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Comments by BarbaraS77

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Posted on November 11 at 1:49 p.m.

Caesar Chavez students still use the Franklin School cafeteria for programs and to receive their lunch, so yes, they do affect cafeteria usage. I see the students there, as I see their big cheetah sign.

Also, saying that 30 percent of students come from the Franklin "pool" requires an extrapolation that is speculative. Those students may well have applied to other public schools or attended private schools.

Did I mention that traffic is affected and parking is problematic at times (especially on street sweeping days)? It is.

Cesar Chavez has had a significant impact upon the schools onsite and the neighborhood. This is pertinent but something I don't hear being addressed.

On Shutting Down Cesar Ch¡vez Charter School Would Be Error

Posted on November 4 at 7:05 p.m.

With all due respect to the students, staff, and parents of the Cesar Chavez school, I've seen their location on the same campus as another elementary school as problematic from the start. The two schools are based on opposing language-based philosophies, and the problems of sharing resources has led to issues. For example, Cesar Chavez uses the school cafeteria for lunch and also for its programs. This means that all Franklin students (between 500 and 700) have to eat lunch, as do all Cesar Chavez students. Because the lunches are staggered by grade levels, the outcome is that my child might get about 5-10 minutes to eat lunch before having to leave the cafeteria.

Cesar Chavez doesn't have its own library, so they use the public library branch. Some older patrons don't like to use the library when there are large groups of youngsters because they find the atmosphere noisy.

The S.B. school district didn't plan well when it sited the Cesar Chavez school. I have been surprised that a new school with attendant greatly increased traffic and infrastructure use never seemed to require any planning by the city when I can't add a half-bathroom to my house without getting a permit and going through a complex process.

I have heard rumors that the Cesar Chavez school might be relocated to the Cleveland campus because the student population is down there. I wonder if that is still being considered?

Also, one reason why Cesar Chavez school performance may be down is because it is a brand new school and it hasn't had a chance yet to gel and work out all the kinks and bring that vision to all its students in a settled form.

On Shutting Down Cesar Ch¡vez Charter School Would Be Error

Posted on July 11 at 2:44 p.m.

If Cottage Hospital runs all the high-tech medical facilities in Santa Barbara, they'll be in a great, business position: no competition and a clientele that needs their help. Unfortunately, patients won't be quite so well served.

The same seems to be happening with medical insurance: fewer companies, less competition, "better" business and people who need healthcare and don't have a choice.

So. . . about how many bankruptcies in California are healthcare-cost-related? More than 60 percent, isn't it? I wouldn't be surprised if this percentage rises.

On None

Posted on July 5 at 8:25 p.m.

Don't move to the Eastside! We have street cleaning here, too. I once received a ticket for stopping to take a neighbor's dog out of an intersection and return it to its fenced yard.

On None

Posted on July 4 at 1:12 p.m.

I have two children who have attended a local elementary school with a latino population higher than Harding's. Both of my children are excellent students and in junior high and high school, as they begin to be placed in classes with other students, my oldest has done very well (my youngest isn't old enough yet).

The teachers are great, and there are many resources available, including tutoring, free "computers for families," art and other enrichment programs. There have been some programs for which my family is ineligible because of higher income or racial ("ethnic") identification. That sometimes sets families apart from each other.

I, myself, speak English as a second language. I received no support when I attended elementary school. I floundered for about one year and then started doing well. I do know that some children and more adults have a much more difficult time learning a language and need more help.

My biggest concern is the parents' attitudes, which they instill in their children. When Mr. Johannsen talks about the poor people who work two jobs for low pay, he might be pleading a case for low-paid immigrants; however, he is also stereotyping and reinforcing the view of white Americans as "gabachos." In my neighborhood, some men work two jobs. They do this because their wives stay at home and take care of the home front. Also, many neighbors hire help. Some people who hire help aren't rich people from Montecito but older or disabled people who can't afford much but do need help.

Adults perseverate with old racist stereotypes that they pass on (often unwittingly) to their children. My children have faced bullying -- which unfortunately, many children do -- but theirs is made easier because of racism against their white skin. Bullies pick out features that make targets different, and that is just one that works well. So, when my kids do well in school (which is sometimes a horrible thing in other children's minds), the situation is worsened because the success is attributed to their "white privilege" not their individual efforts.

If we're going to solve the problem of poor performance in schools, we need to look at not just where people are now but where they came from. We also have to look at them both as individuals and as a part of a system. Yes, some people don't want to learn another language, or want to keep their kids safe instead of competing academically, or have learning problems that are genetically based, or whatever. I'm just glad that there are enough mature people out there willing to work together to put the children first.

By the way, my last multicultural teacher, when pressed to describe what the advantages actually were, said that my "white privilege" allowed me to state political sentiments that would be unchallenged.

On None

Posted on June 26 at 10:59 a.m.

The United States does have a unique culture of its own, along with subcultures, and I am very happy to be in this country. However, I can still explore other cultures and learn different ways. This helps me be a more flexible person.

A friend asked me what jazz was (because she is not from this country) before she signed up her child for a free jazz program for upper elementary students -- from all Santa Barbara schools, I believe -- that was held at Franklin School. The teacher is really great: Ike Jenkins. The program is sponsored through the Endowment for Youth.

Although many children speak other languages such as Russian, French, Cantonese, etc., two reasons for such an emphasis on Spanish is the majority rules of democracy and the ease of transitioning between Mexico and California. Many people immigrating from oversees aren't going to head back (relatively) quickly to their country of origin. It's too difficult a trip.

On None

Posted on June 25 at 11:21 p.m.

There are many reasons that a school like Harding may not fit the academic profile of high achievement. Parents do need to set examples about what they value and don't value and they do need to adapt to provide families with the best opportunities available.

However, poverty does set back many students and their families. Maladaption to a culture, whether here or in another country like Mexico, also causes problems. Ironically, the isolationist tendencies of Americans seems to hold as true for some people from the U.S. as for some people from Mexico: being proud of knowing only one language and refusing to negotiate other cultures is not conducive to enriching one's own life or one's children's lives.

What bothers me most, however, is that when people claim that the differences in school achievement are based only on racism, the possibility of solving all the problems that are inherent in a human population that is immigrant and poor are obscured. For instance, I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a lot of undiagnosed learning disabilities to be found in a school where the students' families had to leave their homeland because of poverty. These could be treated. On the other hand, we could just make their lack of achievement a racial matter and never address what is really handicapping a child.

Wealthy hispanic families do not send their children to schools such as Harding or Franklin or others any more than wealthy families of other backgrounds do. Race and poverty correlate here but don't fall side by side in other areas. Some Mexican families work very hard, add a lot to the community, and deserve a lot of respect. So do families of all other backgrounds as well. Let's put some faith in these families.

(By the way, I would also like self-named multiculturalists to define what "unearned privileges" white, working-class school children have in schools where they are represented at 5 or less percent.)

On None

Posted on June 25 at 10:39 p.m.

Edith Hovey was a wonderful woman who lived a rich life. I knew her when I was young, and she was a friend to my family.

On Obituary for Edith Lehnert Hovey

Posted on June 25 at 10:04 p.m.

I can't quibble with the idea of a wise woman of any race -- does that, however, refer to Sotomayor? Furthermore, what is "richness of experience"? Grinding poverty doesn't illuminate minds or bodies but defeats them. Is Sotomayor speaking of experience with many people around the world and throughout different socioeconomic levels? I wasn't aware that she lived such a multi-faceted life as to accrue a richness of experience.

For myself, I would like to see a supreme court justice who cares about the law, about ethics and about being clear in action and speech.

On None

Posted on June 6 at 8:13 a.m.

My opinion is that certain groups of Asians have been quite successful in terms of socioeconomic advancement because of values and feelings about education and opportunity that were learned within their own cultures AND their expectations about what they might find and do here in the United States.

This leads back to the IB program at Harding School. Hopefully, students will make that leap to being citizens of the world and having responsibilities in that world that will benefit them and their families.

The IB program is geared toward older students, so my worry is how much the young ones will understand or if they'll just get confused. If it's done carefully, I think it could work.

Furthermore, I think that schools accepting federal money must play by the NCLB rules -- until a group were to challenge and win an amendment in a judicial setting. (I, myself, would rather see the children tested less often than the yearly standardized tests and use that money to keep regular, stable staff in place at the schools.)

On Mission Impossible?

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