VOTER’S GUIDE 2011 ★ ★ ★ ★ October 12, 2011 ★ ★ Section Two ★ ★ ★ ★
‘Achievement gap’ issue in school race ■ Five candidates compete for three seats in Sequoia Union High School District. By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer
■ Allen S. Weiner, a law school lecturer at Stanford University and a resident of Menlo Park. The Almanac interviewed them all on several Sequoia district matters, including finances, career technical education, and the contributions of charter schools. The principal focus in this story is perhaps the most intractable problem: the academic achievement gap.
his fall is decision time for voters, with three seats open on the five-member board governing the Sequoia Union High School District. The district is home to Woodside, Menlo-Atherton, Summit Prep and Everest high schools among others. Five candidates are running in the Nov. 8 election, including two incumbents first Achievement for all? elected in 1999. High on the list of district conSince two other board members (whose terms expire in cerns is the persistent achieve2013) came to the board in 2009, ment gap, typically referred to the election will mean at least as the difference in standardized test scores, on a three and possibly four or five new N H I G H S C H O O L state-defined scale of 1,000 points, or relatively new DIS T R ICT bet ween t wo board members groups of students: could be overseeing a district of some 8,200 students Caucasian (or white) and Hisand with an annual budget of panic (or Latino). The state’s Academic Perfor$100 million. The candidates, in alphabetical mance Index (API) numbers from the last five years show an average order, are: ■ Carrie Du Bois, a member gap of 285 points at M-A, 152 at of the San Carlos School District Woodside and 147 at Summit Prep. (The gap at Everest is 132 for board and a San Carlos resident. ■ Olivia Martinez, an incum- 2010-11, the only year available.) bent running for her fourth term What should be done about the on the Sequoia district board and gap? What can be done? The Sequoia district has had a a Menlo Park resident. ■ Larry James Moody, a non- gap since at least 1967, Ms. Marprofit director and former school tinez told the Almanac. In 1999, board member in, and current California introduced the API, which ranks schools using an algoresident of, East Palo Alto. ■ Lorraine Rumley, an incum- rithm of test scores accompanied bent running for her fourth term by analysis. It’s a useful perspective on the Sequoia district board and on a difficult and complex topic, Ms. Martinez said. a resident of Redwood City. As is the district’s own analysis, she added. Looking at data from N VOTER INFORMATION specific local elementary schools, M-A and Woodside high schools ★★★★★★★ now prepare for students who Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. have significant academic deficits, 8, but many people are voting including teacher-to-teacher conearly by mail or at the county tacts and teacher exchanges with election offices. Polls are open K-8 districts, Ms. Martinez said. on Election Day from 7 a.m. to It might help, she said, if the K-8 8 p.m. Check your county voter information pamphlet for the location of your polling place and for information about registration and early voting. Websites with helpful voter information include: ■ shapethefuture.org (San Mateo County’s election website). ■ smartvoter.org (League of Women Voters website).
Allen S.Weiner Experience: Co-director of Stanford Program in International Law at Stanford Law School, wide experience in international law, including participation in U.S and international forums, negotiation on behalf of United States, authorship and co-authorship of op-eds and amicus briefs. Education: Bachelors degree magna cum laude in social studies, Harvard College; law degree from Stanford Law School. Profession: Law school lecturer Age: 48 Family: Married, three children (Menlo-Atherton High School graduate, M-A sophomore, and Hillview eighth-grader)
Lorraine Rumley Experience: 12 years on Sequoia Union High School District board, including four years as president; chairperson, Redwood City 2020; member, Board of Directors, Latino Leadership Council of San Mateo County; executive board member, San Mateo County School Boards Association 2003/2004; past member, Board of Directors, Sequoia High School Education Foundation. Education: Honors graduate, Camden High School in San Jose; business classes at Mission college. Profession: Business Owner Age: 54 Family: Married; two children (Sequoia High School graduates)
Larry James Moody Experience: Executive positions with faith-based and community-based organizations, mostly in East Palo Alto, including Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, parks and recreation, police activity league. Former school board member for Ravenswood City School District.
Ravenswood City School District, which serves East Palo Alto and Belle Haven, had middle schools where math, science and English teachers tend to have majored in their fields. Middle-school curriculums tend to be stronger, their school-wide projects more feasible, and their classes more in-depth, she said. “This is in no way a disparagement of K-8 education,” she added. “But in Ravenswood, where so many struggle with math and science, it would seem prudent to me to offer a middle-school program.” “It’s our marketplace,” Mr. Moody, the East Palo Alto resi-