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All Fremont schools aren’t equal

Given some of the recent debate here, I thought Anu Natarajan said something interesting about Fremont schools last night at a meeting sponsored by Fremont Citizens Network.

She noted that as the mother of an elementary school student, she doesn’t think all Fremont schools are equal even though they get equal funding.

“I am sending my daughter to a school that is not Mission, that is not Weibel,” she said. “I can see the disparities …”

Matt Artz

  • http://www.shahforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    Ahhhh matt, you should have gotten my response to this one!

  • Matt Zinger

    Anu may say whatever she want to say. She is just another politician trying to get votes in the next year’s election. The level of instruction/curriculum is the same across all Fremont schools but it is only the parental participation making sure that kids read and do their homework is making the difference in different neighborhoods. Even President Obama says the same, bottom-line is parental involvement in kid’s education is very important.
    Maybe, Anu Natarajan is busy politicking and not involved in her kid/kids education.
    Fremont voters should tune her out in next year’s elction

  • No Personal Insults Please

    Matt, I definitely agree that parents make a huge difference, but in Anu’s defense, there are definitely differences that impact the opportunites for our students.

    For example, some schools have beautful multi-use rooms for events, with sound systems, stages and electronic basketball score boards, while others are crowded with lunch benches, PE equipment that can’t be moved and portable stages that can’t be stored. Computer and science labs vary dramatically from campus to campus. The size of playground and field space can vary significantly and some schools have running tracks but many don’t. Title one schools get state funding for extra help after school, their counterparts do not. Some schools have showers for their PE students, some don’t. Some have working lockers, some don’t. This is important because students have to carry heavy textbooks for three to five classes a day, in addition to any supplies they need.

    Add to this equation the impact of the demographics. Fortunately, the Mission schools have PTAs and PTSA that offer ten of thousands of dollars to support educational opportunities to their students, as well as providing teachers with add’l funds for their classes. Over time, that adds up to better technology, better libaries and better classroom supplies that their counterparts need, but cannot afford.

  • Rick Muncie

    What is your response Ishan? Been dying to see what you have to say on this. Thanks.

  • Rick Muncie

    “Add to this equation the impact of the demographics.”

    So is the only reason that MSJHS is better than all other Fremont high school’s because of the ridiculously large Indian and Chinese population in their district? Is that why Irvington made the list too? Because more Indian and Chinese students?

    That would suggest that transferring to Kennedy would not have an impact on Ishan’s education, if school rankings end in Fremont end up being affected by demographics.

  • Marty

    What ever happened to the idea of elementary school attendance being based on how long a child has lived in an attendance ares?

  • Andy

    How well a student scores in a test is largely controlled by the student himself and his parents. Schools/teachers are just an aid to the process. They become more relevant only in low income neighborhoods. Thats why its ridiculous to grade a school/teacher by the performance of its students.

    Example, a low income neighborhood teachers do a wonderful job and get the school API to 800. Compare it with say a teacher in MSJHS who might be just average, but school API might still be 990.

    The system should base rewards taking into account the above scenario

  • http://www.shahforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    Mr. Muncie,

    When CWN made this statement, she implied that mission and weibel seem to have this “special” classification about them. It was a totally nonproductive statement because it also implies that she thinks these schools are better than others. What an unbelievably incorrect mindset. Now Mr. Muncie, I know you’ve been one of my biggest skeptics on this blog, and thats all well and good as I don’t expect everybody to come out here and be super-supportive.True Mission San Jose turns out higher grades than other schools, but is that because they have better campuses or resources? NO WAY. I’m really struggling not to let my emotion show on this subject. I’m very upset that just because somebody has a kid in the system they believes they have a comprehensive knowledge about all schools.You need to go there. Be at the level where you are exposed to it every day. As Matt mentioned in another blog, he said “he lost me” while I was talking about the HORRID conditions in certain parts of my school. I am filming a documentary that will prove to everybody that just because Mission has high grades, it is NOT well off. ALL FUSD schools with the possible exception of Kennedy, are in better physical shape than Mission San Jose High. Our toilets leak, half the lockers are rusted inside and out. When janitors come in to change air filters, actual SOOT FALLS OUT OF THE UNIT ONTO THE KIDS UNDER IT. I could go on… The point is, do NOT say you understand our situation unless you are actually here. I am fully aware Mission kids are regarded as spoiled, smart-alecs who think they’re better than everybody else BY everybody else. This is simply not true. It is a sad day when you have to use Mission’s campus as an example of a good campus…

    As for educational results, this is what I have to say… I’m going to use the example of football. Years and years ago, MSJHS had an amazing football team, won MVALS repeatedly. Now, we can barely win a game. Why? Is it because the rules of the game changed? NO. Its because the people who play are all unique individuals. Do not look at a school through demographics. Look at it through the individuals there. Mission years ago, might not have been the nationally ranked school it is today. It has nothing to do with demographics, it has to do with the individual kids and THEIR attitudes towards their education.

  • http://www.shahforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    GRAMMAR EDIT:
    I’m very upset that just because somebody has a kid in the system they believe* they have a comprehensive knowledge about all schools.You need to go there.

    Thank you all for your time and for listening for what I have to say even if you might not agree with it. I truly appreciate not being written off because of my age.

    Regards,
    Ishan Shah

  • Doug

    No Personal Insults Please – The problem with your post No. 3 is you do not identify the schools. Instead you refer to, “some schools”. Speaking in general terms makes it difficult to quantify your argument. I am sure each person reading it thought of a different school for each issue you listed. Without specifics your argument is unsubstantiated.

    Ishan, let’s be realistic about MSJHS football. Football requires beef, especially on the front line. With approximately 72-75% of the student body of Asian descent that requirement is hard to come by. That’s not a slam, just a reality. I guess you could call that unique, just not B-I-G unique.

  • http://www.shahforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    Hahah, Doug you know that wasn’t my point! :D

  • Volunteer!

    What’s up with the Chinese and Indian thing…..people are people. get involved with your children’s education and they will succeed…teacher’s need parents help as well. It dose not matter what school they attend….API scores are crap….GET INVOLVED! and quit being a raciest! Blood is RED! We all have it…….

  • Volunteer!

    p.s. we are looking for a VOLUNTEER plummer!

  • http://www.shahforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    Volunteer:

    I like that quote alot: Blood is RED! We all have it…….

  • SPA

    In response to the ridiculous comment Anu Natarajan made at the community meeting last week regarding schools. Ms. N has no idea that all the schools in Fremont are in terrible shape. She is completely out of touch if she thinks that Mission schools or even Weibel (which is part of the Irvington attendance area) get special treatment or extra money from the district. The only schools that have ever received money from the state are schools that are PI/Title I schools (need improvement). The other schools get funding from PTA’s, alumni associations and corporate donors. I think Ms. N needs to take a walk around Mission and some of the other high schools and see if she still thinks they get more money and are in great shape. I would like to see her drive her car through the American or Irvington parking lots and see what she thinks and if she survives driving these lots without a flat tire. She needs to use the bathrooms at Mission, etc. What was more interesting than this comment was that she too is out of touch with reality. During the course of a two hour meeting she did not take notes and all she said was “send me an e-mail.” Matt from the Argus also neglected to mention that many of us were angry that thousand dollar trees were being put up and the city has no money to cut them and they have no money to fix potholes but yet the trees keep going up. He also neglected to mention the problems by many residents regarding the police department. Lastly several people opened businesses in other cities with no problems but could not get a permit in Fremont. What is wrong with this picture? We need people to come to the City Coucil meetings and speak up even if Wasserman cuts us off. The time has come to unite to make our city a better place to live and vote for new people on the City Council who are willing to speak up and confront the current establishment of arrogance and non-responsiveness! Mr. Stickler and Mr. Wasserman your time has come. We now have people in the community who know how bad both of you are and are willing to make a change.

  • SPA

    I would like to comment to the person that states that Mission has PTA’s that donate money while others don’t. This is not true. Anonymous person please come to the PTA/PTC meetings at the high schools. At Hopkins the lockers are breaking apart and pieces of metal are exposed. The tennis courts are not playable and extremely dangerous because of the holes in the concrete. At Mission the locker rooms are full of rodents and locks do not work. The stairs are breaking apart and the dry rot is visible. So on and so on. Please take a walk through these schools and you will too understand. Everyone thinks that Mission schools are the best because they get funding. They are the best academically because the parents push the kids to do well. That is all. Unfortunately,this comes at a price. The homework at Hopkins is 4-5 hours per night for regular classes and at Mission if you are not an A student, you are nothing. Parents can protest till they are blue in the face, but the reality is that the district loves these scores and nothing will happen. The schools will continue to fall apart around the students all over Fremont because facilities are not important. If you care about the facilities then vote to pass another Bond measure. Also which schools have working showers??? I never saw any except for football players at one of the schools.

  • SMALLS

    Ishan,
    You have hit the nail on the head. The Campus at MSJHS is so outdated it is a very sad. I would love to see your movie when you are done with it.

  • OSB

    Anu is correct – not all elementary schools in Fremont are equal. Is there an assumption that everything should be equal where measured by academic scores? This disparity exists in all the cities in the Bay area – Fremont is aligned to the other cities in this matter.

    Elementary school academic performance is driven by competition between the students and the priorty given to academics by the students, parents and teachers. This has nothing to do with how good the facilities are in any school.

    In my opinion, schools doing well academically are attracting more parents and students who have place emphasis on education. This starts a vicious cycle – increase in score, leads to more students and parents who want the competive schools, who in turn drive up the scores.

    For schools looking to increase thier academic scores, they need to increase their focus on academic acheivement. This needs the teachers, students and parents to all agree to spend more time teaching the kids.

  • http://www.ishanforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    OSB, The reason that Mission fails to get funding is because of its high scores. Many are under the impression that simply because a school achieves a lot academically,t it doesn’t need financial assistance. This could not be more wrong. Take a walk around MSJ and you’ll see how badly we need the funds…

    I have it on good authority that the next health and safety bond would largely help Mission, as it is in the worst physical condition of all the high schools (this used to be Washington, but the last bond went primarily towards them). However, it seems we can’t convince the rest of Fremont to pass something that would help Mission a lot, even though its been done in the past for other schools. This sectional approach really is a core factor in impairing the educational atmosphere of the youth who attend the schools in the FUSD.