News

Residents voice concerns to school board about proposed math program changes

Senior cabinet raises, bond-funded laptop purchase also part of Tuesday meeting

A group of parents and students packed Tuesday’s school board meeting to express concerns about potential changes to the district’s math offerings.

The district has released a draft future math pathways proposal that recommends the phasing out of the middle school five-year pathway, an accelerated math program that currently allows students to complete math 6/7 in sixth grade, math 8/algebra in seventh grade and honors geometry in eighth. Under the current proposal, math 6/7 would be eliminated from middle school in the 2018-19 school year, math 8/algebra in 2019-20 and honors geometry in 2020-21.

A letter provided by Tri-Valley Asian Association president Sylvia Tian and addressed to superintendent David Haglund and teachers states parents “strongly oppose the proposal.”

“Every student should be provided with an appropriate place in the school,” an excerpt from the letter reads. “Math-passionate students should have a chance to enjoy the challenge and the inspiration of learning advanced math, which will pave their way to STEAM study.”

An online petition calling for PUSD to retain the current math program has received 1,007 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

Tian was one of 10 residents who spoke in favor of the continuation of the accelerated math program during the public comment period at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting. She said many parents were not aware that PUSD was considering changes to its math offerings and said she hoped there would be an opportunity for public input.

“We need the guardians and parents to understand what’s going on in our school district so we can be involved,” Tian said. “Our school district is renowned for its quality. Let’s push it up rather than drag it down.”

PUSD director of secondary education Ken Rocha said at the conclusion of public comment that the district has not yet presented a formal plan on future math pathways and that PUSD will be taking feedback at forums planned for Tuesday, Wednesday and Feb. 28. Tuesday’s forum will be held at Hart Middle School, Wednesday’s at Pleasanton Middle School and the final one at Harvest Park. All meetings will take place from 6-7:30 p.m.

“We owe it to ourselves to have a conversation publicly about how we can best serve our students and making sure we’re hearing our community’s voice as well,” Rocha said.

In other business

* After approving raises for classified and management/confidential employees at their last meeting, trustees approved comparable salary increases for assistant superintendent of educational services Odie Douglas and deputy superintendent of business services Micaela Ochoa on Tuesday evening.

Ochoa and Douglas' salaries will go up 2% retroactive to July 1, and they will receive a one-time bonus equal to 1% of their salary this school year that will be calculated after the 2% increase is applied.

The board also approved one year extensions on their employment agreements.

Ochoa's contract, which previously ran through June 30, was extended through June 30, 2019. The agreement with Douglas now runs through June 30, 2020.

Trustee Jamie Yee Hintzke voted in favor of the compensation increase for Douglas but against his contract amendment and extension. She did not give a reason for her opposition.

The compensation increases are respectively estimated at $6,048.39 and $5,949.40 overall this year. Effective July 1, Ochoa's salary will be $205,645.26. Douglas will receive a base annual salary of $200,940.

On Jan. 16, the board approved the same raises for classified and management/confidential employees, along with a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the California School Employees Association. That followed their approval of comparable raises and a new CBA between the district and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers in November.

Haglund, assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez and assistant superintendent of student support services Ed Diolazo -- who are all in their first year with PUSD -- will be eligible for compensation increases following their annual review at the end of the school year, said PUSD spokesman Patrick Gannon.

* Trustees approved a recommendation to spend $259,000 in Measure I1 funds on laptops and external DVD drives for teachers instructional staff.

In September, the board authorized the purchase of 450 Macbooks and 132 external DVD drives for K-8 teachers and instructional staff at a cost of $432,000 in bond revenue.

As part of the next phase in this Measure I1 project, administrators recommended Tuesday that 27 Windows laptops, 225 Macbooks and 30 external DVD drives be purchased for high school and district office teachers and instructional staff.

Administrators plan to return to the board several times between now and spring 2019 to request to purchase more laptops and dispose of ones that have been replaced.

In another bond-related item, the board approved administration's recommendation that MeTEOR Education be selected as the furniture vendor for the Lydiksen Elementary modernization and rebuild.

The district will purchase pilot furniture for up to three existing classroom prototypes -- kindergarten, grades 1-3 and grades 4-5. Students and staff will test different furniture styles and configurations for at least one full school year beginning this fall before a bulk order would be made for all classrooms.

The estimated furniture budget for the project is $400,000.

* In closed session, the board appointed Emily Knaggs acting assistant director of special education. Knaggs most recently worked as a program specialist at Harvest Park’s iPAL preschool, an inclusive program for preschool students with special needs and general education students.

Comments

89 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:39 am

Director Ken Rocha's proposal PowerPoint to eliminate the 6th grade accelerated math option, and make other changes to the math pathways, cites PUSD Resolution No. 2015-2016.23 “Equity & Diversity” policy: “Practices and policies that lead to both the over-representation of students from some ethnic groups and students of low socioeconomic status in areas such as special education and the under-representation in programs such as gifted and talented, honors, and Advanced Placement will be critically examined and modified.” The justification for cutting the 6th grade advanced math option is ironic, given the PUSD practice and policy of allowing individual elementary school teachers to vote against nightly homework practice in math, as is the case at Walnut Grove School. The current homework policy can lead to disparity in math achievement between the different PUSD elementary schools, and between students whose families manage to give math practice in the home to supplement classroom instruction, and those families that rely solely on instructional minutes inside the classroom to master the subject. We all know that practice in a subject, whether in water polo, percussion, or math, leads to mastery. A piano student who has not memorized the notes may not progress and will begin to lose interest in her instrument, as pieces become more challenging. An athlete who does not report for team practices will be dropped from the team. Socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary students are not served by a school policy that views math practice at home as optional or occasional. If the district is concerned with parity for underrepresented ethnic or socioeconomic students' access to advanced placement math, why cut out the advanced placement option in place for those who have an early interest in STEM careers, and have a talent and passion for more challenging math work by the end of 5th grade? The district should seek out and develop programs like Jose Valdes Math Institute in San Jose as a potential model for improving access for underrepresented students to advanced placement math.


134 people like this
Posted by Epicenter of stupidity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 8:28 am

PUSD continues to be the epicenter of community discord because of its secretive ways and inept administrators

So the overall reason to cut geometry and algebra in middle schools is because there are too many Indian and Chinese students in the advanced math classes? That is absurd. But typical of Pleasanton educrat thinking.

Rather than cut the classes, it is time to boost the black, hispanic, and caucasian students so that they are prepared by middle school to take the advanced math classes.

And if they can't do that?

Keep the advanced math classes anyway.


79 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 31, 2018 at 8:42 am

Are we going to eliminate basketball because we have too many black kids and the Asians kids are too short? Of course not!


12 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 31, 2018 at 8:45 am

Is Emily Knaggs the daughter of the former teachers union president?


45 people like this
Posted by Grace
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:01 am

PUSD shall listen more on what Pleasanton community needs in education! When 30 parents met with Mr. Ken Rocha, Director of Secondary Curriculum, Parents keep asking what are the issues PUSD identifies in current Math Pathway besides the Ethnicity perspective supported by data in proposal? I agreed everything the above two commenter said about Ethnicity perspective and it is riduculous. I am very concerned PUSD make it very vague in what are the true driver of the change proposal! Parents lack of transparency and visibility on the data points that lead to PUSD putting so much efforts in changing a not-so-bad Math Pathway to a worse direction! Many parents in the meeting think PUSD shall put more efforts in providing more enrichment class in elementary schools and middle school rather than reducing them! I thinks PUSD is currently working in the opposite direction of sustaining PUSD’s good education reputation. None of PUSD residence would like to see that families who care about education feel disappointed and move out hence lead to decrease of property value.


11 people like this
Posted by Chris Dufour
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:09 am

Knaggs was by far the worst administrator I have ever had contact with! Typical! Lead position for kids who need to be advocated for! Just collecting a paycheck!


43 people like this
Posted by Sophie Li
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:11 am

We should empower our students to make reasonable choices, rather than iliminating their options and instilling the victim modes to all affected, Any proposed change should make our community stronger rather than dividing it.

Accelerate if the students:
(1)need a challenge academically;
(2)are already ahead in content knowledge;
(3)show strong performance in previous math classes and on standard tests;
(4)have deep conceptual knowledge in math.

Don’t accelerate students if they:
(1)have a low interest in math;
(2)are solely interested in trying to be competitive in college applications;
(3)are only motivated to take AP Calculus; are responding to peer pressure or public perception;
(4)are not interested in taking higher math in high school.


11 people like this
Posted by Sophie Li
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:14 am

A link to the petition mentioned in the article:


Web Link


66 people like this
Posted by HPMS Parent
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:17 am

I was shocked by Director Ken Rocha's proposal of eliminating the middle school accelerated math option. The current math placement system is a great solution to address the difference level of interest in math among the 6th grade kids. We can’t just drag down the advanced kids to a lower level for “social equality”. The purpose for education is to help to kids to achieve their full potential, not to make every kid at the “same low level”.


48 people like this
Posted by Eddie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:41 am

While a parent already pointed out with statistical data that African and Latinos are not underrepresented in the accelerated math path based on pleasanton’s population composition, I just wanted to pretend the claim was true for a second. Director Ken Rocha’s approach to address the “inequality” issue (which does not really exist), was not to make the alleged “underrepresented” better, but to make everyone dumber. How dumb an idea is that?


50 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:56 am

Currently, the math in elementary schools (atleast in Walnut Grove) is below required standard. But, the respite for kids who were bored with math in elementary was that they got to challenge themselves and love math in middle school. Taking this away isn't going to help anyone! If the district really wants to help students, they should push the math focus down to elementary schools rather than shrugging off their burden in elementary/middle levels and moving all the stress to high school.

If there is indeed a group of students who are not getting the opportunity to perform at a level they desire in math, lets focus on strengthening the foundation so we can help more kids challenge themselves and enjoy math.

The whole world is headed towards more STEM focus and if we really want to help and support students, we should be adding more options, not take away existing opportunities. How is this helping anyone?


43 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

This is a distressing approach to math (or any subject), especially given recent workshop discussions about new approaches to learning which included competency based learning in a K-8 environment. That approach allows any student to move up (or down I suppose) to their level of learning. We cannot hope to erase a learning gap by taking away higher level courses. I agree with those who state the issue should be addressed by providing assistance to students who struggle in a given subject.


28 people like this
Posted by Epicenter of stupidity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Eddie said ' "Director Ken Rocha’s approach to address the “inequality” issue (which does not really exist), was not to make the alleged “underrepresented” better, but to make everyone dumber. How dumb an idea is that?" '

This is particularly idiotic because at the same time the PUSD is arm waving about STEM, but they want to dumb down and eliminate the "M" which is foundation needed that allows the STE part of STEM to happen.

The only reason the School Board hired Odie Douglas and Ken Rocha in the first place are because their ideas of education are that it is truly a "Race to the Bottom."

Honestly, if you email the entire school board and Douglas/Rocha a fairly simple Pre-Calculus problem or even a fairly complex Algebra 2 or a Geometry problem, I guarantee that they would not email back you the solution. Try it! If you have had the misfortune of hearing any of them attempt to talk about math in a public forum, you know what I mean.


37 people like this
Posted by Valleydog220
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 31, 2018 at 1:00 pm

II agree that we cannot accept change in the math curriculum that removes opportunity for students who have a passion for math or those who may not have discovered their love for the subject during elementary school for whatever reasons.

A topic that I have not heard mentioned that is directly related to math classes advanced or not is the lack of qualified instructors/teachers in our middle schools and high schools, specifically Amador.

I can specifically talk to this “challenge” based on experience last year at HPMS as our daughter had (3) long term subs (average at best) after her newly hired teacher was fired shortly after the school Year commenced.

This year she is at Amador enrolled in Algebra 1. We were hopeful the last was behind us and it would be a great experience in math. The school year abeam with a substitute ( who was grea) but unfortunately replaced with a subpar permanent teacher who chooses to teach Kahn Academy in Class and assign as homework vs. teaching from the text book......I can only assume this is his approach because he does not understand the material in the book.

I share this because this district has an issue with attracting AND retaining quality teachers and it appears the main challenge is centered on the Math Department.

As we continue the discussion about curriculum let’s please include
the desperate need for qualified math instructors/teachers.


15 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Since the meeting with concerned parents Monday, the district has taken down from public view the entire Common Core "PUSD Math Resource" previously available from the Curriculum Department section of its website. The diagram showing the Gr. 6-12 2017-18 math pathways and the proposed 2018-19 changes are now no longer publicly available. Web Link District is opening discussions to the community at various forums next week, so one would think the information should still be accessible today.


18 people like this
Posted by Reno
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Reno is a registered user.

Forgive me, and I sympathize, but I am so glad I don't have kids in school nowadays.
I am 67, and my recollections of what was expected and what we were taught is like night and day.
It's well known that the US falls behind other countries in math and science; how much of that is due to apathy and the lack of discipline on the part of students and parents?


31 people like this
Posted by The so-called "Problematic Pathway"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Not only did the powerpoint that PUSD has hushed up through the delete key say
to phase out the middle school math program, but the sentence beneath that said
"Eliminate end of year math assessment in 5th grade."

In the deleted powerpoint, they labeled the math program the "Problematic Pathway."

The Pathway is not problematic and the students are not problematic, but the district administration is "Problematic."

The PUSD never did teach 5 years of math in the 6th through 8th grade level anyway. At most, it teaches 2 1/2 years of math in the 6th through 8th grade normally taught in east coast schools because the first 1/2 year is spent playing catch up from bad elementary math teachers that teach at the 4th and 5th grade level throughout Pleasanton. For example, I had a 4th grade teacher a few years back that didn't have a clue on how to find the least common denominator for two fractions, much less teach students how to do it.

Math in PUSD is a disaster and that accounts for dozens of tutoring centers throughout Pleasanton.

None of the higher ups seems to be able to know how to hire competent math teachers. I doubt they give them a test of basic math literacy and computational skills. They just hire them off the street probably.

The implementation of the horrific Common core math program at the elementary school level has not helped at all combined with PUSD never really implementing the previous Envision math books in the first place (the predecessor before Common core) has pushed the PUSD management to get rid of the 5th grade end of year assessments.

Most of the middle school teachers can't teach math or don't know the foundation level of math to teach basic algebra or geometry.

The Pathway is not problematic. The students are not problematic, nor are the parents. The inability of the school board to hire competent teachers and administrators is what is problematic.


15 people like this
Posted by DifferentThought
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 4:39 pm

The current accelerated math program does have issues. The placement tests are based on 5th grade math, and the initial results play too much of a role separating students at a young age. Students from the middle pathway might find it difficult to move up even if they develop good math abilities later because different paths work at different paces. I don’t agree with the proposal to eliminate the accelerated math in middle schools, but I believe the advanced program should focus more on depth rather than acceleration. Grade-skipping is not necessarily the best option even for the good students. I hope schools can provide easy ways to allow students to move up or move down in later years.

I think the advanced math program needs reform, but not an elimination.


6 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:19 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Reno,

How many years of calculus and college level AP classes were expected of students in your day? By the way Pleasanton test scores are well ahead scores students in other countries. "Apathy and the lack of discipline" aren't the factors that are motivating parents to push for accelerated math programs.


34 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Williams
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:20 pm

This idea makes me want to hurl. You can't make an excuse of underrepresented ethnicities. If they aren't good enough to get in, then they're not good enough. Let's not become social justice warriors when it comes to education. Equality, not equity.


20 people like this
Posted by Concerned in Pleasanton
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Believe I read elsewhere that the referenced PUSD administrators with the proposals are paid quite well, in fact just received an increase and *bonus*, for such poor ideas as eliminating accelerated math in middle schools.

Are we getting our money's worth?


23 people like this
Posted by Concerned in Pleasanton
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Why isn't the PUSD busy searching for how to help the under-represented and under-performing student catch up?

All of our students deserve the best support we can give them to prepare for the future. STEM is where the action is.



13 people like this
Posted by The so-called "Problematic Pathway"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Good question the previous poster asked: Why isn't the PUSD busy searching for how to help the under-represented and under-performing student catch up?

Probably they know the Top 6 answers already - 1. Pervasively bad elementary school teachers are all throughout the entire school district with absolutely no accountability --- parents teach the kids themselves at home or outsource to tutoring centers 2. Flawed knee-jerk school board decision to reduce instruction time all throughout the elementary years because of the ongoing "Staggered Start" fiasco. 3. Math instructional coaches invented by Ahmadi added no value. 4. Poor hiring at curriculum/district office level. 5. Poor selection of "free" Obama era elementary school math curriculum - ENGAGE NY vs. something decent 6. Some elementary schools are not really focused on education, but waste six years of students' time on a never ending arts and craft fair/field trip circus (e.g., good example based on comments above-Walnut Grove).

Meanwhile instead of helping students learn basic math skills instead PUSD is focusing on photo op fluff such as mariachi bands.

They seem to have very warped priorities.


26 people like this
Posted by Dark Father
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:00 pm

My God you people are myopic. Did most of you even pay attention to the presentation? There will still be an accelerated track, it will just be in high school when the kids are actually ready for it, not when the parents think they are.

Do you talk to your kids? My daughter's friends that are in the accelerated course hate math now. They have 60-90 minutes of homework each night just for math. They feel stupid when they get a C or a D on a test. None of them asked to be in the course; their parents made them take it.

Your little geniuses can still take calculus as a junior. They'll be UC qualified and ready, and they won't hate math.

Go to one of the accelerated classes at a middle school and see what's going on in there. There's good teaching going on, at least at PMS since they got rid the teacher everyone knew was bad a couple of years ago. Maybe 15% of the kids in those classes are actually ready and enjoying it.

Do you want to pay for a class of 12 kids? My guess is no, but you'll find a way to spin it. I look forward to reading it.

DF


16 people like this
Posted by Grace
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:19 pm

To Dark Father’s comment, shouldn’t PUSD be focused on helping those struggling students or provide positive councilling to ensure it is OK to be back to normal math track? The point is that providing freedom of choice serves diviersified needs better! My son said he was bored to death when he was in normal math track. His was very excited the placement test saved his middle school life. He got C and D in accelerated classes sometimes and the teacher even talked with him the trend may lead to drop-out. I told him it is OK to drop out if it is too stressful to him. But he managed to climb up the grading and sustain in the accelerated class. Isn’t Education all about finding your true passion, working hard towards it and thrive?


14 people like this
Posted by The so-called "Problematic Pathway"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Geometry has disappeared all together. What would Pythagorus think?

Dark Father should take a look at the warped District diagrams Getting rid of the Problematic Pathway would eliminate calculus in the junior year because geometry is a prereq that the PUSD left off.

The only options are Precalculus, Algebra II or Math III the junior year because the Pathway the brain trust at PUSD put together eliminated the taking of Geometry all together. See the second green rectangle and first set of boxes.

Dark Father should spend a couple of minutes taking a look for the removed pathway.

First of all, taking a look at the second green box, the pathways summary is entirely messed up because the power brain duo of Rocha/Douglas in the green box for the proposed 2018-2019 path FORGOT Geometry completely in the highest level of interconnected rectangles with the arrows.

Dark Father he/she can look at the summary here - Web Link

Pythagoras would probably say that this proves the point made earlier Douglas/Rocha have no idea what they are doing. They are proposing Algebra II 9th, Precalc 10th, and 11th Calc with absolutely no Geometry class whatsoever.


17 people like this
Posted by BRAYN
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:50 pm

ACTUALLY I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PUSD HIRE KEN ROCHA TO BE THE DIRECTOR OF MATH DEPT? IS HE GOOD AT MATH? I REALLY DOUBT IT. COS WHEN I TALKED WITH HIM, I CAN NOT FIND ANY LOGIC INSIDE IN HIS WORDS! WE PLEASANTON RESIDENTS NEED A NEW MATH DIRECTOR!FIRE HIM!


11 people like this
Posted by Amy
a resident of Rosewood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:52 pm

To Dark Father
I don’t know how you get the rate that only 15% students was happy. Does this means 85% of the students are not happy and hate the class. I think there must be a lot of them think accelerated math is just one course like any other. May be only 15% of the student hate this class. Suppose your estimated rate is right. You think it is ok to eliminate those who truly loves math’ learning opportunity in school to make others happy, right? BTW why don’t your daughter’s friend downgrade her math to a lower level.


15 people like this
Posted by Lovemath
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 31, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I did get a chance to look @ the presentation. The succeful rate of current math6/7 ( means they are able to finish Geometry in 8 th grade) is a whooping 75.56%, the most successful pathway we ever had in math so far in Pleasanton school district! The ironic thing is, they use this as a reason to eliminate it! How pathetic is it? What is the percentage of math competency in the school district? I know it is lower than our succefully math pathway the district is proposing to get rid of it!!!

What happened to the kids who we call as a “failure”(I do not agree on it) for the current accelerate pathway? Is this a chance for them to learn from the experience, to be more resilience, to set a more reasonable target for them self, to correct the mistake and rebound from it and be execellent on math later on, to be proud of themself that they face the challenge....our kids go beyond middle school, high school, college, is the school district trying to tell our kids never challenge yourself, just set a low goal for your life?


8 people like this
Posted by Dark Father
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm

@ Grace
Was it your son's true passion or yours? Did you know your true passion when you were 13? I didn't. How much time did he spend doing math homework each night?

@ Amy
I talked to the teachers to get my number. I know most people on these boards are teacher haters, but in my experience, they actually care about the kids. Most of my daughter's friends did go back down, and ended up much happier.

@ BRAYN
Totally agree.

@ So-called
Looking at your link, you're right and you're wrong. It's different than what I saw previously, and AP Calc seems to have been removed from the 11th-grade options. However, I see geometry on both the 9th and 10th-grade tracks, depending on what you do as an 8th grader. Thoughts?

DF


3 people like this
Posted by Amy
a resident of Rosewood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 8:59 pm

To DF
Again you messed up the rate. What I understand from your post is teachers said only 15% were happy kids, this does not mean 85% of the kids were suffered kids. Again, I think the idea of sacrifice the 15% kids’ genius to make others happy is selfish.


5 people like this
Posted by Amy
a resident of Rosewood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:01 pm

To Dark Father
Again you messed up the rate. What I understand from your post is teachers said only 15% were happy kids, this does not mean 85% of the kids were suffered kids. Again, I think the idea of sacrifice the 15% kids’ genius to make others happy is selfish.


26 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Mom
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:02 pm

I can speak to our experience in Harvest Park. The advanced math teacher Mr Lomas, is the best you can get!. I get to see the class math forum where kids interact and everyone seems so excited and challenged. I have always felt that my child had the aptitude for math, but given the non-challenging Math at elementary, she felt math was quite boring. I distinctly remember the day in middle school, she came home and told me that math might be her favorite subject afterall! And, I did not ask my child to take the advanced path. In fact, I asked her if she wanted to move to the middle path and she was adamant she wanted to stay the course. I understand teachers have a lot of influence on if the student likes the subject.. but this is all the more reason we should look at getting better teachers in schools where we have a problem.

I understand that this is not for all kids and some of them are happier and better in the regular path. But what about Kids who are excited about math and have the altitude for it?? Removing the track is a lazy solution that will bring down the standards. If there are kids who feel there is a gap in teaching, the district should focus on hiring more competent staff who can bring passion to what they teach.


4 people like this
Posted by Amy
a resident of Rosewood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:03 pm

To Dark Father
Again you messed up the rate. What I understand from your post is teachers said only 15% were happy kids, I don’t think this means 85% of the kids were suffered from math. Again, I think the idea of sacrifice the 15% kids’ genius to make others happy is selfish.


19 people like this
Posted by The so-called "Problematic Pathway"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:07 pm

In a nutshell, the PUSD is dumbing down instruction and holding back smart students to eliminate classes and focus on the needs of those at the bottom end of the achievement gap. Basically, PUSD's core objective is to eliminate classes taken by high-achieving students.

They have an archaic 5th grade end of year test to place students in the middle school match track. It needs to be eliminated.

Student choice should drive placement in middle school classes. All students should be able to choose their own courses in middle school, including choosing all of the clubs they want to join in middle school.

Test scores at the 5th grade end of year test should not be used because it is not the students' fault they ended up with a set of lousy elementary school math teachers. It is the District's fault that they retain the lousy teachers.

Any student, regardless of ethnicity or previous grades, should be able to have the option to choose the accelerated math track without input from the administration, the results of the 5th grade end of year math placement test, or previous teachers or current teachers. The accelerated math track will be retained otherwise the school board will be recalled.

Likewise, any student, regardless of ethnicity or previous grades, should be able to have the choice to choose any middle school club they wish to join. As it is in most middle schools locally, teachers have set up placement tests which are as flawed as the 5th grade end of year math placement tests. This results in a high proportion of students of Asian ethnicity in the math oriented middle school clubs such as this student list: Web Link

The bottom line is that student choice should drive math placement and that all levels should be supported including the accelerated track.

If PUSD fails to support its high achieving students, particularly those that wish to major in science and engineering at a decent college where the expectation is that they will have Multivariable Calculus prior to the freshman year, the parents will simply withdraw their children from the school system and enroll them in districts or private schools or charter schools that do support high achieving students.


Like this comment
Posted by Amy
a resident of Rosewood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:08 pm

Sorry for duplicating so many posts, the system kept showing me “ there was a problem adding your comment” . I don’t know how to delete them.


8 people like this
Posted by Grace
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:14 pm

To Dark Father,
Do you even know me or my son? Could it be more ridiculous that you decide the path for people you don’t even know and deprive their freedom from making their own choice? I feel sorry for you that you don’t know what you like or don’t like when you were 13! I did and my son is very clear what course he likes and what he dosen’t. It dosen’t mean everybody needs to follow your path! Only tyranny wants to decide for others!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Grace
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:16 pm

To Dark Father,
Do you even know me or my son? Could it be more ridiculous that you try to decide the path for people you don’t even know and deprive their freedom from making their own choice? I feel sorry for you that you don’t know what you like or don’t like when you were 13! I did and my son is very clear what course he likes and what he dosen’t. It dosen’t mean everybody needs to follow your path! Only tyranny wants to decide for others!!!


4 people like this
Posted by Grace
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:19 pm

To Dark Father,
Do you even know me or my son? Could it be more ridiculous that you try to decide the path for people you don’t even know and deprive their freedom from making their own choice? I feel sorry for you that you don’t know what you like or don’t like when you were 13! I did and my son is very clear what course he likes and what he dosen’t. It dosen’t mean everybody needs to follow your path! By the way, it is truly dark that some people try to take away the resources they don’t enjoy but other people enjoy!


6 people like this
Posted by KC
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:38 pm

TO Jonathan Williams,
I can't agree with you anymore.

You can't make an excuse of underrepresented ethnicities. If they aren't good enough to get in, then they're not good enough. Let's not become social justice warriors when it comes to education. Equality, not equity.


13 people like this
Posted by no name woman
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 9:49 pm

Thanks god I don't have any kids in middle school now. Come on. Teens are always unhappy unless they are noodles. Let it be. But young kids need more science programs, especially for Fast math path and the gated programs, to challenge themselves. Learning how to conquer more studying barriers helps them to build their correct characters, sense and value on their jobs in the future.


18 people like this
Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 31, 2018 at 10:33 pm

Some of these comments bring up one of my major qualms with teachers' unions - the insistence that pay be based on years of service and level of education instead of supply and demand in the marketplace or even actual teaching talent. What sense does it make to pay math, chemistry, physics etc teachers (most of whom could make much more in the private sector) the same as, for example, a PE teacher (most of whom would be hard-pressed to make anything close to a PUSD salary in the private sector, and most of whom my kids described as glorified babysitters).

My daughter was always good at math. But in her 7 years of middle & high school she had 2 math teachers she and I would describe as excellent, and one who was pathetic. The others were just okay. When I would try to convince her that she should consider a math-related career, she would say "I know I'm good at it, but I don't like it". Fortunately, she had an outstanding AP Stats teacher her senior year at Foothill who got her excited about math and she is now an applied statistics major in college. It makes me sad that someone with her talent didn't have math teachers until her senior year who got her excited about the subject.

The other problem with mediocre math (and science) teachers is that those are fields where each year builds on the previous year and therefore a bad teacher can set a student back for years.

The trend toward good jobs *requiring* math competence is not going to change. I think it is tragic that the PUSD is not doing everything in its power to provide classes that challenge every single student, especially the ones who are most talented and/or interested in the subject.


12 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 31, 2018 at 11:35 pm

There are some great comments here and it looks like I may be in the minority but I have some thoughts worth considering...even against what seems like a mob mentality.

As the state of California funds a portion of public education, and the state has established grade level standards, does the school district have an obligation to teach to those standards at the appropriate time/grade level? Specifically if the advanced education does not reflect the student/city population.

It is likely that the most experienced and "best" teachers are teaching the advanced classes. Is it fair to the population of a school to have those teachers kept to specfic races as cited in this article, regardless of achievement, when it doesn't reflect the breadth of the student body?

As a public school district is there an obligation to teach at such an advanced level that in almost any other skill would require private coaching? Examples top musicians can only learn so much locally before they need to seek More advanced instruction. Athletes outgrow their local coaches and as they achieve more and find coaches at a regional or national level.


While the PUSD loves sending their grads to the top Universities...is that their goal? Now it doesn't have to be a zero-sum situation but their mission statement talks more of equity and opportunity then honors geometry in 8th grade (or the like). Perhaps we, as a community, should revisit their mission statement which should guide their decision making.

Is their a chance, maybe the slightest chance, that the hyper competitive environment taking place in these classes is creating a detrimental impact on the school as a learning community? Middle school brain development is usually the start of ones formative years. Are these the students the city and district want as our future leaders?

The Disctrict, school, and teachers...regardless of nightly homework being assigned or not, does not and will never restrict individualized learning including advanced learning. Those who choose to learn, without being assigned from a teacher, or their parents, are the students who truly love a subject. The ability to seek out knowledge is a wonderful attribute and can be fostered by wonderful teachers, but never assigned.

And finally how about a learning opportunity for these advanced mathematicians. In a class where not everyone is competing to be at the head, it may give these future leaders and achievers an opportunity to function and work with others, collaboring and sharing their knowledge just as they may have to do as a successful leader. So these kids become leaders, and learn how to explain math to others, dealing with people they feel they are supior to...heck isn't that the working world? Like it or not the trend in education is collaboration.


8 people like this
Posted by Cashew
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Feb 1, 2018 at 8:32 am

@Educated/Joe,

Thank you for even reading these comments and interjecting such golden insight.

Let me just add to many of the parents on this board, and I am trying to be helpful, not hurtful so no one please get offended but since everyone is being refreshingly direct already, here goes. Asian parents have a notorious reputation for "getting it done" for their kids but not going beyond that in service to the community. For example, volunteering, donating, etc - I am not saying it is TRUE, but it is a constant narrative I hear and try to refute. Maybe we do but are just humbler and don't 'toot our horn' as well. I have also heard of a different kind of 'bullying'where Asian kids mock others because they are 'smarter'. Again, not a very good leader in the making and I know firsthand that they do explicitly teach respect to others. But the fact is that kids need to be kids and also learn how to be good leaders and collaborators. II wish more Asians who care about ALL kids would come to the table(volunteer as a coach, join a PTA or Band or Athletics board) so you could see that teachers/PUSD admin are doing the best they can based on what they know, and based on what PUSD dollars can buy. Our budget is constrained - this is why band and athletics parents must make voluntary donations to have those choices even exist.I also wish PUSD were more direct about the impact of the Math Pathways proposal and others on the budget so parents understand what PUSD can afford and what is possible by the grace of community donations. You might even be surprised at what parents come up with. And yes, some teachers can do better, too.


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasonton Mom
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 1, 2018 at 9:03 am

To Dark Father,

"Maybe 15% of the kids in those classes are actually ready and enjoying it.
Do you want to pay for a class of 12 kids? My guess is no, but you'll find a way to spin it."

Do you suggest that we ignore the need of the 15% of kids who enjoys math? Did you read the ppt slides and notice it also mentions some 1% and 12% numbers? Since 15% is bigger than 1% and 12%, with your logic, we can conclude that we should ignore those 1% and 12%? If not, why not? Because this 15% is different from that 1% and 12%?


13 people like this
Posted by Mommy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 10:06 am

This is simply my 5 cents understanding, feel free to correct me!

What is the change?
- remove 5 years fast track, therefore to delay acceleration point from 6th grade to 7th grade.
- due to that, geometry and algebra II would be taken together in 9th grade for accelerated path (It is totally opposite of the motto "slow is fast", how could a 9th grade study two heavy math subjects in a year still manage to learn deeply?)

Why the change?
- difficult math subjects should be pushed back to high school?
- to slow down kids who are mathematically talented (bear in mind kids have multiple intelligence, some are good at Language/Art, some Musics instruments and some are athletes in nature, we want them to find their passions and reach full potentials) - reasons could be to give one more gap year in six grade for all the kids to catch up before we test them for acceleration paths?
- to reduce stress level of kids whom are not ready but placed in more challenging tracks?

Could we not change, but focusing on problems?
- remain the existing pathways (obviously there are kids whom are talented in that subject matter) but also allow flexibility to drop out, or enroll or switch paths with no shame.
- more supports earlier into 4th and 5th grade (more exercises, Maths liked learning any other skills, require repetition practicing ).
- build a learning environment which is not competitive but collaboration (as mentioned by someone earlier) - Forming study groups and lead by kid whom are passionate about what he is good at, etc. helping each other to do their best in learning.

@Cashew
Let's drop that but focusing on education & community. Any discussion relates to stereotyping one race or culture will lead to no where. I am Asian mom by the way, and trying my best to help and involve within my ability.



27 people like this
Posted by To Cashew
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 10:07 am

Cashew - The narratives you cited are so uninformed. Asian parents make a lot of donations, and volunteer a lot. The kind of stereotyping that you have heard contributes to the racist proposal to the maths path, among other things. I hope you keep refuting such false narratives, and perhaps try approach the school district and see if you can see some breakdown of donation, if you are trying to help. Or at least talk to some Asian parents. Be informed, be wise.


17 people like this
Posted by Father of a PUSD Student
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

To Dark Father:

Let's the student pick the pathway thatt fits him/her best. We can not use one student's interest to justify other kids'.

If your daughter's friend doesn't like the accelarated math course, swith her to the other pathway then. In the same manner, if a student finds the 3-year pathway is too boring, she/he should have the opportunity to pick a faster pathway.

My son's friend was in the fastest accelarated 6th math class a few years ago, when Ken Rocha was the pricipal of HPMS. The boy was so bored and after two weeks in school, he talked to the math teacher and Mr. Rocha about that. Mr. Rocha was supportive to the boy's math selection, and allowed him to skip to the next level. The boy was very happy when he was in Mr. Lomas' math class. He ended up finishing 6 year of math courses within his 3 years in middle school. He got straight A in all his math and enjoy math classes and other subjects.

The boy also enjoyed golf and swimming, but he didn't like basket ball. When his dad sent him to basket ball camp during summer, he was very upset. Shall we call for canceling all basket ball activities because this kid don't like it? Of course not.

Let the kids like golf play golf. Let the kids like basket ball play basket ball. Why punish one kid because of other kids' interest?


15 people like this
Posted by Paul Walker
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 1, 2018 at 10:20 am

Paul Walker is a registered user.

To Posted by Cashew

Your really need to enroll the math class to study the logic, people here discuss the math issue, you pop lots unrelated stuff. and also Asian people improved the whole community from education, safety, care etc. Not the one you said, when one person not positive and live in a negative environment, will not happy life. Are you happy?


21 people like this
Posted by Lily Young
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:13 am

I’m so surprised there are racists here. I can’t believe it happened in Pleasanton, a highly educated town, in 21 century!
As a Asian American, I highly recommend PUSD to announce all the parents’ donation list and amount every year!!! We Asian American parents refuse to back this black pot!!!
To what Joe/ what Cashew,
Do you live in Pleasanton? Are your kids going to school now? How often do you participate your kids’ school volunteer? How much do YOU and your family donate to our community last year? Answer me!!! If you don’t donate and volunteer as often as I can, Please shut up your dirty mouth!
Here I can tell you: Last year I donate $200 to my kids’ school for the fun run. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to their school that day cos I had a business trip. But I tried my best to take part in many school activities as long as I had time. For instance, I volunteered my kids’ yearbook, art classes and lots of parties. I donated over $300 to each of my kid’s class for purchasing stationaries per year. Also, I donated over $ 600 to PTA and $190 to PPIA(?or something else)… Additionally, I can tell you every year I paid nearly $20k property tax to our Alameda County. Not to mention our huge income tax….
Serve for community? It’s easy to say, ah? Tell me what did YOU do for our community!?! Honestly, as the first immigrate generation, I and many my highly educated Asian American friends did our best to serve this pretty town as we can. The most problem is, most of our parents aren’t here. They don’t want to live with us because they used to their traditional foods, languages and friends. So sometimes, we immigrate families don’t have so much time to do volunteer. That may be the truth. But we already tried our best. We donate a lot!!! Though your comments, I can’t find any understanding and compassion. I’m so disappointed that you are a so mean and unfriendly guy. And more unfortunately, you probably live in Pleasanton.
Remind: Don’t insult others! Especially insult a special minorities! Be a human being in a modern society.


13 people like this
Posted by Epicenter of stupidity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

With Pleasanton on a path of eliminating advanced classes, it is no wonder Oracle opened its own on-site charter school so that students of its employees would continue to receive educational opportunities that PUSD is systematically eliminating.

I see Parvin Ahmadi's and David Haglund's path to systematically dismantle programs designed to improve the educational opportunities for students and fill up students' schedules with no-learning "access periods" as corrosive to the community as a whole. What high tech corporation would ever locate in Pleasanton given that Pleasanton schools are not on a path of improvement and enhancing learning, but regression and student stagnation?

Unlike Haglund's latest fiasco, the Advanced Placement courses, honors classes, GATE and accelerated math classes brought into existence by Bill James, John Casey, etc. must *not* be eliminated in order for teachers to be re-assigned to remedial classes.

Obviously the school board that voted to approve this obviously half baked PUSD Resolution No. 2015-2016.23 “Equity & Diversity” policy “Practices and policies that lead to both the over-representation of students from some ethnic groups and students of low socioeconomic status in areas such as special education and the under-representation in programs such as gifted and talented, honors, and Advanced Placement will be critically examined and modified” must be removed.


2 people like this
Posted by Mommy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:34 am

Let's drop topics related to racist nor personal attacks. It serves no one. It is life isn't it, no matter where you go there would be people disagreement with you. There would be people less advantage or more affluence.

Focus on education equity, and support kids to achieve their full potentials.

From Asian mommy, as above,


27 people like this
Posted by Balance
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:56 am

Problems with the Accelerated Math:
1. Too many students who were not recommended or nor passed an entrance to the class are enrolled anyway. Parents demand this and then take their students to tutoring. This causes multiple problems. Most concerning is that students who are ready for acceleration are now in a classes with students needing remedial assistance in an advanced class.
2. Too many students say they "hate" the speed of advanced math, but say their parents are making these decisions. In tears, students have confided that they can't complete homework in other subject areas because they are "struggling" with nearly two hours of math homework. If they are truly advanced, the homework shouldn't take 2 hours nor should the students need tutors.
3. Parents are ignoring the test results, Cs and Ds on tests, and teacher recommendations. Parents are told their students should not continue the track unless said student earns a A or B, but some students move on with low Cs and even Ds if their parents complain loud enough. These students then have "holes" when they reach high school. AS noted in the posts above, parents complain that the middle school or elementary teachers were lousy. Are tutoring centers full with only students need remediation for grade level material or also those in advanced courses and/or students trying to jump ahead?
4. Cheating! Students tell their friends in the next class the questions and answers. Cheating is becoming a huge problem.
5. Stress. Our students are under tremendous stress already, but when a student is working 2-3 years above their grade level and then fails, the pressure can be too much. Web Link
A fellow teacher at Mission San Jose lost a student when she took her life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge due to an unacceptable grade, a B+.


Solutions:
1. Students should pass an entrance exam. If they don't pass, they should not be permitted to take the advanced class. Thus, students won't take a class for which they are unprepared. And most importantly, the class remains advanced for the students who truly are ready.
2. Students who take online math courses should pass the District's midterm and final.
3. Students should advance in high school when they are more prepared for the rigors of advanced math. Entering high school at the Geometry level still ensures a student will take AP Cal. But, I heard the burn-out is so high that 50% of the students starting in advanced Math in middle school don't take AP Cal. Again, not sure of the stats.
4. Counselors should check-in with students who are carrying an a very advanced course load. Educators do care about the mental well being our students. Along with their parents, we don't want to lose any of them to overwhelming stress.



Let's keep the integrity of advanced math by setting up some guidelines rather than water down classes due to parent pressure. Then, truly mathematically gifted students will benefit from a program that was designed for them.


6 people like this
Posted by Epicenter of stupidity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm

A 5th grade math placement exam to enter a 6th grade math class is something out of another epoch. Firstly, it is ridiculous especially since there are so many copies of this specific exam floating around tutoring centers that it is very easy to practice for the exact test by taking it over and over again. In addition, no student should have to have a teacher as a gatekeeper to deny students the opportunity to take a class, even if the student is stretching themselves to do so.

Student choice should drive placement. Problem solved.

Balance who posted above refuses to acknowledge that it is the PUSD's lack of oversight and bad management practices that has brought institutional cheating as commonplace in Pleasanton. Students should not have to bribe a teacher by paying them tutoring fees or donations to get placed in a particular class. Bribery is wrong.

The problem is that the teachers that teach most of the accelerated math track classes recycle the same worksheets and tests and exams year to year, never changing them. The bottom line is that many of these teachers benefit from being purposefully vague in class because they themselves are tutoring in local tutoring centers and get paid by the students' parents. The cheating that is going on is perpetuated by the PUSD management that looks the other way at their staff being paid to tutor students year round and in the summer such as the massive pay-to-play boondoggle at Harvest Park. Teachers that recycle the same old worksheets and tests each year, most directly lifted out of a set of old textbooks found at many tutoring centers in town, have perpetuated the rampant cheating in Pleasanton.


50 people like this
Posted by Kris
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm

I am not Asian but it is awful that people are saying that Asian parents don't volunteer at schools. I have met many wonderful Asian parents who volunteer and support my childrens school. I've also met many white parents who do not volunteer, even when they could. For the Asian parents reading these forums, understand that the people writing these things are a small minority and you are appreciated and not stereotyped this way by most.


18 people like this
Posted by Balance
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 1, 2018 at 1:39 pm

I agree; these comments about Asian parents are awful and have no credibility. We should all be working together to have the best learning opportunities for all students.


8 people like this
Posted by Concerned in Pleasanton
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 1, 2018 at 2:10 pm

Here is the link to the PUSD calendar.

Web Link

Meetings & Agendas
Public meetings are scheduled the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the district office, 4665 Bernal Avenue, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

I suggest that each interested resident of the District get involved to help steer the 'ship' in the right direction.


2 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 1, 2018 at 2:32 pm

To those who suggest that teachers should be hired and paid based on aptitude: yes, but how do you propose they be tested? Surely not by the same people who create this apparently (and likely) poor 5th grade student assessment. I’m afraid bad testing hurts everyone. I’d rather see bad testing eliminated and replaced by the good judgement of parents and teachers as to where the student should go. (And good judgement by administrators where the teachers should go.).

As for that the administrators have no good judgement—which seems clear by this very thread—that’s why we’re stuck with crappy tests.


2 people like this
Posted by Epicenter of stupidity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 3:17 pm

There are multiple standardized tests that should be implemented to prove the competence of math teachers. Math teachers that are proposed to be hired need to take the Accuplacer series of tests to prove their competence in the subject matter they intend to teach prior to being placed in the classroom. Of course, the union will protest.

The grading scale at the elementary level needs to be revised so that students from 1st to 5th grade get letter grades. I can understand Kindergarten students being graded on 'making progress' vs 'not making progress,' but having 1st through 5th graders evaluated on this 'feel good' scale serves no purpose. Almost everyone gets 3s-making progress in math.

The rigged 5th grade end of year test should be thrown out. Any objective measure such as the math portion of the STAR/Math CC test could be used. Teachers are routinely holding back students that meet and exceed grade level math standards of the STAR/Math CC test and preventing them from enrolling in the accelerated math track.

What a student chooses to enroll in should be a students' own choice, not a placement letter received from the office of Odie Douglas on PUSD letterhead telling them what track they need to shoehorned in.


14 people like this
Posted by Math is a brain game
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Actually US Math academy is far behind of other countries, including UK. I already have no comments about our k-12 public education. We need more math courses/tutoring or any other else, not less. Any action that trying to stop helping advanced students to achieve their goals is the action that trying to destroy Americans' future. Math is a science, neither a resource nor politics. Tell the less presentative kids(in the proposal): if you really want to catch up others, try your best. Study hard, learn more. GO!

Digest from a white gentleman's comment on next door:

By all means, education should be as individual as possible. The era of the one-room schoolhouse is deep in the past. PUSD, and all school districts for that matter, should bust their tails to provide each child with the highest level of challenge that he or she is able to meet. Of course this should be by practicality; we obviously can't provide each child with an individual tutor. But setting a course of challenge in a child's path at each step of the way, to the maximum extent that it is feasible, will best prepare him or her for the demands and expectations of this increasingly sophisticated high-tech world. This is especially true of math, which forms the core of everything....


3 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 1, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Oh boy, I don’t think giving letter grades to six year olds makes any sense.

I’m not sure where this belief that kids are coddled comes from, except the usual inter generational “I walked 6 miles to school
up hill both ways when I was your age” failure. Kids are neither coddled nor mistreated today. Parents pressure a lot here, but that’s their choice. As sociologists have known for centuries, high pressure schooling tends to be an upper middle class phenomenon, as the parents seen Ivy League schooling as important. (The poorer can’t expect to be admitted and the wealthy don’t need to be to be successful.)

I think eliminating advanced schooling options is very silly, however.

As for measuring teachers, the test you cited isn’t particularly impressive. Someone would have to prove that it is even possible to test what makes a good teacher good. Sure, you can eliminate uneducated teachers with assessments. But I’m sure they are rare in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

By the way, what do they give seniors here who have taken calculus already? Do they offer analysis, group theory, or such? Or does it just stall out and they expect seniors to take other subjects?


7 people like this
Posted by Epicenter of stupidity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Multivariable calculus in the next course after calculus that seniors take at Amador.

A test to screen out teachers who don't really know how to do math is better than wasting money on Math Instructional Coaches to try to help them learn the basics of math.


2 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 1, 2018 at 4:19 pm

I don’t understand the math instructional coaches. Who do they coach?

Multivariate calculus: okay. I guess I forgot what was in AP Calc given that it was too many decades ago. I seem to remember that being a prerequisite for freshman classes in college, so I didn’t realize it wasn’t in AP Calc. Good to know.


2 people like this
Posted by BWR Mom
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 1, 2018 at 4:52 pm

My daughter is a junior at Amador and her math teacher sat in a meeting with us and the principal and said , High school should not be where these kids are learning Algebra II...math instructors believe that it should be college level. This isn't a race issue. Stop with that. Plenty of asian/Indian students bully due to race so let's start with that if we are talking race wars.


2 people like this
Posted by The so-called "Problematic Pathway"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm

Grumpy, it is a mystery what the two (and maybe there are more) math instructional coaches actually do other than make Youtube videos designed to teach Pleasanton teachers how to do math using the awful Eureka/ENGAGE NY Common Core math and to "coach" teachers how to teach math. They have no student contact in the classroom and they do not pull out students to do 1:1 or small group math instruction.

Back in 2010 or 2011 when they got rid of the math enrichment program at the elementary school level from North Carolina called Sunshine Math, a parent told me today that was the beginning of taking away the advanced math track. Parvin Ahmadi wanted to do away with any accelerated math from Day 1 when she was hired. Also I am told three or four years ago the high school level she wanted to do away completely with Precalculus, Algebra II, Geometry and Single and Multi Variable Calculus and only offer Math I, Math II and Math III (and no Math IV). It seems like it is the Board's direction to do away with the math and science programs in the public schools.


2 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 1, 2018 at 5:37 pm

But why would they want to get rid of all advanced math programs? Are you sure that’s what they want? It wouldn’t make much sense for them to do so. They’d never win as dog catcher again, let alone be re-elected to the board.

Are you sure this isn’t needless panic?


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Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 7:37 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Grumpy,

About four years ago, there were some common core presentations at PMS were they showed no advanced track at all in math. When asked during the Q and A, the school responded that they would be eliminated. Of course, many parents objected and advanced tracks were brought back.


16 people like this
Posted by Thank You Dark Father!!!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Dark Father is 100% correct. A majority of the students on the accelerated track are their because of their parents. The student has to take a test but if the parent complain that they didn't qualify, the parent will get their way. Then you end up with stressed out kids who absolutely hate math.

There is a reason why our students are so stressed out. There is also a reason why a lot of the mental health services at the high school go towards the high achieving students. Their parents are putting way too much pressure on them.

Thank you PUSD for looking out for kids!


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Posted by The so-called "Problematic Pathway"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Grumpy and BobB ask interesting questions about why the school board wants to eliminate advanced math programs. Rocha's presentation suggests that by eliminating the advanced math programs, the scores of asian students (and PUSD tracks Asians by sub-group) on tests will go down so that the hispanic and black students' averages will not look quite as bad as compared to the asian students.

That isn't true because the asian families can easily teach the students the topics anyway and/or will still send kids to math tutoring. There is no way they will allow bureaucrats to hold back their kids because of some sort of diabolical experiment in social engineering to achieve racial equity in test scores.

The current flawed 5th grade end of year assessment is described here and of course a portion of the test is completely subjective and graded by what is termed a committee of teachers. This means the 'committee' can pick and choose who gets to be on the accelerated math island and who gets booted off the accelerated math island.

Web Link

No objective measure is used to essentially "track" the kids into an accelerated or general or remedial path. And of course the existing test and rubrics for scoring are all over Pleasanton.


10 people like this
Posted by To "Thank You Dark Father!!!"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 8:11 pm

What you said - "A majority of the students on the accelerated track are their because of their parents." - Do you have any data to back that up or just your imagination? Cite some sources otherwise anyone can claim anything and make
fake news.


2 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 1, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Wow, so that’s what they’re doing in 5th grade. They’re nuts.

Why is it that people who claim to understand enough about testing and statistics to offer one-shot tests know so little about testing and statistics? High pressure one-shot tests are highly biased. Only a continuous measurement process can avoid the confounding of stress and unfamiliarity.

So I know why they’d want to eliminate the test. It’s insane to offer it. Eliminating the program, on the other hand, is more insane.

My question would be then, does this district allow students to take a summer class at a local junior college to skip the high school class? I did that...it was fun to take in two weeks what high school insisted on teaching in 9 months.


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Posted by Eddie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2018 at 8:37 pm

Grumpy - it's super interesting you asked that. The school district is actually working on another "initiative" at the same time, which no longer allows "outside courses" to go on PUSD transcripts. And what you enjoyed was part of the reason they wanted to get rid of the practice, because they somehow thought students would not learn as much in a 2-month program.

A community feedback session is scheduled on Feb 8.


17 people like this
Posted by Nemean Cane
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2018 at 9:08 pm

Mathematics is the most important part of the world. Mathematics is everywhere, and everything is written in a mathematical language, from celestial bodies to computer codes. The new pathway proposal is an absolute disgrace. I don’t mean to brag, but I can already do 8th grade Geometry in 5th grade, and getting rid of it would be absolute boredom for smart kids with a passion for math. 5th grade math is already atrocious in quality. Honestly, they think that you have to use a piece of paper to convert 2/5 to decimal notation. If you need to help disadvantaged people, can’t you find a way of doing it that doesn’t drag everyone else down? It’s totally a great idea to make everyone dumber so “underrepresented” people can be represented more.
I just wonder: how is this supposed to help the disadvantaged kids anyway? Isn’t putting really smart kids and disadvantaged kids in the same room mentally unhealthy for both of them? The disadvantaged kids will not be happy at the smart kids’ vocalization of their boredom, and the smart kids will be bored to death. That can’t be very good. Also, I have a fairly large and obvious objection. Does the multitude of boxes and lines mean that there is an option for no Geometry? Shame, I thought the new pathway was supposed to help people.
Eliminating the accelerated pathway would be losing brains and talent that could have been put to good use developing new inventions and making advancements. Technically, this could be considered high treason, which is, needless to say, not a crime that you want to commit. Rocha should be fired and thrown out of office, and indicted for this awful proposal.
Another woeful argument made for the proposal: middle school teachers aren’t qualified to decide who is advanced? Actually, how do we know that Douglas and Rocha can decide that? I am pretty sure that they can’t even compare themselves to Mr Lomas or the other teachers, so they shouldn’t talk.
Also, kids will get the accelerated program in high school when they really need it, not when their parents think they need it, according to someone. Excuse me, but-surprise!-maybe the parents might actually know when their child needs more advanced classes. Mindblowing, isn’t it? Not really, but the parents probably know their child the best.
Our horrid Eureka math program is already bad enough, why completely tear apart middle school math education. Disadvantaged people should be helped, but according to Douglas and Rocha, helping means to make everyone else dumb.


8 people like this
Posted by Options?
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 1, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Web Link

Looks like San Ramon offers Summer Programs so students have more opportunities.


8 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:08 pm

I think removing this program is completely stupid. The logic is flawed.

I think a lot of the people here need to focus a little more energy on language and grammar.....great math skills mean nothing if you can't articulate an argument / statement or conclusion.

I think it's interesting that the same people stating its wrong to make ethnic stereotypes have no problem using them when it's a favorable one.

Merit and interest should dictate participation.


23 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 2, 2018 at 8:36 am

We should start fast track math much earlier - like second grade. My 4th grader has been bored in math for years. If we start to challenge kids earlier - then we don't need the insane 6/7 and Math8/Algebra later.

When I was a kid, we had the advanced track math starting in 2nd grade. I wasn't put in it at first but then proved myself to my teachers and was moved into the class. I did Algebra 1 in 7th, Geometry in 8th, Algebra 2 + Trig in 9th, Elementary function and analytic geometry in 10th and Calculus in 11th. All smooth - no cramming. So did 60 other kids in my school each year.

Please don't dumb down Pleasanton! The kids who need to be challenged need options.


3 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 2, 2018 at 9:04 am

I realize it is off topic, but I would propose a solution to the "has one demographic donated/volunteered more/less than another demographic" issue. There are two ways to approach this. 1) Tie the donations/volunteer time to the student. Meaning, if I donate to the "field trip" fund, that enables my child to participate. If a family has a financial assistance need, then they can show proof of need similar to other state and federal assistance programs. This would prevent parents from "gaming" the system and having their child's field trips, Outdoor Ed, and class parties being paid by the parents who do donate. For volunteer time, parents would be either required to volunteer x number of hours or donate an additional amount. For those families with financial need, see above 2) be totally transparent with donations and volunteer time. Publish who donates and volunteers so their community can see who is committed to supporting their children, school, and community and who is not.

Many parents are frustrated they are supporting other families who have the financial needs but are too selfish to contribute to the common good. Activities like Outdoor Ed and Field Trips will continue to be cancelled if this issue is not addressed.


34 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 2, 2018 at 9:54 am

Our kids are happy they had accelerated math in middle school. It freed up their high school schedules a bit. There are great technical electives in high school that are tough to work in around the core UC requirements.

They didn't mention anything about race while taking the classes. The kids don't notice. It's something administrators get worked up about. Cutting PUSD admin by 50% would improve the district. They have so much free time, they are looking for problems that don't exist.


19 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 2, 2018 at 10:14 am

Agree with Bill.

There are at least 5 in the PUSD making $200K+ annually.
No root cause analysis is apparent in the proposal.

Greater efficiencies in the PUSD office could free up funds work on the root causes of any disproportionate enrollments in the advanced classes that are found.


13 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 2, 2018 at 10:22 am

Agree with Parent.

Even earlier is much better.

My grand children were started with private instruction in early years because the public schools lack this.

As a result they have underlying skills that help with all sorts of other disciplines. Their ability to learn music for example, is greatly enhanced!


13 people like this
Posted by Shreya
a resident of Dublin
on Feb 2, 2018 at 11:08 am

Every student must be given an opportunity


7 people like this
Posted by Good Job Lily Young
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2018 at 11:48 am

[Removed because it referred to a deleted post]

Lily - Great job donating and volunteering!


7 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Good job Lily for calling out the racist remarks here.

Pleasanton Weekly -- For some reason I no longer see my earlier comments. Was there a problem?


7 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2018 at 1:37 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Curious,

There is no problem with whatever you are talking about. The people making unsavory comments about "certain ethnic groups" are bigoted, prejudiced and racist.


8 people like this
Posted by Doc
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 7, 2018 at 10:14 am

Doc is a registered user.

I've been saying it for a while now that students in Pleasanton need some real choices and real options outside of the district run schools. The best strategy for our community to have some real options for our children could come in the form of a charter school. The education code 47601 provided opportunities for teachers, parents, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the confines of the existing school structure and restrictive state regulations to accomplish the following:
* Improve pupil learning;
* Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving;
*Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods;
*Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system;
*Hold the school accountable for meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide the school with a method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability systems; and,
*Provide vigorous competition within the public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.

There is no better way to get the attention of a stubborn board and a superintendent than to drop a charter on them at a board meeting and force them to review it and approve/deny one.


6 people like this
Posted by Concerned in Pleasanton
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 7, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Concerned in Pleasanton is a registered user.

fyi...the PUSD superintendent has a page where his weekly bulletins to the Board of Education are posted:

Web Link

In the 01-28 bulletin, Odie Douglas talks about "Future Mathematics Pathways Update"
Web Link

Future Mathematics Pathways Update
" A draft proposal has been shared in previous Weekly Board Communications (12/3/17 and12/17/17).     Starting in February 2018, staff will begin the process of engaging our community in awareness .... Please click here for an update on our work underway."

Click the "here" link to see the proposal and the Community Engagement Calendar

TBD in February
Community Engagement: Panel discussion, review draft proposal & breakout discussions
Hart Middle School’s Multi-purpose room from 6-7:30PM
2/7/18

Community Engagement: Panel discussion, review draft proposal & breakout discussions
Pleasanton Middle School Multi-purpose room from 6-7:30PM
2/28/18

Community Engagement: Panel discussion, review draft proposal & breakout discussions
Harvest Park School Multi-purpose room from 6-7:30PM


4 people like this
Posted by Reply to Doc
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 7, 2018 at 9:19 pm

Reply to Doc is a registered user.

Doc, you're aware that Livermore's charter school just failed due to financial mismanagement? While PUSD's schools continue to earn national awards and recognition? Not saying PUSD couldn't be better, just that they are actually decent. And the charter option is no panacea. The problem of misaligned financial incentives affects all options here.


10 people like this
Posted by PUSD mom of adv pathway students
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 7, 2018 at 10:02 pm

PUSD mom of adv pathway students is a registered user.

I am very disappointed in this proposal. They should be offering more and not less.

I have a 6/7 and another 7/8 pathway student (who I pushed in without a teacher recommendation who is doing great in the program) and another coming soon. My 6/7 student is pretty bright but there are brilliant students in this top pathway that ace every exam. My son gets frustrated when he misses a single question as he tries to compete. These students need to be challenged and they are very capable of handling it. Plus it could hurt the self esteem of those on the lower advance pathways who can’t compete. Keep the top students separate.

I want to highlight they eliminated another math pathway recently as well. That is eliminating the option to take a concentrated math class in the summer instead of doubling up in the school year with their new limitations on transcripts and DPIE ban. Dublin is offering 8 geometry classes plus algebra and algebra 2 this summer. These classes are UC approved and are accepted for credit in the Dublin school district. Yet PUSD just decided to no longer accept them as we are too stuck up and too lazy to do paperwork. Yet we don’t offer an alternative summer option beyond remediation. How hypocritical.

Finally I took AP Calculus in High school and I learned it a lot better in a small classroom setting than my peers stuck in a 400 person auditorium in college. There are advantages to taking calculus in high school if you are good in math. Plus honestly, middle school curriculum is a snapshot of what is learned in more detail in high school. So going through it faster isn’t a big deal. They will see it again.

Shame on you PUSD. You should be helping students not hampering their progress.


7 people like this
Posted by PUSD mom of adv pathway students
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 7, 2018 at 11:15 pm

PUSD mom of adv pathway students is a registered user.

Curious- regarding outdoor ed, you are sooo right. I am tired of freeloaders as well. Apparently last year a group of parents at our school went on a “school is free” campaign and refused to pay despite knowing the school district won’t pay for Outdoor ed. An anonymous donor saved the day for the entire 5th grade class. They would have had to cancel otherwise. This year my daughter’s 5th grade class barely gathered enough through a go fund me and numerous fundraisers to cover for those who wouldn’t pay. Enough is enough. It is not fair my daughter could have lost an opportunity through no fault of her/our own.

I learned that they changed the rules a few years ago that if it is school sponsored, they can no longer track who paid and thus the confusion on trying trace down those who hadn’t paid...but if the PFC/PTA was in charge of the program instead they could track who has paid and also be selective on who goes. We are going to need to use this group in the future. There could still be a scholarship application, but only those who go through the application process to prove they don’t have funds get it. I strongly suspect that if told they pay, apply, or not go, the payment % would amazingly go way up. I am just glad this is my last outdoor Ed. It has gotten so bad now.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Doc, to follow up on Reply to Doc's comments, charter schools are a drain on public system budgets and can often do harm to the students remaining in the regular schools. I believe PUSD would have to provide the facilities as well-so at which school do you bump kids out (or pay leasing fees to rent some other place for the charter)?

A good alternative is magnet schools. While this is still district driven, you can focus on math/sciences, the arts, or languages, etc. . . . depends on the community's interests/needs, and they can be TK-5, TK-8, TK-12 (or other grade level combinations).

PUSD Mom, some very vocal people have worked to ensure a "free education", literally means free . . . no paper, no Kleenex, no graduation gowns, and worst of all, no summer school. I watched a particular parent cause the end of a wonderful summer school program full of enrichment classes that other parents willingly paid for, and parents willingly paid a little extra to allow for scholarships for those who could not afford the classes being offered. That parent, however, did not want to have to prove an inability to pay and not only fought to end the practice, ended the enrichment classes for everyone, and cheated the other scholarship students. The parent also was awarded a refund going back a few years. So heartbreaking to watch.

So, parents who don't or can't pay or just don't want to prove whether they can pay or not, yes, it becomes something other parents end up accounting for through fundraising. But I'd rather donate and have these enriching experiences available for all students than not.


1 person likes this
Posted by PUSD concerned
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm

PUSD concerned is a registered user.

From what I know, teacher union has too much power over PUSD. For the past 5 years, I have heard enough that principles and superinterndent from PUSD got fired/under lawsuit/leg go because some "harsh" behavior or comments to the staff. I can't say they are not true but there is no transparency at all and it just happened too often and too similar one after another. Now they get rid of all the harsh bosses, they start to look into how can make their life even easier - no fast track math, no high school credit can be put into PUSD transcript. All the extra funding will go to support so called sanctury schools!


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 8, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

PUSD concerned, I would doubt this is a cost savings (certainly hope that would not be what this proposal is about). But if there is “extra funding” would go to covering pensions. There is no cost of being a sanctuary district that I’m aware of; I don’t even think there is a plan in place for working with the city if ICE showed up.


7 people like this
Posted by Concerned Teacher
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 8, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Concerned Teacher is a registered user.

I'm a teacher and I have lots of thoughts about this. First, I don't want to have only one choice in a car, such as a Jeep Compass, nor would you. I also don't want to have one choice in a cell phone such as an old Blackberry phone, nor do you. It's nice to have choices, getting things that fit your needs. You do this every time you go shopping. So I feel charter schools are a great option. Choices are good! Students/parents should have a school choice and a curriculum choice for what they feel is the best for them, which includes an advanced math pathways. Unfortunately the teachers union feels that school choice is not good. (Too bad I have to belong to a teachers union; I'd like to have a choice about that too!) With that, just take a look at how well some of our government agencies (i.e. monopolies) are run. Do you like the DMV, how about TSA, the Post Office, Amtrak, how's your roads doing, or how about the VA? (Think about this the next time you hear that CA wants to run our health care!). Competition is good, even in education. Competition encourages insight to improving ways things are done. Think of that when you pick up your iPhone, use the new features in your car, benefit from medical advances, etc.

Secondly, PUSD needs to have credentialed math teachers at the elementary level. Trying to fix student misconceptions at the middle/high school level is going to be nearly impossible. I know this will be a lightening rod, but simply put, data shows that some cultures just don't value education as much as other cultures (some people in those cultures do very well, but they value education, so that is not a blank statement). Trying to get kids from these cultures to "see the light," for the most part it is not going to happen in middle/high school. It's better addressed in elementary school, however it would be even better served learning the value of education before entering school. However, that is out of the control of the schools, unless they decide to get involved in education programs aimed at those parents/guardians and can get them involved. When this 'education light' is seen early in life, there are lots of great examples of successful people from these cultures. I do encourage those successful people to step forward and take leadership in teaching these cultures the value of education, family unity, respect of authority, etc. (everyone will benefit from this). I see these struggling students every day. I try my best to help them, but they're just not interested. I continue to try, but it's frustrating. I do keep looking for ways of making inroads with these students. It is hard to see their attitudes!

Thirdly, PUSD does have a fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, one of the highest taxed, richest states in the Union spends less than the average amount per student ($9767 PUSD vs. $12383 nationally), and we have one of the highest pupil/teacher ratio (25.1 PUSD vs. 16.8 nationally). Interesting that the citizens of this city/county/state allow this to happen. Yet Jerry Brown, and the CA government, are hero's to most (Choo-Choo trains, water tunnels, and illegals are more important to him/them then the tax-paying citizens). I'm always amazed how the teachers union can support Governor Brown. They do so because the illegals/non-US citizens increase enrollment, hence more teachers are needed, hence they get more money for their power to support Brown and promote their agenda. Back to the facts, about 15-17% of the students here in PUSD are not US citizens. If we only had to educate legal citizens, we could increase per student funding by about 15/20% to about $11500/student and reduce class size to about 22 per teacher. Also, for the majority of these non-citizen students, English is not their first language and they are way behind academically in all subjects. PUSD is mandated by our state/Governor to raise the level of these kids. So, I'll estimate that about 20-25% of PUSD's "academic support monies" on these students, and it makes little difference. I know some will look at this as being prejudice and racial, but that's what many people do when they choose to ignore the facts and let their emotions overtake over. Simply put, education is not a priority to California because of it's other priorities.

LCAP funding will continue to put pressure on PUSD. Districts that have more "socially economically disadvantaged" (SED) students will continue to get more money. Oakland spends nearly $13k/student, about 33% more than PUSD, and look at their success (32% meeting/exceeding in Oakland vs. 81% in PUSD)! So either PUSD needs to have more SED students for the money, or cut back on successful programs to manage the budget.

Kathleen: Yes, being a sanctuary district/city/county/state does have a cost. Looking at the facts and figures, and doing some analysis, does not make me a racist, bigot, or a hater of immigrants; it makes me a realist. If we're concerned about good programs going away, let's be honest at some of the real reasons. Hope we're all ready to pay the price in lower quality of education here because misguided priorities of our State that will/are trickling down to PUSD.


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Posted by PUSD concerned
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 8, 2018 at 8:12 pm

PUSD concerned is a registered user.

To Kathleen: It is good to know extra funding would go to covering pensions instead of hiring and retaining qualified teachers!


7 people like this
Posted by Doc
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 9, 2018 at 12:28 am

Doc is a registered user.

@Kathleen

Your lack of understanding of charter schools is shocking. Charter Schools do not require that the district give space to schools. There is also a financial incentive to districts to run "dependent" charters. Having a dependent charter provides options for students and allows the district to keep all students in Pleasanton attending a "local" school.

As for the Livermore TVLC debacle--that experience was not the norm. That organization was run by a charlatan who was never interested in helping kids. There are plenty of examples of charter schools that do great work to pull from. One day a charter will come to Pleasanton, and I hope for the sake of our community it is approved. Our kids deserve options.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 9, 2018 at 6:59 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

PUSD, I should have been clearer about money going to pensions. It isn't a choice; the amount of district contributions is facing mandatory increases which cuts further into the budget for quality teachers and programs.

Doc, are you thinking of private schools rather than charters? Here are two web sites that provide information for California charters:

Web Link
Web Link

If there is something I'm missing, I would appreciate a link to the information explaining what you are stating.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 9, 2018 at 7:10 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Concerned Teacher, PUSD's Board only passed a resolution. Web Link I have not seen a formal plan for supporting that resolution, nor a budget. I realize other districts, with support plans and trauma teams in place, (and cities like San Francisco and the State) have associated costs with their plans. I could submit a Public Records Act request, but if you have different information about our district, I would appreciate knowing. My comments to the board at the time of the resolution's vote was that there were no plans for how students would be supported and protected should ICE attempt to enter a school.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2018 at 1:13 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Kathleen,

Why shouldn't taxes pay for "paper, Kleenex, graduation gowns, and summer school.

Seems completely bizarre to me.

The only thing heartbreaking about this is that those things aren't payed for with taxes.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 9, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, it’s complicated, of course. We continue to pay more for K-12 education and have no better testing results as a nation. I think our best teachers deserve more, but we can’t do that. Just paying for personnel now is the majority of the budget and every raise increases the pension liability and district contributions, further crippling budgets for program. So yeah, we can add to that burden by demanding districts pay for everything a classroom needs. It only hurts students and their teachers who fund many items out of their own pockets. Solutions seem obvious and impossible to reach because they too are complicated. So I’d rather pay for Kleenex, paper, field trips, and enrichment summer school. Is the goal our children or shall we hold to education being free in a flawed, though accurate, assertion as taxpayers?


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