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on Sep 22, 2009
I'm sorry that a tribute to a dedicated public servant has to be tainted by a political, mean-spirited and misguided statement like that of Mr. Williams'. Yes, Sally Stewart deserves our thanks for her years of commitment. But her thinking and voting record on Summit/Everest were areas where she fell sadly short of the mark. Her comment, as reported in the Almanac article, reflects the fact that, even as she retires from the board, she still hasn't gotten it.
Mr. williams' disparaging remarks about Diane Tavenner and her "followers" are just clueless. He should be directing his criticism toward the administrators, led by Pat Gemma, who decided to waste taxpayers' money on fighting a perfectly legal (and valuable) effort to provide educational alternatives to children in the Sequoia district.
Ms. Stewart's record is, unfortunately, tarnished by her position on this issue. But, when we look at her record in the longterm, she is still deserving of our deep gratitude for her decades of service.
Why can't Mr. Williams take the high road and thank Ms. Stewart for her years of service without taking a deplorable, cheap shot at our charter schools? As a supporter of charter schools, I was among the first to express my thanks to her.
Mr. Williams said that followers of charter schools have "elitist, self-centered, and often transparently racist" motives. Shame on you, Mr. Williams. Without a shred of evidence to support your assertion, you freely slandered, disparaged and defamed a full one fourth of the district's incoming students and families who have applied to the Everest and Summit charter schools.
I suggest you drive by these schools one day at the beginning or end of class to see how wrong you are. These are great students and represent every economic and ethic group. They take their education seriously and simply want to get ahead in life.
Our charter schools are doing exceptional work with a truly diverse group of students who are selected by a random lottery.
Mr. Williams, these schools should be applauded, not denounced.
Mr. Williams should be embarassed. For a public servant who has served as long as Ms. Stewart, it is inevitable that there will some disagreement with some of her positions. Independent of one's position on charter schools in general and Summit/Everest specifically, it should be possible to say thanks without invoking controversy.
Mr. Williams, on the other hand, has taken a small aspect of Ms. Stewart's activity and focused on it in order to make an attack that is rather tangential to the variety of issues Ms. Stewart has faced over the years. To compound this with a letter that displays more about himself than the attacked charter schools and individuals is inexcusible. If there were a letter that actually had facts supporting his diatribe, it might be nice, but the facts are not on Mr. Williams side here. Rather than trashing Ms. Tavanner with baseless accusations, Mr. Williams would benefit from actually visiting the schools and the students he insults. I have and can report that over and over from the faculty to the student body, the focus is on education and college and planning for success, not on racial stereotypes, differences, or elitism. If having high expectations for high school students is elitist, then perhaps that charge rings true, but in that case, I'd like to see a bit more elitism from SUHSD. Shame on you Mr. Williams, Shame.
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