New HUSD website; 2/9 meeting

Any thoughts on the new HUSD website, launched Monday? It looks cleaner, but is still under construction and there’s no quick link to the board materials yet. But the main stories on the site — which were also special features at Wednesday’s meeting — are better presented than on the old site.

Last night’s board meeting: The update on the superintendent’s plan was  a little disappointing because there weren’t any data available. Won’t be until the end of the year update in the summer. Click here for the presentation.

Some promising news: Trustee Luis Reynoso said that all-day facilitated discussion on board governance proved helpful, and said his new neighbor on the dais is evidence of that.

“Mr. Armas is sitting right next to me now, and that’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “Miracles do happen.”

Impressive presentation on the status of the Regional Occupational Center program. John Taylor, an instructor in the criminal justice department, was there with two of his students. They’ve been winning a lot of forensics competitions, and came in third nationally. Taylor said they only lost because they do forensics different in California than in other states. Spoke with Taylor after the presentation, plan on doing a story down the line.

Left after that, don’t know how the rest of the night went. But per Reynoso’s comment, what I saw was amicable enough.

Eric Kurhi

  • guess I was too early with my posting..Please look at the posting under the St. Rose Hospital entry. I gave some comments on the board meeting last night.

  • took a look at the website. I find it very interesting that the Board of Education does not have its own direct link like the superintendent. You must go to the bar that says departments. Since when is the Board of Ed a department of HUSD. Shouldn’t they be at least as important as the superintendent and present on the front page of the web???? What happened to the HUSD logo…building a culture of success? Did the board vote to get rid of it>

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Hi Kathi: I don’t remember if in the old site you had to look under some button to get to the names of the board members,(I think there was something right on the home page) but this doesn’t seem unreasonable, even if the placement under Departments does seem somewhat confusing.

    What does seem unreasonable or at least unfriendly, is the fact that the board members do not list their e-mail address or phone numbers. I believe a couple of them used to list their e-mail address, but if you wanted to send a message to the entire board, you had to gather up and paste together the list of recipients.

    If the board was truly interested in making themselves available via e-mail, they could very easily set up a button called “tell the board” on the district’s home page that would allow you to easily send a message to all the board members in a single swoop.

    And I do think you make a good point regarding weather or not Mr. Armas should have excused himself. I will certainly see the meeting again and listen for the specific segment you mention.

  • John W. Kyle


    I had the impression that the ‘new’ website was in the process if being built…
    ____ perhaps, if you took charge..? ?

  • Fernando,
    As I currently see the site, it just makes it difficult for the average citizen to discover that the board is listed under departments. I think that your idea of “tell the board” is a good one. I realize that the new website is underconstruction,however it would seem to me that perhaps they should think about how to place the board on at least the same level of importance as a superintendent. I am not very familiar with how websites are designed and then implemented, but I would think that they should have had it up and ready before they took down the old site. Just my opinion of course, particularly since I am not a “techie”.

  • teachermama

    Great idea, Fernando! When I first logged on to the new website to check my email late-night, I thought I had the wrong HUSD! Sure, the site is slick and beeyootiful, but I had a fondness for the nerdy, wonky, bureaucratic look of the old one. Fits our character.

  • Michael Moore

    The new website is faster, more intuitive and easier to use than the prior version. Let us hope that the parts still under construction happen soon. I did not see that there was a due date for the work.

    The absence of email addresses and phone numbers for the trustees and other current public figures is not a good sign. Staff members do have their addresses and phone numbers listed. The same should be there for the balance of the trustees and supervisorial staff.

    Students participating in the overnight trips in March should be tasked with a collective academic success in order to attend the trips. The lack of positive incentives for staff and students does not bode well for the future. I am sure that the children will have a very good time. It will be a lot like Disneyland.

    The four main objectives are all missing progressive measurement. That there are no metrics listed is not a good thing. There is no apparent cost of failure. The smoke and mirror presentation is fine, but is lacking measurement. Shame on the present board for accepting this kind of dog and pony show.

    There is significant progress made so far, expecially in comparison with one year ago. That being said, 2010 was a train wreck. I sure hope that the communication increases and that the metrics and results are published in a timely manner.

  • Norm D. Plume

    I wonder if HUSD is paying for Ms. Heredia to go to Washington?
    Is it true that she missed last nights meeting to go and argue the definition of HQT (Highly Qualified Teachers)? Sound familiar? Maybe because Ms. Heredia is listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit Renee v. Duncan. Did we, the taxpayers , pay for Ms. Heredia to go and fight for “us”? Whose best interest is being served? Should we ask her to defend the hardship for missing the meeting, like they did Reynoso just recently? Oh wait, it’s not a hardship, it’s district business, right? If you are wondering where Ms. Heredia got the wording for her statement last night, look no further http://www.publicadvocates.org/renee-v-duncan

    I will be watching the money and I hope to see that HUSD is not footing on single cent of this “trip”. As many Board Meetings as I have watched and parents I have talked to, I have never heard of this being a huge concern in HUSD and I can’t imagine that we can fund this type of thing. If you were that concerned, your lawsuit should have made that point! This screams to me CONFLICT OF INTEREST!!

  • Norm,
    I think that the trip was sponsored by the group that are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. I cannot believe that HUSD would pay the fare for this, but then stranger things have happened. I think your “tongue in cheek” question regarding defending a request to be paid/excused for the meeting(s) is really appropriate. I don’t think it would be considered district related business,illness or a hardship, but how much do you want to guess there will be no questioning at all. Maybe she will surprise us all and not request to be excused :=)

  • qodrn

    The new site will take some getting used to. My question is this. Who paid for the new site? Did we need a new site during these money cruching times? Thank you.

  • Michael Moore

    If HUSD paid for the site development, that is a tragedy. Building decent sites is not a big deal. If the trustees agreed to fund this outside it is an isuse that they should be taken to task for IMHO.

    If HUSD paid for Trustee Heredia to go to Washington, that would be one more thing to take all of them to task for. In no way is this in the best interests of the students.

  • The Silent Observer

    I don’t know the details regarding the financing of the new website but I am extremely excited about some of the features it will have. If you click on Zangle, you will notice an electronic grade book for grades 7-12 as well as an online attendance record. Parents can check as often as they like to see how well their student is doing in class on each and every assignment or test. Programs like this have been around for awhile, they have something similar at Moreau. I feel like HUSD is finally coming into the 21st century!

  • K Rocchio

    I can’t see how a trip to Washington is district business. Who is Ms. Heredia representing? Herself, HUSD, some other grassroots organization? As far as I know, HUSD does not have an overwhelming problem with our students being “disproportionately taught by interns who are still in training”. When a parent makes a decision to keep their child in a classroom and then fights to say that teacher is unfit, it flys in the face of reason. I do not believe that HUSD places “underprepared novice interns” in our classrooms. Actually, if you are a teacher in HUSD with less than eight years of tenure, you are pink slipped on a regular basis. The only time we get “new” teachers, we manage to chase them away. In this case, I believe the teacher in question now teaches at one of the more affluent districts in our area, so no need to worry about this problem there.

    I love the idea of a “tell the Board” button on the website. Hopefully there were really no costs (other than paying the staff involved, right?) associated with putting this website together. I’m a little disappointed that the old site is disabled and the new site is not yet fully functional. Hope it doesn’t take too long to complete.

  • John W. Kyle


    Ir is sugggeted that you watch the re-runs of the meeting on VChannel 15 or go to website and run the meeting …. near the end. Brunner reads a lomng explamnation o0f the purpose of the trip.

    It is a legitimate trip and your criticism will not aid your next effort at winning a seat on the board.

  • mom of 4

    Mr. Kyle, I’m not sure that watching the meeting will do any good since the situation with Maribel is pretty well known amongst the parents. This is not by any means a “legitimate trip”. Maribel chose to keep her son in a classroom with a teacher that she thought was not fit, in order to be part a lawsuit. However she is making this out to appear, this is not what she was she was elected do. If Maribel was really worried about this problem, she would have gone about it differently. She would have taken her son out of that situation and gotten the proper data together showing that it is a problem in this district. Right now all she is doing is using this platform to further her own interests. In which case, if the district is paying for this trip, we as parents have every right to be upset & ask for it to be given back to the kids who aren’t getting science, music etc..

  • Michael Moore

    So far it looks to me like the 2011 HUSD season is going as did 2010, one step forward (website) and two steps backward (Brown Act Allegation Against Armas and the HUSD financed trip by Heredia to Washington to lobby her lawsuit). What a waste of HUSD assets. I hope that the alleged Brown Act violation is investigated by the Alameda County Grand Jury and that Trustee Heredia repays HUSD for the personal use.

  • Many past violations to the Brown Act have been forwarded to the Grand Jury and the Ala. County District Attorney, dating back at least 15years or more. In no case did the Grand Jury or the DA think it was good use of limited funds to take the issue(s) on. For those who may think that I had any part in any of those reports to the authorities, you should look to a different source. The mere fact that I am aware of the complaints is because throughout my time with HUSD many people, including trustees from the 1980s and 1990s chose to share their actions with me.

    With respect to the costs of the website, I believe that Duran explained it was put together at no cost to the district..Why a company would want to do this is without some guarantee of future business beyond my imgaination.

    Again, I will state that I think that Ms. Heredia’s costs were born by the parties involved with the initial lawsuit. In any event, I think that her absences should not be covered by any of the excuses Mr. Armas read during his interrogation of Mr. Reynoso’s absence. It is neither district business, an illness, nor a hardsip. Furthermore, if she claimed district business, it would seem to me that questioning the credentials of teachers in the classroom would only open up the door for HUSD to face more problems.While it may be a letigement trip because she was a plaintiff that lost the court ruling and while it is in the best interests of children to have highly qualified teachers in our classrooms, it does not serve HUSD in any way. But once again this is just my opinion.

  • John W. Kyle


    Constant carping on minutiae by ‘do nothings’ is the single greatest defect exhibited in the Hayword Blog.

    Frankly, Hayword blog is one of the worst things occurring within the school district. It has solved nothing ! On the contrary, it makes things worse.

    Think!! Trustee Heredia’s persistence in pursuit of the ’meat’, in terms of the “Williams Act“, saw great success with obtaining useful, books as replacement for the worn out trash supplied to a goodly number of schools in the ‘minority’ areas of flatland Hayward’s K-6 schools.

    In return, Heredia received little or no recognition for that success in this blog.

    Many contributors are unable to recite any contribution they made toward success of HUSD’s kids. Frankly, some are seen as being possessed by irritation at the thought that their ‘carping’ attitude has not been well received and proclaimed as a great need of HUSD!

  • Eric Kurhi

    Hey, looks like the Special Education work session is set for Wednesday, 5 p.m. The meeting actually starts at 1 p.m. with action/discussion items on the supt. search, MOU between Chabot College and Tennyson high, and the reallocation of elementary school assistant principals. I don’t know if those items will take four hours or if there’s a significant break in there.

  • qodrn

    There is a new education survey out from Pepperdine on Ca school districts. Here are some fun facts about Hayward:

    From the year 08-09:

    Average Teacher Salary: $72,260
    Classroom Size: 27
    Spent per student: 10051

    Percent spent in the classroom: 69%

    Increase in expenditures vs. income of area: 42%

    If the district held expenses to same % as year before, could have had 72 more teachers.

    Over the last five years increase have occurred:

    Consultants: 79%
    Books: 199%
    Materials/Supplies 49%
    Travel 51%

    Teacher Salaries and Benefits are 56%

    Admin expenses equilvalent to 12% of teacher expenses
    Hayward ranked 303 out of 955 districts in money spent per student where top district would be the most spent on students
    Hayward ranked 81 out of 955 districts on money spent on teacher saleries and benefits where top district would be the one with the most money spent on teacher salaries.
    Looks like non-teacher salaries are 17% of the budget

    Clearly the district has failed to contain costs beyond salaries. Clearly a moratorium is needed on consultants expect for those required by law and maybe even those. And this doesn’t count the bunch of consultants employed this year. Clearly no travel money, no repay for expenditures out of pocket and limits on materials need to be imposed. Reading the monthly warrant list, the district is still spending like mad on these things. Textbooks cost a fortune. I don’t blame the school for that, but maybe its time for one classroom set per subject again.

    The amount of money spent on the classroom is about the state average.

    I was shocked at the average salary but I think this is what happens when you lay off all those making entrance salaries. Sorry, but I don’t think the teachers need a raise. 72Gs for a 10 month job seems pretty good to me.

    Anyway if you add up the 70% in the classroom plus the other salaries at 17% that gives 88%. Doesn’t leave much room for cuts, does it?

  • qodrn

    I was wrong,state average spending in classrom is 58%.

    Still, I would like the board to not lay off anybody to balance the books. Let’s do something else, even furloughs if needed. It is just cruel to lay off anyone these days.

  • Qordn,
    Especially when the district hasn’t even begun to address the recent ACLU court action that took on the issue of “required” supplies that students/families must purchase. At it was in 1984 from the Hartzel decision, and has always been, public schools MUST provide ALL necessary supplies and equipment free of charge to ALL students; something HUSD has not done for a good long while. Parents have been “guilted” into paying for such things as scientific calculators if their child takes an AP class, purchasing PE clothing from the school only, and other expenses.

    Now while many in this city face no financial problem in doing so, there are just as many who must decide to “rob Peter to pay Paul” in order to get these mandated supplies. Or, they must reveal to each teacher, counselor, advisor, etc. their financial circumstances and essentially “beg” for there to be a “scholarship” for their child. This is not only demeaning to parents and children but it is against Federal Law that forbids requiring families to reveal financial data except in the case of free and reduced lunces (for this purpose this data is kept confidential). I ask how can anyone begin to develop a budget that does not address the Free Schools law?

    It is my understandingt that coming down the pike soon will be a way for families to demand re-embursement for these fees…a new unplanned yet necessary cost to school districts.
    If you doubt what I have posted just go to the web and look up the ACLU case under fees; Doe vs Cal.

  • teachermama

    Furlough me! I doubt HEA will be asking for a raise this year, and a furlough is better than an outright cut. “Exhibit A” suggests laying off 70 certificated people, doesn’t it? I would be willing to kick in a pay reduction if it saves some of those much needed jobs. I can tell you with certainty that my kid is going to go bonkers next year if there is no PE.

  • Sherry Blair

    Hello everyone. I am back. I supposed if the board members can make peace with each other, I can make peace with this group. I see that Fernando has returned too. Nice to hear from you.

    I appreciated the difference in the seating, communications and relationships between board members and administrators since their worksession. It certainly does seem more civil than before on the surface. Unfortunately, there is still a negative undercurrent going on below the surface.

    Ms. Terrasas, a fellow peace lover, expressed the desires of many of us for the board to set an example of mutual respect, inclusion and cooperation. The kind of thing we expect of children in a classroom. She is a courageous woman.

    Once again I noticed that Mr. Reynoso’s comments about the need to create a budget that provides a free public education without discriminating against students by imposing illegal fees and charges was ignored once more. Since the Superintendents of all school districts were recently advised by Governor Schwarzenegger and the Assoc. of School Administrators about for the need to reallign and re-educate staff members about the law in this respect, I don’t understand why we have heard nothing from the district except for the solitary voice of Mr. Reynoso.

    I also noticed that Mr. Armas has taken up Mr. Reynoso’s call for more data. This will help to elevate the conversation to more evidence based ideas and therefore will be less opinionated and argumentative.

    The new board members seem to be doing a pretty good job!

  • Michael Moore

    Sherry, good to hear your voice in the wasteland.

    Qodrn, excellent summary of the issues facing the district.

    Teachermama, outstanding assessment of the future. The reality I fear is that the data will not arrive until after the cuts must be implemented.

    Kathi, nicely said. It is going to be very challenging. Doe v Cal will throw an additional wrinkle into the pot of trying to get entitlements when there is no substance to pay out.

  • Lucy’s Mom

    Wow! Nice, lively discussion going on. I have been busy, taking care of the children’ sniffles, apparently I missed a lot! I like what is available at the HUSD website and I am looking forward to see it in full operation. Fernando, I love the idea about the “tell the board” button!!! Please submit your idea to them.

    At the last televised board meeting, I was somewhat startle again at Mr. Armas ‘childish behavior. Interrupting the President of the board to announce why his esteemed colleague was not at the meeting was simply that: childish. Ms. Brunner was the good, structured mother that firmly, but nicely redirected the situation, conducted business as an adult. Ms. Brunner is a woman of many talents!!!
    Now, regarding the “traveling leader”; Mom of 4, I believe you are correct about Ms. Heredia’s trip to Washington. You and I have more than being mothers of four children in common; we have seen her true colors. She is an opportunist, and the group leading the lawsuit is using her ambition to further their goal. I am sure the organization is paying for the trip. They have the funds for it. The board meeting went well without her; there is not much contribution coming from Ms. Heredia, unless the discussion has to do with her pet projects.
    Teachermama, many teachers feel like you about furlough days. As a parent I would like to have the Thanksgiving break extended to five days. Many families that need to travel far take their kids a bit earlier anyway. Do you see that as a discussion at the bargaining table? How about closing the District office for two weeks during the summer? Staff can have everything ready for year around schools before the two weeks. It’s not fair that district personnel are left unaffected, while teachers and students are paying the price. 70 certificated positions? Absolutely not! Let’s close the district for 2 weeks, reduce some salaries at the DO, some furlough days, and get rid of soo many lawyers and consultants. Maybe is too simple, but I think of the children and their education, nothing more.
    Have a good weekend everyone.

  • Sherry Blair

    I believe that in the absence of real information, there is a natural tendency on the part of the human mind to fill in the void with the imagination, usually based on previous experience, but sometime very untrue and malicious, depending on the mind of the one who imagines. If truth is what I seek, I must look closely at what I imagine to be true and check my motives before I speak.

    I only wish that all the people we are talking about here could be present to speak their own truth and to hear ours. That way, together, we could come closer to the truth.

    Don’t think I am judging you. I am far too busy looking within myself.

  • Some heavy words, Ms. Blair

  • Lucy’s Mom

    If I may borrow a few of the words of Ms. Blair. We should all continue looking within ourselves,and tolerate the free expression of others, particularly when decisions about the education of their very own children are in the hands of people not focused on the promises made before the elections. Moving on…

  • K Rocchio

    Fantastic story on Cindy Dam. Thank you for sharing a bit of perspective and inspiration to all. I wish great things for this motivated and resilient young lady.

    If passing along the great idea of “tell the Board” button, perhaps we can ask them to track items submitted and even include when reporting communications with the Board. This may help resolve the unanswered concerns of many.

  • Is anybody concerned that so far all of the discussions regarding the superintendent search are taking place at meetings that are not televised, and occurr during the daytime (working) hours? So much for public input or public knowledge.

  • John W. Kyle






  • I promised myself that I would not rise to the bait from John Kyle, but I just couldn’t resist. It’s called transparancy…keeping the public in the loop is all that is asked for from the board. Since I choose not to expose myself to the likes of you at a public meeting, I and I think many others would just appreciate the opportunity to view and listen to the discussion and deliberations that go on during the process of selecting a search team that will bring forward the choices for the next person to implement the board of education’s goals for HUSD’s students and employees. No need to chastise me Mr. Kyle…pardon the slip back into giving anything you say credence.

  • John W. Kyle


    wow !

  • John W. Kyle

    All:b Sorry, this relatively long… tes6t your attention span ?

    In two recent attempts to correspond with HUSD Trustees, written in late January in first instance and at the end of the first week of February, in the second, I attempted communication of fact that the money crisis, caused by the truancy problem, is solvable and that a ‘tough attitude’ ought be exercised by an ‘attention getting’ use of California’s Senate Bill 1317.

    That law, applicable to negligent parents, offers use of prison sentences of up to a year, when parents persist in failure to assure attendance of their offspring in classrooms, as mandated by law.

    The State, does not forward to HUSD, any average daily attendance money for days at which there is an absence by a student and is almost as culpable, when it keeps the money as solution to it’s own need. Especially in view of the apparent neglect of an issue raised by HUSD Trustee Lisa Brunner, when she provided written reply to my letter dated January 27, 2011

    I was surprised as well as pleased that Ms. Brunner took the time from her busy day to write a reply. It was the first written response to any of the many that I have placed before HUSD Trustees.

    Ms. Brunner indicates that use of SB 1317 would be inappropriate in view of the efforts being made by HUSD to seek solutions less harsh then SB 1317. In addition, Ms. Brunner stated that ‘implementation of intervention programs‘, as well as a process not yet established, addresses the fact that the new law is incapable of being implemented since required processes are yet to be decided..

    Taxpayers, such as myself, are wondering how the time between passage of the law, (early August 2010) and the date it was to become effective ( Jan. 1, 2011), was spent if the required programs are yet to be devised, as stated in her January letter, .

    In my letter to Trustees dated February 8, 2011, I pointed to the culpability of the City of Hayward in failure in dealing with scofflaws, who when creating ‘improvements’ to a home, fail to ‘pull a permit’ from City Hall. The purpose of avoiding that permit process is to avoid increase in real property taxes triggered by improvements which add value, as allowed by Prop. 13.

    The reality of the incredible numbers of scoff law activity, which avoid County Assessor’s opportunity to add value additions, under the rules of Prop 13, is that frequent use of inexperienced labor, using poor quality materials and ignorance of health and safety codes governing construction, results in undesired creation of additional low income housing over and above the imposition of ABAG’s low income housing quotas.

    City of Hayward embraces ABAG quotas while Cities such as Pleasanton are villainous in their refusal to provide their fair share of such housing.

    Incorporated in the early 1850’s, City of Oakland has more than it’s fair share of old housing seen as being low income type while Hayward, a city since 1875 also has ample share.

    The consequence is that paroled felons, when released with or with out supervision, flock to our older Cities and that has negative consequences at school classrooms.

    HUSD ought demand of City and County, rectification of the imbalance which is basic to the attendance problem.

  • John W. Kyle


    No re-actions, testy comemment etc. to #35 under Kurhi’s topic ” New HUSD Website –2 – 9 meeting…..


  • qodrn

    Okay, I’ll bite. What happened at the School Board Meetings on Wednesday? Eric left us hanging after his twit about Ms. Herridia’s phone ringing during the meeting. (Mine plays the Adams family theme. Noone seems to mind when it goes off).

  • John W. Kyle


    There you go!

    In two full days since post of #35 above, not a single response by anyone who reads the Hayword Blog.

    Aside from the above reported information at #35, the next biggest problem which I rank as the second, is the failure, over a 20 + year existence of the truancy problem, is not the City’s or the school district’s problem but the failure of the electorate to directly involve itself in constructive (as opposed to destructive) contributions to a solution.

    By involvement, I mean active appearance at public comment opportunity or letters to the editor at which opportunities, members of a community offers it’s self in active. personal involvement. Not just picayune complaints but active involvement as a volunteer.

    The third problem arises with the coverage, in the print media, which exacerbates that which is described in #35 above.

    The review excels in reporting squibs of information dealing with the crimes committed in Hayward. There is no investigative reporting anymore. Staff is stretched pretty thin. Is that due to low subscription rates by local citizenry?

    Prudent home buyers, when considering a home purchase are thought heavily influenced by what they read in newsprint available in a city. What do we have in Hayward if not poor business decisions involving the owners of the Review?

    How so? Well ask yourself this question: Why is it that all the sorry news about Hayward, as easily observed in the Review, is pretty much limited to ‘squibs’ of data pertaining to crime! Why?? How does that aid the image of our City?

    It is all well and good to have some activity occurring with space in commercial rental property devoted to art and history, but is that what prospective home buyers are really seeking when considering a purchase?

    In ‘days gone bye’ considerable attention to the ‘quality’ amenities were of the greatest importance over and above price and amenity of the home itself.

    That is why, in City of Cupertino, where the school district was ranked somewhere within the top ten in the state, a tract of ‘cookie cutter’ homes, in a large development, which was almost divided in half by the separate school districts ( Cupertino and San Jose,) the same floor plan, built by the single developer, saw a sale of a home in Cupertino which sold for 5 to 10% more than the same model found sold, within a period of two or three weeks, as the one located in San Jose…. the kicker was that the San Jose Home had a fully functional swim pool not found at the Cupertino sale.

    Do not place all the blame for our trouble on either the school district nor the City…… Remember the famous comic strip “POGO” ?

    I do! I vividly recall the famous remark by Pogo,”we have met the enemy and they is us!”

  • Eric Kurhi

    Qodrn — Waiting on a couple of callbacks — one from the district, one from Ray and Associates — regarding the supt. search. I will have a post after I get some additional info, hopefully later today. The special education presentation was informational, materials are available online.

    Re: Ringtones. I used to have the theme from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” which always made it sound like something major was going down when I got a call.

  • Tara Kini

    Dear Members of the Hayward USD School Community,

    We are writing to commend HUSD Board Member Maribel Heredia for her passionate advocacy on behalf of all California public school students during the week of February 7-11th in Washington D.C. Since 2007—well before she was elected to the HUSD Board—Ms. Heredia has been a plaintiff in the Renee v. Duncan lawsuit, a suit to enforce the “highly qualified teacher” provisions of No Child Left Behind. She is represented in this suit, free of charge, by the nonprofit civil rights organization Public Advocates.

    At the request of Public Advocates, Ms. Heredia joined Public Advocates Managing Attorney John Affeldt in over a dozen meetings over four days with members of Congress and/or their staff and the Obama Administration to discuss the effect of current federal education laws related to the definition of the term “highly qualified teacher,” the equitable distribution of such teachers, and the rights of parents to know the qualifications of their child’s teacher. In meetings with Congressional leaders—including Senator Tom Harkin, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Congressman George Miller, Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee, Ms. Heredia brought an invaluable perspective as a parent and school board member, contributing in a meaningful way to the national dialogue now taking place around ESEA reauthorization.

    Through her advocacy, Ms. Heredia won the deep respect of members of a coalition of over 70 civil rights, disability, parent, student and education organizations who have come together to oppose an amendment passed in December watering down the definition of the term “highly qualified teacher” and to advocate for a fully-prepared and effective for all students as part of the ESEA reauthorization. This coalition includes the NAACP, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LULAC, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and a number of California-based grassroots parent and student groups. Members of this coalition joined Ms. Heredia and Mr. Affeldt for many of the meetings, and, in the process, learned of the successes and challenges faced by a mid-sized urban school district like Hayward in working to ensure all students are taught by fully-prepared and effective teachers. Throughout, Ms. Heredia represented HUSD in a positive and impressive manner.

    We first met Ms. Heredia four years ago in her role as one of the leaders in a campaign to ensure that HUSD students had access to clean, safe, school facilities, sufficient instructional materials, and qualified teachers—rights they are entitled to under the Williams v. California settlement. Ms. Heredia’s advocacy in Washington D.C. this month was a continuation of her passionate leadership on behalf of the rights of all students—and especially the neediest students—to a quality education, as well as the need for all parents to get involved in the struggle to improve our public schools. We understand it was this type of leadership that won her the respect of many members of the HUSD school community and is among the reasons she was elected to the school board.

    Thus, it came as a surprise to us that Ms. Heredia has been criticized by some for missing the most recent school board meeting due to her trip to Washington (a trip—to be clear— that was fully funded by Public Advocates; no HUSD funds were used.) While we invited her because she is a plaintiff in the Renee v. Duncan suit, Ms. Heredia was a tireless advocate for the rights of all students to be taught by a fully-prepared and effective teacher, and for the rights of all parents to have full disclosure when their child is being taught by a teacher who is not fully-credentialed. Her advocacy in Washington D.C. will benefit both the students of HUSD as well as students across California and the country.

    Thank you, Ms. Heredia.