Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More PUSD News: Altadena Group Looking To Break Away From Pasadena Unified School District

We had a pretty lively discussion about the Pasadena Unified School District a few days ago. And one of the things that came up was the possibility of Sierra Madre going it alone, something one commenter assured us couldn't possibly happen. However, it looks like nobody has informed the good citizens of Altadena, who have apparently been working on their escape strategy for a while now.

In an Examiner.com article called Altadena petitioners seek to establish new unified school district, reporter Laura Berthold Monteros breaks it down this way:

Much of Pasadena was carved out of Altadena, its unincorporated neighbor to the north. Now some Altadenans are trying to carve a new school district out of the Pasadena Unified School District, which encompasses Altadena, Sierra Madre, and Pasadena.

Altadenans for Quality Education, a group of local citizens from across the community, are seeking to petition the Los Angeles County Office of Education to do a feasibility study on forming Altadena Unified School District. The feasibility study is the first step toward establishing a separate school district. Such a move would follow the pattern of other cities, such as La Canada, Temple City, and Monrovia, which broke away from the PUSD in the past.

If you go to the Altadenans for Quality Education website you can see that they are at 99% of their goal of getting 7,000 signatures. And should the entire process go through and Altadena achieve its goal of breaking away from the PUSD and going it alone, Sierra Madre would then be the last city in the Pasadena Unified School District that isn't Pasadena. The article continues:

Like many parents who had the means, Dr. Herb Meisleman, an AUSD supporter, sent his children to private schools after trying out the public schools. He would like to see a smaller, locally-run district that he believes would be more responsive to Altadenans, "so people don't do what I had to do - send my kids to private school."

It has always been my contention that be it schools, or police, or any other taxpayer funded situation, in the end we are paying for a service. And we owe it to the community to make sure that the services we are purchasing with our taxpayer dollars are the very best available. It never hurts to look around once in a while and see what else is out there. Otherwise you could end up in an unfortunate situation, like being the last stepchild in a school district that everyone else has left.

In another article on the Examiner.com site, Pasadena Unified School District pushes parcel tax, budget cuts, their reporter details some of the developments:

With fewer students - a loss of more than 3,000 since 2004 - the Pasadena Unified School District is facing declining income along with declining enrollment. A projected budget deficit of $20 million has resulted in proposed cuts to match. Cuts include faculty, staff, libraries, and athletics.

The PUSD, which includes Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre, is pushing to get funding from tried-and-true sources, such as a parcel tax on the 70,000 parcels in the district and property leases. It has also come up with less traditional sources, such as charging a fee for home-to-school transportation for regular education students, and a "gift" catalog provided by Pasadena Educational Foundation, which provides grants to the district.

In the eyes of many parents and community residents, however, the financial and enrollment problems of the PUSD are attributable to decades of mismanagement and inflated administration at the district level. One parent commented that though her children had many excellent instructors and were accepted into universities on graduation, she always felt a frustration with the district administration.

"They would leave incompetent principals in charge and play switcheroo with competent ones," she said, "and they always seemed to blame the parents or teachers for problems on campus. It doesn't matter who you elect to the school board, they all come around to the same way of thinking."

So let me get this straight, we get hit with a new parcel tax, and in exchange the PUSD cuts faculty, staff, libraries, and athletics? Like I said, we need to make sure our money is being used to obtain the best possible services available. And paying more for even less than we're getting now should not be something we would easily accept.


  1. Sierra Madre could end up being the last guest in the PUSD
    Inn? Snooze you lose,as they say.

  2. I wish them luck. I am afraid it won't happen because the powers in Sacramento will side with PUSD as they did when Sierra Madre residents/parents tried the same thing. They watch out for each other.

  3. The "powers" in Sacramento are rapidly becoming out of favor with California voters, Pasta.

    As long as Sierra Madre says under the control of the slow growth people and we NEVER again elect any of BIA disease's Bart Doyle's puppets, we will defeat them, sooner or later and things are looking good for this to happen sooner than you may think.

  4. Altadena is a city where the caucasian population is not in the majority. And wasn't Sacramento's edict on Sierra Madre departing based on the notion that it would upset the ethnic and racial balance of the PUSD? Altadena could be luckier.

  5. Sierra Madre residents should never forget that Joe Mosca and John Buchanan were part of the Bart Doyle group of No on V people, who were given $170,000 by the builders and realtors, most of them out of town, to fight Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts' YES on V campaign.
    They lost. Let's make sure they continue to lose, because we win!

  6. As we know here in our small town, smaller works better. We can find out things, like a misfiled million dollars, or a Doyle-Buchanan-Mosca inspired war chest of $170,000, or finally getting an honest majority on our city council.
    Altadena would be much better off in charge of it's own school district. This is not to say that e=there wouldn't be corruption that would have to be exposed - there would be, just like there is here - but the parents could take more of the education of their children into their own hands.
    It's about local control.
    And we should have t too.

  7. What has Bart Doyle got to do with any of this?
    As far as I can tell, he's been out of the picture for years.

  8. 9:13, it IS about local control, just like development decisions are. Those are about local control, local decisions, and that is part of a larger picture that the Tattler is showing us.
    Hard times for independence and freedom in California.

  9. wow, Eric Maundry, you have a new best friend, Rene Amy!!

    He was the one behind this crap, and yes, it is crap.

    I am wondering here why you don't run an expose on Rene Amy and all the money he has stolen (yes, tax dollars, you are interested in saving those, aren't you?) from the school district over the years via his bogus lawsuits (and oh yeah, he pocketed some serious change).

    But no, you would rather go down to his basement and bang the chains with the lunatic fringe, and listen to his crap, and accept his dirt.

    This hostility to PUSD is so destructive, and you've got your facts wrong.

    What is up with you? Is it so important as a private school parent to find reasons to trash the public system? Is that it?

    I mean if you were really interested in the tax dollar aspect you would have wondered at least in part about Rene Amy's rip-off of those.

    Or do you really think these extremists who have been maniacally attacking PUSD for years and years, have something decent (and honest) to say?

    Guess what? they don't.

  10. We tried to get out 20 years ago, and we lost then. At that time we were trying to get into the Arcadia School District. PUSD did call us racists at the time, denying that they were in the lowest 10% of Ca schools, which were ranked 49th in the US. The good news, though, was that PUSD made some positive changes. I can't comment on those, because I, too, felt that I had no choice but to send my kids to private schools so that they would get a decent education in a safe environment. That's also why I drove a Toyota that was held together by rubber bands and glue all those years.

  11. 9:43, if any car was going to make it with rubber bands & glue, it was a Toyota.
    I did the same thing with an old VW bug.

  12. Sir Eric, that website you link to, Altadenans for Quality Education, is excellent. They did a great job of putting it together, and making their cause clear.
    Something for us to emulate when we get into our local election?
    A site where people can look at the data for themselves, and not get hustled by rhetoric or a wolf in sheep's clothing.
    Follow the money....

  13. Education is a California tragedyDecember 22, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    That is pretty much how it is with a lot of private school parents. They can't afford to send their kids to these schools, but they do so because they value their child's education so much. It is sad that there are people taking on debt to get for their kids something that used to be taken care of by public schools. And what is equally heartbreaking are those parents who have children trapped in a system they know is second class, but don't have options. One of the reasons people are leaving this state is that the quality of life is in such a serious decline. And education is one of those reasons.

  14. Concerned Sierra MadreanDecember 22, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Ms Hoge, you are from Pasadena, correct? Please explain for us why we must pay for your schools and because of this not be allowed to have schools of our own. Your viewpoints seem very undemocratic and paternalistic to me.

  15. 9:15 - Bart is still very much a player in town.

    Just ask Susan Henderson.

  16. Bart was a VERY active opponent of Measure V during the measure V campaign.

  17. There is one thing Bart Doyle's dirts would love to have happen, that is for Sierra Madre to hook up with the Arcadia schools.
    This would guarantee Sierra Madre would be built up as much as the dense parts of Pasadena.
    The hillsides would go first, then the rest of the town. Eminent domain would go into place, remember, Bart (The Titan) Doyle has stated in print he is for EMINENT DOMAIN, thinks it's a good thing, just like that SCAG guy, Edney things SB375 is a good thing.

  18. 9:15, you are either a known dirt or a dirt "spy" or a "suspected dirt spy".
    No one who reads the Tattler is that naive.

  19. 10:41:

    -----our, all of the above.

    Bart's alledged criminal organization (under investigation)BIA or Building Industry Association supplied much of the financing against Measure V.
    Bart pretty much has everything to do with anything that will destroy this town with over development.

  20. While it may have "seemed" a good idea in the 1970's for Sierra Madre to join the Arcadia Unified School district....it is not the case today.
    It would be a disaster.
    PUSD would be much better if it were not so corrupt.
    It is imploding due to corruption.
    They need to completely re-organize it.

  21. Marion the LibrarianDecember 22, 2009 at 11:06 AM

    If Altadena can do it so can Sierra Madre. We really need to look into this seriously and connect with the people who are studying this and perhaps work alongside them. Two is more powerful than one. Things have changed tremendously since "the last time." One thing for sure is that Pasadena has gotten much worse and the tests scores have gone down, less children go to college in PUSD, and more Jails are being built in California than Schools. Sierra Madre could help improve California.

  22. I agree with 9:15, let's stay on topic.
    Good luck Altadena

  23. Good points here.
    I'm sure of one thing, the PUSD is corrupt.
    Out of control corruption.
    What can we do to:
    force it to re-organize
    or start our own district.
    I agree with posters about the Arcadia schools, not an option these days.

  24. Now THAT is an interesting idea. A good public education system could lead to too much development. Not sure I buy that, and both control over developers and having our schools shouldn't be a problem. But then again, it all depends who is running the city, right?

  25. I was just thinking of the irony of all this. PUSD has more schools than ever on Distinguished School's list. Its testscores have risen astronomically.

    Sierra Madre schools are now in the 900 API range (huge, even by nationwide standards).

    Measure TT has improved the facilities of PUSD schools so they look and function better than ever.

    We have possibly the best superintendent of schools we have ever had in Edwin Diaz. We also have (according to former Poly head and school board member Mike Babcock) the best school board ever.

    Far from being "corrupt" and "incompetent" Diaz has made PUSD so stellar that dignitaries are flying in from around the country to see just how he did it and to take notes!

    The only downfall PUSD faces, is that in the wake of all these accomplishments and successes, our State economy falls apart and our schools are now threatened with a 20-million dollar cut in funds.

    So what does the Tattler decided to do? start publishing unnecesary exposes on old news and bogus separation movements (??)

    The only way to define this is "weird".

    Rene Amy filed the petition to start off the Altadena Schools breakaway. That fact alone should have send Eric Maundry running in the opposite direction here, but it did not.

    I have to wonder, what is it about this issue that makes normally sane and reasonable people, become just the opposite?

    Is it Confirmation Bias? which is defined by Wikipedia as "a tendency for people to confirm their preconceptions or hypotheses, independently of whether or not they are true".

  26. As Sir Eric puts it, paying more for less is not a good deal for Sierra Madre.

  27. I would argue that Sierra Madre's test scores have more to do with the fact that our kids are smarter than anywhere else, and has precious little to do anything the PUSD has done. Our kids do well in spite of Pasadena's school system. You know?

  28. I agree with 11:44.
    Sierra Madre parents who can't afford private schools work hard for our local schools.
    The elementary schools are good. Pasadena High School is another story.
    I am always amazed and impressed to see any student who makes it through that nightmare okay.

  29. I see contradictory claims here about testing scores, so anybody have the link to the actual data?
    Even though test scores are not the best measure of real education (teachers are forced to 'teach to the test' rather than the individual student) the scores are a measure somewhat of efficiency in administration.
    Links to back up claims that scores are good/bad?

  30. 12:11, all I can find are claims and interpretations. There's got to be some place where the numbers are charted, and there's historical data.

  31. California Departmnt of Education, Statewide Assessment Division. Follow the prompts & you'll get the scores for PUSD.
    Far too many "Below Basic"

  32. The problem with all public schools is that they're tied to a State curriculum that's so dumbed down that it's a miracle anyone learns anything. The accredited college-prep private schools are far ahead, assigning complete novels and requiring lots of writing and original analysis as well as having a teaching staff of essentially college-level educators. Even San Marino schools of the 1960's couldn't come close. It's not really about "being safe" although that helps.

    I wonder if supplemental coursework at the Sierra Madre schools provided by Sierra Madre residents (via a Foundation) for areas that are lacking might help with this. The Chinese kids have "Chinese school" on top of the regular public curriculum, and they're at the top of the class, get into the good universities. Same idea, but use the existing school facilities. It could provide a measure of local control and participation that way.

  33. Great idea, 12:41.
    Chinese Americans and Chinese kids DO have instruction in the Chinese language, every Saturday.

  34. If you have a heart to understand the needs and goodness of all children and if you can put aside your assumptions for a momment, please see the movie Precious. Every day children come from families bereft of opportunities and time in their overburdened and damaged day and we expect these children and the schools that serve them to surmount unbelieveable odds. That these children succeed at all just makes you want to weep. I taught for more than three decades in one of the best school disricts in southern California and yet we had problems--it seemed like a non-stop battle with the superintendent, school board, principals, who were all being yanked around by the parents who felt the most deserving of being heard and catered to. Of course no one will sacrifice their children's education when they have options. The only constant correlation for a child's academic success is the economic status of their parents --which is directly tied to their educational achievement. People opt out of public education even when they are in good school districts. I really ask you to help strengthen public education even if you have decided it is not what you want for your child.

  35. Ms. Hoge, I've looked at recent API and SAT test score data for PUSD. Even if it has risen dramatically as you claim, it's nothing to write home about. Compared to many other school districts, PUSD is not doing well.

  36. It is interesting to note that a couple of our most pro-PUSD politicians in town send their children to private schools. Thought I should share that.

  37. According to State data, PUSD's average API score is a mediocre 742 in 09.

    John Muir's 603 average is pathetic.

    For purposes of comparison: Arcadia High (876); San Marino High (825) and Monrovia High (747).

  38. Oh my. On the PUSD site they crow about their score increases. You can only imagine what they were before. They're lucky they have Sierra Madre to bring those averages up.

    Good luck to Altadena!

  39. So does this mean Mrs. Hoge is lying?
    People on this blog check stuff out. You had better have your facts straight.

  40. Dare I remind people here that this is the Advent season, the most sacred time of the year for those who worship in the Christian faith. That faith, and those of us who follow it, leads us to do everything in our power to make life better for those who are suffering and in need.

    Public Education is in service to these needs, to the single most precious human beings in our community, children.

    We are lucky to have the school district we have, that despite years of persecution and malignment, has risen above all the hatred and misinformation thrown its way, and excelled in the face of it.

    We are lucky to have our schools and they need protecting, not only for today, but for the children of tomorrow.

  41. Why can't you admit the problems, Virginia and work to correct them.
    Being in denial about an inept school system isn't going to help any children.

  42. Virginia, I've seen the race card played to deflect legitimate and well-deserved criticism of an individual or an institution, but this is the first time I've seen the GOD card played.

  43. LittleoleladyfromSierraMadreDecember 22, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    I am a product of Alverno, and loved it, and a public school teacher trained on the EAST COAST. I worked in Pasadena, IN TOTAL SHOCK at the inept and apathy of the system. So glad I quit the asylum.

    Please Virginia, do not cross Church and State, Do not dare go there.People do know right from wrong. Children are integrated. Let us bring more reality into this conversation. For one: The SM school children do very well because the PARENTS are very involved and it is a SMALL town with educated parents. In Pasadena there are many parents who fight equally as hard, BUT THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH PARENTS WHO CAN FIGHT FOR THEIR CHILDREN! And the district knows that and takes advantage of the children who's parent was not the first teacher. As much as the teachers advocate for the children, IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to help children left behind to catch up!! Especially when teachers are not supported by staff and the STAFF are politically appointed and not qualified.

    PUSD is far behind in not just state and federal scores, but in Teacher support. Most every district in the San Gabriel Valley offers Teacher Support in Licensing and Education. Other districts pay for test prep and testing for out of state teachers, and support new teachers with weakly workshops. Children benefit when teachers are supported 100% and not blamed and there is a working relationship. SM does not see this. The fights that occur in the City of Pasadena schools with teachers is so unprofessional. Not to mention the lack of safety which exists because of the gang mentality of the students, it is scary to send your child off to school in the morning.

    Public school teachers teach in a classroom to the LOWEST and the HIGHEST. Believe me, I spend the majority of my time teaching to the LOWEST child, the child left behind, while my very bright childen, sit twilding their thumbs, waiting for me to re-explain a concept/sequence of events again. That HIGH child cannot always be sitting on their own reading independently waiting. NOT FAIR! And, statistically THE BRIGHT/HONORS CHILD IS THE MOST FORGOTTEN IN THE AMERICAN CLASSROOM. BECAUSE TEACHERS ARE HAVING TO TEACH TO THE LOWEST WHILE THE HIGHEST WAIT. And this is not the black brown child, it is often the inmature, not yet tested learning disabled child. It is a whole host of answers. But in over crowded classrooms, a teacher has many children's social needs to answer to and to teach to.

    This, is why Sir Eric and others(might be saying) they need to send their children to Private schools and we need Sierra Madre to be independent. Yes, our slow/average children definetly need and DESERVE us also and must have the opportunity to learn. But, not at the expense of our childrens future, who honestly could attend UCLA on a full scholarship. I see it all the time and do my best to buy them extra books to read and work on for themselves. Not for a grade, but for their future.This is what California teachers are stuck with: individualizing students needs as we do our best to "teach to the test!"!

    Our children are not land mines waiting to be stepped on. I respect parents who home school their children. They get to go on field trips. They have better schedules. They go to school 6 days a week. They are more emotionally balanced. They go to the library 3 days a week. They interact with great people. TV is monitored. As a teacher I see this happening more and more. Every child deserves a challenging education, where they learn to THINK. It is not possible when the classrooms are over crowded and children are all at an extreem set of readiness skills which bring the learning to a halt.

    I could write a book. I will stop now.

  44. Eye of the Sun:
    Yes everyone must see PRECIOUS.
    It is the reality of what goes on in SCHOOL!
    Your heart has not broken until you have reported
    incest. You will never look at children who are doing NOTHING in class the same way....again.

    The little girl I reported, once her father was jailed, they all blamed her and stoped giving her birthday and Christmas gifts. She was 12. It was a double hell. He is still in Jail. She is still in HELL.

  45. I want to thank the teachers that are posting on the blog today.

    Most of us don't see the entire picture, I've learned from the last few posts.

    Thanks, teachers.

  46. 2:42 - Great post, thank you.

  47. About test scores Virginia,

    Test scores always improve with time. The reason is once the test has been given for the first time, all the teachers now have a copy a of that test and they will and do teach what is on that test. A couple of weeks before the test many teachers give all of their work in the test format and use the words and math problems that will be on that test. I taught in the PUSD district and the first year I was given "special assignments" from the more experienced teachers to give to my class. At the time I did not know what those "special assignments" actually were. When I was given the official test booklets it was very clear. The school's test scores were the highest in the district. The next year a new achievment test was given an the ENTIRE district tanked. The following years the test scores were up again.(I had left the district) So don't talk to me about "Distingushed Schools" It is a bunch of crap.

  48. The worse things get, the more Sacramento hands out awards.

  49. I hear you, PUSD teacher.
    There's a whole big test prep industry that has grown up around 'teaching to the test.' Those mills are not just for SAT prep.
    Any released questions become models, and lots of money is made by imitating those materials, giving the tests, and hiring grad students for nothing to do all the corrections.
    And there's the advantage if a kid's parents have the money to pay for it.

  50. What is a bunch of crap is commentator "PUSD teacher" saying she is a "teacher".

    And we know this, how? because of the name on her comment? and we believe that??

    Confirmation Bias - its the only way you can explain the gullibility of some of these commentators.

    And a message to commentator cp: it is not "she" who is in Hell,

    it is you. (of your own making for your ridiculous lies)

  51. Mind your manners Virginia.
    You don't know who you're talking about.

  52. This thread is like a petri dish, of whats been happening to PUSD for years and years on blogs.

    Someone anonymous commentator (or Rene Amy himself) says "PUSD is corrupt" which is a bald inaccuracy,

    and sensible, intellegent people believe it.

    PUSD is not corrupt, it is one the mose sensibly run districts in Southern California with the results and accolades to prove it.

    PUSD has been unfairly maligned, people. It time to wake up to that.

  53. Because of confidentially I cannot reveal who I am or the child's name who I sadly reported the incest.I posted this to support the film PRECIOUS and state that this is a problem in EDUCATION. It is a tragedy and a terrible thread which runs through our society.

    The girl lived in HELL because the of the FATHER, who went to jail, and HIS family's continual horrendous actions of blaming her for the years of rape. I brought that up to expose the even more complex problem which girls suffer, along with we the teachers, as we try to teach and protect our students. PLUS, teach other students in school.

    Virginia, was I in HELL? NO!! That little 12 year old opened my mind and made me STRONGER. I could not make this up. PUSH was published, but each case of incest is very different. Every day, I look at children differently, and even with mandated training, I wonder why day after day a child is not slumped in their chairs, looking hungry, wearing the same clothes day after day, eating lunch alone, etc. All teachers watch for red flags, but once you have gone through this your eyes have opened, you have changed.

    Give yourself a gift, Virginia. Go see PRECIOUS, and trust a teacher. Or join me in the classroom for a month. Read HALF THE SKY. Excellent.

  54. Measure Y? I don't know the full details yet, but I know that stellar community oversite committee was put together to oversee these funds, (and I have found that Pasadena has exceptionally steller citizens, they really do)

    This was also done for Measure TT, it is ALWAYS done (as a rule and law) by the school district.

    I know that this committee AND the State oversite committee approved the handling of Measure Y money by PUSD.

    The one(s) who didn't approve were the bloggers, including of course Rene Amy, who made a big deal about the one contractor who took the money and ran.

    Now my uncle had the same thing happen to him. He paid a guy to trim his palm tree, and the guy ran off with the money. My uncle is still raving today about this theft (this happened years ago), he can't get over it.

    Well, neither apparantly can a whole lot of other people over this lousy contractor.

    Edwin Diaz goes to great pains to detail the district's action on this theft, his extremely thourogh letter is on the PUSD website which Eric Maundry has already led us to.

    But this isn't enough for people (and our papers) and they can't get over it.

    This situation has been amplified. PUSD has been unfairly maligned.

  55. ps, yes I was in hell as I watched her suffer, it was very painful because I could not erase all the suffering. SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL and her entire life was robbed. I recovered because I was an adult. Seven years later she is very very messed up, still. No she got NO therapy. The State had no money. I was not trained as a Social Worker and theywere booked. Yes, Virginia. It is HELL

  56. Virginia Hoge, someone mentioned on another thread that they googled you, and they read about all these different blogs you have been on, and I can see why everyone hates you.

    CP, don't pay this loon any mind.

  57. Where there is one loon many will follow. The information cp presents is for those who may be learning about the importance of education. Can Sierra Madre afford a High School? If Altadena can be separate, can we? I believe this is where this discussion began. This will indeed be a hot controversy. How can we take it off the blog and into the community?

  58. Don't over look the distinct possibility that private schools and home schooling parents "teach to the test," too. Look at the mix that public schools face day in and day out and you have a vastly differnt picture from the selection process that takes place in private schools or allows a parent to stay at home and become a private tutor full-time.

  59. Old Kentucky, you said you can see why everyone hates me.


    Because I tell the truth about PUSD (and they don't want to hear that)

    this is so tiresome, this lashing out, this anger.

    Let it go, people, let it go.

  60. Virginia: the definition of TRUTH? watch the great 1950 classic of Kurosawa's RASHOMON. You will never agian use the phrase again "I tell the truth."

    Remember a teacher sent you.

  61. Eye of the Sun..

    so what if parents teach to a test. They don't receive a "Distingushed School Award." Same goes for private.

  62. Yes, let's create our own High School. How do we do that? How would we seperate and can we afford it? How do we create a plan?

  63. Virginia I have LIFE credentials for both ECE and Elem plus a Masters in Math Education. What do you have except a big mouth? The teachers on this site know exactly what they are talking about which is more than I can say about you.

  64. Some facts about PUSD API scores. Tremendous increase? You be the judge.

    Blair High: 685(2009) 650(2008) 35(increase)
    John Muir High 603(2009) 600(2008) 3(increase)
    Marshall Fundamental 732(2009) 732(2008) 0(none)
    Pasadena High 726(2009) 713(2008) 13(increase)

    STAR Test Facts:

    Number of 11th graders scoring proficient or higher in ENGLISH:
    36% PUSD
    24% John Muir High
    89% San Marino

    Number of graduates scoring proficient or higher in MATHEMATICS
    18% PUSD
    9% John Muir High (rounded up)
    86% San Marino

  65. You can only wonder how abysmal PUSD scores would be if Sierra Madre wasn't in the mix. True Freedom! Great to have your voice on the blog.

  66. So Virginia, you are very quiet about these scores. Me thinks they speak for themself. Did you know that most PUSD teachers who live in the district use private school? They know what's going on in the district.

  67. I could care less about True Freedom's "stats". He openly calls PUSD kids "vermin" and "dirtbags".

    I think that says where his head it at.

    He is a text-book example of a person consumed by his bitterness against PUSD (a Topix regular on this issue).

    Bitterness, spitefullness, anger, lashing out, pettiness, negativity, ugliness, dishonesty,

    what a waste of time.

    (and not in sync with the truth)

    happy Advent

  68. Howdy there Virginia... relative to my stats, I'm not sure how you can state they are "not in sync with the truth" given that these numbers were culled directly from the state reporting agencies. I didn't even make a value judgement as to whether the gains were "tremendous" or not.

    There is no interpretation, no spin.. just solid facts from credible sources. Please back up your statements with actual facts instead of emotionally driven platitudes.

    In the name of full disclosure, you should let any readers know about any monetary transactions between you and PUSD.

    As for me, I have children in private, am a property owner in the PUSD district, would like to see PUSD succeed, am not willing to throw any more of my money into the broken machinery that is PUSD.

  69. I know about you kid in private school True Freedom,

    listen, ok!! fine, so many of my close friends also do, and so what?

    This not about your school choise. This is about a school district that has been so unfairly maligned they can (and will) write a book on it one day.

    Since the days of Rene Amy driving around in his van plastered with PUSD-bashing signs, screaming epitaths out his window with his bull-horn,(ohhhh kay...)

    since the days of this same pundit getting his frothing, savage blog posts posted unedited into the pages of the Pasadena Weekly...

    since the days of trolling, when trolls regularly bashing PUSD all over the local blogs,

    we've seen it all, True Freedom.

    So I say in this Advent season, we drop all this hatred, and move forward in Peace.

  70. I'm not certain your assumption that anyone who criticized PUSD in other locations were trolls, Virginia. Judging from what I have seen on this blog from you, I would even venture that we might be in a pot-kettle-black situation.

  71. Wow! I thought I knew what the definition of a troll was, until now. Virginia Hogue has shown me what it truly means to be disruptive and acrimonious.

    It appears true to me that;

    Virginia is the only person on this blog that supports the PUSD.
    Virginia is an operative for the PUSD and does not actually live in Sierra Madre.
    Virginia adequately represents the PUSD in that she is a poor speller and lacks good grammar.
    Virginia has no shame, will tell lies and incite god when she realizes she is losing an argument she started.
    Any school district that would hire Lisa Spigai-Perez and several other notable Dirts as a teacher, is automatically suspect.

  72. I call the "pusd teacher" comments troll comments.

    troll comments of the most devious and deceptive kind.

    its really, really sad when they stoop this low, (I mean come on, masquearading as PUSD teachers?)

    but this is what I mean, the hatred is out of control.

    lets fix it.

  73. Anonymous 4:47, I can see you don't want to fix it. Next!

  74. see what I mean, this hatred is consuming people, they are literally sputtering here,

    and for what? for what people?

    to lash out at our schools?

    I think people are forgetting this issue here. The issue is that we as a Country, educate our children. This is to our benefit.

    To call PUSD kids "dirtbags", to rage at them like Rene Amy kin, is simply not where we want to be, not how we want to live.

  75. Sir Eric,

    I never thought I would say this (please forgive me) but, Virginia Hogue needs to be permanently banned from this Blog.

    If she despises everyone here so much, then she should do her "writing" and/or "lobbying" somewhere else.

  76. Speaking of lobbyists,December 23, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Where do you live Virginia?

    What financial relationship do you have with the PUSD or any of its agents, Virginia?

  77. Holy schmitt! I can't beleive what I'm reading here. So you want Sir Eric to ban VH from this blog? that's his call, it's his blog, and it's your opinion, VH has her opinions, so you don't agree, so what? Also, advent shmadvent, I don't believe in that , but I don't deride her or people that believe in such things. Folks need to stop wearing their opinions on their sleeves, buck up!!

    If SM was to break away from PUSD do we need to build our own schools or do we need to pay PUSD for the use of their schools here in town. Isn't the school on Canon slated for a huge reconstruction project in the near future? How do we propose to pay for all of this? I have no children in school, do I pay for a new school here in town? Will we vote ourselve more taxes?
    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe that the PUSD schools in SM are filled with children ONLY from SM, if you go downtown after 3pm you will obviously see that they are not, so please stop this assumption that it's the SM schools that are responsible for PUSD's test scores being as high, or low, as they are, kinda elitist if you ask me, also good luck to Sir Eric in the coming SM election for SM City Council, he is running under the name of John Crawford I believe, correct me if I'm wrong.

  78. Peace and Joy be with you are yours this holiday season, may we reconcile our differences and find common ground, may we vanquish hatred, may we find Love.

  79. Speaking of lobbyists,December 24, 2009 at 4:30 PM

    I didn't think Virginia would admit that she is a paid lobbyist/operative for the PUSD. But, her refusal to deny it answers the question, anyway.

  80. Virginia is not a paid lobbyist for PUSD.

  81. Virginia is not a paid lobbyist for PUSD. She was at one time an art volunteer for them. During her tenure there the wonders of the PUSD were revealed to her.
    She and the PUSD know what is best for the kids, anyone who asserts differently is a super lousy troll who hates our kids.

  82. I see the trashing of myself is back. I well know, it will not stop, because these are trolls.

    I am not a paid lobbiest for PUSD. I am a parent and supporter who has braved vicious treatment by the trolls for a long time now to try and defend this district and get the real story out on the blogs.

    I would note, there is no reason that this issue should attract the volume of trolls it does, if it were not in some corrupt power's interest to do so.

    This is not disclaiming sincere concern with issues revolving around PUSD. That is separate.

    But the fact is that trolls have circled this issue for years on the local blogs, and the only reason for this is that they are backed by corrupt interests.

    How about we fix this? How about we put an end to the trolling that has paralyzed our blogsphere on this issue (and I would note, any other issue where corrupt power gets its feather's ruffled).

    Lets move forward in making our blogsphere troll-free and a place where genuine debate can take place.

  83. Uh, I know this thread is dead and over, but why would joining Arcadia be a disaster?

    I've been school shopping because my child is about to start kindergarten. Hamilton Elementary and Don Benito don't look bad at all to me. I hear good things about the Don Benito principal. I was considering the dual language immersion programs, but I couldn't get past the overall school quality. However, I do think that the parents involved in those programs are probably going to be turning those schools around.

    San Rafael elementary was so decrepit! I talked to a neighbor and they said it used to be much worse. I can't imagine. At Burbank Elementary I read the third graders essays and a few of them made it pretty obvious that some of those kids are living in dangerous homes.

    I was looking into Pasadena High School and I read 10% of the students come from foster homes. It's pretty clear that we have a lot of children around here who need local citizens to stand up and get interested in helping them.

    I was looking at Sierra Madre's failed attempt to get out of the district, and one of the responses was that if you compare apples to apples, students who performed well at their elementary school performed just as well at Pasadena High School as they did in private school. Now that was the PUSD saying that, and I didn't see any data to back that up. I'm wondering if it's true? That was why they said Sierra Madre people only wanted to be out of the district because they were racist.

    Now, for me, I would want to be out of the district because I want my kid going to a school where success is the culture. But that comment from the PUSD did make me think twice.

    I hope the tattler pursues the issue of education, corruption, and what's wrong and right with the PUSD further.

  84. My daughter went to SM Elem. school and we had so many problems with the teachers. She went to the Jr. high and once again had problems with the teachers. I had her at PHS (I am a single parent who could not afford private school) and took her out after the Fall semester her freshmen year. The teachers are the problem at PUSD and the administration. The other problem she has was that she was the only one in most of her classes who was white and spoke English! Call me what you want but she has been home schooled since and is THRIVING! I also don't have to worry about her being jumped, shot at, locked down in the gym, or enhaling pot from the bathroom. The school system SUCKS big ones and if SM did have their own school district I believe most of the residents would send their kids back to the public school and save themselves 20K a year in private school money. My daughter has been on the honor roll since elementary school and has had a 4.0 since jr. high. It's the students in SM that are smart and have parents at home who speak and understand the language so the students thrive. Throw all teh money you want at PUSD and it will not do any good...get your kids out now!

  85. Home schooling is not for everyone.
    It requires creativity and intelligence, and while there are some great successes, there are also totally unqualified people teaching in very small minded and limited ways.

  86. Sir Eric Maundry has been kind enough to point me back to this troll-laden thread, where I have braved numerous personal attacks, to check out the "heartfelt" new comments. Trusting him, I peeked over and look what I find...

    oh yes, how nice to read these "heartfelt" comments, like this one: "the school system SUCKS big ones" - how heartfelt... (Yikes!!)

    and this one "get your kids out now!" wow, such, um, passion!

    heres another: "San Rafael elementary was so decrepit" wow, how observant (not! it is one of the most beautiful school buildings I have ever seen)

    and here: "some of those kids are living in dangerous homes" (and so that makes them dangerous, by default? how unkind)

    and here, yet another: "there are also totally unqualified people teaching in very small minded and limited ways" (oh, "totally unqualified, small minded people" - I take it you mean teachers here? thats accredited teachers by the way, unlike the privates, our public schools insist on this)

    No, Sir Eric Maundry, perhaps I am following the wrong thread, but I am not finding ANY heartfelt new comments here, only more of the same Anonymous anger and bitterness that has made these 3 Tattler thread notorious locally.

    I find only further evidence of Confirmation Bias that allows normally decent, sane people to go balistic over this issue.

    How sad, for our New Year, when more than ever we need to work towards resolving our differences, creating understanding, towards tolerance, towards a better future for our Cities (for Pasadena and Sierra Madre and Altadena), towards a better future for our schools, our children and our children's children.

    I know there is a lot of anger out there over this issue, but can I ask that the ugliness that has enveloped it for so long, be held at bay, be put in its place,

    and we can move forward in clarity for 2010.

  87. Ha...I didn't think my comments were 'small minded' but then that's the great thing about this country...we have a right to our opinions. I have lived in SM for over 25 years and have several friends who took their children out of PUSD becuase of the poor teacher quality and classroom settings. They either moved out of the district, put their children in private schools, or like me, started home schooling their children. The PUSD DOES SUCK and if it didn't there wouldn't be such a decline in the enrollment. When my daughter went to PHS for the one semester she had only 1 restroom she could use that was open (and it was filthy) and it was always occupied by students smoking pot..apparently NOBODY else could smell the pot in the hallway? When she was at PHS one of the numerous pregnant teens got into a physical fight with her boyfriend and the police had to come in and break it up! In her computer class a non-profit group came in to discuss teen age pregnancy with the entire class without any sort of permission from the parents and it's illegal to do that without parental permission. All these problems (and I could go on but I won't bore you with my small minded comments) stem from the PUSD and their lack of vision. Sierra Madre should have their own district or merge with Arcadia...if they did I would gleefully put my 17 year old daughter back in public school.

  88. Virginia, Virginia, if you're going to look for things to get riled up about, at least read the comments accurately. I posted that small minded & limited stuff about the majority of HOME SCHOOLERS, ya dufus. For the most part, kids are much healthier psychologically if they interact with a larger community than at home with one parent doing the educating.
    So if you were so inclined, you could even have used my comment to support, if not the PUSD, at least public education.

  89. I'm glad you've pointed people back to this thread!

    To delve a little further into PUSD:

    As I stated above, I like both Hamilton and Don Benito. The parent grapevine also states that Willard, McKinley and Norma Coombs are worth looking at. There is a new Chinese immersion program at Burbank and a Spanish immersion program at San Rafael. Everyone so far has spoken of wishing to be in the Sierra Madre school district, the biggest draw of which is the middle school, saving people untold thousands of dollars because their kids can go another 3 years at least to public schools.

    McKinley also is a draw because of this, but its test scores are poorer.

    I've only visited Don Benito, Hamilton, San Rafael and Burbank. I found Don Benito to be smaller and I liked the feel of the school. Hamilton was quite large but the principal seemed very on the ball and they have this thing called the "Math, Science Academy" which looked pretty impressive, giving hands on instruction in Science and Math.

    As for my comments about San Rafael being decripit: It is beautiful on the outside. The Measure Y funds added an outdoor cafeteria and replaced the collapsing tiles in the ceiling. However the principal talked repeatedly about how she thought the boiler might be from 1920 and how either the rooms were scorching hot or ice cold. The play area had lots of broken concrete... and overall it looked as if routine maintenance hadn't been addressed for quite some time. And the bathrooms were filthy.

    As for Burbank, I said it was clear that some of those kids were living in dangerous homes. Burbank has very poor scores, and my point was that I imagine a lot of that has to do with the fact that children who are fearful for their safety are unlikely to do well on tests.

    I had intended to get my child into public schools that I thought were run well and safe and had a culture of learning. So far Don Benito, SM, and Hamilton fit that ball.

    I have not visited Pasadena High School yet, but there scores are poor enough, and the percentage of kids who go to college are so low, that my knee jerk reaction would be to put my child in private school. I want my son in a culture where college is an expectation, and learning is important.

    However, reading PUSD's old defense that said the reason people did not want their kids to go to Pasadena High was because of racism is making me rethink that knee jerk reaction.

    PUSD said that students who tested will in middle school continued to test as well at PHS as they did in any private school. Since these kids were doing just as well in public as they would in private, the only reason for them not to be in public was because their parents did not want them associating with the other students (ergo racism).

    Now for me, my reasoning was I didn't want my kid exposed to a culture that doesn't value learning. Kids who don't do well in school usually are a product of parents who could care less about school. Since I attended a school like that, and felt like an outcast for wanting to learn, I didn't want my kid stuck inthe same position.

    On the other hand, looking at these kids from foster care and dangerous homes, who are probably not doing well at school, who is looking out for them? Of course these kids aren't doing well.

    So whose responsibility is it to make sure they are overcoming the odds and finding a way towards a more stable life? For me, I don't think you can help kids through for-pay solutions. Kids need love and attention to thrive, and I personally think that can only come from the community. From neighbors and parents who get involved.

    So I'd like to hear thoughts on that.

  90. Great discussion 4:07. BTW, in the teaching community, Don Benito is known to be first rate - exemplary teachers, either with lots of experience and love for the job, or mature, intelligent people who have chosen teaching as a later-in-life career. But these kinds of committed teachers in great educational environments exist in pockets all over the place. Carpenter School in Studio City comes to mind. One of the ways you can spot them - heavy parental involvement and lucid administrative leadership that is highly engaged in community outreach (and fund raising of course!).

    The movie Precious showed exactly what happens to the kids who do not have anyone at home who should have had children in the first place. The teachers and counselors in the kids' lives try to give them positive choices, some respect, and a look at better ways to be, and then the kids walk in the door and the parents rip any positive chances away from them. It's brutal. A teacher can work and work to bring some light into a child's life, but have to start over again every day school meets, when that child walks in feeling worthless, hopeless, angry, and sad.

    I'm not saying that teachers and counselors always do a good job, because we all know some of them aren't any good either, but the vast majority see themselves as being in a helping profession. But a bad home life can kill any progress.

    I wish we could make everyone take parenting classes and get licenses, just like we do for driving.

  91. Don't let the haters get you down Virginia. they are home owning parents of private school kids who will happily throw the children of renters under the bus to save a few pennies on a tiny parcel tax.

  92. Jay, thanks for the guilt trip. But the only people here throwing kids under the bus are those doing gratis propaganda work for the folks who have destroyed California's public education system. Saying things are just dandy when they are not only helps the budget killers in Sacramento continue their dirty work. Most people who send their kids to private school are financially strapped people making huge sacrifices for the kids they love. All because they can't bring themselves to put them into substandard public schools. Public education in this state is in crisis, and all your PC happy talk is accomplishing is to perpetuate some very destructive myths.

    Stop the lying.


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