Page 52 - Sonoma County Gazette June 2019
P. 52

Jun 15 ~ Elk’s Lodge 901 Father's Day Dinner
Most parents have not dug deep into what that means for their kids. As a former senior administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District, I want to plead with every parent, indeed every voter, to unpack “personalization,” figure out what it really means, and, if you like, or even if you don’t, get active in your school district putting to use what you’ve learned.
Surf & Turf, Salad & Dessert. Tickets $25. 6p at Petaluma Elks Lodge 901 - 2105 South McDowell Boulevard Petaluma. INFO. 707-763-0901
Since the 1980s, educators have recognized that they way we used to teach children needed some serious updating. What we were doing then simply caused us to lose sight of children. Not everyone responded well to the typical “stand and deliver” style of instruction, where the teacher lectured for much of the period. And many kids found that they did not learn well from a common textbook. It was boring or irrelevant, and reading may not be the way they best absorbed the material. And, kids did not all learn at the same pace. Some were way ahead, while others fell far behind, but it was difficult (although not impossible) to address those students’ needs.
June 16 ~ JKev Fathers Day in Petaluma ~ Jazz with Chris Pimentel. Come have lunch with us! 12-3pm at Wild Goat Bistro, 6 Petaluma Blvd N. Petaluma.
Jun 16 ~ Father's Day at the Schulz Museum
All fathers Free! 10a-5p at Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Ln, Santa Rosa. INFO. 707-579-4452 or
Taking a page from what Federal law had by then mandated for a decade about teaching special education kids, education theorists said we should “personalize” learning. We would not rely as much on “stand and deliver.” We would not all focus so heavily on a common textbook. We would accommodate slow and fast learners. We would get to know our students better; we’d identify how they learned best and give the quickest learners additional challenging material and slower learners direct, targeted teacher help. And, perhaps most importantly, we would provide better social and emotional support that would create empowered and optimistic kids who wanted to learn.
Jun 16 ~ Father's Gay, A Queer Music Festival
Queer music festival. Food and drinks available for purchase. 12-8p at Whiskey Tip, 1910 Sebastopol Rd. Santa Rosa. INFO. 707-568-5830 or
Support 21st Century Education
   By Hal Kwalwasser
For the past twenty-five years, educators have repeatedly set as their goal the
  creation of a “personalized” system of instruction that would radically improve our ability to educate our children.
 Jun 16 ~ Father’s Day 25th Annual “Show & Shine” Car Show ~ Trophies, Hot Rods, Trucks, Motorcycles! Drinks, Food Trucks, Music Entertainment, Raffles. INFO.
Jun 2 ~ The Gold Ridge Firefighter’s Association annual pancake breakfast ~ 7am-12pm at the Twin Hills Station, 1690 Watertrough Rd, Sebastopol, INFO. 707-823-1084 or
Jun 9 ~ The Hessel Volunteer Firefighter’s Association annual pancake breakfast ~ 7:30am-11:30 at the Hessel Station, 4500 Hessel Rd, Sebastopol. INFO. (707) 823-1084 or
July 6 ~ Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District annual pancake breakfast ~ Pancakes, ham, eggs, fruit and juice. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the fire district. 7-11am at 11000 Main St. in Penngrove. INFO.
July 6 ~ Bodega Bay Fire - at the Bodega Bay Grange , 1370 Bodega Ave, Bodega Bay. 7:30 – 11:30 am INFO:
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One reason charters were created was to see what a new group of educators could do to meet these audacious goals. Some charters – and some traditional public schools – figured out strategies that began to address these problems, but national test scores suggested that, on the whole, there was only limited improvement.
Then, about fifteen years ago, we began to see the possibilities with computers. We could do away with – or certainly limit – stand and deliver instruction. We could tailor instruction because we could carefully track students’ progress and see what they understood and what they didn’t – and do it in real time. And the Web gave us options besides the common textbook to provide instruction. It could address different learning styles, be more relevant, and might allow for more self-paced learning. We even began to understand that school had a role in developing students who had the right attitudes toward life and learning. All potentially good things.
          But still test scores and other measures of success did not rise
To make all of this work required a total overhaul of our schools. Too many administrators did not want to take the risk. Too many teachers did not want to change their ways. Too many schools focused on simple survival rather than on improving their product. Especially during the Great Recession, money was cut back, and, even now, in many districts they are spending less than they did before 2008.
So here’s where we are: There are traditional public schools and charters that have embraced change and validated that it works. Test scores are up. Dropouts are down. Discipline problems have shrunk. College-going is up. Their students are empowered.
What’s most important; they are no different from most other districts. They don’t have student populations largely made up of upper middle class white populations whom you’d expect to succeed regardless of school quality. They don’t spend more money than others. They don’t have spectacular faculties drawn from the top tier of colleges. What they show is that virtually every other district or charter can do well. EDUCATION cont’d on page 53
to meet expectations. What happened?
 But there is one more reason that things have not turned out as well as they might have. Parents, voters, and the board members who come from those groups did not push. They wanted “better,” but they did not really know what “better” looked like. Some of it was the result of thinking that schools should be just like the schools that educated those of us who graduated a while ago. Some of it was that less systemic issues, like bell times or bullying (which are certainly important) crowded out other discussions. Some of it was the result of educators insisting they knew best what to do – and intimidating those who were on the outside.
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