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Charter School in Novato California shut down by School District
Posted: 05 June 2007 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Marin School of Arts and Technology (MSAT) is a charter high school in the Novato School District in Northern California.

My wife and I had examined this school as a possibility for my Daughter in her Freshmen year. This was last year at this time.

However, the rhetoric around the parents and with kids in Terra Linda High school district, which is where most kids in our area would be going, was that the kids that went to MSAT were losers or druggies.

This along with the fact that many of my daughters friends had planned to go to Terra Linda high, convinced my wife and my daughter that she should go to Terra Linda.

So she did. This year has been a very disappointing one for us as parents and for my daughter. Her math teacher was fired half way through the year. My daughter claims it was for sexual harassment of one of the students. But the administration insists it was for ineffectiveness. The replacement has not been much better. She ends up watching movies in class most of the time learning very little.

Her English teacher, who was very good, quit for personal reasons (having nothing to do with the school). The 1st replacement quit because she did not feel safe (student harassment). The 2nd replacement has resorted to showing movies as well.

In summary, teaching has been ineffective due to lack of concern for the students welfare and students themselves who are dispassionate about learning, and care little for each other.

My daughter and a small group of her close friends had all planned on switching to MSAT for their sophomore year.

We had signed her up and were making all the necessary arrangements for transferring her to MSAT.

Last week we learned that after losing their lease on facilities on the campus of the Collage of Marin, and through relentless efforts of the Novato school district to revoke the charter status of MSAT, that they will be closing after the end of this school year.

I, along with my wife, my daughter and 2 of her friends attended a meeting last night where we heard the whole story of how the Novato school board, through shameful, misleading and underhanded actions led to the demise of this wonderful charter school.

What struck us all was the passion that the Administration, the Teachers, the Parents and especially the students had for Learning, and for the school. Also, the respect and admiration they expressed for each other.

The kids, although typical teenagers, all showed kindness and support for one another, in spite of the fact that some were very emotional and at times awkward in expressing themselves over the fact that their school was closing. This is not typical of what we have seen at Terra Linda High.

I urge any of you who read this post to visit the Envision Schools web site and take a look at what they are doing.

An emphasis on small school size, genuine care for the welfare of the students, project based learning and dedicated administration and teachers, has produced some of the most respectful, tolerant, bright and articulate kids I have seen in a long time.

Kids who would be shunned or outcast in other schools have found a haven in which they can thrive at this school. Where success has eluded them in other types of schools they reach unprecedented levels of achievement in tests and grades.

The school itself had had it’s charter renewed based on the achievements of it’s students and quality of education for another 6 years.

In the end, it was competition for students and funding and perhaps jealousy of their success, that led the Novato school board to do what they did.

Of all places in the United States, Marin County should be capable of sustaining a charter school like MSAT. It is shameful that this goal could not be attained.

We plan to send our daughter to a sister school of MSAT called Metro in San Francisco. It will be difficult for us to arrange transportation, but we will make it work. Now it is about the principal of having this kind of education available to students who will benefit from it, and in the best interest of our child. We feel we must pursue this.

This is another example of tributary currents that need to be sustained, in spite of mainstream efforts to pull us back into the mediocrity of what constitutes normalcy these days.

By the way, this story has received all too little press. Even local papers have shown a bias and shunned the truth of how MSAT has changed the lives of parents and students in the district, and how it eventually met it’s demise.

It deserves national exposure. This is part and parcel of what is wrong with our education system (and the media) today.

.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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By the way, tolerance, of religious practices (or not), sexual preference, and simply those who are different, in whatever shape or form that takes, is one of the reasons this school was so successful.

In spite of the fact that the student body naturally aligns itself into smaller groups.  All the students and faculty know each other and respect each other.  The kids feel comfortable walking up and speaking to anyone in the school.  This is one of their most impressive accomplishments.  I think it may also have something to do with the academic success they have achieved.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It sounds as if you have enough people to either mount a recall against the present school board or to run candidates against them in the next election.  While this doesn’t solve your daughter’s immediate problem, you would probably be doing your community and the kids a great service.

Occam

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Posted: 05 June 2007 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Unfortunately, we live in a neighboring district and we cannot vote for Novato School board members.

However, Parents and even the kids have vowed not only to rally for change with their votes, but to also attend future board meetings to protest their actions.

This charter school had drawn in students from miles around.  There are some who live too far north to respond as we are by sending our child to the sister school in San Francisco.  They are working to encourage Envision schools to open a charter in a community further north of Novato.  I hope they succeed.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Very frustrating, Charles.

mad

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Posted: 18 June 2007 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hello,

My younger son was fortunate enough to graduate from MSAT on Saturday. I too will be sure to vote for a new board of directors who share our goals and hopes for a better new education for our children. My wife and I are founding family members, I still remember working on the IVC grounds and class rooms with parents and people we did not know. Every one we met was friendly and we all felt connected. I have never felt as connected and welcomed before with any other school. I really feel bad for the students and parents who’s child will not get the chance to graduate from MSAT, I recall many parents of children who would have graduated next year working along side of us before the school even opened. These people put in just as much effort as we did yet they are now without a school! Its a disgrace.


Phil

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Posted: 18 June 2007 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I graduated from a K-8 magnet school named Challenge this year. It too had a small community where everybody knew each other, and I had some of the greatest teachers I could want… except for a good-for-nothing New Age teacher who lowered my grade because I didn’t believe in Chi (which was the only thing keeping me off of Honor Roll on the second trimester which kept me from getting a special certificate at graduation for those who were on Honor Roll for both first and second trimesters and if it weren’t for her, I would have been on Honor Roll for all three trimesters which really annoyed me greatly and I will never forgive her and I’m sort of going off on a rant here so I’ll stop.) There was a small group of problem students who constantly ridiculed me because of my small obsession with science fiction… But I’m going to miss the majority of the people there, and especially my teachers (except for the New Age *******.)

My Hummanities teacher was especially entertaining. He plays for the Denver Outlaws and Mammoth lacrosse team, and he could sometimes be seen wielding a lacrosse stick in the hall, and waving it threateningly at students (without harming anyone, or course.) He also posessed a great understanding of the subjects we were learning, and encouraged us to think critically… something I think would have fixed some of the problems in the world…

My Science teacher put up with several debates about evolution that erupted during class and encouraged my skepticism of Intelligent Design.

My Math teacher also had a knack for keeping the class entertaining… though some of his puns were a little bad…

My Spanish teacher… well… didn’t very much like her teaching style when it came to Spanish but she organized student activities that made my time there a little more fun.

And there are others who I will also sorely miss…

I think the reason why our school was so successful is that its kids were all relatively brilliant (for the most part if you overlook the creationism debates I went through) and we kept the district’s CSAP scores up so that they wouldn’t lose funding. I think that’s why we got a new building in my fourth grade year… And why we were allowed to take trips out of state and to other countries (this year I went to Alabama for Space Camp, and Moab, Utah with the school. Last year I went to Italy.)

For high school, I applied to a boarding school in Colorado Springs because it shared a lot of the same philosophy as my old school. I got accepted but the cost was $40,000 so I couldn’t go. Now I’m stuck going to Cherry Creek High School which is full of snooty rich kids and has about 5,000 kids. I’m really disappointed to have to go into the public school system for the first time since I’ve been there since Kindergarten. There’s just too many flaws in the education system…

[ Edited: 18 June 2007 01:06 PM by logicisrefreshing ]
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Posted: 24 June 2007 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi. I’m sorry that MSAT students have to suffer the disruption caused by the closure/merger of MSAT, but I have to post a contrarian view. I’m a San Francisco Unified School District parent and activist.

For the first three years of MSAT’s existence, California charter school law mandated that districts pay charter schools a set amount per student. In the Novato Unified School District (NUSD), this amounted to $800 per year per student more than Novato’s other two high schools (both non-charter) received. This meant that all students at Novato’s non-charter high schools were sacrificing to subsidize MSAT students (including the 50 percent, I understand, who lived outside the Novato school district). This inequity was also the case in my school district, SFUSD.

Novato is not a low-income community, but it does have some low-income students. Not at MSAT, though—MSAT lists zero low-income students. Novato HS lists 23.7% low-income and San Marin HS lists 14% low-income. MSAT also has more whites, fewer minorities, than the other two schools.

MSAT’s parent company, Envision Schools, supposedly has a mission committing to educate disadvantaged students. Yet in Novato, MSAT educates zero disadvantaged students, while the other two high schools educate all of NUSD’s low-income students —yet until fall 2006, the students at the other two high schools sacrificed to subsidize the wealthier MSAT students.

Well, if I were an administrator in NUSD, I might not have warm-n-fuzzy feelings toward MSAT about that—honestly, would any of you?

Back to that $800 per year. NUSD approached state Sen. Carole Migden, who authored SB319, a bill remedying the inequity. It took effect in fall ‘06, so now school districts don’t have to pay charter schools more in district funds than non-charter schools get. (Gov. Schwarzenegger, a fervent charter supporter, signed the bill on the basis that the inequity was discouraging school districts from approving charters.)

After one year of functioning without that extra subsidy, MSAT collapsed. It could be inferred that MSAT couldn’t function without that extra money. In the first reports of MSAT’s collapse, the school was going to sever from parent Envision and continue to exist, being run autonomously. About 2 days after that story first broke, it changed, and Envision reported that it was going to fold MSAT and merge it with one of its two San Francisco charter high schools, Metro Arts & Tech.

Suddenly, upon this new announcement, there was a loud outcry from Envision and from the MSAT community blaming NUSD for the collapse of the school. Envision even took out a full-page ad in the Marin Independent Journal blaming NUSD for MSAT’s collapse. Again, it could be inferred that Envision couldn’t manage MSAT on the lesser funding (the same amount the other two Novato high schools get, albeit Envision also gets megabucks in Gates and other private money). But it’s a disaster if funders and prospective applicants get wind that MSAT collapsed for that reason. That might explain the loud blaming of NUSD (which has an orchestrated appearance). 

Now, reports are that 140 to 150 MSAT families plan to commute their kids to San Francisco to attend Metro. Meanwhile, here in SFUSD, Metro needed a new site, since it spent its first year in a small church facility. SFUSD offered Metro a site in the low-income Bayview District, in the heart of the community of low-income, inner-city students of color whom Envision has committed to serve.

But somehow, Metro wound up instead with a different SFUSD site, in Pacific Heights (San Francisco’s wealthiest neighborhood), which is also in the northern part of the city, far more convenient for commuters from Marin County, where MSAT was located.
Metro has only a one-year lease for the site (which needs a huge amount of work to be legally occupied long-term by a K-12 school). Envision’s communications don’t totally conceal that temporary status, but they barely mention it.

Unlike MSAT, Metro actually does serve a student population that’s mostly low-income students of color. Statistically, low-income students of color post lower academic achievement than high-income white students. So the merger will presumably cause Metro’s achievement to shoot up, which will be great PR for Envision and a fantastic asset in applying for more funding.

So this is the real story about the Envision/MSAT crisis. Honestly, shouldn’t Envision and the MSAT community be thanking NUSD and its students for sacrificing to subsidize the wealthier MSAT students for those first three years, rather than engaging in the orchestrated blame session?  Again, I’m sorry that MSAT students have to suffer the disruption, though at least they’re not disadvantaged, low-income students—like the ones Envision is supposedly committed to serving—who would likely have a far greater struggle recovering. But do you honestly think this is right?

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Posted: 25 June 2007 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Caroline,

I am a parent of a student who attended a non-charter schools in Marin from 1998-2007.  Up until this past year I had been satisfied with the quality of education my daughter was receiving in her schools.  I stated some of the issues we have had in my previous post.

We are not a low-income family, but we are by no means an upper income family as you have implied.  Nor are most of the people I interact with daily.  Your characterization of MSAT families, as well as other families in Marin as High Income, is incorrect.  I do not deny that High Income people live here, as they do in San Francisco.  But to characterize all of us on the basis of where we live as High Income is a gross overstatement.

And MSAT, like other charter schools in the area, will accept students of any level of income or race.  The makeup of the school may have been impacted by the efforts of NSUD to prevent recruiting of new MSAT students at local schools.  Again, you cannot blame Envision for this.

As I indicated in my original post, I was driven to MSAT because of it’s teaching style, dedication of teachers, administrators and parents to providing the right kind of education for their kids.

I do appreciate the background you have provided regarding the funding issues.  Personally, I do agree that this was at the core of MSATs demise.  However, I do not agree that this situation was created by Envision schools. They cannot be blamed for the state laws which set the stage for this conflict.

NSUD did in fact resent having to support MSAT.  And they did in fact express a desire to close the charter school.  To the extent that they are culpable, they should accept responsibility. 

I do not give Envision Schools a free pass on this either.  I suspect that there are things they could have done to anticipate these problems, and perhaps they were not proactive enough to head them off.

Facilities were more than likely the deciding factor in the closing of MSAT.  The loss of the lease for the College of Marin campus was devastating to MSAT. 

Funding associated with securing facilities for the 2007-2008 school year became a strong point of contention along with a lack of willingness on the part of NSUD to consider any path forward for maintaining MSAT in Novato as a charter school.


All of this fails to take into consideration what MSAT and Envision schools is trying to accomplish.

And the most important reason I or any other parent (low-income or otherwise) would want their child to be part of an Envision School.

Which is that they have a completely different style of teaching.  Project based learning that often crosses disciplines, provides students with more relevant context as well as more community based learning opportunities.  This is what the Gates foundation invested in and where the money went during the 1st 4 years of MSAT. 

I can see from your BLOG that you do advocate different styles of teaching for different types of students.  My daughter has a mild learning disability.  In fact I hesitate to call it a disability, because it really is simply that she learns differently than others.  She has been part of resource programs her whole life.  And when we could scrape together enough money we had her tested outside the school system.

Because we are aware of her problems, we work each year to educate her teachers and school administrators regarding her learning differences.  We recognize this to be our responsibility, because we have never seen the schools on their own, satisfactorily address her needs.  However, until this past year, they have done an admirable job with prompting from us.

This past year was a 180 degree shift from our previous experience.  Terra Linda High is a more diverse school than the schools my daughter attended previously.  While this may be a contributing factor to the problems we experienced, it is by no means the cause. 

The emphasis on sports, and accelerated students is substantial.  There is little that is offered struggling students, regardless of the reasons for their struggles.

This is not due to lack of funding.  The priorities have been established in favor of athletics and what they consider high potential students.

My daughter had been placed in classes with Teachers who considered their job to babysit them for the duration of their class.  Teaching a struggling student was clearly not on their agenda.  This atmosphere led to a class of students at TL that no longer cared about receiving an education.  The kids didn’t care, the Teachers didn’t care, and administrators shrugged and blamed the “system”.

I believe in personal responsibility.  These educators did not accept personal responsibility for the students in this forgotten class.  I do not blame the system, I blame those who gave up on it.

Regardless of the reasons for the scenario played out at TL, I could no longer allow my daughter to be victimized by it.  Since we are NOT wealthy, and we cannot afford the private schools in our area, MSAT appeared as our only hope of having our daughter receive a quality education suited to her needs.

Students with issues like my daughter, regardless of economic status, should have choices in education that will prepare them equally as well as those without issues.  MSAT had a different style of teaching in addition to teachers who took responsibility, and had passion for teaching.  I am pleased to hear that some of those teachers will be moving to METRO. 

I recognize that you are a skeptic of charter schools and you are very vocal about your feelings.  I have found your repetition of the statements you made in your above post on many sites.

While I may admire your persistence, I am skeptical of your motives.  Are you truly interested in the best solutions for educating kids? Or are you simply against any effort to sway funding away from public schools?

Charter schools, like those that Envision has created, serve a class of students that do not thrive in some public schools.  I say some public schools, because as I have stated, we did have positive experiences with 2 out of the 3 we worked with in Marin. 

But I must say, it was solely due to the dedication of individual teachers and administrators that we had the positive experiences.  Schools that do not provide an environment that breeds teachers and administrators who care about the students, should not be rewarded for that behavior. 

In the case of TL, it would appear that as long as the accelerated students and athletes were satisfied, that the rest of the student body can wither and die for all they care.  I, for one, will no longer subject my daughter to that as long as there is an alternative.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 04:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Again, my sympathy for the collapse of MSAT, especially since you found it meeting your child’s needs in a way that other schools didn’t. While I’m obviously a skeptic about the entire story Envision is telling about the MSAT collapse and its strategy of blaming NUSD despite the fact that other NUSD students sacrificed to subsidize MSAT (this is really bad karma and does not reflect well on Envision’s ethics and honesty!), I’m still sorry to see students’ lives disrupted.

I’m not saying that all MSAT families are wealthy, certainly. I’m a Marin native myself and I know that not everyone there is rich. But NO MSAT students were poor; all of the district’s low-income students were at Novato and San Marin high schools.

It’s not credible that NUSD would discourage low-income students from enrolling in MSAT, since in general low-income students are more likely to be costlier and more challenging to educate.

It’s a widespread rap on charters that many of them discourage low-income students. Often they do that partly by declining to participate in the National School Lunch Program, meaning that subsidized meals aren’t available to their students. Schools that put heavy pressure on parents to make financial contributions also discourage low-income students from attending. I don’t know if either of those was the case with MSAT. 

Both of these comments about my motivations are accurate:

“Are you truly interested in the best solutions for educating kids? Or are you simply against any effort to sway funding away from public schools?”

But forcing other students—and less-advantaged ones, at that—to sacrifice so that a privileged subset can get more (as you acknowledge to be the case) is NOT the best solution by any reasonable definitiion.

My other motivation is the fact that Envision is a presence in my school district, having an impact on our schools and my own children. So it’s in my interest to keep an eye on what it’s doing.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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You seem very sure about your claim that no poor families attended MSAT.

How do you know this with such certainty?  My daughter sat side-by-side with a student who was homeless for most of the school year without knowing it.

How does such information become public?

It is a fact that MSAT parents and administrators were restricted from recruiting at Novato schools.  It may not fit your picture of reality but it is true.

If poor kids were denied an opportunity to take advantage of MSAT or any other Envision school that would be shameful.  I have yet to hear of any specific cases of this happening.  But I really don’t think this is your issue.

If your children were adversely impacted by the presence of an Envision school, I am truly sorry for that. 

But I do know, from what I have observed, that the Envision school founders, administrators, teachers, and parents I have met are committed to helping kids get a quality education.  They are especially targeting kids who don’t do well in traditional schools.

There is a need for alternatives, if they are not met in public schools.  I would prefer charters to a voucher system that bleeds both charter and public schools.

I ask you, what would you do in my situation?  Sacrifice your child’s welfare in order to maintain an attendance level at a public school?  Even if the public school was willingly failing the students? I’m sure this is not the choice you would make for your children if you had alternatives.

As I have stated before, in my case, the school my daughter attended last year has clearly identified the priority students, and those who they are willing to sacrifice.  This is not a matter of funding, but how it is spent.

Your responses do not deal with how I should handle my situation with my public school.  You simply regard my solution as reprehensible because it diverts funds from a public school.  If a school is unresponsive to a large part of it’s student population (including and especially poor kids), are we to accept it as part of the price we pay for retaining a public school system?

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Posted: 25 June 2007 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Some responses:

“You seem very sure about your claim that no poor families attended MSAT.

How do you know this with such certainty?”

Answer: This is public information, based on the number of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. The information is available on the California Department of Education’s API website. All California schools are required to provide that information.

“It is a fact that MSAT parents and administrators were restricted from recruiting at Novato schools.  It may not fit your picture of reality but it is true.”

Answer: They’re not SUPPOSED to recruit at Novato schools. Charter schools are supposed to agree not to recruit existing students away from schools in the chartering district, as obviously losing students harms the other schools. I don’t know if that’s actually law or just part of the charters. 

I can see that your response might be—then how could MSAT recruit any low-income students if it couldn’t recruit in the Novato schools that were serving low-income students? Well, that raises the question of why a nonprofit that is supposedly committed to educating low-income, inner-city students of color would locate its flagship school in an upper-middle-class, mostly white suburb in one of the nation’s wealthiest counties. It’s a puzzlement.

“I ask you, what would you do in my situation?

You simply regard my solution as reprehensible because it diverts funds from a public school.  If a school is unresponsive to a large part of it’s student population (including and especially poor kids), are we to accept it as part of the price we pay for retaining a public school system?”

Answer: I don’t regard your solution as reprehensible, but I would certainly feel that I was in a moral dilemma in your situation. I would not be comfortable having taken an extra $800 per student per year from the kids at Novato’s other high schools to benefit mine—I’m not going to soft-pedal that. It wasn’t right, and I believe that it’s not right to participate in an orchestrated campaign to bash and blame NUSD given that circumstance, either. Sorry to be so sharp, but charter schools inherently create a lot of divisiveness and controversy, and this is a case in point. And the Envision/MSAT community has been pretty aggressive in spreading the blaming and bashing campaign far and wide (a full-page ad in the I-J, for example), which I’m sure you admit invites responses from those who see the bigger picture.

I’m sorry for your dilemma, but it appears to me to be the result of Envision’s conduct. And after all, it wasn’t even Novato schools that were failing your child, so why are THEY getting the bashing?

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Posted: 25 June 2007 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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My wife and I donated as much money and labor and time as we could to MSAT. I work in the trades as a General Building Contractor. Novato has always been a blue collar town of Marin. ANY student wealthy or poor could have gone to MSAT.  I do not agree one bit with any of your remarks Caroline. My older son attended Novato High and was picked on to the point where he had to leave school in 10th grade and was suicidal. My younger son attended MSAT and he could not have had a better education or prep for collage! I always voted for school bonds in the past, now that I see what the NUSD is really like I and my whole family will be voting each and every board member out come next election. The kids who attended MSAT will not be returning to the Novato School district any way. Now these families will be commuting to SF, Thats just great! Way to go NUSD!

Phil

P.S. Well said Charles!

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Posted: 25 June 2007 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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More responses.

“Novato has always been a blue collar town of Marin.”

I agree; it’s not as wealthy as the rest of Marin (as I mentioned, I grew up in Marin myself).  But the fact remains that it’s not exactly a low-income inner city, and it’s in one of the nation’s wealthiest counties. Envision kind of hoodwinked the Gates Foundation on that one, which is quite an achievement.

“ANY student wealthy or poor could have gone to MSAT.” 

Perhaps that’s true. But for whatever reason, all the low-income kids went to San Marin and Novato HS. My guess is that MSAT did not participate in the National School Lunch Program, meaning students who couldn’t afford lunch would have to choose the other schools, and perhaps MSAT made clear up front that it expected hefty donations from parents (as your comments imply).

“I do not agree one bit with any of your remarks Caroline.”

Well, do you think it was fair that MSAT received 800 per student per year more than Novato HS and San Marin HS, at the expense of the students at those schools?

Other MSAT parents are acknowledging that the loss of that additional subsidy may have contributed to the collapse of the school (despite the megabucks from Bill Gates and other funders). Do you disagree with that?

As an SFUSD parent, I have little confidence that Envision isn’t going to wind up causing conflict and divisiveness in my school district the way it has in Novato. That’s a big concern for me—I predict inflammatory controversy that will harm the kids in my school district. What happens when the one-year lease between Metro and SFUSD for the Pacific Heights site is up—will Metro move to the Bayview, the community it has supposedly committed to serve? Will the Marin families make that commute? This isn’t gonna be pretty, I predict.

All that said, I am very sorry for the disruption to your children’s education. But again, I think it’s wrong to blame NUSD, and I suspect that’s an orchestrated strategy by Envision.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 10:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Caroline,

I think you and I would agree, that the real issues are equitable funding of education, and accountability of schools to provide an education for all students, not just those pre-ordained to succeed. 

Regardless of how the funding is handled. We need to recognize different needs of individual students and do what we can to prevent kids from getting lost in the shuffle.

After all, it was not the kids that created this screwed up situation.  I think it is reprehensible to launch a campaign against well meaning people who are looking for better ways to teach kids.  They are looking for places that where they can successfully demonstrate that their techniques work.  This is not a crime nor is it morally reprehensible. 

You have routinely ignored my points regarding the differences in their style of teaching.

You have consistently painted Envision as an evil presence on the landscape.  One that has no redeeming value and from the sounds of it, should be banished from any school district.  Regardless of what you have stated, I still see the benefits of what they have done and I do not place the blame on them alone for what happened to MSAT.

It is a shame that when well meaning people try to do the right thing that people like you come along and try to tear it down.  You of all people should be an advocate.  Why aren’t you working with Envision schools to increase access for Low Income students within their schools?  If that is really your bone of contention, then I would think that would be the course of action to take.

No, I think it is charter schools in general that are your target, not who they serve.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Caroline, MSAT failed due to not having a new facility, Parents at MSAT supported the school, unlike most public schools. NUSD made sure MSAT did not have facilities by offering ridiculous alternatives like two locations of outbuildings. I for one am fed up with the low income whining. I lived through decades of Affirmative action. People enter this country from Asia have babies here then go home and later send them back here to get higher education. Our system is being manipulated all over the place. I am interested only in a better education for all who deserve it poor or wealthy. I do not think all students should lower education standards to help the poor. MSAT never expected parents to donate money, we wanted to, we did it and we all worked together on it. I guess some people are jealous of that. As far as the $800.00 per student deal, so what? Most of us did not even know this if its even true. NUSD like most school districts spends way too much money on administration anyway. I would have liked to see MSAT force the whole district to change its teaching program to match MSAT. A better way.

NUSD made sure MSAT would never have many students by constantly putting roadblocks out and scaring potential students and parents from joining. NUSD won, our students lost hope they and those that support NUSD are proud. I was there with my wife from the start, I never felt more connected to a community of people who felt so strongly about good education for ALL.

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