Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SF Board of Education Candidates Forum

San Francisco Board of Education
Candidates Forum

Meet 12 candidates running for the 4 open seats
on your Board of Education!
Hear their views on closing the achievement gap,
school safety, student assignment and more!

Tuesday, October 7
6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Everett Middle School
450 Church Street
(Between 16th & 17th Streets)

• Interpretation provided in Spanish and Cantonese
•To reserve free KidsWatch for children ages 3 and up,
call (415) 861-7077 or email
• Limited parking available at 17th Street entrance
• MUNI lines: 22, 24, 33, 37, F, J, K, L, M, T

For more information, contact Eric Li at
(415) 274-6760 x 315 or


  1. Sunflower says

    I am so fed up with our politicians in Washington, I want to vote every last one out of office.

    And Sacramento is no better. Look at what they did with the State budget.

    Do we have to deal with political wimps at the BOE level, too? I hope not.

  2. Sunflower says

    We need to ask the BOE candidates questions which will show their true intent. We shouldn't accept slogans or rhetoric, we need real answers.

    Exactly what will they do when they are faced with the hard decisions nobody wants to make?
    Exactly which programs would they cut if we are faced with, say, a 30% cut?

  3. To be fair, Sacramento got swamped by the requirement that a super-majority of the legislature has to vote for new taxes. They were faced with a severe revenue shortfall. The hard-right Repubs, who are far from a majority but do control over one-third, were able to dig in their heels and refuse any attempt to deal other than either cutting baseline health care and education, or passing the bill down to future generations. What they really want is to eliminate government almost completely, so they wouldn't compromise one iota. I personally wish the Dems hadn't blinked, but they were faced with day care providers going out of business, and clinics shutting down, so they did blink and took the "pass the bill down the generations" gambit instead of insisting on at least some new revenue now. Bottom line, Arnold couldn't corral his own Republican party to make a deal in which all parties gave a little and got a little and the people got a decent budget.

    The larger point is that our state budget is held hostage to a minority because of the super-majority requirement. Much of the budget is also held hostage to initiative-driven set-asides. What is a legislator to do?

    It's not a issue of incumbents, particularly. Heck, the bigger problem is the revolving door forced by term limits that means there are few relationships built to get things done, and the members are always looking for the next office. The better solutions would be reform to the system to eliminate the super-majority requirement, make the initiative process harder, and modify or eliminate term limits to build experience and stability in the legislature.

    All that said, I am glad that Tom Ammiano will very likely be going to Sacramento from my district in January. He is a huge education booster and did great good on the Board of Supes in promoting Props A, H, and then A again, all of which materially benefited our schools. He wants to serve on the Assembly's education committee.

  4. Would someone be willing to provide a synopsis of the forum for those of us who won't be able to attend it?

  5. I took notes at a previous candidates' forum thinking I would possibly write up some kind of synopsis, but it really doesn't lend itself to that. I've used the notes to answer a few specific questions in various contexts.

    One of those charts comparing the candidates' opinions, backgrounds etc. would be useful, but not enough broadly based information came out at the forum I attended.

  6. For those not attending the BOE candidates forum:


    Tuesday, October 7
    6 - 8 p.m.
    Please contact Parents Place to reserve a spot.

    What works best? Is younger always better? How do you support another language if you are monolingual? What if you already speak another language at home? How do you maintain it? Come make sense of it all by hearing from a panel of professional educators.

    Fee: $10 [ Per person, for one session. ]

    Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    10/7/2008 - 10/7/2008
    * Please that that this workshop is not being held at Parents Place, but rather around the corner at the main offices of Jewish Family and Children's Services, 2150 Post Street (at Scott) in San Francisco. Thank you!
    2150 Post Street
    Jewish Family and Children's Services

    ParentsPlace SF
    (415) 359-2454

  7. Sunflower says

    I, too, won't be able to attend the forum. One of those comparative chart things that Caroline suggested would be helpful.

    Would it be possible to email a list of four questions to the candidates, ask for a response of, say, under 50 words and make a chart from this? It wouldn't be complete by any means, but at least it would be something.

    My question would be,"Do you want to keep JROTC in our schools?"

  8. As someone who has been following the campaign closely, I can give you the chart on JROTC for the various candidates:

    H Brown - Won't vote to reinstate
    Lopez - Won't vote to reinstate
    Fewer - Won't vote to reinstate

    Wicoff - Won't reinstate but might vote to extend until replacement is in place

    Yee - Has given unclear and conflicting answers. Most recently he has been saying he supports the program and will vote to reinstate if it comes up next year.

    Murase - Will vote to reinstate
    Wynns - Will vote to reinstate
    Norton - Will vote to reinstate
    Mak - Will vote to reinstate
    Cohen - Will vote to reinstate
    Khalif - Will vote to reinstate
    Calloway - Will vote to reinstate

  9. I know that the candidates are asked endlessly to fill out questionnaires from various organizations. Usually they can just repeat their responses, though it's a paperwork burden. (Sometimes the questions are unique and require a specific response. In one recent election, the Green Party questionnaire asked the school board candidates what they would do about the loss of light industry in the Mission District."

    Anyway, I'll be looking for some of those online and will post here as I find them.

    A question of import to me as a SOTA parent -- and as someone who believes that schools should strive to meet the needs of ALL students -- is whether the candidates support continuing the selective admission processes at Lowell and SOTA. Currently, Lowell admits based on academic achievement and SOTA by artistic audition. Obviously that has a significant impact on the level of instruction at those schools. The position of Green/Progressive school board members and their supporters has been that those admission policies are elitist and should be eliminated, turning Lowell and SOTA into general-ed, lottery-admission schools. That question hasn't come up in candidates' forums yet -- I submitted it at last week's, but they didn't get to my question.

    I know that Jill Wynns and Rachel Norton support continuing those admission policies, and Emily Murase is very involved in the Lowell Alumni Assoc., so presumably she does. Sandra Fewer has in the past (about 3 years ago) said she opposed the selective-admission policies. The others' views are unknown.

  10. I'm still not sure how you can support those public schools that have selective admissions, but you pan charters and privates that do.

  11. That's a misunderstanding of my position. I don't object to selective admissions. I'll try to clarify.

    Private school are fully within their rights to select their students. My point is that it's not fair to compare a school that handpicks students to a school that doesn't, and then claim that the selective one is providing superior education.

    By the same token, it's not fair to compare Lowell to Thurgood Marshall (both SFUSD non-charter high schools) in academic achievement and claim that Lowell is educating students better, because Lowell selects for academic achievement and Thurgood Marshall admits by lottery. That's doesn't mean I think Lowell doesn't have the right to use selective admission.

    Same principle applies to comparing SOTA's attainment in an artistic discipline to another school's that doesn't select student by audition.

    Regarding charters, they are not supposed to handpick. I have objected to one that obviously does handpick while claiming not to, and then holds itself up as superior. (How it is obvious? The school requires a 9-page enrollment application, teacher recommendations, transcripts, an essay and more -- to get into what it claims is a blind lottery. You be the judge.) If it were legit for this school to handpick that way, and it did so openly, that would be something else.

  12. Caroline are you referring to Gateway High School? I was also a little leery of their claims but after their last round of admissions I am confident they do in fact use a lottery. SOTA's auditions on the other hand are notoriously unpredictable. I am the parent of a SOTA grad and also the godmother to a brilliant student who was refused admission. The same kid was accepted at a prestigious conservatory as an exceptional student, (they waived the age requirement for him), the same year.
    My point is please don't hold SOTA up as a paragon of selective admissions policies,( which I 100% support BTW ), because they are not.

  13. Hmm, but there are other factors as to why the brilliant godchild may not have been selected.

    The policy of SOTA is to require auditions/selective admissions.

    Even Harvard, Stanford, presumably the paragon of selective admissions probably reserve a few spaces for well, ya know, alumni kids or trust fund babies or whoever so it takes away a slot from a truly talented deserving child. Of course, SOTA wouldn't have such tfb or alumni issues, point is, a slot may have been reserved for one or two kids that met some other criteria.

  14. @ 11:02 True enough, but that would mean SOTA
    was selecting a percentage of their students based on criteria other than artistic and academic merit which is one thing if they state that up front, i.e.: X number spaces reserved to maintain gender equity, or diversity or a pool of wealthy/ famous parents,( those children of "stars" seem to always make the cut), but they don't. The result is an admissions process that lacks the credibility it should have and a prejudicial selectivity process shrouded in mystery. This behavior will probably bite them in the ass one day and hurt what is a very singular and special school.

  15. One thing I have heard though is that SOTA reserves a few spots for kids who have some raw talent, but have not had the benefit of the private lessons that many other kids have. It sounds like for some programs (piano for example) a kid stands very little chance of admission unless he or she had parents who could afford private lessons and were committed to their child's music from an early age.

    Is it fair to admit a couple kids who don't quite have that level of preparation because of their family finances, or their parents didn't know they needed to start piano at 4 to get into SOTA? It feels fair to me as long as the directors feel that this kids really has the potential to make it. In the end, all of the kids at SOTA get a great education in their field, and I am sure the kids who were a little less prepared when they started as freshmen catch up.

  16. SOTA admissions are based on the judgment of the arts discipline heads and other artists who judge the auditions. It's a judgment call in each case. I don't think that saying a selective admissions school meets the needs of artistic students is quite the same as holding them up as a paragon of impeccable judgment in every single case.

    The theater (drama) department head especially is famously quirky and prides himself on spotting that raw talent. In that department, I've known several cases where a student who was the superstar of community theater or musical theater didn't get in, at least on the first audition. And that probably DOES have some impact on SOTA's reputation, because of course all the other kids and parents in Musical TheatreWorks or Young People's Teen Musical Theater Company are shocked that the star didn't get in. I've been shocked in some of those cases.

    Yet it's the department head's decision, and it's a highly regarded department, so what's the answer? I don't know.

    In music, it would be pretty much unheard of if the star 8th-grade violist didn't get in, though it might happen if the kid revealed that he really wanted Lowell or University and was just auditioning for the heck of it, say.

    SOTA does reserve a percentage of spots for students based on the recommendation of their middle school principal, even if those students don't audition well. There's also an ongoing effort to boost underprivileged students, so if two students were very close in the judges' view, a low-income student of color might win out.

    Startling and unfair audition results are not limited to SOTA admissions, of course. My son is in the SF Jazz High School All-Stars this year (having just made alternate last year). He has two superstar, really talented classmates (different instruments, not competing with my son) who didn't get in, to everyone's shock. Anyone in an arts discipline that involves auditions has similar stories. It's unfair and hard to stomach, but also part of life in the performing arts.

    Yes, I was referring to Gateway, and sorry, I don't believe them. I DO give them credit for this, though: They used to really make a big deal in their publicity and on their website of how their students scored better than students at other SFUSD schools, and they have quietly stopped that.

    One friend who's more inclined than I am to believe them acknowledges, though, that just those admission requirements self-select for people who are willing and able to jump through all those hoops even if there truly is a blind lottery.

  17. this is LONG:

    Why I won’t vote for Jill Wynns for Board of Education.

    I am a member of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, which is a state mandated advisory committee that exists to advise the Board of Education on issues affecting children and families in Special Education.

    In the four years I have been a member of the CAC SPED, I have never felt that the Board of Education listened to us, or paid any attention to suggestions and recommendations we made in our reports. I suppose the State likes to create the illusion of parent participation, to make everything appear democratic, to make everything appear as if we have a voice in what happens to our children in public schools. Jill Wynns always makes a big point about gleefully telling us how "we are only an advisory committee and they don't have to do anything we suggest". Yes, we are painfully aware of that, Jill.

    I listened to the Jill Wynn’s interview on srdad’s podcast.
    She spoke of why she fought to censor our CAC’s newsletter, which the district agreed to send out to every family with a child in a special education program in the district, about 5600 families. Jill Wynns fought to make sure SFUSD would not send out our newsletter. Jill Wynns doesn’t want parents of children in special education being made aware of their rights. In one meeting she said something like: “You are asking us to help you fight us.” Apparently, Jill Wynns thinks that informing parents of their rights is the same as “fighting”.

    Most disconcerting of all was the fact that Jill Wynns and the rest of the Board seemed not at all concerned that parents were being given false information by district employees, they only seemed concerned that our committee wanted to make parents aware of that. excuse me if I grimace whenever I hear a Board of Education Commissioner talk about 'social justice". The proof is in the pudding, ain't it?

    As members of the committee, we were hearing numerous tales of parents being misinformed about their child’s rights. We wanted to send out a Frequently Asked Question column to address some of the misinformation parents were being given. Special education law is immensely complicated, and we only had two pages, so some of our answers cannot, of course, cover every angle of the situations, but we never claimed that our answers did. We are not lawyers, we are parents, trying to help other parents. This was only a FAQ column.

    Listen to what Jill Wynns says about the newsletter column she censored (at about 35 minutes into the srdad podcast, found here:

    If you are unable to listen to the interview, here are direct quotes from Jill Wynns about why she censored our column:

    “There were comments in there that said, there were statements in that newsletter that said that the school district doesn’t tell the truth about this. And they do this wrong, they always do this.” – Jill Wynns

    “Anything that was sent out by the school district that says that the school district purposely doesn’t follow the law would be in an adversarial legal environment, it would be us saying that we purposely are violating the law.”- Jill Wynns

    These statements from Jill Wynns are a total distortion of what was in our column. She is so biased and mean-spirited she is unable to see things clearly or be fair anymore. Read the column she censored, below, in its entirety, and tell me where we wrote ANY of those things she’s accused us of writing.

    Informing parents that SFUSD administrators sometimes “get it wrong”, becomes, in Jill Wynn’s mind “us telling parents that SFUSD was “breaking the law”. We are saying that SFUSD employees are not always aware of the laws. We do not accuse them of “lying”. We do not accuse them of “ALWAYS doing things wrong”, we do not accuse the school district of “purposely violating the law” -- we were merely attempting to alert parents to be aware of what their rights are.

    Censorship is always ugly and disturbing, but when it is used to silence those who advocate for a segment of the population that is often discriminated against – it is shameful. Jill Wynns worked hard to exercise a degree of content control over our Committee’s publications, which the district may not even exercise over a student publication.

    That’s one of the many reasons why I won’t vote for Jill Wynns for School Board.


    Here is the column of mine that Jill Wynns censored, that she said should not be sent out to parents:

    Advocating for Your Child: Frequently Asked Questions

    By Katy Franklin and Robin Hansen, CAC for Special Education

    The recent Supreme Court ruling (Jacob Winkelman v. Parma City Schools) affirmed the importance of
    parental involvement in ensuring that children with disabilities receive an appropriate education.
    Parents are the most important members of their children’s IEP teams, yet too often we are excluded from discussions about our children’s school placements and programs, and these decisions are
    made for us -- not with us. You are the expert when it comes to your child. You know your child best.

    In order to be the best advocate you can be for your child, you’ll need to know how to get organized and get educated.
    Keeping meticulous records is crucial; it will help you to become a more effective coordinator of
    services. Examples of records you’ll want to keep and organize:
    - IEP and IFSP records;
    - Letters and notes (from teachers, doctors, etc.)
    - Medical records and therapists’ reports;
    - Test results and evaluations;
    Get copies of all written information about your child.
    Keep a journal of events and concerns you have about your child’s school program and make notes from conversations and meetings you have with teachers
    and administrators regarding those concerns.
    Attend seminars and workshops. Read as much as you can about your child’s disability and gather all
    the information you can about the latest therapies and treatments available. Join online list-serves and share information with other parents of children with similar needs and concerns. Support groups can also be very helpful for exchanging information. Finally,
    Open Gate has a Parent Mentor Program that offers individualized support from a mentor parent who can help you.
    Contact them at (415) 920-5040.

    Q. I disagree with a recent school district evaluation of my child — what can I do about that?
    A: If you disagree with the School District’s assessment or evaluation of your child, you are entitled to get an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at district expense. This request must be made
    in writing. You do not have to use an evaluator from a list the district gives you.

    Q. The school district says my child doesn’t need some of the services I think he needs and won’t put them into his IEP – what do I do?
    A: Whenever SFUSD denies your child a service or accommodation that you’ve requested -- ask them
    (in writing) to provide you with “Prior Written Notice.” This notice should include:
    (1) A description of the action proposed or refused by them;
    (2) An explanation of why they proposed or refused to take the action;
    (3) A description of any other options that they considered and the reasons why those options
    were rejected;
    (4) A description of each evaluation procedure, test,
    record, or report they used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;
    (5) A description of any other factors that are relevant to their refusal.

    Q. During an IEP meeting, a school district employee said what I wanted for my child was “against district policy” – what can I do?
    A: If a district employee tells you that something you request for your child is “against district
    policy,” ask for that policy in writing. District employees sometimes confuse procedures – which are non-binding practices the district is accustomed to following – with policies, which must be
    approved by the Board of Education and must conform with special education laws. Always tape record IEP meetings; and give the district 24 hours notice, in writing, that you are going to tape.

    Q. I’m unhappy with what is happening at school and wanted to have another IEP meeting, but the
    teacher told me that “I already had my daughter’s IEP meeting this year.” What can I do?
    A: IEP meetings may be held as often as you need them, not just once a year. Request an IEP meeting
    by sending a written request to the school. Once your request is received, the meeting must be held
    within thirty (30) calendar days, not counting holidays.

    Q. I want my son to be educated in a regular classroom and not in a special education class, but
    the District says that they only have one inclusion program for preschool children and that is already full, what can I do?
    A: If there is a program specified in the IEP as what your child needs, then that is what your child
    should get. The district cannot put your child on a “waiting list” for services or programs. The district
    will have to create a new program or pay for a private program.

    Q. The teachers at my son’s school say he cannot have speech services more than twice a week because the speech therapist’s caseload is too big. My son needs more speech, what should I do?
    A: If your son’s IEP states that he needs speech services more than two times a week, the district
    must provide the services that are specified in his IEP.

    Q. I do not speak English very well and need someone to interpret for me at IEP meetings. The
    teacher said that it is up to me to find someone to translate, is this true?
    A: No, that is not true. If you make a request, in writing, the school must provide an interpreter
    during the meetings, and also have the IEP documents translated for you. It is also a violation of your child’s privacy rights to have another student act as a translator.

    Q. I was told that my child no longer qualifies for speech because his cumulative speech score was
    10%. Is this true?
    A: California law states that to qualify for the speech and language impaired (SLI) category, a
    child must have two scores that rank below 7%. However a child can have any two tests, including
    subtests, to qualify as SLI. An IEE from an independent therapist may show other scores that are deficient. Scores for auditory processing should also be considered in the SLI category. Also, if a child is eligible for services under any other criteria
    (Specific Learning Disability, Autism, etc.), then the 7% rule does not apply. Federal law states that the child must be expected to benefit from services in order to receive them, not held to any scores.

    Q. The school said my child would not receive continuing services until I sign the IEP. I am not
    sure I agree with everything on the IEP. What should I do?
    A: Always take the IEP home to review it before you sign it, even if you think you agree with
    everything. Waiting to sign the new IEP will not discontinue any services your child is currently
    receiving. If you disagree with some of the IEP and agree with others, mark your initials next to
    each part of the IEP to which you agree. Next to the signature line, write that you do not consent to
    any part of the IEP that you did not initial.

    Q. The school staff told me it would be a good idea for my child to get tutoring over the summer. I
    can’t afford it. What should I do?
    A: If school staff thinks your child needs tutoring, they should be providing it or paying for it. Write a letter back thanking them for their advice about the tutoring and ask them how they will offer it.


    Protection & Advocacy, Inc. (PAI)
    Provides advocacy help for Californians with
    disabilities. 800-776-5746
    TTY: 800-719-5798

    Community Alliance for Special Education (C.A.S.E.)
    Advocacy group and legal resource.

    Procedural Safeguards service of the California Department of Education (CDE) provides
    information regarding educational rights.
    (800) 926-0648

    California Special Education Programs: A Composite of Laws Parents of children with a disability may get an English-language copy of this book mailed to them at no charge. To get it, call 800-995-4099.

    The San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability
    415 554-6789 TTY: 415 554-6799

    Books: From Emotions to Advocacy by Pete and Pamela Wright, and The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child (5th Ed., Feb 2007) by Lawrence Siegel.

  18. So Wynns felt that the commentary, if released under SFUSD's auspices, would put SFUSD in legal jeopardy and leave the district vulnerable to costly lawsuits?

    I mean, that's my understanding, because I asked her about it too, and that's what she told me. That seems to jibe with your account.

    Did any BOE members disagree with that, just out of curiosity?

  19. I support Jill Wynns for BOE.
    Jill Wynns is the only member of the current BOE, and the only candidate, who truly understand school financing and the district budget. It is not enough to have experience with the kind of budgeting that a small non profit like Coleman or PPS does; school financing is a whole other ballgame. It has been said that there are only 6 people in the state of California who understand how school financing works, 5 of them are lying, and the 6th is John Mockler (author of Prop 98 which set minimum funding levels for education in the state). The truth is, there is a 7th person, and that is Jill Wynns.

    School financing in California is so incredibly complex that it is not something one can learn all about in just a year or two. Some of you are familiar with me through my posting about school food on another thread here. I have been heavily involved with this issue since 2002. Of particular interest to me was learning how Berkeley was able to afford to do a lot of the things they do with their school food, when I know that those things are very costly. They never talk about the higher cost, but in meeting with their food director Ann Cooper, I was able to learn that they get a funding stream called Meals for Needy Pupils. I won’t bore you with the details of this, but suffice it to say that my quest to understand the history of Meals for Needy Pupils, and to finally understand why it is that Berkeley (and many other districts) get this large revenue stream for better food, and we don’t, took almost two years. I kind of understood it enough to begin explaining it to others more than a year ago, but it took until just a few weeks ago to finally get the last pieces of the puzzle. My quest took me to admins at the CDE, to a reporter from the Sacramento Bee who wrote about this 5 years ago (but has since moved on to other areas beyond education), to the former Superintendent of Berkeley Unified, and a whole lot more. Jill Wynns’ expertise in interpreting what these people told me was invaluable, and together we were eventually able to make sense of this.

    My point is, this is one tiny funding stream in the gigantic tapestry of school funding in California. The state is apparently on the verge of revisiting, once again, how it is going to fund education. It is absolutely imperative that we have school board members who understand how school financing works; otherwise, how will we know when it is time to go to our state representatives and speak up about what is being planned?

    Same thing with the district budget. I regularly attend BOE budget committee meetings. Jill Wynns sat on this committee for 10 years. Two years ago, Mark Sanchez appointed a budget committee of mostly of members with little to no budget experience; when budget season began in earnest in the spring, member Jane Kim was nowhere to be found. Her law school classes conflicted with her attendance at budget committee meetings, and she chose law school over fulfilling her responsibility to our children. Sanchez then appointed Jill Wynns to fill Jane Kim’s seat until Jane could find the time to attend to the duties of the office she ran so hard to be elected to. I have watched other members of the budget committee sit slack jawed during the budget presentation by staff, and then ask questions which even I could answer. Fortunately, Myong Leigh, who is the top budget guru in the district, is a gentleman of impeccable credentials and personal integrity; I have known him for years and would trust him with my life. But I am old enough to remember when then-Superintendent Bill Rojas had a finance guy named William Coleman; this Coleman guy fled to the Detroit public school district after the Rojas house of cards came toppling down, and he was recently found guilty of fraud and corruption there and I believe is now in jail. Myong Leigh is nothing like this, but he is widely admired and respected by City government and private industry, and he regularly receives very lucrative offers to leave the district. He has served a long time, and it is not inconceivable that someday he may make the move. There is no guarantee that the next person will have Myong’s integrity.

    This is by way of saying that we need people on the BOE who have more than just the credential that they are a parent, or care about parents’ desires. We need people who understand what staff is talking about when the topic is school financing and the budget. We need people who have been through the sometimes acrimonious process of union negotiations. We need people who know what the heck they are doing, because they are not doing it for the first time!

    The 3 current BOE members not up for reelection this year were elected less than 2 years ago. Add in at least 2 more newbies guaranteed this year, and you will have the majority of members (at least 5) with no more than 2 years of board experience. No matter which way you cut it, there will be plenty of “fresh blood” and “new voices” on the BOE. We need Jill’s experience and her understanding of the financial matters more than we need a sixth inexperienced wannabe.

    To learn more about Jill’s campaign, please visit

  20. "DId any BOE members disagree?"

    We wanted to know that too, we discussed this at a rules committee meeting, and when I said that I wanted this to be voted on by the whole board, Jill Wynns laughed, waved her hand dismissively at me and said:

    "That's never gonna happen."

    So they did not even grant us the courtesy of a vote. They exercised a level of content control over our publication that they are not allowed to exercise over any student newspaper.
    She doesn't like what we say, so her tactic is to do whatever she can to silence us.

    A few years back Leland Yee wrote AB 2581, to prevent student journalists from censorship by school district administrators. "Allowing a school administration to censor is contrary to the democratic process," he said.
    I wonder if he has similar views about the censorship of state mandated Community Advisory Committees ...

    We offered up several solutions, that they could refute what we said, and give their own answers to the questions alongside what we wrote, that they put disclaimers on every page that this was from the CAC and not SFUSD, whatever we suggested they said no to. They used the guise of admitting wrongdoing, but what they really didn't want was parents learning what their rights are for their children's educations.

    The “Advocating For Your Child” section of our newsletter was there to dispel the common and constant misinformation given to parents of children with disabilities in our district. Deleting this column in its entirety was nothing more than a shameful attempt to keep parents from knowing their rights by a school district that is well-known for its systemic non-compliance with special education laws.

    If they are so afraid of lawsuits -- instead of trying to keep information from parents -- WHY DON'T THEY ADHERE TO THE LAWS?


  21. Moggy, anyone with any legal sophistication at all (which I would suspect applies to a lot of the readers of this blog) can see why the board would have been concerned about the legal implications of that language going out under their auspices.

    You yourself have made a huge, albeit completely inaccurate, point of how none of the other board members have any respect for Wynns, so why would they suddenly sit there mute and let her dictate on her own how this supposed censorship would go down?

    Your account posted today makes clearer than anything I've previously seen about that incident why a prudent board member focusing on the fiscal interests of the district would be concerned about that language.

  22. "You yourself have made a huge, albeit completely inaccurate, point of how none of the other board members have any respect for Wynns" says Caroline

    I never wrote that. You're making stuff up again, twisting words and
    stretching the truth, as you always do. Only one other BOE member
    endorsed her, and that's pretty sad, those are the people that know
    her well, and that says a lot.

    The legal "implications" were that many parents would suddenly learn
    the truth about how things are supposed to work, and the district
    would have to start paying attention to the law. OHMYGOSH how horrid that would be! Yup, it is clear why they were worried, it just isn't the simplistic reason you think it was.

    It's clear you are no champion of free speech, there's no point
    arguing with you about what Jill did ... you think it was fine, I
    think it was astonishingly fascist.
    You call someone who relishes in muzzling parents " a prudent board member" ... you're entitled to your bizarre viewpoint.

    Some of the other BOE members
    muttered about how "extreme" it was to totally yank the whole column,
    but none of them cared enough to do anything about it, and as I wrote
    earlier, none seemed to give a hoot about parents being given the
    wrong information.


  23. Jill Wynns sounds like a rather horrible person regardless of her political views. The dismissive attitude alone should keep her out of office.

  24. Katy/Moggy, give it up. You knew that the newsletter was subversive. The district doesn't have the funds to pay for the sort of accomodations assertive parents like you have gotten for your son for all SpEd kids. This would bankrupt the system leaving little if any for the GenEd kids. Like it or not, this is the way the system must work until IDEA is fully funded by the federal government. I suggest you put your considerable energy into fighting that fight instead.

  25. 3:13 (or DANA)
    I bet you think the Bill of Rights is subversive too. How creepy.

  26. I think it was one of your numerous anonymous personae here or in one of the other forums, Moggy.

    I don't know enough about the details to know what I would have done, personally. As I've said, it's one of those very tough calls that BOE members face. But your own account makes the concerns raised about legal implications very clear. A responsible BOE member would not blow them off, and apparently none of them did.

  27. A responsible Board Member would have at least started to question
    why so many parents are being given so much misinformation and tried
    to work something out.

    You seem to attribute anything bad that is said about Jill to me,
    believe it or not, lots of people do not think much of her, and the
    "numerous anonymous personae" are not all me. More spreading of lies,
    as usual.


  28. If so, that implicates the entire BOE, so why single out one member?

    (Your inimitable style is impossible to mistake.)

  29. Caroline, other people do find Wynns offensive, not just Moggy. Sorry to disappoint you. And I don't care if Jill can stand on a ball, balancing a cake, a fish, and a rake, as well as navigate the ins and outs of school budgets. She's unlikely to give a crap what anyone but herself thinks, so her "skills" will likely not serve me.

  30. Jill is up for re-election, when the other's are, I'll post my beefs about them too.

    Norman was shocked by the whole thing ... he didn't try to do anything about it, but he wasn't in-you-face hostile the way Jill was. You think she was right, I disagree. Let's not bore everybody with our catfight. I've said my peace, you've said yours.

    People have posted stuff trying to imitate me, or "sound" like me, I can't be held responsible for that. Even if we had to register here, unless our IP addresses are clearly posted, people could still try to pass off their posts as other peoples', and we never really can know who is posting what. That's happened to you here, a few times, hasn't it, being impersonated by some creeps?


  31. Oy! Can you guys take it back to SF Schools?

  32. 3:13 How is that newsletter piece subversive? I read it twice and it isn't subversive. I don't think it is cool to be bringing up her kid here or mentioning her name either, please don't do that.

  33. To go a ways back here before the battle began. Sandra Fewer IS NOT AGAINST selective admissions in high schools. Her own daughter went to Lowell. My understanding is she is 100% pro every high school student being educated up to the UC admissions requirements. She is a proponent of educational equity where no child is told that a subject is too hard for them to do and channeled ibto an inferior education.
    And if only 6 or 7 people in all California know how the state's schools budget works then we're all up fece creek aren't we ? Best not let them all get on a plane together.

  34. I know that one of Sandra Fewer's kids went to Lowell some time ago and a younger went to Washington. Either way, she has clearly said she was opposed to selective admissions. That was two or three years ago, so I would want to know if she still holds that view opposing selective admissions. She did voice that view, though.

    There's a parent (not a board candidate) who has spoken out publicly against selective admissions at Lowell and SOTA whose child, a friend of my daughter's from middle school, is now at Lowell. I can think of at least a couple of others, come to think of it.

  35. Caroline I spoke to her face to face. She stated that she has no knowledge of ever making any statement saying she was opposed to selective admissions at Lowell or SOTA. She also stated she is not opposed to them now. You seem to be the only person who heard her allegedly say she was. When and where exactly was this ? Please do not continue to spread misinformation about this wonderful candidate.

  36. It would be helpful if someone asked Fewer and the other candidates about their views of Lowell and SOTA (not to mention GATE) in the upcoming forum.

  37. It was at a meeting of the citizens' advisory committee to advise the district on setting criteria for the superintendent search (for the Garcia hire, so 2-3 years ago) -- both she and I were on the committee.

    If she no longer holds the view, fine -- I'd like to hear that confirmed.

    I did submit that question at the candidates' night at Lincoln High, to no avail -- the moderator didn't get to all the questions, so mine wasn't asked, and Fewer wasn't there anyway.

    Opposing selective admissions at Lowell and SOTA is accepted as part of the Green/Progressive party line in San Francisco, and she is generally aligned with that philosophy, so it wouldn't be a startlingly out of keeping. I would ask any candidate who was generally aligned with that faction the same question.

  38. I found a report on the Green Party's LeftinSF blog on a CAC meeting that was probably the one I mentioned in the previous post -- March 14, 2007, so I was a bit off.

    It confirms that Sandy Fewer and I were both present and that the topic was discussed, but doesn't say who voiced what opinion.

  39. Sandra Fewer is a registered Democrat. Re: her position on seclective admissions at SOTA and Lowell, don't take my word for it, Caroline obviously doesn't. Which is great, we should all ask the candidates about the issues that matter to us and not take heresay as fact.

  40. more importantly, do not ever take anything caroline ever says as fact

  41. 7:57, I heard Sandy say otherwise. It's not that I'm some kind of eternal doubter; I was there and she was quite clear. And, as I noted, my estimate of how long ago that was turned out to be amplified -- it was a year and a half ago.

    Moggy, Kate has specifically asked you and your flaming colleagues not to be mean. I'm well known in the community and I'm not a liar.

  42. Again heresay, you were both at a meeting where the subject was discussed, there is no record of who said what so theoretically anyone there could have expressed that view including yourself. Let it go, no one is calling you a liar but you are implying Fewer is one. Just stop.

  43. I am not implying that Fewer is a liar.

    I'm telling you what she said in a public meeting a year and a half ago, and what I have said is that I'm open to hearing that she has changed her mind. I went to the candidates' forum at Lincoln intending to ask, but to no avail.

    The anonymous post from someone here who claims to have asked her directly is the first I've heard that she has explicitly said she DOES support selective admissions at Lowell and SOTA. So, clear? I'm not saying she's a liar. She has not taken a public position on this issue during the campaign.

  44. "She has not taken a public position on this issue during the campaign."

    Have ANY of the candidates?

  45. Wynns has taken a public position -- over the years and in this campaign -- supporting selective admissions for Lowell and SOTA. Norton has also, in response to a question from me for the blog.

  46. Did anyone here attend and have any feedback?

  47. I went to the candidates' forum and again submitted my question about whether the candidates support continuing the selective admissions processes at Lowell and SOTA, and again they didn't get to it, so the topic never came up.

    I posted some comments on the forum:

  48. Thank you Carolyn.
    I guess I'll have to go listen to Senor Dad's recordings to get an understanding of what each candidate's views.

    I was not able to attend and I'm glad I didn't, I probably would have had a blood vessel pop.

    Your point about the Anti Violence program brings up an interesting point... there is something a bit nefarious or what's the word, insidious? , about some of the "non-profits" that sprout up specificially for certain grant monies.

    Well, hope people really take the time to vote for some decent candidates who care about education for the Board, and not some ideologues or budding career politicians.

  49. "there is something a bit nefarious or what's the word, insidious? , about some of the "non-profits" that sprout up specificially for certain grant monies."

    I think so -- or maybe the word is "suspicious" or at least "opportunist." It's an entirely unexplored area of potential corruption, if you ask me. Then when available pots of money are being steered by insiders specifically toward those non-profits, it looks more suspicious. Call me cynical...

  50. Hi Nice Blog .I think HR understands the importance of other people tracking time--IT, Lawyers, non-exempt employees, but struggles with the idea of employee time attendance.

  51. ^^Thanks!!