Guest Commentary: Open Letter to Valley Oak Colleagues and Community Members

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Dear Valley Oak Colleagues and Community Members,

When Rodney King was beaten nearly to death and his civil rights were violated, the African-American people waited for justice. They trusted our “system” to find the officers guilty. This was a long and difficult wait. When the unsatisfactory verdict came in, violence erupted. The people were enforcing their own form of justice: retaliation.

I have spent the last several months in a state of guarded optimism. I waited, hoping that someone would see all of the issues surrounding the closure of our school, and a just decision would be made. In my opinion, the only just decision is to keep our school open. While our situation is by no means of the magnitude of Mr. King’s, it is parallel. Our children are being denied their civil rights. I also believe that the ignorance and indifference of the privileged allowed them to make the decision they have made. While violence is never the answer, it is time to take matters into our own hands, so that justice is served. We must follow the examples of Gandhi, Martin L. King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and others, to shed light on this injustice and change the decision. This is not a time to be quiet.

Our children are being denied their right to a free education at their neighborhood school. The financial problems of this district are not the children’s fault, nor are they their problem. Davis Joint Unified School District (downtown) administrators are to blame. Admittedly, I am not privy to the discussions that occur behind closed doors. However, I understand that a district official missed an application deadline for matching funds for Montgomery Elementary. Apparently this mistake cost us over four million dollars.

This is the largest example of irresponsible leadership, but not the only one. Our district has been throwing money at their problems for a few years. Instead of being proactive in solving district issues, our administrators have been reactionary. When our first and only African-American principal faced racism and eventually left the district, questions were raised about how the district addresses diversity and supports the underrepresented. The district hired consultants to help recruit administrative candidates, because they can’t retain those they hire. This cost money.

I personally was invited to go on an all expense paid trip (plus the cost of my substitute teacher) to Carolina. The purpose of the trip was to recruit teachers of color. I declined the offer, but Steve Horowitz, Mel Lewis, and I believe someone who took my place did go. They came back with no candidates. We live in a university town with candidates of color. CSUS is 30 minutes away, and they have a multi-cultural teaching credential program. We could have set up a partnership with them at no cost.

The district made a brief attempt to be proactive when they provided substitutes for a few of our “minority” employees to attend a meeting on how we might recruit and retain candidates of color and improve the climate for existing employees. This was to be an ongoing discussion. After the first meeting we never met again. The money they did spend was wasted when they didn’t follow through.

We asked task force to analyze data, and then paid more consultants to analyze the data in the data. The district is again paying for consultants to help them find a new superintendent. In the meantime, they are paying TWO superintendents. (I am not a mathematician, but those two salaries combined probably JUST fall short of what we need to keep the school open.)

By now, I am sure the pattern is evident. Money has been wasted. The district can not retain qualified employees, nor does it attract administrators from underrepresented groups. Let’s call a spade a spade.

We have been working in privileged community and a poorly managed district where racism and discrimination are prevalent. The word NIGGER appeared on the high school wall and nothing was done. Children with two mothers or two fathers don’t feel safe at school. We have an achievement gap that the district admitted is not due to language or education level of the parents. A Latino custodian at Montgomery was harassed by police one night when his car wouldn’t start and he was in the parking lot after hours. Our own Mel Lewis has been harassed by police. A Davis committee that was supposed to be dedicated to creating an atmosphere of equality and acceptance was disbanded.

Valley Oak was an easy target. The initial announcement was made during the summer, while the school had no principal. I am convinced that every step has been carefully calculated. We have a large number of community members who speak other languages, and don’t have the same ability to be heard. They took advantage. The district has a money problem that they want to solve by closing the school with the most children of color and the strongest programs to support the underrepresented and struggling children.

This is the truth as I see it. This is not about teachers, and where we may end up in 2008. This is about children who have been asked to foot the bill for an expense that is not theirs. When I asked district administrators at yesterday’s meeting what would be done to ease the transition for these “babies,” especially incoming kindergarteners who would have to leave after one year, I was told that the families would be given maps. Those of you who were there know that I walked out.

I am now calling for all of us to be the voice of the children. We have perfectly legal courses of action. Post your thoughts on Bill Storm’s blog. Write letters. Tell your truth. We can march. We can have sick-outs. We can work to contract. We can write editorials and send them to the Davis Enterprise. I believe we even have grounds for a civil suit. How can you close one school with 500 students from diverse backgrounds in favor of an affluent school with half that number of students? How is that “as good as or better?” (Words of a task force member during the initial data gathering phase)

I can no longer be quiet. Let’s organize ourselves in support of our neighborhood children and in honor of those who fought so hard for equality. I do believe we can make a difference.

I know that this is a long message, but it is almost a year’s worth of thoughts.

—Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is a Fourth Grade teacher at Valley Oak Elementary School

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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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240 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Open Letter to Valley Oak Colleagues and Community Members”

  1. Anonymous

    Please get over yourself. This was not a civil rights issue. The entire state has seen a decline in it’s K-12 enrollment and this is projected to continue for a few more years. Schools are being closed all over the state for this reason.

    The recommendation to close the school was very much a data-driven decision. The task force presented info and made progress in public, and it simply isn’t the case that the decision was a fait accompli from the get go.

    Most members had no interest in closing a school at all until they took a hard look at the enrollment and fiscal figures. Indeed, even then, many members commented that the Board would never close a school. The fact that they made a strong recommendation for closure represented how necessary a decision they believed it to be. You may not like the recommendation, but it’s ludicrous to suggest it was part of some secret plot.

    I really wish all the people who believe this was a secret plot had actually attended some of the early meetings. Indeed, it would have been great if task force member Dolcini had also attended some of them, as well.

    BTW, in terms of political machination, has it occurred to anyone here that Provenza’s position on VO was the most opportune? He probably knew there were 3 votes for closure, so his vote wouldn’t change the outcome. This gave him an opportunity to curry favor with an East Davis voting bloc he’ll need to win the county sup seat, without having to actually deal with the fiscal problems that would result from his vote.

    I don’t pretend to really know his heart, but his vote seems much more politically convenient than the votes the other Board members made, yet their motivations are thrown around here pretty loosely.

    Can anyone tell me what Daleiden, Taylor, or Jones gained from the vote aside from calumny? The people most concerned with the decision wanted the school to remain open, and parents attending most other schools were barely aware of the issue or it’s potential to impact them.

  2. Anonymous

    Please get over yourself. This was not a civil rights issue. The entire state has seen a decline in it’s K-12 enrollment and this is projected to continue for a few more years. Schools are being closed all over the state for this reason.

    The recommendation to close the school was very much a data-driven decision. The task force presented info and made progress in public, and it simply isn’t the case that the decision was a fait accompli from the get go.

    Most members had no interest in closing a school at all until they took a hard look at the enrollment and fiscal figures. Indeed, even then, many members commented that the Board would never close a school. The fact that they made a strong recommendation for closure represented how necessary a decision they believed it to be. You may not like the recommendation, but it’s ludicrous to suggest it was part of some secret plot.

    I really wish all the people who believe this was a secret plot had actually attended some of the early meetings. Indeed, it would have been great if task force member Dolcini had also attended some of them, as well.

    BTW, in terms of political machination, has it occurred to anyone here that Provenza’s position on VO was the most opportune? He probably knew there were 3 votes for closure, so his vote wouldn’t change the outcome. This gave him an opportunity to curry favor with an East Davis voting bloc he’ll need to win the county sup seat, without having to actually deal with the fiscal problems that would result from his vote.

    I don’t pretend to really know his heart, but his vote seems much more politically convenient than the votes the other Board members made, yet their motivations are thrown around here pretty loosely.

    Can anyone tell me what Daleiden, Taylor, or Jones gained from the vote aside from calumny? The people most concerned with the decision wanted the school to remain open, and parents attending most other schools were barely aware of the issue or it’s potential to impact them.

  3. Anonymous

    Please get over yourself. This was not a civil rights issue. The entire state has seen a decline in it’s K-12 enrollment and this is projected to continue for a few more years. Schools are being closed all over the state for this reason.

    The recommendation to close the school was very much a data-driven decision. The task force presented info and made progress in public, and it simply isn’t the case that the decision was a fait accompli from the get go.

    Most members had no interest in closing a school at all until they took a hard look at the enrollment and fiscal figures. Indeed, even then, many members commented that the Board would never close a school. The fact that they made a strong recommendation for closure represented how necessary a decision they believed it to be. You may not like the recommendation, but it’s ludicrous to suggest it was part of some secret plot.

    I really wish all the people who believe this was a secret plot had actually attended some of the early meetings. Indeed, it would have been great if task force member Dolcini had also attended some of them, as well.

    BTW, in terms of political machination, has it occurred to anyone here that Provenza’s position on VO was the most opportune? He probably knew there were 3 votes for closure, so his vote wouldn’t change the outcome. This gave him an opportunity to curry favor with an East Davis voting bloc he’ll need to win the county sup seat, without having to actually deal with the fiscal problems that would result from his vote.

    I don’t pretend to really know his heart, but his vote seems much more politically convenient than the votes the other Board members made, yet their motivations are thrown around here pretty loosely.

    Can anyone tell me what Daleiden, Taylor, or Jones gained from the vote aside from calumny? The people most concerned with the decision wanted the school to remain open, and parents attending most other schools were barely aware of the issue or it’s potential to impact them.

  4. Anonymous

    Please get over yourself. This was not a civil rights issue. The entire state has seen a decline in it’s K-12 enrollment and this is projected to continue for a few more years. Schools are being closed all over the state for this reason.

    The recommendation to close the school was very much a data-driven decision. The task force presented info and made progress in public, and it simply isn’t the case that the decision was a fait accompli from the get go.

    Most members had no interest in closing a school at all until they took a hard look at the enrollment and fiscal figures. Indeed, even then, many members commented that the Board would never close a school. The fact that they made a strong recommendation for closure represented how necessary a decision they believed it to be. You may not like the recommendation, but it’s ludicrous to suggest it was part of some secret plot.

    I really wish all the people who believe this was a secret plot had actually attended some of the early meetings. Indeed, it would have been great if task force member Dolcini had also attended some of them, as well.

    BTW, in terms of political machination, has it occurred to anyone here that Provenza’s position on VO was the most opportune? He probably knew there were 3 votes for closure, so his vote wouldn’t change the outcome. This gave him an opportunity to curry favor with an East Davis voting bloc he’ll need to win the county sup seat, without having to actually deal with the fiscal problems that would result from his vote.

    I don’t pretend to really know his heart, but his vote seems much more politically convenient than the votes the other Board members made, yet their motivations are thrown around here pretty loosely.

    Can anyone tell me what Daleiden, Taylor, or Jones gained from the vote aside from calumny? The people most concerned with the decision wanted the school to remain open, and parents attending most other schools were barely aware of the issue or it’s potential to impact them.

  5. Nicole Smith

    Check your facts. Enrollment hasn’t dropped as much as people think.

    As for early meetings… Were you at the “early meeting” at Valley Oak when an audience member asked, “If we can raise the money, will you keep the school open?” I was there, and the answer was NO. Maybe this is not as money driven as you think.

    It is also an interesting fact that a board member who wanted the school closed used to work for Task Force Member Kirk Trost, who helped make the recommendation.

    Surely you can’t think the closure can be taken at face value, “anonymous.”

  6. Nicole Smith

    Check your facts. Enrollment hasn’t dropped as much as people think.

    As for early meetings… Were you at the “early meeting” at Valley Oak when an audience member asked, “If we can raise the money, will you keep the school open?” I was there, and the answer was NO. Maybe this is not as money driven as you think.

    It is also an interesting fact that a board member who wanted the school closed used to work for Task Force Member Kirk Trost, who helped make the recommendation.

    Surely you can’t think the closure can be taken at face value, “anonymous.”

  7. Nicole Smith

    Check your facts. Enrollment hasn’t dropped as much as people think.

    As for early meetings… Were you at the “early meeting” at Valley Oak when an audience member asked, “If we can raise the money, will you keep the school open?” I was there, and the answer was NO. Maybe this is not as money driven as you think.

    It is also an interesting fact that a board member who wanted the school closed used to work for Task Force Member Kirk Trost, who helped make the recommendation.

    Surely you can’t think the closure can be taken at face value, “anonymous.”

  8. Nicole Smith

    Check your facts. Enrollment hasn’t dropped as much as people think.

    As for early meetings… Were you at the “early meeting” at Valley Oak when an audience member asked, “If we can raise the money, will you keep the school open?” I was there, and the answer was NO. Maybe this is not as money driven as you think.

    It is also an interesting fact that a board member who wanted the school closed used to work for Task Force Member Kirk Trost, who helped make the recommendation.

    Surely you can’t think the closure can be taken at face value, “anonymous.”

  9. Colleen Connolly

    Closing the only majority-minority school in Davis in favor of opening a new school in a wealthy neighborhood does make it a civil rights issue.
    Davis OPEN laid to rest the canard about the “data driven decision” of the Task Force. See Davis-OPEN web site power point of the data.
    I believe Mr. Colby, deputy superintendent of finance,stated,”There is no current deficit.” (See tape of March 15TH Board of Ed Mtg available at district offices.)
    It’s indisputable that Davis did lose 300 students from 2003-2005. The Task Force based their decision on the assumption that the district would lose another 100 students in 2006-2007 and again in 2007-2008.
    It is also true that the district enrollment increased by 120 students in 2006-2007.
    Those 120 new enrollees translate into over $600,000 in extra state funds.
    No deficit, increased enrollment, $660,000 extra state funds for next year.
    Still reasons to close a school?
    Perhaps Mr. Provenza was using this situation for opportunistic reasons of his own. How does that change the facts of the mattter?
    Perhaps Mr. Trost aspires to public office and knew the way to wealthy East Davis hearts and pocketbooks was by opening a school in their neighborhood.
    Perhaps Ms. Jones’ personal loyalty to her friend and former boss, Mr Trost, trumped her better judgement. Certainly if she knew the decison to close Valley Oak were the right one, she wouldn’t have been in tears over casting it. She had the opportunity to close the school Dec. 2005 when the motion to open FTK as a full K-6 in 2006 and to close Valley Oak was introduced. The demographics and financial outlook were much more dire at that time. First she voted no to opening FTk and closing VOE, then changed her vote to a compromise vote that kept Valley Oak as it is, and opened FTK on the current,limited staggered opening.
    I believe the issue struck a chord with more than mere Valley Oak neighborhood residents. Letters to the editor prove that, as do the 1,6016 signatures on the petitions to keep Valley Oak open.
    Mr. Taylor and Ms. Daleiden are new to the board. It remains to be seen.
    Telling us to “get over ourselves” serves no other purpose than to inflame an already highly charged situation. No one wants to close FTK, even now. What Davis-OPEN wants is an elementary school in every neighborhood.
    If you’d like to discuss this issue like neighbors, I can be reached at falutn@sbcglobal.net. I am also in the book.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen Connolly
    Founding member
    Davis-Open

  10. Colleen Connolly

    Closing the only majority-minority school in Davis in favor of opening a new school in a wealthy neighborhood does make it a civil rights issue.
    Davis OPEN laid to rest the canard about the “data driven decision” of the Task Force. See Davis-OPEN web site power point of the data.
    I believe Mr. Colby, deputy superintendent of finance,stated,”There is no current deficit.” (See tape of March 15TH Board of Ed Mtg available at district offices.)
    It’s indisputable that Davis did lose 300 students from 2003-2005. The Task Force based their decision on the assumption that the district would lose another 100 students in 2006-2007 and again in 2007-2008.
    It is also true that the district enrollment increased by 120 students in 2006-2007.
    Those 120 new enrollees translate into over $600,000 in extra state funds.
    No deficit, increased enrollment, $660,000 extra state funds for next year.
    Still reasons to close a school?
    Perhaps Mr. Provenza was using this situation for opportunistic reasons of his own. How does that change the facts of the mattter?
    Perhaps Mr. Trost aspires to public office and knew the way to wealthy East Davis hearts and pocketbooks was by opening a school in their neighborhood.
    Perhaps Ms. Jones’ personal loyalty to her friend and former boss, Mr Trost, trumped her better judgement. Certainly if she knew the decison to close Valley Oak were the right one, she wouldn’t have been in tears over casting it. She had the opportunity to close the school Dec. 2005 when the motion to open FTK as a full K-6 in 2006 and to close Valley Oak was introduced. The demographics and financial outlook were much more dire at that time. First she voted no to opening FTk and closing VOE, then changed her vote to a compromise vote that kept Valley Oak as it is, and opened FTK on the current,limited staggered opening.
    I believe the issue struck a chord with more than mere Valley Oak neighborhood residents. Letters to the editor prove that, as do the 1,6016 signatures on the petitions to keep Valley Oak open.
    Mr. Taylor and Ms. Daleiden are new to the board. It remains to be seen.
    Telling us to “get over ourselves” serves no other purpose than to inflame an already highly charged situation. No one wants to close FTK, even now. What Davis-OPEN wants is an elementary school in every neighborhood.
    If you’d like to discuss this issue like neighbors, I can be reached at falutn@sbcglobal.net. I am also in the book.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen Connolly
    Founding member
    Davis-Open

  11. Colleen Connolly

    Closing the only majority-minority school in Davis in favor of opening a new school in a wealthy neighborhood does make it a civil rights issue.
    Davis OPEN laid to rest the canard about the “data driven decision” of the Task Force. See Davis-OPEN web site power point of the data.
    I believe Mr. Colby, deputy superintendent of finance,stated,”There is no current deficit.” (See tape of March 15TH Board of Ed Mtg available at district offices.)
    It’s indisputable that Davis did lose 300 students from 2003-2005. The Task Force based their decision on the assumption that the district would lose another 100 students in 2006-2007 and again in 2007-2008.
    It is also true that the district enrollment increased by 120 students in 2006-2007.
    Those 120 new enrollees translate into over $600,000 in extra state funds.
    No deficit, increased enrollment, $660,000 extra state funds for next year.
    Still reasons to close a school?
    Perhaps Mr. Provenza was using this situation for opportunistic reasons of his own. How does that change the facts of the mattter?
    Perhaps Mr. Trost aspires to public office and knew the way to wealthy East Davis hearts and pocketbooks was by opening a school in their neighborhood.
    Perhaps Ms. Jones’ personal loyalty to her friend and former boss, Mr Trost, trumped her better judgement. Certainly if she knew the decison to close Valley Oak were the right one, she wouldn’t have been in tears over casting it. She had the opportunity to close the school Dec. 2005 when the motion to open FTK as a full K-6 in 2006 and to close Valley Oak was introduced. The demographics and financial outlook were much more dire at that time. First she voted no to opening FTk and closing VOE, then changed her vote to a compromise vote that kept Valley Oak as it is, and opened FTK on the current,limited staggered opening.
    I believe the issue struck a chord with more than mere Valley Oak neighborhood residents. Letters to the editor prove that, as do the 1,6016 signatures on the petitions to keep Valley Oak open.
    Mr. Taylor and Ms. Daleiden are new to the board. It remains to be seen.
    Telling us to “get over ourselves” serves no other purpose than to inflame an already highly charged situation. No one wants to close FTK, even now. What Davis-OPEN wants is an elementary school in every neighborhood.
    If you’d like to discuss this issue like neighbors, I can be reached at falutn@sbcglobal.net. I am also in the book.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen Connolly
    Founding member
    Davis-Open

  12. Colleen Connolly

    Closing the only majority-minority school in Davis in favor of opening a new school in a wealthy neighborhood does make it a civil rights issue.
    Davis OPEN laid to rest the canard about the “data driven decision” of the Task Force. See Davis-OPEN web site power point of the data.
    I believe Mr. Colby, deputy superintendent of finance,stated,”There is no current deficit.” (See tape of March 15TH Board of Ed Mtg available at district offices.)
    It’s indisputable that Davis did lose 300 students from 2003-2005. The Task Force based their decision on the assumption that the district would lose another 100 students in 2006-2007 and again in 2007-2008.
    It is also true that the district enrollment increased by 120 students in 2006-2007.
    Those 120 new enrollees translate into over $600,000 in extra state funds.
    No deficit, increased enrollment, $660,000 extra state funds for next year.
    Still reasons to close a school?
    Perhaps Mr. Provenza was using this situation for opportunistic reasons of his own. How does that change the facts of the mattter?
    Perhaps Mr. Trost aspires to public office and knew the way to wealthy East Davis hearts and pocketbooks was by opening a school in their neighborhood.
    Perhaps Ms. Jones’ personal loyalty to her friend and former boss, Mr Trost, trumped her better judgement. Certainly if she knew the decison to close Valley Oak were the right one, she wouldn’t have been in tears over casting it. She had the opportunity to close the school Dec. 2005 when the motion to open FTK as a full K-6 in 2006 and to close Valley Oak was introduced. The demographics and financial outlook were much more dire at that time. First she voted no to opening FTk and closing VOE, then changed her vote to a compromise vote that kept Valley Oak as it is, and opened FTK on the current,limited staggered opening.
    I believe the issue struck a chord with more than mere Valley Oak neighborhood residents. Letters to the editor prove that, as do the 1,6016 signatures on the petitions to keep Valley Oak open.
    Mr. Taylor and Ms. Daleiden are new to the board. It remains to be seen.
    Telling us to “get over ourselves” serves no other purpose than to inflame an already highly charged situation. No one wants to close FTK, even now. What Davis-OPEN wants is an elementary school in every neighborhood.
    If you’d like to discuss this issue like neighbors, I can be reached at falutn@sbcglobal.net. I am also in the book.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen Connolly
    Founding member
    Davis-Open

  13. Rich Rifkin

    “When Rodney King was beaten nearly to death and his civil rights were violated, the African-American people waited for justice. They trusted our “system” to find the officers guilty. This was a long and difficult wait. When the unsatisfactory verdict came in, violence erupted. The people were enforcing their own form of justice: retaliation.”

    For what it’s worth, the four LAPD officers were convicted of violating Rodney King’s civil rights in a federal trial that came after the state acquittals.

    Second, King was not beaten “nearly to death” by the police. I don’t excuse his harsh treatment, but saying he was nearly killed is total bull. He did have a hairline fracture on his skull, which required no medical treatment. None of his vital organs was injured.

    Third, most of the so-called protestors in Los Angeles were just violent hoodlums and nogoodniks who got caught up in the excitement. They did not “retaliate.” They killed, robbed, raped, pillaged, and committed arson. Most of the victims of this criminality were Korean, Latino and black families who had invested their money in retail businesses in South Central Los Angeles. Fifty people died as a result of that riot. The hoodlumns caused around $1 billion in damage.

    By contrast, when King beat up his wife in 1987, she did nearly succumb to her injuries. She was saved in the ICU. I don’t recall any violent protests over that beating, where 250-pound drug-addled Rodney beat his 115-pound wife while she was sleeping, then dragged her outside the house and beat her again.

    It was the same story when Mr. King bashed a Pakistani convenience store clerk over the head with a tire iron in a $200 robbery in 1989. King was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery, and intent to commit great bodily injury. I don’t recall the “civil rights” protestors coming out to defend that clerk’s civil rights.

    In 1992, King’s second wife reported to police that King had hit her and she feared for her life. Once again, no civil rights protests.

    In 1995, King got into an argument with his next wife while he was driving, pulled off the freeway and ordered her out of the car. When she started to get out, King sped off, leaving her on the highway with a bruised arm. King was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his car), reckless driving, spousal abuse, and hit-and-run. Total silence from the civil rights protestors.

    In 1999, King injured the sixteen-year-old girl that he had fathered out of wedlock when he was seventeen, as well as the girl’s mother. King was arrested for injuring the woman, the girl, and for vandalizing property. King claimed that the incident was simply “a family misunderstanding.” Nobody bothered to protest that.

    Rodney King is a horrible, horrible human being who has done nothing but bring trouble, pain and victimhood to others. His name should never be associated with civil rights or rational protest.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    “When Rodney King was beaten nearly to death and his civil rights were violated, the African-American people waited for justice. They trusted our “system” to find the officers guilty. This was a long and difficult wait. When the unsatisfactory verdict came in, violence erupted. The people were enforcing their own form of justice: retaliation.”

    For what it’s worth, the four LAPD officers were convicted of violating Rodney King’s civil rights in a federal trial that came after the state acquittals.

    Second, King was not beaten “nearly to death” by the police. I don’t excuse his harsh treatment, but saying he was nearly killed is total bull. He did have a hairline fracture on his skull, which required no medical treatment. None of his vital organs was injured.

    Third, most of the so-called protestors in Los Angeles were just violent hoodlums and nogoodniks who got caught up in the excitement. They did not “retaliate.” They killed, robbed, raped, pillaged, and committed arson. Most of the victims of this criminality were Korean, Latino and black families who had invested their money in retail businesses in South Central Los Angeles. Fifty people died as a result of that riot. The hoodlumns caused around $1 billion in damage.

    By contrast, when King beat up his wife in 1987, she did nearly succumb to her injuries. She was saved in the ICU. I don’t recall any violent protests over that beating, where 250-pound drug-addled Rodney beat his 115-pound wife while she was sleeping, then dragged her outside the house and beat her again.

    It was the same story when Mr. King bashed a Pakistani convenience store clerk over the head with a tire iron in a $200 robbery in 1989. King was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery, and intent to commit great bodily injury. I don’t recall the “civil rights” protestors coming out to defend that clerk’s civil rights.

    In 1992, King’s second wife reported to police that King had hit her and she feared for her life. Once again, no civil rights protests.

    In 1995, King got into an argument with his next wife while he was driving, pulled off the freeway and ordered her out of the car. When she started to get out, King sped off, leaving her on the highway with a bruised arm. King was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his car), reckless driving, spousal abuse, and hit-and-run. Total silence from the civil rights protestors.

    In 1999, King injured the sixteen-year-old girl that he had fathered out of wedlock when he was seventeen, as well as the girl’s mother. King was arrested for injuring the woman, the girl, and for vandalizing property. King claimed that the incident was simply “a family misunderstanding.” Nobody bothered to protest that.

    Rodney King is a horrible, horrible human being who has done nothing but bring trouble, pain and victimhood to others. His name should never be associated with civil rights or rational protest.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    “When Rodney King was beaten nearly to death and his civil rights were violated, the African-American people waited for justice. They trusted our “system” to find the officers guilty. This was a long and difficult wait. When the unsatisfactory verdict came in, violence erupted. The people were enforcing their own form of justice: retaliation.”

    For what it’s worth, the four LAPD officers were convicted of violating Rodney King’s civil rights in a federal trial that came after the state acquittals.

    Second, King was not beaten “nearly to death” by the police. I don’t excuse his harsh treatment, but saying he was nearly killed is total bull. He did have a hairline fracture on his skull, which required no medical treatment. None of his vital organs was injured.

    Third, most of the so-called protestors in Los Angeles were just violent hoodlums and nogoodniks who got caught up in the excitement. They did not “retaliate.” They killed, robbed, raped, pillaged, and committed arson. Most of the victims of this criminality were Korean, Latino and black families who had invested their money in retail businesses in South Central Los Angeles. Fifty people died as a result of that riot. The hoodlumns caused around $1 billion in damage.

    By contrast, when King beat up his wife in 1987, she did nearly succumb to her injuries. She was saved in the ICU. I don’t recall any violent protests over that beating, where 250-pound drug-addled Rodney beat his 115-pound wife while she was sleeping, then dragged her outside the house and beat her again.

    It was the same story when Mr. King bashed a Pakistani convenience store clerk over the head with a tire iron in a $200 robbery in 1989. King was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery, and intent to commit great bodily injury. I don’t recall the “civil rights” protestors coming out to defend that clerk’s civil rights.

    In 1992, King’s second wife reported to police that King had hit her and she feared for her life. Once again, no civil rights protests.

    In 1995, King got into an argument with his next wife while he was driving, pulled off the freeway and ordered her out of the car. When she started to get out, King sped off, leaving her on the highway with a bruised arm. King was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his car), reckless driving, spousal abuse, and hit-and-run. Total silence from the civil rights protestors.

    In 1999, King injured the sixteen-year-old girl that he had fathered out of wedlock when he was seventeen, as well as the girl’s mother. King was arrested for injuring the woman, the girl, and for vandalizing property. King claimed that the incident was simply “a family misunderstanding.” Nobody bothered to protest that.

    Rodney King is a horrible, horrible human being who has done nothing but bring trouble, pain and victimhood to others. His name should never be associated with civil rights or rational protest.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    “When Rodney King was beaten nearly to death and his civil rights were violated, the African-American people waited for justice. They trusted our “system” to find the officers guilty. This was a long and difficult wait. When the unsatisfactory verdict came in, violence erupted. The people were enforcing their own form of justice: retaliation.”

    For what it’s worth, the four LAPD officers were convicted of violating Rodney King’s civil rights in a federal trial that came after the state acquittals.

    Second, King was not beaten “nearly to death” by the police. I don’t excuse his harsh treatment, but saying he was nearly killed is total bull. He did have a hairline fracture on his skull, which required no medical treatment. None of his vital organs was injured.

    Third, most of the so-called protestors in Los Angeles were just violent hoodlums and nogoodniks who got caught up in the excitement. They did not “retaliate.” They killed, robbed, raped, pillaged, and committed arson. Most of the victims of this criminality were Korean, Latino and black families who had invested their money in retail businesses in South Central Los Angeles. Fifty people died as a result of that riot. The hoodlumns caused around $1 billion in damage.

    By contrast, when King beat up his wife in 1987, she did nearly succumb to her injuries. She was saved in the ICU. I don’t recall any violent protests over that beating, where 250-pound drug-addled Rodney beat his 115-pound wife while she was sleeping, then dragged her outside the house and beat her again.

    It was the same story when Mr. King bashed a Pakistani convenience store clerk over the head with a tire iron in a $200 robbery in 1989. King was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery, and intent to commit great bodily injury. I don’t recall the “civil rights” protestors coming out to defend that clerk’s civil rights.

    In 1992, King’s second wife reported to police that King had hit her and she feared for her life. Once again, no civil rights protests.

    In 1995, King got into an argument with his next wife while he was driving, pulled off the freeway and ordered her out of the car. When she started to get out, King sped off, leaving her on the highway with a bruised arm. King was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his car), reckless driving, spousal abuse, and hit-and-run. Total silence from the civil rights protestors.

    In 1999, King injured the sixteen-year-old girl that he had fathered out of wedlock when he was seventeen, as well as the girl’s mother. King was arrested for injuring the woman, the girl, and for vandalizing property. King claimed that the incident was simply “a family misunderstanding.” Nobody bothered to protest that.

    Rodney King is a horrible, horrible human being who has done nothing but bring trouble, pain and victimhood to others. His name should never be associated with civil rights or rational protest.

  17. Vincente

    And yet the moment King was beaten, it no longer mattered that he had been running from the police, he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape, no one could bury their head in the sand any longer.

  18. Vincente

    And yet the moment King was beaten, it no longer mattered that he had been running from the police, he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape, no one could bury their head in the sand any longer.

  19. Vincente

    And yet the moment King was beaten, it no longer mattered that he had been running from the police, he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape, no one could bury their head in the sand any longer.

  20. Vincente

    And yet the moment King was beaten, it no longer mattered that he had been running from the police, he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape, no one could bury their head in the sand any longer.

  21. Rich Rifkin

    “he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape.”

    That is true. It fully demonstrated how television, by replaying that tape out of context a thousand times, was able to light a fire under people who were looking for an excuse to act like idiots. (In an earlier era, whites in the South and some places in the North went on vigilante tirades against blacks after the white media got white idiots agitated.)

    However, what was wrong with the police in Los Angeles was a very minor part of the problem of what was (and still is) wrong in the so-called ghetto. Widespread family dissolution, domestic violence, neglect of children, teen-aged motherhood, disinvestment, financial stresses due to global trade, gangsterism, drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs and HIV, poor school performance, high drop-out rates, and dozens of other severe problems.

    Instead of having protests over these real and important problems, a riot that helped no one was launched over an issue, police brutality, that never was in the top 10 of real issues among the affected community.

  22. Rich Rifkin

    “he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape.”

    That is true. It fully demonstrated how television, by replaying that tape out of context a thousand times, was able to light a fire under people who were looking for an excuse to act like idiots. (In an earlier era, whites in the South and some places in the North went on vigilante tirades against blacks after the white media got white idiots agitated.)

    However, what was wrong with the police in Los Angeles was a very minor part of the problem of what was (and still is) wrong in the so-called ghetto. Widespread family dissolution, domestic violence, neglect of children, teen-aged motherhood, disinvestment, financial stresses due to global trade, gangsterism, drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs and HIV, poor school performance, high drop-out rates, and dozens of other severe problems.

    Instead of having protests over these real and important problems, a riot that helped no one was launched over an issue, police brutality, that never was in the top 10 of real issues among the affected community.

  23. Rich Rifkin

    “he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape.”

    That is true. It fully demonstrated how television, by replaying that tape out of context a thousand times, was able to light a fire under people who were looking for an excuse to act like idiots. (In an earlier era, whites in the South and some places in the North went on vigilante tirades against blacks after the white media got white idiots agitated.)

    However, what was wrong with the police in Los Angeles was a very minor part of the problem of what was (and still is) wrong in the so-called ghetto. Widespread family dissolution, domestic violence, neglect of children, teen-aged motherhood, disinvestment, financial stresses due to global trade, gangsterism, drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs and HIV, poor school performance, high drop-out rates, and dozens of other severe problems.

    Instead of having protests over these real and important problems, a riot that helped no one was launched over an issue, police brutality, that never was in the top 10 of real issues among the affected community.

  24. Rich Rifkin

    “he became a visible symbol for what was wrong with the police and their responses and everyone knew it and because it was caught on tape.”

    That is true. It fully demonstrated how television, by replaying that tape out of context a thousand times, was able to light a fire under people who were looking for an excuse to act like idiots. (In an earlier era, whites in the South and some places in the North went on vigilante tirades against blacks after the white media got white idiots agitated.)

    However, what was wrong with the police in Los Angeles was a very minor part of the problem of what was (and still is) wrong in the so-called ghetto. Widespread family dissolution, domestic violence, neglect of children, teen-aged motherhood, disinvestment, financial stresses due to global trade, gangsterism, drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs and HIV, poor school performance, high drop-out rates, and dozens of other severe problems.

    Instead of having protests over these real and important problems, a riot that helped no one was launched over an issue, police brutality, that never was in the top 10 of real issues among the affected community.

  25. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that if there were videos of all of Rodney King’s terribly violent acts — not just the dozen or so times he has been arrested, but the likely dozens of others in which he got away with his crimes — and those videos had been played nightly on television, over and over showing what a bastard Mr. King was, showing that he was no “victim,” then even the idiots who brutalized Los Angeles in the riots of 1992 would have been tamed after those bizarre acquittals in Simi Valley.

  26. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that if there were videos of all of Rodney King’s terribly violent acts — not just the dozen or so times he has been arrested, but the likely dozens of others in which he got away with his crimes — and those videos had been played nightly on television, over and over showing what a bastard Mr. King was, showing that he was no “victim,” then even the idiots who brutalized Los Angeles in the riots of 1992 would have been tamed after those bizarre acquittals in Simi Valley.

  27. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that if there were videos of all of Rodney King’s terribly violent acts — not just the dozen or so times he has been arrested, but the likely dozens of others in which he got away with his crimes — and those videos had been played nightly on television, over and over showing what a bastard Mr. King was, showing that he was no “victim,” then even the idiots who brutalized Los Angeles in the riots of 1992 would have been tamed after those bizarre acquittals in Simi Valley.

  28. Rich Rifkin

    I should add that if there were videos of all of Rodney King’s terribly violent acts — not just the dozen or so times he has been arrested, but the likely dozens of others in which he got away with his crimes — and those videos had been played nightly on television, over and over showing what a bastard Mr. King was, showing that he was no “victim,” then even the idiots who brutalized Los Angeles in the riots of 1992 would have been tamed after those bizarre acquittals in Simi Valley.

  29. Vincente

    Regardless of what he has done, the actions of the police were unjustified. And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control

  30. Vincente

    Regardless of what he has done, the actions of the police were unjustified. And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control

  31. Vincente

    Regardless of what he has done, the actions of the police were unjustified. And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control

  32. Vincente

    Regardless of what he has done, the actions of the police were unjustified. And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control

  33. Sharla

    Oh, boy.

    Nicole is a 4th Grade GATE teacher at Valley Oak. I don’t believe her class has any of the EL program kids, nor many of the neighborhood kids and her program will most likely remain intact, if not at Korematsu, then at North Davis, with much the same kids attending, even with Valley Oak closing.

    Keeping Valley Oak open is not about racial justice, it’s about maintaining a successful neighborhood program which has a successful English Language program. It is about allowing the neighborhood to have a neighborhood school. The problem is that the Mace Ranch kids and the 100 or so EL kids that live there shouldn’t have to ride public transportation to get to school either.

    Nicole’s rhetoric is full of anger and accusations, but I can’t see what she is suggesting that we do, other than raise the money, or engage in a non-violent form of retaliation. OK, float the school bond and then work like hell to get the town to pass it. However, accusations made against strangers, the very people that you would want to vote to tax themselves, is not smart. And choosing to close one school to open another where more kids live is not parallel to Rodney King’s beating at the hands of LA Police Officers. I’m sorry, it is just not in the same category. “Our children” that she refers to is my child too. She needs to look hard and long at how she treated my child, take a walk and come back to the table with some real suggestions.

  34. Sharla

    Oh, boy.

    Nicole is a 4th Grade GATE teacher at Valley Oak. I don’t believe her class has any of the EL program kids, nor many of the neighborhood kids and her program will most likely remain intact, if not at Korematsu, then at North Davis, with much the same kids attending, even with Valley Oak closing.

    Keeping Valley Oak open is not about racial justice, it’s about maintaining a successful neighborhood program which has a successful English Language program. It is about allowing the neighborhood to have a neighborhood school. The problem is that the Mace Ranch kids and the 100 or so EL kids that live there shouldn’t have to ride public transportation to get to school either.

    Nicole’s rhetoric is full of anger and accusations, but I can’t see what she is suggesting that we do, other than raise the money, or engage in a non-violent form of retaliation. OK, float the school bond and then work like hell to get the town to pass it. However, accusations made against strangers, the very people that you would want to vote to tax themselves, is not smart. And choosing to close one school to open another where more kids live is not parallel to Rodney King’s beating at the hands of LA Police Officers. I’m sorry, it is just not in the same category. “Our children” that she refers to is my child too. She needs to look hard and long at how she treated my child, take a walk and come back to the table with some real suggestions.

  35. Sharla

    Oh, boy.

    Nicole is a 4th Grade GATE teacher at Valley Oak. I don’t believe her class has any of the EL program kids, nor many of the neighborhood kids and her program will most likely remain intact, if not at Korematsu, then at North Davis, with much the same kids attending, even with Valley Oak closing.

    Keeping Valley Oak open is not about racial justice, it’s about maintaining a successful neighborhood program which has a successful English Language program. It is about allowing the neighborhood to have a neighborhood school. The problem is that the Mace Ranch kids and the 100 or so EL kids that live there shouldn’t have to ride public transportation to get to school either.

    Nicole’s rhetoric is full of anger and accusations, but I can’t see what she is suggesting that we do, other than raise the money, or engage in a non-violent form of retaliation. OK, float the school bond and then work like hell to get the town to pass it. However, accusations made against strangers, the very people that you would want to vote to tax themselves, is not smart. And choosing to close one school to open another where more kids live is not parallel to Rodney King’s beating at the hands of LA Police Officers. I’m sorry, it is just not in the same category. “Our children” that she refers to is my child too. She needs to look hard and long at how she treated my child, take a walk and come back to the table with some real suggestions.

  36. Sharla

    Oh, boy.

    Nicole is a 4th Grade GATE teacher at Valley Oak. I don’t believe her class has any of the EL program kids, nor many of the neighborhood kids and her program will most likely remain intact, if not at Korematsu, then at North Davis, with much the same kids attending, even with Valley Oak closing.

    Keeping Valley Oak open is not about racial justice, it’s about maintaining a successful neighborhood program which has a successful English Language program. It is about allowing the neighborhood to have a neighborhood school. The problem is that the Mace Ranch kids and the 100 or so EL kids that live there shouldn’t have to ride public transportation to get to school either.

    Nicole’s rhetoric is full of anger and accusations, but I can’t see what she is suggesting that we do, other than raise the money, or engage in a non-violent form of retaliation. OK, float the school bond and then work like hell to get the town to pass it. However, accusations made against strangers, the very people that you would want to vote to tax themselves, is not smart. And choosing to close one school to open another where more kids live is not parallel to Rodney King’s beating at the hands of LA Police Officers. I’m sorry, it is just not in the same category. “Our children” that she refers to is my child too. She needs to look hard and long at how she treated my child, take a walk and come back to the table with some real suggestions.

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control.”

    Context always matters. Nothing justifies the excessive force of the LAPD. But I believe that if the morons who riotted had been presented with the full picture of Rodney King, including videos of him repeatedly beating up women, their reaction to his case would have been mellower.

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control.”

    Context always matters. Nothing justifies the excessive force of the LAPD. But I believe that if the morons who riotted had been presented with the full picture of Rodney King, including videos of him repeatedly beating up women, their reaction to his case would have been mellower.

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control.”

    Context always matters. Nothing justifies the excessive force of the LAPD. But I believe that if the morons who riotted had been presented with the full picture of Rodney King, including videos of him repeatedly beating up women, their reaction to his case would have been mellower.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “And btw, after the first 10 seconds, the context does not matter, it was clear to EVERYONE that it was out of control.”

    Context always matters. Nothing justifies the excessive force of the LAPD. But I believe that if the morons who riotted had been presented with the full picture of Rodney King, including videos of him repeatedly beating up women, their reaction to his case would have been mellower.

  41. OJ

    With all of this Rodney King talk, it’s necessary to point out that denial of an education is worse than an assault by police, so let’s get that off the table once and for all. There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern. The fact that Nicole is passionate about the people who will be the most affected by the school’s demise – the students – is not what’s to blame here.

    Rather than pile on the assertions that her position is racially charged, perhaps the posters here should ask themselves why they are comfortable with the fact that 1. the school IS scheduled to close, 2. it is an affliction that disproportionately affects schools with high “minority” attendance statewide, and 3. another school is being opened in its place in a wealthier neighborhood. Yes, it is a civil rights issue, and yes, it does raise questions of racism and classism.

    Nicole’s letter isn’t the issue here, and she has every right to be angry. The issue is the ‘business-as-usual’ approach of attempting to save money by denying services to those who need them most. It’s also the knee-jerk white guilt reflex of immediate condemnation of anything labeled racist without exploring the facts.

    So perhaps a civil rights class-action against the board and the city of Davis will be just what the doctor ordered…

  42. OJ

    With all of this Rodney King talk, it’s necessary to point out that denial of an education is worse than an assault by police, so let’s get that off the table once and for all. There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern. The fact that Nicole is passionate about the people who will be the most affected by the school’s demise – the students – is not what’s to blame here.

    Rather than pile on the assertions that her position is racially charged, perhaps the posters here should ask themselves why they are comfortable with the fact that 1. the school IS scheduled to close, 2. it is an affliction that disproportionately affects schools with high “minority” attendance statewide, and 3. another school is being opened in its place in a wealthier neighborhood. Yes, it is a civil rights issue, and yes, it does raise questions of racism and classism.

    Nicole’s letter isn’t the issue here, and she has every right to be angry. The issue is the ‘business-as-usual’ approach of attempting to save money by denying services to those who need them most. It’s also the knee-jerk white guilt reflex of immediate condemnation of anything labeled racist without exploring the facts.

    So perhaps a civil rights class-action against the board and the city of Davis will be just what the doctor ordered…

  43. OJ

    With all of this Rodney King talk, it’s necessary to point out that denial of an education is worse than an assault by police, so let’s get that off the table once and for all. There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern. The fact that Nicole is passionate about the people who will be the most affected by the school’s demise – the students – is not what’s to blame here.

    Rather than pile on the assertions that her position is racially charged, perhaps the posters here should ask themselves why they are comfortable with the fact that 1. the school IS scheduled to close, 2. it is an affliction that disproportionately affects schools with high “minority” attendance statewide, and 3. another school is being opened in its place in a wealthier neighborhood. Yes, it is a civil rights issue, and yes, it does raise questions of racism and classism.

    Nicole’s letter isn’t the issue here, and she has every right to be angry. The issue is the ‘business-as-usual’ approach of attempting to save money by denying services to those who need them most. It’s also the knee-jerk white guilt reflex of immediate condemnation of anything labeled racist without exploring the facts.

    So perhaps a civil rights class-action against the board and the city of Davis will be just what the doctor ordered…

  44. OJ

    With all of this Rodney King talk, it’s necessary to point out that denial of an education is worse than an assault by police, so let’s get that off the table once and for all. There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern. The fact that Nicole is passionate about the people who will be the most affected by the school’s demise – the students – is not what’s to blame here.

    Rather than pile on the assertions that her position is racially charged, perhaps the posters here should ask themselves why they are comfortable with the fact that 1. the school IS scheduled to close, 2. it is an affliction that disproportionately affects schools with high “minority” attendance statewide, and 3. another school is being opened in its place in a wealthier neighborhood. Yes, it is a civil rights issue, and yes, it does raise questions of racism and classism.

    Nicole’s letter isn’t the issue here, and she has every right to be angry. The issue is the ‘business-as-usual’ approach of attempting to save money by denying services to those who need them most. It’s also the knee-jerk white guilt reflex of immediate condemnation of anything labeled racist without exploring the facts.

    So perhaps a civil rights class-action against the board and the city of Davis will be just what the doctor ordered…

  45. Anonymous

    What do the Valley Oak Elementary families desire for their children?
    This is the issue. Others, making perhaps well-intentioned decisions as to what THEY believe is best for these children smacks of paternalism.
    This is a value choice that should not be in the hands of the “bean counters”.

  46. Anonymous

    What do the Valley Oak Elementary families desire for their children?
    This is the issue. Others, making perhaps well-intentioned decisions as to what THEY believe is best for these children smacks of paternalism.
    This is a value choice that should not be in the hands of the “bean counters”.

  47. Anonymous

    What do the Valley Oak Elementary families desire for their children?
    This is the issue. Others, making perhaps well-intentioned decisions as to what THEY believe is best for these children smacks of paternalism.
    This is a value choice that should not be in the hands of the “bean counters”.

  48. Anonymous

    What do the Valley Oak Elementary families desire for their children?
    This is the issue. Others, making perhaps well-intentioned decisions as to what THEY believe is best for these children smacks of paternalism.
    This is a value choice that should not be in the hands of the “bean counters”.

  49. Nicole Smith

    I am not a GATE teacher. I teach regular education at Valley Oak. I was a GATE teacher about 7 years ago, which is a long time to hold a grudge.

    What I teach does not effect my desire to see the Valley Oak children keep their own school.

    My problem is not with those who would join me to see all schools open. My concern is that there are too many people who can not see the bigger issues. We opened one school while closing another. That is not equitable. Especially when you consider the existing achievement gap and the neighborhood populations. The district had the facts when Korematsu opened. They have been irresponsible. Of course that neighborhood deserves a school. But not at the cost of ours.

    Am I angry? Absolutely. Have I made accusations? Sure. I have also been honest.

    I have also made some suggestions, which it sounds like you may have overlooked. Because I consider this a civil rights issue, I suggest we treat it as one. We need to raise up as one voice. Not the voice of Valley Oak, but the voice of the children. All of them.

    I was not kidding when I said we should march and have sit-ins. I think we need to organize to effect the results of the November election. I am already talking to other community members about “joining forces.” As our plans become more concrete, they will be made public and we hope that others will join us.

    The ACLU has already been notified, and I have been given the names of a few civil rights lawyers. I do believe we have a case.

    I did not make a specific recommendation for a course of action, because I am one person. These are decisions that should be made together.

    If one of the voices of the children belongs to your child, then whatever happened 7-9 years ago should be left in the past so we can work together. (I have NO idea what you are referring to.)

    I will repeat that this is not about me. It is about the children. Whether you like me personally or not should not matter when advocating for children.

    If you are interested in helping keep the school open, I suspect you know how to contact me.

  50. Nicole Smith

    I am not a GATE teacher. I teach regular education at Valley Oak. I was a GATE teacher about 7 years ago, which is a long time to hold a grudge.

    What I teach does not effect my desire to see the Valley Oak children keep their own school.

    My problem is not with those who would join me to see all schools open. My concern is that there are too many people who can not see the bigger issues. We opened one school while closing another. That is not equitable. Especially when you consider the existing achievement gap and the neighborhood populations. The district had the facts when Korematsu opened. They have been irresponsible. Of course that neighborhood deserves a school. But not at the cost of ours.

    Am I angry? Absolutely. Have I made accusations? Sure. I have also been honest.

    I have also made some suggestions, which it sounds like you may have overlooked. Because I consider this a civil rights issue, I suggest we treat it as one. We need to raise up as one voice. Not the voice of Valley Oak, but the voice of the children. All of them.

    I was not kidding when I said we should march and have sit-ins. I think we need to organize to effect the results of the November election. I am already talking to other community members about “joining forces.” As our plans become more concrete, they will be made public and we hope that others will join us.

    The ACLU has already been notified, and I have been given the names of a few civil rights lawyers. I do believe we have a case.

    I did not make a specific recommendation for a course of action, because I am one person. These are decisions that should be made together.

    If one of the voices of the children belongs to your child, then whatever happened 7-9 years ago should be left in the past so we can work together. (I have NO idea what you are referring to.)

    I will repeat that this is not about me. It is about the children. Whether you like me personally or not should not matter when advocating for children.

    If you are interested in helping keep the school open, I suspect you know how to contact me.

  51. Nicole Smith

    I am not a GATE teacher. I teach regular education at Valley Oak. I was a GATE teacher about 7 years ago, which is a long time to hold a grudge.

    What I teach does not effect my desire to see the Valley Oak children keep their own school.

    My problem is not with those who would join me to see all schools open. My concern is that there are too many people who can not see the bigger issues. We opened one school while closing another. That is not equitable. Especially when you consider the existing achievement gap and the neighborhood populations. The district had the facts when Korematsu opened. They have been irresponsible. Of course that neighborhood deserves a school. But not at the cost of ours.

    Am I angry? Absolutely. Have I made accusations? Sure. I have also been honest.

    I have also made some suggestions, which it sounds like you may have overlooked. Because I consider this a civil rights issue, I suggest we treat it as one. We need to raise up as one voice. Not the voice of Valley Oak, but the voice of the children. All of them.

    I was not kidding when I said we should march and have sit-ins. I think we need to organize to effect the results of the November election. I am already talking to other community members about “joining forces.” As our plans become more concrete, they will be made public and we hope that others will join us.

    The ACLU has already been notified, and I have been given the names of a few civil rights lawyers. I do believe we have a case.

    I did not make a specific recommendation for a course of action, because I am one person. These are decisions that should be made together.

    If one of the voices of the children belongs to your child, then whatever happened 7-9 years ago should be left in the past so we can work together. (I have NO idea what you are referring to.)

    I will repeat that this is not about me. It is about the children. Whether you like me personally or not should not matter when advocating for children.

    If you are interested in helping keep the school open, I suspect you know how to contact me.

  52. Nicole Smith

    I am not a GATE teacher. I teach regular education at Valley Oak. I was a GATE teacher about 7 years ago, which is a long time to hold a grudge.

    What I teach does not effect my desire to see the Valley Oak children keep their own school.

    My problem is not with those who would join me to see all schools open. My concern is that there are too many people who can not see the bigger issues. We opened one school while closing another. That is not equitable. Especially when you consider the existing achievement gap and the neighborhood populations. The district had the facts when Korematsu opened. They have been irresponsible. Of course that neighborhood deserves a school. But not at the cost of ours.

    Am I angry? Absolutely. Have I made accusations? Sure. I have also been honest.

    I have also made some suggestions, which it sounds like you may have overlooked. Because I consider this a civil rights issue, I suggest we treat it as one. We need to raise up as one voice. Not the voice of Valley Oak, but the voice of the children. All of them.

    I was not kidding when I said we should march and have sit-ins. I think we need to organize to effect the results of the November election. I am already talking to other community members about “joining forces.” As our plans become more concrete, they will be made public and we hope that others will join us.

    The ACLU has already been notified, and I have been given the names of a few civil rights lawyers. I do believe we have a case.

    I did not make a specific recommendation for a course of action, because I am one person. These are decisions that should be made together.

    If one of the voices of the children belongs to your child, then whatever happened 7-9 years ago should be left in the past so we can work together. (I have NO idea what you are referring to.)

    I will repeat that this is not about me. It is about the children. Whether you like me personally or not should not matter when advocating for children.

    If you are interested in helping keep the school open, I suspect you know how to contact me.

  53. Rich Rifkin

    “There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern.”

    The likely closure of VO is not related to any misappropriation of funds. The Montgomery fiasco has nothing whatsoever to do with VO, though I think it bespeaks a level of incompetence within the District.

    Rather, if the closure occurs it will be because: 1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high; 2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs; 3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students; 4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and 5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools. There are surely a few other reasons, but I think these explain the gist of the decision. (I completely discount the idea that the Board majority has a racial bias or does not care about the non-white children.)

  54. Rich Rifkin

    “There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern.”

    The likely closure of VO is not related to any misappropriation of funds. The Montgomery fiasco has nothing whatsoever to do with VO, though I think it bespeaks a level of incompetence within the District.

    Rather, if the closure occurs it will be because: 1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high; 2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs; 3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students; 4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and 5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools. There are surely a few other reasons, but I think these explain the gist of the decision. (I completely discount the idea that the Board majority has a racial bias or does not care about the non-white children.)

  55. Rich Rifkin

    “There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern.”

    The likely closure of VO is not related to any misappropriation of funds. The Montgomery fiasco has nothing whatsoever to do with VO, though I think it bespeaks a level of incompetence within the District.

    Rather, if the closure occurs it will be because: 1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high; 2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs; 3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students; 4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and 5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools. There are surely a few other reasons, but I think these explain the gist of the decision. (I completely discount the idea that the Board majority has a racial bias or does not care about the non-white children.)

  56. Rich Rifkin

    “There is a lot of money in Davis, and if funds were misappropriated resulting in the imminent closure of this school then there is obvious cause for concern.”

    The likely closure of VO is not related to any misappropriation of funds. The Montgomery fiasco has nothing whatsoever to do with VO, though I think it bespeaks a level of incompetence within the District.

    Rather, if the closure occurs it will be because: 1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high; 2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs; 3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students; 4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and 5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools. There are surely a few other reasons, but I think these explain the gist of the decision. (I completely discount the idea that the Board majority has a racial bias or does not care about the non-white children.)

  57. Rich Rifkin

    “I am convinced that every step has been carefully calculated.”

    What does that mean?

    “The district has a money problem that they want to solve by closing the school with the most children of color and the strongest programs to support the underrepresented and struggling children.”

    FWIW, there are MORE “children of color” who live in the Mace Ranch neighborhood than there are in Davis Manor.

    Also, you seem to be suggesting that the Board chose to close Valley Oak BECAUSE of the racial/ethnic make-up of its student body. I find that suggestion offensive, to say the least.

    Nonetheless, Nicole, if that is the gist of your contention that this possible closure amounts to a civil rights case, then that raises this question: is every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

  58. Rich Rifkin

    “I am convinced that every step has been carefully calculated.”

    What does that mean?

    “The district has a money problem that they want to solve by closing the school with the most children of color and the strongest programs to support the underrepresented and struggling children.”

    FWIW, there are MORE “children of color” who live in the Mace Ranch neighborhood than there are in Davis Manor.

    Also, you seem to be suggesting that the Board chose to close Valley Oak BECAUSE of the racial/ethnic make-up of its student body. I find that suggestion offensive, to say the least.

    Nonetheless, Nicole, if that is the gist of your contention that this possible closure amounts to a civil rights case, then that raises this question: is every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

  59. Rich Rifkin

    “I am convinced that every step has been carefully calculated.”

    What does that mean?

    “The district has a money problem that they want to solve by closing the school with the most children of color and the strongest programs to support the underrepresented and struggling children.”

    FWIW, there are MORE “children of color” who live in the Mace Ranch neighborhood than there are in Davis Manor.

    Also, you seem to be suggesting that the Board chose to close Valley Oak BECAUSE of the racial/ethnic make-up of its student body. I find that suggestion offensive, to say the least.

    Nonetheless, Nicole, if that is the gist of your contention that this possible closure amounts to a civil rights case, then that raises this question: is every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

  60. Rich Rifkin

    “I am convinced that every step has been carefully calculated.”

    What does that mean?

    “The district has a money problem that they want to solve by closing the school with the most children of color and the strongest programs to support the underrepresented and struggling children.”

    FWIW, there are MORE “children of color” who live in the Mace Ranch neighborhood than there are in Davis Manor.

    Also, you seem to be suggesting that the Board chose to close Valley Oak BECAUSE of the racial/ethnic make-up of its student body. I find that suggestion offensive, to say the least.

    Nonetheless, Nicole, if that is the gist of your contention that this possible closure amounts to a civil rights case, then that raises this question: is every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

  61. natalie

    With regards to Valley Oak, the school board meets again this Thursday in a special session. Topics of discussion include the possible opening of Korematsu to K-6 by 2008 and the advising of the firm that will conduct the poll on the parcel tax. Interestingly enough the parcel tax discussion is the last item on the agenda.

    Oh, and on an ironic note, students from Valley Oak will be presenting works from the Oral Language Fair. Should make for an interesting public comment period.

  62. natalie

    With regards to Valley Oak, the school board meets again this Thursday in a special session. Topics of discussion include the possible opening of Korematsu to K-6 by 2008 and the advising of the firm that will conduct the poll on the parcel tax. Interestingly enough the parcel tax discussion is the last item on the agenda.

    Oh, and on an ironic note, students from Valley Oak will be presenting works from the Oral Language Fair. Should make for an interesting public comment period.

  63. natalie

    With regards to Valley Oak, the school board meets again this Thursday in a special session. Topics of discussion include the possible opening of Korematsu to K-6 by 2008 and the advising of the firm that will conduct the poll on the parcel tax. Interestingly enough the parcel tax discussion is the last item on the agenda.

    Oh, and on an ironic note, students from Valley Oak will be presenting works from the Oral Language Fair. Should make for an interesting public comment period.

  64. natalie

    With regards to Valley Oak, the school board meets again this Thursday in a special session. Topics of discussion include the possible opening of Korematsu to K-6 by 2008 and the advising of the firm that will conduct the poll on the parcel tax. Interestingly enough the parcel tax discussion is the last item on the agenda.

    Oh, and on an ironic note, students from Valley Oak will be presenting works from the Oral Language Fair. Should make for an interesting public comment period.

  65. Anonymous

    I thought that it was telling that to even consider redrawing attendance lines to address the imbalance in student populations drew an immediate, non-negotiable ABSOLUTE negative reaction from some on the school board. Closing VO before the new school board takes over in 2008 would probably deny this option to the new school board.

  66. Anonymous

    I thought that it was telling that to even consider redrawing attendance lines to address the imbalance in student populations drew an immediate, non-negotiable ABSOLUTE negative reaction from some on the school board. Closing VO before the new school board takes over in 2008 would probably deny this option to the new school board.

  67. Anonymous

    I thought that it was telling that to even consider redrawing attendance lines to address the imbalance in student populations drew an immediate, non-negotiable ABSOLUTE negative reaction from some on the school board. Closing VO before the new school board takes over in 2008 would probably deny this option to the new school board.

  68. Anonymous

    I thought that it was telling that to even consider redrawing attendance lines to address the imbalance in student populations drew an immediate, non-negotiable ABSOLUTE negative reaction from some on the school board. Closing VO before the new school board takes over in 2008 would probably deny this option to the new school board.

  69. Anonymous

    The notion that the school board in
    Davis is acting in a racist conspiratorial manner is incredible. There are many reasons to be frustrated with the board, but to suggest an equivalence to true civil rights issues makes the accusation reflexive and mundane.

    On the other hand,Nicole Smith and Davis Open are correct that other options exist given that $600,000 /$60 million represents 1 % of the operating budget. $600,000 is a bigger percentage of the categorical funds that actually could be used, but clearly economies could be made if the will existed to do so.

    It is convenient to frame this as a “poor, ethnically diverse” Valley Oak problem verses a “rich and not diverse” FTK Mace Ranch problem. This is a school district problem, not a Valley Oak or FTK Mace Ranch problem. Framing it so furthers the problem, not the solution.

    Rich Rifkin’s informed and reasoned comments have already amply pointed out the silliness of comparing this to the Rodney King riots, or positing a conspiracy to deny the rights of Davis’ underprivledged. It alarms me that a teacher could seem to applaud vigilante action by any group (but perhaps that was incorrectly inferred and not implied).

    Saying that someone is being deprived of their civil rights should be reserved for situations that merit it. Used frequently, the expression becomes common place and meaningless.

    If you want to keep the schools open, might it not be wiser not to alienate those “wealthy” voters who you would like to approve extended parcel tax to keep Valley Oak open?

    The citywide plan envisions multiple smaller neighborhood schools which could be realized either by economies at the school district, or approval of parcel taxes. It will not be realized by trying to polarize the advocates of FTK and the “wealthy” Mace Ranch residents, or invoking violation of civil rights are not seriously in danger.

  70. Anonymous

    The notion that the school board in
    Davis is acting in a racist conspiratorial manner is incredible. There are many reasons to be frustrated with the board, but to suggest an equivalence to true civil rights issues makes the accusation reflexive and mundane.

    On the other hand,Nicole Smith and Davis Open are correct that other options exist given that $600,000 /$60 million represents 1 % of the operating budget. $600,000 is a bigger percentage of the categorical funds that actually could be used, but clearly economies could be made if the will existed to do so.

    It is convenient to frame this as a “poor, ethnically diverse” Valley Oak problem verses a “rich and not diverse” FTK Mace Ranch problem. This is a school district problem, not a Valley Oak or FTK Mace Ranch problem. Framing it so furthers the problem, not the solution.

    Rich Rifkin’s informed and reasoned comments have already amply pointed out the silliness of comparing this to the Rodney King riots, or positing a conspiracy to deny the rights of Davis’ underprivledged. It alarms me that a teacher could seem to applaud vigilante action by any group (but perhaps that was incorrectly inferred and not implied).

    Saying that someone is being deprived of their civil rights should be reserved for situations that merit it. Used frequently, the expression becomes common place and meaningless.

    If you want to keep the schools open, might it not be wiser not to alienate those “wealthy” voters who you would like to approve extended parcel tax to keep Valley Oak open?

    The citywide plan envisions multiple smaller neighborhood schools which could be realized either by economies at the school district, or approval of parcel taxes. It will not be realized by trying to polarize the advocates of FTK and the “wealthy” Mace Ranch residents, or invoking violation of civil rights are not seriously in danger.

  71. Anonymous

    The notion that the school board in
    Davis is acting in a racist conspiratorial manner is incredible. There are many reasons to be frustrated with the board, but to suggest an equivalence to true civil rights issues makes the accusation reflexive and mundane.

    On the other hand,Nicole Smith and Davis Open are correct that other options exist given that $600,000 /$60 million represents 1 % of the operating budget. $600,000 is a bigger percentage of the categorical funds that actually could be used, but clearly economies could be made if the will existed to do so.

    It is convenient to frame this as a “poor, ethnically diverse” Valley Oak problem verses a “rich and not diverse” FTK Mace Ranch problem. This is a school district problem, not a Valley Oak or FTK Mace Ranch problem. Framing it so furthers the problem, not the solution.

    Rich Rifkin’s informed and reasoned comments have already amply pointed out the silliness of comparing this to the Rodney King riots, or positing a conspiracy to deny the rights of Davis’ underprivledged. It alarms me that a teacher could seem to applaud vigilante action by any group (but perhaps that was incorrectly inferred and not implied).

    Saying that someone is being deprived of their civil rights should be reserved for situations that merit it. Used frequently, the expression becomes common place and meaningless.

    If you want to keep the schools open, might it not be wiser not to alienate those “wealthy” voters who you would like to approve extended parcel tax to keep Valley Oak open?

    The citywide plan envisions multiple smaller neighborhood schools which could be realized either by economies at the school district, or approval of parcel taxes. It will not be realized by trying to polarize the advocates of FTK and the “wealthy” Mace Ranch residents, or invoking violation of civil rights are not seriously in danger.

  72. Anonymous

    The notion that the school board in
    Davis is acting in a racist conspiratorial manner is incredible. There are many reasons to be frustrated with the board, but to suggest an equivalence to true civil rights issues makes the accusation reflexive and mundane.

    On the other hand,Nicole Smith and Davis Open are correct that other options exist given that $600,000 /$60 million represents 1 % of the operating budget. $600,000 is a bigger percentage of the categorical funds that actually could be used, but clearly economies could be made if the will existed to do so.

    It is convenient to frame this as a “poor, ethnically diverse” Valley Oak problem verses a “rich and not diverse” FTK Mace Ranch problem. This is a school district problem, not a Valley Oak or FTK Mace Ranch problem. Framing it so furthers the problem, not the solution.

    Rich Rifkin’s informed and reasoned comments have already amply pointed out the silliness of comparing this to the Rodney King riots, or positing a conspiracy to deny the rights of Davis’ underprivledged. It alarms me that a teacher could seem to applaud vigilante action by any group (but perhaps that was incorrectly inferred and not implied).

    Saying that someone is being deprived of their civil rights should be reserved for situations that merit it. Used frequently, the expression becomes common place and meaningless.

    If you want to keep the schools open, might it not be wiser not to alienate those “wealthy” voters who you would like to approve extended parcel tax to keep Valley Oak open?

    The citywide plan envisions multiple smaller neighborhood schools which could be realized either by economies at the school district, or approval of parcel taxes. It will not be realized by trying to polarize the advocates of FTK and the “wealthy” Mace Ranch residents, or invoking violation of civil rights are not seriously in danger.

  73. baki

    The Board is holding a special meeting this Thursday which I will miss as I have to be out of town. But could someone go there and ask whether they are planning to develop the downtown property with that 7/11 committee which they will set up now.

    I am expecting that this 7/11 committee will at the end suggest that the Valley Oak site could house the district offices as well as the Davis School for Independent Study. Then the downtown property will be up for development. This was suggested by two members of the Task Force at two different Task Force meetings. The BUSATF was intending to bring this about. Now the 7/11 committee will finish what the BUSATF could not do because of public protest.

    The closure of Valley Oak was very closely connected to this plan of developing the downtown property. I really hope that time will prove me incorrect.

    Baki

  74. baki

    The Board is holding a special meeting this Thursday which I will miss as I have to be out of town. But could someone go there and ask whether they are planning to develop the downtown property with that 7/11 committee which they will set up now.

    I am expecting that this 7/11 committee will at the end suggest that the Valley Oak site could house the district offices as well as the Davis School for Independent Study. Then the downtown property will be up for development. This was suggested by two members of the Task Force at two different Task Force meetings. The BUSATF was intending to bring this about. Now the 7/11 committee will finish what the BUSATF could not do because of public protest.

    The closure of Valley Oak was very closely connected to this plan of developing the downtown property. I really hope that time will prove me incorrect.

    Baki

  75. baki

    The Board is holding a special meeting this Thursday which I will miss as I have to be out of town. But could someone go there and ask whether they are planning to develop the downtown property with that 7/11 committee which they will set up now.

    I am expecting that this 7/11 committee will at the end suggest that the Valley Oak site could house the district offices as well as the Davis School for Independent Study. Then the downtown property will be up for development. This was suggested by two members of the Task Force at two different Task Force meetings. The BUSATF was intending to bring this about. Now the 7/11 committee will finish what the BUSATF could not do because of public protest.

    The closure of Valley Oak was very closely connected to this plan of developing the downtown property. I really hope that time will prove me incorrect.

    Baki

  76. baki

    The Board is holding a special meeting this Thursday which I will miss as I have to be out of town. But could someone go there and ask whether they are planning to develop the downtown property with that 7/11 committee which they will set up now.

    I am expecting that this 7/11 committee will at the end suggest that the Valley Oak site could house the district offices as well as the Davis School for Independent Study. Then the downtown property will be up for development. This was suggested by two members of the Task Force at two different Task Force meetings. The BUSATF was intending to bring this about. Now the 7/11 committee will finish what the BUSATF could not do because of public protest.

    The closure of Valley Oak was very closely connected to this plan of developing the downtown property. I really hope that time will prove me incorrect.

    Baki

  77. Don Shor

    Thanks, Nicole, for taking the time to write this. I admire your passion even though I disagree with some of your conclusions. I also happen to be a big fan of the GATE program at VO. 7 years ago? I guess you just missed my son by a year.

    It’s hard for me to see how this is a civil rights issue, but if attorneys who specialize in that want to pursue it — more power to them.

    I’d suggest everyone avoid attacking the individuals who donated their time to the task force. What is the point in questioning motives or character? We will just drive more citizens away from public service if every decision in this town ends up with personal characterizations. It is the recommendation that we disagree with. The simple answer to that is to get 3 votes on the school board to keep VO open. As Doug said in his editorial, a candidate’s position on that is pretty much a deal-maker or deal-breaker for support.

  78. Don Shor

    Thanks, Nicole, for taking the time to write this. I admire your passion even though I disagree with some of your conclusions. I also happen to be a big fan of the GATE program at VO. 7 years ago? I guess you just missed my son by a year.

    It’s hard for me to see how this is a civil rights issue, but if attorneys who specialize in that want to pursue it — more power to them.

    I’d suggest everyone avoid attacking the individuals who donated their time to the task force. What is the point in questioning motives or character? We will just drive more citizens away from public service if every decision in this town ends up with personal characterizations. It is the recommendation that we disagree with. The simple answer to that is to get 3 votes on the school board to keep VO open. As Doug said in his editorial, a candidate’s position on that is pretty much a deal-maker or deal-breaker for support.

  79. Don Shor

    Thanks, Nicole, for taking the time to write this. I admire your passion even though I disagree with some of your conclusions. I also happen to be a big fan of the GATE program at VO. 7 years ago? I guess you just missed my son by a year.

    It’s hard for me to see how this is a civil rights issue, but if attorneys who specialize in that want to pursue it — more power to them.

    I’d suggest everyone avoid attacking the individuals who donated their time to the task force. What is the point in questioning motives or character? We will just drive more citizens away from public service if every decision in this town ends up with personal characterizations. It is the recommendation that we disagree with. The simple answer to that is to get 3 votes on the school board to keep VO open. As Doug said in his editorial, a candidate’s position on that is pretty much a deal-maker or deal-breaker for support.

  80. Don Shor

    Thanks, Nicole, for taking the time to write this. I admire your passion even though I disagree with some of your conclusions. I also happen to be a big fan of the GATE program at VO. 7 years ago? I guess you just missed my son by a year.

    It’s hard for me to see how this is a civil rights issue, but if attorneys who specialize in that want to pursue it — more power to them.

    I’d suggest everyone avoid attacking the individuals who donated their time to the task force. What is the point in questioning motives or character? We will just drive more citizens away from public service if every decision in this town ends up with personal characterizations. It is the recommendation that we disagree with. The simple answer to that is to get 3 votes on the school board to keep VO open. As Doug said in his editorial, a candidate’s position on that is pretty much a deal-maker or deal-breaker for support.

  81. Nicole Smith

    Thank you, Mr. Rifkin, for addressing the content of my letter.

    What I believe is this: The district has a financial problem that they were able to anticipate. There has been talk of declining enrollment for years. They chose to open Korematsu despite the “data” that they had. Although there are enough children for a school, there was not enough money. I am convinced that the voice of that neighborhood tipped the scales and the school opened. I have heard people comment about how parents at certain other schools “would never let that happen.” (In reference to closing a school besides Valley Oak.)

    I don’t think the school is being closed because of the demographic. I believe they think a school closure is necessary. I think closing Valley Oak was perceived as the “path of least resistance.” This is where my charges of racism come in. (Refer to the letter.)

    I am sure there are children of color in Korematsu’s attendance area, but as of RIGHT NOW, my statement is true and correct. They are closing the school with the most ethnic diversity and the parent population least able to communicate their concerns, due to language barriers.

    It is also my understanding that when a school closure is being considered, that the group researching the options should be representative of the school’s population. Our task force was not.

    Is every school closure grounds for civil action? No. Should that question be asked every time? It sure better be. There is always more to a situation like this than meets the eye.

    In this case, I am not even sure that the district can not afford to keep all nine schools open. It may make it easier for the district, but I don’t believe it is necessary. There were so many other options that were glossed over. Why? Because, like I said, they targeted Valley Oak.

    A few of the other comments posted suggest that I am not the only one who believes that the BOE/Task Force/District may have had their minds made up from the very start.

    What about the redrawing of boundaries? If you read the district and BOE goals, you will find that one of the goals was to lower attendance at each school, evening out the number of children at each site. They said they wanted to keep numbers below 500 at each site. Wouldn’t adjusting boundaries accomplish that? Wouldn’t closing Valley Oak be a direct contradiction of that statement?

    I have heard several people suggest that Chavez be scaled down.

    No one listened to any of the suggestions with any seriousness.

    I am not trying to alienate anyone. I am obligated by my princples to speak the truth. I don’t blame the Mace Ranch families for wanting a school for their kids.

    This is not Korematsu VS. Valley Oak. This is “the people” VS. “the district.”

    As offensive as it may sound, the truth is, racism exists. Right here, and right now. I have seen it in action, both as a bystander and as the victim. Additionally, the scariest part about institutional racism is that sometimes the people in power don’t even recognize it. It is deeply embedded in the daily goings-on, the policies, and the practices.

    I don’t know what more to say. This is all deeply disturbing.

    As an aside, yes, our children are performing during the beginning of this Thursday’s board meeting. We have provided the “patriotic observance” with our poems in the past. We were originally scheduled to recite the first Thursday in March, but for some reason, it was pushed back.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my letter. Although some of the responses were difficult to read, I am glad that there is some discussion. I would venture to say that whether or not you like or agree with me, if you have children, you love them. You wouldn’t want to see them enter kindergarten only to change schools in a year. You wouldn’t want them to have to finish 5th grade at one school, switch to another for 6th grade, and then transition to junior high as my current students may have to do.

    If it is not necessary to put children through all of this, why do it?

  82. Nicole Smith

    Thank you, Mr. Rifkin, for addressing the content of my letter.

    What I believe is this: The district has a financial problem that they were able to anticipate. There has been talk of declining enrollment for years. They chose to open Korematsu despite the “data” that they had. Although there are enough children for a school, there was not enough money. I am convinced that the voice of that neighborhood tipped the scales and the school opened. I have heard people comment about how parents at certain other schools “would never let that happen.” (In reference to closing a school besides Valley Oak.)

    I don’t think the school is being closed because of the demographic. I believe they think a school closure is necessary. I think closing Valley Oak was perceived as the “path of least resistance.” This is where my charges of racism come in. (Refer to the letter.)

    I am sure there are children of color in Korematsu’s attendance area, but as of RIGHT NOW, my statement is true and correct. They are closing the school with the most ethnic diversity and the parent population least able to communicate their concerns, due to language barriers.

    It is also my understanding that when a school closure is being considered, that the group researching the options should be representative of the school’s population. Our task force was not.

    Is every school closure grounds for civil action? No. Should that question be asked every time? It sure better be. There is always more to a situation like this than meets the eye.

    In this case, I am not even sure that the district can not afford to keep all nine schools open. It may make it easier for the district, but I don’t believe it is necessary. There were so many other options that were glossed over. Why? Because, like I said, they targeted Valley Oak.

    A few of the other comments posted suggest that I am not the only one who believes that the BOE/Task Force/District may have had their minds made up from the very start.

    What about the redrawing of boundaries? If you read the district and BOE goals, you will find that one of the goals was to lower attendance at each school, evening out the number of children at each site. They said they wanted to keep numbers below 500 at each site. Wouldn’t adjusting boundaries accomplish that? Wouldn’t closing Valley Oak be a direct contradiction of that statement?

    I have heard several people suggest that Chavez be scaled down.

    No one listened to any of the suggestions with any seriousness.

    I am not trying to alienate anyone. I am obligated by my princples to speak the truth. I don’t blame the Mace Ranch families for wanting a school for their kids.

    This is not Korematsu VS. Valley Oak. This is “the people” VS. “the district.”

    As offensive as it may sound, the truth is, racism exists. Right here, and right now. I have seen it in action, both as a bystander and as the victim. Additionally, the scariest part about institutional racism is that sometimes the people in power don’t even recognize it. It is deeply embedded in the daily goings-on, the policies, and the practices.

    I don’t know what more to say. This is all deeply disturbing.

    As an aside, yes, our children are performing during the beginning of this Thursday’s board meeting. We have provided the “patriotic observance” with our poems in the past. We were originally scheduled to recite the first Thursday in March, but for some reason, it was pushed back.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my letter. Although some of the responses were difficult to read, I am glad that there is some discussion. I would venture to say that whether or not you like or agree with me, if you have children, you love them. You wouldn’t want to see them enter kindergarten only to change schools in a year. You wouldn’t want them to have to finish 5th grade at one school, switch to another for 6th grade, and then transition to junior high as my current students may have to do.

    If it is not necessary to put children through all of this, why do it?

  83. Nicole Smith

    Thank you, Mr. Rifkin, for addressing the content of my letter.

    What I believe is this: The district has a financial problem that they were able to anticipate. There has been talk of declining enrollment for years. They chose to open Korematsu despite the “data” that they had. Although there are enough children for a school, there was not enough money. I am convinced that the voice of that neighborhood tipped the scales and the school opened. I have heard people comment about how parents at certain other schools “would never let that happen.” (In reference to closing a school besides Valley Oak.)

    I don’t think the school is being closed because of the demographic. I believe they think a school closure is necessary. I think closing Valley Oak was perceived as the “path of least resistance.” This is where my charges of racism come in. (Refer to the letter.)

    I am sure there are children of color in Korematsu’s attendance area, but as of RIGHT NOW, my statement is true and correct. They are closing the school with the most ethnic diversity and the parent population least able to communicate their concerns, due to language barriers.

    It is also my understanding that when a school closure is being considered, that the group researching the options should be representative of the school’s population. Our task force was not.

    Is every school closure grounds for civil action? No. Should that question be asked every time? It sure better be. There is always more to a situation like this than meets the eye.

    In this case, I am not even sure that the district can not afford to keep all nine schools open. It may make it easier for the district, but I don’t believe it is necessary. There were so many other options that were glossed over. Why? Because, like I said, they targeted Valley Oak.

    A few of the other comments posted suggest that I am not the only one who believes that the BOE/Task Force/District may have had their minds made up from the very start.

    What about the redrawing of boundaries? If you read the district and BOE goals, you will find that one of the goals was to lower attendance at each school, evening out the number of children at each site. They said they wanted to keep numbers below 500 at each site. Wouldn’t adjusting boundaries accomplish that? Wouldn’t closing Valley Oak be a direct contradiction of that statement?

    I have heard several people suggest that Chavez be scaled down.

    No one listened to any of the suggestions with any seriousness.

    I am not trying to alienate anyone. I am obligated by my princples to speak the truth. I don’t blame the Mace Ranch families for wanting a school for their kids.

    This is not Korematsu VS. Valley Oak. This is “the people” VS. “the district.”

    As offensive as it may sound, the truth is, racism exists. Right here, and right now. I have seen it in action, both as a bystander and as the victim. Additionally, the scariest part about institutional racism is that sometimes the people in power don’t even recognize it. It is deeply embedded in the daily goings-on, the policies, and the practices.

    I don’t know what more to say. This is all deeply disturbing.

    As an aside, yes, our children are performing during the beginning of this Thursday’s board meeting. We have provided the “patriotic observance” with our poems in the past. We were originally scheduled to recite the first Thursday in March, but for some reason, it was pushed back.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my letter. Although some of the responses were difficult to read, I am glad that there is some discussion. I would venture to say that whether or not you like or agree with me, if you have children, you love them. You wouldn’t want to see them enter kindergarten only to change schools in a year. You wouldn’t want them to have to finish 5th grade at one school, switch to another for 6th grade, and then transition to junior high as my current students may have to do.

    If it is not necessary to put children through all of this, why do it?

  84. Nicole Smith

    Thank you, Mr. Rifkin, for addressing the content of my letter.

    What I believe is this: The district has a financial problem that they were able to anticipate. There has been talk of declining enrollment for years. They chose to open Korematsu despite the “data” that they had. Although there are enough children for a school, there was not enough money. I am convinced that the voice of that neighborhood tipped the scales and the school opened. I have heard people comment about how parents at certain other schools “would never let that happen.” (In reference to closing a school besides Valley Oak.)

    I don’t think the school is being closed because of the demographic. I believe they think a school closure is necessary. I think closing Valley Oak was perceived as the “path of least resistance.” This is where my charges of racism come in. (Refer to the letter.)

    I am sure there are children of color in Korematsu’s attendance area, but as of RIGHT NOW, my statement is true and correct. They are closing the school with the most ethnic diversity and the parent population least able to communicate their concerns, due to language barriers.

    It is also my understanding that when a school closure is being considered, that the group researching the options should be representative of the school’s population. Our task force was not.

    Is every school closure grounds for civil action? No. Should that question be asked every time? It sure better be. There is always more to a situation like this than meets the eye.

    In this case, I am not even sure that the district can not afford to keep all nine schools open. It may make it easier for the district, but I don’t believe it is necessary. There were so many other options that were glossed over. Why? Because, like I said, they targeted Valley Oak.

    A few of the other comments posted suggest that I am not the only one who believes that the BOE/Task Force/District may have had their minds made up from the very start.

    What about the redrawing of boundaries? If you read the district and BOE goals, you will find that one of the goals was to lower attendance at each school, evening out the number of children at each site. They said they wanted to keep numbers below 500 at each site. Wouldn’t adjusting boundaries accomplish that? Wouldn’t closing Valley Oak be a direct contradiction of that statement?

    I have heard several people suggest that Chavez be scaled down.

    No one listened to any of the suggestions with any seriousness.

    I am not trying to alienate anyone. I am obligated by my princples to speak the truth. I don’t blame the Mace Ranch families for wanting a school for their kids.

    This is not Korematsu VS. Valley Oak. This is “the people” VS. “the district.”

    As offensive as it may sound, the truth is, racism exists. Right here, and right now. I have seen it in action, both as a bystander and as the victim. Additionally, the scariest part about institutional racism is that sometimes the people in power don’t even recognize it. It is deeply embedded in the daily goings-on, the policies, and the practices.

    I don’t know what more to say. This is all deeply disturbing.

    As an aside, yes, our children are performing during the beginning of this Thursday’s board meeting. We have provided the “patriotic observance” with our poems in the past. We were originally scheduled to recite the first Thursday in March, but for some reason, it was pushed back.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my letter. Although some of the responses were difficult to read, I am glad that there is some discussion. I would venture to say that whether or not you like or agree with me, if you have children, you love them. You wouldn’t want to see them enter kindergarten only to change schools in a year. You wouldn’t want them to have to finish 5th grade at one school, switch to another for 6th grade, and then transition to junior high as my current students may have to do.

    If it is not necessary to put children through all of this, why do it?

  85. Anonymous

    Nicole,

    The letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible than your original letter.

    No one doubts that racism exists. We have all had the misfortune to experience it in some form or another in the here and now. That does not mean than a a racist act has been perpetrated against the familes of Valley Oak, even if those families are people of varied races, black, white, asian, hispanic, indian, pakistani, arab, turk, iranian, mixed.

    Sadly, there will always be people of all races who seek to put down people of race, or religion, or sexual orientation, or economic status. As a teacher, you know that even within a single race there are tendencies to divide (Sunni vs. shiite, Hutu vs. Tutsi, Iroquois vs. Algonquian etc.). Vigilance against racism is undoubtedly admirable.

    Every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act. I realize how sensitive this issue is, but to look at everything as such is its own form of racism.

    Have there been racist acts in the United States? Yes, too numerous to count. Is it still important to be alert for them? Absolutely, or you have people who want to start performing revisionist history as the modern day President of Iran wishes to do with the holocaust, or as some people who wish to minimize the effects of the last 300 years of US history on the African AMERICAN community, or the….

    But I think to scream racism too readily starts to numb the response of the very people who would be your natural allies.

    You are right when you say the problem is a student vs. district problem.

  86. Anonymous

    Nicole,

    The letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible than your original letter.

    No one doubts that racism exists. We have all had the misfortune to experience it in some form or another in the here and now. That does not mean than a a racist act has been perpetrated against the familes of Valley Oak, even if those families are people of varied races, black, white, asian, hispanic, indian, pakistani, arab, turk, iranian, mixed.

    Sadly, there will always be people of all races who seek to put down people of race, or religion, or sexual orientation, or economic status. As a teacher, you know that even within a single race there are tendencies to divide (Sunni vs. shiite, Hutu vs. Tutsi, Iroquois vs. Algonquian etc.). Vigilance against racism is undoubtedly admirable.

    Every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act. I realize how sensitive this issue is, but to look at everything as such is its own form of racism.

    Have there been racist acts in the United States? Yes, too numerous to count. Is it still important to be alert for them? Absolutely, or you have people who want to start performing revisionist history as the modern day President of Iran wishes to do with the holocaust, or as some people who wish to minimize the effects of the last 300 years of US history on the African AMERICAN community, or the….

    But I think to scream racism too readily starts to numb the response of the very people who would be your natural allies.

    You are right when you say the problem is a student vs. district problem.

  87. Anonymous

    Nicole,

    The letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible than your original letter.

    No one doubts that racism exists. We have all had the misfortune to experience it in some form or another in the here and now. That does not mean than a a racist act has been perpetrated against the familes of Valley Oak, even if those families are people of varied races, black, white, asian, hispanic, indian, pakistani, arab, turk, iranian, mixed.

    Sadly, there will always be people of all races who seek to put down people of race, or religion, or sexual orientation, or economic status. As a teacher, you know that even within a single race there are tendencies to divide (Sunni vs. shiite, Hutu vs. Tutsi, Iroquois vs. Algonquian etc.). Vigilance against racism is undoubtedly admirable.

    Every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act. I realize how sensitive this issue is, but to look at everything as such is its own form of racism.

    Have there been racist acts in the United States? Yes, too numerous to count. Is it still important to be alert for them? Absolutely, or you have people who want to start performing revisionist history as the modern day President of Iran wishes to do with the holocaust, or as some people who wish to minimize the effects of the last 300 years of US history on the African AMERICAN community, or the….

    But I think to scream racism too readily starts to numb the response of the very people who would be your natural allies.

    You are right when you say the problem is a student vs. district problem.

  88. Anonymous

    Nicole,

    The letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible than your original letter.

    No one doubts that racism exists. We have all had the misfortune to experience it in some form or another in the here and now. That does not mean than a a racist act has been perpetrated against the familes of Valley Oak, even if those families are people of varied races, black, white, asian, hispanic, indian, pakistani, arab, turk, iranian, mixed.

    Sadly, there will always be people of all races who seek to put down people of race, or religion, or sexual orientation, or economic status. As a teacher, you know that even within a single race there are tendencies to divide (Sunni vs. shiite, Hutu vs. Tutsi, Iroquois vs. Algonquian etc.). Vigilance against racism is undoubtedly admirable.

    Every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act. I realize how sensitive this issue is, but to look at everything as such is its own form of racism.

    Have there been racist acts in the United States? Yes, too numerous to count. Is it still important to be alert for them? Absolutely, or you have people who want to start performing revisionist history as the modern day President of Iran wishes to do with the holocaust, or as some people who wish to minimize the effects of the last 300 years of US history on the African AMERICAN community, or the….

    But I think to scream racism too readily starts to numb the response of the very people who would be your natural allies.

    You are right when you say the problem is a student vs. district problem.

  89. Anonymous

    But is it a civil rights issue to keep the poor kids at a small, poor school, with not much abitily to fundraise, and less than 2 classes at a grade level? The Valley Oak with Korematsu open K-6 will not be the diverse Valley Oak it is today.

    Is having neighborhood classes with 70% Title 1 stuidents an equitable education? Will the middle class neighborhood parents who today do much of the voulnteering and fundraising stay at Valley Oak…or will they leave for other more economically balanced schools?

  90. Anonymous

    But is it a civil rights issue to keep the poor kids at a small, poor school, with not much abitily to fundraise, and less than 2 classes at a grade level? The Valley Oak with Korematsu open K-6 will not be the diverse Valley Oak it is today.

    Is having neighborhood classes with 70% Title 1 stuidents an equitable education? Will the middle class neighborhood parents who today do much of the voulnteering and fundraising stay at Valley Oak…or will they leave for other more economically balanced schools?

  91. Anonymous

    But is it a civil rights issue to keep the poor kids at a small, poor school, with not much abitily to fundraise, and less than 2 classes at a grade level? The Valley Oak with Korematsu open K-6 will not be the diverse Valley Oak it is today.

    Is having neighborhood classes with 70% Title 1 stuidents an equitable education? Will the middle class neighborhood parents who today do much of the voulnteering and fundraising stay at Valley Oak…or will they leave for other more economically balanced schools?

  92. Anonymous

    But is it a civil rights issue to keep the poor kids at a small, poor school, with not much abitily to fundraise, and less than 2 classes at a grade level? The Valley Oak with Korematsu open K-6 will not be the diverse Valley Oak it is today.

    Is having neighborhood classes with 70% Title 1 stuidents an equitable education? Will the middle class neighborhood parents who today do much of the voulnteering and fundraising stay at Valley Oak…or will they leave for other more economically balanced schools?

  93. oj

    Is ‘anonymous’ more offended by Nicole’s original letter than by the actions of the board? Noting her “letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible” seems to insinuate that very fact.

    Although “every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act” may seem like a statement that makes you feel good to rationalize what is going on, the fact still exists that these closures are racist when they are systematic…and closures of schools with heavy poor and/or minority attendees are exhibiting the disturbing trend of becoming the norm lately whenever money is short.

  94. baki

    Dear anonymous,

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    So I am not persuaded that closure is the only way to stop middle class flight out of VO area because, first, there are many who do not flee, and second, it is the responsibility of our leaders to stop that flight by smart policies rather than closing the school.

    All the best,
    Baki

  95. oj

    Is ‘anonymous’ more offended by Nicole’s original letter than by the actions of the board? Noting her “letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible” seems to insinuate that very fact.

    Although “every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act” may seem like a statement that makes you feel good to rationalize what is going on, the fact still exists that these closures are racist when they are systematic…and closures of schools with heavy poor and/or minority attendees are exhibiting the disturbing trend of becoming the norm lately whenever money is short.

  96. baki

    Dear anonymous,

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    So I am not persuaded that closure is the only way to stop middle class flight out of VO area because, first, there are many who do not flee, and second, it is the responsibility of our leaders to stop that flight by smart policies rather than closing the school.

    All the best,
    Baki

  97. oj

    Is ‘anonymous’ more offended by Nicole’s original letter than by the actions of the board? Noting her “letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible” seems to insinuate that very fact.

    Although “every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act” may seem like a statement that makes you feel good to rationalize what is going on, the fact still exists that these closures are racist when they are systematic…and closures of schools with heavy poor and/or minority attendees are exhibiting the disturbing trend of becoming the norm lately whenever money is short.

  98. baki

    Dear anonymous,

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    So I am not persuaded that closure is the only way to stop middle class flight out of VO area because, first, there are many who do not flee, and second, it is the responsibility of our leaders to stop that flight by smart policies rather than closing the school.

    All the best,
    Baki

  99. oj

    Is ‘anonymous’ more offended by Nicole’s original letter than by the actions of the board? Noting her “letters posted in response to this blog are more reasoned and responsible” seems to insinuate that very fact.

    Although “every time something unfortunate happens that affects people, including people of race, it is not neccessarily a Racist act” may seem like a statement that makes you feel good to rationalize what is going on, the fact still exists that these closures are racist when they are systematic…and closures of schools with heavy poor and/or minority attendees are exhibiting the disturbing trend of becoming the norm lately whenever money is short.

  100. baki

    Dear anonymous,

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    So I am not persuaded that closure is the only way to stop middle class flight out of VO area because, first, there are many who do not flee, and second, it is the responsibility of our leaders to stop that flight by smart policies rather than closing the school.

    All the best,
    Baki

  101. baki

    Dear oj,

    I cannot help but agree with you. After I explained what happened to VO to a Blackamerican colleague of mine, he smiled and told me: “They always tell you that ‘it is not what you think it is, it is something else;’ but it is mostly what you think it is.”

    In this case, what it is is the sacrifice of a school that has the weakest PTA (the PTA of Valley Oak was the only one that was divided between two sets of parents belonging to two attendance areas) to developers’ interests.

    VO will be closed as of the Fall of 2008. The 7/11 committee that the Board will establish recommend the move of the district offices to the Valley Oak site with a view to develop the downtown property.

    That committee may also decide to move the district offices to the Grande Property and to sell the VO site to developers who are interested in building senior housing in the area.

    Baki

  102. baki

    Dear oj,

    I cannot help but agree with you. After I explained what happened to VO to a Blackamerican colleague of mine, he smiled and told me: “They always tell you that ‘it is not what you think it is, it is something else;’ but it is mostly what you think it is.”

    In this case, what it is is the sacrifice of a school that has the weakest PTA (the PTA of Valley Oak was the only one that was divided between two sets of parents belonging to two attendance areas) to developers’ interests.

    VO will be closed as of the Fall of 2008. The 7/11 committee that the Board will establish recommend the move of the district offices to the Valley Oak site with a view to develop the downtown property.

    That committee may also decide to move the district offices to the Grande Property and to sell the VO site to developers who are interested in building senior housing in the area.

    Baki

  103. baki

    Dear oj,

    I cannot help but agree with you. After I explained what happened to VO to a Blackamerican colleague of mine, he smiled and told me: “They always tell you that ‘it is not what you think it is, it is something else;’ but it is mostly what you think it is.”

    In this case, what it is is the sacrifice of a school that has the weakest PTA (the PTA of Valley Oak was the only one that was divided between two sets of parents belonging to two attendance areas) to developers’ interests.

    VO will be closed as of the Fall of 2008. The 7/11 committee that the Board will establish recommend the move of the district offices to the Valley Oak site with a view to develop the downtown property.

    That committee may also decide to move the district offices to the Grande Property and to sell the VO site to developers who are interested in building senior housing in the area.

    Baki

  104. baki

    Dear oj,

    I cannot help but agree with you. After I explained what happened to VO to a Blackamerican colleague of mine, he smiled and told me: “They always tell you that ‘it is not what you think it is, it is something else;’ but it is mostly what you think it is.”

    In this case, what it is is the sacrifice of a school that has the weakest PTA (the PTA of Valley Oak was the only one that was divided between two sets of parents belonging to two attendance areas) to developers’ interests.

    VO will be closed as of the Fall of 2008. The 7/11 committee that the Board will establish recommend the move of the district offices to the Valley Oak site with a view to develop the downtown property.

    That committee may also decide to move the district offices to the Grande Property and to sell the VO site to developers who are interested in building senior housing in the area.

    Baki

  105. Colleen Connolly

    There are more middle class families with young children moving into the Valley Oak area than in any other area of the city.
    The last boundary change took part of our “natural neighborhood” the homes behind Nugget Market, and moved them to Birch Lane. If you recall, the BUSSTF declared Poleline Rd a “natural school boundary” saying it was too dangerous for Far East Davis children to have to cross twice daily.
    Apparently that was too dangerous for only for certain neighborhoods. It’s been just fine for other children to cross Poleline Rd. twice daily for the past several years to attend Birch Lane, and in the future to attend Birch lane and Korematsu. Closing Valley Oak just “reverses the commute,” and the population having to make the commute. It would seem that rationale simply doesn’t apply to children in the Valley Oak neighborhood, eh?
    If enrollment is capped at 450-500 students per school, the school is economically viable and small enough to administrate effectively. One principal/ 550-600 children vs. one principal/ 450-500 students. (Ask J. Davis which number she prefers.)
    At 550-600, multi purpose rooms would be inadequate for school assemblies; teacher collaboration lessens when there are too many teachers to all meet together;staff and student stress levels increase with three lunch shifts. Three lunch shifts also decreases the availability of MPRs for other uses; outdoor staff are reduced to supervising areas rather than children because of the larger numbers at recesses and lunch periods.
    The economic principals of volume business don’t apply to every situation.
    Valley Oak has the weakest PTA. As noted, it is the only majority-minority school in Davis. It’s parents are the least resourced in Davis. The Davis Schools Foundation was established to level the playing field for less resourced PTAs. Nowhere on Schools Foundation’s initial priority list does Valley Oak figure. Who’s advocating for our least resourced population?
    Pioneer was never seriously on the chopping block because MME couldn’t accept all of Pioneer enrollment and one simply doesn’t want children crossing I80 to get to school.
    NDE was never a serious consideration for closure because it was determined that having children cross Covell Blvd. would be too dangerous. Currently, its children can ride their bikes over the Covell bike crossing, through Community Park and in the back of NDE. (How they explained the phenomenon of the large percentage of North children successfully navigating Anderson Rd.and Covell Blvd. to attend Cesar Chavez is not noted in the BUSSTF minutes.)
    Willett, another site for potential closure was taken off the table when the university took the elementary school out of West Village plans. Those West Village children will attend Willett, borders will be redrawn betweeen Willett and Patwin to accommodate the influx.
    Davis OPEN supports a school in every neighborhood.
    Colleen Connolly

  106. Colleen Connolly

    There are more middle class families with young children moving into the Valley Oak area than in any other area of the city.
    The last boundary change took part of our “natural neighborhood” the homes behind Nugget Market, and moved them to Birch Lane. If you recall, the BUSSTF declared Poleline Rd a “natural school boundary” saying it was too dangerous for Far East Davis children to have to cross twice daily.
    Apparently that was too dangerous for only for certain neighborhoods. It’s been just fine for other children to cross Poleline Rd. twice daily for the past several years to attend Birch Lane, and in the future to attend Birch lane and Korematsu. Closing Valley Oak just “reverses the commute,” and the population having to make the commute. It would seem that rationale simply doesn’t apply to children in the Valley Oak neighborhood, eh?
    If enrollment is capped at 450-500 students per school, the school is economically viable and small enough to administrate effectively. One principal/ 550-600 children vs. one principal/ 450-500 students. (Ask J. Davis which number she prefers.)
    At 550-600, multi purpose rooms would be inadequate for school assemblies; teacher collaboration lessens when there are too many teachers to all meet together;staff and student stress levels increase with three lunch shifts. Three lunch shifts also decreases the availability of MPRs for other uses; outdoor staff are reduced to supervising areas rather than children because of the larger numbers at recesses and lunch periods.
    The economic principals of volume business don’t apply to every situation.
    Valley Oak has the weakest PTA. As noted, it is the only majority-minority school in Davis. It’s parents are the least resourced in Davis. The Davis Schools Foundation was established to level the playing field for less resourced PTAs. Nowhere on Schools Foundation’s initial priority list does Valley Oak figure. Who’s advocating for our least resourced population?
    Pioneer was never seriously on the chopping block because MME couldn’t accept all of Pioneer enrollment and one simply doesn’t want children crossing I80 to get to school.
    NDE was never a serious consideration for closure because it was determined that having children cross Covell Blvd. would be too dangerous. Currently, its children can ride their bikes over the Covell bike crossing, through Community Park and in the back of NDE. (How they explained the phenomenon of the large percentage of North children successfully navigating Anderson Rd.and Covell Blvd. to attend Cesar Chavez is not noted in the BUSSTF minutes.)
    Willett, another site for potential closure was taken off the table when the university took the elementary school out of West Village plans. Those West Village children will attend Willett, borders will be redrawn betweeen Willett and Patwin to accommodate the influx.
    Davis OPEN supports a school in every neighborhood.
    Colleen Connolly

  107. Colleen Connolly

    There are more middle class families with young children moving into the Valley Oak area than in any other area of the city.
    The last boundary change took part of our “natural neighborhood” the homes behind Nugget Market, and moved them to Birch Lane. If you recall, the BUSSTF declared Poleline Rd a “natural school boundary” saying it was too dangerous for Far East Davis children to have to cross twice daily.
    Apparently that was too dangerous for only for certain neighborhoods. It’s been just fine for other children to cross Poleline Rd. twice daily for the past several years to attend Birch Lane, and in the future to attend Birch lane and Korematsu. Closing Valley Oak just “reverses the commute,” and the population having to make the commute. It would seem that rationale simply doesn’t apply to children in the Valley Oak neighborhood, eh?
    If enrollment is capped at 450-500 students per school, the school is economically viable and small enough to administrate effectively. One principal/ 550-600 children vs. one principal/ 450-500 students. (Ask J. Davis which number she prefers.)
    At 550-600, multi purpose rooms would be inadequate for school assemblies; teacher collaboration lessens when there are too many teachers to all meet together;staff and student stress levels increase with three lunch shifts. Three lunch shifts also decreases the availability of MPRs for other uses; outdoor staff are reduced to supervising areas rather than children because of the larger numbers at recesses and lunch periods.
    The economic principals of volume business don’t apply to every situation.
    Valley Oak has the weakest PTA. As noted, it is the only majority-minority school in Davis. It’s parents are the least resourced in Davis. The Davis Schools Foundation was established to level the playing field for less resourced PTAs. Nowhere on Schools Foundation’s initial priority list does Valley Oak figure. Who’s advocating for our least resourced population?
    Pioneer was never seriously on the chopping block because MME couldn’t accept all of Pioneer enrollment and one simply doesn’t want children crossing I80 to get to school.
    NDE was never a serious consideration for closure because it was determined that having children cross Covell Blvd. would be too dangerous. Currently, its children can ride their bikes over the Covell bike crossing, through Community Park and in the back of NDE. (How they explained the phenomenon of the large percentage of North children successfully navigating Anderson Rd.and Covell Blvd. to attend Cesar Chavez is not noted in the BUSSTF minutes.)
    Willett, another site for potential closure was taken off the table when the university took the elementary school out of West Village plans. Those West Village children will attend Willett, borders will be redrawn betweeen Willett and Patwin to accommodate the influx.
    Davis OPEN supports a school in every neighborhood.
    Colleen Connolly

  108. Colleen Connolly

    There are more middle class families with young children moving into the Valley Oak area than in any other area of the city.
    The last boundary change took part of our “natural neighborhood” the homes behind Nugget Market, and moved them to Birch Lane. If you recall, the BUSSTF declared Poleline Rd a “natural school boundary” saying it was too dangerous for Far East Davis children to have to cross twice daily.
    Apparently that was too dangerous for only for certain neighborhoods. It’s been just fine for other children to cross Poleline Rd. twice daily for the past several years to attend Birch Lane, and in the future to attend Birch lane and Korematsu. Closing Valley Oak just “reverses the commute,” and the population having to make the commute. It would seem that rationale simply doesn’t apply to children in the Valley Oak neighborhood, eh?
    If enrollment is capped at 450-500 students per school, the school is economically viable and small enough to administrate effectively. One principal/ 550-600 children vs. one principal/ 450-500 students. (Ask J. Davis which number she prefers.)
    At 550-600, multi purpose rooms would be inadequate for school assemblies; teacher collaboration lessens when there are too many teachers to all meet together;staff and student stress levels increase with three lunch shifts. Three lunch shifts also decreases the availability of MPRs for other uses; outdoor staff are reduced to supervising areas rather than children because of the larger numbers at recesses and lunch periods.
    The economic principals of volume business don’t apply to every situation.
    Valley Oak has the weakest PTA. As noted, it is the only majority-minority school in Davis. It’s parents are the least resourced in Davis. The Davis Schools Foundation was established to level the playing field for less resourced PTAs. Nowhere on Schools Foundation’s initial priority list does Valley Oak figure. Who’s advocating for our least resourced population?
    Pioneer was never seriously on the chopping block because MME couldn’t accept all of Pioneer enrollment and one simply doesn’t want children crossing I80 to get to school.
    NDE was never a serious consideration for closure because it was determined that having children cross Covell Blvd. would be too dangerous. Currently, its children can ride their bikes over the Covell bike crossing, through Community Park and in the back of NDE. (How they explained the phenomenon of the large percentage of North children successfully navigating Anderson Rd.and Covell Blvd. to attend Cesar Chavez is not noted in the BUSSTF minutes.)
    Willett, another site for potential closure was taken off the table when the university took the elementary school out of West Village plans. Those West Village children will attend Willett, borders will be redrawn betweeen Willett and Patwin to accommodate the influx.
    Davis OPEN supports a school in every neighborhood.
    Colleen Connolly

  109. oj

    1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high;

    Then why open a newer, more expensive school? And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?

    2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs;

    Again, if costs are the issue, the why forge ahead with plans to spend even more money when the district is admittedly cash-strapped (which I don’t believe). People have money for what they want to have money for. Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship? What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?

    3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students;

    Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here. Davis is not that big, and with a population of roughly 65K commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis. The need to save money arose only after resources were stretched too thin and funds were mismanaged within the district.

    4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and

    See # 3

    5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools.

    Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.

    Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism. Fears posted here of “alienating” wealthy parents and supposed “allies” mean nothing, as it appears the worst is already happening.

    (I)s every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

    Of course every closure is not a violation of civil rights. But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor. When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?

  110. oj

    1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high;

    Then why open a newer, more expensive school? And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?

    2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs;

    Again, if costs are the issue, the why forge ahead with plans to spend even more money when the district is admittedly cash-strapped (which I don’t believe). People have money for what they want to have money for. Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship? What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?

    3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students;

    Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here. Davis is not that big, and with a population of roughly 65K commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis. The need to save money arose only after resources were stretched too thin and funds were mismanaged within the district.

    4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and

    See # 3

    5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools.

    Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.

    Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism. Fears posted here of “alienating” wealthy parents and supposed “allies” mean nothing, as it appears the worst is already happening.

    (I)s every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

    Of course every closure is not a violation of civil rights. But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor. When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?

  111. oj

    1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high;

    Then why open a newer, more expensive school? And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?

    2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs;

    Again, if costs are the issue, the why forge ahead with plans to spend even more money when the district is admittedly cash-strapped (which I don’t believe). People have money for what they want to have money for. Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship? What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?

    3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students;

    Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here. Davis is not that big, and with a population of roughly 65K commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis. The need to save money arose only after resources were stretched too thin and funds were mismanaged within the district.

    4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and

    See # 3

    5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools.

    Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.

    Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism. Fears posted here of “alienating” wealthy parents and supposed “allies” mean nothing, as it appears the worst is already happening.

    (I)s every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

    Of course every closure is not a violation of civil rights. But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor. When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?

  112. oj

    1) the per pupil administrative costs within the District are too high;

    Then why open a newer, more expensive school? And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?

    2) the Board could not or chose not to lower those admin costs;

    Again, if costs are the issue, the why forge ahead with plans to spend even more money when the district is admittedly cash-strapped (which I don’t believe). People have money for what they want to have money for. Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship? What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?

    3) Valley Oak’s neighborhood now has the fewest K-6 aged students;

    Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here. Davis is not that big, and with a population of roughly 65K commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis. The need to save money arose only after resources were stretched too thin and funds were mismanaged within the district.

    4) the Board believes that there has been significant disenrollment resulting in a loss of ADA limit revenue dollars and the Board believes that the student population will continue to decline, causing a further loss of funds; and

    See # 3

    5) no one considered closing Cesar Chavez, which would inflate the population of all of the neighborhood schools.

    Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.

    Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism. Fears posted here of “alienating” wealthy parents and supposed “allies” mean nothing, as it appears the worst is already happening.

    (I)s every neighborhood school closure automatically a violation of civil rights? Or is it only a civil rights case if the make-up of the student body meets a certain minority threshhold?

    Of course every closure is not a violation of civil rights. But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor. When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?

  113. Diane

    This may be getting slightly off on a tangent, but I must reply to the anonymous poster of 9:35pm responding to Nicole’s statement.

    Vigilance against racism is not merely admirable, but *required*. There are plenty of people who doubt that racism exists and there are plenty of people who would be numb to accounts of racism no matter when or how it is brought up. A “natural ally” will pay attention and listen when someone has a concern about racism and not dismiss it immediately or try to say that the situation is really something else.

    Racism is very real, but “race” is not. There are not biologically determinable differences between what are considered different “races”. We are actually *all* people of race, not just those with darker skin. So, in other words, people (predominately “white” people) have created the idea of race to justify treating other groups as less than themselves. Of some of those “varied races” mentioned, it was often that colonial invaders created and exacerbated social differences and perpetuated the idea of different races and different values for those “races”.

    Racism is so pervasive and integrated into the foundation of U.S. history and the functioning of society that it is often difficult for those who experience the privilege of lighter skin to recognize its existence if it’s not in some blatant form.

    In the case of VO, when I see particular groups of people being disproportionally disadvantaged through institutional decision making and processes, even if no specific racist words were uttered, I see it as evidence of institutional racism. In this case, I also see it as economic discrimination – as they are intertwined in this society and it is not only kids of color being affected. But they are both present and both require us to stand up and say so as fearlessly as we possibly can in whatever way we can.

    I admire your courage, Nicole, to say what’s in your heart and not to be afraid to say that you see racism when you see it – or at least to not let fear stop you.

    Certainly the Los Angeles uprising in 1992 was about far more than Rodney King being beaten and the subsequent acquittal of those officers. When a people get beaten down over and over again, one more injustice – regardless of beliefs about how sympathetic the victim is – can be the catalyst that lets out the anger and frustration for many, many injustices.

    It is not illogical to wonder how many injustices will there be in Davis before some group won’t take it any more. It may not take the form of L.A., but something will have to happen at some point if we don’t intervene when we can.

  114. Diane

    This may be getting slightly off on a tangent, but I must reply to the anonymous poster of 9:35pm responding to Nicole’s statement.

    Vigilance against racism is not merely admirable, but *required*. There are plenty of people who doubt that racism exists and there are plenty of people who would be numb to accounts of racism no matter when or how it is brought up. A “natural ally” will pay attention and listen when someone has a concern about racism and not dismiss it immediately or try to say that the situation is really something else.

    Racism is very real, but “race” is not. There are not biologically determinable differences between what are considered different “races”. We are actually *all* people of race, not just those with darker skin. So, in other words, people (predominately “white” people) have created the idea of race to justify treating other groups as less than themselves. Of some of those “varied races” mentioned, it was often that colonial invaders created and exacerbated social differences and perpetuated the idea of different races and different values for those “races”.

    Racism is so pervasive and integrated into the foundation of U.S. history and the functioning of society that it is often difficult for those who experience the privilege of lighter skin to recognize its existence if it’s not in some blatant form.

    In the case of VO, when I see particular groups of people being disproportionally disadvantaged through institutional decision making and processes, even if no specific racist words were uttered, I see it as evidence of institutional racism. In this case, I also see it as economic discrimination – as they are intertwined in this society and it is not only kids of color being affected. But they are both present and both require us to stand up and say so as fearlessly as we possibly can in whatever way we can.

    I admire your courage, Nicole, to say what’s in your heart and not to be afraid to say that you see racism when you see it – or at least to not let fear stop you.

    Certainly the Los Angeles uprising in 1992 was about far more than Rodney King being beaten and the subsequent acquittal of those officers. When a people get beaten down over and over again, one more injustice – regardless of beliefs about how sympathetic the victim is – can be the catalyst that lets out the anger and frustration for many, many injustices.

    It is not illogical to wonder how many injustices will there be in Davis before some group won’t take it any more. It may not take the form of L.A., but something will have to happen at some point if we don’t intervene when we can.

  115. Diane

    This may be getting slightly off on a tangent, but I must reply to the anonymous poster of 9:35pm responding to Nicole’s statement.

    Vigilance against racism is not merely admirable, but *required*. There are plenty of people who doubt that racism exists and there are plenty of people who would be numb to accounts of racism no matter when or how it is brought up. A “natural ally” will pay attention and listen when someone has a concern about racism and not dismiss it immediately or try to say that the situation is really something else.

    Racism is very real, but “race” is not. There are not biologically determinable differences between what are considered different “races”. We are actually *all* people of race, not just those with darker skin. So, in other words, people (predominately “white” people) have created the idea of race to justify treating other groups as less than themselves. Of some of those “varied races” mentioned, it was often that colonial invaders created and exacerbated social differences and perpetuated the idea of different races and different values for those “races”.

    Racism is so pervasive and integrated into the foundation of U.S. history and the functioning of society that it is often difficult for those who experience the privilege of lighter skin to recognize its existence if it’s not in some blatant form.

    In the case of VO, when I see particular groups of people being disproportionally disadvantaged through institutional decision making and processes, even if no specific racist words were uttered, I see it as evidence of institutional racism. In this case, I also see it as economic discrimination – as they are intertwined in this society and it is not only kids of color being affected. But they are both present and both require us to stand up and say so as fearlessly as we possibly can in whatever way we can.

    I admire your courage, Nicole, to say what’s in your heart and not to be afraid to say that you see racism when you see it – or at least to not let fear stop you.

    Certainly the Los Angeles uprising in 1992 was about far more than Rodney King being beaten and the subsequent acquittal of those officers. When a people get beaten down over and over again, one more injustice – regardless of beliefs about how sympathetic the victim is – can be the catalyst that lets out the anger and frustration for many, many injustices.

    It is not illogical to wonder how many injustices will there be in Davis before some group won’t take it any more. It may not take the form of L.A., but something will have to happen at some point if we don’t intervene when we can.

  116. Diane

    This may be getting slightly off on a tangent, but I must reply to the anonymous poster of 9:35pm responding to Nicole’s statement.

    Vigilance against racism is not merely admirable, but *required*. There are plenty of people who doubt that racism exists and there are plenty of people who would be numb to accounts of racism no matter when or how it is brought up. A “natural ally” will pay attention and listen when someone has a concern about racism and not dismiss it immediately or try to say that the situation is really something else.

    Racism is very real, but “race” is not. There are not biologically determinable differences between what are considered different “races”. We are actually *all* people of race, not just those with darker skin. So, in other words, people (predominately “white” people) have created the idea of race to justify treating other groups as less than themselves. Of some of those “varied races” mentioned, it was often that colonial invaders created and exacerbated social differences and perpetuated the idea of different races and different values for those “races”.

    Racism is so pervasive and integrated into the foundation of U.S. history and the functioning of society that it is often difficult for those who experience the privilege of lighter skin to recognize its existence if it’s not in some blatant form.

    In the case of VO, when I see particular groups of people being disproportionally disadvantaged through institutional decision making and processes, even if no specific racist words were uttered, I see it as evidence of institutional racism. In this case, I also see it as economic discrimination – as they are intertwined in this society and it is not only kids of color being affected. But they are both present and both require us to stand up and say so as fearlessly as we possibly can in whatever way we can.

    I admire your courage, Nicole, to say what’s in your heart and not to be afraid to say that you see racism when you see it – or at least to not let fear stop you.

    Certainly the Los Angeles uprising in 1992 was about far more than Rodney King being beaten and the subsequent acquittal of those officers. When a people get beaten down over and over again, one more injustice – regardless of beliefs about how sympathetic the victim is – can be the catalyst that lets out the anger and frustration for many, many injustices.

    It is not illogical to wonder how many injustices will there be in Davis before some group won’t take it any more. It may not take the form of L.A., but something will have to happen at some point if we don’t intervene when we can.

  117. Bill Storm

    The staff of Valley Oak is deeply opposed to the closure of the school. All of our jobs are secure, particularly those of us who have been here for a while. The children are not going away, so neither are we. Our opposition is based on the reasoned belief that the service Valley Oak has provided to the people of this community, particularly our neighborhood, will not be replicated in other neighborhoods of this city. This is a reality that has been given nothing but lip service by both the Task Force and Board of Education.

    What evidence do I have for this? Simply look at the numbers. DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates. Valley Oak is not one of these schools. For some inexplicable reason, the educational culture of Valley Oak is not one that has been replicated throughout the district, so we see, in the numbers, wildly variable rates of success. In fact, historically, the district’s most intractable behavior and learning issues have been directed to our site. Why? Because historically those students succeed here. That success is a function of school culture, not the consequence of a single teacher or single program. It is the interrelationship of all of those factors, plus the proximity to student homes, and the relationship of parents to the site that makes this place work, and it is this complex of relationships, decades in building, that we see as impossible to replicate.

    District staff believes it can be replicated. However, we see no evidence to support that contention, and much evidence to the contrary. The Board of Education has made its decision based on wishful thinking and political expediency, not on sound educational grounds. Those of us who work with these children are deeply concerned for their futures. Why aren’t they?

    Bill Storm
    Valley Oak Science

  118. Bill Storm

    The staff of Valley Oak is deeply opposed to the closure of the school. All of our jobs are secure, particularly those of us who have been here for a while. The children are not going away, so neither are we. Our opposition is based on the reasoned belief that the service Valley Oak has provided to the people of this community, particularly our neighborhood, will not be replicated in other neighborhoods of this city. This is a reality that has been given nothing but lip service by both the Task Force and Board of Education.

    What evidence do I have for this? Simply look at the numbers. DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates. Valley Oak is not one of these schools. For some inexplicable reason, the educational culture of Valley Oak is not one that has been replicated throughout the district, so we see, in the numbers, wildly variable rates of success. In fact, historically, the district’s most intractable behavior and learning issues have been directed to our site. Why? Because historically those students succeed here. That success is a function of school culture, not the consequence of a single teacher or single program. It is the interrelationship of all of those factors, plus the proximity to student homes, and the relationship of parents to the site that makes this place work, and it is this complex of relationships, decades in building, that we see as impossible to replicate.

    District staff believes it can be replicated. However, we see no evidence to support that contention, and much evidence to the contrary. The Board of Education has made its decision based on wishful thinking and political expediency, not on sound educational grounds. Those of us who work with these children are deeply concerned for their futures. Why aren’t they?

    Bill Storm
    Valley Oak Science

  119. Bill Storm

    The staff of Valley Oak is deeply opposed to the closure of the school. All of our jobs are secure, particularly those of us who have been here for a while. The children are not going away, so neither are we. Our opposition is based on the reasoned belief that the service Valley Oak has provided to the people of this community, particularly our neighborhood, will not be replicated in other neighborhoods of this city. This is a reality that has been given nothing but lip service by both the Task Force and Board of Education.

    What evidence do I have for this? Simply look at the numbers. DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates. Valley Oak is not one of these schools. For some inexplicable reason, the educational culture of Valley Oak is not one that has been replicated throughout the district, so we see, in the numbers, wildly variable rates of success. In fact, historically, the district’s most intractable behavior and learning issues have been directed to our site. Why? Because historically those students succeed here. That success is a function of school culture, not the consequence of a single teacher or single program. It is the interrelationship of all of those factors, plus the proximity to student homes, and the relationship of parents to the site that makes this place work, and it is this complex of relationships, decades in building, that we see as impossible to replicate.

    District staff believes it can be replicated. However, we see no evidence to support that contention, and much evidence to the contrary. The Board of Education has made its decision based on wishful thinking and political expediency, not on sound educational grounds. Those of us who work with these children are deeply concerned for their futures. Why aren’t they?

    Bill Storm
    Valley Oak Science

  120. Bill Storm

    The staff of Valley Oak is deeply opposed to the closure of the school. All of our jobs are secure, particularly those of us who have been here for a while. The children are not going away, so neither are we. Our opposition is based on the reasoned belief that the service Valley Oak has provided to the people of this community, particularly our neighborhood, will not be replicated in other neighborhoods of this city. This is a reality that has been given nothing but lip service by both the Task Force and Board of Education.

    What evidence do I have for this? Simply look at the numbers. DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates. Valley Oak is not one of these schools. For some inexplicable reason, the educational culture of Valley Oak is not one that has been replicated throughout the district, so we see, in the numbers, wildly variable rates of success. In fact, historically, the district’s most intractable behavior and learning issues have been directed to our site. Why? Because historically those students succeed here. That success is a function of school culture, not the consequence of a single teacher or single program. It is the interrelationship of all of those factors, plus the proximity to student homes, and the relationship of parents to the site that makes this place work, and it is this complex of relationships, decades in building, that we see as impossible to replicate.

    District staff believes it can be replicated. However, we see no evidence to support that contention, and much evidence to the contrary. The Board of Education has made its decision based on wishful thinking and political expediency, not on sound educational grounds. Those of us who work with these children are deeply concerned for their futures. Why aren’t they?

    Bill Storm
    Valley Oak Science

  121. Rich Rifkin

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”

    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”

    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”

    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”

    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”

    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”

    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”

    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals.

    Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school.

    If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods.

    The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

  122. Rich Rifkin

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”

    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”

    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”

    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”

    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”

    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”

    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”

    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals.

    Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school.

    If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods.

    The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

  123. Rich Rifkin

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”

    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”

    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”

    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”

    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”

    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”

    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”

    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals.

    Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school.

    If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods.

    The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

  124. Rich Rifkin

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”

    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”

    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”

    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”

    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”

    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”

    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”

    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals.

    Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school.

    If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods.

    The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

  125. davisite

    If called by the pollsters, my response will depend upon whether Valley Oak Elementary is still slated to be closed and is being held hostage to a special VO tax measure. If it is, I will vote NO on the parcel tax unless the “connection” is reversed, that is, the parcel tax cannot be passed without the special VO tax also passing.

  126. davisite

    If called by the pollsters, my response will depend upon whether Valley Oak Elementary is still slated to be closed and is being held hostage to a special VO tax measure. If it is, I will vote NO on the parcel tax unless the “connection” is reversed, that is, the parcel tax cannot be passed without the special VO tax also passing.

  127. davisite

    If called by the pollsters, my response will depend upon whether Valley Oak Elementary is still slated to be closed and is being held hostage to a special VO tax measure. If it is, I will vote NO on the parcel tax unless the “connection” is reversed, that is, the parcel tax cannot be passed without the special VO tax also passing.

  128. davisite

    If called by the pollsters, my response will depend upon whether Valley Oak Elementary is still slated to be closed and is being held hostage to a special VO tax measure. If it is, I will vote NO on the parcel tax unless the “connection” is reversed, that is, the parcel tax cannot be passed without the special VO tax also passing.

  129. Anne

    I would like to rebut some of the mischaracterizations of the Valley Oak Elementary School PTA that have shown up in past and more recent postings. I am a member of the PTA, but I am speaking for myself and not the organization. The VOE PTA is not a political organization. Our mission is to support and enrich the educational experience of ALL of the children in the VOE community. If the Valley Oak PTA is “weak” because we do not raise as much money as the PTAs at other schools reportedly do, then so be it. But we continue to strongly support the VOE programs in a multitude of ways, including endless parent volunteer hours.

    A comment was made awhile ago that the VOE PTA board is dominated by Mace Ranch parents. This is simply not true, but, nonetheless, please remember, Valley Oak is still the “neighborhood school” to many Mace Ranch children. A more recent comment said that we are the only “divided” PTA because we have Mace Ranch children. As has been noted, our school community is made up of students from all over the district. We have students who come to our school for many reasons including those seeking special programs, those sent as overflow from other schools, and those who simply choose VOE over other options available. We do not make distinctions between any of them or their parents based on their addresses.

    As an organization made up of parents and teachers, we come together to support and enrich them all, and we welcome the work and contributions of all of the parents and guardians of Valley Oak students in order to ensure our success.

    Anne

  130. Anne

    I would like to rebut some of the mischaracterizations of the Valley Oak Elementary School PTA that have shown up in past and more recent postings. I am a member of the PTA, but I am speaking for myself and not the organization. The VOE PTA is not a political organization. Our mission is to support and enrich the educational experience of ALL of the children in the VOE community. If the Valley Oak PTA is “weak” because we do not raise as much money as the PTAs at other schools reportedly do, then so be it. But we continue to strongly support the VOE programs in a multitude of ways, including endless parent volunteer hours.

    A comment was made awhile ago that the VOE PTA board is dominated by Mace Ranch parents. This is simply not true, but, nonetheless, please remember, Valley Oak is still the “neighborhood school” to many Mace Ranch children. A more recent comment said that we are the only “divided” PTA because we have Mace Ranch children. As has been noted, our school community is made up of students from all over the district. We have students who come to our school for many reasons including those seeking special programs, those sent as overflow from other schools, and those who simply choose VOE over other options available. We do not make distinctions between any of them or their parents based on their addresses.

    As an organization made up of parents and teachers, we come together to support and enrich them all, and we welcome the work and contributions of all of the parents and guardians of Valley Oak students in order to ensure our success.

    Anne

  131. Anne

    I would like to rebut some of the mischaracterizations of the Valley Oak Elementary School PTA that have shown up in past and more recent postings. I am a member of the PTA, but I am speaking for myself and not the organization. The VOE PTA is not a political organization. Our mission is to support and enrich the educational experience of ALL of the children in the VOE community. If the Valley Oak PTA is “weak” because we do not raise as much money as the PTAs at other schools reportedly do, then so be it. But we continue to strongly support the VOE programs in a multitude of ways, including endless parent volunteer hours.

    A comment was made awhile ago that the VOE PTA board is dominated by Mace Ranch parents. This is simply not true, but, nonetheless, please remember, Valley Oak is still the “neighborhood school” to many Mace Ranch children. A more recent comment said that we are the only “divided” PTA because we have Mace Ranch children. As has been noted, our school community is made up of students from all over the district. We have students who come to our school for many reasons including those seeking special programs, those sent as overflow from other schools, and those who simply choose VOE over other options available. We do not make distinctions between any of them or their parents based on their addresses.

    As an organization made up of parents and teachers, we come together to support and enrich them all, and we welcome the work and contributions of all of the parents and guardians of Valley Oak students in order to ensure our success.

    Anne

  132. Anne

    I would like to rebut some of the mischaracterizations of the Valley Oak Elementary School PTA that have shown up in past and more recent postings. I am a member of the PTA, but I am speaking for myself and not the organization. The VOE PTA is not a political organization. Our mission is to support and enrich the educational experience of ALL of the children in the VOE community. If the Valley Oak PTA is “weak” because we do not raise as much money as the PTAs at other schools reportedly do, then so be it. But we continue to strongly support the VOE programs in a multitude of ways, including endless parent volunteer hours.

    A comment was made awhile ago that the VOE PTA board is dominated by Mace Ranch parents. This is simply not true, but, nonetheless, please remember, Valley Oak is still the “neighborhood school” to many Mace Ranch children. A more recent comment said that we are the only “divided” PTA because we have Mace Ranch children. As has been noted, our school community is made up of students from all over the district. We have students who come to our school for many reasons including those seeking special programs, those sent as overflow from other schools, and those who simply choose VOE over other options available. We do not make distinctions between any of them or their parents based on their addresses.

    As an organization made up of parents and teachers, we come together to support and enrich them all, and we welcome the work and contributions of all of the parents and guardians of Valley Oak students in order to ensure our success.

    Anne

  133. Colleen Connolly

    Mr. Storm:
    Could you please name the two schools you cited as “…DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates.”
    Colleen Connolly

  134. Colleen Connolly

    Mr. Storm:
    Could you please name the two schools you cited as “…DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates.”
    Colleen Connolly

  135. Colleen Connolly

    Mr. Storm:
    Could you please name the two schools you cited as “…DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates.”
    Colleen Connolly

  136. Colleen Connolly

    Mr. Storm:
    Could you please name the two schools you cited as “…DJUSD has two elementary schools on the brink of being taken over by the state because they have not provided the learning necessary for certain “subgroups” to succeed compared to their majority classmates.”
    Colleen Connolly

  137. Anonymous

    Ann:
    Could you please tell us how much the Valley Oak PTA has in its treasury and why it hasn’t been spent on Valley Oak children and programs this year?
    Why didn’t the Valley Oak PTA pack the TASK Force meeting when Valley Oak came up for review? (Every other school PTA did.)
    Not a one joined Davis Open or organized any other advocacy group for Valley Oak.
    I don’t believe anyone advocating for Valley Oak “mischaracterized” the Valley Oak PTA. Any member of the PTA is welcome to come out and work for a nine school solution…
    Anyone?

  138. Anonymous

    Ann:
    Could you please tell us how much the Valley Oak PTA has in its treasury and why it hasn’t been spent on Valley Oak children and programs this year?
    Why didn’t the Valley Oak PTA pack the TASK Force meeting when Valley Oak came up for review? (Every other school PTA did.)
    Not a one joined Davis Open or organized any other advocacy group for Valley Oak.
    I don’t believe anyone advocating for Valley Oak “mischaracterized” the Valley Oak PTA. Any member of the PTA is welcome to come out and work for a nine school solution…
    Anyone?

  139. Anonymous

    Ann:
    Could you please tell us how much the Valley Oak PTA has in its treasury and why it hasn’t been spent on Valley Oak children and programs this year?
    Why didn’t the Valley Oak PTA pack the TASK Force meeting when Valley Oak came up for review? (Every other school PTA did.)
    Not a one joined Davis Open or organized any other advocacy group for Valley Oak.
    I don’t believe anyone advocating for Valley Oak “mischaracterized” the Valley Oak PTA. Any member of the PTA is welcome to come out and work for a nine school solution…
    Anyone?

  140. Anonymous

    Ann:
    Could you please tell us how much the Valley Oak PTA has in its treasury and why it hasn’t been spent on Valley Oak children and programs this year?
    Why didn’t the Valley Oak PTA pack the TASK Force meeting when Valley Oak came up for review? (Every other school PTA did.)
    Not a one joined Davis Open or organized any other advocacy group for Valley Oak.
    I don’t believe anyone advocating for Valley Oak “mischaracterized” the Valley Oak PTA. Any member of the PTA is welcome to come out and work for a nine school solution…
    Anyone?

  141. Anne

    Anonymous,

    I do not know off the top of my head how much money is in the VOE PTA treasury. I do know that we have a budget created for the current school year to support a variety of programs for the kids at the school as well as to enrich the classrooms. If you are a member of the VOE community you are more than welcome to come to a PTA meeting and ask questions about the budget and how the money is spent. If you are a member of the PTA you are also welcome to make suggestions and motions for how you would like to see any other PTA funds distributed. We are always welcome to new ideas and fresh energy!

    As far as the task force meetings are concerned, as a regular attendee of those meetings, I would respectfully disagree with the statement that other schools “packed” the meetings. The meetings that were held at the individual school sites were well attended by the population from that particular school, including Valley Oak, but, in general, the regular task force meetings were not that well attended by anyone.

    I know that starting in the fall of 2005, the meetings were on the weekly calendar in the Valley Oak school newsletter and, as space permitted, on the marquee in front of the school. Regular updates were presented at PTA meetings and people were encouraged to go. I attended task force meetings, and I got my information about the meetings from these very sources. Why more people did not go to the meetings, I do not know, but I can tell you it was discouraging. Until it was announced in June that VOE was targeted for closure, very few people attended the meetings– neither VOE neighborhood folks nor those people now involved with Davis OPEN.

    I think you are right on when you say that any member of the VOE PTA is welcome to come out and work for the nine school option or join Davis OPEN. My original point is that the PTA is not a political organization, and the programs and work are focused on enriching the school environment for our students. I would imagine that the opinions and wishes of our members are as varied and diverse as our population, and therefore I think it would be impossible for us to speak with one voice on this issue.

    Anne

  142. Anne

    Anonymous,

    I do not know off the top of my head how much money is in the VOE PTA treasury. I do know that we have a budget created for the current school year to support a variety of programs for the kids at the school as well as to enrich the classrooms. If you are a member of the VOE community you are more than welcome to come to a PTA meeting and ask questions about the budget and how the money is spent. If you are a member of the PTA you are also welcome to make suggestions and motions for how you would like to see any other PTA funds distributed. We are always welcome to new ideas and fresh energy!

    As far as the task force meetings are concerned, as a regular attendee of those meetings, I would respectfully disagree with the statement that other schools “packed” the meetings. The meetings that were held at the individual school sites were well attended by the population from that particular school, including Valley Oak, but, in general, the regular task force meetings were not that well attended by anyone.

    I know that starting in the fall of 2005, the meetings were on the weekly calendar in the Valley Oak school newsletter and, as space permitted, on the marquee in front of the school. Regular updates were presented at PTA meetings and people were encouraged to go. I attended task force meetings, and I got my information about the meetings from these very sources. Why more people did not go to the meetings, I do not know, but I can tell you it was discouraging. Until it was announced in June that VOE was targeted for closure, very few people attended the meetings– neither VOE neighborhood folks nor those people now involved with Davis OPEN.

    I think you are right on when you say that any member of the VOE PTA is welcome to come out and work for the nine school option or join Davis OPEN. My original point is that the PTA is not a political organization, and the programs and work are focused on enriching the school environment for our students. I would imagine that the opinions and wishes of our members are as varied and diverse as our population, and therefore I think it would be impossible for us to speak with one voice on this issue.

    Anne

  143. Anne

    Anonymous,

    I do not know off the top of my head how much money is in the VOE PTA treasury. I do know that we have a budget created for the current school year to support a variety of programs for the kids at the school as well as to enrich the classrooms. If you are a member of the VOE community you are more than welcome to come to a PTA meeting and ask questions about the budget and how the money is spent. If you are a member of the PTA you are also welcome to make suggestions and motions for how you would like to see any other PTA funds distributed. We are always welcome to new ideas and fresh energy!

    As far as the task force meetings are concerned, as a regular attendee of those meetings, I would respectfully disagree with the statement that other schools “packed” the meetings. The meetings that were held at the individual school sites were well attended by the population from that particular school, including Valley Oak, but, in general, the regular task force meetings were not that well attended by anyone.

    I know that starting in the fall of 2005, the meetings were on the weekly calendar in the Valley Oak school newsletter and, as space permitted, on the marquee in front of the school. Regular updates were presented at PTA meetings and people were encouraged to go. I attended task force meetings, and I got my information about the meetings from these very sources. Why more people did not go to the meetings, I do not know, but I can tell you it was discouraging. Until it was announced in June that VOE was targeted for closure, very few people attended the meetings– neither VOE neighborhood folks nor those people now involved with Davis OPEN.

    I think you are right on when you say that any member of the VOE PTA is welcome to come out and work for the nine school option or join Davis OPEN. My original point is that the PTA is not a political organization, and the programs and work are focused on enriching the school environment for our students. I would imagine that the opinions and wishes of our members are as varied and diverse as our population, and therefore I think it would be impossible for us to speak with one voice on this issue.

    Anne

  144. Anne

    Anonymous,

    I do not know off the top of my head how much money is in the VOE PTA treasury. I do know that we have a budget created for the current school year to support a variety of programs for the kids at the school as well as to enrich the classrooms. If you are a member of the VOE community you are more than welcome to come to a PTA meeting and ask questions about the budget and how the money is spent. If you are a member of the PTA you are also welcome to make suggestions and motions for how you would like to see any other PTA funds distributed. We are always welcome to new ideas and fresh energy!

    As far as the task force meetings are concerned, as a regular attendee of those meetings, I would respectfully disagree with the statement that other schools “packed” the meetings. The meetings that were held at the individual school sites were well attended by the population from that particular school, including Valley Oak, but, in general, the regular task force meetings were not that well attended by anyone.

    I know that starting in the fall of 2005, the meetings were on the weekly calendar in the Valley Oak school newsletter and, as space permitted, on the marquee in front of the school. Regular updates were presented at PTA meetings and people were encouraged to go. I attended task force meetings, and I got my information about the meetings from these very sources. Why more people did not go to the meetings, I do not know, but I can tell you it was discouraging. Until it was announced in June that VOE was targeted for closure, very few people attended the meetings– neither VOE neighborhood folks nor those people now involved with Davis OPEN.

    I think you are right on when you say that any member of the VOE PTA is welcome to come out and work for the nine school option or join Davis OPEN. My original point is that the PTA is not a political organization, and the programs and work are focused on enriching the school environment for our students. I would imagine that the opinions and wishes of our members are as varied and diverse as our population, and therefore I think it would be impossible for us to speak with one voice on this issue.

    Anne

  145. Nicole Smith

    We are losing sight of the issue here. Once again, I will remind you that this is about the children.

    The Valley Oak PTA should not be under attack, nor should the Valley Oak community.

    I will restate my earlier comment. This was calculated. There are many supportive parents who are Spanish speaking. They are on campus every single day. They communicate with those that they can. It is often very difficult for those parents to join the PTA due to both language and the fact that many parents work and/or have very young children. This is part of why our school was an easy target. I saw an excellent turn-out at the Task Force meeting on campus that had a translator. Those families spoke up, too.

    Let’s not forget that we had no principal to serve as a contact person, liason, or leader when this all began. That made organizing more difficult. It was also during the summer.

    I don’t think our PTA is weak at all. When I have asked for support with my students it is always there. The presence of the PTA often boosts morale during hectic weeks or difficult times, such as this. They sponsor numerous activities and programs for children.

    We should not measure the strength of our PTA by its bank account, or even the number of active members, but by how well they support the children and the school community as a whole.

    By questioning the lack of bodies at meetings, and by accusing them of not mobilizing, you are further illustrating my point. Our school was the easiest school, in their eyes, to “get away with” closing.

    We should not be attacking people who work hard every day for the benefit of children. Our PTA is wonderful. Perhaps now that there is an increasing number of teachers speaking out, and perhaps now that we are trying to unite all of the organizations, groups and individuals to fight this decision, we will all be “stronger.”

    I again urge you to speak up, even if you don’t have a child at Valley Oak. This Thursday there is a special meeting of the board at 7:15 in the East Conference Room of the district office. They are discussing the addition of grade levels to Korematsu and the use facilities (probably with the assumption that our campus will be closed).

    It is a small room, but perhaps if we fill it, they will take notice.

  146. Nicole Smith

    We are losing sight of the issue here. Once again, I will remind you that this is about the children.

    The Valley Oak PTA should not be under attack, nor should the Valley Oak community.

    I will restate my earlier comment. This was calculated. There are many supportive parents who are Spanish speaking. They are on campus every single day. They communicate with those that they can. It is often very difficult for those parents to join the PTA due to both language and the fact that many parents work and/or have very young children. This is part of why our school was an easy target. I saw an excellent turn-out at the Task Force meeting on campus that had a translator. Those families spoke up, too.

    Let’s not forget that we had no principal to serve as a contact person, liason, or leader when this all began. That made organizing more difficult. It was also during the summer.

    I don’t think our PTA is weak at all. When I have asked for support with my students it is always there. The presence of the PTA often boosts morale during hectic weeks or difficult times, such as this. They sponsor numerous activities and programs for children.

    We should not measure the strength of our PTA by its bank account, or even the number of active members, but by how well they support the children and the school community as a whole.

    By questioning the lack of bodies at meetings, and by accusing them of not mobilizing, you are further illustrating my point. Our school was the easiest school, in their eyes, to “get away with” closing.

    We should not be attacking people who work hard every day for the benefit of children. Our PTA is wonderful. Perhaps now that there is an increasing number of teachers speaking out, and perhaps now that we are trying to unite all of the organizations, groups and individuals to fight this decision, we will all be “stronger.”

    I again urge you to speak up, even if you don’t have a child at Valley Oak. This Thursday there is a special meeting of the board at 7:15 in the East Conference Room of the district office. They are discussing the addition of grade levels to Korematsu and the use facilities (probably with the assumption that our campus will be closed).

    It is a small room, but perhaps if we fill it, they will take notice.

  147. Nicole Smith

    We are losing sight of the issue here. Once again, I will remind you that this is about the children.

    The Valley Oak PTA should not be under attack, nor should the Valley Oak community.

    I will restate my earlier comment. This was calculated. There are many supportive parents who are Spanish speaking. They are on campus every single day. They communicate with those that they can. It is often very difficult for those parents to join the PTA due to both language and the fact that many parents work and/or have very young children. This is part of why our school was an easy target. I saw an excellent turn-out at the Task Force meeting on campus that had a translator. Those families spoke up, too.

    Let’s not forget that we had no principal to serve as a contact person, liason, or leader when this all began. That made organizing more difficult. It was also during the summer.

    I don’t think our PTA is weak at all. When I have asked for support with my students it is always there. The presence of the PTA often boosts morale during hectic weeks or difficult times, such as this. They sponsor numerous activities and programs for children.

    We should not measure the strength of our PTA by its bank account, or even the number of active members, but by how well they support the children and the school community as a whole.

    By questioning the lack of bodies at meetings, and by accusing them of not mobilizing, you are further illustrating my point. Our school was the easiest school, in their eyes, to “get away with” closing.

    We should not be attacking people who work hard every day for the benefit of children. Our PTA is wonderful. Perhaps now that there is an increasing number of teachers speaking out, and perhaps now that we are trying to unite all of the organizations, groups and individuals to fight this decision, we will all be “stronger.”

    I again urge you to speak up, even if you don’t have a child at Valley Oak. This Thursday there is a special meeting of the board at 7:15 in the East Conference Room of the district office. They are discussing the addition of grade levels to Korematsu and the use facilities (probably with the assumption that our campus will be closed).

    It is a small room, but perhaps if we fill it, they will take notice.

  148. Nicole Smith

    We are losing sight of the issue here. Once again, I will remind you that this is about the children.

    The Valley Oak PTA should not be under attack, nor should the Valley Oak community.

    I will restate my earlier comment. This was calculated. There are many supportive parents who are Spanish speaking. They are on campus every single day. They communicate with those that they can. It is often very difficult for those parents to join the PTA due to both language and the fact that many parents work and/or have very young children. This is part of why our school was an easy target. I saw an excellent turn-out at the Task Force meeting on campus that had a translator. Those families spoke up, too.

    Let’s not forget that we had no principal to serve as a contact person, liason, or leader when this all began. That made organizing more difficult. It was also during the summer.

    I don’t think our PTA is weak at all. When I have asked for support with my students it is always there. The presence of the PTA often boosts morale during hectic weeks or difficult times, such as this. They sponsor numerous activities and programs for children.

    We should not measure the strength of our PTA by its bank account, or even the number of active members, but by how well they support the children and the school community as a whole.

    By questioning the lack of bodies at meetings, and by accusing them of not mobilizing, you are further illustrating my point. Our school was the easiest school, in their eyes, to “get away with” closing.

    We should not be attacking people who work hard every day for the benefit of children. Our PTA is wonderful. Perhaps now that there is an increasing number of teachers speaking out, and perhaps now that we are trying to unite all of the organizations, groups and individuals to fight this decision, we will all be “stronger.”

    I again urge you to speak up, even if you don’t have a child at Valley Oak. This Thursday there is a special meeting of the board at 7:15 in the East Conference Room of the district office. They are discussing the addition of grade levels to Korematsu and the use facilities (probably with the assumption that our campus will be closed).

    It is a small room, but perhaps if we fill it, they will take notice.

  149. oj

    Rich,

    Since you took time away from Hannity & Colmes to post again I figured I’d respond. Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism. Nevertheless, I’ll address some of your comments below…

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”
    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    ** I never suggested that. I know it’s open. The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc. (among other things)? Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale? Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? The end result is still the same, no matter what your rationale is.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”
    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    ** If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open? East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it. Don’t the needs of the children & community outweigh those of the admin.?

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”
    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    ** Actually, I don’t know what you oppose. Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts). BTW – I graduated in Managerial Economics from UCD, no need to be a smart-ass.

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”
    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    ** My point exactly. There is no plan, even though the B Street property’s sale could potentially result in the funds needed to keep VO open (an influx of millions).

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”
    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    ** Well then the Board majority is wrong. If Valley Oak were closed this year, it will have to be re-opened in a few years, creating a second wave of disruptions in the lives of Davis students and parents. (See pt #5 here.)

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”
    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    ** I know you don’t get it. Again, why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? It is disruptive and fiscally irresponsible, especially if growth in that area is going to require that a school be opened in VO’s place soon.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”
    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    ** As described by their consultant. Again, it’s the less fortunate community that is being forced to accomodate.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals. Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    ** ‘Good People’ do bad things all of the time. I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem. Regardless of their intentions, the end result is the same – affluent families are getting what they want and those less fortunate are getting shafted. Those less affluent are traditionally non-white. This smacks of racism.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school. If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods. The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    ** You’re kidding, right? Of course my argument reflects a bigger picture. School closures that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor are at an all-time high. While we are talking about VO in particular, the problem is a statewide (if not nationwide) phenomenon:

    In San Francisco;

    In Oakland;

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

    ** The reason those cases rarely get mainstream coverage is because they are just that…rare. They are anomalies. But they are on the radar of angry white folks who love to trumpet them as though there is some type of parity in the frequency of accounts such as this. Sad but true.

    Anyway, like Nicole’s recent post said, this is about the children. I am in agreement with the suggestion posted here that a civil rights attorney be retained to sort all of this out.

  150. oj

    Rich,

    Since you took time away from Hannity & Colmes to post again I figured I’d respond. Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism. Nevertheless, I’ll address some of your comments below…

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”
    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    ** I never suggested that. I know it’s open. The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc. (among other things)? Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale? Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? The end result is still the same, no matter what your rationale is.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”
    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    ** If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open? East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it. Don’t the needs of the children & community outweigh those of the admin.?

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”
    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    ** Actually, I don’t know what you oppose. Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts). BTW – I graduated in Managerial Economics from UCD, no need to be a smart-ass.

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”
    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    ** My point exactly. There is no plan, even though the B Street property’s sale could potentially result in the funds needed to keep VO open (an influx of millions).

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”
    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    ** Well then the Board majority is wrong. If Valley Oak were closed this year, it will have to be re-opened in a few years, creating a second wave of disruptions in the lives of Davis students and parents. (See pt #5 here.)

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”
    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    ** I know you don’t get it. Again, why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? It is disruptive and fiscally irresponsible, especially if growth in that area is going to require that a school be opened in VO’s place soon.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”
    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    ** As described by their consultant. Again, it’s the less fortunate community that is being forced to accomodate.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals. Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    ** ‘Good People’ do bad things all of the time. I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem. Regardless of their intentions, the end result is the same – affluent families are getting what they want and those less fortunate are getting shafted. Those less affluent are traditionally non-white. This smacks of racism.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school. If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods. The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    ** You’re kidding, right? Of course my argument reflects a bigger picture. School closures that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor are at an all-time high. While we are talking about VO in particular, the problem is a statewide (if not nationwide) phenomenon:

    In San Francisco;

    In Oakland;

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

    ** The reason those cases rarely get mainstream coverage is because they are just that…rare. They are anomalies. But they are on the radar of angry white folks who love to trumpet them as though there is some type of parity in the frequency of accounts such as this. Sad but true.

    Anyway, like Nicole’s recent post said, this is about the children. I am in agreement with the suggestion posted here that a civil rights attorney be retained to sort all of this out.

  151. oj

    Rich,

    Since you took time away from Hannity & Colmes to post again I figured I’d respond. Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism. Nevertheless, I’ll address some of your comments below…

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”
    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    ** I never suggested that. I know it’s open. The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc. (among other things)? Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale? Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? The end result is still the same, no matter what your rationale is.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”
    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    ** If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open? East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it. Don’t the needs of the children & community outweigh those of the admin.?

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”
    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    ** Actually, I don’t know what you oppose. Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts). BTW – I graduated in Managerial Economics from UCD, no need to be a smart-ass.

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”
    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    ** My point exactly. There is no plan, even though the B Street property’s sale could potentially result in the funds needed to keep VO open (an influx of millions).

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”
    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    ** Well then the Board majority is wrong. If Valley Oak were closed this year, it will have to be re-opened in a few years, creating a second wave of disruptions in the lives of Davis students and parents. (See pt #5 here.)

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”
    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    ** I know you don’t get it. Again, why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? It is disruptive and fiscally irresponsible, especially if growth in that area is going to require that a school be opened in VO’s place soon.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”
    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    ** As described by their consultant. Again, it’s the less fortunate community that is being forced to accomodate.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals. Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    ** ‘Good People’ do bad things all of the time. I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem. Regardless of their intentions, the end result is the same – affluent families are getting what they want and those less fortunate are getting shafted. Those less affluent are traditionally non-white. This smacks of racism.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school. If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods. The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    ** You’re kidding, right? Of course my argument reflects a bigger picture. School closures that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor are at an all-time high. While we are talking about VO in particular, the problem is a statewide (if not nationwide) phenomenon:

    In San Francisco;

    In Oakland;

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

    ** The reason those cases rarely get mainstream coverage is because they are just that…rare. They are anomalies. But they are on the radar of angry white folks who love to trumpet them as though there is some type of parity in the frequency of accounts such as this. Sad but true.

    Anyway, like Nicole’s recent post said, this is about the children. I am in agreement with the suggestion posted here that a civil rights attorney be retained to sort all of this out.

  152. oj

    Rich,

    Since you took time away from Hannity & Colmes to post again I figured I’d respond. Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism. Nevertheless, I’ll address some of your comments below…

    “Then why open a newer, more expensive school?”
    It makes 100% sense to open Korematsu. It has been built. It exists. It is there. There are hundreds of students in that neighborhood. Those kids deserve to have their neighborhood school every bit as much as any other neighborhood in town. To suggest that Korematsu, at this point, ought to not be opened fully is unsupportable.

    ** I never suggested that. I know it’s open. The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc. (among other things)? Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale? Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? The end result is still the same, no matter what your rationale is.

    “And doesn’t moving the district offices entail additional expenses as well?”
    This Board has not suggested moving the District offices, to my knowledge. That was the last Board. And their thinking was that they could put a lot of money in the District’s coffers by selling the B Street building and using other facilities for the administration. The one-time expenses it would cost to move administrators would be pennies compared with the millions of dollars the District could get if they sold 526 B Street.

    ** If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open? East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it. Don’t the needs of the children & community outweigh those of the admin.?

    “Besides, wasn’t there recently a multi-million dollar renovation of VO? How does wasting that money factor into the argument of financial hardship?”
    As you know, I oppose the closure of Valley Oak (or any other neighborhood elementaries). However, the fact that upgrades were made to VO is irrelevant, as that money is sunk cost. (If you don’t understand what ‘sunk cost’ is, take a course in finance.)

    ** Actually, I don’t know what you oppose. Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts). BTW – I graduated in Managerial Economics from UCD, no need to be a smart-ass.

    “What about the plans for the exisitng district office building if they move?”
    There is no plan. However, the last Board — at least one member of the Board, who outlined her thoughts on this question to me — felt that the B Street site would be a good one for a mix of housing and retail.

    ** My point exactly. There is no plan, even though the B Street property’s sale could potentially result in the funds needed to keep VO open (an influx of millions).

    “Current enrollment doesn’t justify school closure, as detailed here.”
    I did not say that it did. I said that the Board majority apparently believes that is the case.

    ** Well then the Board majority is wrong. If Valley Oak were closed this year, it will have to be re-opened in a few years, creating a second wave of disruptions in the lives of Davis students and parents. (See pt #5 here.)

    “Davis is not that big, and, with a population of roughly 65K, commuting to VO would not have be a hardship for some with children in West Davis.”
    I don’t get this argument. Are you saying that you are in favor of having K-6 kids commute across town to go to elementary school? If that is what you are saying, then you are defeating the primary arguments in favor of keeping Valley Oak open: 1) that long commutes for a young child/family is a difficult burden and 2) that a neighborhood school is in and of itself a community asset which ties the residents of a neighborhood together.

    ** I know you don’t get it. Again, why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere? It is disruptive and fiscally irresponsible, especially if growth in that area is going to require that a school be opened in VO’s place soon.

    “Cesar Chavez isn’t the issue here.”
    In fact, it is a part of the issue, though not the whole issue. The issue here is that the Board believes that there are too few kids in the Valley Oak area — as described by their consultant — to keep open a nieghborhood school in Davis Manor. However, if the one K-6 public school in Davis that is NOT a neighborhood school were closed, there would (after some adjustments of the attendance boundaries) be enough students to keep open all 8 neighborhood elementaries. Thus, to deny the effect of CCE on VO is to deny reality.

    ** As described by their consultant. Again, it’s the less fortunate community that is being forced to accomodate.

    “Note that there’s no need to pussy-foot around the subject of racism.”

    Are you saying that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden and Keltie Jones — the Board members who voted to close VO — are racists? Because if that is your charge, not only are you a complete ignoramous, but you don’t know anything about these individuals. Rather than blithely tossing around bogus charges against good people, maybe consider the fact that they are decent people who just view the facts honestly, but differently than you do.

    ** ‘Good People’ do bad things all of the time. I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem. Regardless of their intentions, the end result is the same – affluent families are getting what they want and those less fortunate are getting shafted. Those less affluent are traditionally non-white. This smacks of racism.

    “But again, these closures are both racist and classist when they repeatedly and disproportionately affect children of color and the poor.”

    These closures? Plural? We are talking about Valley Oak. Just one school. If you are extending your argument to a statewide phenomenon of school closures, present your factual evidence. I would bet you that school closures are actually more likely to happen in wealthier neighborhoods than in poorer ones, save when the parents of the poor children are choosing to send their kids out of their own neighborhoods. The reason that wealthier communities are closing public schools quite often is parallel to what is going on in Davis — it’s too expensive for young families to live in those communities.

    ** You’re kidding, right? Of course my argument reflects a bigger picture. School closures that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor are at an all-time high. While we are talking about VO in particular, the problem is a statewide (if not nationwide) phenomenon:

    In San Francisco;

    In Oakland;

    “When is the last time you heard anything about a violation of the civil rights of affluent white folks?”

    Those cases are never given much mainstream coverage. They are considered dog-bites-man. This story, for example, has received almost no press. It has not appeared in The Bee, The Enterprise, The Chronicle, etc. Yet you can imagine that if the races were reversed, every major newspaper and television station would likely be covering it. (I only knew about it because an African-American friend of mine told me that it is a hot story in the black press.)

    ** The reason those cases rarely get mainstream coverage is because they are just that…rare. They are anomalies. But they are on the radar of angry white folks who love to trumpet them as though there is some type of parity in the frequency of accounts such as this. Sad but true.

    Anyway, like Nicole’s recent post said, this is about the children. I am in agreement with the suggestion posted here that a civil rights attorney be retained to sort all of this out.

  153. Anonymous

    Dear anonymous 8:10 pm.

    Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.

    That foresight has allowed enough reserves to operate next year without cutting (hopefully), PTA activities. Did you suggest a different approach to planning for student activities when you attended VO PTA meetings this year.

    Had the advocacy groups not been so ready to attack the PTA, they might have found more people seeking to participate. Attract more flies with honey than vinegar sort of thing.

  154. Anonymous

    Dear anonymous 8:10 pm.

    Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.

    That foresight has allowed enough reserves to operate next year without cutting (hopefully), PTA activities. Did you suggest a different approach to planning for student activities when you attended VO PTA meetings this year.

    Had the advocacy groups not been so ready to attack the PTA, they might have found more people seeking to participate. Attract more flies with honey than vinegar sort of thing.

  155. Anonymous

    Dear anonymous 8:10 pm.

    Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.

    That foresight has allowed enough reserves to operate next year without cutting (hopefully), PTA activities. Did you suggest a different approach to planning for student activities when you attended VO PTA meetings this year.

    Had the advocacy groups not been so ready to attack the PTA, they might have found more people seeking to participate. Attract more flies with honey than vinegar sort of thing.

  156. Anonymous

    Dear anonymous 8:10 pm.

    Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.

    That foresight has allowed enough reserves to operate next year without cutting (hopefully), PTA activities. Did you suggest a different approach to planning for student activities when you attended VO PTA meetings this year.

    Had the advocacy groups not been so ready to attack the PTA, they might have found more people seeking to participate. Attract more flies with honey than vinegar sort of thing.

  157. Anonymous

    Our family was part of the early years of the Spanish Immersion program when it was divided between many different schools. The program struggled under this structure administratively, material-wise, morale of teachers who felt isolated and had difficulty meeting to create a unified program and students who were treated as “different” from the
    general student population. The EL program at VO if broken up and sent to different schools will suffer the same fate.

  158. Don Shor

    “Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.”

    Where should we send donations to the Valley Oak PTA?

  159. Anonymous

    Our family was part of the early years of the Spanish Immersion program when it was divided between many different schools. The program struggled under this structure administratively, material-wise, morale of teachers who felt isolated and had difficulty meeting to create a unified program and students who were treated as “different” from the
    general student population. The EL program at VO if broken up and sent to different schools will suffer the same fate.

  160. Don Shor

    “Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.”

    Where should we send donations to the Valley Oak PTA?

  161. Anonymous

    Our family was part of the early years of the Spanish Immersion program when it was divided between many different schools. The program struggled under this structure administratively, material-wise, morale of teachers who felt isolated and had difficulty meeting to create a unified program and students who were treated as “different” from the
    general student population. The EL program at VO if broken up and sent to different schools will suffer the same fate.

  162. Don Shor

    “Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.”

    Where should we send donations to the Valley Oak PTA?

  163. Anonymous

    Our family was part of the early years of the Spanish Immersion program when it was divided between many different schools. The program struggled under this structure administratively, material-wise, morale of teachers who felt isolated and had difficulty meeting to create a unified program and students who were treated as “different” from the
    general student population. The EL program at VO if broken up and sent to different schools will suffer the same fate.

  164. Don Shor

    “Not spending all the PTA cash reserves this year is called fiduciary responsibility. Fund raising was terrible this year, largely because of the uncertainty related to the school.”

    Where should we send donations to the Valley Oak PTA?

  165. Rich Rifkin

    “Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism.”

    I’m not angry, though I am pale.

    “The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc.”

    You seem to not understand that we passed a bond in 2000 (called Measure K) to fund the construction of Montgomery, Korematsu and Harper. Maybe you were not living in Davis in 2000?

    You state that we are in ‘financial distress.’ However, that was not the case when the bond was approved and when the schools were constructed. The problem then was that our existing schools were bursting at the seems with too many kids. However, since 2000, we have had zero growth, a tripling of home prices and apparently a reduction in K-6 aged kids in Davis.

    “Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale?”

    Most likely, I assume, because the one member of the Board of Education who was the strongest backer of this idea, Marty West, is no longer on the Board. Also, understand that the State of California makes it very difficult for school districts to sell their real estate. Those state restrictions have been a severe hurdle in disposing of the Grande property.

    “Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere?”

    It is not always schools with high minority attendance. Rather, it is schools that are declining in attendance or thought to be declining in attendance. I know an elementary school in Palo Alto, in an upper-middle to rich neighborhood, that recently closed due to the lack of children in that neighborhood. PA did not close that school because the neighborhood kids were mostly white and Asian. They did so because there were too few kids.

    You point to San Francisco where, according to your SF Gate story, blacks are disproportionately being affected. Point well taken. However, this quote from your story is worth considering:

    “Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, the city’s first African American schools chief, said the schools on the list were the ones hemorrhaging students, so they’re the ones that should close.”

    The key words are ‘hemorrhaging students.’ That is, schools that are declining in attendance (or at least in the case of Davis, perceived to be declining) are being shuttered. I doubt that Ms. Ackerman wants to harm black children.

    “If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open?”

    I would favor that. However, there are apparently legal reasons why school districts cannot spend money made from selling facilities on ongoing expenses, as would be needed to keep Valley Oak open.

    “East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it.”

    It is? Where are the new homes in East Davis? To my knowledge, there have been no new homes built in East Davis in 20 years.

    At some point, maybe 5-6 years down the road, there will be homes built in the Cannery Park development (which is not in East Davis, but is in the VO attendance zone).

    “Actually, I don’t know what you oppose.”

    You should read my Enterprise column. I opined there not only against the closure of Valley Oak, but gave a specific recommendation as to how it (and all other 8 public elementaries) could be kept open, given the budget picture.

    “Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts).”

    You’re entirely mistaken. I have not been ‘complicit’ with regards to its closure. I have strongly opposed it the entire time.

    You accuse me of wrongdoing simply because I don’t believe that the Board majority is racist or malevolent or some other synonym for evil. My view is people can disagree on politics and not have to accuse others of corruption of character.

    “I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem… This smacks of racism.”

    Did they teach logical inconsistency in graduate school?

  166. Rich Rifkin

    “Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism.”

    I’m not angry, though I am pale.

    “The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc.”

    You seem to not understand that we passed a bond in 2000 (called Measure K) to fund the construction of Montgomery, Korematsu and Harper. Maybe you were not living in Davis in 2000?

    You state that we are in ‘financial distress.’ However, that was not the case when the bond was approved and when the schools were constructed. The problem then was that our existing schools were bursting at the seems with too many kids. However, since 2000, we have had zero growth, a tripling of home prices and apparently a reduction in K-6 aged kids in Davis.

    “Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale?”

    Most likely, I assume, because the one member of the Board of Education who was the strongest backer of this idea, Marty West, is no longer on the Board. Also, understand that the State of California makes it very difficult for school districts to sell their real estate. Those state restrictions have been a severe hurdle in disposing of the Grande property.

    “Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere?”

    It is not always schools with high minority attendance. Rather, it is schools that are declining in attendance or thought to be declining in attendance. I know an elementary school in Palo Alto, in an upper-middle to rich neighborhood, that recently closed due to the lack of children in that neighborhood. PA did not close that school because the neighborhood kids were mostly white and Asian. They did so because there were too few kids.

    You point to San Francisco where, according to your SF Gate story, blacks are disproportionately being affected. Point well taken. However, this quote from your story is worth considering:

    “Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, the city’s first African American schools chief, said the schools on the list were the ones hemorrhaging students, so they’re the ones that should close.”

    The key words are ‘hemorrhaging students.’ That is, schools that are declining in attendance (or at least in the case of Davis, perceived to be declining) are being shuttered. I doubt that Ms. Ackerman wants to harm black children.

    “If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open?”

    I would favor that. However, there are apparently legal reasons why school districts cannot spend money made from selling facilities on ongoing expenses, as would be needed to keep Valley Oak open.

    “East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it.”

    It is? Where are the new homes in East Davis? To my knowledge, there have been no new homes built in East Davis in 20 years.

    At some point, maybe 5-6 years down the road, there will be homes built in the Cannery Park development (which is not in East Davis, but is in the VO attendance zone).

    “Actually, I don’t know what you oppose.”

    You should read my Enterprise column. I opined there not only against the closure of Valley Oak, but gave a specific recommendation as to how it (and all other 8 public elementaries) could be kept open, given the budget picture.

    “Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts).”

    You’re entirely mistaken. I have not been ‘complicit’ with regards to its closure. I have strongly opposed it the entire time.

    You accuse me of wrongdoing simply because I don’t believe that the Board majority is racist or malevolent or some other synonym for evil. My view is people can disagree on politics and not have to accuse others of corruption of character.

    “I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem… This smacks of racism.”

    Did they teach logical inconsistency in graduate school?

  167. Rich Rifkin

    “Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism.”

    I’m not angry, though I am pale.

    “The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc.”

    You seem to not understand that we passed a bond in 2000 (called Measure K) to fund the construction of Montgomery, Korematsu and Harper. Maybe you were not living in Davis in 2000?

    You state that we are in ‘financial distress.’ However, that was not the case when the bond was approved and when the schools were constructed. The problem then was that our existing schools were bursting at the seems with too many kids. However, since 2000, we have had zero growth, a tripling of home prices and apparently a reduction in K-6 aged kids in Davis.

    “Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale?”

    Most likely, I assume, because the one member of the Board of Education who was the strongest backer of this idea, Marty West, is no longer on the Board. Also, understand that the State of California makes it very difficult for school districts to sell their real estate. Those state restrictions have been a severe hurdle in disposing of the Grande property.

    “Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere?”

    It is not always schools with high minority attendance. Rather, it is schools that are declining in attendance or thought to be declining in attendance. I know an elementary school in Palo Alto, in an upper-middle to rich neighborhood, that recently closed due to the lack of children in that neighborhood. PA did not close that school because the neighborhood kids were mostly white and Asian. They did so because there were too few kids.

    You point to San Francisco where, according to your SF Gate story, blacks are disproportionately being affected. Point well taken. However, this quote from your story is worth considering:

    “Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, the city’s first African American schools chief, said the schools on the list were the ones hemorrhaging students, so they’re the ones that should close.”

    The key words are ‘hemorrhaging students.’ That is, schools that are declining in attendance (or at least in the case of Davis, perceived to be declining) are being shuttered. I doubt that Ms. Ackerman wants to harm black children.

    “If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open?”

    I would favor that. However, there are apparently legal reasons why school districts cannot spend money made from selling facilities on ongoing expenses, as would be needed to keep Valley Oak open.

    “East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it.”

    It is? Where are the new homes in East Davis? To my knowledge, there have been no new homes built in East Davis in 20 years.

    At some point, maybe 5-6 years down the road, there will be homes built in the Cannery Park development (which is not in East Davis, but is in the VO attendance zone).

    “Actually, I don’t know what you oppose.”

    You should read my Enterprise column. I opined there not only against the closure of Valley Oak, but gave a specific recommendation as to how it (and all other 8 public elementaries) could be kept open, given the budget picture.

    “Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts).”

    You’re entirely mistaken. I have not been ‘complicit’ with regards to its closure. I have strongly opposed it the entire time.

    You accuse me of wrongdoing simply because I don’t believe that the Board majority is racist or malevolent or some other synonym for evil. My view is people can disagree on politics and not have to accuse others of corruption of character.

    “I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem… This smacks of racism.”

    Did they teach logical inconsistency in graduate school?

  168. Rich Rifkin

    “Your entire argument has the usual, arrogant “get-over-it” tone of sarcasm that angry white males often resort to as a defense mechanism when they are confronted with issues regarding racism.”

    I’m not angry, though I am pale.

    “The point I was making was that, in a school district that is claiming financial distress, why the decision to forge ahead with new construction in the first place, especially in consideration of the recent renovation of VO, the missed Montgomery opportunity, various consultants, etc.”

    You seem to not understand that we passed a bond in 2000 (called Measure K) to fund the construction of Montgomery, Korematsu and Harper. Maybe you were not living in Davis in 2000?

    You state that we are in ‘financial distress.’ However, that was not the case when the bond was approved and when the schools were constructed. The problem then was that our existing schools were bursting at the seems with too many kids. However, since 2000, we have had zero growth, a tripling of home prices and apparently a reduction in K-6 aged kids in Davis.

    “Why the inaction on the B Street property’s sale?”

    Most likely, I assume, because the one member of the Board of Education who was the strongest backer of this idea, Marty West, is no longer on the Board. Also, understand that the State of California makes it very difficult for school districts to sell their real estate. Those state restrictions have been a severe hurdle in disposing of the Grande property.

    “Why is it that schools with high minority attendance always suffer the most in these instances, and why is it those students are expected to be content with placement elsewhere?”

    It is not always schools with high minority attendance. Rather, it is schools that are declining in attendance or thought to be declining in attendance. I know an elementary school in Palo Alto, in an upper-middle to rich neighborhood, that recently closed due to the lack of children in that neighborhood. PA did not close that school because the neighborhood kids were mostly white and Asian. They did so because there were too few kids.

    You point to San Francisco where, according to your SF Gate story, blacks are disproportionately being affected. Point well taken. However, this quote from your story is worth considering:

    “Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, the city’s first African American schools chief, said the schools on the list were the ones hemorrhaging students, so they’re the ones that should close.”

    The key words are ‘hemorrhaging students.’ That is, schools that are declining in attendance (or at least in the case of Davis, perceived to be declining) are being shuttered. I doubt that Ms. Ackerman wants to harm black children.

    “If that is in fact the case then why not move the district offices, sell the B Street property and leave VO open?”

    I would favor that. However, there are apparently legal reasons why school districts cannot spend money made from selling facilities on ongoing expenses, as would be needed to keep Valley Oak open.

    “East Davis is growing fast enough to justify it.”

    It is? Where are the new homes in East Davis? To my knowledge, there have been no new homes built in East Davis in 20 years.

    At some point, maybe 5-6 years down the road, there will be homes built in the Cannery Park development (which is not in East Davis, but is in the VO attendance zone).

    “Actually, I don’t know what you oppose.”

    You should read my Enterprise column. I opined there not only against the closure of Valley Oak, but gave a specific recommendation as to how it (and all other 8 public elementaries) could be kept open, given the budget picture.

    “Your support of VO remaining open is certainly not readily apparent given your complicity w/regards to the its closure and its effects on the neighborhood it serves (as evidenced by your recent posts).”

    You’re entirely mistaken. I have not been ‘complicit’ with regards to its closure. I have strongly opposed it the entire time.

    You accuse me of wrongdoing simply because I don’t believe that the Board majority is racist or malevolent or some other synonym for evil. My view is people can disagree on politics and not have to accuse others of corruption of character.

    “I’m not saying they’re racist, I’m saying the decision was insensitive, and that it was emblematic of a greater problem… This smacks of racism.”

    Did they teach logical inconsistency in graduate school?

  169. WTF

    Dear “blog moderator” —

    Why is it that Rich Rifkin’s posts get deleted for using “profanity,” but when someone else uses profanity towards him, it stays? I’m not necessarily a fan of Mr. Rifkin’s opinions, but this sort of inconsistency just underlines how agenda-driven your “moderation” really is. Of course, I expect that this comment will get deleted…

  170. WTF

    Dear “blog moderator” —

    Why is it that Rich Rifkin’s posts get deleted for using “profanity,” but when someone else uses profanity towards him, it stays? I’m not necessarily a fan of Mr. Rifkin’s opinions, but this sort of inconsistency just underlines how agenda-driven your “moderation” really is. Of course, I expect that this comment will get deleted…

  171. WTF

    Dear “blog moderator” —

    Why is it that Rich Rifkin’s posts get deleted for using “profanity,” but when someone else uses profanity towards him, it stays? I’m not necessarily a fan of Mr. Rifkin’s opinions, but this sort of inconsistency just underlines how agenda-driven your “moderation” really is. Of course, I expect that this comment will get deleted…

  172. WTF

    Dear “blog moderator” —

    Why is it that Rich Rifkin’s posts get deleted for using “profanity,” but when someone else uses profanity towards him, it stays? I’m not necessarily a fan of Mr. Rifkin’s opinions, but this sort of inconsistency just underlines how agenda-driven your “moderation” really is. Of course, I expect that this comment will get deleted…

  173. oj

    Rich, you’re on a high horse. Let it go. Remember, it’s about the children, and your ego won’t allow you accept hard truths about the racial characteristics of the patterns of school closures statewide. Ackerman is under fire for racial insensitivity in SF too. The VO situation is no different…disadvantaged are bearing the brunt of burden, regardless of whose fault it is that money is supposedly short.

    As far a logical inconsistency goes, if you’re going to quote me, use the entire quote.

    I’ve said what I have to say, and can’t nurse this board to continue to refute your idiocy regarding racial insensitivity.

    Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…

  174. oj

    Rich, you’re on a high horse. Let it go. Remember, it’s about the children, and your ego won’t allow you accept hard truths about the racial characteristics of the patterns of school closures statewide. Ackerman is under fire for racial insensitivity in SF too. The VO situation is no different…disadvantaged are bearing the brunt of burden, regardless of whose fault it is that money is supposedly short.

    As far a logical inconsistency goes, if you’re going to quote me, use the entire quote.

    I’ve said what I have to say, and can’t nurse this board to continue to refute your idiocy regarding racial insensitivity.

    Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…

  175. oj

    Rich, you’re on a high horse. Let it go. Remember, it’s about the children, and your ego won’t allow you accept hard truths about the racial characteristics of the patterns of school closures statewide. Ackerman is under fire for racial insensitivity in SF too. The VO situation is no different…disadvantaged are bearing the brunt of burden, regardless of whose fault it is that money is supposedly short.

    As far a logical inconsistency goes, if you’re going to quote me, use the entire quote.

    I’ve said what I have to say, and can’t nurse this board to continue to refute your idiocy regarding racial insensitivity.

    Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…

  176. oj

    Rich, you’re on a high horse. Let it go. Remember, it’s about the children, and your ego won’t allow you accept hard truths about the racial characteristics of the patterns of school closures statewide. Ackerman is under fire for racial insensitivity in SF too. The VO situation is no different…disadvantaged are bearing the brunt of burden, regardless of whose fault it is that money is supposedly short.

    As far a logical inconsistency goes, if you’re going to quote me, use the entire quote.

    I’ve said what I have to say, and can’t nurse this board to continue to refute your idiocy regarding racial insensitivity.

    Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…

  177. Anonymous

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates. If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    Dear Baki,

    I would like to see the district use and need all 9 elementary schools, but where to you propose the pull the kids from to continue to have a good neighborhood program at VO? If Korematsu opens K-6, both VO and Birch Lane will be left with about ½ a neighborhood program (220-250 kids each). So how do you expect to redraw boundaries to pull more “neighborhood students”?

    VO can’t take students from BL, as Colleen Conelly suggests, because they will also need more students. Both BL and VO could “keep” more of the Korematsu kids with a new boundary, but that still won’t be enough. So both VO and BL will likely have to take kids from North, which will then have to take kids from Willet, which will have to take kids from Patwin.

    So it seems very contradictory to advocate for all 9 neighborhood schools, but that inorder to keep good program at VO and BL many kids would have to be removed from their neighborhood schools to make more go to VO and BL.

  178. Anonymous

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates. If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    Dear Baki,

    I would like to see the district use and need all 9 elementary schools, but where to you propose the pull the kids from to continue to have a good neighborhood program at VO? If Korematsu opens K-6, both VO and Birch Lane will be left with about ½ a neighborhood program (220-250 kids each). So how do you expect to redraw boundaries to pull more “neighborhood students”?

    VO can’t take students from BL, as Colleen Conelly suggests, because they will also need more students. Both BL and VO could “keep” more of the Korematsu kids with a new boundary, but that still won’t be enough. So both VO and BL will likely have to take kids from North, which will then have to take kids from Willet, which will have to take kids from Patwin.

    So it seems very contradictory to advocate for all 9 neighborhood schools, but that inorder to keep good program at VO and BL many kids would have to be removed from their neighborhood schools to make more go to VO and BL.

  179. Anonymous

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates. If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    Dear Baki,

    I would like to see the district use and need all 9 elementary schools, but where to you propose the pull the kids from to continue to have a good neighborhood program at VO? If Korematsu opens K-6, both VO and Birch Lane will be left with about ½ a neighborhood program (220-250 kids each). So how do you expect to redraw boundaries to pull more “neighborhood students”?

    VO can’t take students from BL, as Colleen Conelly suggests, because they will also need more students. Both BL and VO could “keep” more of the Korematsu kids with a new boundary, but that still won’t be enough. So both VO and BL will likely have to take kids from North, which will then have to take kids from Willet, which will have to take kids from Patwin.

    So it seems very contradictory to advocate for all 9 neighborhood schools, but that inorder to keep good program at VO and BL many kids would have to be removed from their neighborhood schools to make more go to VO and BL.

  180. Anonymous

    If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates. If the district re-drew the boundaries to let more students into Valley Oak, and not allow intra-district transfers, then you would not have the middle & upper-middle class parents flee VO for the fear of too many poor children. Besides there are still many middle class families living in the area with an active interest to keep the school open as the Davis OPEN membership demonstrates.

    Dear Baki,

    I would like to see the district use and need all 9 elementary schools, but where to you propose the pull the kids from to continue to have a good neighborhood program at VO? If Korematsu opens K-6, both VO and Birch Lane will be left with about ½ a neighborhood program (220-250 kids each). So how do you expect to redraw boundaries to pull more “neighborhood students”?

    VO can’t take students from BL, as Colleen Conelly suggests, because they will also need more students. Both BL and VO could “keep” more of the Korematsu kids with a new boundary, but that still won’t be enough. So both VO and BL will likely have to take kids from North, which will then have to take kids from Willet, which will have to take kids from Patwin.

    So it seems very contradictory to advocate for all 9 neighborhood schools, but that inorder to keep good program at VO and BL many kids would have to be removed from their neighborhood schools to make more go to VO and BL.

  181. Rich Rifkin

    “Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…”

    Amigo,

    Gracias por la información.

    Aunque no escribo español tan bien como inglés, más o menos la entiendo y hablo a la idioma. De hecho, yo vivía en Guadalajara, México, donde lo enseñaba inglés a estudiantes a la Universidad de Guadalajara por un año. Desventuradamente, mi facilidad con castellano ha decaído desde regresadó a Davis hace 13 años.

  182. Rich Rifkin

    “Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…”

    Amigo,

    Gracias por la información.

    Aunque no escribo español tan bien como inglés, más o menos la entiendo y hablo a la idioma. De hecho, yo vivía en Guadalajara, México, donde lo enseñaba inglés a estudiantes a la Universidad de Guadalajara por un año. Desventuradamente, mi facilidad con castellano ha decaído desde regresadó a Davis hace 13 años.

  183. Rich Rifkin

    “Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…”

    Amigo,

    Gracias por la información.

    Aunque no escribo español tan bien como inglés, más o menos la entiendo y hablo a la idioma. De hecho, yo vivía en Guadalajara, México, donde lo enseñaba inglés a estudiantes a la Universidad de Guadalajara por un año. Desventuradamente, mi facilidad con castellano ha decaído desde regresadó a Davis hace 13 años.

  184. Rich Rifkin

    “Adios (that means ‘goodbye’ in Spanish, fyi)…”

    Amigo,

    Gracias por la información.

    Aunque no escribo español tan bien como inglés, más o menos la entiendo y hablo a la idioma. De hecho, yo vivía en Guadalajara, México, donde lo enseñaba inglés a estudiantes a la Universidad de Guadalajara por un año. Desventuradamente, mi facilidad con castellano ha decaído desde regresadó a Davis hace 13 años.

  185. Brian in Davis

    One can only assume the school board took into consideration federal policy on environmental justice (Executive Order 12898, 1992). The policy is very clear that any entity accepting federal funding, school districts included, must ensure that low income and minority students do not bear disproportionate and adverse impacts from decisions that are made, regardless of intent. Conceivably, it is on these grounds that the ACLU may become involved.

  186. Brian in Davis

    One can only assume the school board took into consideration federal policy on environmental justice (Executive Order 12898, 1992). The policy is very clear that any entity accepting federal funding, school districts included, must ensure that low income and minority students do not bear disproportionate and adverse impacts from decisions that are made, regardless of intent. Conceivably, it is on these grounds that the ACLU may become involved.

  187. Brian in Davis

    One can only assume the school board took into consideration federal policy on environmental justice (Executive Order 12898, 1992). The policy is very clear that any entity accepting federal funding, school districts included, must ensure that low income and minority students do not bear disproportionate and adverse impacts from decisions that are made, regardless of intent. Conceivably, it is on these grounds that the ACLU may become involved.

  188. Brian in Davis

    One can only assume the school board took into consideration federal policy on environmental justice (Executive Order 12898, 1992). The policy is very clear that any entity accepting federal funding, school districts included, must ensure that low income and minority students do not bear disproportionate and adverse impacts from decisions that are made, regardless of intent. Conceivably, it is on these grounds that the ACLU may become involved.

  189. natalie

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 pertains primarily to environmental laws and adverse environmental impacts that would occur as a result of federal undertakings (i.e. federal expenditure and/or licensing). Or at least that is the way I read the EO. (I am by no means an expert and am curious if I’m reading this incorrectly.)

  190. natalie

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 pertains primarily to environmental laws and adverse environmental impacts that would occur as a result of federal undertakings (i.e. federal expenditure and/or licensing). Or at least that is the way I read the EO. (I am by no means an expert and am curious if I’m reading this incorrectly.)

  191. natalie

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 pertains primarily to environmental laws and adverse environmental impacts that would occur as a result of federal undertakings (i.e. federal expenditure and/or licensing). Or at least that is the way I read the EO. (I am by no means an expert and am curious if I’m reading this incorrectly.)

  192. natalie

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 pertains primarily to environmental laws and adverse environmental impacts that would occur as a result of federal undertakings (i.e. federal expenditure and/or licensing). Or at least that is the way I read the EO. (I am by no means an expert and am curious if I’m reading this incorrectly.)

  193. Brian in Davis

    Natalie,

    EJ is more broad than your description, more specifically. An exerpt of the main text reads, “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States…”

    But after further research, I discovered it does not apply to the U.S. Department of Education.

  194. Brian in Davis

    Natalie,

    EJ is more broad than your description, more specifically. An exerpt of the main text reads, “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States…”

    But after further research, I discovered it does not apply to the U.S. Department of Education.

  195. Brian in Davis

    Natalie,

    EJ is more broad than your description, more specifically. An exerpt of the main text reads, “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States…”

    But after further research, I discovered it does not apply to the U.S. Department of Education.

  196. Brian in Davis

    Natalie,

    EJ is more broad than your description, more specifically. An exerpt of the main text reads, “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States…”

    But after further research, I discovered it does not apply to the U.S. Department of Education.

  197. Joseph

    Who is this anonymous that refuses to see the injustice here? I say that he should identify himself for who he is: a person who wouldn’t know racism and classism if he tripped over it in broad daylight.

  198. Joseph

    Who is this anonymous that refuses to see the injustice here? I say that he should identify himself for who he is: a person who wouldn’t know racism and classism if he tripped over it in broad daylight.

  199. Joseph

    Who is this anonymous that refuses to see the injustice here? I say that he should identify himself for who he is: a person who wouldn’t know racism and classism if he tripped over it in broad daylight.

  200. Joseph

    Who is this anonymous that refuses to see the injustice here? I say that he should identify himself for who he is: a person who wouldn’t know racism and classism if he tripped over it in broad daylight.

  201. Bill Storm

    To Colleen:

    I tried to access the CDE website for sites edging toward Program improvement so you could see for yourself [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidatafiles.asp ], but the databases are offline for some reason. Instead, I posted pertinent STAR test data on the valleyoak.wordpress.com blog, with links to STAR data. The trend in the STAR is even scarier than the PI sites. VO is the only school in the district that improves the performance of the Economically Disadvantaged subgroup. Does anyone care that VO knows what they’re doing, and they seem to keep on doing it despite district neglect?

  202. Bill Storm

    To Colleen:

    I tried to access the CDE website for sites edging toward Program improvement so you could see for yourself [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidatafiles.asp ], but the databases are offline for some reason. Instead, I posted pertinent STAR test data on the valleyoak.wordpress.com blog, with links to STAR data. The trend in the STAR is even scarier than the PI sites. VO is the only school in the district that improves the performance of the Economically Disadvantaged subgroup. Does anyone care that VO knows what they’re doing, and they seem to keep on doing it despite district neglect?

  203. Bill Storm

    To Colleen:

    I tried to access the CDE website for sites edging toward Program improvement so you could see for yourself [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidatafiles.asp ], but the databases are offline for some reason. Instead, I posted pertinent STAR test data on the valleyoak.wordpress.com blog, with links to STAR data. The trend in the STAR is even scarier than the PI sites. VO is the only school in the district that improves the performance of the Economically Disadvantaged subgroup. Does anyone care that VO knows what they’re doing, and they seem to keep on doing it despite district neglect?

  204. Bill Storm

    To Colleen:

    I tried to access the CDE website for sites edging toward Program improvement so you could see for yourself [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidatafiles.asp ], but the databases are offline for some reason. Instead, I posted pertinent STAR test data on the valleyoak.wordpress.com blog, with links to STAR data. The trend in the STAR is even scarier than the PI sites. VO is the only school in the district that improves the performance of the Economically Disadvantaged subgroup. Does anyone care that VO knows what they’re doing, and they seem to keep on doing it despite district neglect?

  205. tansey thomas

    Nicole, your Open Letter has really generated a hot dialog – 58 comments and still going! This is so informative and revealing for me. Good job. I am also gaining some insights from Rich Rifkin, imagine.

  206. tansey thomas

    Nicole, your Open Letter has really generated a hot dialog – 58 comments and still going! This is so informative and revealing for me. Good job. I am also gaining some insights from Rich Rifkin, imagine.

  207. tansey thomas

    Nicole, your Open Letter has really generated a hot dialog – 58 comments and still going! This is so informative and revealing for me. Good job. I am also gaining some insights from Rich Rifkin, imagine.

  208. tansey thomas

    Nicole, your Open Letter has really generated a hot dialog – 58 comments and still going! This is so informative and revealing for me. Good job. I am also gaining some insights from Rich Rifkin, imagine.

  209. Doug Paul Davis

    Good point Tansey. This is comment No.60, the most of any topic on this blog and one of the few times I can remember that four days after a topic has been initially posted it has generated this kind of continued discussion.

  210. Doug Paul Davis

    Good point Tansey. This is comment No.60, the most of any topic on this blog and one of the few times I can remember that four days after a topic has been initially posted it has generated this kind of continued discussion.

  211. Doug Paul Davis

    Good point Tansey. This is comment No.60, the most of any topic on this blog and one of the few times I can remember that four days after a topic has been initially posted it has generated this kind of continued discussion.

  212. Doug Paul Davis

    Good point Tansey. This is comment No.60, the most of any topic on this blog and one of the few times I can remember that four days after a topic has been initially posted it has generated this kind of continued discussion.

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