic Productions).
The ongoing, year around Monday night class provides skillful guidance by Claire, a Roth trained, certified 5Rhythm teacher for 20 years, to between 60 and 80 people from all walks of peninsula life. A large proportion of the attendees have been dedicated to this practice for many years. Monday night is not only a deeply nurturing, personal experience, but has grown into a community that comes together to celebrate and support each other in their life experiences and has spawned many activities outside of Monday nights from political and social events to the healing arts.
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