Measuring up


The California Department of Education today released Accountability Progress Reporting results, and it was no laughing matter for area educators.

It’s basically a report card for schools and districts to see if they are making the grade when it comes to state and federal standards.

For the most part, area schools continued to improve when put to the state standard, but still struggle to meet federal expectations, which are rising each year.

While tomorrow’s headline will point out that fact, it does overshadow some of the hard work being done by teachers and students.

And while the education world has its own way of measuring school success, I’d like to know how you as a parent, student, teacher or resident measure a school’s success?


You do what, now?

We’ve had a number of “interesting hobby” stories lately, what with the Hayward snake guy, Filipino stick-fighters, Alameda County Fashion Doll Club, and even the dude who looks like Jerry Garcia

Well, maybe the last one isn’t really a hobby as much as a lifestyle choice.

Bottom line is, they’re fun stories for the reporter and readers seem to like them, so we’re always on the lookout for more. Do you have a unique pastime? Do you belong to an interesting club? Taxidermy fanatic? Street luge? Let us know — more than likely, your neighbors would love to hear about it. So would we.


Green team wins

Forget the red and blue states.
How about the red and green precincts?
Lakes of red in seas of green — that just about sums up the precinct picture for Measure F, the unincorporated areas’ utility tax, in the June 3 primary election.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ Web site maps precinct votes for the measure. Voters throughout the county cast ballots to extend and increase the tax, which is paid only in unincorporated areas such as Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol.
The results: widespread approval, with more than 65 percent of the voters countywide approving Measure F. Support was heavy in the cities, indicated in green on the registrar’s map.
Where did it fail? Check out the red zones: Castro Valley, Ashland, San Lorenzo and eastern Alameda County predominate.
Opponents of Measure F, mostly from unincorporated areas, said voting should be limited to communities where residents, property owners and business operators pay the tax.


Skatin’ towards San Leandro

Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling is going to San Leandro.
Relax, San Leandro politicians, he’s not after your jobs. He’s going to work in July as development director of the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club.
June 27 is Dowling’s last day as an aide to Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker. For seven years, he’s worked in Lai-Bitker’s San Lorenzo district office, tackling such youth-related projects as the San Lorenzo skate park, Youth Collaborative, and Team Up For Youth.


Make the grade

With the school year coming to an end, here’s one last final assignment.

Please take some time to evaluate your school district superintendent’s performance over this past year. To keep it simple, let’s limit the grading scale to satisfactory and unsatisfactory, and explain why.

Also include some highlights, lowlights, and some suggestions for improvement. Be sure to identify yourself as a student, teacher, parent, resident, etc.

Here are the list of area superintendents covered by the Review:

Jim Fitzpatrick, Castro Valley Unified School District
Dale Vigil, Hayward Unified School District
Dennis Byas, San Lorenzo Unified School District
Christine Lim, San Leandro Unified School District


Mark your calendar…

The Day of the Teacher is approaching and educators from Castro Valley, Hayward, San Lorenzo, New Haven and Newark Unified School Districts will meet from 3 to 6 p.m. that Wednesday, May 14, at the Five Flags area in Hayward (corner of Jackson, Mission and Foothill) to protest possible cuts imposed by the state.

Teachers are asking you to join the rally to help air your concerns about the state budget and how it relates to public education.


If it’s not in the dictionary, did it still happen?

I spent much of today at a Cherryland “charette” attended by a couple hundred residents of the unincorporated communities most conveniently known as the Eden Area, which in this case (but not all cases) includes Castro Valley.

edenstudyareainsert1.jpgThe unincorporated areas are confusing enough already, as people who live there will tell you. But no sooner did I file my story when a copy editor called me up and said, “Hey, what is a charette? It’s not in the dictionary.”

And no, it is not in our dictionary. But it is in some others. The exercise had some of the atmosphere of the town meetings I’ve witnessed in New England. The big difference is that while a true town meeting turns the local citizenry into lawmakers, Cherryland’s charette electorate made symbolic votes and now will have to hope the real lawmakers listen to their non-binding suggestions.

But anyway, there was a charette and lots of people voted for lots of different things and here, in a HayWord exclusive, is the Continue Reading


The age-old question

San Leandro educators began informational picketing this week to raise awareness of failed contract negotiations. San Lorenzo teachers are also working on a new working agreement, while Hayward Unified’s contract with its teachers expire this summer.

With the governor proposing across-the-board cuts, including in education, school districts are preparing for big losses in revenue.

So how can financially strapped districts fairly compensate arguably its most important employees? Remember, California already ranks among the bottom in per-pupil spending when compared with the rest of the nation.

School officials may look to you for the answer. Districts are warming to the idea of placing a parcel tax before voters to help compensate teachers.

Are you willing to support such a cause by paying higher taxes? Why or why not?


Charity begins at home

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley raised $71,000 in campaign contributions last year, according to his most recent financial statement, and it’s not all going to this year’s re-election campaign.

The Alameda County Labor Council’s Hardship Fund, and the Black Adoption Placement and Research Center are only the few of the charities to which Miley donated, using campaign funds.

However, working outside of office hours, Miley’s county staffers also earned salaries from these funds as campaign workers or consultants. Bob Swanson, an aide in Miley’s Castro Valley district office, was paid $980. Anna Gee, who works in both the Oakland main office and Castro Valley office, received $1,800. Robyn Hodges, who formerly worked in Castro Valley and now is in Oakland, made $1,200, as did Oakland aide Darryl Stewart.

Miley previously has said he has no problem hiring his county assistants to work on campaigns, since they separate the government duties from political work.

Miley’s son, Chris, who works for United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County, an Oakland-based senior citizen organization, netted $2,500. Nate Miley also donated more than $1,300 in cash or advertising revenue to United Seniors, and forgave thousands of dollars in loans from other campaign funds.

Miley, in addition to his job as a county supervisor, is United Seniors’ executive director. Chris Miley is the agency’s project coordinator.