Sharon Noguchi

County Has Call to Make on Condo

The county’s former schools superintendent bought one of the nicest condos at the Axis high-rise in downtown San Jose—with a generous loan from the county. Now the county Board of Education must decide what to do with it.

Outraged! Angry! These two emotions were prevalent last week after Mercury News reporter Sharon Noguchi broke the story that former county superintendent Dr. Chalres Weis wants the county to take back a condo the Board of Education loaned him money to buy in 2008. It is conceivable that this loan might cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, as I said last week, I feel strongly that “the primary interest in this matter is to guard the financial interests of the taxpayer, and the fiscal integrity of the organization.”

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A Pressing Middle School Matter

Two critical steps to building a public education system second to none begins with a focus on reading between birth to grade three—resulting in all students reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade—and vastly improving middle school education. Middle schools are the key to increasing high school graduation and college enrollment rates. The seeds for dropping out often begin during the transition between elementary school and the less personalized middle school model—six teachers and instructional periods—where the content dots tragically do not connect.

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Oversight Doesn’t Always Equal Results

Flummoxed? Outraged? Ineffective? Embarrassed? These feelings are not necessarily compatible all at once. However, when I got a call two weeks ago from Mercury News Education reporter, Sharon Noguchi, I experienced all four emotions at the same time. I was totally mystified that as president of the county Office of Education Board of Trustees I didn’t know the answers to a series of questions she asked to begin the interview.

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