Trustee Michael Chang Resigns from County Education Board

Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Michal Chang resigned from his post earlier this week to spend time with his ailing mother. His sudden departure leaves the seven-member board in a pivotal position as it enters the New Year.

Chang, who was nearing the end of his second term, would often cast the swing vote on critical issues, such as charter school petitions. His absence at the last board meeting of the year led to a deadlock that prevented trustee Claudia Rossi from being nominated vice president of the governing body.

Come January, the board will have to appoint an interim replacement for Chang—who represented Area 2, which spans Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale—to fill the seat until the next election.

Chang, a Hong Kong émigré and career educator with five degrees, taught for more than two decades at De Anza College. He served as board president until trustee Rosemary Kamei was appointed to the role last week.

Before his election to the county board in 2010, Chang served two terms as Cupertino mayor and eight years as trustee in the Cupertino Union School District. He said he leaves his current post “with a heavy heart,” but that his family takes precedence at this time.

“It has been an honor to serve with each of you on this board and I am glad we were able to do some important policy work together,” Chang wrote in an email to his colleagues on Tuesday. “As remaining board members, I hope that you will redouble your commitment to work together to serve the needs of students.”

Rossi, who comes up for re-election in November, spoke highly of Chang’s tenure.

“He holds himself to the highest standard,” she said. “And I know there was a lot of soul searching before he made his decision.”

Below is the email Chang sent to fellow trustees and the county’s interim Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan.

Dear Board colleagues and Mary Ann,

As you know, my mother had a severe stroke in last October.  At this point, I need to take care of mom and feel that I can no longer devote the necessary time and energy to my board duties.  Hence, it is with a heavy heart that I must submit my resignation from the board, to be effective immediately.  It has been an honor to serve with each of you on this board and I am glad we were able to do some important policy work together.  As remaining board members, I hope that you will re-double your commitment to work together to serve the needs of students.  Take care and I wish you the best.




Michael Chang, Ph.D.

​SCC Board of Education, District 2 ​

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Wow! You trolls are pretty quick to throw shade at a guy who is leaving his non-glamorous but important public post to help his sick mom.

    what do you pricks do for us exactly?

    Merry Christmas

  2. Yes, “Sick of Trolls” us vassals can get pretty uppity at times! We sometimes fail to recognize our noblesse oblige! Thanks for giving us our well-deserved comeuppance. \ As taxpayers in Santa Clara County, we should be happy with a Board that hires and supports superintendents like Gundry and De La Torre who are thieves and run organizations based on loyalty and not competence! Our bad. I for one know that you cannot fight city hall as I am originally from Chicago! As Anthony Muhammed once said, organizations like the SCCOE will eat good structures for lunch and then spit them out because they can! One of the areas that I am interested in is helping citizens actually see the performance of students within our districts and schools using clear, open, transparent and comprehensible data visualizations Something that the state and county do not do. I am currently in the process of building these data visualizations for all of the school districts in Santa Clara County using Python scripts. The state of California has invented an accountability gambit that visualizes district and school academic performance based on colors. Colors for academic performance are assigned based on how well individual students perform based on the low end scale score of the Level 3 – proficient by academic area and by grade. This amounts to spreading “excess” scale score points around to lower performing students. Let’s say the low end scale score for level 3 grade 4 Math is 100 points. Student A scores 90 scale score points, student B scores 110, and student C scores 115. The system subtracts student scores from 100 resulting in -10, 10, and 15. Then add the subtracted scores and get 15. Divide 15 by three and get 5. The value of 5 would get a green color – high performance. Oh and by the way, this system includes students in grades 3-8 and not grade 11 presumably because there are not enough 11th grade scale score points to spread around to guarantee green colors! Only about 1/2 of students in San Jose Unified School District are proficient in Math and yet they get a green – highly proficient score. You can see the overall performance on my web site at under Data Visualizations. So I for one am trying to take a little action!

    • Thanks for your efforts to improve our schools. SCCOE & VTA are shining example of what’s wrong with public agencies.

    • I commend your effort, and it is not my intention to discourage you, but at the end of the day you will discover knowledge that the Gods of Education will not want to hear.

      Do you have any thoughts on getting their attention and lighting a fire under their thrones?

  3. Margaret Mead once said; ” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

    Educational organizations at most levels want to protect the adults within the system at all costs rather than the students. That is why they do not present actual student performance in formats that students, parents, and community members can easily understand and interpret. The state invents a color-coding accountability gambit that does not fairly or adequately present student performance. Districts, cherry pick data to present to parents and the community to make them look good. They try to conflate special case performance with overall systemic performance. They also demonstrate the proclivity to denigrate standardized testing in a rage against the thermometer.

    I am committed to using Python scripts to present 3 years of student performance on the state SBA tests for ELA and Math by grade level and by year. I will also do this for the plethora of charters that exist in the County as well. In this way, parents and the community will be able to see overall and subgroup performance of students. This could help parents use this important criteria to make decisions about whether to send their children to these school districts. I would like to do this for each school as well.

    If the state, the County, and the school districts refuse to do this, I will do it and make it available.

    I look forward to visualizing data that demonstrates professional practice in the future because high quality professional practices lead to improved student outcomes, Check out

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice to publish concise, comprehensive 3 year performances of all school districts, schools, and charters in Santa Clara County without the filters imposed by the state, the county, and the school districts?
    We could publish the top 5 performing school districts/charters/schools for ELA and Math for the transition grades of 5, 8 and 11 overall and by key subgroups. We could also publish the the school districts/charters/ schools that have demonstrated the most improvement over 3 years. We could then host an Academy Awards celebration for those school districts/schools/charters that show the best overall performance in ELA and Math at the transition grades! We could award trophies as well as monetary awards for overall performance and also for the most improvement over 3 years! Of course, we would make all school district/school/charter performance accessible and visible in order to challenge the low performers! Wouldn’t it be nice if our County Office of Education would sponsor and host such an event. It might keep our self-absorbed board member in an outward activity that provides some actual benefit for the community!
    We do this in sports all of the time. We celebrate high performers like the Warriors who get results – aka Win Championships. Why not do it in education as well. And the beneficiaries would be our children as performance increases! It’s time to infuse a little competition into the system! Or should I say collaborative competition to satisfy the fragile sensibilities of the education community! Once this system is in place, we could begin identifying high professional performance and growth and begin communicating and celebrating that as the precursor to improvement in student outcomes. It would also add a nice dimension to our Academy Awards Celebration. Unfortunately, I think that the adults will continue to protect their positions (power) at all costs, keep the community in the dark, manipulate selected data to make them look good while at the same time blaming the students for the mediocre results that are actually the result of mediocre professional performance!

    • > Wouldn’t it be nice to publish concise, comprehensive 3 year performances of all school districts, schools, and charters in Santa Clara County without the filters imposed by the state, the county, and the school districts?


      Multiple naive assumptions here.

      Naive assumption #1 is that the Gods of Education and the ignorant masses who put them in power care about “the data”. They don’t.

      I have observed on numerous occasions that “the left” are ultimately primitive tribalists, and that tribalist instincts are baked into human DNA.

      One of the inherent behaviors of tribalism is the instinct to defer to the tribal “shaman”. The shaman is the “leader” of the tribe and is able to answer all the hard questions because he is uniquely empowered to talk to the “spirit world”.

      In modern politics, the “spirit world” really means “the experts”.

      So, whatever remarkable or revealing new data you come up with, the tribalists will criticize and demean it because YOU are not an EXPERT.

      The “shamans” of the education establishment will report that THEY talked to the EXPERTS and the true data are what THEY have already explained to you.

      The tribalist underclass will simply nod their empty heads in ritual loyalty to their shaman.

      Sorry to rain on your idealism, but many, many people before you have tried to impose “reason” on the tribalist cult of personality and failed.

      Better to take a step back, understand the nature of the people you’re dealing with, and come up with a better strategy.

      Don’t try to persuade them. Defeat them.

      • Hello SJOutsidetheBubble,
        I truly appreciate your well thought out response to my latest initiative – I have already produced 4 comprehensive Math reports for 4 school districts in Santa Clara County – it has become a bit of a slog because of the inconsistent ways in which the state generates its research files. (
        I agree with you that this is truly a Sisyphean task! And you are correct in the tribalist element (though not all left wing) that will prove a significant obstacle to my work. As you have previously stated, most of these education leaders have awesome jobs where they get to make a great deal of money and go home to their families at regular hours AND have enormous vacation time and retirement benefits. The system is really set up to protect the bureaucrats. In fact the system would run like a fine-tuned clock if it were not that we had to deal with children! My first line of attack is to send the reports to the individual superintendents with a request that they share this information widely and use it within their LCAP planning and implementation processes. Not much of a response so far. I would also like the superintendents to engage in a process to simplify their school improvement plans to make them understandable to mere mortals. I propose that they use a “Big Picture” template that links specific student outcomes to research-based teaching practices (only 1-2); educational strategies; professional development and collaboration. and metrics that monitor both professional practices as well as student outcomes. I have also contacted the Chief Academic Officer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education to engage in a process to publish these reports as well promote the ‘Big Picture” School Improvement Planning process. I will also make these reports available via newsletters that I will distribute to the PTA leaders at schools and the leaders of the DELAC to build a grassroots movement for better data, planning, implementation, and monitoring. We shall see. Thanks for your input.

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