News

Will charter school politics — and money — influence the local Santa Clara County school board race?

Charter organizations give big money to Grace Mah, while labor and teachers unions support Melissa Baten Caswell

Melissa Baten Caswell, left, and Grace Mah, right, are running to represent Trustee Area 1 on the Santa Clara County Board of Education this fall. Courtesy photos.

With Election Day less than three weeks away, outside money is pouring into the Santa Clara County Board of Education Area 1 race, with charter school proponents making large contributions to incumbent Grace Mah.

Charter school political action committees and representatives have contributed more than $200,000 to Mah's campaign in the last three weeks, many of them large donations that came in after the most recent reporting period. The Charter Public Schools Political Action Committee (PAC) has made two large donations: $75,000 on Sept. 28 and $105,000 on Oct. 13, according to campaign finance reports. Other contributions came from Santa Clara Charter Advocates for Great Public Schools ($5,000) and Champions for Education PAC ($20,000) as well as members of the boards of directors of Rocketship Public Schools, ACE Charter School and Bullis Charter School in Los Altos. Mah's campaign raised about $80,000 through Sept. 19, bringing her current reported total to about $290,000.

Melissa Baten Caswell — a current Palo Alto school board member who's running against Mah, who is also a Palo Alto resident — has raised nearly $50,000 from donors who have publicly opposed or criticized Bullis Charter School, whose renewal will come to the board in 2022. Her campaign also received this month about $30,400 in two separate donations from the East Side Teachers Association Political Action Committee, according to campaign finance reports filed after the most recent reporting period. Baten Caswell's campaign raised about $140,000 as of Sept. 19, bringing her current reported total to about $170,400.

The fundraising in this race underscores charter-driven political fissures on the current county board, though both candidates resist being labeled as pro- or anti-charter. The county board, which currently oversees 21 charter schools, is responsible for authorizing new charter schools and renewing existing ones.

Mah characterized the sizable donations to her campaign as a response to the "financial arms race" prompted by Baten Caswell, who raised nearly $90,000 early in the campaign, including from labor unions and teachers unions (both of which are perceived as anti-charter) and the Bullis critics.

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Mah said she hasn't had discussions with the charter school organizations herself but sees their support for her campaign as driven by a "threat of the anti-charter school sentiment." She said she's been shocked by the amount of money coming into both her own and Baten Caswell's campaign and thinks there should be limits on fundraising. In her last three campaigns for this seat, she said the most she ever raised was $10,000. In her 2016 campaign, she raised less than $4,000, according to campaign finance reports.

In a statement, Gregory McGinity, executive director of the California Charter School Association (CCSA) Advocates, which operates the Charter Public Schools PAC, said that the organization backs Mah because of her "proven track record of supporting all students."

"Experience and stability are especially important during these uncertain times," he wrote. "Her continued commitment to expanding preschool opportunities, supporting teachers and educational equity has proven to us that she is a much-needed voice on the board."

The charter school political action committees that support Mah have also made large donations to another Santa Clara County school board member's reelection campaign: Joseph Di Salvo, who represents Area 4, the majority portion of San Jose Unified, a portion of Oak Grove and corresponding portion of East Side Union High school districts. Meanwhile, Di Salvo's opponent, Ketzal Gomez, has received campaign contributions from labor unions and Bullis opponents (including Sangeeth Peruri, a former Los Altos school board member and Baten Caswell's campaign chair).

In an interview, Peruri said Baten Caswell's team set a fundraising goal early on of $100,000 to $200,000, estimating they would have to spend about $1 to $2 to reach each of the approximately 130,000 voters in Area 1. He defended their campaign fundraising as locally based rather than from "out of town special interests." Baten Caswell has been endorsed by 27 of 30 local school board trustees and all six teachers unions in the Area 1 districts.

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Steve Brown, a Los Altos resident and member of a group called "Unintended Consequences" that was critical of Bullis, gave $10,000 to Baten Caswell's campaign. In an interview, he said he's convinced that Baten Caswell is better aligned than Mah with his priorities of collaboration, accountability and transparency.

Brown said he's not against charter schools — in fact, he has donated to some — but is concerned that Bullis is not serving disadvantaged students well and needs to be held accountable.

"They don't reflect the ethnicity and race of our community, which is part of the intent of the Charter (Schools) Act, and they don't service the disadvantaged kids," Brown said. "With that in mind, I think the role of the county as the chartering organization should help their board understand their obligation to do that.

"If a charter they've chartered is not doing a good job," he said of the county board, "they need to rope them in."

Peruri said Baten Caswell has publicly stated she has no intention of shutting down Bullis Charter School but that she sees a need for greater oversight, which resonates with him and other vocal critics of the charter school.

"Shutting down BCS does no one any favors. But one thing that she would like to see is better oversight and terms and changes in practices in the renewal that would address and change the demographics," he said.

Three incumbents on the county school board are up for reelection on Nov. 3. Mah noted that the county school board president, Claudia Rossi, who's been described as a charter opponent, has endorsed three other charter opponents running against her board colleagues.

Fundraising on both sides of the Area 1 school board race is outsized compared to other local county school board races. In the San Mateo County Board of Education race, incumbent Rod Hsiao has raised about $61,500 and challenger Chelsea Bonini close to $21,000, according to campaign finance documents.

Mah, a Republican, also drew criticism this week after sending out a mailer with a complimentary quote from Ro Khanna, who's endorsed Baten Caswell, both Democrats, and the image of a kicking donkey that looks like the Democratic donkey logo. In a press release, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party blasted Mah for the "misleading" mailer and the contributions she's received from "out-of-town PACs."

Baten Caswell said: "I'm honored to have dozens of local teachers, parents, and community members, along with the Democratic Party, supporting my campaign."

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Will charter school politics — and money — influence the local Santa Clara County school board race?

Charter organizations give big money to Grace Mah, while labor and teachers unions support Melissa Baten Caswell

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 4:19 pm

With Election Day less than three weeks away, outside money is pouring into the Santa Clara County Board of Education Area 1 race, with charter school proponents making large contributions to incumbent Grace Mah.

Charter school political action committees and representatives have contributed more than $200,000 to Mah's campaign in the last three weeks, many of them large donations that came in after the most recent reporting period. The Charter Public Schools Political Action Committee (PAC) has made two large donations: $75,000 on Sept. 28 and $105,000 on Oct. 13, according to campaign finance reports. Other contributions came from Santa Clara Charter Advocates for Great Public Schools ($5,000) and Champions for Education PAC ($20,000) as well as members of the boards of directors of Rocketship Public Schools, ACE Charter School and Bullis Charter School in Los Altos. Mah's campaign raised about $80,000 through Sept. 19, bringing her current reported total to about $290,000.

Melissa Baten Caswell — a current Palo Alto school board member who's running against Mah, who is also a Palo Alto resident — has raised nearly $50,000 from donors who have publicly opposed or criticized Bullis Charter School, whose renewal will come to the board in 2022. Her campaign also received this month about $30,400 in two separate donations from the East Side Teachers Association Political Action Committee, according to campaign finance reports filed after the most recent reporting period. Baten Caswell's campaign raised about $140,000 as of Sept. 19, bringing her current reported total to about $170,400.

The fundraising in this race underscores charter-driven political fissures on the current county board, though both candidates resist being labeled as pro- or anti-charter. The county board, which currently oversees 21 charter schools, is responsible for authorizing new charter schools and renewing existing ones.

Mah characterized the sizable donations to her campaign as a response to the "financial arms race" prompted by Baten Caswell, who raised nearly $90,000 early in the campaign, including from labor unions and teachers unions (both of which are perceived as anti-charter) and the Bullis critics.

Mah said she hasn't had discussions with the charter school organizations herself but sees their support for her campaign as driven by a "threat of the anti-charter school sentiment." She said she's been shocked by the amount of money coming into both her own and Baten Caswell's campaign and thinks there should be limits on fundraising. In her last three campaigns for this seat, she said the most she ever raised was $10,000. In her 2016 campaign, she raised less than $4,000, according to campaign finance reports.

In a statement, Gregory McGinity, executive director of the California Charter School Association (CCSA) Advocates, which operates the Charter Public Schools PAC, said that the organization backs Mah because of her "proven track record of supporting all students."

"Experience and stability are especially important during these uncertain times," he wrote. "Her continued commitment to expanding preschool opportunities, supporting teachers and educational equity has proven to us that she is a much-needed voice on the board."

The charter school political action committees that support Mah have also made large donations to another Santa Clara County school board member's reelection campaign: Joseph Di Salvo, who represents Area 4, the majority portion of San Jose Unified, a portion of Oak Grove and corresponding portion of East Side Union High school districts. Meanwhile, Di Salvo's opponent, Ketzal Gomez, has received campaign contributions from labor unions and Bullis opponents (including Sangeeth Peruri, a former Los Altos school board member and Baten Caswell's campaign chair).

In an interview, Peruri said Baten Caswell's team set a fundraising goal early on of $100,000 to $200,000, estimating they would have to spend about $1 to $2 to reach each of the approximately 130,000 voters in Area 1. He defended their campaign fundraising as locally based rather than from "out of town special interests." Baten Caswell has been endorsed by 27 of 30 local school board trustees and all six teachers unions in the Area 1 districts.

Steve Brown, a Los Altos resident and member of a group called "Unintended Consequences" that was critical of Bullis, gave $10,000 to Baten Caswell's campaign. In an interview, he said he's convinced that Baten Caswell is better aligned than Mah with his priorities of collaboration, accountability and transparency.

Brown said he's not against charter schools — in fact, he has donated to some — but is concerned that Bullis is not serving disadvantaged students well and needs to be held accountable.

"They don't reflect the ethnicity and race of our community, which is part of the intent of the Charter (Schools) Act, and they don't service the disadvantaged kids," Brown said. "With that in mind, I think the role of the county as the chartering organization should help their board understand their obligation to do that.

"If a charter they've chartered is not doing a good job," he said of the county board, "they need to rope them in."

Peruri said Baten Caswell has publicly stated she has no intention of shutting down Bullis Charter School but that she sees a need for greater oversight, which resonates with him and other vocal critics of the charter school.

"Shutting down BCS does no one any favors. But one thing that she would like to see is better oversight and terms and changes in practices in the renewal that would address and change the demographics," he said.

Three incumbents on the county school board are up for reelection on Nov. 3. Mah noted that the county school board president, Claudia Rossi, who's been described as a charter opponent, has endorsed three other charter opponents running against her board colleagues.

Fundraising on both sides of the Area 1 school board race is outsized compared to other local county school board races. In the San Mateo County Board of Education race, incumbent Rod Hsiao has raised about $61,500 and challenger Chelsea Bonini close to $21,000, according to campaign finance documents.

Mah, a Republican, also drew criticism this week after sending out a mailer with a complimentary quote from Ro Khanna, who's endorsed Baten Caswell, both Democrats, and the image of a kicking donkey that looks like the Democratic donkey logo. In a press release, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party blasted Mah for the "misleading" mailer and the contributions she's received from "out-of-town PACs."

Baten Caswell said: "I'm honored to have dozens of local teachers, parents, and community members, along with the Democratic Party, supporting my campaign."

Comments

MVP
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 18, 2020 at 11:31 am
MVP, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2020 at 11:31 am
19 people like this

I don't trust Grace Mah one bit, never did...pretty sneaky. I don't like sneaky and people who are beholden to out of town specials interests rather than the local community. Enough is enough. Vote her out already. Need some new blood.

--------
Mah, a Republican, also drew criticism this week after sending out a mailer with a complimentary quote from Ro Khanna, who's endorsed Baten Caswell, both Democrats, and the image of a kicking donkey that looks like the Democratic donkey logo. In a press release, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party blasted Mah for the "misleading" mailer and the contributions she's received from "out-of-town PACs."
--------


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Oct 18, 2020 at 2:50 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2020 at 2:50 pm
24 people like this

The voice article omits details that matter. The mailer in question had 2 sides. One side had endorsements from 6 local Democrats. That's where there was a donkey of a sort. On the other side was a large appreciative quote for some specific work Grace Mah has done with Ro Khanna. It wasn't a formal endorsement, but it was a positive comment. Some of Melissa's campaign is orchestrated by powerful wealthy Democratic contributors who have a personal issue with the charter school in Los Altos. They portray this as deceptive, but the truth is they are just dismayed that many Democrats recognize positive achievements by Grace Mah.

If you don't know that the Teacher's Unions are dominated by Democrats, maybe you'd be deceived. But the mailer was clear in what it said. It quotes appreciation from Ro Khanna for something specific, while the other side has actual overall endorsements from SIX Democrats, identified as such, and as leaders. One is Sam Liccardo, the Mayor of San Jose. It doesn't say the party endorses Grace, but rather that the 6 named Leaders do, NOT Ro Khanna.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 18, 2020 at 3:14 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2020 at 3:14 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed due to being off-topic]


Barry Austin
Registered user
The Crossings
on Oct 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm
Barry Austin, The Crossings
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm
19 people like this

We are witnessing a massive power play by the anti-charter Establishment. The dollars and political levers in play are astronomical for what has until now been a smallish local race.

Why would the Establishment do this? Why spend all this money and mobilize a political army and attack with a smear and disinformation campaign unless it's worth it to them? What would they get out of this?

Sadly that's how important killing charters is to the education Establishment. This is a perversion of progressivism, using the power of The Man to protect what is now the Establishment.


Jim Burnham
Registered user
another community
on Oct 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm
Jim Burnham, another community
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm
19 people like this

Did anyone notice that the article is filled with quotes from anti-charter people without any fact checking? Steve Brown - a fierce charter opponent - claims BCS is "not serving" disadvantaged communities despite the fact that BCS admission is determined by lottery and is open to everyone. Shouldn't that statement have been checked? And they also quote Sangeeth Peruri's claim that Melissa has "no intention of shutting down BCS" when he and most of her supporters have spent years trying to shut down BCS. Why not investigate that statement?
The author also uses misleading statements that favor Melissa (i.e. teacher's unions are "perceived" as being anti-charter, when they have spent tens of millions of dollars electing anti-charter politicians, and Grace's flyer was "misleading" without explaining the facts). The choice in this election couldn't be any clearer: the interests of our kids vs. the interests of the education establishment.


MVP
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm
MVP, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm
6 people like this

Grace Mah received:
79% ($242,000) from Out-of-County PACs, mostly for pro-charter groups.

LET THAT SINK IN PEOPLE - 79%!!

Only 14% from locals.

That is all you need to know.

At the end of the day, who do YOU think Mah will be beholden to? Take a wild guess.

We don't want Bullis taking over the whole county. They can stay in Los Altos. The parents fought back Bullis and Mah's their power grab in Mountain View, but they will be back, they said. MV parents, beware!! They have Mah's complete backing. Vote Mah and her charter PAC money out while you have the chance!


Charter industry revs up $ and PR again
Registered user
another community
on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:59 pm
Charter industry revs up $ and PR again, another community
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:59 pm
5 people like this

Lots of boogie man comments about the “Establishment.” What’s that? Do you mean teachers and students with parents who care about their children’s schools? Nothing scary about that.
What everyone should be frightened about is losing local control of schools as charter corporations come in with their private boards to replace locally elected school boards. Would you like to take your children’s education away from control by the local community and put it in the hands of the charter industry: wealthy individuals like Bill Gates or the Walton family, who don’t have children in public schools; Betsy DeVos, whose home state charter school advocacy has ruined Detroit with low-quality charter schools; greedy FOR PROFIT charter management organizations that run “nonprofit” charter schools; any random person the charter school says should be on its school board. Do you honestly believe that the charter industry and charter school corporations are on a MISSION to save under-privileged, struggling students? While the Waltons treat their own employees like dirt, can you possibly think they are going to have deep concern for some far away child who is not doing anything for them?


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Oct 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm
14 people like this

This is a county wide office, so out of town means nothing. Charters are not out of the county. There are thousands and thousands of students in charter schools in the county. There are over 1000 in Los Altos alone but most are in San Jose. San Jose's mayor endorses Grace Mah. PAUSD is indeed selfish in that it may be a good school district and serve around 10,500 students, but even more depend on charter schools for their education. They need to have their schools make the most of the lmited state funding. Charter schools get $10,000 or $11,000 per student whereas PAUSD has funda of $25K per student.

So Charter interests are representing the needs of our county residents. Melissa Baten Caswell doesn't understand the education system in the county, and neither do her 5 figure donors from Los Altos, even if they do live in the county. San Jose is a world away from these elite residents.

The CTA seeks to SHUT DOWN educational opportunities for the less fortunate residents of our county. They are the true party with the ulterior motives.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:52 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:52 pm
3 people like this

Talking about OUTSIDE MONEY, how about today's latest mailer from the Mountain View Firefighters Union Political Action Committee once again pushing its 3 city council candidates? The money appears to come from out-of-town MV firefighters paid by the city. Public employee unions often offer political support for financial support. In fact, this mailer says: "YOUR NEIGHBORS SUPPORT THESE CANDIDATES BECAUSE THEY SUPPORT MEASURE C AND FULL FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SAFETY." So now the firefighters' union is also campaigning for Measure C? And still no FPPC disclaimers.


Charter industry revs up $ and PR again
Registered user
another community
on Oct 21, 2020 at 3:16 pm
Charter industry revs up $ and PR again, another community
Registered user
on Oct 21, 2020 at 3:16 pm
5 people like this

@LongResident, do you mean that Grace is running to represent the interests of charter students in San Jose? If so, this raises a number of issues, including most obviously that perhaps Grace should move to a San Jose trustee area and run for SCCBOE from there. Also, to evaluate the worth of Grace's service for San Jose charter schools, we would need to dig into how charter schools are working (or not) for San Jose students. You are right that folks in this area don't know much about that because it's not our trustee area and, again, maybe Grace should re-locate. Grace has claimed great performance for under-privileged students at San Jose charters, but many San Jose district teachers and administrators who receive rejected charter school students claim that the charters are just retaining high-performing students, discouraging students with greater educational needs (and costs) from applying and encouraging / leveraging students to leave if admitted, crushing the students' self-esteem in the process.


Let's Get All the Facts
Registered user
Castro City
on Oct 23, 2020 at 2:29 pm
Let's Get All the Facts, Castro City
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 2:29 pm
17 people like this

The San Jose Mercury Newspaper interviewed the candidates and reviewed all these issues including the funding and decided that “Mah is the better choice” and endorse Grace Mah on Oct. 20. At this point, both the Los Altos Town Crier and the San Jose Mercury News have endorsed Trustee Grace Mah. In their words, Trustee Mah was endorsed because of her diligent work on the board, being fair minded, and being focused on improving education outcomes for ALL students.

Melissa Caswell has received most of her contributions from wealthy Los Altos anti-charter people with deep pockets and the teachers’ unions well before even announcing her candidacy three months ago. This month, the San Jose teachers’ unions made large donations to Melissa as well as other candidates in SCC districts and this money was from the California Teachers’ Union. Most charter schools are NON UNION, which is why the teacher's UNIONS are opposing them despite the fact that charters are a minor part of what the Santa Clara County Board of Education does. It is clear that Melissa is in the pocket of the anti-charter people and the teachers’ unions and cannot be trusted to be independent.

Meanwhile Grace Mah has received donations from well over 200 people in Santa Clara County who do not have deep pockets. Trustee Mah’s donations came later to defend her against the Teachers’ Unions and wealthy anti-charter Los Altos Hills residents. In the words of the San Jose Mercury Newspaper, “Mah is the better choice, given her proven track record of evaluating charters on the strength of their applications." While charter schools are a small part of the responsibilities of the county board of education, it is an important one, particularly for low income families in traditional unionized public schools.


Charter industry revs up $ and PR again
Registered user
another community
on Oct 23, 2020 at 8:33 pm
Charter industry revs up $ and PR again, another community
Registered user
on Oct 23, 2020 at 8:33 pm
2 people like this

Both the San Jose Mercury News and the Los Altos Town Crier have well-known pro-charter biases, so it’s no surprise that they backed Mah and are promoted by all the pro-charter posters here. In their endorsements of Melissa Baten Caswell, the Palo Alto Weekly and Mountain View Voice presented far more information about the candidates and their sources of funds, and drew the more reasonable conclusion that Grace Mah will have a very difficult time ignoring $200K in charter contributions. In fact, Mah is receiving $200K from the charters BECAUSE she has served charter interests for her entire long tenure on the SCCBOE and they know she will be a solid vote for charter schools, no matter what they do to public schools or students. Mah is a Republican and dislikes teachers’ unions (even though they’re just a group of teachers who have organized to get fair treatment in the workplace). As a Republican, Mah doesn’t believe we need public institutions like neighborhood public schools, run by our local communities. Mah thinks it’s just fine to have a bunch of corporations running our schools. Would you like Jeff Bezos or Donald Trump in charge of your kid’s school?


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Oct 24, 2020 at 6:34 am
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Oct 24, 2020 at 6:34 am
4 people like this

Deja Vu all over again?

Seems likes every time there is a viable contender, the out of town Charter School lobby opens its deep pocketbook.

See Mercury News article from Halloween 2012

"PAC money floods local school board races"

Web Link


Barry Austin
Registered user
The Crossings
on Oct 24, 2020 at 11:14 am
Barry Austin, The Crossings
Registered user
on Oct 24, 2020 at 11:14 am
9 people like this

I am a parent and I'm advocating for students, teachers, schools (especially the public variety), education and community.

The education Establishment claims to _be_ those things, and therefore anything outside the Establishment's control doesn't count, and must be cast out.

I'm 100% in favor of labor organizations advocating for workers against abuse of power (sadly common). My uncle's teachers union was exactly that.

I am 100% against the behavior of any powerful organization abusing its own power toward its own self-interest. Labor organizations are not magically exempt from this when they engage in abusive behavior. Nor are charter schools magically exempt.

Abuse of power is exclusionary politics (try running for school board without the blessing of the local Establishment). Abuse of power includes negative campaigns of disinformation and misrepresentation. Abuse of power includes incentivizing administrative bodies (e.g. school districts or county offices of education) to thwart perceived rivals.

Those who abuse their political power have earned their place in the Establishment.


Charter industry revs up $ and PR again
Registered user
another community
16 hours ago
Charter industry revs up $ and PR again, another community
Registered user
16 hours ago
2 people like this

All you need to know: 27 out of 30 school board members in our trustee area endorse Melissa Baten Caswell for SCCBOE. They are the best-positioned to know what kind of help they need and they choose Melissa Baten Caswell, while rejecting Grace Mah, whom they know well from her 13-year record.

Grace Mah has now taken $300K of out-of-county charter PAC money. She will continue to serve the charter industry above all others, including local voters, families, and students.

Vote Melissa Baten Caswell for SCCBOE! Help our school districts and give local school board members the SCCBOE representative they want. Help them deliver the best education possible to our children.


Let's Get All the Facts
Registered user
Castro City
14 hours ago
Let's Get All the Facts, Castro City
Registered user
14 hours ago
10 people like this

Having the school boards support one of their own fellow school board members is not that surprising considering that charter schools are competition to the school boards. Competition helps improve schools and Bullis Charter (BCS) is a good example of this. An examination of the student performance from the California Dept. of Education shows that the students from BCS show that BCS outperforms both LASD and PAUSD by statistically significant percentages in most categories and most subgroups. The four year trend (2015~2019) showed that on average, 13% more combined 3rd-8th grade BCS students exceeded the CA state standards as compared to the Los Altos School District (LASD) over the last 4 years. In addition, a full 18 to 21% more BCS 8th graders exceeded the CA state standards as compared to the LASD over the last 4 years. This shows that when a student graduates from 8th grade at BCS, they will have completed an excellent education program. Grace Mah supports successful schools of all kinds, but she will hold failed school accountable. Her opponent has never stated this, but rather wants to rein in the competition for the school district and the teachers’ unions.


Alternative Facts
Registered user
Bailey Park
8 hours ago
Alternative Facts, Bailey Park
Registered user
8 hours ago
1 person likes this

All alternative “choice” and “magnet” programs disaggregate a district’s student performance data. Once you introduce a selection bias, you can’t compare student performance metrics and conclude anything about the value add of the pedagogy. This is really basic stuff, but charter apologists stand behind their cooked numbers without fail. It’s a separatist crusade, not educational innovation


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
7 hours ago
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
7 hours ago
12 people like this

I just got done watching the documentary called "The Great Hack".

And after my experience with the MV Voice there are a couple of things I need to plead to this Newspaper and website.

I admit I for years posted under the name The Business Man, BUT I never withheld who I was. And I was VERY transparent about it.

I have come to an understanding now that any use of an anonymous identity regarding the discussion of any news article should be prohibited.

As an IT Security Expert, I find the lack of accountability to be the biggest reason.

The idea that people can write what is in effect press releases under the guise of an anonymous fictional person, especially where they have a financial conflict of interest, just cannot be allowed anymore.

The idea that people use a platform to attack people personally, use insults, and make false claims about them requires that anonymity cannot be allowed. The language can inspire real life consequences, like inspire possible criminal acts by others.

If you have a valid argument with solid unbiased evidence to support it, WHY not own your argument?

The idea that someone can use multiple identities on this service is abused.

There should be a means where to register and post one has to provide proof of identity, like having a credit card validated, so that if any issues arise, like cyberstalking is investigated, a proper trail can exist to identify the offender.


Charter industry revs up $ and PR again
Registered user
another community
7 hours ago
Charter industry revs up $ and PR again, another community
Registered user
7 hours ago
Like this comment

Does Bullis Charter School really have some kind of magically good educational program, as they claim? Of course not. They are just selecting out the easiest and cheapest to educate kids from LASD. LASD letter to SCCBOE describing segregation by BCS, which resulted in SCCBOE requiring BCS to delete its Los Altos Hills lottery preference: Web Link

Thoughtful opinion piece by a prominent California historian regarding how charter schools harm California public schools:
Web Link


Let's Get All the Facts
Registered user
Castro City
6 hours ago
Let's Get All the Facts, Castro City
Registered user
6 hours ago
6 people like this

I really do not understand why you claim that BCS "selects" their students? BCS holds a RANDOM lottery for their students and cannot select them. This needs to be flagged as misinformation. There was a historical LAH preference at one time because of the closure of the elementary school at LAH, but that preference was phased out and eliminated.

As for the performance of students at BCS, I did the calculations myself using the California Dept. of Education website because I wanted to ensure that BCS was the right choice for my child. It was not cooked numbers from BCS as you suggested.


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