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Open letter from nonprofit re: Heredia trip

This was left in the comment section by Tara Kini, figured I’d break it out in an new entry:

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.

Eric Kurhi

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    To all:
    I believe that it is the right of the public to ask who paid for the trip. It has nothing to do with Ms. Heredia’s advocacy, it is simply asking for disclosure considering the financial bind HUSD find itself in today. I don’t think that the “open letter” in defense of Ms. Heredia was in the least bit necessary, chastising the public for asking for information is a bit much in my estimation. How sad that the public must be “called on the carpet” for expecting transparancy. Kudos to Ms. Heredia for her advocacy in this matter.

  • Sherry Blair

    Thanks Eric.

    Thanks Ms. Heredia and thanks Mrs. Booth. If more parents made the sacrifice these two parents have made to stand up for our students’s right to an education maybe Hayward wouldn’t be in the situation it is in now.

    Personally I think it is about time for a student/parent revolution in Hayward. I am tired of watching the school board nit pick it’s way through meetings while kids are forced to suffer this system or find an education somewhere else.

    I am tired of parents going all the way to Washington to be heard and not having a meaningful opportunity to testify right here in Hayward.

    This district does not even want to hear from all the board members much less the rest of us. Not unless we agree with them that is.

    Ms. Duran came to my neighborhood a year ago telling us about the sad state of HUSD. I gave it some thought and wrote a rather long email to her giving my point of view. I sent copies to the mayor and the city manager who were also present. Both the mayor and the city manager responded to my email. I am still waiting for Ms. Duran’s response. That is the difference between the City and our School District.

    We have to wake up now. Everything must be transparent. No more lying and back room deals. Let’s get it out in the open where we can see it and find the clear path to the future.

  • Sherry Blair

    After last night’s school board meeting, I wanted to connect with all the school board members. This morning I started looking for email addresses on the HUSD website. I can’t find any information about contacting them. Am I missing something?

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Sherry,
    I have searched for the emails for the board and have had the same problem. Perhaps you could phone the district offices and they could help you, or you could resort to using “snail mail”. Please let us all know what you find out.

    To All:
    If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch last night’s board meeting, I suggest you watch the video when it becomes available. Mr. Reynoso presented some very powerful information regarding fees for supplies and other areas that HUSD has been requiring students and parents to purchase; all of which is not permitted by the CA Constitution and Education Codes. You will be surprised at what you were reequired to purchase for your children’s daily education. For some families it amounts to quite a substantial sum of money. If you don’t want to wait for the video go to this website and view the ACLU powerpoint presentation.
    http://www.acsa.org/e-ducation then scroll down to the item that is captioned “ACLU powerpoint”.

  • AP Polk

    1. Call 784-2600 and ask for Mrs Ruiz. She has all the contact information for the Board, it’s public record, that’s how I got the email addresses.
    2. I agree some of HUSD school sites are breaking several laws but if no one calls them on it they continue moving forward.
    3.Any Manager speaking up about any injustices observed by them is quickly and swiftly eliminated.
    4. The videos of the board meetings seem to be missing, if I am missing something please let me know where I can find them.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Since the new website is still under construction, I am not sure that the videos are available. Maybe Ms. Ruiz can answer that question too.

  • qodrn

    Re:program improvement

    There is one middle school in Pleasanton that is now a program improvement school. Even though this school has high test scores, they failed in their duty toward their 114 Latino students. Only 41 passed the test which is too low. The Pleasanton school district is in shock. As theses 114 students move up through the system, high schools will also be affected. I remember when this district was held up as a district to emulate for Hayward.

    One wonders if Pleasanton which has major resources and money compared to Hayward can’t educate poor students, how is Hayward to do this with 50% of the population in this category?

  • Sherry Blair

    Thanks everyone. I have found all the board members except Maribel and two have already responded to my emails! I used to have an old board watcher friend who lived in the Southgate neighborhood, June Stetson. She used to end conversations like this with “Onward and Upward!”

  • John W. Kyle

    Qodrn;

    Want to undedrstand Pleasanton?

    Se and hear the first public comment speaker to hear the basic problem. Use the videi replay or pick up the replays on Chamnnel 26 which come on for the benefit of those withiout computers and time to sit in on Channel 15…. best bet… start at 4:00 on the day of the next CITY council meeting.

    There is strong reason to believe that a better understanding will soon appear on the opinion page of the Daily Review.

    BASICALLY, SINCE PLEASANTON HAS NEVER APPROVED CONSTRUCTION OF LOW INCOME HOUSING; iT REFUSES TO DO WAHT hAYWARD HAS DONE…. MEET abag’S GOALS FOR LOW INCOME HOUSING…. .

  • AP Polk

    Hi Qodrn,

    Can you please clarify your statement regarding educating poor children? Do you believe poor children can’t be educated?

    School District’s across California, Hayward included, should not make excuses about their failure to educate “poor” students. These same school district don’t mind collecting money for these kids year after year. If a district feels like they cannot effectively teach these students, admit it and get some help. School districts can’t, (correction), should not blame the victim.

    The big secret to increasing test scores is to kick out underperforming students. You mentioned their 114 Latino students are there any other subgroups with low test scores? 50% of the population, what’s the ethnic breakdown? Look at Hayward, how are the African American students doing. Has any noticed the mass exodus of African American Administrators? Is that how Hayward is going to get out of Program improvement? Alienate all the “poor students?” and the test scores will increase? Help me understand.

  • John W. Kyle

    AP Polkl;

    Pleasanton lost a lewasuit brought ahainsyt it for it’s complete failure to priovide ANT LOW INCOME HOUSING…. NONE THAT’S IT; i SUGGEST YYOU AWAQIT THE OPION PIEVE WHICH i AM ADVISED WILL APPEAR ON THE POLITIICAL OPINION PAGE OF THE rEVIEW IN A DAY OR TWO….

    bE AEDVUSED THAT THAT ada DOLLARS REACH THE CLASS ROOMS AT A HITGHER RATE THAN THEY DO AT hAYWARED! wHY….. NO TRUANCTY PROBLEM !

  • AP Polk

    Thanks John

    I will keep my eyes open for the article and comment.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    I hate to burst anybodys bubble, but here goes….
    School districts, HUSD included, make money off of low performing students and schools. That is where the federal money is spent, that is where grant money is spent..There are big bucks in “failure”. HUSD would lose enormous amounts of federal and state money and specialized grant money. Why would HUSD want to raise test scores and get rid of their cash cow?????

  • Michael Moore

    Kathi, you are completely correct in your assessment of HUSD and, virtually all other school districts. This will get better when the district adopts a more rigid system of student progression. Failure to educate a student should result in change in administration and teachers. The present system will not work now and will not work going forward. Eventually the state will step in and clean house. Until then there is no real hope of transformation.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Michael,
    Unfortunately, state take over does not guarantee student success and academic progress. Just look at the Katy Murphy Blog and see what poor shape Oakland Unified is in after many years of state management. The community there is tired and angry about the lack of raising test scores for children district wide. They, just like HUSD, have individual schools that are succeeding, but by and large it is no different. The money continues to pore in, consultants are hired to fix things, programs are axed, new ones are adopted, and still there is no change for students..but the money is there for administration and all the trappings that come with “fixing” the systemic problem…remember money in failure=cash cows for districts.

    The mentality of the superintendents and other administrative contract people must change and it will not until boards of education and the community demand it in massive demonstrations, calling notice to the lack of vision willingness to let go of the “good ole boys” system in favor of children.

  • Michael Moore

    Kathi, I think you make terrific points. I know that Oakland did particularly well initially after the receivership started. Lots of healthy change.

    That being said I think the model that schools are operated under is wrong. Your call for massive demonstrations is on point and correct. I will be happy to support and stand with you in this. The measure of success is the success of the student, nothing else matters.

  • qodrn

    Certainly I don’t poor students can’t be educated, since (1) I am poor (2)my kids have been honoroll students. Sometimes I don’t write enough.

    Pleasanton’s excuse was that the kids were poor, not mine. I don’t know, maybe I am too old, but it seems to me if you know the subject, it doesn’t matter what kind of test they give you. Clearly, Pleasanton should have been aware they had students who were not going to perform. My guess is they figured there other scores were so high (high 800′s) they didn’t need to bother improving these kids.

    Then I look at Hayward with such a high precentage of kids with low test results and realize they have perhaps an impossible job with so many kids to improve.
    I have little doubt there will not be success until the whole school atmosphere is changed. Public schools often seem okay with low achieving students. C’s are not okay in every subject.

  • qodrn

    I apologize for my spelling of late. I will stop using words I can’t spell.

    If you apply for a job at the HSUD you use something called Governmentjobs.com and NEOGOV. Am I wrong in assuming this is some kind of paid by HUSD HD source?

  • teachermama

    The most recent video is not up yet, but you can find the other ones after clicking on the “Board of Trustees” link on the new HUSD webpage.

    I caught some of Mr. Reynoso’s presentation, and I feel conflicted about it. I mean, of course nobody should be REQUIRED to pay for any of the supplies he mentioned and nobody should be DENIED educational services if they can’t or don’t pay. That part should be clear to all. Kudos to him for raising the issue so we can have a public discussion about it.

    The teacher part of me says “Right on!” since I work in a low-income school and came to education from community advocacy work. Actually, at my school we don’t have the practice of passing out a school supply list, although teachers do ask for small donations sometimes in the course of the year (sandwich bags, hand sanitizer, etc.) Our school is a Title I school, and provides the construction paper, binder paper, scissors, pencils, etc. We hold classroom fundraisers and teachers are allowed to use that money for supplies (notebooks, folders, etc.), although most actually use it for field trips and special programs for the kids and pay for said supplies OUT OF POCKET. The teachers I know spend hundreds of $$$ each year on books and supplies for their students, without asking for a cent back from the school or the community. I wonder if it is common practice for people in other professions to provide their own copy paper, desk supplies and other items necessary to do their job?

    My son, on the other hand, does not attend a Title 1 school, and the school site’s budget is pretty tight.
    the PTA does set up a fund for each teacher for field trips and supplies. The “Mama” part of me realizes that if the district is to pay for all those school supplies (crayons, markers, glue, etc.) then our students will just get the bare minimum. Some kids will bring in extra stuff, which will cause problems in class. I feel like my son is already only getting a basic education by being in HUSD, so I’m happy to contribute in any way I can. If the parents are able to enrich their kids’ education and that’s what they want to do, then why not? I’m tired of all the limits to his potential and education. If some construction paper from me means the teacher will lead the kids in an art project, yippee!

    The absolutely most fabulous thing that has happened for kids in HUSD since I started teaching were those “K to College” bags chock full of supplies. All the kids in my school got one, and it has completely broadened the scope of what we can do as a class. First of all, I no longer have to provide binder paper for kids to do their homework. A huge time and money saver. Second, I can assign more engaging and creative family involvement projects for homework (like making a poster about a story we read or a concept we studied in science, create a character puppet, etc.) because I know students have the supplies to complete them. Finally, parents have told me they are using those mini-whiteboards to help their children with their math. Hey, any help doing my job is certainly welcome! Of course the students and I wrote thank you letters to the organization, but when I saw the CEO at the board meeting a few weeks ago, I wanted to kiss him right there and then. Luckily I was watching from home ;)

  • AP Polk

    Qodrn

    Thank you for clarifying that for me. When I don’t know, I ask questions.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth und Moore:

    At #13, #14 #15 & #16 above, you both ‘go off’ on a line tangent to both earth and moon… somewhere in space, God only knows where you are really headed.

    At #13 Ms Booth prattles…”There are big bucks in failure” school districts “make money off of low performing students” as “that is where Federal money is spent” and “that is where grant money is spent“….. “there are big bucks in failure’ —- “ why would HUSD want to raise test scores and get rid if their cash cow.”

    In his extreme display of sycophancy, Mr. Moore jumps in at # 14 with “Kathi (Kathy ?) ..“you are completely correct in your assessment of HUSD and, ( , comma after the conjunction word ?) virtually all other school districts.”

    Obviously flattered by Moore‘s attention Ms. Booth, at #15 then ‘piles on another load’, ( as that expression is used and heard on dairy farms,).

    What both of those folks ignore, purposely in Booth’s case, is the simple fact that Pleasanton succeeds with it’s educational efforts
    through the collaboration of it’s City Council, in it’s practice of denying compliance with ABAG’s levy of low income housing.
    Find proof of that statement in the SF Chronicle article found in it’s March 17, 2010 story about Pleasanton’s loss in court when Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch found that prosperous City of 68,000, at fault for the voter approved cap on housing…. all as a means of avoiding the annoyance of compliance with ABAG’s attempts at introduction of low income housing quotas/

    I had raised a point in HUSD’s problem with truancy and transience when questioning the April 5, 2010 article, published in all of the ANG Newsgroup’s newspapers. That story, published on April 5, 2010 and authored by Paul Burgarino, dealt with the count of parolees living in Alameda County. It seems that Oakland and Hayward bear the brunt of problems, associated with the presence of parolees, in disproportionate numbers when compared with other cities. Did you know that Pleasanton has suffered through the period of time occurring in 2009 when the count of parollees in that City totaled 15! We are not to worry their count in 2010 was reduced to 5. Yes, just 5 in 2010 compared to Hayward’s 514 down from 582 reported in Burgarino’s story of April 5, 2010

    Hayward’s zip code # 94541, in 2010 enjoyed a count of parolees of just 215, down 10.04% from the previous year of 239.… I am sure that will be a shock to Ms. Booth who lives in that zip code area just as I do! Zip code AREA 94542 suffered an increase in 2010 and now suffers the presence of 20, (probably white collar types since, it is believed, that the ordinary ruffian would not be permitted, in the Highlands area particularly. ( especially since the latter ‘type’ in many cases returns to flatland Hayward where low income housing is more readily available snd where those with wife and kids can be assumed presently located.

    94544 is down to just 139..a 26.06% drop from the previous year while 94545 sees presence of 140 parolees, up 25% from the previous year.

    Well, you add ‘em up and compare it with the number found in the April 2010 article by Paul Bergamino of the ANG staff. In his article Oakland prospered with the presence of just 2,229. Gee…. My count after pouring through the tallies prepared by Urban strategies council’s extensive list of the many zip codes in Oakland, suggests that Oakland’s share of parollees has slumped considerably. I count just 2,037 in the report dated April 6, 2010 produced by the “Urban Stategies Council” report dated May 7 2010.

    The presence of parolees has an affect upon test scores.. Keep in mind that a typical release of guys on parole finds 40 % back in the slammer within 12 months of release….and at end of 3rd year the count rises to a number to just 52%…..

    Our State Dept of Corrections does not follow or track parolees after their third year! They are then free from supervision! The Corrections Dept did a study of those released in year 2005 reflects only 39% after the first year which rises only 49.06% at conclusion of the second year of release! At conclusion of third year the number is just 51.9 %. Well by golly you better believe it because that is all that you get from Dept of Corrections which produced a majot, magazine of high quality production in color in yar 2009. It went on endlessly with photos of the newer prison facilities, pictures of the leadership etc… a costly bit of printing. Available on the internet but I advise against printing it out due to the loss of colored ink… at you ‘wealthy taxpayers’ expense.

    I suspect they dared publish that magazine as an attempt to refute the Public interest group of Southern California which=h seems to maintaine the foggy idea that recidivism after five years

    Howebver, folks involved with a study performed by a Southern California group claims that they Have data demonstrating recidivism rates between 65% and 70%. After five (5) years.

    Booth, a heavy contributor of nonsense since her first appearance on the blog in Aigist 2010, told me, in more than one instance that I was on the wrong track in my belief that parolees do have children
    and that recidivism plays a significant role in HUSD’s truancy and ADA problem.

    Ms. Booth, you have little appreciation of that problem; do some real research for a needed appreciation of the nonsense in the aforementioned contributions numbed 13, 14, 15 etc

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Teachermama,
    I understand your conflicted feelings regarding the entire fees issue. The very reason that supply budgets have been cut to the bare bones is because the district, through its unsuspecting teachers, has guilted the parents into providing the items for them. The law is clear, parents may purchase/provide for their students, or donate, anything they wish, however schools cannot state for example; “to complete this assignment you will need to use a calculator at home” or “pe clothes must have the school logo, you may purchase them from our pe department, or request a used set from your teacher, without the proper pe attire you will receive a dress cut”…or “for my math class you will need a scientific calculator”..or “for my class you will need a 3 ring binder, dividers, colored pencils and highlighters”.

    Student grades/progress cannot be tied in any way to their ability to supply those. Teachers can still send out wish lists, parents and community members can still donate…HUSD cannot balance its budget on the backs of teachers and families.

    Finally, teachers must not believe the administration when they say “needy students may apply for waivers or scholarships to cover costs”…A student’s financial need is private and, except in the case of free and reduced lunch, NO SCHOOL OFFICIAL may require a student to reveal the financial status of their family.

    This has been settled law since 1984 under the Hartzel decision…and it is now supported by the recent ACLU case.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Just for clarification for others who read this blog. When I have commented on the idea of parolees being the direct cause of truancy it was specifically to answer a claim by another blogger that as soon as parolees are released into a community, the truancy rate jumps. I simply opined that I thought that children of those who were incarcerated were in the community during the parent’s prison time, and therefore wondered how a parole would suddenly equal a rise in truancy from their childred. I “tongue in cheek” asked did the blogger think that these children were some how locked up too and not released into the school community until the adult in there life was paroled.

    Thakn you for the opportunity to clear this up.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth;

    Balderdash! You never went on in your coomets as you stated above!If so give me the date of that submission! Be accurate I have no time to wade through the trash you posted when going on about certain candidates to HUSD Board of trustees.

    You do save that trash in your word processor, do you not ?

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    I don’t believe that I addressed my posting to any one individual. Nor do I believe that I have to do as I am told to do by one individual.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth;

    Then you loose just as you did with # 13 above…. your irrisponsibility is not defended by your response to my critaue at # 21 above.\

    How do you like the stats at zip code 94541 ?

    Now just for the pleasure of it, be reminded that I did not say that truanxcy problems start and end with the day that dad came home nor on the day he was picked up as nother number in the recidivism column.

  • Sherry Blair

    Mr. Kyle, you seem to be the only one who makes no effort to avoid personal attacks on this blog. I don’t understand what is going on with you. You seem to have some information to share and then you alienate the people you are sharing it with. What do you hope to accomplish that way? How’s it working for you?

  • John W. Kyle

    Blair:

    SCroll back to # 13 and tell me why you would defend that diatribe. iF YOU FAIL TO UNDERSTAND WHY THAT OFFENDS ASELL AS DO HARM THE WHOLE COMMUNITY…..THEN PERHAPS YOU OUGHT SEEKJ COUNCELING ALSO.

  • John W. Kyle

    bLAIR ASELL???? TRY READING IT ‘AS WELL …’

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Mr. Kyle:

    Have you noticed how pretty much everybody who is contributing to this blog refers to the other porters either by their first name, their “handle, or as Mr. So and so, or Mrs. Whatever.

    Your postings, addressed to “Blair”, or “Booth” , or “Moore” come across as quite condescending, and the over use of capitals makes it seem like you are yelling at folks.

    Why can’t you make your contributions, valuable and informative as they are, without at the same time talking down to, yelling at, and just plain being rude to others and their opinions on this blog?

    I think your ideas would be better received…

  • teachermama

    Kathi, thank you for your comments in no. 22. That sounds entirely reasonable.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Teachermama and any one else who may care:

    The law in essence is so simple, yet somehow explaining what has happened in the effort to circumvent it is extremely difficult. We have all been working under the collective thought that it was our responsibility to provide supplies for our children to succeed/progress academically, or pay for them to have positive extra curricular experiences.

    Here is something else that we must be aware of regarding fees for extra-curricular school sponsored events and how they have become exclusionary…

    The Jr. Prom and Sr. Ball and Grad Nite are now held off site and the cost to attend is very high, even when families try to economize. For those of us who can pay the costs, though it may be hard, our children attend and have that experience…for those who do not have the financial wear-with-all their students just don’t even consider making it a part of their high school life; the just opt out. The CA Constitution and Ed Code, as proved by the ACLU lawsuit, prohibits these costs to individual students. It is either all go or none go. No waivers, no scholarships requiring students to reveal their family’s financial state may be used. Students and families cannot be required to provide such information.

    I am sure this is hard for all to believe, but once again it is part of the collective thought/belief that we have lived under for years…We, who can, just do it and think little about all those who cannot participate. If we do stop to think, we most often conclude that it must be because they don’t want to go.

    As we all begin to process this very important issue I am sure that there are other areas where students are required to pay or disclose financial hardship.

    I have personally been fighting this fight for 3 decades now and I am hoping that there will be others, many others, who will stop and think and demand that HUSD and all districts stop supporting a two tiered educational system for our children.

  • John W. Kyle

    All,

    None of you have disected the thoughts of Ms. Kathy Booth… as she expressed them in her blog submissio0n at # 13 above.

    Why is that?

    I did not at ant time state that p[arolees increase the truancy factor from the moment of their arrival in Oakland or Hayward. They are however a factor in the truancy and transience problem; note that Pleasanton has historicall avoided ccreation of low income housing wiythin it’s boundataries oc City and school District.

    I seriousl suggest that you all watch the HUSD website recoprding of the meeting of Februarey 23w, 20011. Notethat I was the first of the ‘public comment speakers’ and I delivered a monolg=ue relating to my expeirience whemn watching a grandchild’s graduation at the Amphitheater in ASlameda County Fairgroaunds when the Supt./ got up to address the graduates as well as the audience of parennts and relatives attending… The amphitheater is large and was ‘packed’ even to the point that folks were seated on the stairs and standing at the access paths and fence line enclosing the facility.

    He went to the microphone, stood for a moment, then raising his extended arm amd fingers, pointing to the west and stated…. “are you not glad that your children did not attend that school district on the other side of those hills?”… a moment of silence ensued while the dim wits coped with the expression of disdain the man delivered against Hayward and it’s school district… then, for almost two minutes the crowd yelled, whistled, clapped, stomped their feet in total appreciation of whhat the man had said…

    A terrible indictment of Pleasanton folk.. supported by their open contempt for low income housing etc….

    I put kathy Booths comment at item 13 on thesame level of contempt as I diid for that Superintenden of Schools in Pleasanton…..

    If blog readers see me as a thorn in the community… so be it! That is their problem,. not mine! I think it to be righteous indignation, raised up by inappropriate expression of contempt for the HUSD Trustees, teachers,administrartors as well as the folks who elected the trustees.

    If you do not like my scribbles and attitude… do not read what I write! I hold no gun to your head!

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Kathi et All:

    Sorry for the long post.

    I’m still trying to make sense of what is going on regarding fees and what teachers are supposed to do to do their job.

    My wife teaches at a HUSD title one school and I know she personally finances both supplies and field trip fees to the tune of many hundreds (if not over a thousand) of dollars every year for her students. Without her contributions her class would simply not get to go on field trips, and many class projects would just not happen.

    I have a teaching background as well. I have taught at CSUH, Diablo Valley College and Chabot College and I’m currently assisting in teaching a sculpture class at Chabot. We are having to deal with the same issues. Back in the old days the students paid a fee to cover their materials and other costs of producing their work.

    Under the new laws (or newly enforced law) we can’t charge a fee to participate in the class, but the college will not give us a budget to finance the materials for the class.

    In my particular case I’m in working with about 10 students learning to sculpt with bronze. The range of their expenses for being in the class could range from $150-$600 (if they take advantage of buying their materials in bulk, but that is another can of worms from the organizational point of view….)

    If we can’t charge the students for the materials they need to practice with as per the law, and the state or federal government will not pay for these supplies…

    Who is supposed to pay for this?

    Me?

    One interesting spin on this whole situation is that the students I deal with are both retirees who are fully capable of financing their own artistic retirement, as well as young folks who really couldn’t afford to learn the craft…

    How do you determine who really needs help and doesn’t if you can’t ask for details of their financial situation?

    My daughters are now attending a new public charter school in Hayward (Golden Oak Montessori) and the school is currently having fund raisers that will help out those who need financial aid to cover field trip expenses, that way nobody is excluded…
    Unfortunately not all public schools have the fund raising prowess to do this.

    Kathi- I would be curious to hear your thoughts about this…
    At which point do we as a society stop or keep subsidizing the learning of our youth, young adults, and retirees?

    How do we as a society draw the line without asking questions?

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Fernando,
    I believe that at the Community College level and at the Adult School level, fees, particularly those for projects that will be kept by the students are entirely permissible. I believe that is also the case for K-12 students who fabricate projects and then take them home. The very sad part of this is that we all know that many students residing in our school districts are living in homes where finances are stretched beyond imaginable limits. However, these students have every right to participate in all aspects of the K-12 education, regardless of their ability to pay, and certainly without ever having to disclose their inability to pay.

    School districts must find the way to fund supplies, instead of placing the responsibility on the backs of teachers and parents, who by the way already fund public education through their taxes.

    I have no magical answers; it will take the work of many minds, dedicated to solving this issue. Fundraising, corporate partnerships, community donations, reducing administrative costs in district offices are all ways to consider. Getting kids back in their seats so that we may regain lost ADA wouldn’t hurt either. It truly is time for the greater community here in Hayward to see that a two tiered system of education based upon the ability to pay is wrong. It is just another form of “separate but equal”. It may be happening a more subtle way, but never the less it is discriminatory.

    Having represented students from financially stressed families, I know first hand what it is like for the student who can’t afford the mandatory PE attire to be forced to wear used ones from the box in the locker room, after they have been made to disclose their financial need. I know what it is like for the student who would never dream of going to DC for the Close-up trip. Knowing they could not pull together enough money to pay their own way and too proud to have to admit their family was “poor”, these students just don’t bother.

    Finally, while I understand the true concern and dismay in the last line of your entry…I am concerned with children, K-12 students, who should NEVER be made to feel “less than”; asked to explain family finances; required to bring a note from their parents explaining family need; or in any other way treated differently due to circumstances over which THEY absolutely have no control.

  • John W. Kyle

    Mr. Hernandez;

    What I herewith suggest is not thought by me to be applicable to the activity in which you are presently engaged. AIt does seem to me that there are opportunities for application for high school students liovihng life in low incomew status but capable of success at college level who might, under their presentt circumstances are probably shut out.

    There is presently existing a spreading example which was started in Chicago in 1994 andat last report in lastreport provided me had spread to a total of 24 locations about four of which are located in California.

    May I suggest that you use the internet to find the Home page of “Cristo Rey Schools, Chicago Illinois. Google will carry you thedre.

    Ar Cristo Rey schopols, those attending are purposely drawn from low income areas where public school asttendence isd sporadic to say the least.

    I will not provide all details but by using Google to reach ” Cristo Rey Schools, Chicago Illimois, the home page will soon appear. The last time I looked the quick insight is found in the links at center of page near the end of the fitrst column. You will be looking for “60 minutes” program video of about 12 minutes duration as a means of gaing a quick insight.

    Started by a Jesuit in a very p[opore neighborhood… kids go to school just four days per week…. on an extended day period of time. on the fifth day they report to a job location for whivch they are paid…….I’ll let you exp;ore that opportunity and if you thonk it has vali=ue persue the idea……any way you can!

    Do not approach the CATHOLIC DIOCESE FORE AIS AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME. dIOCES STARTED BUILDING A cATHEDRAL AND WAS CAUGHT IN THAT MOMENT OF TIME WHEN INCREDIBLE INCREASE IN BUILDING MATERAILAS OCCURRED WHEN cHINA CAME TO us FOR SUPPLY OF pORTANDCEMENT ETC….. oUR LOCAL AGGREGATE QUARRIES HAD BEEN GIVIN OUT AND NOW AGGREGATE COMES FROM KING cITY AREA, OR SO i AM TOLD. ( fOLKS IN sUNOL APPARENTLY AVOIDED THAT AREA BEING USED FOR AGGERGATE….SALT FREE AS WELL AS SILT FREE IS SCARCE ALSO AND i AM TOLD MUCH OF WHAT WE USE IS BARGED FROM bRITISH cOLOUMBIA… THUS DID EXPENSE OF cATHEDRAL GET OUT OF HAND ONCE THE STRUCTURE WAS STARTED…. SI dIOCESE WHICH MIGHT AT ONE TIME HAVE BECOME INVOLVED NOW COJMPETES WITH OTHER GOOD CAUSES FOR DONO=RS AND WLL APPARENTLY NOY TURN TO cRISTO rEY cONCEPT AS MEANS OF PROVIODING EDUCATION TO LOW INCOME CHILDREN IN cRISTO rET FASHION

    MY PRESENT THOUGHT IS TO CHALLENGE THE NON-CATHOLIC COMMUNITY TO PICK UP ON THE IDEA… IT IS NOT COPYRIGHTED AND SURELY PERSONS OF FAITH OTHER THAN THE cATHOLIC fAITH WILLSEE THE BENEFIT OF ADVANCED EDUCATION FORE KIDS WHO LACK THE OPPORTUNITY…

    WHY WAIT FOR CATHOLICS….???? cARRY THE BALL INTO THE EDUICATIONAL ARENA AND CHALLENGE OTHER FAITH GROUPS?

    AS A STARTER TURN TO GOOGLE TO ‘WIRE IN’ TO A GREAT IDEA!

  • The Silent Observer

    Hi Mrs. Booth,

    I too have much concern for all of the children in HUSD. I can imagine the hurt children may experience because they can’t afford to attended important school sponsored events like the senior ball. What might be a solution for a problem like that? Fund raising on that level seems impossible.

    P.S. I heard the Mt. Eden choir has been invited to the Vatican to perform at a music festival in 2012. It’s unlikely they will go because of the cost. That’s really unfortunate, what an experience that would be.

  • Eric Kurhi

    Observer — It’s true about the choir, we had a story about it in January: http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_17102097

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Dear Observer,

    This issue is not one that is easy to comprehend or to deal with, but it is vital.

    This predicament was created by HUSD many years ago when, they decided to approve and support holding these “rights of passage” at off-site and distant destinations. Had the administration and the board denied the first request and any that followed,the idea that 15-18 year olds NEED the experience of a hotel in San Francisco; a buffet filled with food that most don’t really enjoy; at a cost that is prohibitive would have been moot.

    What needs to happen now is the community, the city leaders, the chamber of commerce, local philanthropists-all of whom say they care about ALL students in Hayward, need to put their money and their action where their mouths are; instead of sitting back in judgement and complaining about the sad state of our youth. THE EXPRESSION “WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY” IS TRUE…

    As for the Mt. Eden Choir, I feel bad that the students will not have the opportunity to travel to Italy to perform. However, there are ways that perhaps funding can become available. Why not appeal to the greater music community, to the greater performing arts community, to philanthropic organizations?

    It does not make me happy that school districts, and in our case HUSD administrators, have created the mess that we now find ourselves in. But, I am not willing to just throw my hands up and give up, and I am certain most of the people in our community aren’t either.

  • John W. Kyle

    Silent Observer;

    There was a proposal to have a ‘Town Hall Meeting’ at which voluinteers might have come forward to express ideas about fund raiosing. However, some elemnets in the community riculed that idea.

    One of it’s goals was to et5sablish a group which would have built on the idea of ooster Club enlargement.

    Some semi-professional nay sayers put the ‘kibosh’ on thge idea through this here BLOG.

    The same types ALSO WAIL ABOUT THE POOR KIDS WHO ARE UNABKLE TO EXPERIUENCE A ‘PROM’ HERE IN hAYWARD….. “GAY PROM” WORKED FO A WHILE BUT THAT DIED FOR LACK OF NTEREST ALSO!

    iN MY DAY WE ‘SAVEWD UP’ FOR MONYHS AGEAD OF THE DAY… SOME WENT TO THE MAUSELEUM AT CEMETARY AND BORRIED A CORSWAGE OFF THE WALLS.

  • Sherry Blair

    Mr. Kyle, in anser to you question in #28 about Ms Booth’s posting on #13, I don’t feel I have to defend Ms. Booth, nor do I think she should have be verbally abused for stating her opinion whether we agree or not.
    I agree with you that some may find what she said to be offensive, but she did not direct her comments at any one person. You on the other hand address personal insults to people. You telling me that if I disagree with you I should seek counseling is just such an insult. Surely you don’t believe you are the measure of my sanity.

    Again, please control your emotional need to abuse people who are trying to have a conversation on this blog. You are better than that.

  • John W. Kyle

    Bl;air;

    I consider item # 13 as slander ! If you defend it…. are you not open to critcism also?

  • Sherry Blair

    I really appreciate the interest shown here about the free school issue. The more we talk about it truthfully and transparently the better. That’s how consciousness gets raised and compassion is increased.

    Teachermamma, I too sympathize with the front line teachers. I hope you will have these conversations at your school with other staff members and parents. How many times parents have stood with teachers. My own children and I walked the picket lines with teachers here in Hayward years ago. Will the teachers be with the children on this one? Will anyone dare to tell the high school students the truth?

    I have watched the state fight with cities and counties over funds. Everyone is looking out for themselves. Where is the conversation about best use of limited funds?

    When the city needed money, it didn’t hesitate to ask the people to raise their taxes to pay for fire fighters and police. And we the people gave them what they needed!

    Now the city is afraid of losing redevelopment funds. I don’t hear them being concerned about the schools and social services that might need those funds more than they do.

    The district has been neglecting its fiscal responsibility for providing equal opportunity in the schools. It seems it’s perfectly all right if those students who are supported by parents get to do all they want without sacrifice, but those who’s parents don’t support them, whether they have money or not, are destined to be pushed out and left behind. Is that what we want for future generations?

    All this is happening at a time when the economy is so bad that families are losing jobs and being thrown out of their homes.

    Our community does not lack in compassion. Many people try to help, teachers contribute, the Ed Fund helps, the k-college program helps. But if the district keeps saying there is no problem, how can we expect people to rise to the challenge?

    What we need is a community wide effort to collect the funds that are necessary – like Castro Valley has been doing.(Not that they aren’t also charging illegal fees – they are.)Instead, our mayor talks about how bad the schools are and how it is affecting property values.

    Where is our leadership? If people knew the truth about this issue, if the district hadn’t lied to so many people about how it isn’t a problem, Hayward would solve the problem!

    We would do it like a family does it. How many of us belonged to families that had a hard time at least once in our lives? Did our families say they were going to leave us behind? No, when times are tough, families share the resources and work to set good priorities.

    We can do it…if we chose to open our eyes and hearts.

    Oh and one more thing. I haven’t kept current on Title I, but it was meant to be to help schools with low income students. It was well intentioned, but the way they distributed the funds caused a lot of problems setting schools and students against each other in a competitive system where there are winners and losers. We need a system where all the students are winners.We need to meet the real needs of individual students.

  • Sherry Blair

    Mr. Kyle,

    Who has #13 slandered?

  • John W. Kyle

    Ms. Blair;

    In Reply to #44….

    Try examining these thoughts…

    Those who come to mind are the Trustees, The enployess in administration of the District and the electorate who rule over the choices for a seat on Board of Trustees, whom Ms. Booth apparentloy despises.

  • teachermama

    Number 13 is true and clear to all, although not limited to HUSD. Mr. Reynoso is always talking about the industry of failure – how many jobs for consultants, “service providers” (tutors) and others are created and subsidized by students’ low performance on the CSTs? Let’s be real, these people are not going to work themselves out of a job and actually raise student performance. If I understand it correctly, the district has to divert some of its Title I money to these educational vultures, so then I guess the district needs the fancy “underperforming” grants to make up for it and more. It makes me sick the way the tutoring companies bribe kids and parents with food, trinkets, etc. to get them to sign up, since they make $ per head. And the consultants are just opportunists cashing in.

    Number 13 did make me think, though, that if there is not a collective commitment to raise student performance, then it is beyond ironic that policymakers and media outlets are calling for test scores to make up part of teacher evaluations and are being used for public shaming a la the LA Times. This must be part of a larger effort to de-unionize and reduce educational costs or advance the privatization agenda. Thanks for helping me make that connection. I love this blog!

  • Sherry Blair

    Mr. Kyle, again without even getting into whether or not I agree with Ms. Booth which is irrelevant to this discussion,I do not think the statements in #13 were slanerous. I think that one must be very careful in accusing people who are exercising their right to free speech. If you were successful in this attempt, it would have a chilling effect on all of us. We are Americans and we get to speak out when we believe the government is wrong or oppressive.

    My point throughout this discussion is that your use of personal attacks against members of this group is unacceptable. You may disagree with us, but your attacks are unwarranted and unwanted by anyone else on this blog. I am not going to keep debating this issue with you forever. Please try to understand what I am saying. We teach this early in the elementary schools. I know you can get it if you will try.

  • Lucy’s Mom

    Mrs. Booth,
    On #13 you are absolutely right! I heard the grant lady at the district said that we have the “perfect formula” of student/diversity/low performance/SES to bring grants to Hayward.
    Do we have transparency regarding these grants? I have not heard of a Board Study Session for YEP, Americorp.
    I hope the new board members come on board with Mr. Reynoso about this.
    Title I money? Ha! Only 15 percent is suppose to be for Adm. The rest belongs in the classroom. We need a Board study session on this too!
    Where is the transparency on Title I and other federal categorical funds? Parents, teachers and students along with the board of education must ask for complete disclosure, including positions, placements,and salaries. Me may not have to cut anything if we become a transparent district.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Lucy’s Mom,
    That is exactly what I was trying to say in my posting about money in failure. Do any of us as parents or teachers want our students to continue to underperform? Of course not..but it does seem to be a way for administration at the DO to keep and justify their jobs.

    I truly hope that the newly elected board members begin to demand information, not in “education speak” but in clear understandable language, regarding all of the programs, grants and funding sources.

    Years ago the parents of Longwood School filed a formal complaint regarding misuse of Title I money. They did their homework, collected documentation and evidence and WON their complaint. It was a long hard battle, filled with retribution and intimidations on the part of HUSD, but the school administration and DO was found to be supplanting money. It takes determination and parents who want laws to be followed, children to come first, and transparancy to make changes. And then it requires those very same parents to continue to monitor HUSD, because if they don’t the “bad stuff” just returns to harm another generation of children.

  • John W. Kyle

    Mrs. Blair;
    You owe it to yourself to review some basic matters which have appeared in # 43.

    Start by improving your understanding of redevelopment funds. If those funds appear to have been directly employed in the redevelopment of the Burbank school… that is an appearance but not a fact. The redevelopment money was used in redevelopment of the Hunt’s Cannery land parcel; redevelopment money was used to provide funds for the site of low income residential property at the Corner of Grand and C Street. There are those additional enhancements to the City, to be considered in the vacated portion of the old Burbank school playground upon which the developer is awaiting a more favorable market. Some of the Redevelopment money was invested in the new HARD Park, which came as result of abandonment of a portion of City Streets, as an enhancement of value and sales appeal for the housing units currently being built on the former Hunt’s site and the street relocation…that land was sold to developers in whole or in part as that construction continues… recall the curved part of the roadbed which aided truck access to Hunts from A Street

    You need to understand that the City did not, could not, spend redevelopment money in direct construction of the new Burbank school. Redevelopment money is spent to improve housing supply as well as enhancement of commercial business conditions.

    As a retired real estate appraiser working in major Banks who loaned money for construction of businesses I Have seen and witnessed some pretty involved real estate transactions, but Armas’ triumph staggered my mind! The man is intelligent and the best thing to happen to HUSD in a long time.

    Here is a challenge for you… when did you hear the school district say …” There is no problem !” ? I recall being involved with the first edition if Fitag back in the late 1990’s, during the period when a good Supt. was under fire, during the mid point of his four year contract, because he had not solved the low test score problem within those two initial years of his contract..,. when truancy as well as transience was part of a continuing problem. He was also fired as was his predecessor and the two individuals who followed him into that job.

    That you as a parent, with others, appear to be suffering some incredible conditions is not a new problem. It has been going on for years! Is it solvable? I think we had a shot at it but the basic problem within the land area for which ’district’ HUSD is concerned, is that portions of the City of Hayward are found in the Union City School District and other portions, Ashland and Fairview, are in the County areas, beyond City limits. It is not legally possible to spend City monies outside the City‘s boundaries. And the ‘ladies of Fairway Park‘, Hayward neighborhood within City limits are actually not within Hayward School District but instead are involved with New Haven School District. So a direct cash investment of City money to HUSD would cause an uproar in Fairway Park and money from City to schools serving the County areas not within the city’s concerns would find some other Hayward residents also upset!

    It was for the above concerns that I find myself an ardent admirer of Jesus Armas our school board trustee who, when employed by the City, did a hell of a dance through the maze of laws and regulations in order to achieve the new redevelopment of the Hunt’s Cannery area and creation of a new HARD park and Burbank school.

    You state: ‘What we need is a community with efforts to collect the funds— Well now lady, just what do you think I was trying to accomplish with the “Town \Hall Meeting” idea? Booth had not a whisper of thought in her mind when she took a negative position on that idea….. Then the Chamber of Commerce, equally without a clue was too busy to involving itself in organizing a Christmas time Cocktail ‘,mixer party’ while the Chairman of the Board of C of C, took the position, without answering my phone call that FITAG was the cure for all problems! I guess the man did not recognize that FITAG is on it’s second time around ‘the circuit’! I was an invited participant when that idea was first introduced some 15 years ago. Controlled largely by HEA and AOTE as well as SEIU, bargaining units, it failed us in the earlier experience and I fail to see why it will succeed on this occasion.

    The losses due to truancy are simply too great! Consider the facts as Mr. Kurhi reported in a recent story. In that story was reveled the fact that at one High School alone, $4,500 per day was lost due to truancy. $4,500 per day x 5 days = $22,500 per week! Do your own math when it comes to losses in spending power for supplies!

    In your number #43 you have stated:…’if the District had not lied to so many people about how it isn’t a problem, Hayward would solve the problem.’ Explain that, especially about details of the lie!

    If you engage in periodic examination of conscience… you have much in the way of explanation to undertake in duty to yourself!

    Good luck with your own children!