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Open Letter to AUSD Board President Niel Tam

Action Alameda News received a copy of this letter for publication…

Dear Niel,

I appreciate your letter but I feel as though the board and the superintendent of schools are failing to hear the majority voice of our community. Recent decisions to close and relocate district offices is the number one failure to fulfill fiduciary duties of a board and a district.

Further, continued push to divide traditional education systems in our community with the use of charter schools is only further hindering our ability to keep a unified equal opportunity system offering the same educational opportunities for all students from all demographics. Removal of wood shop classes, other electives and programming has a detrimental affect on on student moral and willingness to strive to learn.

We passed bonds in this community that promised equal opportunity education for all students. The fact that charter schools have wait lists proves that the system you support does not provide equal opportunity within our district. Some students do not have parents who fight for their educational opportunities. These students who are not on wait lists to enter charters or special programming never get equal access to education. This is a constitutional denial. You may perceive this as a transitional system but your transitions do not accommodate all.

If teachers’ performance is based on standardized tests and standards, why are we deviating from the standards and traditions of which the country was founded upon? Furthermore, if the elite top of the community are enrolled in charter, private and special experimental schooling how then do we have a baseline of test scores when our community is divided and segmented by class? If teachers are being judged on performance by standardized testing why they can’t the community members judge and promote or demote the board and superintendent for their performance based on facility, personnel, financial, and other management or mismanagement factors.

Last week the Alameda League of Women Voters conducted a biased community outreach meeting that did not have free form questioning. Questions were cherry-picked by the League to address and weed out the true community voice. After the meeting digital media sites were flooded with discontent.

Why is Rob Bonta and Alice Lai-Bitker trying to hold community meetings with Jeff Cambra to have our community come up with plans to save or reuse historic Alameda High? This is the board’s and [Superintendent] Kirsten Vital’s responsibility. This issue needs to be resolved by the board. The same board that made a brash one-sided decision to abandon the site. The engineering opinion (1), was brash and unfounded. WJE, a highly reputable structural engineering firm, did not condemn the building.

Let’s listen to the voice of the majority of the community and keep politics out of our education system.

Gregg de Haan

1 comment to Open Letter to AUSD Board President Niel Tam

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