News

Schools: O'Connor Street transfer request denied by county committee

Residents say state appeal is next

The San Mateo County Committee on School District Organization on June 2 unanimously denied the request to move 31 homes on the north side of Menlo Park's O'Connor Street from the Ravenswood City School District to the Menlo Park City School District. Residents say they will appeal to the state board of education.

"We are all disappointed that our children will not be able to go to school with their neighborhood friends," said Stacy Keller, one of the lead petitioners for the transfer, after the meeting. "We all want what's best for our children, but we will have to wait. From the beginning we understood that this is simply a required step in the long bureaucratic process and we are looking forward to having our petition objectively considered" by the state board, she said.

County committee members cited financial burdens for both districts and the probability of worsening racial and ethnic segregation or discrimination in making their vote.

Even if the state board approves the transfer, the matter will not be settled until an election is held. The state board would decide who votes in the election. It could be only the O'Connor Street residents requesting the transfer, or all voters residing in both affected districts.

The district boundary runs down the middle of O'Connor Street. Residents on the south side are in the Menlo Park district, and those on the north side are in the Ravenswood district. The Menlo Park district is building its new Upper Laurel School about a block away from the homes.

The residents of 235 to 495 O'Connor St., who are seeking the transfer, argue that it was only a historical accident that left them in the Ravenswood district when most of the rest of the Willows neighborhood transferred into the Menlo Park district in 1983. That's because their side of the street was annexed into Menlo Park soon after the original petition to change districts was filed, but their addresses weren't added to the petition.

For the request to be approved, the board had to find that it met nine state-required criteria. Board members voted on each criteria and voted that three of them were not met.

The committee members unanimously agreed the transfer request did not meet two of the criteria. One of those items is that the transfer not cause a significant "increase in school facilities costs." The second is that the transfer not "cause a substantial negative effect on the fiscal status" of either district.

Representatives of the Ravenswood District had argued that losing the 31 homes would cause the district to lose some of its capacity to issue bonds for future school improvements. Nancy Magee, who is the county office of education's staff member for the committee and its secretary, confirmed that the bonding capacity of the Ravenswood District would be reduced by $257,000 of its current $36.8 million bonding capacity by the move.

The Menlo Park district had argued that the increased property taxes it would receive with the new homes in the district would not pay the costs of educating the additional students.

A divided committee voted 6-3 that the request did not meet a third criteria -- that the proposed move "will preserve each affected district's ability to educate students in an integrated environment and will not promote racial or ethnic discrimination or segregation."

The residents seeking the transfer argue that they would actually increase the diversity of the Menlo Park district.

O'Connor Street resident Ajit Jain, who said his parents are from India and Mexico, said he is personally offended by the charges of racism and pursuit of personal financial gain that some have made over the transfer request. "There's nothing here related to racism. There's nothing here related to lying about property values," he said. "If we lose this petition, we will accept it and we will move on with our lives."

But East Palo Alto resident Duane Goff said he does not believe the request has been made only for educational reasons. "Nobody I've talked to believes education is the issue," he said. "We on the other side of the freeway" would see the transfer "as you folks taking something away from people of color."

John Barksdale, one of the lead petitioners, said he spoke to his immediate neighbors in both school districts. "The general consensus from all the neighbors I talked to was -- this doesn't make sense," he said. Both sides of the street share the same municipal services, and much more, he said. "We even share the same lemon tree to make lemonade in the summer for our kids."

But Ravenswood school board president Ana Maria Pulido urged the committeee to deny the transfer for the greater good. "When I look at this, I look at the bigger picture," she said. "I'm not looking at the desire of the few; I'm looking at the needs of thousands."

Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:30 am

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

> we are looking forward to having
> our petition objectively considered"
> by the state board, she said.

Certainly Ravenswood and MPCSD are not (and really shouldn't be) objective. But the county doesn't really have a horse in the race, so to speak. I support the petitioners right to appeal to the state board, but the petitioners DID have their petition reviewed objectively by the county.

> The residents of 235 to 495 O'Connor
> St., who are seeking the transfer,
> argue that it was only a historical
> accident that left them in the
> Ravenswood district

The petitioners and previous articles have stated this before, but the county's research (from reading the May minutes) shows that it wasn't really an "accident" per se. In a nutshell, the process for transferring an area (in this case the Willows) from one district to another could not be amended by the time it because clear where EPA's city boundaries would reside. From reading the minutes, it's pretty easy to infer that the choice was to either keep the (petitioners) homes in Ravenswood, or redo the transfer for ALL of the Willows.

> County committee members cited...
> the probability of worsening
> racial and ethnic segregation
> or discrimination

I think this is a completely bogus reason to deny the petition, and I'm speaking as someone who advocated denying the petition. The petition makes it clear (and neither RCSD nor MPCSD dispute this) that the ethnic makeup of the petitioners is unique relative to RCSD and MPCSD. They add ethnic diversity REGARDLESS which school district they're assigned.


19 people like this
Posted by what's the real issue
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm

When I grew up the school line fell right between our house and our next door neighbor's. I didn't suffer any social withdrawal or lose sleep nor did my grades suffer. In fact, I leaned how to make friends with people I didn't go to school with which is a valuable social skill… to meet and friend people who aren't in your clique.
Come on people… call it like it is: This is segregation. You want this because the MP District has higher ratings. You think that will help your children learn? Parent involvement is what will help them learn in any environment and might even keep them off the train tracks. Of course, always thinking of the bottom line, you won't complain about the bonus that your property will increase in value even though you paid a lower price because it was in that original district.
Step up people. If you're not happy with your school/district invest your's and your children's time and energy into helping it become a better district.
Stop wasting my tax dollars trying to change something you knew was the way it was when you bought your home.


6 people like this
Posted by Cartographer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 3, 2015 at 1:53 pm

The map does an excellent job showing how much of the industrial area (within the City of Menlo Park) is located in the Redwood City School District. The location of the words "San Mateo County" is a bit misleading.


8 people like this
Posted by Poster
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:01 pm

I've been trying to post on Townsquare but it's not showing up. This is what I want to post;

Hi, my name is Stacy Keller and I am one of the Chief Petitioners. I would like to respond to some of Not-Jeff's remarks.

Unfortunately, the Committee is a group that is appointed by The San Mateo County Board of Education. According to their website the "members are elected at a meeting of the representatives of the school boards. Often individuals most interested in serving on the committee are past or current school board members."

The Committee and the school districts are not accountable to anyone, whereas the Board members are elected and the Board stays far away from this process. Therefore, the Committee does have "a horse in the race" and they are very clearly supportive of their friends. If you had been at the meeting you would have seen the constant "guiding " by Committee members and their Attorney. BTW, in many Counties the Board members serve as the Committee.

Regarding "historical accident ": Our Petition states it was a "historical oversight."
The Chief Petitioner from 1983 stated that had he known our homes were in the process of being moved into the Menlo Park City he would have included us. In 1983 communication was not instantaneous as it is today.

Regarding racial and ethnic segregation for discrimination: Laura Rich began the discussion "in answering it or addressing it I have to say I don't have a clear "thing" but it makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't know how to be more specific than that. But I think it does have some racial overtones that I can't ignore. But it is a small number of homes so I don't think it changes the district."

Marc Tarpenning responded: "what's interesting is that the petitioners are such a mix it's like a fantasy ethnic makeup. It increases Menlo Park's ethnicity and decreases Ravenswood's infinitesimally." Yet, they still voted that our racially diverse, Caucasian minority group of petitioners would promote racial and ethnic discrimination or segregation. REALLY?!!!


23 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I think the time has come for a Unified School District that encompasses ALL of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Atherton and Woodside and all grades from K-12.

Every child would be in the same school district for the entire pre-college education and the resources would be equitably distributed amongst all of these children.


6 people like this
Posted by Another Approach
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 4, 2015 at 9:39 am

What if the neighborhood petitioned to move the Menlo Park side of the street into Ravenswood's district. It would allow all the kids in the neighborhood to attend school together. Goal accomplished, right?


6 people like this
Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Jun 4, 2015 at 10:19 am

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

> Unfortunately, the Committee is a group
> that is appointed by The San Mateo County
> Board of Education. According to their
> website the "members are elected at a
> meeting of the representatives of the
> school boards.

Point taken, and perhaps they're less objective than I originally thought. Though keep in mind that there are 24 school districts (according the the county web site) that vote for those committee appointments, and it's hard to see how the appointees that represent county districts 1, 2 and 5 would have much of a personal/political stake in the transfer. That said, I agree there's the potential to be less objective than they should be.


> Regarding "historical accident ": Our Petition
> states it was a "historical oversight."

I think we're venturing into "semantics" territory. Personally, I don't think even "oversight" is really applicable here; it reads more like it was just an issue of timing and a governmental process that didn't allow amendments after the public voted and committees approved the original Willows transfer. From the May 2015 minutes:

Web Link

"In response to the Committee’s question about why the odd numbered houses on O’Connor Street were not included in The Willows transfer, Ms. Magee confirmed that when the petition was originally submitted, that side of O’Connor Street was within the boundaries of East Palo Alto. By the conclusion of the transfer process, the odd numbered houses on O’Connor Street had been incorporated into the boundaries of the city of Menlo Park, but a petition once submitted cannot be amended, and for that reason and perhaps others that are difficult to uncover, these houses on O’Connor Street were not part of The Willows transfer."


> Laura Rich began the discussion "in
> answering it or addressing it I have
> to say I don't have a clear "thing"
> but it makes me feel uncomfortable.
> I don't know how to be more specific
> than that.

I think that's terrible. In my opinion, they appear to be pandering to the Ravenswood representatives.

I'm glad to hear you and your fellow petitioners have recourse beyond the San Mateo county committee. While I don't support your petition currently, I do support your right to a fair, impartial review of its merits.


4 people like this
Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Jun 4, 2015 at 10:29 am

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

> What if the neighborhood petitioned to move the Menlo Park side of the street

Both sides of the street are Menlo Park.

I think you meant to say "MPCSD", not "Menlo Park".


4 people like this
Posted by Math
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm

How is losing 0.007 percent of their budget a significant financial impact ? Can these folks do elementary school math?



6 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:02 am

pogo is a registered user.

Clearly, the County board is a group of insiders and they have a history of rarely allowing these changes, no matter how justified. They will always cite diversity or finances even when the facts state the exact opposite. It doesn't matter how justified the reasons, if the school opposes it, they will too.

Unfortunately, you will find the State board just as insider and just as sympathetic to the local district's whims.


2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:37 am

Can someone explain how 600 Willow, the condo complex, was transferred from Ravenswood to MPCSD a few years ago without all this brouhaha? As far as I know, that complex is majority Caucasian, and probably affected the same number of students as this petition does.

Anyone who suggests merging the districts is clueless about school financing. LLESD, two schools, won't even merge with MPCSD, four schools, for financial reasons.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 11:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Anyone who suggests merging the districts is clueless about school financing. LLESD, two schools, won't even merge with MPCSD, four schools, for financial reasons."

I am very aware of these "financial reasons" - which boil down to a "I have got mine, stay out of my lifeboat" approach to social justice issues.

Every child deserves the same quality of education in our public schools and the present Balkanization is solely economically driven to protect the rich and disadvantage the poor.

That the financial rules are set up to perpetuate this disparity is neither a surprise nor an insurmountable obstacle. And there are a lot of unified school districts which prove that it can be done,


8 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter is correct. The school districts should be merged, and everyone would benefit. School financing would have to be sorted out but we have managed to figure out much more complicated things, it's not insurmountable.


2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Your bleeding heart sensibilities are admirable, PC, but as someone with far more experience in the Ravenswood district than you have, the problem is not the lack of opportunity or the quality of education. The problem is that most of those families flat out don't care and don't foster an environment that values education. Hence their children aren't willing to put out any effort to take advantage of the resources offered them. Merging districts wouldn't fix that, but would only highlight the existing problems and create new ones.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Curiuos - Perhaps you could make your comment without the cheap shot characterization of my sensibilities - a matter about which you know nothing.


9 people like this
Posted by Haves and Have Nots
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Shame on you, Curious. It's easy to say that low income families don't care and don't value education but it's a total lie. Those families want their children to get an education just as much as anyone else. Did you ever hear of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? You have to take care of food and shelter first. When parents have to work two jobs each, some overnight, there's not a lot of time to read books and do their kids' mission projects for them.

I happen to live in the MPCSD but for many years I've volunteered and tutored in both the Ravenswood and Redwood City districts. At Willow Oaks School specifically the community is transient -- a heartbreaking number of those kids aren't able to stay a whole year at the school because their families have to find alternative housing. Many come from non-English speaking homes where the parents weren't allowed to go to school past 3rd grade because they were needed in the fields. And do you know what? Every one of the kids I've worked with, without exception, has been sweet, kind, and enthusiastic about learning and doing well. Unfortunately the overall funding and the pay scale for teachers in Ravenswood and Redwood City is far below Menlo Park so good teachers who start out there can't refuse the opportunity to move to a higher-paying district.

This is a much bigger problem than redrawing one small border of one school district. But if MPCSD (and PAUSD, for that matter) could stop whining long enough to accept at least the kids who live on this side of 101, a handful of students in our community will get a chance at a better life.


5 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm

I posted these same comments the last time this was discussed. The school district that a piece of residential real estate is in is a critical part of the purchase decision. The folks on O'Connor street who feel that they are on the wrong side of that street because their homes are not a part of the MPCSD knew that fact when they purchased the home or they didn't do their home work. Either way, trying to change things now - literally 32 years later - and claiming the reasoning is anything but economic doesn't pass the sniff test.

My solution as I wrote earlier: If you purchased one of the effected homes prior to the 1983 "oversight" it's in the MPCSD. If you purchased it after it's in the Ravenswood District.


13 people like this
Posted by Willow Oaks
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2015 at 3:58 pm

To Curious: I can explain why 600 Willow was transferred. What a travesty that was! The County Committee denied their petition, and rightly so. Those folks look right out their windows into the playing fields of Willow Oaks School (a Ravenswood District elementary school.) I mean, literally, these people live right next door to a Ravenswood District school. The 600 Willow people had many very articulate arguments about neighborhood cohesion, but what it really came down to was that these folks don't want their children going to school with the low socio-economic kids in Ravenswood. Pure and simple. One could call this racism, but its really classism.

After their petition was denied, they took their argument to the State Board and the local denial was overturned. I can't imagine that anyone from the State Board actually came out to the site and looked at the fact that these people wanted to transfer away from the school right next door.

These petitions are always submitted by high socio-economic folks who bought their houses on the fringes of Menlo Park, or Woodside and want to get away from the Ravenswood School District or the Redwood City School District and into the wealthier MPCSD. For all of their professions about how its not about racism or property values...baloney! It is all about not wanting their kids to go to school with "those kids."

Peter Carpenter is absolutely right on this one. It should all become one big school district with greater socio-economic diversity. That will not only give Ravenswood kids a boost, it will help those MP kids and their parents, that building walls around their castles is not going to help improve either their kids or our world.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Curious states -"as someone with far more experience in the Ravenswood district than you have,"

In fact, I have spent more than ten years as an elected official representing and serving ALL of the residents of Ravenswood - as well as rest of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto and Atherton - on the Board of the MP Fire Protection District which provides ONE class of service for everyone whom we serve.

This single class of service for essential public service is a model that I would highly recommend for education and which I hope Curious will at least be curious about.


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Thank you, Willow Oaks, for the explanation.

Sorry, Peter, serving on the fire board gives you zero insight into the educational process in the Ravenswood schools. The people who run the district complain about the parental apathy. "The parents drop their kids off at 6 am, we feed them meals and snacks, try to educate the kids, and the parents refuse to do their part." If you actually talk to people who work in the district, not self-important volunteers, you will hear this refrain, over and over.

The district is given ample resources, including money, volunteers, and aid. But when you're dealing with low-aspirational, low-mobility families, it's not surprising that the kids don't do well. The children who participate in the Tinsley program and sit alongside more privileged students in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and other district schools tend to drop out of high school at the same rate as the rest of their Ravenswood cohort.

Yes, there are exceptions: some amazing kids and families. The local private schools snap up those high potential kids because they need diversity in their student bodies.

Reiterating the politically correct stance is not going to change reality.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" If you actually talk to people who work in the district, not self-important volunteers, you will hear this refrain, over and over. "

I do that all the time.


2 people like this
Posted by Haves and Have Nots
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Curious. Not curious about anything, apparently. Try taking a field trip one day and you might realize that you are no better than the folks who live in Belle Haven and EPA. The only school personnel who whine about parent apathy have completely removed themselves from the day to day experience of the classroom. Educators on the front lines who teach from the heart recognize that all parents want the best for their children.

The reason that privileged students do better than Tinsley students is because their parents have the education and means to be able to support them through school. But of course you can twist the data to support any prejudicial point of view.


1 person likes this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm

Haves and Have nots: You write "...all parents want the best for their children" Who can argue with that?

You then claim that "The reason that privileged students do better than Tinsley students is because their parents have the education and means to be able to support them through school." I have no evidence to agree or disagree with that. I don't think you do either.

I also don't get what you're trying to say. What's your point?


3 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Willow Oaks: You write: "Peter Carpenter is absolutely right on this one. It should all become one big school district with greater socio-economic diversity. That will not only give Ravenswood kids a boost, it will help those MP kids and their parents, that building walls around their castles is not going to help improve either their kids or our world."

That's a very noble thought. But, if we all agree to it on it's humanitarian merits, how can we stop at the Menlo Park city limits? Aren't we responsible for all of San Mateo County too? And, to be fair, the entire state of California? Wouldn't that truly help the MP kids and their parents (sic) that building walls around their castles is not going to improve either their kids or our world?


2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:01 am

Field trip? I worked in that environment for two years. Beforehand, I would have agreed with many of you that these kids just needed a little extra support and nurturing. Alas, reality prevailed. Many of the stereotypes that some of you spout -- single parents, transient families, parents working two jobs -- simply don't fit the majority of Ravenswood students. Of course most parents want the best for their children, but many believe that it is not their responsibility to support their children's education because they are not professional educators! Too, because many of the parents are not upwardly mobile, they are not modeling the kind of behavior that results in academic/professional success.

As for funding, here are the facts from the state's data site (Web Link)

Average per student spending for elementary districts statewide: $8788

Las Lomitas: $16,023
Menlo Park: $11,544
Ravenswood: $11,152
Redwood City: $9583
San Carlos: $9533


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 6, 2015 at 8:40 am

pogo is a registered user.

I think it's ironic that the same people who want national standards for so many important things, will do anything to protect their tony little "private" public school districts.

Mr. Carpenter is exactly right and we should have a single school district in each county. That alone would dramatically lower horribly bloated administrative costs and overhead and provide better educational opportunities for the poorest in our midst.

More affluent cities will always find a way to enrich their schools, with private foundations, for instance. But with equal funding countywide, at least the disadvantaged children will have an equal opportunity.

Of course it's easier to blame the poor for disengaged parents and the "financial" hardship with these reforms. Make no mistake, the primary motive is to protect their little school districts.


2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Absolutely, Pogo. There are so many models of big school districts effectively educating students. That's why families clamor to move to places like San Francisco and Manhattan once they've got school-aged kids -- because they know that the bigger the district, the better the education.

If you look at the actual data quoted above, you might notice that per-student funding would likely decline if Ravenswood were to merge with the other south country districts. But let's not allow facts to get in the way of ideology!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"you might notice that per-student funding would likely decline if Ravenswood were to merge with the other south country districts."

That conclusion makes a number of debatable assumptions and is not necessarily true.

What is true is that a unified school system would dramatically eliminate the differences in the quality of education between the haves and the have nots - which is why the haves unwisely resist such a system.


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 9:01 pm

The average funding of other local districts is less than Ravenswood receives now. No reason to believe it would increase or even stay the same if the districts merged.

Peter, can we see some data on "quality of education" improving when districts merge? Good luck finding that! Fact is that the Ravenswood students have highly competent and motivated teachers now, but it's hard for them to succeed in an environment where education is not valued.

Pontificating about "haves and have nots" makes a nice soundbite, but throughout the Bay Area we have examples of immigrants and other families at the lower end of the economic spectrum who are working hard to better themselves. Those parents inculcate the value of education in their children. That is not the Ravenswood culture.

Sorry, Peter, you can't be an expert on everything, and with every post you are demonstrating your lack of knowledge and experience in this arena.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed. Please make your point without negative characterizations of other posters.]


8 people like this
Posted by Whoa out of line
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 6, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Whoa, I looked over 'curious'es posts and while I don't agree with every point, nothing rose to the level of racism.

Peter, you are way out of line.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2015 at 8:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Those parents inculcate the value of education in their children. That is not the Ravenswood culture."

This is a slanderous statement to make about a group of people that has no basis in fact.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2015 at 9:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Whoa - You are correct. While I find Curious's position that society should punish children because of the perceived shortcomings of their parents to be morally repugnant Curious uses a broad brush and applies that to all children regardless of their race.

So yes, Curious's position is not racist but it is deeply disturbing.


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

Slanderous, or my observation based on thousands of hours of direct contact with Ravenswood students and families? I fail to see the racism there, but your accusations are libelous. Meanwhile, it's ok for you to insult the hardworking Ravenswood teachers who put themselves out every day by suggesting the students would be better off if they had MPCSD teachers. Where is your evidence? And what basis do you have for stating that Ravenswood teachers aren't competent? In what dimension? (I am not and have never been a teacher so please don't worry about insulting me!)


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

How are Ravenswood students being punished by attending their neighborhood schools? What a strange comment!


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

There is some truth that in minority communities education is not valued. In fact, those that excel or value education are often accused of "acting white" by their peers that don't. But, that is some, not all. To paint an entire community with that broad brush is an over reach.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2015 at 10:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" it's ok for you to insult the hardworking Ravenswood teachers who put themselves out every day by suggesting the students would be better off if they had MPCSD teachers."

I never said that - I argued for a unified school district where all of the children in our community get the same quality of education including remedial support where needed based on individual circumstances. I do not believe in punishing children for the perceived shortcomings of their parents.

" And what basis do you have for stating that Ravenswood teachers aren't competent?"
I never stated that either.


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Posted by Stacy Keller
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 8, 2015 at 11:12 am

trying to post, testing


5 people like this
Posted by Sir Topham Hatt
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 8, 2015 at 11:28 am

Why not a short move? If going to MPCSD and attending schools with your neighbors is so important, the families in question can move to within the boundaries of that district.

120 Blackburn in the Willows is listed at $1,725,000.


2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

Still waiting to see any evidence that large school districts provide a better education than smaller ones. Parents sure don't seem to believe that! My own anecdotal observation is that in larger heterogenous districts, resources tend to flow to the areas that have the more affluent, educated families. So if your dream scenario came true, Ravenswood might well come out on the short end!

In short, you can't blame the education system for the fact that Ravenswood students are underachievers. Great teachers, plenty of funding, lots of volunteers, dozens of local nonprofits supporting the kids. You have yet to list one hard cold fact in support of your gauzy kumbaya-ish vision of an expanded district as panacea. Maybe because you don't have one?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The clearest and most relevant evidence is the persistent desire of parents outside of the "better" school districts to have their homes added to those districts. It is also intuitively obvious that large school districts can indeed offer each student a broader range of options via magnet schools that cannot be offered by smaller districts. And there are clearly economies of scale in the HR and facilities area that favor larger districts.

At the extreme here is what a state wide high school can do that no small school district can do - and it deals with providing a total education environment by being a full time residential program all done as a part of a public education system:

Web Link

I remain unwilling to punish the children of less economically and academically successful/lucky parents by giving them a subpar total educational experience - that just perpetuates the patterns of the past.


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

No, Peter, not relevant at all. Transferring from a district perceived as worse to one perceived as better has nothing to do with your theory that merging districts into one big district would result in improved outcomes for all or many students.

If we want to build a residential program, let's do it. Plenty of local companies would chip in.

Again, please provide just a mote of evidence that Ravenswood children are being "punished" by their school system. How is their educational experience subpar? They have the same funding, teachers, books, and other resources as kids in MPCSD do. Seen any windmills lately?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Again, please provide just a mote of evidence that Ravenswood children are being "punished" by their school system. How is their educational experience subpar? "

Well Curious has opined that "the problem is that most of those families flat out don't care and don't foster an environment that values education."

In my opinion society bears the responsibility for the education of children and if some children need more attention, more resources and more help then that is our collective responsibility. We cannot leave generation after generation of children sitting on the sidelines.


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