If you all read 100 million words, you can shave your principal’s head

I wonder how far into the summer Think College Now Principal David Silver will keep his elementary school’s initials carved into the back of his head. In any case, his students (and, by extension, he) won this year’s reading bet.

Think College Now Principal David Silver (courtesy photo)

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset


  • Chauncey

    Ha HA HA…typical is right..

  • Alice Spearman

    As of yesterday, the initials were still there. I don’t find anything wrong with this. Let’s celebrate the accomplishments of the students.

  • Nextset

    Alice: Of Course you don’t find anything wrong with this.

    That is why the best families avoid your schools and send their kids to schools where the principal doesn’t appear with letters carved into his hair.

    They don’t want this for their kids. They don’t want you for their kids.

  • Nextset

    Another thing: You don’t have to “celebrate” accomplishments of the kids.

    You expect your students to do well, certainly to perform to their potential. You don’t praise them to the point of public notice for what is expected.

    And you don’t train them to expect over-the-top praise and reward for what is supposed to be. A job well done is accepted with a mere nod. And properly trained, they respect that nod because they know who it comes from and what it means. If they fall below standards you light them up.

    As far as their local authority figure running around with letters carved into his hair – again, keeping them into their caste. They will not be doing so well when they run into the real authority later in their lives – or botch a chance to become one themselves acting like this.

    It’s a lower class operation where you bring your kids up to behave like we see here. It’s one more thing that keeps them from assimilating into mainstream middle/professional class – keeps it “real”. This kind of training and socialization is one of the things that holds these kids back when they do try to move up from their Caste.

    We are carefully training betas to be betas – different, fixed, and easily spotted.

    You may not like what I’m saying, and don’t want to hear it. You may think public schools are here to have a good time. Well, Party on. It’s later than you think. And nobody else will say these things to you because they won’t ever want to get “involved” with you and your kids.

    But just watch how the enrollments are going for people who don’t have to go to such schools.

  • Turanga_teach

    Think College Now is a California Distinguished School with a 2008-2009 API of 848 (which is an 8 out of 10 on California’s absolute ranking scale and a 10 out of 10 relative to similar schools). It’s majority ELL and 89% free-or-reduced-price lunch. The entire MO of the school is shooting huge gaping holes in the status quo of poor Oakland kids tracking away from higher education.

    That’s not “having a good time” with the “betas” in their place. It’s real, lasting change, and a helluva lot more effective in serving kids of color than whinging about their lot on an internet forum.

    The principal and staff of TCN, and a good number of other Oakland educators dispersed throughout the district, are giving more of Oakland’s kids what “the best families” want. And I’d be happy to shave that in the back of my head any day of the week.

  • What?!?!?!?!?!

    Nextset……Think College Now is considered to be the Harvard of elementary schools in Oakland! Do some research before badmouthing an institution!!!

  • Susan


    I think it should be celebrated when a school does something right in Oakland. This school has also set up a scholarship program for their kids.

    My issue with Oakland schools is that these same kids will go to middle school and high schools and fall apart.

    I applaud Mr. Silver but worry what happens next.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Nextset, you’re off again. You come off as if you haven’t done your homework, which appears to be your complaint about Oakland kids.

    Anything, and I do mean anything, that can be done to light an educational fire under students is probably well worth it. Certainly, something that demonstrates caring, humility, self-sacrifice, unity, goal-setting, and reward for effort is just fine.

    The principal is no deity – he’s just finding a way to connect learning with fun. Commendable.

  • Nextset

    TrutHurts: I see your opinion. We disagree. People are free to do things their way. Good luck to all. And I’m saying that because I personally wasn’t raised to depend on luck that I didn’t have a hand in manipulating. We were taught to make your own luck, and not to bet against house odds without getting an edge.

    Susan: I hear your point about having to celebrate sometime. I wish they’d have celebrated with a field trip. Something more dignified and something that doesn’t “dunk the principal”. This is the difference in the way I see the school, the kids and the world. Others see things differently. We are not the same. Hope they get what they want, the way my upbringing got me what I wanted. Good luck for doing it their way.

    Susan, I’m intrigued by your comment about things falling apart as the kids get older. What exactly are you referring to? It is the mortality issue, the test scores, the dropout rates – or something else? Do you connect anything about this thread to things falling apart?

    What??: I’m not badmouthing an instuitution as much as a practice. To the extent this institution makes a habit of bad practices – it is not producing for the kids the way it should be. See the difference?

    I suppose you don’t. It’s easy to be liberal when you are either young or you haven’t had the experience of living with the consequences of liberal policy. My opinions here (and hey what do I know?) – are a result of a life where I saw what worked and what didn’t work. If you are getting really agitated about my positions perhaps it’s because you are concerned I may have a point and feel that drowning it out makes the issue go away. I’m here to keep these issues illuminated so the blog doesn’t become just a “everything is beautiful” self congratulatory thing. And it should make it a more interesting read also.

    If you are so sure doing things the rad-lib way has no harmful consequences for the kids – just ignore the points I raise.

    Brave New World.

  • J.R.

    If you really are who you say, you would give “rad libs” a little credit. In the turbulent 60’s marching in those protests (those rad libs)socialists showed tremendous guts,putting their own lives on the line(Cheney,Goodman,Schwerner) to help African Americans in their struggle(Conservatives didn’t lift a finger, except for true Christians)I am not suggesting that you give liberals a pass, only that the labels are so passe’ and people should be judged on their own merits and not engage in the oh so tired group rhetoric.
    (not)a brave new world but a repetitive old one with new labels!

  • Nextset

    JR: And you assume that “helping African Americans in their struggle” worked out so well? Save us from white liberals…

    And we are NOT entering an old world with new labels. The United States is fundamentally changing from a capitalist nation with diffused/non centralized power into a socialist state with centralized power set in Washington. We in this century are seeing the demise of the middle class and greatly increased wealth disparity, decreased social mobility and a Caste system stronger than ever before in this nation.

    The schools are key to the Caste System.

  • Chauncey

    Ok – they think college at that age…what happens when they finish high school?How many finish? Where do they go?

    Im gonna tell you softies like this, the issue in Oakland are the disconnected with whats right, ghetto youth and they are a plenty boy! Many of the TCN softies aint never had to drive down the East at night with thier kids in the backseat, or sleep through choppers and bullets with their kids in other rooms.

    By the time these TCN kids hit the latter part of the high, (what happens in Oakland yaw’ll) they are in the streets.

    That is what you should be concerned with Susan.

  • Turanga_teach

    This school didn’t open until 2003, and from what I can glean from STAR testing results, it didn’t have a 4th grade until 2006.

    Meaning that you are making a complete assumption about a population that doesn’t actually EXIST yet, as you would have had to be in 4th grade in the first year of this school to be hitting the “latter part of the high..in the streets” right now.

    Can you at least give these poor kids a minute to actually grow up and fail before you condemn them as failures? Or might you be too concerned that the actual statistics won’t bear your preconceptions out?