at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:43by Vladimir Ivanovic
|Schools conflict: Elephant still there but no longer invisible|
|Written by the Rev. Mark S. Bollwinkel|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012|
The hostility between the differing sides in the ongoing Bullis Charter School/Los Altos School District conflict is no longer the elephant in the room that everyone knows is there but ignores. The Town Crier has reported on a variety of energetic attempts to promote dialogue between decision-making bodies in recent months. There are informal groups of parents forming to discuss and defuse the level of acrimony.
At the Sept. 20 community mediation, we heard how the anonymity and immediacy of Internet social networks has allowed frustration, anger and insult to take on new dimensions. We heard of threats made, vandalism and parents trying to explain to concerned children “whose side they were on.”
There are indeed significant issues of conflict that need resolution in these matters. Pastors David Moore of Union Presbyterian Church, Malcolm Young of Christ Episcopal Church and I are as concerned about how we treat each other in times of conflict as we are about the actual issues that divide us, a concern we are certain our colleagues in other faith communities share.
Hoping that our meager efforts to offer community mediation have been helpful, we have contacted the Rev. Warren Dale, founder of the Peninsula Conflict Mediation Center in Redwood City, to offer another such event.
Dale is scheduled to lead a mediation listening event 7-9:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Creekside Center of Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave. The purpose of the event is not to resolve or debate the conflict, but, in an open dialogue of respect, to lower the level of hostility as attendees voice their concerns and hear one another.
The Rev. Mark S. Bollwinkel is senior pastor of Los Altos United Methodist Church. For more information, visit www.laumc.org.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:43by Vladimir Ivanovic
I find it extremely difficult to engage in an open dialog, and to try and lower the level of acrimony and hostility when my school district is the target of not one, but two lawsuits.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 10:30by Joe Seither
After the previous such meeting, I said I was hopeful that our situation would improve, based in part on these comments from Joseph DiSalvo, President of the SCCBOE, who issues the BCS charter:
"I feel a personal sense of failure over this whole issue. I've always prided myself on being a peacemaker, on trying to be bold, on moving in a different direction. Thinking back on the charter renewal decision, I've played it over and over in my mind. The whole county board has struggled with its role in this situation for some time. I want you to know that the county board is "all-in" in any way to further the healing because we've been part of the non-healing. I'm pleased that we are here today to heal. We've discussed holding a community forum, but it didn't take place due to timing issues, but this process is better, more appropriate. This is going to be a long and difficult journey, but the county board is "all-in" to do whatever we can as partial creators of this issue."
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:44by BCS Parent
And many of us at BCS find it difficult as well being subject to a) universally acknowledged facilities that are inadequate as determined in the meeting on 12/3, b) continued hostility from people who want to deny us choice in education as public school parents which is allowed and encouraged under the law; c) having our children bear the brunt of adults who do not have the decency to keep the discussion between adults and d) parents who acknowledge that things need to change but only if it does not affect them. By treating BCS equitably, the lawsuits go away. The choice is in their hands.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:47by LASD Parent
I find it amazing that BCS was started out of anger over the decision to close a neighborhood school and now they (BCS) want to do the same to someone else's school. The courts have ruled time and time again that the facilities LASD is providing to BCS are legally compliant and yet BCS continues to pursue multiple avenues (legal, enrollment growth, elections) to achieve their ultimate objective of taking over an existing LASD neighborhood school campus. These people are a disgrace!
5"no right, no entitlement"
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:46by Gloria
The comment from "BCS parent" is evidence of common but erroneous entitlement mentality in the charter debate and lack of understanding of the law. Parents and students are not universally entitled to choice in CA public education; there is no such unlimited "right to choice" within state charter law. There are many common sense, reasonable limitations and constraints on how, where, when and for whom charters can be established and renewed. Charters are meant to address specific circumstances, namely inadequacy or inequity in quality public education. All I hear in the charter debate any more is "my right to choose," but choice does not equal charter. Please understand what is a right and what is not - and don't blindly repeat the myth of a universal "right to choice" in public education, because it doesn't exist, and you're exacerbating an already difficult problem in need of a civil solution.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:45by Another view
Dear "LASD Parent" (though I don't believe this is reflective of most),
I'm tired of people like you acting judgmental when in reality you are looking out for what is best for your child. Rather than pointing fingers, why don't you try to understand that others have a different view and work towards finding a solution. Judgement wont build community. I applaud LASD for their attempts to bring in facilitators so that people can begin to treat others with respect and problem solve.
at Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:49by LASD citizen
LASD parent and Gloria have it exactly right, except no need to say outloud that they are a disgrace their actions and the resulting resounding public sentiment speak for themselves
8"Right to Choose"
at Thursday, 06 December 2012 14:41by commenter
Without choice in public education, the right to choose exists only for those wealthy enough to afford private schools or homeschooling. THAT is a disgrace.
at Friday, 07 December 2012 08:49by adam388
to the commenter: wealth has little or no bearing on either side of our local tumult. choice is always a nice and I always felt I had choices in education even though my offspring attended district schools but if commenter wants a true right to choose he or she should change education law to create the right. current education law provides special charter accommodations for children unfortunate to live in failing districts. if these accommodations are to be generalized to all, the law must change. the problems meant to be addressed by charter laws are not problems in our town
10"Right to Choose"
at Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:10by commenter
A right is a right, regardless of zip code.
If a right exists anywhere, it exists everywhere.
It is no 'myth' that the law supports this right to choose public education. The law created it and embraces it.
The biggest myth in this community is that this district is somehow too good or too wealthy to have a charter school. It's here, legally and morally. It exists, legally and morally. People want it. The children love their school and thrive there. Why would anyone want to deny that right to a child?
To the facilitators of this event: for there to be healing, you must dispel these destructive beliefs that the charter school has no right to exist in this town.
at Saturday, 15 December 2012 21:30by adam388
again to the commenter: if you think each of us enjoys perfectly equal rights and entitlements under all circumstances, maybe you should re-enroll in a civics class. There are some among us receiving public assistance because they qualify for it financially, retirees receiving health care services because they are of a certain age and small businesses receiving special support because they are minority owned. There are charter application, revocation and renewal processes set forth in the law, none of which would make any sense if the right to a charter was truly universal without regard for need.
12"Choice for All"
at Friday, 18 January 2013 08:40by commenter
It is true that public assistance is not a right. No one said it is. Charter schools, however, are not public assistance any more than district schools are. Charter law is what civics classes teach as enabling law -- creating the right of all children to attend public charter schools instead of district schools if they choose (and there is space available). No one said that charter schools may not be regulated, only that they have a right to exist anywhere in the state, regardless of zip code or wealth. Charters give families who can not afford private schools a choice in education. Los Altos is blessed to have this choice.
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