News

SRVUSD Area 1 candidates debate in forum

Pandell, Petersen, vanZee talk curriculum, teachers, district reputation and more

From left: Candidate Michelle Petersen, moderator Ann Flynn, candidate Jesse vanZee and candidate Jerome Pandell pose following a SRVUSD Area 1 election forum at San Ramon Valley High School on Sept. 27. (Photo by Jeanita Lyman)

The three candidates in the race for the single contested seat on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education faced off in an in-person forum in Danville on Tuesday night, with topics including curriculum, teacher recruitment and retention, and opinions on current and future district practices.

Jerome Pandell, Michelle Petersen and Jesse vanZee – each vying to hold elected office for the first time – sought to amplify their campaign platforms in the live forum at San Ramon Valley High School, hosted by the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and moderated by the League of Women Voters.

The event opened with remarks from Ravneet Julka, vice president of legislative affairs for the Council, and from student Aarnav Verma, followed by prepared opening remarks from candidates and a question and answer period moderated by Ann Flynn of the League of Women Voters.

Candidates had the opportunity for two one-minute rebuttals each, with no audience participation permitted.

Julka sought to emphasize the role of civil discourse in democratic functions such as elections, amid increasingly partisan discourse surrounding school board decisions in recent years on social media and at board meetings, and to emphasize the non-partisanship of the council.

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"To the individuals who make those comments and make those posts, I ask you: Are you furthering the cause of education for our children or seeking attention from behind your keyboard?" Julka said.

Verma also emphasized the shift in atmosphere leading to increasingly partisan discourse in school board decisions and elections.

"Candidates have turned elections into (referendums) on their chosen hot button topic," Verma said.

Other opening remarks centered on the uniqueness of school board elections compared to those for other offices, including the high stakes for caregivers and parents invested in their children's education -- and for students themselves -- amid traditionally low voter turnout compared with other races.

"School board elections are simply different than other elections," Verma said, adding that more high profile offices such as governor attract candidates who are familiar to voters, leading to higher turnout than the 5% to 10% national average for school board races.

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In their opening statements, the three candidates sought to highlight their priorities if elected, and spoke about their relevant experiences in assorted volunteer positions related to the district.

"For the past six years from 2015 to 2021, I served on the Facilities Oversight Advisory Committee," Pandell said in his opening statement. "What that basically did is ensure the school bonds voters generously enacted ... can do and expand educational opportunities for students and create safe supportive learning environments."

Pandell also pointed to his work in fundraising for the district and service on the Access to Excellence Committee.

"When I say I want to meet every student where they are, I truly mean it," Pandell said. "And one of the things we have to do is retain and recruit the best teachers, and ensure our students feel mentally healthy and supported in the classroom, and expand educational opportunities for every child in our district."

Petersen also highlighted recruitment and retention of educators as a key campaign goal if elected.

"As a parent leader I have seen firsthand the effects of COVID not just on our students but our educators. Our nation is facing a hiring crisis in retaining teachers," Petersen said. "As a trustee, I will look (for) ways to continue to attract the best educators while retaining quality staff."

Petersen pointed to her volunteer work with the Alamo Elementary School PTA, in particular as president during the height of the pandemic, from 2019 to earlier this year.

"During this time I always made my decisions with the best interests of parents, teachers and school communities in mind," Petersen said.

Petersen also noted the increased political polarization facing public education, and said she would seek to maintain focus on key educational priorities if elected.

"Education affects all of us, and as a parent leader who has demonstrated the ability to work with other parents and staff, I will be the voice that will listen through the distractions and respond with reason and civility," Petersen said.

vanZee pointed to his work with the Montair Dads Club, and investment in the district's future as a parent of young children in its schools, as motivations for his campaign for the seat, along with concerns about curriculum and the goal of additional parental input in board decisions.

"We moved here because we wanted to attend great schools and we love the history of good schools, but I do think the future of our schools is not ... on the same course," vanZee said.

"I'm seeing ideology replacing education," he added.

Although increased scrutiny and outcry over K-12 curriculum has come to be a conservative talking point across the nation, vanZee said that for his part, he believed this was an effort to increase inclusivity and remove politics from the classroom.

"We don't have Republican, or Democrat, or independent kids; we simply have kids who want the best education that they deserve," vanZee said.

Questions included what the school board currently does well and how candidates would contribute to that; what the most compelling part of the district's Strategic Directions Plan is, along with broader topics such as supporting diversity in the district and curriculum and book bans in schools, as well as the impacts of the pandemic and other recent developments on student mental health.

Pandell again pointed to his work on the Access to Excellence Committee and insight from meetings with district officials including present and former board members as factors that give him respect for how the district is currently run, and a sense of how he would operate if elected.

Petersen applauded the current board's role in providing direction and vision to the district, and that she was optimistic for the district's future.

vanZee said that while the work board members do isn't easy, he would seek to increase parent participation in district and school decisions.

"I'm running (as) a voice for parents to be back on the board of education," vanZee said.

As the night's discussion progressed, Petersen and Pandell expressed disagreement with vanZee, and support for leaving decisions about curriculum and student mental health to the experts.

"I do think the content of our language arts and social studies curriculum is great," Pandell said, pointing to existing channels for parent and community input on selecting and approving course materials.

"I don't think someone at the board level should be in the position of content-based decision," he continued. "We should trust the teachers we hire ... to make those decisions."

Petersen said that despite national controversy over the teaching of race- and gender-based topics in schools, she would push the district to follow state law and existing practices. She also pointed to the value of books that are being banned in other parts of the country.

"Book bans ... affect students in marginalized communities," Petersen said, adding that many of the books being banned in other parts of the country "can be a lifeline for these students."

She also pointed to existing channels for parental input, including opting out of certain texts, and listed the books in her personal library that are banned in some schools elsewhere, encouraging voters to check their personal libraries and reflect on the same thing.

vanZee, however, said that he believed that more parental involvement in curriculum decisions is better, and emphasized concerns about current textbooks and topics in schools.

"On the broader scale, I would oppose any sort of teaching that teaches students they are oppressed or oppressors," vanZee said.

Petersen and vanZee also expressed differing opinions on the causes of and solutions to mental health struggles facing students. vanZee pointed to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures on students' mental health, with Petersen characterizing young people's mental health struggles as a larger problem impacted by other factors.

"If there's one thing that's become clear over the past three years, it's that kids benefit when schools are open," vanZee said, adding that he would seek to prevent future school closures with this in mind if elected.

Petersen pointed to troublingly high rates of suicide for young people, and noted that it had been a crisis since before the pandemic, with suicide being the leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. She pointed to additional factors including the earlier onset of puberty and the impact of social media, and said she would seek to guarantee funding for the 12 existing counselor positions in the district if elected, as well as support increases in counseling positions.

"We really need to reduce the stigma of mental health by promoting awareness to parents and students and increasing access," Petersen said.

Pandell said that students' social and emotional health should be at the forefront of decision making at all levels of the district, and that he would seek to increase support and resources for teachers to account for and address mental health struggles.

In discussing the district's current communication practices, all three candidates pointed to difficulties acquiring and spreading information about the recent arrest of former Diablo Vista Middle School biology teacher and longtime local cheer coach Nicholas Moseby on allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of minors, and said they would address these if elected.

"It was very upsetting," Petersen said. "It caused a lot of upset and anger."

"In every path moving forward we'll need to look at how we've reacted to things and realized what we can do better," she added.

In discussing the district's finances, Pandell said he would seek to maintain its high-ranking status for parents and ensure that it remains "destination district" for parents and students, as well as increasing efforts to make it a destination for educators

"We also have to make it a destination district for teachers who want to come and work in our classrooms and live in our communities," Pandell said.

Petersen pointed to California's relatively low rate of funding per student compared to other states, despite having more funding for schools than other states, and noted that this could be addressed in part by a shift from using attendance numbers as the basis for state funding to enrollment numbers, which would increase funds by $25 million.

vanZee pointed to a potential recession, declining enrollment, and negotiations with the teacher's union as challenges he would seek to address if elected.

"You're going to need someone who has great business acumen that can work with boards and has that background," vanZee said. "I have that background."

All three candidates will continue their campaigns for the Area 1 seat being left vacant with sitting trustee Ken Mintz's decision not to run for reelection this year. Election day is Nov. 8.

Video of the forum is available at the Council of PTAs YouTube channel.

Editor's note: A prior version of this story incorrectly listed the school at which former teacher Nicholas Moseby worked prior to his arrest. Moseby taught biology at Diablo Vista Middle School to start the 2022-23 academic year, and worked at San Ramon Valley High School the year before. Embarcadero Media regrets the error.

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Jeanita Lyman
Jeanita Lyman joined the Pleasanton Weekly in September 2020 and covers the Danville and San Ramon beat. She studied journalism at Skyline College and Mills College while covering the Peninsula for the San Mateo Daily Journal, after moving back to the area in 2013. Read more >>

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SRVUSD Area 1 candidates debate in forum

Pandell, Petersen, vanZee talk curriculum, teachers, district reputation and more

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 11:13 pm
Updated: Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 8:55 am

The three candidates in the race for the single contested seat on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education faced off in an in-person forum in Danville on Tuesday night, with topics including curriculum, teacher recruitment and retention, and opinions on current and future district practices.

Jerome Pandell, Michelle Petersen and Jesse vanZee – each vying to hold elected office for the first time – sought to amplify their campaign platforms in the live forum at San Ramon Valley High School, hosted by the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and moderated by the League of Women Voters.

The event opened with remarks from Ravneet Julka, vice president of legislative affairs for the Council, and from student Aarnav Verma, followed by prepared opening remarks from candidates and a question and answer period moderated by Ann Flynn of the League of Women Voters.

Candidates had the opportunity for two one-minute rebuttals each, with no audience participation permitted.

Julka sought to emphasize the role of civil discourse in democratic functions such as elections, amid increasingly partisan discourse surrounding school board decisions in recent years on social media and at board meetings, and to emphasize the non-partisanship of the council.

"To the individuals who make those comments and make those posts, I ask you: Are you furthering the cause of education for our children or seeking attention from behind your keyboard?" Julka said.

Verma also emphasized the shift in atmosphere leading to increasingly partisan discourse in school board decisions and elections.

"Candidates have turned elections into (referendums) on their chosen hot button topic," Verma said.

Other opening remarks centered on the uniqueness of school board elections compared to those for other offices, including the high stakes for caregivers and parents invested in their children's education -- and for students themselves -- amid traditionally low voter turnout compared with other races.

"School board elections are simply different than other elections," Verma said, adding that more high profile offices such as governor attract candidates who are familiar to voters, leading to higher turnout than the 5% to 10% national average for school board races.

In their opening statements, the three candidates sought to highlight their priorities if elected, and spoke about their relevant experiences in assorted volunteer positions related to the district.

"For the past six years from 2015 to 2021, I served on the Facilities Oversight Advisory Committee," Pandell said in his opening statement. "What that basically did is ensure the school bonds voters generously enacted ... can do and expand educational opportunities for students and create safe supportive learning environments."

Pandell also pointed to his work in fundraising for the district and service on the Access to Excellence Committee.

"When I say I want to meet every student where they are, I truly mean it," Pandell said. "And one of the things we have to do is retain and recruit the best teachers, and ensure our students feel mentally healthy and supported in the classroom, and expand educational opportunities for every child in our district."

Petersen also highlighted recruitment and retention of educators as a key campaign goal if elected.

"As a parent leader I have seen firsthand the effects of COVID not just on our students but our educators. Our nation is facing a hiring crisis in retaining teachers," Petersen said. "As a trustee, I will look (for) ways to continue to attract the best educators while retaining quality staff."

Petersen pointed to her volunteer work with the Alamo Elementary School PTA, in particular as president during the height of the pandemic, from 2019 to earlier this year.

"During this time I always made my decisions with the best interests of parents, teachers and school communities in mind," Petersen said.

Petersen also noted the increased political polarization facing public education, and said she would seek to maintain focus on key educational priorities if elected.

"Education affects all of us, and as a parent leader who has demonstrated the ability to work with other parents and staff, I will be the voice that will listen through the distractions and respond with reason and civility," Petersen said.

vanZee pointed to his work with the Montair Dads Club, and investment in the district's future as a parent of young children in its schools, as motivations for his campaign for the seat, along with concerns about curriculum and the goal of additional parental input in board decisions.

"We moved here because we wanted to attend great schools and we love the history of good schools, but I do think the future of our schools is not ... on the same course," vanZee said.

"I'm seeing ideology replacing education," he added.

Although increased scrutiny and outcry over K-12 curriculum has come to be a conservative talking point across the nation, vanZee said that for his part, he believed this was an effort to increase inclusivity and remove politics from the classroom.

"We don't have Republican, or Democrat, or independent kids; we simply have kids who want the best education that they deserve," vanZee said.

Questions included what the school board currently does well and how candidates would contribute to that; what the most compelling part of the district's Strategic Directions Plan is, along with broader topics such as supporting diversity in the district and curriculum and book bans in schools, as well as the impacts of the pandemic and other recent developments on student mental health.

Pandell again pointed to his work on the Access to Excellence Committee and insight from meetings with district officials including present and former board members as factors that give him respect for how the district is currently run, and a sense of how he would operate if elected.

Petersen applauded the current board's role in providing direction and vision to the district, and that she was optimistic for the district's future.

vanZee said that while the work board members do isn't easy, he would seek to increase parent participation in district and school decisions.

"I'm running (as) a voice for parents to be back on the board of education," vanZee said.

As the night's discussion progressed, Petersen and Pandell expressed disagreement with vanZee, and support for leaving decisions about curriculum and student mental health to the experts.

"I do think the content of our language arts and social studies curriculum is great," Pandell said, pointing to existing channels for parent and community input on selecting and approving course materials.

"I don't think someone at the board level should be in the position of content-based decision," he continued. "We should trust the teachers we hire ... to make those decisions."

Petersen said that despite national controversy over the teaching of race- and gender-based topics in schools, she would push the district to follow state law and existing practices. She also pointed to the value of books that are being banned in other parts of the country.

"Book bans ... affect students in marginalized communities," Petersen said, adding that many of the books being banned in other parts of the country "can be a lifeline for these students."

She also pointed to existing channels for parental input, including opting out of certain texts, and listed the books in her personal library that are banned in some schools elsewhere, encouraging voters to check their personal libraries and reflect on the same thing.

vanZee, however, said that he believed that more parental involvement in curriculum decisions is better, and emphasized concerns about current textbooks and topics in schools.

"On the broader scale, I would oppose any sort of teaching that teaches students they are oppressed or oppressors," vanZee said.

Petersen and vanZee also expressed differing opinions on the causes of and solutions to mental health struggles facing students. vanZee pointed to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures on students' mental health, with Petersen characterizing young people's mental health struggles as a larger problem impacted by other factors.

"If there's one thing that's become clear over the past three years, it's that kids benefit when schools are open," vanZee said, adding that he would seek to prevent future school closures with this in mind if elected.

Petersen pointed to troublingly high rates of suicide for young people, and noted that it had been a crisis since before the pandemic, with suicide being the leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. She pointed to additional factors including the earlier onset of puberty and the impact of social media, and said she would seek to guarantee funding for the 12 existing counselor positions in the district if elected, as well as support increases in counseling positions.

"We really need to reduce the stigma of mental health by promoting awareness to parents and students and increasing access," Petersen said.

Pandell said that students' social and emotional health should be at the forefront of decision making at all levels of the district, and that he would seek to increase support and resources for teachers to account for and address mental health struggles.

In discussing the district's current communication practices, all three candidates pointed to difficulties acquiring and spreading information about the recent arrest of former Diablo Vista Middle School biology teacher and longtime local cheer coach Nicholas Moseby on allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of minors, and said they would address these if elected.

"It was very upsetting," Petersen said. "It caused a lot of upset and anger."

"In every path moving forward we'll need to look at how we've reacted to things and realized what we can do better," she added.

In discussing the district's finances, Pandell said he would seek to maintain its high-ranking status for parents and ensure that it remains "destination district" for parents and students, as well as increasing efforts to make it a destination for educators

"We also have to make it a destination district for teachers who want to come and work in our classrooms and live in our communities," Pandell said.

Petersen pointed to California's relatively low rate of funding per student compared to other states, despite having more funding for schools than other states, and noted that this could be addressed in part by a shift from using attendance numbers as the basis for state funding to enrollment numbers, which would increase funds by $25 million.

vanZee pointed to a potential recession, declining enrollment, and negotiations with the teacher's union as challenges he would seek to address if elected.

"You're going to need someone who has great business acumen that can work with boards and has that background," vanZee said. "I have that background."

All three candidates will continue their campaigns for the Area 1 seat being left vacant with sitting trustee Ken Mintz's decision not to run for reelection this year. Election day is Nov. 8.

Video of the forum is available at the Council of PTAs YouTube channel.

Editor's note: A prior version of this story incorrectly listed the school at which former teacher Nicholas Moseby worked prior to his arrest. Moseby taught biology at Diablo Vista Middle School to start the 2022-23 academic year, and worked at San Ramon Valley High School the year before. Embarcadero Media regrets the error.

Comments

H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:27 am
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:27 am

From the opening comments alone, it’s clear this PTA is anything but apolitical. They attack and disparage opinions not their own. Ms. Petersen herself demanded resignations from any PTA members that didn’t support full school shutdowns. They should tread carefully as getting tax exempt status revoked is a real consequence that would be devastating to this district and the current district wide PTA leaders are dangerous with how they tow that line.


Gina M Channell, Publisher
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 5, 2022 at 9:51 am
Gina M Channell, Publisher, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2022 at 9:51 am

For everyone who continues to hit "objectionable comment" on the comment above: Please stop. I have a copy of the text and what is written is accurate.


Paul Gardner
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 10, 2022 at 8:39 am
Paul Gardner, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 8:39 am

Vote for Michelle Petersen for SRVUSD Board.

When I evaluate candidates for the Board of Ed, I measure them against what I learned and did in my 12 years on the Board: firstly, the board does not run the district but rather shares responsibility for student welfare and success with district management, educators, financial and support staff. The board is tasked with overseeing the district in a financially responsible manner; to respect all employees; to assure curriculum decisions are focused on helping students become successful, productive community members regardless of race, religion or political philosophy; and that every student attends school in a caring environment in safe, clean facilities.

I strongly support Michelle Petersen for the Area 1 seat on the Board of Education because of her rich background, serving her community as a firefighter, and a parent volunteer serving schools in many capacities. As a parent of a child attending district schools, she understands that every student deserves a good, well rounded education, taught in a safe, caring environment.

Please join me in voting for Michelle Petersen by or on November 8!


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 12, 2022 at 12:12 am
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 12:12 am

Paul Gardner - thank you for clarifying that a vote for Ms. Petersen is a vote for the status quo. A status quo which has eroded standards over 12 years and decreased enrollment in SRVUSD faster than projections. Also Ms. Petersen's record of demanding resignations from people she doesn't agree with politically is not something that would unite nor represent the diverse community that is the 2022 SRVUSD community.

What I see and hear from Mr. vanZee is quite different. Unlike Ms. Petersen who is great at reading the statements of others and joining groups, Mr. vanZee has actually created. He's the co-founder of a new volunteer community at his school. A true homegrown effort. No one else in this race is a creator and a builder like Mr. vanZee and no one is less political. We saw all in the debate how Mr. vanZee can talk with confidence and knowledge of voters in his own district better than anyone else on that stage. School is a place where kids should be in, and politics should be out. Only one candidate can truly support that statement and only one candidate has not accepted any corporate or political money - Jesse vanZee.

In this election, I'll be voting for Jesse vanZee.


Tim
Registered user
Alamo
on Oct 12, 2022 at 7:50 am
Tim, Alamo
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 7:50 am

I believe inclusion should be top of list as a basic tenet of school. In the case of books, banning certain books seems contrary to helping students learn about the different paths students have taken to get to where they are today, who they are and the sensitivities required to be aware of them in a fast moving and ever evolving world. Books in school on new or sensitive topics have the ability to be discussed by teachers and parents. Unfortunately too much information is found on the internet and is created and supported by BOTS, and targeted with AI.

Inclusion is more important than exclusion.


Rachel Stein
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:26 pm
Rachel Stein, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:26 pm

An emphasis on woke history highlighting the wrongdoings of our forefathers and promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ community/culture should be part of a well-rounded public education.


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:39 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:39 pm

Tim - What does that have to do with anything here? No one in this race is suggesting banning books. Stop the baseless fear-mongering.


Tim
Registered user
Alamo
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:05 pm
Tim, Alamo
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:05 pm

H, I could be mistaken but I thought what was on the table was a fresh look at the curriculum and the process to select curriculum. Keep it to core academics is what one candidate is more in favor of plus having more parent say in the process. Which means things such as components of CRT or information regarding LGBTQ would likely be recommended to be removed if they are being thought today. This was my take after watching the podcast video (link below).

I haven’t decided who to vote for at this point, just gathering information.

Here’s is what I listened to get more information.

Web Link

Tim


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:12 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:12 pm

A great video from one candidate - Web Link


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:23 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Tim - let's clear something up before we go in circles, you wrote "components of CRT or information regarding LGBTQ would likely be recommended to be removed." From your perspective, CRT IS being taught in SRVUSD schools, right? I don't want to have this discussion and then have you suddenly pivot that CRT isn't being taught here.


Scott Hale
Registered user
San Ramon
on Oct 12, 2022 at 4:03 pm
Scott Hale, San Ramon
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 4:03 pm

>>CRT IS being taught in SRVUSD schools, right?

Just to be clear it is not being taught in SRVUSD or any of the surrounding school districts.

Right?


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 12, 2022 at 10:11 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 10:11 pm

Scott Hale - I'm quoting Tim when he wrote "components of CRT or information regarding LGBTQ would likely be recommended to be removed." One can't remove something that doesn't exist, thus, I asked for clarification. But, I'll now put it to you, why does Tim suggest that elements of CRT are present in the curriculum and you can state with as a mater of fact that it is not? Who am I to believe and why?


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:25 am
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:25 am

It's amazing how when pressed for specifics neither Tim nor Scott can conjure up anything two people looking at the same system and drawing two very different conclusions. I think this is what people gain from getting someone like Jesse vanZee who talks directly with people without first filtering his words through a political filter to appease donor organizations. The video of him here lays that out pretty well Web Link


Tim
Registered user
Alamo
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:39 am
Tim, Alamo
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:39 am

H, my comment about it being taught is from the podcast Jesse did that I posted early. I was just trying to relay that he thinks it is being taught. Clearly you are a fan of his and good for you. Still trying to decide.


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:10 am
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:10 am

Tim - It's really hard to have a conversation when you won't give specifics. Absent that, I'll take this conversation down a different road. First, none of the trustees can unilaterally take actions. Second, every vote taken this year by the trustees has been a 5-0 or otherwise unanimous vote. Therefore, what would have changed last year if say a contrarian was on the board and voted opposite of the trustees on every single vote? Nothing would have changed. A 5-0 vote is the same as a 4-1 vote. So let's agree that, fundamentally, a new trustee won't change much.

But, let's say we get a smart, articulate person that knows the community that could hold a mirror to the policies being presented. Wouldn't that perhaps give the district an opportunity for reflection? Could it be that with some questioning, as opposed to rubber stamping, that we can grow and become the best versions of ourselves?

I think 4 out of 5 rubber stampers is enough for one governing body. Adding a diverse voice like Jesse vanZee can only bring about positive growth. Because, we can only grow when exposed to different ideas.


Tim
Registered user
Alamo
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:22 am
Tim, Alamo
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:22 am

H, good discussion.

All the best,
Tim


Scott Hale
Registered user
San Ramon
on Oct 13, 2022 at 5:47 pm
Scott Hale, San Ramon
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 5:47 pm

>>Who am I to believe and why?

So you do no research of your own, but depend on what others 'say'?

Stop going in circles. CRT is not taught here. Period.


Paul Gardner
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:27 pm
Paul Gardner, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Absolutely correct.


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:08 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:08 pm

Scott Hale - Is it possible that some people define it differently than you? Perhaps you should be more inclusive and ask what the definition is before saying something isn't real. Why not define what you say isn't taught here instead of being so dismissive?


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:12 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:12 pm

Scott Hale - Also if someone wants to remove something and that something doesn't exist, nothing would change correct? So what's the problem?


Scott Hale
Registered user
San Ramon
on Oct 14, 2022 at 3:49 pm
Scott Hale, San Ramon
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 3:49 pm

>>Why not define what you say isn't taught here instead of being so dismissive?

With the circles again. Please display to us where your belief was 'created' about what is being taught today. At the same time do tell us even if you have kids in the district.

Go vote (if you are old enough)


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 14, 2022 at 8:30 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 8:30 pm

Scott Hale - Bro, how clear do I need to be that I'm responding to Tim who wrote "Which means things such as components of CRT or information regarding LGBTQ would likely be recommended to be removed." That statement suggests CRT is being taught. You said unequivocally it is not being taught. I just asked you to clarify and you are flipping out! How can you say something isn't being taught if you can't/refuse to define what you are writing about? Seems you are just repeating talking points and not coming from knowledge here. Feel free to prove me wrong by making an actual point.


Mike Arata
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 14, 2022 at 11:16 pm
Mike Arata, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 11:16 pm

Actually, SRVUSD DOES teach CRT, while generally avoiding that term itself. Much of the mischief began with the School Board’s adoption of the “My Story, Your Story, Hxrstory” (sic) course on February 9, 2021.

See that evening’s agenda, at pages 22-41 in its PDF stack. ( Web Link )

An annotated copy of key pages from that course-adoption summary is linked at SRV EXPOSITOR’s “Racist Anti-Racism” page, Web Link .

The annotated summary is available via a link about halfway down the page, following (among other revelations) an exposé of two perversely, overtly RACIST “anti-racism” textbooks which have also been adopted by the SRVUSD Board.

CRT's essentially racist notions of "white privilege," "systemic racism," "implicit bias," "microaggressions," "intersectionality," etc. pervade the District.

And “Critical Race Theory” is in fact among texts listed specifically for the “My Story, Your Story, Hxrstory” course, which seems to have morphed into what's now called “Ethnic Studies.”

SRVUSD is so thoroughly caught up in its “anti-racism” posturing and “systemic racism” narrative that last year ended with Superintendent Malloy amplifying a fabricated social media post which falsely blamed and defamed Stunt Team girls for what Malloy called the “Cal High Racist Incident 5.23.22.”

Malloy then leveraged that slanderous tale in gaining approval for the hiring of up to 15 “Equity Liaisons” at an estimated annual cost of $1.9 Million.

In a series of stories, this publication did a good job in reporting on the gross misrepresentations and resultant mistreatment of the Cal High Stunt Team girls and subsequent resignation of Cal High’s principal. See also Web Link .


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 15, 2022 at 12:32 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Scott Hale - Well, there you go with another comment here, now with specific examples, about school topics being taught at SRVUSD. Are you saying that Mike Arata is factually wrong in his comment?


Scott Hale
Registered user
San Ramon
on Oct 15, 2022 at 1:16 pm
Scott Hale, San Ramon
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 1:16 pm

>> Well, there you go with another comment here,

the question was put to you to show us how you believe in the your statements you peddle here. Show us the proof that CRT is taught, has been taught.....ever in this district or any district in the TriValley area.

Tag, clearly you are it again.


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 15, 2022 at 2:36 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Scott Hale - What are you talking about? Mike Arata gives specific examples while you give nothing to substantiate anything. Sorry, but you clearly don't know what you are talking about or you would have supported your statements by now like Mike Arata has above.


Mike Arata
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 15, 2022 at 4:23 pm
Mike Arata, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 4:23 pm

Booker T. Washington recognized himself in 1911 “that there is a certain class of race problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public." (“My Larger Education,” Chapter 5)

SRVUSD compounds its own CRT maneuvers (part one of the District’s double-barreled “Equity” scheme) with expensive CRT "experts"/consultants. A “Courageous Conversation/Pacific Educational Group” speaker was brought in for 6 x 6 hours of “coaching” for $36,000 ($1,000 per hour). Substitutes for teachers who attended these school-day sessions costed District taxpayers many thousands more.

SRVUSD also contracted with the "Equity Literacy Institute" (ELI) for 4x2.5 hours, including 15-minute breaks) of online training, at a cost of $250 for each of 55 District personnel (= $13,750 altogether). The course was neither specific nor customized for SRVUSD; other organizations and individuals in different time zones were simultaneous participants.

ELI’s "Facilitator Training" Zoomed session was a vapid, repetitive, stream-of consciousness conversation between two ELI principals, situated remotely from each other in Georgia and South Carolina. It was saturated with temporizing “um” and “you know” fillers, and distracted / distracting further by one fussing periodically with her hair and by the other with a cat wondering around in his background.

Just this past July, SRVUSD conducted an "Equity Summer Institute" for teachers. A Stanford education professor was paid $5,750 for his 120-minute presence ($48/min), specifically to include a 60-minute keynote address, a 30-minute Q&A, and a 30-minute book signing (= more money, from hawking his own book). Among Institute presentations was one in which letter grades were implied to be "inequitable." Is that where SRVUSD is headed next in its drive for race-based "Equity"?


Scott Hale
Registered user
San Ramon
on Oct 15, 2022 at 5:11 pm
Scott Hale, San Ramon
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 5:11 pm

>Mike Arata gives specific examples

You dance a lot, with no substance. I asked you for proof CRT is being currently taught, or ever taught in any district in the TriValley area. You have failed over and over to show classroom CRT lessons.

One could assume you have nothing to show, because there is nothing to show.

Provide proof and go assume yet another screen name.


Mike Arata
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 15, 2022 at 6:57 pm
Mike Arata, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 6:57 pm

Supporters of SRVUSD’s “Equity” programs are like the cowed go-along, get-along townspeople in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” i.e., none so blind as those who WILL not see. One hopes that someday they regain rationality and recognize reality: "But he hasn't got anything on," a child said. Finally, the whole town cried out the same thing.”

“The Emperor [Superintendent] shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, ‘This procession has got to go on.’ So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen [other activist administrators] held high the train that wasn't there at all.”

Now, SRVUSD’s twisted 9th and 11th-grade “Justice and Community” courses (adopted Feb. 11, 2020) can be substituted for regular English classes. Course outlines sound like caricatures of “woke” victimhood studies, designed by “Occupy” malcontents and race racketeers.

9th grade English used to focus on strengthening students’ grammar, punctuation, and spelling. By 11th grade, students were expected to read classics of American literature and to write coherently, cogently, and correctly about them.

But now, 9th Grade “Justice and Community” will “emphasize multicultural perspectives, highlight the cultural lenses through which stories are told, and teach student allyship.... Students will be encouraged to think through multiple lenses and question assumptions made in our texts while examining the underlying social and power structures that exist in our society.”

The 11th grade “Justice and Community” course itself pushes reading “through the lenses of marginalization, equity, and distribution of resources in American society” while “connecting the literature of study to past and present inequities.”

The NEA “White Supremacy Culture” resolution cited in defending these two prejudicial courses is quoted as saying that “educators must acknowledge the existence of [oppression] as a primary root cause of institutionalized racism, structural racism, and [privilege],” etc.


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 15, 2022 at 9:14 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 9:14 pm

Scott Hale - How many more examples do you need?


H
Registered user
San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 15, 2022 at 11:12 pm
H, San Ramon Valley High School
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 11:12 pm

Anyway ... if you want the status quo and for nothing to change and no one to listen to you vote for whoever. If you want someone that will listen, engage the whole community, and wants to make a real difference, vote for Jesse vanZee Web Link


Mike Arata
Registered user
Danville
on Oct 15, 2022 at 11:22 pm
Mike Arata, Danville
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 11:22 pm

Some quotes from Delgado and Jean Stefancic’s “Critical Race Theory,” which is listed as a text for the SRVUSD course now called “Ethnic Studies” (formerly “My Story, Your Story, Hxrstory”):

“Ethnic studies courses often include a unit on critical race theory.”

“One topic that critical white studies [sic] addresses is whether such a thing as white privilege exists, and what its components are.”

“… [C]ritical race theorists have turned critique inward, examining the interplay of power and authority within minority communities and movements.”

“For the critical race theorist, objective truth, like merit, does not exist, at least in social science and politics. In these realms, truth is a social construct created to suit the purposes of the dominant group.”

“Critical race theory’s contribution to the defense of affirmative action has consisted mainly of a determined attack on the idea of merit and standardized testing.”

“Rule of law: Legal formalism, which some theorists believe is necessary for order, stability, and cohesiveness in a society.”

I suspect that some SRVUSD personnel who teach CRT (and its destructive, centrifugal notions) don't realize that's what they're doing.

Alternatively, in today's bizarro world of defining one's own reality, there may be some other SRVUSD teacher/administrator CRT radicals who believe it's enough for them simply to identify as non-CRT instructors, i.e. to deny that's what they’re teaching (though in fact that IS what they’re teaching) — so they believe that should end the inconvenient discussion.

Whatever SRVUSD personnel may say about the matter, the reality is that the District is heavily invested and involved in pushing CRT.


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