Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Clark takes Noyes off table

In response to the massive showing that Altadenans for Action mustered at last night's Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Percy Clark took a moment to speak on the non-agenda item.

Clark stated that he and the board officially withdraw Noyes as a potential site for a high school program. This proclamation was greeted by enthusiastic applause from the audience, and numerous Altadenans who had filled out public comment cards in anticipation of having to argue against the proposal, modified their comments to express thanks to the board for being responsive to the community's concerns.

During the comment period there was still broad concern conveyed by the community about the potential for segregation in the implementation of the proposed high school reform plans. It was evident that the board also strongly heard and agreed with this message in their discussion of Attachment R-1 titled "Priorities 06-07" which ensued later in the evening.

The board ended up approving a motion by Mike Babock to endorse the seven general priorities presented by staff, however specifically refrained from providing the weighted "A or B" prioritization staff was requesting. Noteably, they did make a special point of setting the high school reform plan aside as the one priority of the seven that specifically needed more study before it could move forward. It seemed that those on the board who had expressed concerns about the high school reform proposal at last month's meeting were emboldened, an any who may have been neutral or positive about moving forward for fall of 06 are taking a serious second look at the issue.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

[greatschools]: "uncle!"

After three days of having his Yahoo! Group email list deluged by me, Rene Amy sent me a polite back channel communique requesting a cease fire. He peppered it with minor digs and rationalizations such as
"it seems that you don't know a lot of answers to simple questions about the district that longer-tenured members are already somewhat painfully aware of"
"I hesitate to respond to many of your posts because I do not
wish to alienate list members by boring them with the answers"
But for the most part it was a respectful and tactfully worded letter full of phrases such as
"I don't want to appear to limit you"
"your enthusiasm and concern are most welcome to the list"
In a follow up email in which I agreed to contain my "flood of politeness", Mr. Amy consented to my publishing of his request, saying, "I've always adhered to the principle that one should never put anything in print that shouldn't be expected to show up on the front page of the newspaper."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Surviving [greatschools]

In a (rather lengthy) open letter to Rene Amy which I recently posted to Amy's private Yahoo! Group called greatschools, and circulated to the media and other interest groups, I have consciously stepped into the debate with a challenge to all parties to reign in the rhetoric.

Amy's [greatschools] Yahoo! Group is archived online and can be searched by members of the group. Non-members cannot read the archives or post to the list, ostensibly to prevent spammers from polluting the list, although I am not sure why he also restricts read-only access to his archive. Anyone who wants to read it can subscribe to the Yahoo! Group for free. Access to the Yahoo! Groups archive requires a Yahoo! ID.

I was extremely ambivalent about weighing in on Amy's list, because he and his main supporters are often acerbic in their public and semi-public "discussions" which often seem more like drubbings. I came down in favor of engaging with him in the (probably naive) hope that I might be able to influence the general tone of things.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Altadenans for Action takes shape

Steve Escovar, Isaac Garcia, and I represented the newly formed Altadenans for Action (AFA) at the Pasadena Education Foundation (PEF) meeting yesterday which (I think) was originally scheduled as a fundraising and general community outreach event.

According to the host, Jeanne Register, the turn out was much larger than predicted, most likely due to the heightened community concern about the proposed use for Noyes.

In attendance were, PUSD Superintendent, Percy Clark, President of the PUSD BOE, Ed Honowitz, the PEF supporters (somewhat bemused), the usual cohort of angry parents and rabble rousers that seem drawn to controversy, and neighbors of Noyes with an agenda.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Coordinating opposition to Noyes proposal

Isaac Garcia set up a "Central Desktop" for collaborating and coordinating opposition to the proposed use of Noyes.

I contributed as a shortcut in case anyone finds it an easier name to remember than the direct url.

Please forward any factual information you may discover (with complete provenance please) to Isaac or me if you don't see it on the site already and can't figure out how to contribute directly.

We would like to make a special point of avoiding all speculative, unsubstantiated, unattributed, mean-spirited, or generally useless information.

Let's stick to the facts and play nice. Many of us feel strongly about this issue, but it is still early, and I am optimistic that the practical problems are so obvious that this plan will founder under it's own weight. This is not to say we shouldn't speak out strongly and quickly, but again, let our voice be constructive and solution oriented.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Convert Noyes for 700 Troubled Teens?

An article in yesterday's Pasadena Star News reports that PUSD "officials want to turn the Noyes Elementary School campus into a continuation school for struggling high school students."

This is a major problem as far as I am concerned, and yes, I admit I am exhibiting NIMBY syndrome here, but an influx of "
600 to 700 students in grades 10 to 12" into this neighborhood is not to my liking. Even if they can somehow find enough parking for that may high school students and support staff, it will still mean huge neighborhood parking overflow. This is not to mention the incoming commute-time crush of vehicles converging on Allen and Altadena. The thought of 700 teenage drivers flowing out and around this neighborhood does not make me happy.