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Meet the two candidates for Santa Clara County Board of Education

Original post made on Oct 8, 2020

Read profiles of Santa Clara County Board of Education incumbent Grace Mah and challenger Melissa Baten Caswell, who are running for Trustee Area 1.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 6:43 PM

Comments (8)

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 8, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Melissa Baten Caswell is backed by the teacher's unions, which seeks to stamp out competition from non union public charter schools. Her wealthy Los Altos and Los Altos Hills contributors want to revisit grievances against Bullis charter, which outperforms PAUSD. Handicapping public charters means low income kids can't escape failing traditional, unionized public schools to attend non union public charters, which may serve them better. That's not a solution for educating kids who need it, but it sure benefits the teacher's union.

Posted by Gunn Papa
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Gunn Papa is a registered user.

We have two bad choices. Grace Mah is wrong for all the reasons that Melissa Baten Caswell has claimed, and Baten Caswell’s 13 years on the PAUSD school board were some of the worst and she is a big reason for that. I predict our Santa Clara County Office of Education will not be better because of her. I abstain.

Posted by Iain McClachie
a resident of Los Altos
on Oct 8, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Iain McClachie is a registered user.

Spending on this race is way up, over an order of magnitude since the last time Ms. Mah was elected.

I think Ms. Caswell is being coy when she says she doesn't know why the majority of the money her campaign has raised has come from anti-Bullis people and organizations. I worry that her vote on Bullis issues will be driven by factors outside the interests of the quarter of the LASD population who attend Bullis. It's important to realize that those families made a choice to attend Bullis -- taking that choice away is contrary to their perceived best interests, and they are best positioned to understand their own interests.

I think Ms. Mah is not the safe vote that some Bullis folks hope she is. Bullis has been on the brink of extinction for its entire life, and that's made the staff super responsive, maybe even hypersensitive. It seems to me Ms. Mah likes it that way just fine.

My kids went to Bullis, and while it's certainly not perfect I do think
(a) they got a better education than they would have at the other LASD schools, and
(b) the other LASD schools have gotten better by copying some of Bullis' best practices. Mandarin classes are the easiest example.

The kids and the parents have both benefitted. There has been a lot of strife, and I think a lot has come from parents worried about their kids having to move to a different site because Bullis might have been sited on their campus. For the 9 years we were there, Bullis got the worst facilities in the district and did a good job with what it got. The kids weren't harmed by having bad facilities.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2020 at 6:36 pm

Neighbor is a registered user.

I remember how Grace Mah threatened to gather a group of parents to open a charter school, draining money from PAUSD, if she didn't get a Mandarin immersion program for her children. PAUSD caved and is now left with an immersion program that serves very few people and drains money from the rest of the district. Talk about selfish and entitled.

I'll be voting for Melissa Baten-Caswell.

Posted by P. Johnson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 8, 2020 at 10:14 pm

P. Johnson is a registered user.

Under Baten Caswell's tenure on the PAUSD Board, the district has been marred by fiscal mismanagement, Office of Civil Rights investigations and unacceptably large achievement gap for minorities and low income students. She has achieved nothing of substance for 12 years at PAUSD and sat by idly while the district failed to serve the students last spring. Why would anyone want to subject low income and the other most vulnerable students across Santa Clara County to Baten Caswell, who has done nothing for those populations in PAUSD, when that is one of the most important roles of the SCCOE Board?

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:52 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

Melissa Baten-Caswell is thoughtful and suited to this position. Grace Mah caters to a very narrow interest.
Vote for Melissa!

Posted by Yes On Melissa Baten Caswell
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2020 at 11:16 am

Yes On Melissa Baten Caswell is a registered user.

Ms. Mah is a champion of charter schools. It's seems to be the only thing she cares about if you look at her record. I consider these schools to be parasites that are sucking the life out of public school systems.

Her record on the county board is completely unremarkable on issues that matter. We need a change. Baten Caswell has my vote.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2020 at 6:47 pm

Parent is a registered user.

People above probably don't know the first thing about Grace Mah and the hard work she has done while on the county board.

Both the Los Altos Town Crier and the Mercury News have endorsed Grace Mah. She works hard, is nothing like portrayed above, and the papers know she'll be harder working and more effective than Caswell.

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