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Friday, November 23, 2012

Culture Of Disinformation At The School District

Is Emery's New School Site Too Small?
District Says That's Not Worth Answering

Is the new $64 million proposed Emeryville school campus too small?  That's a question the School District will avoid, even if it means purposely keeping citizens in the dark.
Attendees at the November 19th Planning Commission meeting witnessed the School District in full spin mode as they grappled with questions from the Commissioners about lack of space at the new Center of Community Life on San Pablo Avenue.  But more revealing was how School District officials dealt with that question at a community meeting on the Saturday previous.

Warning: Semantics Are Played To Partisan Effect
With the School Superintendent and School Board members standing by, Center of Community Life architects told a questioner from the audience at the Saturday meeting that the new school will meet the minimum requirements for space as dictated by Sacramento.  No problem here. That's all that needs to be offered on that question?
That terse response tells Emeryville citizens a lot about the Emery Unified School District and what it has become.  It shows a willingness to deceive the people to move forward a flawed school project.  As it turns out, there are no legal minimum requirements for school space dictated by Sacramento, the State does have recommended minimum standards however.
And there's the rub: School District officials purposefully gave citizens at the Saturday meeting the impression that the State of California has no problem with the new Emeryville school.  Instead of seizing on the word "requirement" and using it to obscure and misinform, School District officials should have taken the opportunity to help people understand that the new school is too small for the site according to the State of California.
The Center of Community Life
Warning To Citizens Who Would Question The New School:
Makes sure you get the semantics correct in your question,
the School District will turn it around to their advantage. 
They could have used the opportunity to tell us that they believe that the school will still be acceptable, even desirable.  They could have used the art of persuasion to get citizens to sign off on their public school investment.  Unfortunately, this is not part of the culture of the Emery Unified School District.

This is not just a question of the School District being petty.  They see this Center of Community Life as potentially unpopular and something to foist upon us by decidedly undemocratic means.  The stakeholders part of the equation is a problem they see that needs to be managed.  The idea of public schools is deeply progressive and for these Emery School District officials to subvert that intrinsic progressive nature of public education is disturbing.
Unfortunately this is merely one more sad story in the growing litany of a School District that takes its ques from Niccolo Machiavelli rather than a deeply connected partnership with the citizenry.

To the citizen that had the temerity to ask if the new school is too small according to the State of California; the answer is YES, it is too small according to the State.  Shame is on the Emery Unified School District.


  1. Too SMALL?; I thought it was too BIG.

    These OUTSIDERS know what's best for Emeryville, and they are asserting their will. Trouble is, they are WRONG; and us Property Taxpayer's will be paying for their misguided advice in every future Tax Year, dead or alive.

    I wish I could just shake these people, and tell them to get the hell out of Emeryville.

    Thank you, Brian, for your tenacity.

  2. Has anyone seen a proposed operating budget for this project..? Isn't that important..? is there really going to be a Phase TWO..? Won't that be disruptive.?

    Another TEN years in the pipeline