School Suspensions a Civil Rights Issue?

School suspensions go beyond just quick-fix discipline to get an unruly student out of the way. Statistics show that suspensions can lead to to a number of dangerous paths in life. The Santa Clara County Board of Education will hear a report about suspensions at its meeting Wednesday night, as well as an ongoing fight involving Bullis Charter School.

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Turf Wars Overshadow Education Priorities

With its vastly superior public education system, will Boston surpass Silicon Valley as the global leader of technological innovation? It’s a distinct possibility unless we get our act together. Boston is poised to win, considering the current fights focus on turf instead of better educational results for our children.

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Making Politics Work for Public Education

Someone asked me last week if there are underreported stories about public education in the Bay Area. Absolutely there are. People and ideas are converging in Silicon Valley, and they have the potential to alter the landscape of schools and learning.

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San Jose Unified School District Votes to Sue County Office of Education

San Jose’s largest school district will sue the Santa Clara County Office of Education over an allegedly illegal land-use exemption to pave the way for a private charter school. The San Jose Unified School District Board of Trustees last week unanimously voted to sue the county office because it granted a zoning exemption to build the eighth Rocketship charter in the region.

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Justice Sotomayor Delivers Inspiring Talk on the Importance of Education

The audience at the SF Commonwealth Club, in the sold out Herbst Theater, stood for a sustained ovation Monday in honor of Sonia Sotomayor. The Supreme Court Associate Justice is traveling across the country to discuss her new book, My Beloved World. Her inspiring talk touched on the importance of her schools, and it made me think of how Rocketship and other charter schools are impacting the local educational landscape.

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Tamien Rocketship Charter School Site May Contain High Levels of Toxins

An old industrial lot northeast of the Tamien Caltrain station, slated to house a two-story elementary charter school, contains toxic levels of herbicides, oils and arsenic, according to an environmental report from the city of San Jose. The Santa Clara County Board of Education at its Wednesday meeting plans to discuss a zoning exemption for the new Rocketship charter school. The county board will also discuss in closed session the potential special election over Trustee Darcie Green’s seat.

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Why I voted for a New School

A neighborhood I grew up in was the focus of a land use discussion raised last week at the City Council meeting. The principal question before the council was whether or not a new school should open up in this neighborhood.

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Council to Discuss Bumping, Police Chief

The topic of bumping and staff reductions takes center stage at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the first of 2013. Other items on the agenda include loaded questions for police chief candidates, the city manager’s upcoming trip to Las Vegas, Curb Cafés, a dog park group getting its due and city property sales, one of which could benefit a local charter school group.


Education Should be Part of the Debate

At 6pm tonight at Hofstra University, the second Presidential Debate of 2012 will take place. Debate moderator Candy Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent, will introduce the candidates for a Town Hall meeting format. The stakes for the two candidates are huge, especially for the incumbent.

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Decision Time for Rocketship

Last Wednesday, the SCCOE Board of Trustees postponed a vote on exempting two new Rocketship Education schools from city zoning requirements. The item was continued to Tuesday, Aug, 14. I am not certain how I will vote tomorrow. My decision will be based on what I hear from the speakers and my colleagues. If for one nanosecond I believe this is another move to obstruct the decision in December made by the SCCOE board, I will vote to approve the resolution to exempt the zoning requirements. Rocketship is attempting to do Herculean work on behalf of building a system of 29 charter schools that provides a longer school day, blended learning, home visits by teachers and high academic expectations for all its students. The competition to the traditional public school system should be welcomed by our community, not scorned.

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Why Rocketship Will, Must Work

In my 38 years in public education, I never witnessed as consequential a vote as was taken on Dec. 14 and the early morning hours of Dec. 15. The Santa Clara County Office of Education Board, on a very controversial 5-2 and 4-3 vote, approved 20 new Rocketship Education charter schools in Silicon Valley.


Judgment Day for Rocketship

There is a game-changing local story about to take place in a few days. A decision before the SCCOE Board of Education is whether or not to approve 20 Rocketship Charter Schools on a countywide benefit charter basis. Each new school approval is listed as a separate action item on the Board’s agenda. The turf wars are just beginning.


Rocketship Vote A Game-Changer?

I wonder if the growing presence of high quality charter schools in Santa Clara County will serve as the revolution for eliminating the achievement gap. Will innovative means of learning be the norm? Is the timing right for a revolution in our public school system in Santa Clara County? Will the status quo prevail? Or, can change be the only constant now? We will know answers to some of these questions after the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) board meeting this week.


Charter Proposal Deserves Consideration

Rocketship’s Silicon Valley expansion is becoming more and more a compelling story. The Wall Street Journal’s Vauhini Vaha for the Bay Area edition wrote on July 14, “While the organization’s initial efforts are yielding strong test results among elementary students, the expansion plan is drawing opposition from the superintendent and teachers’ union in the county’s biggest district, who say the Palo Alto nonprofit is cutting out local officials who were elected by voters to oversee education. They also say the charter’s rapid growth might come at the expense of the region’s tradition public schools.” UPDATED: July 21, 1:20pm


Twenty Rocketships on the Horizon

The epicenter of public education is right here in Silicon Valley from this week to Aug. 10. The local and national spotlight will shine on this moment with unprecedented lumens, casting a potentially dark shadow or bright glow on the decision the County Board of Education and the Santa Clara County Office of Education will wrestle with for the next eight weeks.