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Was this a Pleasanton principal??

Original post made by unclehomerr.., Downtown, on Aug 29, 2010

[If not, shudda been!]

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Comments (32)

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Posted by SteveS
a resident of Dublin
on Aug 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm

We could only hope that someone with this much savvy would be in charge of one of our local schools ... or better yet, someone like this in each and every one of them ...

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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 29, 2010 at 6:34 pm

This sounds like it was written by someone with no educational experience and who is in need of some diversity education. .

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Posted by Guest
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm

So we should take our school back to before the civil rights? Haha RIGHT! The part about ending self-esteem programs is a slap in the face to any child, teenager, or adult with a serious disorder that requires meds or other medical attention. Self-esteem is not earned, but is helped by being shaped and modeled by the people we come into contact with and how we deal with certain situations.

As for this quote, "If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you." How absurd! So should we silence students' voices? I for one am happy there may be a clubs based around these ideas (ethnic, racial, sexual identity etc)- it gives all students a chance to openly discuss questions they have with peers their age while being supervised by a teacher. This isn't 1937 where parents/adults say "shhhh, don't ask where babies come from."

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Uncle Homerr,

There's already a school like that. It is called the American Indian Public Charter School, located in Oakland. Here's their education model: Web Link Who knows, maybe this was written by the guy who runs that school?

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Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 29, 2010 at 10:40 pm

You could be right, Stacy. It came to me unattributed. Pity.

I just ordered the book! Thanks.

If only a thousand more followed the model.


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Posted by Karl
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 29, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Why stop there? Why not abandon this "American" identity that this schoolmaster believes is so crucial to being an upstanding citizen?

After all, doesn't that divide us more than anything? Even reading the words Iraqi, Afghan, Iranian, Mexican, etc. makes you automatically separate yourself as "not one of those". You are an American.

You are nothing but what you allow others to label you and what you yourself come to accept as your identity. You are not American, you are just one more person on this planet of 6,700,000,000. No better or worse than the rest, except in your mind.

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Posted by Dominic
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 30, 2010 at 8:45 am

I applaud this piece and the poster for putting this up for this stands for AMERICAN VALUES - and it does not divide it unites if you can have the openness and intellectual honesty to look to embrace this brilliant speech and embrace American History...It's sad so many folks do not know what American Values are which is not surprising ---they haven't been taught in public schools or colleges for quite sometime...

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Aug 30, 2010 at 8:47 am

This unbelievable article has been circulating for quite some time. Rec'd this several weeks ago from someone in Illinois. I would hope no one would think one of PUSD principals wrote this.

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Posted by Al. B.
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 30, 2010 at 9:56 am

Would be nice, but it will never happen

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Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

So our ever-so-willing to bow down to the diversity police "Shark Nurse" see's no problem with sending Unclehomer off for some "re-education" therapy. How enlightening of you.

From both sides of our family we have seen quite possibly the best & worst that the public education system has bestowed upon various members of our family. While our nieces & nephews who attend a charter school academy just outside of Orange County at first absolutely hated the fact that they not only had to wear uniforms to school but there also was a school hours ban on all electronic devices (yes iPods, cell/smart phones & the school IT staff even disabled all IM platforms so there was no chatting allowed while online) as well. My nephew often referred to it as the "Old School" Prison.

It's kinda weird that when you remove the major social distractions from a high-school aged kids daily life they actually start to do something very odd in school these days. LEARN SOMETHING! Yes Nurse Sharkey there are no african/asian/latino/islamic/canadian/etc. studies classes to be found. Nor is there a LGBTQ, straight students alliance, Pro Choice/lIFE or Christian/Jewish/Presbyterian/Muslim students groups allowed as an on campus or as a school supported or located group. It's also kinda strange because their sports programs, band (jazz, marching & orchestra) their theater & performing arts, graphic arts & ROP programs all seem to have more than their fare share of equipment & funding & have not yet had to resort to any extreme measures (aside from the obligatory bake sale, car wash, tub of frozen cookie dough) to raise money for their programs. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, almost 90% of the class of 2010 went on to either a 4 year college/university or JC, you had a dozen national honor society students & three top 10 baseball & football college recruits.

It's just funny that when you take away the major distractions that most teens will have, supplement that with some focus, support, encouragement & praise for their efforts & hard work you seem to get back some of the most well adjusted, motivated & just damn nice young kids I've been honored to be able to call family in some time.

I am all for doing whatever it takes to both educate & integrate our high school kids into a college or career ready position in life & (IMHO) all the added distractions, social agendas & "fluff" that seems to populate the schools these days do nothing to further their educational, emotional or physical development.

Just my .02€

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

Walnut Grove Guest: Ethnic, Racial, sexual identity, etc. discussions belong at home or informally among friends and shouldn't be sponsored by public schools run by the government. There isn't a civil right to have a club in school for these discussions.

If there is an issue that concerns civil rights, then the proper way to correct it is through discussions between the parent and child first, then between the parent and school/school board. Otherwise, discussing your "identity" belongs outside of school.

Also, if "self-esteem programs" are a medical necessity, they should be paid for by the parents (perhaps with insurance) and not by the school system. Otherwise, they are a distraction and detract from normal, incentive-based learning.

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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2010 at 11:04 am

I agreed with all of this up until the idea that sex ed and drug ed should also be eliminated.

Ethnic clubs, bilingual instruction, and awards for just existing should all go out the window as far as I'm concerned(offer intensive ESL to catch up kids who don't speak English. Then mainstream them). But in my mind sex ed and drug ed are all part of a well rounded education, right along with home ec and woodshop. Too many kids don't get basic living skills at home and so those DO need to be taught in school if we want to end up with a population of fully educated human beings.

I'd love 90% to go to college, but schools also need to support the education of decent and well rounded young people who end up working in technical and service careers that don't need 4 year degrees.

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Posted by Gloria
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

How refreashing. As a 73 year old I was wondering when this country was going to come to their senses about diversity. Doesn't anyone get that the word Diversity comes from dividing us. This is the United States of America. The The Diversity of America. Love learning about other cultures and traveling to other countries. But those who come and live in this country need to realize we see each other as part of THIS country. We hope they will love it as much as we do for all you can become if You choose to. Thank you for bringing us back to our greatness. Gloria

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm

This is emotion-based propaganda that gets right-wingers all worked up, but there is no substance to it. What self-esteem programs? Class time is really taken up by these multicultural activities? Where? When? My kids go to school here and I've never heard about it. Or are you being tricked by the inference of this letter into thinking it is a prevalent and significant problem? That would be my guess.

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Posted by HHR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Uncle Homerr, Ruth posted this speech a while back, and I asked her the following question, which she refused to answer.

Based on the Principal's speech, wouldn't you agree that the words "under God" should then be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance? Otherwise there would be a double standard going on in there, wouldn't there?

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Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm

As long as this nation remains endowed by our Creator, Under God belongs in the pledge.


plus.. if it was previously posted by Ruth, I missed it and apologize for duplicating.

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Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Again, all this diversity is nonsense. Better that students wear uniforms and CONFORM! Uniforms, marching, and groupthink are the only way to make our nation strong. Remember, Weakness is Strength, War is Peace, and Freedom is Slavery.

Now let's get those children goose-stepping! Amerika uber alles!

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Posted by Anne
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Aug 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm

These things are posted by people who don't know anything about Pleasanton schools.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Yes, let's all be like I think we should be, and anyone outside that definition will be an open target for ridicule so people who are like I think they should be will all feel better about themselves by drowning their insecurities in the depths of their intolerance.

Yes, intolerance is the attitude that made America strong.

Who is next on your hit list, people who don't pray before they dig in to their 2,500 calorie lunches?

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Posted by momof2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:15 pm

So if, according to this speech, we eliminate ALL classes in Pleasanton schools taught in a non-English language, we won't be able to instruct the kids in Spanish, French, German, or Japanese?

Well, there goes the world languages program. It's ok, the rest of the world doesn't seem to have a problem learning English.

You know, at the school where I teach, we don't have Mexican kids, black kids, Korean kids, Chinese kids, white kids, etc.

We just have kids. Sorry to disappoint you, but nothing in that speech is even remotely relevant to what it's like to be a student or a teacher in the Pleasanton schools.

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Posted by hmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Yet Another...

Did you miss the line that states "We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English -- but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school." ?

I think this is very different from your interpretation.

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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Aug 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Oh, that changes everything. This speech should be adopted as PUSD policy right now!

I wish people who want to reform the schools would spend some time in them. We welcome visitors and it might be an eye-opener for some of the self-appointed "experts" in education.

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Posted by HHR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 7:32 am

Unclehomerr, what you said is so hypocritical!

So you can't have religious gatherings or clubs in school but you have to say "under God" as you say the pledge of Allefiance!

Typical right wing righteous (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff).

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Posted by We're doomed to repeat
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:27 pm

This discussion made me laugh....

I have to agree with the post by unclehomerrr on one thing....too much distraction of non-academic classes and programs in schools.

The government via the schools, has taken over educating students on moral issues....and this should stop.

I disagree with the OP that schools should not support extra curricular clubs which deal with race, language, culture, religion and sexual orientation. These clubs educated and reduce prejudice. Having experienced prejudice I know the value of educating others about other cultures, beliefs and life styles.

To Nosy Neighbors: The last PUSD scores I saw had up near 90% graduates going on to 4 year or JC schools too.

Personally, I think PUSD, and the Teacher's Union need to get back to the basics of academia and away from all the "feel good" classes. Oh...and graduate the kids early that can do the work, instead of us tax payers paying for 1st year and 2nd year college courses under the guise of AP classes.

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Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm

" the Teacher's Union need to get back to the basics of academia and away from all the "feel good" classes."

Which classes are the "feel-good" classes?

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Posted by We're doomed to repeat
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:42 pm

From AVHS Classes:

Art 1 - 2 - 3
Advanced Drama
Drawing 1 - 2
Theater Production
AP Studio - Drawing & Design
Ceramics 1 - 2 - 3
Concert Choir
AP Studio - 3D (Ceramics)
Treble Choir
Digital Art
Chamber Choir
Video Production 1 - 2
Color Guard
Photography 1 - 2 - 3
Marching Band
AP Studio - Photography
Wind Ensemble 1 - 2
Symphonic Band 1 - 2
Beginning Drama 1
Intermediate Drama
Jazz band A - B
Technical English
Journalism 1-2
Theory of Knowledge
Lit & the Dynamics of School Justice
Expository Writing
Advanced Composition
Japanese V Honors
AP Spanish Language
AP Spanish Literature
AP German
AP French
Advanced Placement Biology
Advanced Placement Chemistry
Advanced Placement Physics
Anatomy & Physiology
Business Ownership
Contemporary Issues Health
Criminal Justice
Fit For Health
Developmental Psychology of Children
Economics of Business Ownership
Health Science
Industrial Drafting

And I could go on. Many of these are fun courses or AP Freshman College Courses. If colleges continue to insist on students have specific GE classes, then they need to be done and paid for by the students at a college. Not paid for by tax payers at high school level. We have to cut another 6 mil from the budget, so cut the courses that are NOT required to graduate or get into colleges. A marketing course or Marching Band is not an academic requirement for college. And most students are not going to go on to music majors in college (or be in a college marching band). Graduate students early, who have met the minimum requirements for college entrance. If a student is able to take all AP classes a senior year they should already have graduated and parents paying for their classes...not me.

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Posted by One of "those" teachers from another district
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:09 pm

The University of California and the California State University systems both require 1 year of fine arts for admission (the "F" in "A to G" requirements). In addition, a minimum of 2 years of a "language other than English" is required, with 3 years recommended (the "E" in the "A to G" requirements). The "G" requirement states "One year (two semesters), in addition to those required in "a-f" above, chosen from the following areas: engineering, technology, visual and performing arts (non-introductory level courses), history, social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science and language other than English (a third year in the language used for the "e" requirement or two years of another language)." Many of the courses you list meet these entrance requirement for students. UC - Web Link
CSU - Web Link

Check the graduation requirements. There is more to high school than math and english classes. Web Link

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Posted by Anne
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:20 pm

To "We're doomed to repeat",

Not all students who take AP classes take all AP classes. Some take, maybe half AP, half not. I don't think we should be punishing our smartest students. But it is amusing to see AP Physics listed with "fun" and "feel good" classes.

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Posted by to One of "those" teachers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Yes many of "those" courses fit "those" catagories. However, why can it be simple...Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Alg I, Geo, Alg II, Pre-Calc. 1 or 2 fine arts course instead of so many? Etc. When I was in school, the "smart" kids went and took Freshman level college courses at the college. Why am I paying for your kid to have Freshman classes at high school, just because they're smarter than mine and then have to pay for my kid to take Freshman classes IN college. Maybe your taxes should go to pay for my kid to spend a 5th year in high school to take those AP classes so I don't have to pay for Freshman Calculus.

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Posted by Anne
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

"When I was in school, the "smart" kids went and took Freshman level college courses at the college."

When was that? I was taking AP classes in 1977 when I was in high school. Furthermore, at that time, public colleges in California were free, so you still payed for it with your tax dollars.

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Posted by one of "those" teachers from another district
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm

To "to One of "those" teachers" - I must be older than Anne, because even when I was a senior in high school in San Mateo in 1969, I was in an AP Calculus class. Students at my school were not taking classes at the Junior College. Even that long ago.

To "We're doomed to repeat" and "to One of "those" teacher"-
The high schools have to have enough sections for the students. What difference does it make if you have 15 sections of one course or 1 section of 15 courses? There is more to learning than English and Math. There is more than passing the CAHSEE. There is more than scoring "proficient" on the CSTs.

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