A New Year, A New Village

One year ago, Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, eloquently declared 2011 the Year of the Child. Many of his priorities had to do with juvenile justice and ending the incarceration of our youth in the juvenile hall. In addition, he supported a closer working relationship with schools.

To meet the needs of our children, many whom are so painfully hurting, we must continue some of the bold work President Cortese addressed. Our commitment to children must be ongoing and targeted for the biggest impact. It is essential for government never to work at cross-purposes or with redundant expenditures, especially in tough economic times.

“Each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children,” says Lilian Katz, Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois. “We must recognize that the welfare of our children is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people’s children.” No doubt, we must work as a village if we truly are going to turn the tide for the quality of life of all children.

Second to the family, the Silicon Valley public education system must be the institution that charts the course for these new horizons of hope. The 31 districts in Santa Clara County (way too many districts in my opinion) are working diligently to eradicate the achievement gap and are doing so in an environment where funding has been considerably reduced.

Even though there is much room for improvement, our schools and their faculty deserve our respect and gratitude. All personnel in the system of public education have been asked by societal needs to do more with less.

In 2012, education must be evaluated in its role not only as a significant portion of expense—40-plus percent of the state budget—but also as an important revenue generator. For example, if there is a 2 percent increase in college degree acquisition, it will lead to a 1 percent increase in personal income for the entire region, or a total of $1.4 billion aggregate personal income every year.

In his 2011 State of the County speech, President Cortese called for a resolution in support of the A-G requirements (high school subjects on transcript to be eligible for entrance to UC/CSU systems). And with a mental health grant School Linked Services were revitalized between county government, nonprofits, and school districts.

Most drug and alcohol intervention, mental health counseling, student-case management, and public health services belong on school campuses. School Linked Services keeps that goal in place and eventually creates a village that recognizes that every child is our child. In 2012, we must find additional resources in our village to ensure that we never again reduce the school-level programs that treat the neediest children with love and care while they learn and grow.

This year, school boards must develop local policies that address the urgency of the gap by implementing best (proven) practices in the schools with the lowest achievement data. A short list of bold initiatives can include replacing the weakest teachers at these identified schools with the best through a comparative examination of results, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements with small pilot programs that re-think tenure and performance-pay options.

Leaders such as the board of trustees, superintendents and union leaders should evaluate these pilot model programs’ success or lack thereof in three- to five-year spans.

The SCCOE Board of Trustees in 2011 coalesced governance priorities around the bold initiative of SJ/SV 2020, ending the racial achievement gap in eight years. Most districts in the Silicon Valley village have signed on to the goal, each developing their own plan. However, San Jose is the only city that has done so.

In 2012, the SCCOE should work to see that the other 12 cities in the county sign and endorse the goal. In 2012, the Board of Supervisors should also validate the goal through a discussion and resolution. If the village works together in strategic ways, with best practices becoming the norm and not the exception, we can ensure success for all children.

Then and only then will we successfully recognize that the welfare of our children is linked to the welfare of all children. If the leaders of this village make their 2012 decisions based on Katz’s clarion call to action it will be a great year, from which we can build a better village. If the children do well, we all do well.

Happy New Year to all!

Joseph Di Salvo is a member of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Board of Trustees. He is a San Jose native. His columns reflect his personal opinion.


  1. How many undocumented platitudes and cliches can you identify from this DiSalvo piece?  I count five.  I love the “must” remarks dictating how we must think and act.  Wasn’t that called a supremacist attitude not too long ago?


    < “Each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children,” says Lilian Katz, Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois.

    < “We must recognize that the welfare of our children is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people’s children.”

    < No doubt, we must work as a village if we truly are going to turn the tide for the quality of life of all children. >

  2. Some folks say we need a “Play An Accordion-Go To Jail” Law. Seems a bit draconian.
    It’s pretty obvious though that in order to relieve the intense suffering of sane, sensible, rational Californians what we do need is an “Utter The Phrase ‘Achievement Gap’-Be Put In An Iron Coffin With Spikes On The Inside” Law and a “Refer To Our Society As A ‘Village’-Be Publicly Pilloried” Law.

    Knock it off Joseph. It’s only January 2nd and already you’ve ruined our shiny new New Year.

  3. Joseph,

    You write: “The SCCOE Board of Trustees in 2011 coalesced governance priorities around the bold initiative of SJ/SV 2020.”  Please name a single task force, report, study or set of recommendations initiated by public vote of the SCCBOE in 2011 related to SJ/SV 2020.

    Responding to charter applications and appeals is just a basic, entry-level part of any County Board of Education’s job.  How will you turn your written passions of 2011 into real action in Santa Clara County’s local communities in 2012?

    If, as you frequently say, this blog is about interaction, then let’s engage in leadership discussions that result in more practical solutions than replacing teachers.  Your Board members elected you to a second term as President because they trust you to turn vision into action.  Another year of dreamy talk by itself isn’t going to achieve practical changes in neighborhood public schools.

    Actually implementing the language of existing collective bargaining agreements in local districts would go a long way to ensuring data-driven cultures of accountability.

    I repeatedly state publicly that we need municipalities to step up to support children between the last bell of the school day and the first bell of the next school day.  So, yes, it’s important to bring in a wide range of city leaders.

    But, it’s also important to identify what successful pedagogical approaches result in “best (proven) practices in the schools with the lowest achievement data.”  The public continues to wait for you to agendize this issue at SCCBOE for explicit discussion.

    The AYP data on the CDE website shows that Santa Clara County’s schools provide mediocre performance for Latino majority schools with high socioeconomic disadvantaged populations.  There is only one neighborhood public school in Santa Clara County that achieves 65 percent student proficiency in a majority Latino school.  And, many schools with high overall achievement in districts of community wealth have some of the most egregious achievemment gaps in the County.

    The success of this one school has been mentioned several times, but I am dismayed at what seems to be a lack of passion by you and by many of your Board colleagues to look at the intricate data details.  It’s a copout to focus just on charters such as Rocketship.  And, don’t embolden the myths that Santa Clara County has much to cheer compared to other districts in California whose actual raw data in reality blows away this county’s performance.

    Please, please get into the real numbers and the numeric algorithms.  Begin the uncomfortable discussions about what it will take to change the academic approaches for many Latino families in Santa Clara County – recent arrivals and longer-term residents.  Publicize the numbers.  Raise the expectations.  Inspire communities to demand measurable change that goes beyond offering charter schools for involved parents.

    Closing the achievement gap means loudly stating that lower achieving groups need to achieve higher proficiency rates.  The currently higher achieving demographic groups are students of East Asian and South Asian heritage.  Their proficiency percentages thus become the goal – even among SED students of those heritages.  Part of the achievement gap is related to cultural and community support.  And, schools that have demonstrated success support structured environments, teacher collaboration, frequent assessments, analyses and individualized student plans.

    If you are sincere about “urgency,” then let’s make real progress towards obliterating the achievement gap – as measured by existing data.  It’s not healthy to point fingers at one segment of the system, such as teachers.  And, it’s not enough to talk about caring about others’ children.  Parents need leadership so they can demand replication of existing successes for their own kids too.

    The 10,700 row CDE spreadsheet at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/ is massive.  But, you can lead your Board members and the public to be familiar with this data so we eschew shame and rather find inspiration and courage in talking about facts.

    Best regards,
    – Chris Stampolis
    Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
    State Board Member, California Community College Trustees (CCCT)
    [email protected]  *  408-390-4748

    • Chris, questions about racism pop up when we notice your single-minded devotion to one student demographic, and only one student demographic.  You need to understand that Santa Clara County is thoroughly multi-racial, and to a large extent will not have a pleasant future until all demographic groups are well educated. 

      Although it is frequently covered up by educator-politicians with an axe to grind, in many districts the young diverse white American students are suffering badly, and failing to rise to the level of proficiency as they should be doing.  In some districts, European American students come in at almost midpoint between those you characterize as “students of East Asian and South Asian heritage” on the one hand, and (to copy your style) students of African and Latin American heritages, on the other hand.  The white kids get to twist in the wind? 

      It doesn’t help much when one demographic is made the centerpiece for improvement, and a couple of other demographics are allowed to slide.  Why not focus on all the students?

      Applying culturally appropriate educational designs isn’t for just one group.

      PS:  You really should make full disclosure that you are married to Anna Song, elected member of the the SCCOE Board of Trustees, when you spank DiSalvo for his shallow thinking, oops, you actually characterized his writing as “dreamy.”

      • Dear Minority White Community,

        In some districts, the “white” or “Caucasian” students achieve near the levels of Asian-heritage students.  In other districts, there are significant gaps between the proficiency rates of “white”/“Caucasian” students and the Asian-heritage students.

        I’m fully supportive of seeking to raise the proficiency rates of low-PEL, high-SED “white” students.  Proficiency rates of high-PEL, low-SED “white” students are at the highest levels now – though we should keep diligent for ongoing high achievement.  Very sincerely, if you have data that shows other conclusions, please share so we can discuss.

        I’m pushing back on your use of the word “racism.”  It absolutely is not racism to look at numerical data, cite it, raise questions about proficiency and speak openly about solutions.

        BTW, I sign my name to my posts and it’s certainly not hidden that my wife serves as an elected Board member of the SCCBOE.  I write for myself in my own public representative roles.  As with many spouses, we agree on many items and we take different perspectives on others.  I encourage you to use your real name as well, so we can have a fully trusting and open dialogue that puts students’ needs at the center.

        As a publicly-elected Community College District Trustee, I am very concerned about the preparedness of future college students.  As a dad of two public elementary school students and as a member of the school site council at their school, I’m also very concerned about local achievement today.

        If more people become “proficient” with the public data on public school proficiency, including census data, we’ll enhance the quality of community conversation.

        Best regards,
        – Chris Stampolis
        Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
        State Board Member, California Community College Trustees (CCCT)

    • Chris – Happy New Year to you and yours smile  In the spirit of not blaming people, but instead fixing systems, I will only say that we need identify, inventory, replicate (invest in) those things that are providing the most efficacy in increasing student outcomes (success) and remove all impediments to student success that are within our control. Einstein put it best when he defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

      Craig Mann, Member, Santa Clara County Board of Education

    • Trustee Stampolis,

      Not sure why you made this post somewhat of a personal attack. It is bothersome, particularly since your spouse is a board colleague.  I have written for three years and get consistently pilloried for what I say and believe. It seems to me that our political process is mired in negativity without compromise.  The points on this week’s column were simple:
      1. All public agencies must collaborate on the highest of levels to bring about the change we want on the achievement gap. The academic achievement of our children must be a priority.
      2. We should target our work.
      3.Reduce the number of school districts.
      4.Respect the work of those in the school system who are doing more with less.
      5.Emphasize A-G requirements for all students and schools.
      6.Make certain systems that target support for our neediest of students do so at the school site find a way to keep the funding and increase the funding, if possible..
      7.Transfer the best teachers in the district to the lowest performing schools, no doubt controversial.
      8.Create new pilot tenure projects and dovetail with performance pay for results, no doubt controversial.
      9. Make sure all cities and their elected leaders know about SJ/SV2020.

      My record of what I have stood for and voted for in my three years as an elected official is well-documented in my 148 columns on SJI. I have attempted to be balanced and bold. We can disagree about specific points and look at areas where we agree, however most bloggers on this site just attack personally. That to me is detrimental to the goal of improving public education for all students.  Having a civil conversation on a digital format would be a gift to the process.

      The achievement gap is a serious matter that you, me and the SCCOE Board are very concerned about. There are many SCCOE assets working on the SJ/SV2020 goal. We can and must do more, I agree. Doing more can be can be a subject for a future agenda of the SCCOE Board.

      Making data available in the manner you did on this blog would be critical to the discussion and eventual dip stick on data points over time. Thank you for doing so. Developing public targets for eliminating the gap for districts and schools for each of the next 8 years should be done. It has been requested by PACT in the middle of last year.  It has not been done. That was the Superintendent’s decision.

      Our 7 member board just formalized the importance of focusing on this issue in August, 2011. Minimally, we have asked for a formal update each meeting on SJ/SV2020’s progress. Although, I must admit I was surprised to learn about SJ/SV2020 Vision School Awards today in a press release emailed to us this morning.

      In the past you and I have agreed and have talked about our points of agreement. I do not remember a point for which we disagreed.  I have not bashed teachers as you say, but a system that perpetuates mediocrity and does not reward stellar performance.

      In the end the true issue is the quality of teacher in each of our SV classrooms and schools. We need to find ways to recruit the very best teachers to SV, compensate them fairly, and retain them.

      I take my leadership role as president of the Board very seriously and work hard at it. I am disappointed you chose to post something filled with so much vitriol.

      Perhaps SJI would entertain you becoming a guest columnist.  We can even share the weekly writes every other week.

      Frankly, it is getting more difficult for me to write each week with purpose and clarity. The attacks for the last 3 years have taken their toll.

      • One problem that Joseph has with SJ/SV2020 is that SJ/SV2020 is now 26 months old out of its total lifetime of 122 months from November 2009 to January 2020.  That is, almost 20% of the total time to 2020 is gone!

        This is the same old story as “No Child Left Behind.” Our county educators had over ten years to plan for increasing proficiency across the board after 2002.  Oops, they didn’t do it so a smokescreen called SJ/SV2020 was created to kick the problems down the road. Undoubtedly, in 2018 we’ll see a brand new & exciting shiny new brand called “Santa Clara Kids: 2025” and all will be new and wonderful again.

      • Joseph,

        A written format can be challenging, but there is nothing I wrote above that mirrors anywhere near the personal vitriol and slapdowns you suffer from several anonymous participants here.

        I have treated your SJI essays with intense respect and, more than any other fellow elected official anywhere, have participated in dialogue – per your personal request.  I also consider your issues serious enough to invest many hours of research into the raw data so we can engage in real dialogue.

        So, please don’t get bent out of shape because I express frustration at the speed of change.  You know that I know how much time semi-volunteer Trustees spend on governance.  I’m serious about wanting to see more expression of urgency – not just at your Board, but at education and other governance Boards across the state.  Yes, I am nudging you as Board President to intensify the process and to get into the numbers.  But, I do that collegially because if you, as a retired professional educator, don’t lead aggressively, who will?

        We’re at an educational crossroads and now is the chance to push the discussion to heightened honesty.

        BTW, I am glad you mentioned the media release about SV/SJ2020’s Vision Awards.  I read the release also, did some data analysis and will post below in a few moments.

        Of your nine summary items, I suggest the County Board best can make progress by prioritizing your item 2: “Target your work.”  Realistically though, the Board is going to have to dive into the data itself – or appoint an ad hoc committee of community volunteers to assist.  Your post above shifts blame to your employee for not picking targets, rather than spending a few computer hours yourself going through the state spreadsheet.

        If my frustration shines through, it’s because I don’t sense excitement from Trustees to get into the numbers and the data and the percentages and the trends and to get all jiggy with the figures.

        Yet that’s how we all can evaluate.  And that’s where the inertia ultimately hides.

        Warm regards,
        Chris Stampolis

  4. Joseph,

    I don’t think anything will change unless and until those of you who are in charge clean up your act. I only attended ONE of your meetings and can tell you the problem lies at the TOP! All of you claim to care for the children and their “Welfare” but you can’t even get along with one another.

    At the meeting I attended, caring teachers and students tried to tell you what the problems were and even offered you sound advice on policy and program changes, but were met with deaf ears, and an arrogant attitude. You spent 100K on a study that simply regurgitated what teachers and students were already telling you! Why then should we throw more money into a system that doesn’t listen to the very people who are on the front lines, and who refuse to work together in an effort to create the changes we all need to be made?

    Furthermore, I am so fed up with this society pulling the race card every time a kid gets in trouble. It is a huge part of the problem we are facing in our communities today. I know this for a fact because I worked with at risk youth in the Victim Offender Mediation Program for more than seven years, and served on the Neighborhood Accountability Board, and Council.

    In at least 3 out of 5 cases I dealt with, where the parent was responsible to pay restitution to the victim for a crime committed by their child, I heard the lame excuse that their child was arrested only because they were black, Hispanic, fill in the blank! When kids break the law, they need to pay a consequence regardless of their race! Stop using race as a “get out of jail FREE” card, and start holding these kids AND their parents accountable for their behavior. Then and only then will they begin to lead productive lives.

    • > Furthermore, I am so fed up with this society pulling the race card every time a kid gets in trouble. It is a huge part of the problem we are facing in our communities today.

      Nothing will change as long as people talk only in circumspect generalities.  Politicians will simply conclude that they are wonderful and heroic and you are talking about someone else, undoubtedly “bad guys” who vote for or belong to the other party.

      If you want anyone to notice your criticism, you need to be SPECIFIC, PERISTENT, and RELENTLESS:

      Name names. Dates. Places. Nature of act.

      And specificially, you need to identify BY NAME and OFFICE the politician who SHOULD have done something but didn’t. 

      If politicians are never blamed or held to account for anything, they can and will claim that they have been PERFECTLY accountable.

  5. The Dozens

    There are c. 225 neighborhood public elementary schools in Santa Clara County.

    The Low Dozen…

    According to 2011 AYP data (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/), here are the lowest achieving neighborhood public elementary schools in Santa Clara County for Latino students in English Language proficiency:

    Cherrywood Elementary (Berryessa Union): 28.4% (21/74)
    Scott Lane Elementary (Santa Clara Unified): 29.3% (67/229)
    Jason Dahl Elementary (Franklin-McKinley): 29.5% 91/308
    Ben Painter Elementary (Alum Rock): 30.2% 49/162
    Orchard Elementary (Orchard): 30.6% 56/183
    Del Roble Elementary (Oak Grove): 31.4% 61/194
    Santee Elementary (Franklih-Mc Kinley): 31.4% 74/236
    Ponderosa Elementary (Santa Clara Unified): 31.6% 31/98
    William Rogers Elementary (Alum Rock): 32.8% 44/134
    Robert Randall Elementary (Milpitas): 33.3% 50/150
    Briarwood Elementary (Santa Clara Unified): 33.8 46/136
    McKinley Elementary (Franklin-McKinley): 33.8% 106/314

    According to 2011 AYP data, here are the lowest achieving neighborhood public elementary schools in Santa Clara County for Latino students in Mathematics proficiency:

    Orchard Elementary (Orchard): 30.6% 56/183
    Barrett Elementary (Morgan Hill): 35.7% 5/14
    Horace Mann Elementary (SJ Unified): 36.5% 110/301
    Del Roble Elementary (Oak Grove): 37.1% 72/194
    Don Callejon (Santa Clara Unified): 37.2% 67/180
    Ponderosa Elementary (Santa Clara Unified): 37.8% 37/98
    Shirakawa Elementary (Franklin-McKinley): 37.8% 90/238
    Miner Elementary (Oak Grove): 38.2% 86/225
    Cherrywood Elementary (Berryessa): 38.4% 28/73
    Stevenson Elementary (Mountain View Whisman): 39.3% 11/28
    Windmill Springs Elementary (Franklin McKinley): 39.9% 93/233
    Hayes Elementary (Oak Grove): 40.2% 49/122

    And… the Top Dozen…

    According to 2011 AYP data, here are the highest achieving neighborhood public elementary schools in Santa Clara County for Latino students in English Language proficiency:

    Graystone Elementary (SJ Unified): 82.7% 43/52
    Silver Oak Elementary (Evergreen): 82.7% 43/52
    Country Lane Elementary (Moreland): 82.1% 46/56
    Los Alamitos Elementary (SJ Unified): 73.4% 47/64
    Carlton Elementary (Union): 68.8% 33/48
    Luigi Aprea Elementary (Gilroy): 66.8% 137/205
    Joseph Weller Elementary (Milpitas): 65.3% 64/98
    Evergreen Elementary (Evergreen): 64.4% 47/73
    Las Animas Elementary (Gilroy): 63.3% 179/283
    Bracher Elementary (Santa Clara Unified): 63.2% 84/133
    Booksin Elementary (SJ Unified): 63.2% 55/87
    Almond Elementary (Los Altos): 63.0% 29/46

    According to 2011 AYP data, here are the highest achieving neighborhood public elementary schools in Santa Clara County for Latino students in Mathematics proficiency (at least 45 Latino test takers):

    Graystone Elementary (SJ Unified): 82.7% 43/52
    Silver Oak Elementary (Evergreen): 82.7% 43/52
    Country Lane Elementary (Moreland): 82.1% 46/56
    Guadalupe Elementary (Union): 81.6% 31/38
    Eliot Elementary (Gilroy): 76.1% 235/309
    Carlton Elementary (Union): 75.0% 36/48
    Curtner Elementary (Milpitas): 74.2% 49/66
    Los Alamitos Elementary (SJ Unified): 73.4% 47/64
    Gussie Baker Elementary (Moreland): 73.4% 80/109
    Leroy Anderson Elementary (Moreland): 73.4% 203/149
    Ruskin Elementary (Berryessa): 73.3% 33/45
    Horace Cureton Elementary (Alum Rock): 72.9% 207/284

    What’s interesting here is not just which schools scored at which levels, but how other students at the school perform.  For example, Cherrywood Elementary in Berryessa appears in both the low English list and the low Math list for Latino students, but the 189 Asian students perform at 72.0% and 86.2% respectively.  Orchard also appears in the low English list and the low Math list for Latino students, but the 146 Asian students perform at 63.1% and 74.8% respectively.  Ponderosa is another school that appears on both the low English list and the low Math list for Latino students, but its 118 Asian students tested at 75.4% and 91.5% respectively.  So, the achievement gap at these schools is quite large.  Ponderosa’s math achievement gap between similar numbers of Asians and Latinos is 54 percent.

    So even when a majority of a school’s students overall perform well and push a school’s API well over 800, the Latino students may achieve at far lower proficiency levels.

    The top Latino-performance schools also have high numbers from other ethnicities.  But among schools with low scores among Latinos, these schools may have high performance from everyone else and not receive much attention for their achievement gaps.  One has to dive deeper into the data to surface patterns and concerns.  Then, one can discuss how to raise achievement to mirror schools with much higher proficiencies.

    – Chris Stampolis
    Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
    State Board Member, California Community College Trustees (CCCT)
    408-390-4748 *  [email protected]

    • Chris,

      Took a few re-reads to get what you’re driving at.  The percentage signs mid paragraph threw me off.

      Basically what you’re saying is,  What could be construed at one school as a race gap, isn’t true at another school across town.  You did a great job of backing your statement up with cited facts.  Love it.

      I’ll tell you what the difference is.  It’s not a “racial” gap like brosef keeps pointing out.  I keep pointing out the crossing guard thing because the difference between high scoring schools and low scoring schools is this…

      The higher scoring schools come from neighborhoods with more money/services thrown at them.  That is all.  Not much more to be debated here.

      It’s the 1% vs the 99%.  If brosef wanted to preach the truth, that would be it. Then again, the 1% are what give all that money to campaigns.  If he told it like it is, he’d likely have 0 in his next campaign warchest.

      One thing I learned about San Jose, is most districts are fairly even in racial terms.  It’s about 30% Latino, 30%  Caucasian, 30%  Asian, with various other races filling in the other 10%.  So with all districts having a near racial balance.. What is the only difference between them?


    • “Ponderosa is another school that appears on both the low English list and the low Math list for Latino students, but its 118 Asian students tested at 75.4% and 91.5% respectively.”

      It’s not that hard.

      One culture values getting a job pouring concrete.
      One culture values getting an education.

      So why continue burning billions of dollars trying to fix a problem that can’t be fixed by money?

    • Gang leaders deliberately use younger kids to perpetrate vicious crimes because the leaders and the young kids know that the punishment the younger kids will get if caught is a slap on the wrist compared to what an adult perpetrator will get for committing the same acts.

      The polyanna-ish attitudes of you, Mr. Cortese, and your ilk cause avoidable injury, death, and destruction.

  6. The SCCOE Board of Trustees in 2011 coalesced governance priorities around the bold initiative of SJ/SV 2020, ending the racial achievement gap in eight years.

    Here goes brosef, throwing down the race card again…

    Want to do something really nice for your ESSJ schools brosef?  Since the CSJ seems to be doing a poor job of staffing crossing guards at your busy intersections (I see a large disparagement between the amount at james lick / pala vs brahanam / John Muir)  Why don’t you ask your esteemed president if the county could take over crossing guard duty.

    CSJ has been doing a poor job of staffing crossing guards for ESSJ.  I drive between both daily.

    If I was staffing guards purely on “which intersection needed it more”  I would rather have guards at White and Alum Rock instead of Brahnam and Cherry.  B&C is a more modern intersection with less traffic.

  7. BTW, a correction to the data I shared yesterday.  I cited Don Callejon school as one of the lower performing elementary schools for Latino mathematics performance.  The AYP file does not distinguish K-8 schools from K-5 schools.  Therefore, the Callejon School numbers are listed as “elementary” on the AYP file, but they blend middle and elementary school performance for the 37.2 percent proficiency number.  The elementary school has a significantly smaller enrollment than the middle school and if calculated just based on K-5 levels would have shown much higher performance than it did with aggregated middle school data.

    The STAR data shows that the small numbers of Latino students tested in Callejon’s elementary grades achieve at high levels in math (around 60% proficiency).  When other elementary schools feed into Callejon for middle school, the aggregate Latino performance numbers drop dramatically to around 27 percent math proficiency for the 6th through 8th grade Latino students, which would place Callejon in the lower group of Latino performance for middle school students if reported separately.

    Apologies to Callejon educators for this misclassification.

  8. I agree with Mr Stampolis that Mr Di Salvo and his colleagues have little appetite for data. It also seems that Mr Di Salvo doesn’t have much of a craving for facts either.

    “Most districts in the Silicon Valley village have signed on to the goal, each developing their own plan. However, San Jose is the only city that has done so.”

    Let’s look at the SCCOE own facts:


    Sounds like less than a third of the 31 districts in Santa Clara County; hardly “most” districts and none outside of San Jose.

    Ironically enough, not a single charter school organization is listed on this site as a supporter of that (mostly PR driven) initiative ….

  9. Imagine what would happen should Liberals wage war against the undeniable achievement gap that exists in basketball proficiency. Job one would be to attribute the gap to discrimination: Whites, Asians, and even Hispanics being denied the required encouragement (by professionals and parents), deprived the obviously needed special assistance (affirmative action), and, last but not least, subjected to that most insidious of curses, lowered societal expectations. Our educators and the media would rally the public with accusations and heart-tugging tales of victimized young people, all in advance of a call to raid the Treasury.

    Now, fast forward ten years and ten billion gap-closing dollars and raise your hand if you really expect to see a change in the racial makeup of college and professional basketball. C’mon, don’t be shy. Someone? Anyone? Is that your hand, Mr. DiSalvo? Yes, you’re excused to use the restroom.

    Besides providing our increasingly feminized culture with gaps over which to weep, basketball and academics have something else in common, something really remarkable: both fields are regularly mastered by people from foreign villages possessing no substantive history in either. In basketball, the highest levels of the game have been conquered by Africans who as children never bounced a ball, while the hallowed halls of academics (and high-tech) are thick with Asians just one generation removed from the tea plantation and the rice paddy.

    But notice the mastery plays out tellingly: Africa exports superb basketball players but almost no top scholars; Asia, just the reverse. Neither of these outcomes can be blamed on America’s educational system or social-economic disparities (sorry, Mr. DiSalvo), nor explained using the language of politics or multiculturalism, yet these outcomes are consistent with evolutionary science, consistent with the histories of the respective continents, and consistent with the glaring group differences evident in classrooms, playgrounds, neighborhoods, and cities everywhere in America.

    But Joe DiSalvo and his disciples promise to change all that; they ask only that you believe… and pay the bills.

    2nd Posting

    • Perhaps when the geniuses get finished fixing the education system they can turn their attention to the basketball achievement gap. Their first order of business might be to lower the rim to 7’6” so that the slam dunk performance of white guys becomes equal to that of their black counterparts. And exercising the right to change the rules of the game at any time should one team or another get too big a lead would be a useful strategy.
      In any event this is irrelevant to DiSalvo’s article. The experts in education have, with great effort and imagination, invented this thing they like to call “the achievement gap”. It’s become the cornerstone of their religion. The prerequisite to being allowed to discuss education with the ‘experts’ is that you must first agree that the purpose of the education system must be to eliminate this “achievement gap”. Simpletons such as you or I who mistakenly believe that the goal should be to provide the best education for the most number of kids are kindly invited to keep our wallets open- but our mouths shut.

      • John,

        You are correct that the words “achievement gap” are, by themselves, meaningless.  “Achievement”? “Gap”?  The public reasonably should ask “With what metrics and between what groups?”

        If we cut through the code, achievement gap refers to consistently lower standardized testing scores and academic proficiencies among groups of African-American and Latino students – across socioeconomic status – and consistently lower standardized test scores for most students from socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED) strata and/or lower parent education levels (PEL) regardless of ethnic heritage.

        In short, what’s it going to take to get Latino students, African-American students and other high SED/low PEL students – as individuals and as members of larger groups – to achieve academic proficiency at comparable levels to students from higher wealth and higher PEL families?  Also, it merits discussion of why Asian-American students as a group outperform all segments of California’s population – regardless of SED and/or PEL status and what society might learn from those statistics or cultural behaviors.

        In Santa Clara County, given local population numbers, most educators use “achievement gap” to refer to lower academic proficiency among Latino students and efforts to raise that group’s academic proficiencies – especially in mathematics and English language arts.

        I agree we shouldn’t dance around the real issues.  Let’s discuss frankly and openly about what has to change to attain real results.

        – Chris Stampolis
        Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
        State Board Member, California Community College Trustees (CCCT)
        408-390-4748 *  [email protected]

        • Chris,
          I do understand what educators mean by ‘achievement gap’. I just think you’ve completely misinterpreted it’s significance and it’s causes, and especially whose job it is to ‘fix’ it. To base our education system on obscuring the inevitable expressions of the differences between diverse groups of people is not only futile, it’s insulting to those who truly understand and appreciate ‘diversity’.
          The mission of our public education system should be “To Provide Every Child With The OPPORTUNITY Of Obtaining A Solid, Free Education”. Period. Whether those children and their parents choose to avail themselves of that opportunity is up to them.

  10. The Santa Clara County Office of Education today released a media release commending the first schools to win 20/20 Vision awards for “noteworthy accomplishments in closing the (achievement) gap.”


    I question how these schools were chosen, and if numeric criteria were applied objectively.

    Some of the chosen schools perform well among Latino students, regardless of how one calculates the numbers.  Those schools earned commendations.  Other so-named “noteworthy” schools demonstrate some of the largest achievement gaps in Santa Clara County.  A middle school in which high percentages of Latino students demonstrate proficiency in Algebra deserves kudos.  Middle schools in which 3/4 of 8th grade Latino students do not take Algebra and only 1/4 to 1/3 of those non-Algebra students demonstrate proficiency at the pre-Algebra level seems cause for alarm, not for awards.

    In the Elementary School groupings, where are schools like Las Animas and Sherman Oaks and Gussie Baker and Bracher and Anderson and Cureton and Eliot?  In the Middle School groupings, where are schools like Brownell, Rolling Hills, South Valley, Renaissance and even Chaboya in Evergreen?  (Chaboya is an example of a predominantly non-Latino school that virtually obliterates the achievement gap among Latino students.)

    I have analyzed the proposed honoree schools, in te order listed in the SCCOE media release.  The first sets of numbers below are for English Language proficiency and the second sets of numbers are for Mathematics proficiency.  All data is gathered from publicly-available numbers on the CDE website, filtered for Latino students (per the stated goals of SJ 2020).


    Almaden Elementary:  101/233, 43.3% – 153/233, 65.7%
    Cassell Elementary:  132/266, 49.6% – 171/266, 64.3%
    McEntee Academy:  134/228, 58.8% – 165/228, 72.4%
    Lietz Elementary:  43/91, 47.3% – 60/91, 65.9%
    Luigi Aprea Elementary:  137/205, 66.8% – 145/205, 70.7%
    Meyer Elementary:  140/274, 51.1% – 185/273, 67.8%
    Reed Elementary:  56/105, 53.3% – 61/105, 58.1%
    Mateo Sheedy Charter:  176/253, 69.6% – 213/253, 84.2%
    Washington Elementary:  182/339, 53.7% – 206/339, 60.8%


    Ascencio Solorsano Middle School:  361/678, 53.2% – 343/678, 50.6%
    — in 8th grade
          64/217 took general math with 17 percent proficiency
          153/217 took algebra with 64 percent proficiency

    Juan Cabrillo Middle School:  142/375, 37.9% – 114/361, 31.6%
    — in 8th grade
          92/130 took general math with 24 percent proficiency
          38/130 took algebra with 50 percent proficiency

    Fischer Middle School:  166/507, 32.7% – 207/507, 40.8%
    — in 8th grade
          64/165 took general math with 14 percent proficiency
          101/165 took algebra with 66 percent proficiency

    KIPP Heartwood:  196/291, 67.4% – 218/291, 74.9%
    — in 7th grade
          15/64 took general math with 53 percent proficiency
          49/64 took algebra with 90 percent proficiency
    — in 8th grade
          4/61 took general math
          19/61 took algebra with 79 percent proficiency
          38/63 took geometry with 63 percent proficiency

    Burbank School (K-8):  127/330, 38.5% – 152/329, 46.2%
    — in 8th grade
          14/44 took general math with 36 percent proficiency
          29/44 took algebra with 52 percent proficiency

    Moreland Middle:  163/319, 51.1% – 111/319, 34.8%
    — in 8th grade
          75/98 took general math with 28 percent proficiency
          23/98 took algebra with 57 percent proficiency

    Quimby Oak Middle:  137/263, 52.1% – 102/263, 38.8% 
    — in 8th grade
          92/130 took general math with 24 percent proficiency
          38/130 took algebra with 50 percent proficiency

    River Glen K-8:  149/299, 49.8% – 159/299, 53.2%
    — in 8th grade
          34/34 took algebra with 56 percent proficiency

    Sunnyvale Middle:  129/311, 41.5% – 106/311, 34.1%
    — in 8th grade
          96/114 took general math with 33 percent proficiency
          18/114 took algebra with 72 percent proficiency


    Pioneer High:  97/140, 69.3% – 86/140, 61.4%
    Lincoln High:  130/278, 46.8% – 132/277, 47.7%

    Best regards,
    – Chris Stampolis
    Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
    State Board Member, California Community College Trustees (CCCT)
    408-390-4748 *  [email protected]

  11. This , all the data shows that TEACHING TO THE TEST has added significant results to the lowest performing students . There is also the lament of race here again . Most of the improvements to some of these schools was due to the fact of using practice testing for STAR , and use of “benchmarks” for example. It works well with the Latin student population because it enables them to memorize problems . This is testing , and testing to get the results . The issue is that when applying this to normal students who do score higher or above proficiency there are no results to any improvement . Whatever the case it works with some students , schools with a high population of non-English learners , but the data shows no significant growth to any other school with a mixed student population .

      • Dr. Zaius, I read the year 2000 Alfie Kohn essay you recommended.  Kohn doesn’t support multiple choice standardized testing, but he did not offer alternative paths to measure student proficiency.

        So, given the reality of state funding in 2012, how do you propose we lead California’s hundreds of thousands of children of poverty to single-generation proficiency in math, english, science and social studies?  What specific pedagogical and/or community support approaches do you suggest will result in high achievement levels?

        It’s not enough to criticize the concept of testing.  What are your alternate outcome-minded solutions?

        • First of all we should not do away with paths to measure student proficiency. That could be a misunderstanding . We all have to know at what level , or levels a student is at. The problem is that all the testing is beating down on the Teacher(s) and student environment becomes challenging .
          One example is the curriculum, standard text book adoptions . Over the years seen wasteful spending ,spending on books . School Districts have to buy books ,and shamefully enough are not used in a way or utilized since the TEACHING to the TEST benchmarking were put in place. There are too many interferences to classroom instruction , and children who have special needs are not getting that the one to one instruction they need .

          — Remove state “bureaucracy”/paperwork/regulations/reporting as much as possible. States currently collect more data from local school districts than they could ever analyze and use effectively to improve instruction. Focus on only one thing: Educational outputs, and fund accordingly. States should be rigid about expectations, but be very loose in regulation. Far too many staff/administrative hours per year are devoted to preparing for state reports that are rarely utilized to improve instruction. Less (bureaucracy) is more (educational resources).

          — All schools should adopt a Professional Learning Community model that places focus upon such elements as: Adopted, delivered and learned curricula; Common assessments to ensure that all students in a particular course are receiving and learning all components of the curriculum, regardless of the instructor; and attention and effort placed upon student learning.

          — Empower school districts (with cooperation with the court system and social service agencies) to ensure that students actually attend school on a regular basis. Far too many students are truant and it’s impossible to teach them if they’re not in school (or online). Establish residency programs for students whose parents are not providing adequate support/control of their children. This could include housing incentives for teachers who would staff residency halls and provide excellent behavioral and educational modeling for highly at-risk students.

          — Establish well-articulated alternative education programs (starting at the upper elementary level) for students who are not successful in a traditional setting. This might be an excellent mission for regional education service centers/intermediate school districts. Prevent students from falling through the cracks, which sometimes happens very early in their education. This could include a residency program for students who are habitually truant or in drastically unsupportive home situations. Vocational education must be considered as a part of this program for students who could benefit.

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