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PUSD School Board President-"Sorry Students - I Don't Believe You"

Original post made by Unbelievable, Danbury Park, on Mar 14, 2012

Just saw a repeat of the School Board meeting. They reviewed the results of a survey regarding Homework where they'd asked our city's children how much homework they had.

In reference to opinions solicited on how much time children spent on surfing the internet vs doing the homework, many students indicated they don't text or surf the net or engage in on-line social networking during the process of doing homework.

Ms. Laursen's closing summary response to the issues raised? "Sorry Students-I Don't Believe You."

In Pleasanton, I'm used to public officials listening to the community, not discounting their input with "I Don't Believe You." How are students supposed to ever come forward when they aren't believed? Plus, I've never seen so much time wasted on any city or school meeting with long drawn out lectures on parliamentary procedures and Robert's Rules of Order.

How can students expect to have any trust in public officials when the public officials don't trust them?






Comments (49)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:24 am

"In Pleasanton, I'm used to public officials listening to the community"

Really???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

"hmmmm:" Just because someone makes a lot of noise, doesn't mean they are representative of "the community."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

b, thanks for implicating yourself in front of all of the PW's readers. No one, other than our town troll Gollum, exemplifies noisy posters without validity more than you. Keep it up


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

b. At the moment "the community" has a silent majority - the 90% who do not donate or get involved. The remaining 10% who care and are paying attention are divided, some are disappointed. I have no doubt that Trustee Laursen was joking (but didn't watch it), but I have noticed a lack of listening by leaders. Maybe this is why there isn't a stronger majority supporting the schools. We need more support.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I'm completely satisfied with the representation I receive from the officials I voted for. If you're not, vote for someone else next time. That's how the system works.

Did you ever consider that the 90% doesn't speak up because they're not dissatisfied? After all, these representatives were elected by a majority of the people, not very long ago.

For my part, I speak up largely because I find you people entertaining. I used to try rationalizing with you, but this is much more fun.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

100% of people didn't vote. So it is just as likely that a large percentage of voters are dissatisfied and so are the remaining non-voters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I wasn't talking about voting b, I'm talking about donating time or money.

So please increase your school donations b. and talk to your friends about doing the same. It takes more than a vote to provide funding for the school system these days. The 90% need to do more if they're so happy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Laursen got 13666 votes, Bowswer got 14149 and Piderit got 7283 votes

Web Link

Not everyone in Pleasanton voted, and many chose among three less than ideal candidates. From the votes, it looks like not everyone selected two board members.

Laursen and Bowser were endorsed and promoted by the teachers union, and everyone knows how difficult it is to win against either incumbents or those backed by the teachers. That is why not many run, not to mention that you have to pay a fee to run and put your statement on the ballot.

We have a bad group of people making decisions for us, and the only way to make our voice heard is to quit giving money to the district


 +   Like this comment
Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Why is it my fault if they didn't vote? If you think all these non-voters are dissatisfied malcontents like yourself, get them out to vote. But for gosh sake, quit whining and blaming others.

For my part, I voted. I have children in the schools. I donate my money and my time to the schools. I pay a hell of a lot of property tax. That entitles me to point out the ridiculousness of your argument.

We all have the opportunity to vote every couple years. If you're dissatisfied with your ROI on the current slate, go convince 10,000 of your neighbors to vote for you or your favorite naysayer next time. It's a beautiful system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm

You do whatever you want, "b"

I will let my wallet speak. No donations, no on measures that ask for money (at the district and state level). I used to donate and supported both failed parcel taxes, but not anymore.

We do not have good people running for the board, and there is a good reason for that: it costs money and winning over the teachers union is not easy. Not too many want that. That said, that is no reason why those who do get on the board should not act in the best interest of the children. If they do not want to do the right thing, they should not be on the board.

Keep giving, but don't expect others to be as fool as you and do the same. I know I will no longer give or support tax measures. Enough is enough.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I don't see how not donating time or money to PUSD is going to bring about the change some people want. I will continue to give and to support the PUSD. I agree that people need to vote and get involved if they want to change things. That said, I seriously doubt that a candidate who promises to cut or limit school funding will have much chance of winning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm

John, I still donate both time and money, but to the classroom only. I don't think anyone is looking for a candidate who will limit funding--for me it is about getting leadership to use the money they have responsibly and for there to be more transparency about contracts, negotiations, budgets, consultants, debt, etc. Some board members are not asking for thorough reports and not questioning the reasoning behind staff proposals that are clearly unpopular (the facilities study, for example). They lost community trust over a period of years and don't seem to be gaining it back with recent decisions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Melanie
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:51 pm

My children have distrusted school administration. They have been reluctant to go to them for help of any kind. They feel unheard and misunderstood. I didn't see the broadcast but I doubt the official was joking. It is hard to believe that teens are not checking their accounts during homework time, but I think Ms. Laursen has misunderstood the teens responses. Here is why:

My daughter does check her social media, phone, etc. before homework, between assignments and after it is all finished.

Children...teens in particular seem to like to take things very literally especially when it suits them. So in my daughters case I believe she would say she is not doing it while she is doing her homework. While that is technically true because she does it during breaks, it's not quite how us adults see it.

I am unsure why the survey was taken. If it was to see how much time kids are really spending on homework then I would have to say even if she didn't check her social media account and phone she would still have hours most nights. I think it is unreasonable to spend 2-3 hours a night without having breaks. I see her phone alerting her every five minutes but she doesn't respond for long periods of time so she can get through her assignment.

I agree with the original poster "Unbelievable"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

The newspaper singled this quote out of the 5 hour meeting as well so it must be highly unusual for public officials to basically call their constituents liars from the podium.

There is no indication in any way it was a joke.

The reporter's exact quote was: 'Many students reported they never use social media, text or surf the Internet when they're doing homework, but Laursen, a parent herself, was skeptical.
"Sorry, students, I don't believe you," she said.

For someone to do this, dropping any facade of couth and civility and resorting to insulting our wonderful community students as well as exhibiting contentiousness usually reserved for pre-fight boxing matches, this proves this board member's best days of service to the community are behind them – long behind them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mom O2
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:12 am

Well said, Unbelievable. Thanks for bringing this to our attention so we can see her true colors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Logical
a resident of Avila
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

I completed the survey as a parent. So that means I am not believed either. I am solving the problem of the abhorant leadership of our school district by picking up and moving to another city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

"I think Ms. Laursen has misunderstood the teens responses. "

I agree, and she also does not understand (or is not involved with her own kids enough) that some teachers especially HS teachers actually post assignments on Facebook! Yes, I was skeptical when my child first told me, but after logging on to my child's facebook account, I saw that indeed my child had logged on to view the teacher's post about the class/homework on Facebook.

So maybe kids do log on to Facebook but they do so while doing homework to check their assignments.

If you do not want them on Facebook at all during homework time, talk to ALL the teachers and tell them they canNOT post assignments or anything about their class on FB!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

The board hardly shows respect for each other, so this isn't a big surprise regarding students or parents (frankly, they are often discourteous to those who speak with opposing views at the meetings). What is amazing, though, is that anyone would forget they are on camera and that the meetings are taped for all to review. Do they think no one is paying attention?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

I agree..."I don't believe the students either" because I take my kids phones, etc. from them when they are doing their homework, and they are vibrating non-stop! Kids do text, FB and twitter during hw, usually to say how they are procrastinating or how dumb hw is....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Would a better question to students have been: How long do you spend working on homework, exclusive of interruptions like texting, tv, dinner, or phone calls?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Kathleen, that is a good question. I think they asked what overall time on homework question specifically and then asked follow up questions regarding the internet and social networking time.

I thought I was looking at some cringeworthy spoof on a comedy channel or another community's meeting on Cable, but then came to the realization it was real and in Pleasanton.

However, the "Students I Don't Believe You" comment from the School Board president was similar to a "Liar Liar Pants On Fire" playground taunt that is used to indicate when someone, usually a child, thinks someone is lying.

Unfortunately no HBO comedy writer is responsible for this dark comedy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

"Would a better question to students have been: How long do you spend working on homework, exclusive of interruptions like texting, tv, dinner, or phone calls?"

That would have been a better question, since a lot of students take a break for dinner or something when doing homework.

Also, they should have asked if when they do logon to places such as Facebook they are doing so because their teachers post the assignments there or if they are logging on to chat with friends about other stuff.

I know my child logs on to FB daily to check the assignments for a few classes. And if Laursen does not believe this, she can talk to the HS teachers: a lot of them have FB accounts where they post assignments, updates, practice tests, etc, for their classes. Unless of course, Laursen is so out of it that she will also say "Parents and teachers, I don't believe you"

Well Laursen, I don't believe YOU have the best interest of the students in mind, and I don't believe you should be on the board because all you do is rubber stamp what the admin says and you have managed to alienate quite a few in the community with your insensitive comments and careless "yes admin, I will do what you say without thinking about it" attitude.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amanda
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

lol - I wouldn't believe them either!! Just stop by any place that they are "doing homework" and see for yourself. I mean, this administrator probably confiscates cellphones all day long while kids are supposed to be at school... and Ms. Laursen is supposed to believe that once they leave school suddenly they don't constantly text/email/videochat with their friends?!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm

So if this was not a joke, why ask the question of the kids if you're so darn sure you already know the answer? Just to laugh at them at a board meeting? The answer, like many things with students, will depend on the parents, work habits, students, the type of student likely to fill in a survey and so on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Amanda:

The students who do not use FB and other distractions are probably the only ones answering the dumb survey. The students who use social media, etc while doing homework don't bother to fill out the silly survey. So Laursen is wrong to judge and insult the serious students.

How many surveys were turned in? I can guarantee that not too many, and those who did not bother answering are probably glad because what is the point? To have their answers be mocked by the BOARD PRESIDENT? WOW!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lazzboy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm

It is difficult to believe when scientific surveys reveal that children spend many more HOURS on social networking/cell phones then Pleasanton students responded to in the survey. Are the lying? Who knows...it is possible that they are not completely aware of the time they are spending on these things. This is the trouble with completing a voluntary online survey, the results are not scientifically significant.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lazzboy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

"If you do not want them on Facebook at all during homework time, talk to ALL the teachers and tell them they canNOT post assignments or anything about their class on FB!!!"

I am absolutely sure that ALL teachers would be happy to NOT take the extra time to use Facebook to post assignments. And while your at it, you shoudl tell all teachers that they can NOT maintain a website or eamil...I'm sure you will hear cries of joy from the schools.

Sounds like you should run for head of the Teacher Union.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oh, brother!
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I am sorry if you cannot see a teacher posting an assignment on Facebook as a way to connect with the students. Do not be fooled and think that your child has to check Facebook to get their assignments. They could have written them down in class during the day or they could have checked the teacher's website if they were not focussed during class and forgot to write the assignment down.

I agree with the comment about not believing students. They are young and do not always tell the truth. They sneak a peak at their phones when they shouldn't. That is why they are children and we are adults. It is our job to role model and show them the best way to focus in school.

You are fooling yourself if you think your child is 100% honest when it comes to social media.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm

"They are young and do not always tell the truth. They sneak a peak . . ."

and in Pleasanton, they can probably spell.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Pleasanton School President accusing Pleasanton students of fraudulently filling out homework survey is standard operating procedure. I guess they would get an F on "Plays Well With Others" and "Takes Responsibility For Own Actions"

Does PUSD ever believe anyone, or do they deems everyone they deal with as crooks or incompetent? Examples -

Developers - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses Pleasanton developers Signature Properties and Standard Pacific of 'fraud and deceit'

County of Alameda - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses Alameda County of in "hiding" a tar factory

Legal Firm - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses their own legal firm of 'incompetence/negligence'

City of Pleasanton - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses City of Pleasanton of 'fraud and deceit' in providing false housing information to them, including fake residential subdivisions under Airport Zone, outside voter approved housing boundary (yesterday's article in The Independent on Debt that discusses PUSD's $124 million debt)

Federal Govt - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses Federal govt of unfairly penalizing Pleasanton under NCLB

State Govt - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses State govt of inadequately funding Pleasanton's schools

Citizens - Pleasanton School Board/Superintendent accuses residents of inadequately funding Pleasanton's schools, in spite of residents passing two Bond Measures worth around $150 million


 +   Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I have to agree with her. I don't think they are telling the truth.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Poor you
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 1:23 am

I bet you wish you still had kids you could relate to. So sorry John.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 5:43 am

"I am absolutely sure that ALL teachers would be happy to NOT take the extra time to use Facebook to post assignments. And while your at it, you shoudl tell all teachers that they can NOT maintain a website or eamil...I'm sure you will hear cries of joy from the schools."

You missed the point, I am not the one with issues with Facebook, Laursen is. But students do logon to FB to check assignments, many of which were not posted anywhere else but the teachers' FB.

I am perfectly fine with the use of FB for homework, etc, but I have a problem with the board president accusing students of lying when many of them have to go to FB because their teachers use that as the only way to post certain assignments and classroom updates.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 5:46 am

And again, how many surveys were completed?

The students who took the time to fill out a survey are probably the ones who really do not use FB unless they have to for homework purposes, and yet they are the ones being accused of lying.

btw, my child did not fill out a survey.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

Skipping how many surveys were completed and whether all, some, or none of the respondents told the truth, this is not what a public official, let alone a board president should be saying to all of us and our children. Like having a better question for the survey, Laursen could have expressed concern about the value of the data (low turnout for example) or accepted it a face value. Why make such a bold assumption--"ass u me." Again, same lack of respect that occurs among board members.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

To "Poor you",

Recommend reading -- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

The kids were fibbing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

John, I don't think anyone, other than the responders, knows for certain whether the students fibbed or not. And really, what difference does it make if they do or don't text, etc.? The question itself could have eliminated any ambiguity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

John, if you want to assume that kids are basically liars and you're not going to believe them, then why ask them to fill in a survey?? They could have spent that time doing homework or social networking instead for all the good its done them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Kids live up to or down to your assumptions about them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

A case is being made for a new study by the district. "Why are we raising a generation of fibbers?" What can be done??? The budget issues are troubling, but lots of time could be spent analyzing this issue.

And worse, what is going to happen when these kids grow up? Will they turn into parents that fib "my kid doesn't touch social media except on Sat and Sun" and teachers that fib "well I'm not the one that assigned the extra homework and didn't coordinate with my colleagues" and leaders that fib "we have cut everywhere we can (except for car allowances of course) away from the classroom".

What kind of society would that be? Someone do something quick - and if you can find an outside consultant to do it "properly" even better - preferably staffed by retired administration because they understand these things best.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

PUSD sets the bar of honesty and ethical behavior rather low as demonstrated with illegally cashing out millions of taxpayer dollars. As role models why would Ms. Larsen expect anything else from the students?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm

" then why ask them to fill in a survey"

I don't know if I would have bothered to survey the kids either. I think it would have been better to survey parents, but of course I would expect some stretching of the truth from them too. People sometimes even do it unintentionally.

I should also note that I work in a job where I have to assume that people, left to their own devices, will do bad things. We lock our doors and activate alarm systems because we don't always trust. We encrypt sensitive internet communication because we don't always trust.

The bottom line is that I think Laursen's instincts were pretty good on this one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

The survey did go to parents and teachers too. And according to you we now can ignore both the kids and parents now. But despite the caution you show on the job, the district management has totally earned your trust?

Isn't that the problem in pleasanton though? Parents and kids are ignored, so they don't donate / vote for parcel taxes and our district and kid's education goes downhill. Lose-lose.

How about some mutual respect instead to get things going the right way? How about making it an absolute goal that the district's #1 goal is educating children, not hiring consultants, incredibly badly timed facilities studies, car allowances and extra assistants for the district office. Make this a place where cuts are honestly be done away from the main classrooms first. Some districts really live by that motto - they don't just say the words - and you can tell the difference in communications, board meetings and parents who step up when they are asked to help.

PUSD should be able to get $1000 or more per student in donations - our demographics should support that. There is a reason they don't and I would strongly suggest working on this problem rather than investing in silly surveys where the feedback is disregarded.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barton Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm

PUSD School Board President-"Sorry Students - I Don't Believe You"

Then why did you ask?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Ok, I'm a nerd I just spent my sat night looking at the homework policy results posted on the district website.

This is what happened. A question was asked about texting, surfing the Internet while doing homework to students and parents at all levels.

Of students at all levels 257 said they never did this, 331 said sometimes and 49 said often. But here is the catch - most of the nevers are elementary and middle school children where parents control Internet access more - 204 of them. Only 53 high school students in total said they never did, most said they sometimes or often did 74%. Parents were more likely to say that their kids were not doing this than the kids, but there wasn't a huge difference.

So it looks to me like the kids and parents were mostly telling the truth. And perhaps are due an apology.

And can I have a PIO job?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

By the way, part of the question was worded "surfing the Internet", and I bet on the high school side you do use the web as a research tool too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm

"and I bet on the high school side you do use the web as a research tool too."

Not just HS. In 5th grade, my child had to do a few projects that involved doing research on the internet.

And in middle school, it is common to get projects that require interntet research, especially for Block.

So yes, access to the internet and social media are necessary in order to do well in school.

Perhaps Laursen needs to spend less time rubber stamping every bad financial proposal that comes her way and instead start spending some time with her own kids... maybe then she would be more aware of why kids need access to the internet, social media.

I agree with the comment above: our demographics should be able to support parcel taxes and big donations. Why we do not get the generous donations other districts do and why we are one of the few districts without a parcel tax has everything to do with the lack of trust between administration and the community, and comments like Laursen's do not help!


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

To "Hmmmm",

"And according to you we now can ignore both the kids and parents now."

Not ignore, just take human nature and circumstances into consideration.

" the district management has totally earned your trust"

No. They have not earned my trust.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by crazy
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm

wow, just wow. this is what you are offended by? geez.

p.s. as a mom of a teen, i don't believe it either.


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