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SRVUSD students excel at exit exam

Original post made on Aug 23, 2012

The California Department of Education released results from the California High School Exit Examination Wednesday afternoon that showed increasing passing rates among local students. Approximately 98 percent of students from the class of 2014 passed the sophomore-level English section, while 99 percent passed the eighth grade mathematics portion.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 23, 2012, 1:01 PM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Alamo Ron
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Our school district is obviously outstanding. We should really support the facility bond measure this November. The district has done a great job with our students and they have done a great job as guardians of our school district's physical plant.

There are schools in the district that are in excellent condition, but there are others that need significant repair, update, maintenance and in a few cases, total renovation. Our students have done a great job and future students deserve the best.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

Alamo Ron;

Have you ever seen or heard of the questions on this test? Many students in our district can pass this test as eighth graders. This district is full of families that value education and care deeply about their children. It would be an outrage if the majority of our students didn't pass this test!

Paying higher taxes for the next 25 years for a school school district bond does not exactly translate into our students doing well on this moderately "challenging" CAHSEE Test. We're still paying for two other bonds at this time, as well as the district paying for the $28,000,000.00 solar panels for the four high school parking lots, and the few other middle schools who had them installed.

Sixty percent of incoming college freshman across the board in our state, are at the remedial level in English and Math. College professionals are pulling their hair out trying to encourage our schools to prepare the students. These freshman college students passed the CAHSEE with flying colors in our highs schools, only to drain our college resources requiring 60 percent of these students to take remedial Math and English classes.

We are at the bottom of the National Academic testing barely above Louisiana, and many other states. This is NOT the bottom in spending per student in our state. These are academic results.

A $260,000,000.00 bond (tax) to our families in this district will NOT help these students become more challenged in the classrooms. FOCUSING on challenging curriculum will help these students become more prepared for college. More proficient teachers in the math, science, and English areas will prepare our students for college and full time jobs... Not solar panels for parking lots, not new bleachers, not new turf fields - which were just recently replaced. The wish list in how to spend the windfall of tax money from this new proposed bond that will be placed on the November ballot is not the answer to the challenges our kids face in their futures. Until our district board, the CTA, and all the legislators accept these facts and begin to raise their expectations and priorities, this community should NOT vote for that $260,000,000.00 bond on the ballot in November!!!


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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

I agree with the general concept of having an exit exam that is required in order to graduate. But as Ann noted above, this test is set at a very low level, and just represents bare-minimum competency. Certainly, passing the test says nothing about preparedness for college, nor does it really say that much about the quality of the educational offerings within the district. Still, having a near-100% pass rate is good news, and it is also appropriate for the district to be working to get to a full 100%. (Although just as obviously, this is - and should be - just one piece of the district's objectives and challenges.)


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Posted by Diane
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Aug 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Have any of you looked at this test? It is very low level and simple. It's a shame that the level of education has declined so dramatically. If this test was given in the 60's and 70's when I was in school, fifth and sixth graders would have passed it easily.


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Posted by Trish
a resident of Danville
on Aug 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I just paid the SRVUSD an additional $3,000 for a "school impact fee" to add square footage to my house. Can you believe that?! I'm not adding anymore kids (and they don't go to public school - I pay extra for private), but yet another fee from the government school system... Wonderful!

Apparently, you have to pay $2.90 per square foot that you add to your property. I am adding 1,000 sq feet so had to right a large check... Not that the government isn't already taking half... Now, they will be upping that fee to $3.20 at the end of this month... So the rest of the individuals that live in SRVUSD should try to submit their plans ASAP so as not to pay higher "school impact fees."


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Posted by James
a resident of Danville
on Aug 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

I wonder where Trish got her education? Did she learn to "right" at the "write" private school?


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Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Getting back to the topic at hand, the CAHSEE exam is a ridiculous waste of time and California needs to get back to actually teaching our students, not making sure the illegals can make change and speak at the local McDonalds!


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Aug 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Ann -

Seems like you ar confusing two separate issues. Even if 60 percent of incoming college freshmen require remedial classes, that is not true of college freshmen who graduated from Danville high schools. So, why would that be a factor in arguing against the bond measure? Clearly, it isn't.

And as for the the solar panels, it appears that they ar epaying for themselves through the energy cost savings for the School District -- as well as providing clean, non-polluting energy. That seems like a win-win.


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Danville
on Aug 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Our schools are not perfect, but most of the kids I know, including mine, are well prepared for college by SRVUSD schools. I no longer have children in the school district, but I believe it is in my best interest to support the schools to keep the children in my community well educated and to keep my property values up. My taxes for the benefit of our local schools are a great investment. And I feel that I got my money's worth for the education they provided my child.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Dave - Those solar panels will not be finished paying for themselves for at least 20 years. We may have lower costs regarding energy bills, but the bond I believe was for 25 years. The replacement costs for the panels and cells have the life span I believe for 15-20 years - it's a blessing our district didn't contract with Solyndra. We can all be grateful for that fact.

How do you know that our very special district doesn't represent a portion of the 60% of the incoming freshman who require remedial math and English?

Believe me, the thought process for not supporting this upcoming $260,000,000.00 district bond is very consistent with my beliefs. The district and schools want this maintenance improvement bond, updating the tech areas at the schools and the other 50 projects on the bond district "wish list" to be the answer to our educational challenges. Our number one challenge is HOW money is spent at the state and district levels - and, the CTA running our state and schools. It is all connected unless you want to parse your thoughts and words.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Aug 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Ann -

And just how would YOU spend educational funds at the state and local level?

BTW, I didn't say that no Danville graduates might require remedial classes on entering college. I said that the 60 percent rate of college freshman needing remedial classes was not true (or representative) of Danville high school graduates. No where near that level, I'm quite sure.

Over the past decade, I have interviewed High school students from both public and private high schools in this area who are applying to Ivy League schools. I can tell you that their achievements and their abilities are more than a little impressive. Our schools must be doing something right to turn out such high-quality graduates.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 30, 2012 at 8:16 am

Dave - Do your homework, research the facts and then we can debate.


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:43 am

As always, very interesting comments! One thing that I have not read so far is… who is really educating these kids?

When we moved to Danville over 10 years ago, I was astonished at how many children go to tutors and private classes after school. Our test scores may be high, but is that because we have mostly highly educated parents helping with homework and studying or because they pay for extra education over the public school hours? Also, don't forget about the parents who manipulate the teachers into changing grades.

I have not been impressed with public schools here; and was disappointed with the elementary level teachers in our district. I've heard nightmare stories about middle and high school teachers who yell and humiliate the kids or spend much of their time surfing the web during class time.

Our schools need to do better!


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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm

My general belief on the quality of education available in SRVUMC is that it is quite high, at least for students who are serious about their own education.

When we moved here from another state, some 15 years ago, I thought that the middle school and grade schools were roughly 1 full year behind the schools in our former state and town. And the facilities at that time were in pretty bad shape. So I was initially not too happy.

But the facilities are MUCH nicer now, in part to projects that prior bond measures funded. And my perception is that once my kids got to high school, where they could sign up for honors sections and then AP classes, the quality of their education improved greatly. Part of the message was that students who want a good education (at least the ones who have college plans) need to aggressively sign up for those sorts of accelerated classes.

That said, being supportive of our schools, and wanting them to perform well, are NOT necessarily the same thing as being in favor of the new bond measure.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm

That is all you have,Ann? Just toss out the generalized national number of 60 percent of college freshmen needing remedial help?

And then impute that to Danville grads?

If YOU would do your research, you would see that the latest figures show about 68 percent of entering CSU freshman needing remedial classes in either math or writing. But, only 8 percent at Cal.

So, where would Danville grads rate? Probably a lot closer to the Cal. figure than the CSU figure, given the quality of the schools that DAnville grads go on to.

But, even beyond that, there is something a bit perverse about heaping all the blame for students' performance on the teachers, when so many other factors (home life, poor nutrition, run-down schools, etc.) clearly play a role in which students succeed and which ones don't. But, it's so much easier to blame just the teachers than to actually try to help change some of the other factors.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 1, 2012 at 2:38 am

Well Dave, it looks as though you did do some research recently. Information is a great thing. Even though your emails are slightly tough to read or understand, I think I can grasp your thoughts...

You saw that I was correct - that 60% (some figures higher, some lower) of incoming college freshman in California are draining the college resources (our tax money) as the colleges require more classrooms filled with additional teachers for additional remedial classes. You may have also read in the articles you pulled up during your research, that the professionals in the college system place all the blame on the underprepared and under taught students in our high schools. Would you deny this fact?

Regarding our school district as well all others, do you think bonds help that particular problem; the unqualified incoming freshman college students requiring remedial English and math classes? Do you think that district bonds in general, attack the true problem in many schools which is unqualified and uncertified teachers? I would like to know where you discovered that only 8% of our district require remedial English and math. Was it on the district website?

MY POINT: There is only so much money available (due to our politicians and unions) each year in this state, and the classroom is the only place we should be concerned with funding. I believe that a huge portion of the funds need to support and help educate our teachers to be prepared to teach, so they can challenge the students.

SECOND POINT: Stop taxing ourselves double and triple and start demanding and expecting more from the voted officials in education. These bonds are an expensive, temporary fix to the problem we have in our state! It's the BIG picture I'm concerned about; not just our own little successful school district.

I'm sorry, but taxing ourselves even more than we already pay this state is a temporary fix to the biggest problem we face. California Democrat politicians who feel that money is there for the grabbing and for reckless spending - regardless of our deteriorating educational system. We can vote for SRVUSD board members, and our state assembly women, and congressmen, and governors who actually care to make tough and unpopular decisions - or we can go along for the next 20 years the same way we have been for the past 20 years. When homeowners are being asked to tax themselves more each year on their homes, IT IS an issue.

The biggest disappointment I have (now that you asked) is the small prism that you and other people like you look through when it comes time to vote in our local and state elections. You are a perfect example of only seeming to truly care about your own little piece of idyllic life here in the affluent San Ramon Valley. Bond issues just for our own students and community...sure! Who care about the rest of the state and how those families are doing with their children in their local school districts. When do the bonds/taxes ever stop? Do they, or should we expect this for the rest of our lives while we live in this state?

One last question: Does anyone know about the details of the "matching funds" from the state, that would pay our district towards money spent on the school projects which are on the bond proposal for this November? Getting facts from the district has been difficult.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Sep 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

The biggest change that we could make in the educational performance of our students is to help them to come to school prepared to learn -- better nutrition (who cut free/subsidized school lunch programs back from what they were in the 1960s?), better jobs for their parents (no real income growth for US workers since 1980 under "supply-side" economics), etc.

BTW -- The bond money for the solar panels couldn't have been used for anything else. It was a dedicated program for that one purpose. The interest on the bonds was subsidized. Those rates are now being re-financed to an even lower rate. And the cost savings on eletricity is more than paying the cost of the bonds. And the energy produced is non-polluting. So, that is a net win for the School District. And at no loss in funds to the educational programs.

I undertand that people don't like to pay taxes. And, perhaps they have an idyllic view of the old one-room schoolhouse. But, modern education requires modern facilities. Especially if we are training our kids to compete in a high-tech global economy. Sadly, for the anti-tax crowd, that requires an investment not only in teachers, but in the facilities, too.

Yes, it would be most helpful if the School Board would be more forthcoming about its exact plans for how the money would be spent, so that we can all see more clearly whether it is well spent or not. But, I can't agree with what seems to be the more general point above that we shouldn't spend money on school buildings.


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