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Monday, September 14, 2020

Different Perspectives


I was recently quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The main issue is all about instructional time,” said Edel Alon, president of the Ocean View PTA. Parents “should not tell the district how to teach the students, or else you’ll definitely see a disparity with schools that have and schools that have not.”

A couple days ago, I spoke to the Albany Unified Board of Education on Ocean View’s perspective about equality amongst the 3 schools in Albany, California. There is a definite disparity. What’s good is that district has recognized this and is paying more attention to how these outside groups contribute.

The parents at Ocean View School are specifically looking at enrichment programs that happen during the instructional hours. Marin and Cornell Elementary schools offer programs like chess, art, and music during instructional time. These programs are not being offered at Ocean View. We want similar programs to happen at all three sites.

There is talk about all the PTAs raising roughly the same amount of money and that Ocean View chooses not to pay for additional instructional time. The fundraising amounts are not close. If we take out the expenses needed to run fundraising, then we’ll see what Ocean View generates less than 50% of what Marin brings in. Ocean View has a different population than the other schools. We’re talking about a population where 30% are socioeconomically disadvantaged. That’s about every 3rd family you meet at Ocean View.

Here’s a comment from my wife:

“It’s not because we’re lazy,” said Tamina Alon, an Ocean View mom who is married to the PTA president, Edel. “It’s not because we’re not getting the word out. We’re just not able. You just can’t squeeze milk from a stone. You just can’t. Really that is our reality and that needs to be respected.”

Believe me. We try to squeeze the milk from a stone. We push hard. I have to hand it to the rest of my board members. We’re a small group and they get the work done.

However, this is not about how the Ocean View PTA prioritizes funds. This is about how the district spends money. The district has been writing checks to specialists who provide these additional resources during the instructional time to the other schools.

Despite the enrichment programs at the other schools, Ocean View ranks #1 in math scores in STAR testing and has been for the past 6 years between the 3 schools. On a six year average, Ocean View ranked 2nd in language and this is even with a population of 40% EL (English Learners).

Take a look at the article yourself. I recommend reading the comments. I never thought of myself as a Liberal-Socialist. 😉

To my fellow Ocean View parents…take pride knowing your child goes to a great school with the most diversity and that we rank pretty high in STAR test results. Go Otters!

References:
Albany Schools Try to Balance Parent-funded Extras – SF Chronicle
School District to Form Task Force on Equity – Albany Patch

Edel Alonhttp://edelalon.com
Edel-Ryan Alon is a starving musician, failed artist, connoisseur of fine foods, aspiring entrepreneur, husband, father of two, geek by day, cook by night, and an all around great guy.

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