Confusion and Misunderstanding at Root of Thursday’s School Board Meeting Complaints

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Many proponents of the Valley Oak Charter school were stunned last Thursday, when a group of Spanish-speaking families spoke before public comment at the Davis school board meeting and leveled criticism at the proponents of the proposed charter school perceiving that they had misrepresented and twisted their intentions.

Maria Cabrera, who works at Valley Oak, spoke on behalf of many of the Spanish-speaking families and accused charter proponents of twisting their words for political reasons.

The Vanguard has looked into the allegations by Maria Cabrera and now has an understanding where these complaints come from. However, there is little evidence that the Valley Oak charter proponents made any attempt whatsoever to intentionally deceive Spanish-speaking families. It is our belief that there was miscommunication along the way that fed into this problem, but also at the core an overreaction.

At the core of the complaint was a letter that was sent to the district a few weeks ago. It was a letter that complained that they felt left out of the Valley Oak closure process from the beginning starting with the “Best Use of Schools Task Force.” This letter was picked up by newly elected school board member Richard Harris, who criticized it, suggesting at the time that no one had respected the community more than new Superintendent James Hammond. But Harris missed the point of the letter.

However, so did apparently Charter Proponents, who it seems felt that the letter was a pro-charter letter. However, it seems it was more basic than that. Asking for the chance to speak directly for themselves, they want choice of placement for their families and they want to be respected.

They became angry when the letter was tied to the charter issue since it was not. Maria Cabrera suggested that they were being used as political pawns by the Charter Proponents and that just because they spoke Spanish, did not mean they were stupid.

To me, I can understand some frustration here on the part of the families, but the level of response seems more than a bit disproportionate to the offense.

Adding to this incident was the leaflet sent out by the charter proponents to invite members of the community to a meeting a week ago Saturday in support of the charter but also to give out information in English and Spanish about the Charter.

Apparently Maria Cabrera and some of the families felt the leaflet was misleading. The translation from English to Spanish was admittedly not perfect. There is no perfect translation of “Charter” that conveys the actual meaning in English into “Spanish.” So if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.

However, reading the full leaflet in Spanish, it mentions “Charter” repeatedly even if it does not in the “headline.” From our perspective anyone who read the Spanish version would see the word “charter” in italics used over and over again. If there was confusion it would seem reasonable to approach the proponents and explain the problem instead of criticizing and blasting them in front of the school board. It is clear from reading the two versions, which readers can see by clicking the link below that there is no clear intent to deceive.

To see the leaflet, click here (my apologies I was only given a blue version)

In my conversations with both charter proponents and district staff alike including board member Sheila Allen and Pam Mari, that is really at the core of my concern–why simple misunderstandings were blown into some sort of large and angry conflict such as the one that arose on Thursday. This remains a point of concern for me.

The suggestion was that there was some kind of history here between the two sides, I do not know what that is exactly.

Finally I am concerned by reports from some of the organizers for the charter school that families were under the impression that a charter school was not a public school and would require tuition. And this was not an isolated belief. Someone had to be spreading that rumor around, I do not know who did though.

The bottom line here is that emotions and tensions were very high on Thursday and I’m not exactly sure even now why that was the case. I see no evidence that the charter proponents were intentionally attempting to mislead Spanish-speaking families, in fact all I have seen is evidence of respect for these families with Spanish-translations and a bilingual presentation on Saturday night. All of this appears to be a misunderstanding blown out of proportions.

In speaking with several of the families on Thursday in Spanish, my wife Cecilia and I, were told that they want to send their children to Valley Oak and to the Charter School. In fact, many of the families who spoke out on Thursday were actually wearing Valley Oak Charter buttons. For their perspective they want to be heard, they want to be respected, and they want to choose where they send their children to school. Who can argue with that.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

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

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84 thoughts on “Confusion and Misunderstanding at Root of Thursday’s School Board Meeting Complaints”

  1. School Board observer

    Richard Harris may be well-suited as a columnist for the Enterprise where his self-absorbed arrogance and provocateur-style is lapped up by his cynical and angry readers. As a DJUSD Board member, he looks like a disaster. Newly elected Board member Lovenburg’s obvious arrogance and paternalism is also very disconcerting to witness. Superintendent Hammond appears saddled with the most dysfunctional DJUSD School Board that any of us has seen in quite some time.

  2. School Board observer

    Richard Harris may be well-suited as a columnist for the Enterprise where his self-absorbed arrogance and provocateur-style is lapped up by his cynical and angry readers. As a DJUSD Board member, he looks like a disaster. Newly elected Board member Lovenburg’s obvious arrogance and paternalism is also very disconcerting to witness. Superintendent Hammond appears saddled with the most dysfunctional DJUSD School Board that any of us has seen in quite some time.

  3. School Board observer

    Richard Harris may be well-suited as a columnist for the Enterprise where his self-absorbed arrogance and provocateur-style is lapped up by his cynical and angry readers. As a DJUSD Board member, he looks like a disaster. Newly elected Board member Lovenburg’s obvious arrogance and paternalism is also very disconcerting to witness. Superintendent Hammond appears saddled with the most dysfunctional DJUSD School Board that any of us has seen in quite some time.

  4. School Board observer

    Richard Harris may be well-suited as a columnist for the Enterprise where his self-absorbed arrogance and provocateur-style is lapped up by his cynical and angry readers. As a DJUSD Board member, he looks like a disaster. Newly elected Board member Lovenburg’s obvious arrogance and paternalism is also very disconcerting to witness. Superintendent Hammond appears saddled with the most dysfunctional DJUSD School Board that any of us has seen in quite some time.

  5. davisite

    DPD… you are being a bit TOO “diplomatic” here. The School Board have done everything in their legal power, and MORE, to sabotage the Charter effort; their minions were obviously out in full force to fan the flames of this minor translation issue.

  6. davisite

    DPD… you are being a bit TOO “diplomatic” here. The School Board have done everything in their legal power, and MORE, to sabotage the Charter effort; their minions were obviously out in full force to fan the flames of this minor translation issue.

  7. davisite

    DPD… you are being a bit TOO “diplomatic” here. The School Board have done everything in their legal power, and MORE, to sabotage the Charter effort; their minions were obviously out in full force to fan the flames of this minor translation issue.

  8. davisite

    DPD… you are being a bit TOO “diplomatic” here. The School Board have done everything in their legal power, and MORE, to sabotage the Charter effort; their minions were obviously out in full force to fan the flames of this minor translation issue.

  9. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I guess there’s a first time for everything. However from my perspective after talking to Sheila Allen this morning, who has been a very strong advocate for Valley Oak, I think this is an accurate reflection of what happened.

  10. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I guess there’s a first time for everything. However from my perspective after talking to Sheila Allen this morning, who has been a very strong advocate for Valley Oak, I think this is an accurate reflection of what happened.

  11. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I guess there’s a first time for everything. However from my perspective after talking to Sheila Allen this morning, who has been a very strong advocate for Valley Oak, I think this is an accurate reflection of what happened.

  12. Doug Paul Davis

    Well I guess there’s a first time for everything. However from my perspective after talking to Sheila Allen this morning, who has been a very strong advocate for Valley Oak, I think this is an accurate reflection of what happened.

  13. Christine

    These kinds of misunderstandings are bound to happen, but the reason it got ‘blown up’ and accusations started flying is because the Board is opposed to Valley Oak becoming a Charter School. They are not open to ways to make it work and are the established opponents of pro charter parents. The hostility is constant and therefore there is no trust. Each side regards the other with suspicion and expects them to behave badly. They are bitter enemies.

    That is why something that would be accepted as a misunderstanding between parties who bear good will toward one another becomes a deliberate and malicious plot when there is a lack of trust on both sides.

    I’ve lived in Davis for 30 years and seen this kind of behavior over and over again. But I suspect it is just plain old human nature and not unique to Davis at all.

  14. Christine

    These kinds of misunderstandings are bound to happen, but the reason it got ‘blown up’ and accusations started flying is because the Board is opposed to Valley Oak becoming a Charter School. They are not open to ways to make it work and are the established opponents of pro charter parents. The hostility is constant and therefore there is no trust. Each side regards the other with suspicion and expects them to behave badly. They are bitter enemies.

    That is why something that would be accepted as a misunderstanding between parties who bear good will toward one another becomes a deliberate and malicious plot when there is a lack of trust on both sides.

    I’ve lived in Davis for 30 years and seen this kind of behavior over and over again. But I suspect it is just plain old human nature and not unique to Davis at all.

  15. Christine

    These kinds of misunderstandings are bound to happen, but the reason it got ‘blown up’ and accusations started flying is because the Board is opposed to Valley Oak becoming a Charter School. They are not open to ways to make it work and are the established opponents of pro charter parents. The hostility is constant and therefore there is no trust. Each side regards the other with suspicion and expects them to behave badly. They are bitter enemies.

    That is why something that would be accepted as a misunderstanding between parties who bear good will toward one another becomes a deliberate and malicious plot when there is a lack of trust on both sides.

    I’ve lived in Davis for 30 years and seen this kind of behavior over and over again. But I suspect it is just plain old human nature and not unique to Davis at all.

  16. Christine

    These kinds of misunderstandings are bound to happen, but the reason it got ‘blown up’ and accusations started flying is because the Board is opposed to Valley Oak becoming a Charter School. They are not open to ways to make it work and are the established opponents of pro charter parents. The hostility is constant and therefore there is no trust. Each side regards the other with suspicion and expects them to behave badly. They are bitter enemies.

    That is why something that would be accepted as a misunderstanding between parties who bear good will toward one another becomes a deliberate and malicious plot when there is a lack of trust on both sides.

    I’ve lived in Davis for 30 years and seen this kind of behavior over and over again. But I suspect it is just plain old human nature and not unique to Davis at all.

  17. Anonymous

    I’m confused by a couple of things. Is the charter school proposal being presented because a “charter school” has some special value on its own or is it being proposed because it would prevent a school closure?

    Looking at the larger picture, the district is facing a
    $4 million budget deficit and that means the closure of at least two more schools. How will people react to that? It seems like there is a heroic effort to contain one small fire but if people turn around they will see a much larger fire on the horizon. Why is there no discussion about that?

  18. Anonymous

    I’m confused by a couple of things. Is the charter school proposal being presented because a “charter school” has some special value on its own or is it being proposed because it would prevent a school closure?

    Looking at the larger picture, the district is facing a
    $4 million budget deficit and that means the closure of at least two more schools. How will people react to that? It seems like there is a heroic effort to contain one small fire but if people turn around they will see a much larger fire on the horizon. Why is there no discussion about that?

  19. Anonymous

    I’m confused by a couple of things. Is the charter school proposal being presented because a “charter school” has some special value on its own or is it being proposed because it would prevent a school closure?

    Looking at the larger picture, the district is facing a
    $4 million budget deficit and that means the closure of at least two more schools. How will people react to that? It seems like there is a heroic effort to contain one small fire but if people turn around they will see a much larger fire on the horizon. Why is there no discussion about that?

  20. Anonymous

    I’m confused by a couple of things. Is the charter school proposal being presented because a “charter school” has some special value on its own or is it being proposed because it would prevent a school closure?

    Looking at the larger picture, the district is facing a
    $4 million budget deficit and that means the closure of at least two more schools. How will people react to that? It seems like there is a heroic effort to contain one small fire but if people turn around they will see a much larger fire on the horizon. Why is there no discussion about that?

  21. Rich Rifkin

    “Apparently Maria Cabrera and some of the families felt the leaflet was misleading. The translation from English to Spanish was admittedly not perfect. There is no perfect translation of “Charter” that conveys the actual meaning in English into “Spanish.” So if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.”

    Aunque no soy perfectamente bilingüe, pienso que la mejor traducción de “charter school” era “independiente escuela pública” o “escuela pública independiente.”

  22. Rich Rifkin

    “Apparently Maria Cabrera and some of the families felt the leaflet was misleading. The translation from English to Spanish was admittedly not perfect. There is no perfect translation of “Charter” that conveys the actual meaning in English into “Spanish.” So if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.”

    Aunque no soy perfectamente bilingüe, pienso que la mejor traducción de “charter school” era “independiente escuela pública” o “escuela pública independiente.”

  23. Rich Rifkin

    “Apparently Maria Cabrera and some of the families felt the leaflet was misleading. The translation from English to Spanish was admittedly not perfect. There is no perfect translation of “Charter” that conveys the actual meaning in English into “Spanish.” So if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.”

    Aunque no soy perfectamente bilingüe, pienso que la mejor traducción de “charter school” era “independiente escuela pública” o “escuela pública independiente.”

  24. Rich Rifkin

    “Apparently Maria Cabrera and some of the families felt the leaflet was misleading. The translation from English to Spanish was admittedly not perfect. There is no perfect translation of “Charter” that conveys the actual meaning in English into “Spanish.” So if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.”

    Aunque no soy perfectamente bilingüe, pienso que la mejor traducción de “charter school” era “independiente escuela pública” o “escuela pública independiente.”

  25. campaign watcher

    I find it suspect that the Spanish speaking parents have not figured out that there is a push to create a charter school or that they wouldn’t understand that the flyer was about the charter school. If there is confusion about what a charter is after all of the effort that has taken place, then Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea. The school has already been voted on to close and students have been notified which school they will go to next year.

    If the parents want to stay at Valley Oak, Maria should be helping them understand that option, rather than grandstanding at the School Board meeting.

    I’m sure that there is a bilingual parent or community member that could better help these parents understand possible options for their children.

  26. campaign watcher

    I find it suspect that the Spanish speaking parents have not figured out that there is a push to create a charter school or that they wouldn’t understand that the flyer was about the charter school. If there is confusion about what a charter is after all of the effort that has taken place, then Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea. The school has already been voted on to close and students have been notified which school they will go to next year.

    If the parents want to stay at Valley Oak, Maria should be helping them understand that option, rather than grandstanding at the School Board meeting.

    I’m sure that there is a bilingual parent or community member that could better help these parents understand possible options for their children.

  27. campaign watcher

    I find it suspect that the Spanish speaking parents have not figured out that there is a push to create a charter school or that they wouldn’t understand that the flyer was about the charter school. If there is confusion about what a charter is after all of the effort that has taken place, then Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea. The school has already been voted on to close and students have been notified which school they will go to next year.

    If the parents want to stay at Valley Oak, Maria should be helping them understand that option, rather than grandstanding at the School Board meeting.

    I’m sure that there is a bilingual parent or community member that could better help these parents understand possible options for their children.

  28. campaign watcher

    I find it suspect that the Spanish speaking parents have not figured out that there is a push to create a charter school or that they wouldn’t understand that the flyer was about the charter school. If there is confusion about what a charter is after all of the effort that has taken place, then Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea. The school has already been voted on to close and students have been notified which school they will go to next year.

    If the parents want to stay at Valley Oak, Maria should be helping them understand that option, rather than grandstanding at the School Board meeting.

    I’m sure that there is a bilingual parent or community member that could better help these parents understand possible options for their children.

  29. Anonymous

    Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea.

    These parents know and trust Maria, who has been serving many Spanish-speaking children. Some commenters seem to feel that established working relationship is meaningless.

    The immediate assumption from some here is apparently that these families don’t know what they want because they have been duped by a renegade district employee, rather than that they are smart enough to know what they want, and it may differ from what people assume they want.

  30. Anonymous

    Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea.

    These parents know and trust Maria, who has been serving many Spanish-speaking children. Some commenters seem to feel that established working relationship is meaningless.

    The immediate assumption from some here is apparently that these families don’t know what they want because they have been duped by a renegade district employee, rather than that they are smart enough to know what they want, and it may differ from what people assume they want.

  31. Anonymous

    Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea.

    These parents know and trust Maria, who has been serving many Spanish-speaking children. Some commenters seem to feel that established working relationship is meaningless.

    The immediate assumption from some here is apparently that these families don’t know what they want because they have been duped by a renegade district employee, rather than that they are smart enough to know what they want, and it may differ from what people assume they want.

  32. Anonymous

    Maria Cabrera seems to be doing a piss poor job of helping these parents. I don’t know what she thought the School Board could do with her concerns now at this late date and they have rejected the Charter school idea.

    These parents know and trust Maria, who has been serving many Spanish-speaking children. Some commenters seem to feel that established working relationship is meaningless.

    The immediate assumption from some here is apparently that these families don’t know what they want because they have been duped by a renegade district employee, rather than that they are smart enough to know what they want, and it may differ from what people assume they want.

  33. My View

    It appeared to me that Maria was more interested in protecting her reputation than in representing the parents. She kept insisting she had not been spreading disinformation about the charter school. Yet I don’t remember anyone stating specifically that she had. Guilty conscience bothering her? It looked as if she had gathered a bunch of her friends together to march down to Community Chambers to keep her reputation intact.

    As to a previous comment concerning the bigger financial problems in the school district, a movement to start charter schools in Davis just might be the answer. If our dysfunctional School Board can’t handle taxpayer dollars, then lets give parents and teachers a crack at it. If more schools are slated for closure, let them become charter schools too. I can almost bet you my bottom dollar a charter school will handle funding better than the School Board ever has. The corruption in the school district is rampant and disgusting.

  34. My View

    It appeared to me that Maria was more interested in protecting her reputation than in representing the parents. She kept insisting she had not been spreading disinformation about the charter school. Yet I don’t remember anyone stating specifically that she had. Guilty conscience bothering her? It looked as if she had gathered a bunch of her friends together to march down to Community Chambers to keep her reputation intact.

    As to a previous comment concerning the bigger financial problems in the school district, a movement to start charter schools in Davis just might be the answer. If our dysfunctional School Board can’t handle taxpayer dollars, then lets give parents and teachers a crack at it. If more schools are slated for closure, let them become charter schools too. I can almost bet you my bottom dollar a charter school will handle funding better than the School Board ever has. The corruption in the school district is rampant and disgusting.

  35. My View

    It appeared to me that Maria was more interested in protecting her reputation than in representing the parents. She kept insisting she had not been spreading disinformation about the charter school. Yet I don’t remember anyone stating specifically that she had. Guilty conscience bothering her? It looked as if she had gathered a bunch of her friends together to march down to Community Chambers to keep her reputation intact.

    As to a previous comment concerning the bigger financial problems in the school district, a movement to start charter schools in Davis just might be the answer. If our dysfunctional School Board can’t handle taxpayer dollars, then lets give parents and teachers a crack at it. If more schools are slated for closure, let them become charter schools too. I can almost bet you my bottom dollar a charter school will handle funding better than the School Board ever has. The corruption in the school district is rampant and disgusting.

  36. My View

    It appeared to me that Maria was more interested in protecting her reputation than in representing the parents. She kept insisting she had not been spreading disinformation about the charter school. Yet I don’t remember anyone stating specifically that she had. Guilty conscience bothering her? It looked as if she had gathered a bunch of her friends together to march down to Community Chambers to keep her reputation intact.

    As to a previous comment concerning the bigger financial problems in the school district, a movement to start charter schools in Davis just might be the answer. If our dysfunctional School Board can’t handle taxpayer dollars, then lets give parents and teachers a crack at it. If more schools are slated for closure, let them become charter schools too. I can almost bet you my bottom dollar a charter school will handle funding better than the School Board ever has. The corruption in the school district is rampant and disgusting.

  37. campaign watcher

    I never said that Maria was a renegade district employee. I just believe that there might be a better person to work with the Spanish-speaking parents – someone who can explain what is happening to the parents, their choices and options, and would be a better liaison to the Charter proponents and the school board and a better advocate for them.

    For all sides to be surprised by her statements at the school board meeting indicates that she has not been doing a very good job at this. It is too important for these families to waste time bringing Maria up to date on where the Charter school/school closure is in the process so she can adequately keep the families informed and there is no time to educate Maria on how to effectively advocate for these parents, if that is the role she has decided to take on. There is truth in what she says about the parents not being stupid. There is a language barrier that has to be overcome – that is all.

  38. campaign watcher

    I never said that Maria was a renegade district employee. I just believe that there might be a better person to work with the Spanish-speaking parents – someone who can explain what is happening to the parents, their choices and options, and would be a better liaison to the Charter proponents and the school board and a better advocate for them.

    For all sides to be surprised by her statements at the school board meeting indicates that she has not been doing a very good job at this. It is too important for these families to waste time bringing Maria up to date on where the Charter school/school closure is in the process so she can adequately keep the families informed and there is no time to educate Maria on how to effectively advocate for these parents, if that is the role she has decided to take on. There is truth in what she says about the parents not being stupid. There is a language barrier that has to be overcome – that is all.

  39. campaign watcher

    I never said that Maria was a renegade district employee. I just believe that there might be a better person to work with the Spanish-speaking parents – someone who can explain what is happening to the parents, their choices and options, and would be a better liaison to the Charter proponents and the school board and a better advocate for them.

    For all sides to be surprised by her statements at the school board meeting indicates that she has not been doing a very good job at this. It is too important for these families to waste time bringing Maria up to date on where the Charter school/school closure is in the process so she can adequately keep the families informed and there is no time to educate Maria on how to effectively advocate for these parents, if that is the role she has decided to take on. There is truth in what she says about the parents not being stupid. There is a language barrier that has to be overcome – that is all.

  40. campaign watcher

    I never said that Maria was a renegade district employee. I just believe that there might be a better person to work with the Spanish-speaking parents – someone who can explain what is happening to the parents, their choices and options, and would be a better liaison to the Charter proponents and the school board and a better advocate for them.

    For all sides to be surprised by her statements at the school board meeting indicates that she has not been doing a very good job at this. It is too important for these families to waste time bringing Maria up to date on where the Charter school/school closure is in the process so she can adequately keep the families informed and there is no time to educate Maria on how to effectively advocate for these parents, if that is the role she has decided to take on. There is truth in what she says about the parents not being stupid. There is a language barrier that has to be overcome – that is all.

  41. Anonymous

    The front page post reads: ‘…if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.’

    I just looked at the blue sheet in PDF on the front page and it seems to me the confusion is in the original English version.

    Near the top it states:
    “…Charter school organizers need to hear whether the neighborhood and the community still want their neighborhood school.”

    This implies that the question is whether the community wants the neighborhood school to close. This is not an accurate reflection of the current situation. The neighborhood school IS closing.

    The question is not whether the neighborhood wants its neighborhood school, but whether it wants Valley Oak Charter School. They are not identical.

  42. Anonymous

    The front page post reads: ‘…if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.’

    I just looked at the blue sheet in PDF on the front page and it seems to me the confusion is in the original English version.

    Near the top it states:
    “…Charter school organizers need to hear whether the neighborhood and the community still want their neighborhood school.”

    This implies that the question is whether the community wants the neighborhood school to close. This is not an accurate reflection of the current situation. The neighborhood school IS closing.

    The question is not whether the neighborhood wants its neighborhood school, but whether it wants Valley Oak Charter School. They are not identical.

  43. Anonymous

    The front page post reads: ‘…if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.’

    I just looked at the blue sheet in PDF on the front page and it seems to me the confusion is in the original English version.

    Near the top it states:
    “…Charter school organizers need to hear whether the neighborhood and the community still want their neighborhood school.”

    This implies that the question is whether the community wants the neighborhood school to close. This is not an accurate reflection of the current situation. The neighborhood school IS closing.

    The question is not whether the neighborhood wants its neighborhood school, but whether it wants Valley Oak Charter School. They are not identical.

  44. Anonymous

    The front page post reads: ‘…if the English version said “support the charter” and the Spanish translation said “Support the community school” there might have been some confusion.’

    I just looked at the blue sheet in PDF on the front page and it seems to me the confusion is in the original English version.

    Near the top it states:
    “…Charter school organizers need to hear whether the neighborhood and the community still want their neighborhood school.”

    This implies that the question is whether the community wants the neighborhood school to close. This is not an accurate reflection of the current situation. The neighborhood school IS closing.

    The question is not whether the neighborhood wants its neighborhood school, but whether it wants Valley Oak Charter School. They are not identical.

  45. Anonymous

    Yes, but starting the charter is NOT the same as keeping the old neighborhood school. It’s a different structure, different program (supposedly with a tech emphasis; no GATE, etc.), possibly different administrator. Different school.

  46. Anonymous

    Yes, but starting the charter is NOT the same as keeping the old neighborhood school. It’s a different structure, different program (supposedly with a tech emphasis; no GATE, etc.), possibly different administrator. Different school.

  47. Anonymous

    Yes, but starting the charter is NOT the same as keeping the old neighborhood school. It’s a different structure, different program (supposedly with a tech emphasis; no GATE, etc.), possibly different administrator. Different school.

  48. Anonymous

    Yes, but starting the charter is NOT the same as keeping the old neighborhood school. It’s a different structure, different program (supposedly with a tech emphasis; no GATE, etc.), possibly different administrator. Different school.

  49. Doug Paul Davis

    This very debate in English points out exactly the problems that might occur when you translate into Spanish. We cannot even agree how to describe the school in English so that it accurately conveys what the future school will embody.

  50. Doug Paul Davis

    This very debate in English points out exactly the problems that might occur when you translate into Spanish. We cannot even agree how to describe the school in English so that it accurately conveys what the future school will embody.

  51. Doug Paul Davis

    This very debate in English points out exactly the problems that might occur when you translate into Spanish. We cannot even agree how to describe the school in English so that it accurately conveys what the future school will embody.

  52. Doug Paul Davis

    This very debate in English points out exactly the problems that might occur when you translate into Spanish. We cannot even agree how to describe the school in English so that it accurately conveys what the future school will embody.

  53. Anonymous

    What a tortured attempt by the Charter School opponents to “muddy the waters”! It’s really crystal clear, in English OR Spanish. The VO Charter School WILL be a neighborhood school, the VO neighborhood kids get first priority as stipulated in the
    Charter. The core of great teachers plan to stay at VO Charter, their great programs will continue. If the VO parents WANT their “neighborhood” school, signing up for VO Charter School is a no-brainer.. worst case scenerio if after a year, they are unhappy(highly unlikely), then sign up for the Distict.

  54. Anonymous

    What a tortured attempt by the Charter School opponents to “muddy the waters”! It’s really crystal clear, in English OR Spanish. The VO Charter School WILL be a neighborhood school, the VO neighborhood kids get first priority as stipulated in the
    Charter. The core of great teachers plan to stay at VO Charter, their great programs will continue. If the VO parents WANT their “neighborhood” school, signing up for VO Charter School is a no-brainer.. worst case scenerio if after a year, they are unhappy(highly unlikely), then sign up for the Distict.

  55. Anonymous

    What a tortured attempt by the Charter School opponents to “muddy the waters”! It’s really crystal clear, in English OR Spanish. The VO Charter School WILL be a neighborhood school, the VO neighborhood kids get first priority as stipulated in the
    Charter. The core of great teachers plan to stay at VO Charter, their great programs will continue. If the VO parents WANT their “neighborhood” school, signing up for VO Charter School is a no-brainer.. worst case scenerio if after a year, they are unhappy(highly unlikely), then sign up for the Distict.

  56. Anonymous

    What a tortured attempt by the Charter School opponents to “muddy the waters”! It’s really crystal clear, in English OR Spanish. The VO Charter School WILL be a neighborhood school, the VO neighborhood kids get first priority as stipulated in the
    Charter. The core of great teachers plan to stay at VO Charter, their great programs will continue. If the VO parents WANT their “neighborhood” school, signing up for VO Charter School is a no-brainer.. worst case scenerio if after a year, they are unhappy(highly unlikely), then sign up for the Distict.

  57. sc

    Richard Harris dismisses the EL parents assertion that they had not been included from the beginning. Remeber when Davis Murphy and school board members dismissed stories of racial discrimination and insensitivity? If the problem doesn’t exist, you don’t have to do anything about it. And you disrespect the people who have been hurt and insulted. So despite all that work by the community and establishment of the school climate committees, we haven’t come very far after all, folks. Both Harris and Lovenburg are a major step back.

  58. sc

    Richard Harris dismisses the EL parents assertion that they had not been included from the beginning. Remeber when Davis Murphy and school board members dismissed stories of racial discrimination and insensitivity? If the problem doesn’t exist, you don’t have to do anything about it. And you disrespect the people who have been hurt and insulted. So despite all that work by the community and establishment of the school climate committees, we haven’t come very far after all, folks. Both Harris and Lovenburg are a major step back.

  59. sc

    Richard Harris dismisses the EL parents assertion that they had not been included from the beginning. Remeber when Davis Murphy and school board members dismissed stories of racial discrimination and insensitivity? If the problem doesn’t exist, you don’t have to do anything about it. And you disrespect the people who have been hurt and insulted. So despite all that work by the community and establishment of the school climate committees, we haven’t come very far after all, folks. Both Harris and Lovenburg are a major step back.

  60. sc

    Richard Harris dismisses the EL parents assertion that they had not been included from the beginning. Remeber when Davis Murphy and school board members dismissed stories of racial discrimination and insensitivity? If the problem doesn’t exist, you don’t have to do anything about it. And you disrespect the people who have been hurt and insulted. So despite all that work by the community and establishment of the school climate committees, we haven’t come very far after all, folks. Both Harris and Lovenburg are a major step back.

  61. campaign watcher

    I’m sorry, but this is who we voted into office. We had a chance to vote in someone else, but this is who the community chose and we will have to work with what we got for the next 4 years.

    It is now time to focus on the City Council election and make sure we get it right there.

  62. campaign watcher

    I’m sorry, but this is who we voted into office. We had a chance to vote in someone else, but this is who the community chose and we will have to work with what we got for the next 4 years.

    It is now time to focus on the City Council election and make sure we get it right there.

  63. campaign watcher

    I’m sorry, but this is who we voted into office. We had a chance to vote in someone else, but this is who the community chose and we will have to work with what we got for the next 4 years.

    It is now time to focus on the City Council election and make sure we get it right there.

  64. campaign watcher

    I’m sorry, but this is who we voted into office. We had a chance to vote in someone else, but this is who the community chose and we will have to work with what we got for the next 4 years.

    It is now time to focus on the City Council election and make sure we get it right there.

  65. Bill Storm

    Two points of clarification:

    Talented teachers address the Gifted and Talented Educational needs of all children, not just those of a few who pass a standardized test that allow some in and keep others out. That is the essence of differentiated instruction, something embraced by Valley Oak teachers for a very long time, as evidenced by their success with all Valley Oak students over the years. Charter organizers have been discussing this as “GATE for all,” the ethic at the core of VOCS. The program described in the petition does not include self-contained GATE instruction, but does include instruction in support of GATE, EL, and other students as well. The GATE needs of children so identified who are not enrolled in the self-contained program have long been well-served at Valley Oak.

    As for disinformation, charter organizers have long recognized that there has been a source of disinformation with access to our Spanish-speaking families, either district-based or otherwise, which has maintained that VOCS would charge tuition, that no one would be in charge at the school, etc. We have not discovered the source, but it is disinformation we have sought to counter for months in all our literature and meetings. We can only speak the truth, but sometimes disinformation wins the day. After all, many Americans still believe Saddam Hussein bombed the twin towers. If the right person says even outrageous things, many will still believe.

  66. Bill Storm

    Two points of clarification:

    Talented teachers address the Gifted and Talented Educational needs of all children, not just those of a few who pass a standardized test that allow some in and keep others out. That is the essence of differentiated instruction, something embraced by Valley Oak teachers for a very long time, as evidenced by their success with all Valley Oak students over the years. Charter organizers have been discussing this as “GATE for all,” the ethic at the core of VOCS. The program described in the petition does not include self-contained GATE instruction, but does include instruction in support of GATE, EL, and other students as well. The GATE needs of children so identified who are not enrolled in the self-contained program have long been well-served at Valley Oak.

    As for disinformation, charter organizers have long recognized that there has been a source of disinformation with access to our Spanish-speaking families, either district-based or otherwise, which has maintained that VOCS would charge tuition, that no one would be in charge at the school, etc. We have not discovered the source, but it is disinformation we have sought to counter for months in all our literature and meetings. We can only speak the truth, but sometimes disinformation wins the day. After all, many Americans still believe Saddam Hussein bombed the twin towers. If the right person says even outrageous things, many will still believe.

  67. Bill Storm

    Two points of clarification:

    Talented teachers address the Gifted and Talented Educational needs of all children, not just those of a few who pass a standardized test that allow some in and keep others out. That is the essence of differentiated instruction, something embraced by Valley Oak teachers for a very long time, as evidenced by their success with all Valley Oak students over the years. Charter organizers have been discussing this as “GATE for all,” the ethic at the core of VOCS. The program described in the petition does not include self-contained GATE instruction, but does include instruction in support of GATE, EL, and other students as well. The GATE needs of children so identified who are not enrolled in the self-contained program have long been well-served at Valley Oak.

    As for disinformation, charter organizers have long recognized that there has been a source of disinformation with access to our Spanish-speaking families, either district-based or otherwise, which has maintained that VOCS would charge tuition, that no one would be in charge at the school, etc. We have not discovered the source, but it is disinformation we have sought to counter for months in all our literature and meetings. We can only speak the truth, but sometimes disinformation wins the day. After all, many Americans still believe Saddam Hussein bombed the twin towers. If the right person says even outrageous things, many will still believe.

  68. Bill Storm

    Two points of clarification:

    Talented teachers address the Gifted and Talented Educational needs of all children, not just those of a few who pass a standardized test that allow some in and keep others out. That is the essence of differentiated instruction, something embraced by Valley Oak teachers for a very long time, as evidenced by their success with all Valley Oak students over the years. Charter organizers have been discussing this as “GATE for all,” the ethic at the core of VOCS. The program described in the petition does not include self-contained GATE instruction, but does include instruction in support of GATE, EL, and other students as well. The GATE needs of children so identified who are not enrolled in the self-contained program have long been well-served at Valley Oak.

    As for disinformation, charter organizers have long recognized that there has been a source of disinformation with access to our Spanish-speaking families, either district-based or otherwise, which has maintained that VOCS would charge tuition, that no one would be in charge at the school, etc. We have not discovered the source, but it is disinformation we have sought to counter for months in all our literature and meetings. We can only speak the truth, but sometimes disinformation wins the day. After all, many Americans still believe Saddam Hussein bombed the twin towers. If the right person says even outrageous things, many will still believe.

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