Criticism of the “Best Uses” Report

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Last week, the “Best Uses of Schools Advisory Task Force” delivered its final report that recommended the closing of Valley Oak Elementary School.

While the group spent an admirable amount of time and energy working on its report over the last two years, the group has nevertheless produced a product that in the end falls well short of what both the school board and the district needed. The chief complaint is that this report reads like a lawyer’s brief arguing for one viewpoint rather than presenting the school board with an array of options and evidence on which they could make an informed decision.

One of the first things that struck me about the presentation last week and the report as a whole was its format. The report and the presentation made an argument. Those things that fit into that argument were presented. Those things that did not fit into that argument were not presented. That may be helpful for a lawyer’s brief, however, the purpose of this task force should have been to provide the school board itself with options, not to advocate one position or another. As such, the best format may have been to present fully all reasonable alternatives and then perhaps make a recommendation based on those alternatives. However, that is not what this report did.

That is not what the school board wanted. The school board is now stuck in a very difficult position of either accepting findings that they may or may not agree with, or going against the work of a volunteer group that has spent two years working on this. If they choose the latter, they fall prey to the question–why did they create the task force in the first place if they were merely to do what they wanted to do anyway.

However, this is not an accurate assessment for two reasons. First, the task force was created in March of 2005 under the previous board and second, what few may remember is that the original focus of the task force was not the closing of a school. That developed over time. The original purpose of the task force was to “create a plan to guide the district’s use of its schools, given the capacity that has been increased with the construction of the new elementary school in Mace Ranch.” They were going to look at relocation of existing programs in the school district.

I have heard a number of criticisms of the report and their methods. I was appalled last week as to how defensive Mr. Kirk Trost became at times during the meeting. I thought some of his behavior was extremely inappropriate. Did he not expect that he was going to be criticized? Did he not expect that the report would anger many parents in the Valley Oak Elementary School area?

Volunteering for something does not immunize one from criticism. Indeed the entire school board does not receive compensation for their services.

There are two key criticisms I have substantively about this report. First, they make an assumption about 420 students being a minimum size for an elementary school and second their use of a one-mile distance to demonstrate the lack of changes in distance from school for elementary school children.

The task force argues that “the most effective enrollment in a Neighborhood Program is 420 students with precisely 60 students at each grade level.” The key to this argument they claim is to have “differentiation” that “will become increasingly difficult as enrollment drops below 420.”

They make this assertion with no citation whatsoever for any kind of research. There is a wealth of educational research in the field that would probably support their contention. But they do not cite it. Moreover, there is probably a wealth of educational research that probably would oppose their contention. This is a prime example of the need to have alternative viewpoints that are fully fleshed out in both research and argumentation. To me it is simply inexcusable to make these kinds of assumptions with no citation or research to back it up.

The differentiation argument needs to be backed up with research and research in these fields is almost never undisputed and so there needs to be both sides presented and while the task force can make a recommendation, the school board should have the ultimate say over this philosophy.

My second contention is with their presentation of transportation and walking distance from school. Their statistics and projections suggested that closing down Valley Oak Elementary school would have virtually no impact on the number of Valley Oak students who would be within one mile walking distance and the number of students within a one and a half mile walking distance from their school. That means that for current Valley Oak Students, on average, the walking distance using those two metrics would be virtually unchanged.

The problem is that they used as their metric–1 mile and 1.5 miles as their examined distanced. The school board in the past had specifically requested to see half-mile distances and whether students were having to walk further using that figure as a guide.

The problem with a mile is that most young children will not walk a mile. They may walk half a mile to school, but who is going to let a six year old walk a mile to school? Virtually no one. So that is not a meaningful measure. If you have taken a bunch of kids who were within half a mile and are now making them walk one mile, that is a disadvantage to them.

Again these data were requested by school board members, Board President Jim Provenza asked again at this meeting, and Trost suggested that they had not looked at that and suggested that this was a distance standard used by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the Center for Disease Control, and various walk-to-school organizations. He also pointed out that if they used a tougher standard it would not be uniform throughout the district–a point that is immaterial to the current discussion at hand which involves the displacement of some students not all students.

This argument does not work for young elementary school kids. I can tell you that growing up, I lived a mile from school and that I almost never walked to school. It was a long way and took 20 minutes to walk home. I would bike to school but almost never walk. And it is considerably less safe for kids to walk now than when I grew up. So one mile, might as well be five miles for younger children at the very least.

The suspicion here is that the half-mile data would show that there was a considerable difference for having Valley Oak open versus not having Valley Oak open. That is just a guess, but given that the data were requested but not provided, not an unreasonable one. And if it that turns out to be untrue and that closing Valley Oak makes no difference in this area as well, we need to know that as well.

Overall, I would suggest that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of fundamental criticisms. I know a number of the families in the Valley Oak area were unhappy with the amount of time spent studying the ELL program which they argue is exemplary and the lack of contact made on that front. They were also very disturbed by the patriarchal attitude of several members on the Task Force. I did not witness this personally, but in talking with members of the public these were concerns that they raised. And a big problem is that projections are at best a rough guess and long range projections are very difficult to make with any degree of certainty and they are very susceptible to the assumptions that go into the development of the model.

The biggest criticism remains that this report does not present options. They do not present a lot of research and counter-research to support key contentions and also oppose their contentions. One of the questions I would have asked the members of the Task Force on several of their points is what is their best argument against their report. Every argument has strengths and weaknesses and to present a case like this that is at best nuanced as though it were black and white does a disservice to this community, to the school board and especially to the parents that this decisions will personally effect.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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108 thoughts on “Criticism of the “Best Uses” Report”

  1. Davisite

    The Housing Element Steering Committee needs to read this blog article carefully
    as it will DETERMINE whether their work will be of any use to the council or find political acceptance in our community.

  2. Davisite

    The Housing Element Steering Committee needs to read this blog article carefully
    as it will DETERMINE whether their work will be of any use to the council or find political acceptance in our community.

  3. Davisite

    The Housing Element Steering Committee needs to read this blog article carefully
    as it will DETERMINE whether their work will be of any use to the council or find political acceptance in our community.

  4. Davisite

    The Housing Element Steering Committee needs to read this blog article carefully
    as it will DETERMINE whether their work will be of any use to the council or find political acceptance in our community.

  5. Oliver

    Trustee Jones apolgizes to the Task Force, Why? Is it insulting to offer another viewpoint? Keltie Jones should apologize to the public for discouraging democratic exchange. Doesn’t she feel that the social studies teachers in her school district should encourage free speech and critical response? Is this the example we want from our elected trustees?

    Closing Valley Oak is a crime against people of color. Perhaps not intended, but it certainly fits into the historic racist pattern of United States History. The report rewards recent development. It recommends that one of our oldest neighborhoods must give way to suburban growth. Like the vote for Target the downtown must give way to the demands of those living in the sprawling suburbs. Convenience is everything, a sense of community, belonging to a town and a feeling for continuity is not a priority unfortunately.

    When a member of the Task Force tells us what is good for us, that is like telling our first Americans that placing them on a reservation is for their own good. When are we going to learn to work for solutions that reward all our neighbors? Valley Oak is an important school. The more schools the lower the enrollment, and educationally speaking that is a big plus. We should not be balancing the budget by punishing our children.

  6. Oliver

    Trustee Jones apolgizes to the Task Force, Why? Is it insulting to offer another viewpoint? Keltie Jones should apologize to the public for discouraging democratic exchange. Doesn’t she feel that the social studies teachers in her school district should encourage free speech and critical response? Is this the example we want from our elected trustees?

    Closing Valley Oak is a crime against people of color. Perhaps not intended, but it certainly fits into the historic racist pattern of United States History. The report rewards recent development. It recommends that one of our oldest neighborhoods must give way to suburban growth. Like the vote for Target the downtown must give way to the demands of those living in the sprawling suburbs. Convenience is everything, a sense of community, belonging to a town and a feeling for continuity is not a priority unfortunately.

    When a member of the Task Force tells us what is good for us, that is like telling our first Americans that placing them on a reservation is for their own good. When are we going to learn to work for solutions that reward all our neighbors? Valley Oak is an important school. The more schools the lower the enrollment, and educationally speaking that is a big plus. We should not be balancing the budget by punishing our children.

  7. Oliver

    Trustee Jones apolgizes to the Task Force, Why? Is it insulting to offer another viewpoint? Keltie Jones should apologize to the public for discouraging democratic exchange. Doesn’t she feel that the social studies teachers in her school district should encourage free speech and critical response? Is this the example we want from our elected trustees?

    Closing Valley Oak is a crime against people of color. Perhaps not intended, but it certainly fits into the historic racist pattern of United States History. The report rewards recent development. It recommends that one of our oldest neighborhoods must give way to suburban growth. Like the vote for Target the downtown must give way to the demands of those living in the sprawling suburbs. Convenience is everything, a sense of community, belonging to a town and a feeling for continuity is not a priority unfortunately.

    When a member of the Task Force tells us what is good for us, that is like telling our first Americans that placing them on a reservation is for their own good. When are we going to learn to work for solutions that reward all our neighbors? Valley Oak is an important school. The more schools the lower the enrollment, and educationally speaking that is a big plus. We should not be balancing the budget by punishing our children.

  8. Oliver

    Trustee Jones apolgizes to the Task Force, Why? Is it insulting to offer another viewpoint? Keltie Jones should apologize to the public for discouraging democratic exchange. Doesn’t she feel that the social studies teachers in her school district should encourage free speech and critical response? Is this the example we want from our elected trustees?

    Closing Valley Oak is a crime against people of color. Perhaps not intended, but it certainly fits into the historic racist pattern of United States History. The report rewards recent development. It recommends that one of our oldest neighborhoods must give way to suburban growth. Like the vote for Target the downtown must give way to the demands of those living in the sprawling suburbs. Convenience is everything, a sense of community, belonging to a town and a feeling for continuity is not a priority unfortunately.

    When a member of the Task Force tells us what is good for us, that is like telling our first Americans that placing them on a reservation is for their own good. When are we going to learn to work for solutions that reward all our neighbors? Valley Oak is an important school. The more schools the lower the enrollment, and educationally speaking that is a big plus. We should not be balancing the budget by punishing our children.

  9. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with a mile is that most young children will not walk a mile. They may walk half a mile to school, but who is going to let a six year old walk a mile to school? Virtually no one.”

    You’re basically right here, David. A mile is too far for most six year olds to walk to school. Consider that 1 mile is the distance from Covell Blvd to Russell Blvd.

    However, if groups of kids, escorted by some adults, began walking 1 mile r/t to school everyday, it would be a) good for their health and b) good for the environment. Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    “I would bike to school but almost never walk. And it is considerably less safe for kids to walk now than when I grew up.”

    In fact, it is not “less safe” now than it was 30 years ago. Violent crime today (in California and the nation) is less than it was back then, including crimes against children. The difference is just the sensationalism in news coverage that makes it seem as if it is less safe, now.

  10. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with a mile is that most young children will not walk a mile. They may walk half a mile to school, but who is going to let a six year old walk a mile to school? Virtually no one.”

    You’re basically right here, David. A mile is too far for most six year olds to walk to school. Consider that 1 mile is the distance from Covell Blvd to Russell Blvd.

    However, if groups of kids, escorted by some adults, began walking 1 mile r/t to school everyday, it would be a) good for their health and b) good for the environment. Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    “I would bike to school but almost never walk. And it is considerably less safe for kids to walk now than when I grew up.”

    In fact, it is not “less safe” now than it was 30 years ago. Violent crime today (in California and the nation) is less than it was back then, including crimes against children. The difference is just the sensationalism in news coverage that makes it seem as if it is less safe, now.

  11. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with a mile is that most young children will not walk a mile. They may walk half a mile to school, but who is going to let a six year old walk a mile to school? Virtually no one.”

    You’re basically right here, David. A mile is too far for most six year olds to walk to school. Consider that 1 mile is the distance from Covell Blvd to Russell Blvd.

    However, if groups of kids, escorted by some adults, began walking 1 mile r/t to school everyday, it would be a) good for their health and b) good for the environment. Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    “I would bike to school but almost never walk. And it is considerably less safe for kids to walk now than when I grew up.”

    In fact, it is not “less safe” now than it was 30 years ago. Violent crime today (in California and the nation) is less than it was back then, including crimes against children. The difference is just the sensationalism in news coverage that makes it seem as if it is less safe, now.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with a mile is that most young children will not walk a mile. They may walk half a mile to school, but who is going to let a six year old walk a mile to school? Virtually no one.”

    You’re basically right here, David. A mile is too far for most six year olds to walk to school. Consider that 1 mile is the distance from Covell Blvd to Russell Blvd.

    However, if groups of kids, escorted by some adults, began walking 1 mile r/t to school everyday, it would be a) good for their health and b) good for the environment. Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    “I would bike to school but almost never walk. And it is considerably less safe for kids to walk now than when I grew up.”

    In fact, it is not “less safe” now than it was 30 years ago. Violent crime today (in California and the nation) is less than it was back then, including crimes against children. The difference is just the sensationalism in news coverage that makes it seem as if it is less safe, now.

  13. 無名 - wu ming

    Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    nice strawman, rich. but seriously, one of the things that would have made this all easier was if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC), because “everyone can afford to drive their kids to school.”

    ultimately, this is a political issue, and the solution is to pressure the elected school board politicians to come up with a solution better than the one the best uses group proposed.

    the city of davis will be better off if it keeps all 9 schools open, even if it costs some homeowners a bit more with their taxes. i suspect that if it were put up for a citywide vote that the city as a whole would support valley oak as well, especially if ity wasn’t couched in a manner that pit neighborhood vs. neighborhood.

  14. 無名 - wu ming

    Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    nice strawman, rich. but seriously, one of the things that would have made this all easier was if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC), because “everyone can afford to drive their kids to school.”

    ultimately, this is a political issue, and the solution is to pressure the elected school board politicians to come up with a solution better than the one the best uses group proposed.

    the city of davis will be better off if it keeps all 9 schools open, even if it costs some homeowners a bit more with their taxes. i suspect that if it were put up for a citywide vote that the city as a whole would support valley oak as well, especially if ity wasn’t couched in a manner that pit neighborhood vs. neighborhood.

  15. 無名 - wu ming

    Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    nice strawman, rich. but seriously, one of the things that would have made this all easier was if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC), because “everyone can afford to drive their kids to school.”

    ultimately, this is a political issue, and the solution is to pressure the elected school board politicians to come up with a solution better than the one the best uses group proposed.

    the city of davis will be better off if it keeps all 9 schools open, even if it costs some homeowners a bit more with their taxes. i suspect that if it were put up for a citywide vote that the city as a whole would support valley oak as well, especially if ity wasn’t couched in a manner that pit neighborhood vs. neighborhood.

  16. 無名 - wu ming

    Sadly, most kids who live 1/4 of a mile or more from their elementaries in Davis are driven to school, every day, in their family SUVs, the ones with the “Save the Planet” bumper stickers.

    nice strawman, rich. but seriously, one of the things that would have made this all easier was if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC), because “everyone can afford to drive their kids to school.”

    ultimately, this is a political issue, and the solution is to pressure the elected school board politicians to come up with a solution better than the one the best uses group proposed.

    the city of davis will be better off if it keeps all 9 schools open, even if it costs some homeowners a bit more with their taxes. i suspect that if it were put up for a citywide vote that the city as a whole would support valley oak as well, especially if ity wasn’t couched in a manner that pit neighborhood vs. neighborhood.

  17. Anonymous

    The district would definitely be better with 9 schools remaining open.

    Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school. I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.

    I would never allow my child to walk to school alone or even with a group – if it’s a mile – if they were first graders.

    Unfortunately this world is becoming more filled with sick people who wish to harm children, or don’t have their best interest at heart.

  18. Anonymous

    The district would definitely be better with 9 schools remaining open.

    Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school. I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.

    I would never allow my child to walk to school alone or even with a group – if it’s a mile – if they were first graders.

    Unfortunately this world is becoming more filled with sick people who wish to harm children, or don’t have their best interest at heart.

  19. Anonymous

    The district would definitely be better with 9 schools remaining open.

    Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school. I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.

    I would never allow my child to walk to school alone or even with a group – if it’s a mile – if they were first graders.

    Unfortunately this world is becoming more filled with sick people who wish to harm children, or don’t have their best interest at heart.

  20. Anonymous

    The district would definitely be better with 9 schools remaining open.

    Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school. I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.

    I would never allow my child to walk to school alone or even with a group – if it’s a mile – if they were first graders.

    Unfortunately this world is becoming more filled with sick people who wish to harm children, or don’t have their best interest at heart.

  21. Anonymous

    I applaud Jim Provenza and Shiela Allen for their courage to speak against the closing of Valley Oak. I applaud them for thinking of the children first.

  22. Anonymous

    I applaud Jim Provenza and Shiela Allen for their courage to speak against the closing of Valley Oak. I applaud them for thinking of the children first.

  23. Anonymous

    I applaud Jim Provenza and Shiela Allen for their courage to speak against the closing of Valley Oak. I applaud them for thinking of the children first.

  24. Anonymous

    I applaud Jim Provenza and Shiela Allen for their courage to speak against the closing of Valley Oak. I applaud them for thinking of the children first.

  25. Anonymous

    Mello Roos alert! Sorry, i would not be voting for increasing taxes and thus keeping VO (or any other school) open. I already pay enough for everyone else’s schools to be open. Get rid of MR/WH Mello Roos and you got me 100%!

  26. Anonymous

    Mello Roos alert! Sorry, i would not be voting for increasing taxes and thus keeping VO (or any other school) open. I already pay enough for everyone else’s schools to be open. Get rid of MR/WH Mello Roos and you got me 100%!

  27. Anonymous

    Mello Roos alert! Sorry, i would not be voting for increasing taxes and thus keeping VO (or any other school) open. I already pay enough for everyone else’s schools to be open. Get rid of MR/WH Mello Roos and you got me 100%!

  28. Anonymous

    Mello Roos alert! Sorry, i would not be voting for increasing taxes and thus keeping VO (or any other school) open. I already pay enough for everyone else’s schools to be open. Get rid of MR/WH Mello Roos and you got me 100%!

  29. Anonymous

    p.s. I’m with Rich (this will be the second time) and am sick of people waving around the “crime against color” or “racist” flag. Yes, it’s a bummer but stop turning this into more than what it is. With the other kids in their own neighborhood schools, there’s only 200-some-odd kids left to fill VO. Sure, fine, redraw the lines and hope that infill/development beef up the rest of the numbers, but personally I’m sick of the boy who cried racist.

  30. Anonymous

    p.s. I’m with Rich (this will be the second time) and am sick of people waving around the “crime against color” or “racist” flag. Yes, it’s a bummer but stop turning this into more than what it is. With the other kids in their own neighborhood schools, there’s only 200-some-odd kids left to fill VO. Sure, fine, redraw the lines and hope that infill/development beef up the rest of the numbers, but personally I’m sick of the boy who cried racist.

  31. Anonymous

    p.s. I’m with Rich (this will be the second time) and am sick of people waving around the “crime against color” or “racist” flag. Yes, it’s a bummer but stop turning this into more than what it is. With the other kids in their own neighborhood schools, there’s only 200-some-odd kids left to fill VO. Sure, fine, redraw the lines and hope that infill/development beef up the rest of the numbers, but personally I’m sick of the boy who cried racist.

  32. Anonymous

    p.s. I’m with Rich (this will be the second time) and am sick of people waving around the “crime against color” or “racist” flag. Yes, it’s a bummer but stop turning this into more than what it is. With the other kids in their own neighborhood schools, there’s only 200-some-odd kids left to fill VO. Sure, fine, redraw the lines and hope that infill/development beef up the rest of the numbers, but personally I’m sick of the boy who cried racist.

  33. Rich Rifkin

    “…if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC)…”

    Wu, I’m pretty sure it was right after Prop 13 passed in 1979 that most of the school buses were excreted from the district. Many kids, however, take the Unitrans buses to school.

  34. Rich Rifkin

    “…if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC)…”

    Wu, I’m pretty sure it was right after Prop 13 passed in 1979 that most of the school buses were excreted from the district. Many kids, however, take the Unitrans buses to school.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    “…if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC)…”

    Wu, I’m pretty sure it was right after Prop 13 passed in 1979 that most of the school buses were excreted from the district. Many kids, however, take the Unitrans buses to school.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    “…if they hadn’t gotten rid of the city schoolbus system back in 90s (IIRC)…”

    Wu, I’m pretty sure it was right after Prop 13 passed in 1979 that most of the school buses were excreted from the district. Many kids, however, take the Unitrans buses to school.

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “Rich, you need a lesson in history, you have read too many 11th grade textbooks.”

    Oliver, beyond the fact that you don’t know me or know what I have and have not read, I happen to be a great believer in the disutility of history textbooks. I know that much sweat is exuded throughout our nation almost every year over what is and is not included in those misguided tomes. But I’ve found that reading them adds little to learning history. Every story is sucked out of its context and the writing is necessarily unsavory and somniferous.

    What real students of history do — and I consider myself one — is read high quality biographies, occassional autobiographies and single subject histories. For young students — say anyone under 21 — who need gaps filled in, a good lecturer is a must. But a thick textbook deserves to be eschewed.

    It’s sad that our high schools don’t adopt such a sensible pedagogy. You want to learn about the Civil War? Read “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald and “The Autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant.” They won’t give you everything, but it will inspire you to learn a lot more than all high school textbooks ever written will.

    You want to learn about the Civil Rights Movement? Read the trilogy of books by Taylor Branch.

    You want to know how the US Senate works? Read “Master of the Senate,” Robert Caro’s third installation of his biography of Lyndon Johnson.

    Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “Rich, you need a lesson in history, you have read too many 11th grade textbooks.”

    Oliver, beyond the fact that you don’t know me or know what I have and have not read, I happen to be a great believer in the disutility of history textbooks. I know that much sweat is exuded throughout our nation almost every year over what is and is not included in those misguided tomes. But I’ve found that reading them adds little to learning history. Every story is sucked out of its context and the writing is necessarily unsavory and somniferous.

    What real students of history do — and I consider myself one — is read high quality biographies, occassional autobiographies and single subject histories. For young students — say anyone under 21 — who need gaps filled in, a good lecturer is a must. But a thick textbook deserves to be eschewed.

    It’s sad that our high schools don’t adopt such a sensible pedagogy. You want to learn about the Civil War? Read “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald and “The Autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant.” They won’t give you everything, but it will inspire you to learn a lot more than all high school textbooks ever written will.

    You want to learn about the Civil Rights Movement? Read the trilogy of books by Taylor Branch.

    You want to know how the US Senate works? Read “Master of the Senate,” Robert Caro’s third installation of his biography of Lyndon Johnson.

    Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “Rich, you need a lesson in history, you have read too many 11th grade textbooks.”

    Oliver, beyond the fact that you don’t know me or know what I have and have not read, I happen to be a great believer in the disutility of history textbooks. I know that much sweat is exuded throughout our nation almost every year over what is and is not included in those misguided tomes. But I’ve found that reading them adds little to learning history. Every story is sucked out of its context and the writing is necessarily unsavory and somniferous.

    What real students of history do — and I consider myself one — is read high quality biographies, occassional autobiographies and single subject histories. For young students — say anyone under 21 — who need gaps filled in, a good lecturer is a must. But a thick textbook deserves to be eschewed.

    It’s sad that our high schools don’t adopt such a sensible pedagogy. You want to learn about the Civil War? Read “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald and “The Autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant.” They won’t give you everything, but it will inspire you to learn a lot more than all high school textbooks ever written will.

    You want to learn about the Civil Rights Movement? Read the trilogy of books by Taylor Branch.

    You want to know how the US Senate works? Read “Master of the Senate,” Robert Caro’s third installation of his biography of Lyndon Johnson.

    Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “Rich, you need a lesson in history, you have read too many 11th grade textbooks.”

    Oliver, beyond the fact that you don’t know me or know what I have and have not read, I happen to be a great believer in the disutility of history textbooks. I know that much sweat is exuded throughout our nation almost every year over what is and is not included in those misguided tomes. But I’ve found that reading them adds little to learning history. Every story is sucked out of its context and the writing is necessarily unsavory and somniferous.

    What real students of history do — and I consider myself one — is read high quality biographies, occassional autobiographies and single subject histories. For young students — say anyone under 21 — who need gaps filled in, a good lecturer is a must. But a thick textbook deserves to be eschewed.

    It’s sad that our high schools don’t adopt such a sensible pedagogy. You want to learn about the Civil War? Read “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald and “The Autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant.” They won’t give you everything, but it will inspire you to learn a lot more than all high school textbooks ever written will.

    You want to learn about the Civil Rights Movement? Read the trilogy of books by Taylor Branch.

    You want to know how the US Senate works? Read “Master of the Senate,” Robert Caro’s third installation of his biography of Lyndon Johnson.

    Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.

  41. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that beyond reading history an even higher level of learning can only be attained by writing serious works yourself. In the Rifkin pyramid of learning, writing sits atop reading which sits atop listening.

  42. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that beyond reading history an even higher level of learning can only be attained by writing serious works yourself. In the Rifkin pyramid of learning, writing sits atop reading which sits atop listening.

  43. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that beyond reading history an even higher level of learning can only be attained by writing serious works yourself. In the Rifkin pyramid of learning, writing sits atop reading which sits atop listening.

  44. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that beyond reading history an even higher level of learning can only be attained by writing serious works yourself. In the Rifkin pyramid of learning, writing sits atop reading which sits atop listening.

  45. Don Shor

    “Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.”
    another good argument for independent study, which was what my kids did.
    DSIS is one of the jewels of the Davis school district.

    I think the task force punted. They moved to an 8-school option rather quickly toward the end. There are a couple of 9-school options, which I hope they included in the report (it still isn’t up on the web, so I haven’t read it).
    Now it’s a political decision.

  46. Don Shor

    “Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.”
    another good argument for independent study, which was what my kids did.
    DSIS is one of the jewels of the Davis school district.

    I think the task force punted. They moved to an 8-school option rather quickly toward the end. There are a couple of 9-school options, which I hope they included in the report (it still isn’t up on the web, so I haven’t read it).
    Now it’s a political decision.

  47. Don Shor

    “Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.”
    another good argument for independent study, which was what my kids did.
    DSIS is one of the jewels of the Davis school district.

    I think the task force punted. They moved to an 8-school option rather quickly toward the end. There are a couple of 9-school options, which I hope they included in the report (it still isn’t up on the web, so I haven’t read it).
    Now it’s a political decision.

  48. Don Shor

    “Just no matter what, stay away from high school textbooks.”
    another good argument for independent study, which was what my kids did.
    DSIS is one of the jewels of the Davis school district.

    I think the task force punted. They moved to an 8-school option rather quickly toward the end. There are a couple of 9-school options, which I hope they included in the report (it still isn’t up on the web, so I haven’t read it).
    Now it’s a political decision.

  49. Anonymous

    Yes, it will end up being a “political” solution, where “political” is defined as the triumph of emotion over logic in the decision-making process. And in this case, it will be the shrill voices of those opposed to closing Valley Oak. In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.

  50. Anonymous

    Yes, it will end up being a “political” solution, where “political” is defined as the triumph of emotion over logic in the decision-making process. And in this case, it will be the shrill voices of those opposed to closing Valley Oak. In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.

  51. Anonymous

    Yes, it will end up being a “political” solution, where “political” is defined as the triumph of emotion over logic in the decision-making process. And in this case, it will be the shrill voices of those opposed to closing Valley Oak. In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.

  52. Anonymous

    Yes, it will end up being a “political” solution, where “political” is defined as the triumph of emotion over logic in the decision-making process. And in this case, it will be the shrill voices of those opposed to closing Valley Oak. In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.

  53. 無名 - wu ming

    i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich. and while i tend to agree that fear of abduction is pretty overblown relative to actual crime rates for such things, a mile and a half is a pretty long ways for a k-3 student to walk by themselves. older kids can manage much better with bicycles, however.

    oh, and anonymou (assuming it’s just one person), if you could please choose a name – fake or real, it doesn’t matter – it’d be a lot easier to tell who is making which point, in a given thread. just click the “other” button, and type in a name. thanks.

  54. 無名 - wu ming

    i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich. and while i tend to agree that fear of abduction is pretty overblown relative to actual crime rates for such things, a mile and a half is a pretty long ways for a k-3 student to walk by themselves. older kids can manage much better with bicycles, however.

    oh, and anonymou (assuming it’s just one person), if you could please choose a name – fake or real, it doesn’t matter – it’d be a lot easier to tell who is making which point, in a given thread. just click the “other” button, and type in a name. thanks.

  55. 無名 - wu ming

    i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich. and while i tend to agree that fear of abduction is pretty overblown relative to actual crime rates for such things, a mile and a half is a pretty long ways for a k-3 student to walk by themselves. older kids can manage much better with bicycles, however.

    oh, and anonymou (assuming it’s just one person), if you could please choose a name – fake or real, it doesn’t matter – it’d be a lot easier to tell who is making which point, in a given thread. just click the “other” button, and type in a name. thanks.

  56. 無名 - wu ming

    i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich. and while i tend to agree that fear of abduction is pretty overblown relative to actual crime rates for such things, a mile and a half is a pretty long ways for a k-3 student to walk by themselves. older kids can manage much better with bicycles, however.

    oh, and anonymou (assuming it’s just one person), if you could please choose a name – fake or real, it doesn’t matter – it’d be a lot easier to tell who is making which point, in a given thread. just click the “other” button, and type in a name. thanks.

  57. Don Shor

    “In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.”

    I don’t question the integrity of any of the task force members at all. I also don’t believe that it is necessarily ‘beneficial to the community as a whole’ to close any one of the elementary schools. I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed regarding the various 9-school options. I’d urge everyone to read those options before assuming that the 8-school final recommendation is the best choice.
    What makes it a political decision is that some of the considerations are intangible and unquantifiable, so they involve choosing between things that we value. Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better. That’s why elected officials make the final call.

  58. Don Shor

    “In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.”

    I don’t question the integrity of any of the task force members at all. I also don’t believe that it is necessarily ‘beneficial to the community as a whole’ to close any one of the elementary schools. I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed regarding the various 9-school options. I’d urge everyone to read those options before assuming that the 8-school final recommendation is the best choice.
    What makes it a political decision is that some of the considerations are intangible and unquantifiable, so they involve choosing between things that we value. Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better. That’s why elected officials make the final call.

  59. Don Shor

    “In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.”

    I don’t question the integrity of any of the task force members at all. I also don’t believe that it is necessarily ‘beneficial to the community as a whole’ to close any one of the elementary schools. I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed regarding the various 9-school options. I’d urge everyone to read those options before assuming that the 8-school final recommendation is the best choice.
    What makes it a political decision is that some of the considerations are intangible and unquantifiable, so they involve choosing between things that we value. Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better. That’s why elected officials make the final call.

  60. Don Shor

    “In the typical Davis way, it doesn’t matter if a decison benefits the community as a whole, if I feel like I’ve somehow been wronged, I’ll be out there screaming at the poor people on the task force, calling their integrity into question.”

    I don’t question the integrity of any of the task force members at all. I also don’t believe that it is necessarily ‘beneficial to the community as a whole’ to close any one of the elementary schools. I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed regarding the various 9-school options. I’d urge everyone to read those options before assuming that the 8-school final recommendation is the best choice.
    What makes it a political decision is that some of the considerations are intangible and unquantifiable, so they involve choosing between things that we value. Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better. That’s why elected officials make the final call.

  61. Rich Rifkin

    “i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich.”

    I went to WDE, also. But earlier: 1969-70 to 1972-73. I fondly remember watching World Series games on TV in the multi-purpose room, there, at lunchtime and recess. Mr. Wallace was the principal, and because he loved baseball, he made sure TVs were available for all who wanted to watch the games.

    As to the buses, I could be wrong. But I think what happened after 1979 was that they were only available for kids who came a long distance into town. Back then, of course, if you lived in Stonegate, you would have gone to WDE for K-3 and WDI for 4-6. Stonegate is 1.5 miles from Chavez as the crow flies, and much further by car.

  62. Rich Rifkin

    “i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich.”

    I went to WDE, also. But earlier: 1969-70 to 1972-73. I fondly remember watching World Series games on TV in the multi-purpose room, there, at lunchtime and recess. Mr. Wallace was the principal, and because he loved baseball, he made sure TVs were available for all who wanted to watch the games.

    As to the buses, I could be wrong. But I think what happened after 1979 was that they were only available for kids who came a long distance into town. Back then, of course, if you lived in Stonegate, you would have gone to WDE for K-3 and WDI for 4-6. Stonegate is 1.5 miles from Chavez as the crow flies, and much further by car.

  63. Rich Rifkin

    “i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich.”

    I went to WDE, also. But earlier: 1969-70 to 1972-73. I fondly remember watching World Series games on TV in the multi-purpose room, there, at lunchtime and recess. Mr. Wallace was the principal, and because he loved baseball, he made sure TVs were available for all who wanted to watch the games.

    As to the buses, I could be wrong. But I think what happened after 1979 was that they were only available for kids who came a long distance into town. Back then, of course, if you lived in Stonegate, you would have gone to WDE for K-3 and WDI for 4-6. Stonegate is 1.5 miles from Chavez as the crow flies, and much further by car.

  64. Rich Rifkin

    “i remember that the yellow school buses were still running when i was a kid, and going to WDE in the 80s, rich.”

    I went to WDE, also. But earlier: 1969-70 to 1972-73. I fondly remember watching World Series games on TV in the multi-purpose room, there, at lunchtime and recess. Mr. Wallace was the principal, and because he loved baseball, he made sure TVs were available for all who wanted to watch the games.

    As to the buses, I could be wrong. But I think what happened after 1979 was that they were only available for kids who came a long distance into town. Back then, of course, if you lived in Stonegate, you would have gone to WDE for K-3 and WDI for 4-6. Stonegate is 1.5 miles from Chavez as the crow flies, and much further by car.

  65. Rich Rifkin

    “Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school.”

    Insofar as there is less crime, today, as opposed to 30 years ago, it is safer.

    “I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.”

    Assuming that your numbers are right, how does that compare to 30 years ago? It’s possible that such sordid behavior was even more common back (on a per capita basis) then, though I must concede I never heard of it.

    What I suspect is that we just pay far more attention to such things, now, and our news media sensationalizes all crimes, making things seem much worse.

    On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been. That attitude tends to feed on the paranoia. And alas, it has in many ways made being a boy today far less fun and adventuresome as it was when parents just let their kids go have fun.

  66. Rich Rifkin

    “Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school.”

    Insofar as there is less crime, today, as opposed to 30 years ago, it is safer.

    “I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.”

    Assuming that your numbers are right, how does that compare to 30 years ago? It’s possible that such sordid behavior was even more common back (on a per capita basis) then, though I must concede I never heard of it.

    What I suspect is that we just pay far more attention to such things, now, and our news media sensationalizes all crimes, making things seem much worse.

    On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been. That attitude tends to feed on the paranoia. And alas, it has in many ways made being a boy today far less fun and adventuresome as it was when parents just let their kids go have fun.

  67. Rich Rifkin

    “Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school.”

    Insofar as there is less crime, today, as opposed to 30 years ago, it is safer.

    “I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.”

    Assuming that your numbers are right, how does that compare to 30 years ago? It’s possible that such sordid behavior was even more common back (on a per capita basis) then, though I must concede I never heard of it.

    What I suspect is that we just pay far more attention to such things, now, and our news media sensationalizes all crimes, making things seem much worse.

    On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been. That attitude tends to feed on the paranoia. And alas, it has in many ways made being a boy today far less fun and adventuresome as it was when parents just let their kids go have fun.

  68. Rich Rifkin

    “Someone said that it is safer now than in the past for kids to walk to and from school.”

    Insofar as there is less crime, today, as opposed to 30 years ago, it is safer.

    “I disagree, because there are at least two to three times per year where there are adults or children who are the victims of some disgusting person exposing himself.”

    Assuming that your numbers are right, how does that compare to 30 years ago? It’s possible that such sordid behavior was even more common back (on a per capita basis) then, though I must concede I never heard of it.

    What I suspect is that we just pay far more attention to such things, now, and our news media sensationalizes all crimes, making things seem much worse.

    On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been. That attitude tends to feed on the paranoia. And alas, it has in many ways made being a boy today far less fun and adventuresome as it was when parents just let their kids go have fun.

  69. Rich Rifkin

    “Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better.”

    Not only that, but fewer children at each campus lessens the chances of a kid getting lost in the vastness of the student body. In a smaller school, everyone knows everyone. But beyond a certain number, it becomes hard for a student to know any of his peers outside of his own classroom. In that way, small schools create a sense of community that big schools usually cannot. (This is true of small towns, as well. Something Davis has lost in going from 10,000 to 64,000 people.)

  70. Rich Rifkin

    “Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better.”

    Not only that, but fewer children at each campus lessens the chances of a kid getting lost in the vastness of the student body. In a smaller school, everyone knows everyone. But beyond a certain number, it becomes hard for a student to know any of his peers outside of his own classroom. In that way, small schools create a sense of community that big schools usually cannot. (This is true of small towns, as well. Something Davis has lost in going from 10,000 to 64,000 people.)

  71. Rich Rifkin

    “Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better.”

    Not only that, but fewer children at each campus lessens the chances of a kid getting lost in the vastness of the student body. In a smaller school, everyone knows everyone. But beyond a certain number, it becomes hard for a student to know any of his peers outside of his own classroom. In that way, small schools create a sense of community that big schools usually cannot. (This is true of small towns, as well. Something Davis has lost in going from 10,000 to 64,000 people.)

  72. Rich Rifkin

    “Larger schools mean more program options, but having more schools serves neighborhoods better.”

    Not only that, but fewer children at each campus lessens the chances of a kid getting lost in the vastness of the student body. In a smaller school, everyone knows everyone. But beyond a certain number, it becomes hard for a student to know any of his peers outside of his own classroom. In that way, small schools create a sense of community that big schools usually cannot. (This is true of small towns, as well. Something Davis has lost in going from 10,000 to 64,000 people.)

  73. Don Shor

    “The task force argues that “the most effective enrollment in a Neighborhood Program is 420 students with precisely 60 students at each grade level.” The key to this argument they claim is to have “differentiation” that “will become increasingly difficult as enrollment drops below 420.”

    They make this assertion with no citation whatsoever for any kind of research.”

    Ginni Davis, Associate Superintendent, is cited as the source of this number (again, from the minutes).
    But it does make sense. As the numbers drop, the likelihood of having enough students for — for example — a separate GATE program, or enough students for a dedicated special-ed support person, diminishes. When my kids were at VO there were enough GATE students to have full separate classes, and there are advantages to that. One of the trade-offs of having a smaller school population is that you may lose those separate programs.

    One of the 9-school options separates K-3 and 4-6 at Birch Lane and Valley Oak, which would increase the number of students in each age group at each school.

  74. Don Shor

    “The task force argues that “the most effective enrollment in a Neighborhood Program is 420 students with precisely 60 students at each grade level.” The key to this argument they claim is to have “differentiation” that “will become increasingly difficult as enrollment drops below 420.”

    They make this assertion with no citation whatsoever for any kind of research.”

    Ginni Davis, Associate Superintendent, is cited as the source of this number (again, from the minutes).
    But it does make sense. As the numbers drop, the likelihood of having enough students for — for example — a separate GATE program, or enough students for a dedicated special-ed support person, diminishes. When my kids were at VO there were enough GATE students to have full separate classes, and there are advantages to that. One of the trade-offs of having a smaller school population is that you may lose those separate programs.

    One of the 9-school options separates K-3 and 4-6 at Birch Lane and Valley Oak, which would increase the number of students in each age group at each school.

  75. Don Shor

    “The task force argues that “the most effective enrollment in a Neighborhood Program is 420 students with precisely 60 students at each grade level.” The key to this argument they claim is to have “differentiation” that “will become increasingly difficult as enrollment drops below 420.”

    They make this assertion with no citation whatsoever for any kind of research.”

    Ginni Davis, Associate Superintendent, is cited as the source of this number (again, from the minutes).
    But it does make sense. As the numbers drop, the likelihood of having enough students for — for example — a separate GATE program, or enough students for a dedicated special-ed support person, diminishes. When my kids were at VO there were enough GATE students to have full separate classes, and there are advantages to that. One of the trade-offs of having a smaller school population is that you may lose those separate programs.

    One of the 9-school options separates K-3 and 4-6 at Birch Lane and Valley Oak, which would increase the number of students in each age group at each school.

  76. Don Shor

    “The task force argues that “the most effective enrollment in a Neighborhood Program is 420 students with precisely 60 students at each grade level.” The key to this argument they claim is to have “differentiation” that “will become increasingly difficult as enrollment drops below 420.”

    They make this assertion with no citation whatsoever for any kind of research.”

    Ginni Davis, Associate Superintendent, is cited as the source of this number (again, from the minutes).
    But it does make sense. As the numbers drop, the likelihood of having enough students for — for example — a separate GATE program, or enough students for a dedicated special-ed support person, diminishes. When my kids were at VO there were enough GATE students to have full separate classes, and there are advantages to that. One of the trade-offs of having a smaller school population is that you may lose those separate programs.

    One of the 9-school options separates K-3 and 4-6 at Birch Lane and Valley Oak, which would increase the number of students in each age group at each school.

  77. Don Shor

    “On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been.”
    Yep. Growing up in San Diego, I walked 2+ miles to school in 2nd and 3rd grades. My choice was along the road, or through the fields. That is: a choice between cars and people on the one hand, and rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and tarantula hawks on the other.
    Southern California was a wilder place then….

  78. Don Shor

    “On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been.”
    Yep. Growing up in San Diego, I walked 2+ miles to school in 2nd and 3rd grades. My choice was along the road, or through the fields. That is: a choice between cars and people on the one hand, and rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and tarantula hawks on the other.
    Southern California was a wilder place then….

  79. Don Shor

    “On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been.”
    Yep. Growing up in San Diego, I walked 2+ miles to school in 2nd and 3rd grades. My choice was along the road, or through the fields. That is: a choice between cars and people on the one hand, and rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and tarantula hawks on the other.
    Southern California was a wilder place then….

  80. Don Shor

    “On top of that, the parents of today are far more risk-averse with their children than any parents in past generations have ever been.”
    Yep. Growing up in San Diego, I walked 2+ miles to school in 2nd and 3rd grades. My choice was along the road, or through the fields. That is: a choice between cars and people on the one hand, and rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and tarantula hawks on the other.
    Southern California was a wilder place then….

  81. Anonymous

    Valley Oak is currently full and will have enough neighborhood children to fill the school for years to come if the GATE program is left at Valley Oak. In 2010 Valley Oak is prjected to have 320 resident students. There are 319 resident students now.
    Colleen Connolly

  82. Anonymous

    Valley Oak is currently full and will have enough neighborhood children to fill the school for years to come if the GATE program is left at Valley Oak. In 2010 Valley Oak is prjected to have 320 resident students. There are 319 resident students now.
    Colleen Connolly

  83. Anonymous

    Valley Oak is currently full and will have enough neighborhood children to fill the school for years to come if the GATE program is left at Valley Oak. In 2010 Valley Oak is prjected to have 320 resident students. There are 319 resident students now.
    Colleen Connolly

  84. Anonymous

    Valley Oak is currently full and will have enough neighborhood children to fill the school for years to come if the GATE program is left at Valley Oak. In 2010 Valley Oak is prjected to have 320 resident students. There are 319 resident students now.
    Colleen Connolly

  85. Anonymous

    “I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed”

    Don has mentioned this several times. I was at the meeting. They had lots and lots of demographic data, and had been looking at data for months. What they were referring to was specific data about Title 1 students that they were still waiting for, especially where those students would be if all school boundaries changed to make a “balanced” 9 school option with equal enrollment a each school.

  86. Anonymous

    “I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed”

    Don has mentioned this several times. I was at the meeting. They had lots and lots of demographic data, and had been looking at data for months. What they were referring to was specific data about Title 1 students that they were still waiting for, especially where those students would be if all school boundaries changed to make a “balanced” 9 school option with equal enrollment a each school.

  87. Anonymous

    “I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed”

    Don has mentioned this several times. I was at the meeting. They had lots and lots of demographic data, and had been looking at data for months. What they were referring to was specific data about Title 1 students that they were still waiting for, especially where those students would be if all school boundaries changed to make a “balanced” 9 school option with equal enrollment a each school.

  88. Anonymous

    “I haven’t seen the demographic data, because the report isn’t online yet. But I do know from reading the minutes that it wasn’t available until rather late in the process. It seems from the minutes that the move towards an 8-school option was underway before they had all the information they needed”

    Don has mentioned this several times. I was at the meeting. They had lots and lots of demographic data, and had been looking at data for months. What they were referring to was specific data about Title 1 students that they were still waiting for, especially where those students would be if all school boundaries changed to make a “balanced” 9 school option with equal enrollment a each school.

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