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Yolanda Pandolfi-Hopkins

Paul Wellman

Yolanda Pandolfi-Hopkins


Juan Crow Lands in S.B.?

Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination at Roosevelt Elementary School


Thursday, December 20, 2012
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It’s an open secret that Santa Barbara schools present two different realities for whites and Latinos. Since Superintendent David Cash took over a year and a half ago, he has spoken openly and often of the so-called “achievement gap” between the two dominant demographic groups on the South Coast. That fact of life is commonly understood as a result of inertial forces like white flight, stratified neighborhoods, and racial insensitivity, but a lawsuit filed against the district last week suggests a deliberate effort to segregate one of the district’s elementary schools.

According to a complaint filed by teacher Yolanda Pandolfi-Hopkins, Roosevelt Elementary School Principal Donna Ronzone “singles out Latino parents to determine whether their children met the residency requirements to attend Roosevelt. Some Latino families have had to meet with Ronzone as many as four times to prove their children are allowed to attend Roosevelt,” the allegation being that Ronzone is trying to keep her test scores high. Since she took over, the school’s API (academic performance index) score ​— ​based on a scale of 1,000, where 800 is considered proficient ​— ​has hovered in the mid 800s and this year the school exited Program Improvement status.

Donna Ronzone
Click to enlarge photo

Courtesy SBUSD

Donna Ronzone

These “residency interrogations” would often result in parents crying in a back room where “they are berated and harassed by Ronzone,” states the document. A former office staffer said that Ronzone would take Hispanic ​— ​and sometimes poor white ​— ​parents to a conference room in order to quiz them on their living situation and ask intrusive questions about their income.

Hopkins requested an investigation this summer, which the district granted, but officials will not comment on it. For that matter, district officials cannot discuss the lawsuit. Ronzone did call The Santa Barbara Independent to say so. No evident action regarding accusations of discrimination has been taken. Matthew Clarke, Hopkins’s lawyer, said he tried to reach out to the district to strike some sort of deal before resorting to a lawsuit. Hopkins, who has taught at four schools during her 12 years in the district, is seeking monetary damages and a transfer, which she believes Ronzone has so far gone out of her way to prevent.

Throughout her seven-year tenure at Roo­sevelt, a campus rebuilt about a dozen years ago that’s a rugby punt away from the Old Mission, Ronzone has been a divisive figure. Of the 35 members on staff the year she took over, 10 remain, including herself. Her office staff has turned over twice. Former employees refer to her as a bully who acts vindictively and unpredictably, and creates an atmosphere of mistrust among her teachers. “She seems real friendly one day, and she’s nasty the next,” said one former Roosevelt teacher. “Her method of doing things is cruel.” One year her teachers took a vote of no confidence that passed 20-3, said a teacher.

But she definitely has supporters, too. Former Roosevelt PTO president Christine Feldman said, “I personally don’t think Dr. Ronzone gets paid enough to do what she does.” She and others feel that Ronzone gets a bad rap for holding her teachers and parents accountable. “When someone doesn’t have proof of residency, what are you going to do about that?” Feldman asked. “She’s following the law.”

Dennis Naiman, a retired Goleta principal who supervised Ronzone while she updated her credential after moving to a school in Fillmore from Philadelphia, said working with Hispanic students was new to her. Still, he said, “she was very proactive, very bright, very articulate. I really enjoyed working with her because she was so open. She was so open about what she needed and what she saw.”

“You really feel like if you don’t have blond hair and blue eyes, she doesn’t have the time for you.”

But the mother of several Roosevelt graduates and a current 6th grader, who did not want to use her name for fear of retaliation against her children, said, “You really feel like if you don’t have blond hair and blue eyes, she doesn’t have the time for you.” Ronzone never went out of her way to make life miserable, said the source. But her son, now a senior in high school, still remembers an incident when he was scolded for horseplay that Ronzone let slide with white kids. Another parent who also wished to remain anonymous said, “When I’ve asked [Ronzone] to do something that involves my child, she basically ignores it. She doesn’t give me the time of day.”

This parent confided her concern to Hopkins, who is of Mexican-American heritage and whose first language is Spanish. Hopkins takes a special interest in English-language learners, whom Ronzone, she claims, regularly calls “brown faces.” She also alleges in her complaint that Ronzone once said that she hoped the apartment building where a Hispanic boy lived would fall down in an earthquake so the school would not have to deal with his Individualized Education Plan.

When Hopkins told Ronzone how offended she was by such language, Ronzone retaliated by popping into her classroom for unannounced “inspections,” deliberately snubbing her in public, and refusing to allow her any professional development days, the lawsuit states. Some believe that the accusations of racism are just a smokescreen to divert attention from complaints about Hopkins’s teaching. “She’s just not a team player,” said Feldman.

Even Latino parents acknowledged that they knew others who had requested their children not be in Hopkins’s classroom, but they maintained that the merits of the messenger do not necessarily bear on the merits of the message.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Or:
"Potentially Frivolous Lawsuit Will Suck More Money from Already Cash Strapped School District"

Or:
"Despite Buckets of Money, Time, and Effort Achievement Gap Between Mexicans and Whites Has Not Changed"

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 4:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Photo caption for top picture: "Yep, a few drops are coming down, time to get the umbrella".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 4:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just wait a few more years and Latinos will have the clear majority in this state and can do whatever they want. Whites are already irrelevant in this state by sheer demographics, so why is there still "blond blue-eyed" envy and turf war? Get over it, Latinos. You won. The state's future is in your hands.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 7:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The idea that Dr. Ronzone is racist or that she's running a block on Hopkin's transfer is ludicrous. Hopkins landed at Roosevelt 4 yrs ago in a massive layoff/reshuffle of district personnel. She was one of the tenured teachers who got to keep her job--yet not one of the teachers her original school site fought to keep. She didn't choose Roosevelt, and Ronzone didn't choose her. If she hasn't been able to transfer to another school, it's more likely because there's no room or none of the other sites want her.

Everyone in the District is required to submit proof of residency every year--originals of a recent utility bill and property tax statement/rental agreement. I've never been in conference, because I have the paperwork. I suspect if I did need to talk about it, I'd rather not do it in the middle of the front office where every parent checking in to volunteer gets to overhear my story. And I imagine if I weren't able to produce it, my story wouldn't be one I'd want overheard.

Every rowdy kid of every ethnicity has a story of how they feel they were discriminated against by some authority. So and so did it and didn't get in trouble. And not every parent is going to click with every principal. I'm certain there are Latino parents at Roosevelt who love Dr. Ronzone and feel like she has absolutely been the pivotal champion for their child. And I'm just as certain you can find a "white" parent who thinks she is the devil. Dr. Ronzone is the Principal of a school. She's in a leadership position. Raving fans and raving critics are part of the job description.

Class inspections are a principal's job. I'm not seeing any proof up there that Hopkins is being inspected any more than any other teacher on campus. And if she is, it's more likely because there are parent complaints or cause for concern.

Brown Faces - bad form if it's true, but not proof that someone is racist. We had a President with Mexican American family members who liked to use that term too. We're still working on racial, ethnic and gender sensitivity in this country...

The apartment building comment is ugly, if true, but I don't see any proof that that comment was made because the child was Hispanic. She could just as easily have said that about a white kid's IEP. Inappropriate even when neutered, but she has enough clout with me to give her the benefit of the doubt. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone on expressing oneself in inappropriate ways when frustrated. It's a comment out of context that was said behind closed doors after what was likely a long hard meeting with maybe one or two other professional colleagues in the room. Put yourself there.

Hopkins is not the only Latina/o teacher at Roosevelt. The two Latina teachers my kids have had are rockstars, and Ronzone hired both of them.

- A Roosevelt Parent and Former Educator

roseparent (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 7:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I see the Ronzone trolls are up early today. The fact that they think racism and discrimination are "frivolous" says it all.

frankielee (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

roseparent, if you think Mexican-Americans don't mind being called "brown faces," I dare you to walk up to the first Latino person you see today and say, "Hello, brown face!" By the way, how do you refer to African-Americans and Asian-Americans?

"Inappropriate" and "bad form"? I don't know what world you live in, but I can think of much stronger adjectives.

NSeverin (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 8:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about white people resenting only "blond-blue eyed" people get to wear this label? Did not Latina school board member Cordero state she didn't see enough people who "looked like me" in the GATE programs, so she eliminated them?

C'mon, this is elementary school folks, enough with these adult racist turf wars, at these little kids expense. What matters is all kids get a fair shot at learning their 3-R's.

With as many illegal housing units in the single-family neighborhoods surrounding Roosevelt (are you listening Lois Capps?) no wonder many parents have difficulty establishing residency. They should have thought about this before they chose this unregulated and underground rental market.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@NSeverin - That is exactly my point. We should ALL be offended by the term brown faces. The bummer is that not everyone is...

I don't see this as a racial turf issue either. Roosevelt has as racially and economically diverse a population as any school in town, and it's GREAT!

roseparent (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 9:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@frankielee - Based on my knowledge and experience with Ronzone, the charges are ludicrous--particularly if this is all they've got. I think racial discriminations charges are EXTREMELY SERIOUS. I just question the verity of the charge--which is I believe is why italiansurge used the words POTENTIALLY frivolous. No one is claiming discrimination charges are anything but serious. And yes, the Ronzone troll is up;

roseparent (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 10:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I know Yoly Hopkins. She is a wonderful, caring teacher and mother who believes passionately in helping kids who don't have a voice in our schools. She is honest and conscientious. It took a lot of courage to do what she did. I think the district should give her a medal rather than attacking the messenger. I'm sure we haven't heard the end of this.

dbp20 (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 11:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why does all the blame for the achievement gap land somewhere else, besides the ugly peer pressure within one's own ethnic group that it is cool to be dumb and getting good grades is too white? The only lesson kids learn today in schools is it is always someone else's fault.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have thought long and hard about the achievment gap and it really puzzles me. My children went through the public schools and both were successful (to different degrees) and both attended universities. So the schools did their job. I know an extended Columbian family who immigrated to Southern California and all (all!) the young people in that large family have been academically successful, many of them attending major universities and achieving advanced degrees. So apparently the problem has nothing to do with ethnicity. I suspect that it is an economic class issue more than anything. The children of lower class parents, regardless of race or ethnicity, just do not seem to have either the aptitude or the the motivation to perform well in school. Why is that? We really need to answer that question, and I believe the correct answer will not be found in a court of law.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 12:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gang diversion practices needs two faces: one to divert potential gang members themselves and the other to divert the negative peer pressure gangs put on others.

Failing in school is just one more cultural virtue in the gang culture and they make it tough for other kids not to feel that same negative pressure. Failing academically in this negative peer pressure environment at schools may be the only way to safely navigate through it.

Just ask parents of all ethnicity who watched this happen to their kids and why they yanked them out of some of our local schools. Got to address negative peer pressure that degrades the school environment if you want to heal the achievement gap.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 1:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was shocked to read this article. I have been a parent at Roosevelt since day one with Dr. Ronzone. I have a child with blond hair and blue eyes and a child with brown hair and brown eyes (who cares- I don't think any of the teachers or Dr. Ronzone). I have submitted my paperwork every year for residency requirements per district rules. I have worked in the classrooms on my one day off during the week for the past 9 years. I do it because I know the schools and teachers are maxed out. Every year the teachers ask me to help the kids that are not up to grade level in math or reading. 90% of the kids I work with are Latino/a. I love them all. These kids are doing their best with the resources and support they have at home. I am there for THEM as I know the teachers and Dr.Ronzone are. So, when I read an article criticizing the teachers and principal who put in 250% of their time, energy, and love to help make all of our children successful society members, it angers me. I support Dr. Ronzone and commend her on the great job she does in a thankless position at our elementary school.

Supportsbschools (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 3:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Seems like grandstanding to me. Why did she wait til now?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What monetary settlement does the lawsuit seek and who benefits?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It sounds like the teacher has issues and she is using this lawsuit to encite people so she can get her way. When my children were in grade school I met with the principal of their school to vent my frustration that my children sat through half of the day not understanding what was going on because the teacher was speaking Spanish. She insinuated it would be racism to separate the students based on the language gap. Excuse me?? Since when did the inability to speak a language become racism. My grandfather came here from Mexico (legally) my whole family is Mexican/Native American, there is no racism. My mother made the decision that she would not teach us Spanish when we were young, although I did get yelled at in Spanish by my grandmother when I was younger. There is an issue holding other children back because some of the class does not speak the language. I am also a Notary and I get requests for sworn statements every year from people needing to show residency for schools. Guess what? Most of them have a different address on their identification than the one they are claiming on the form. Some have flat out said the statement is a lie. They then get mad because I will not notarize the document. I am not saying classrooms should be separated based on race, I do believe ESL children should have a dedicated class until they are fluent enough to join the English speaking classes. It is also true that higher education is not pushed in families that have lower incomes than others. One reason is they do not know how to apply for grants and don't believe they can afford the costs involved. Another is having to work early in life is necessary to help support the family. I am trying to break these "traditions" for my children and make sure they go to school, get good grades, and go to college.

MSSB (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Many of the ESL parents come directly from a culture of systemic corruption and no education, lowering standards isn't the answer.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Supportsbschools, maybe I'm wrong but I've read this article twice and nowhere does it say that the teacher is criticizing other Roosevelt teachers -- only the principal. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth is painful.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

frankielee (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 4:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Deport them all....starting with me.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would just note that I know plenty of "blonde blue eyed" parents who have had to jump through hoops--involving multiple visits, phone calls, lengthy negotiations etc-- to get into the school, and also plenty who find Dr. Ronzone hard to work with or would agree that often she "doesn't have time for you". I agree with the commenter who stated that making these kinds of racial/discrimination allegations is extremely serious. It should be undertaken with the utmost thought, care, certainty, and above all objectivity. I am deeply concerned that isn't what is happening here.

dah2012 (anonymous profile)
December 20, 2012 at 6:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, so a bunch of people don't like Ronzone and accusations are flying. Time for all these people to come out from the shadows and stand together.

Sounds to me like Ronzone has an erratic personality, and that there is probably validity to the charges, but as I say, time for people to step forward.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 3:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

BC-Where did you find evidence that there is validity to the charge?
Why does any claim of racism move immediately to the top of someones list of things to take seriously, with a corresponding lessening of proof thereof? I wish that some Latino's would get as energized and exercised about their own culture's lack of respect for education and instead turn their efforts inward to reverse the trend. Perhaps they intend to win power and respect simply through increasing numbers and could not care less about raising their expectations of themselves without blaming someone else.
Comically, and due to my rather olive brown skin, I have been mistaken for a Latino so many times that I have lost count; never bothered me in the least, including being called "the Brown Guy". It's just factual. One of my friends, a 7th generation SB Latino, often remarks how unfair it is that people thinks he's white and I'm a Mexican...hmmm

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 5:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This should make interesting theater for the uber-liberal parents who flock to this neighborhood school so their kids can benefit from this unique island nation among SBUSD schools.

The fact complainant Hopkins is also the local teachers union (SBTA) "ethnic and minority relations director" begs the question: is this a union action or an individual teacher action?

Character assassination and the politics of personal destruction are hallmarks of liberal left thugs. Watch them unfold here.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey @italiansurg, I'm totally with you, man. I'm Caucasian but I once got an amazing tan one summer. I looked like a bronze god! I LOVED it when people started calling me "brown face." I just don't understand why these people get upset when other people define them by the color of their skin. Even when it's not really the color of their skin. It's all so "comical."

frankielee (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 10:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There's something we must revisit here on the word "Latino." Latinos, like their North American counterparts, are a coming together of descendants from Europe, Africa, and indigenous or, better, proud pre-Columbian societies. So Latinos are a mix, for that cultural reason. If the term is used to connote Spanish speakers, then might I point out that Africa has a nation of people who are neither Hispanics nor Latinos, wherein Spanish is the national language, Equatorial Guinea. Therefore, I had always thought the better term for this cultural amalgam would be "hispanoparlantes."

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 10:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Oblati, "Character assassination and the politics of personal destruction are hallmarks of" radical right pseudo-journalistic thugs like you. You're union obsessed, Scott. You get to write plenty in your own bizarre rag. Oh, fact, there are a number of other very fine schools with good AIP marks in SBUSD.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 10:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When the Spaniards came to the New World, theirs was the height of western civilization. A noble gene pool to bring to our native shores. Carry on.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 11:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think the term used in schools today is "English-learners". Covers all bases.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, my "tan" is permanent and it still does not bother me if someone I don't know uses an obvious differentiation to address me if they are trying to get my attention. But hey, maybe I need to get enlightened and look for evil intentions at all times.
Next time someone is rude I'll immediately assume its because I am short and NOT that they may have just had a bad day...Gosh I love knowing what is going through peoples minds...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 11:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

italiansurg, don't over look all the affirmative action benefits for "people of color".

One of them is having a permanent chip installed on your shoulder and receiving a full deck of race cards you can now play at any perceived slight to your self-designated ethnic labeling.

Silly me thought one could wipe out the sins of the fathers in one generation, like we have done with Germany, Italy and Japan. But affirmative action is forever, or until the blond-blue-eyed race become the new minority of color (or lack thereof).

(BTW: No DNA proof required, no needs-based qualifications - just a ethnic sounding last name and/or "skin of color". Eg: Tiffany White need not apply.)

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 12:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr. Dan remember when I thought you were Dan Secord?! I stopped assuming anyone was anyone under a pseudonym after that!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

he's DrDan93109. Yeh, get the drift.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"BC-Where did you find evidence that there is validity to the charge? " italiansurg

> (The article)

When that many people give a vote of no confidence, it's worth looking into. Where there's smoke, there's fire, but let's remember "innocent until proven guilty".

Having said that, it's time for educators to stop blaming Hispanic/Latino/whatever the correct term is culture and/or the alleged lack of funds for the poor test scores and realize it's their own methodology that has contributed to the failure of the schools, and this methodology (multiculturalism) extends to the way the parents are typecast in such a way that they often do not assimilate into American culture which in and of itself hurts the kids.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 3:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From what I experienced observing the educations of both my children is that the problem of the achievment gap is not so much ethno-cultural based as economics based. Poor kids, by and large, do poorly in school. All this allusion to gang culture and Latino culture is without merit and a dangerous distraction from focusing on the real problem. This is not about race or ethnicity or "culture" per se, unless you can say that the poor have their own "culture." The question that we have to ask is, why do the children of poor parents do poorly in school? Does poverty affect cognitive ability and motivation? Is there a connection of some kind between economic status and cognitive ability and motivation? What are the proven interventions that can break this cycle? Is every person born with the same potential for cognitive skill and motivation? If not, how do we, as a society, ensure that there is a path to success for every person? These are questions for pedagogic science and are also questions of politics. Calling people racists, blaming the problem on culture, and going to court only distracts us from solving the problem.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Incredible hogwash. . . Check the source! A preemptive strike to mask her own incompetence! Vamos Adelante Roughriders!

Professorate (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Isn't the Horatio Alger American success story always about someone rising out of poverty to achieve their dreams on their own pluck and fortitude?

Wasn't Abraham Lincoln so poor he had to write his school lessons on the back of a shovel with a piece of charcoal?

Nope, the poverty theory for student failures is too full of holes. Impoverishment maybe, but not poverty.

Fastest way to a life time of failure is teenage single parenthood and last I checked this was a voluntary condition; and not a result of poverty. Impoverishment of values yes, but poverty no.

There are too many social support agencies in this town to justify either poverty or impoverishment as an excuse to prevent children in this town from succeeding in school. Until they get there and find the lowest common denominator is the negative social pressure inflicted on them by their peers to fail as their means to survive.

Teachers on the front lines need to stop looking for blame elsewhere and do their role modeling teaching there in the school yard instead.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 5:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is another way to put it.

Failure to thrive in the classroom may well be the only way a student can survive peer pressure, outside the classroom.

Give this some thought. Maybe failure is an adaptive survival mechanism.

One sees this in gorilla groups once the alpha male is disposed, he becomes depressed and thus survives his newly demoted status. Depression in this setting is not a pathology, but rather an adaptive survival technique.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 5:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Having gone through Santa Barbara High School back in the 70's, I can attest to what Oblati is saying.

I knew Mexican and Black kids who were ostracized for doing well in school. I don't know what it's like now, but it certainly was the case then.

The situation even bled over into the boxing ring in the Fernando Vargas vs. Oscar de la Hoya fight. Vargas accused de la Hoya of not being "Mexican enough" even though de la Hoya was very open about his Mexican heritage and proud of it. The difference was, de la Hoya had interests outside of boxing, and Vargas saw those intellectual pursuits as making de la Hoya a sellout. De la Hoya knocked him out in the 11th round.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 8:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's see.....Raise your hand if you are one of the numerous parents who wanted your child removed from Mrs. Hopkin's classes ( that's Kindergarten, 4th Grade, and 6th Grade) because she. . "Wasn't cutting the mustard". . . . Shame on you Mrs. Hopkins! If you spent as much time teaching the children and meeting their needs as you do trying to ruin the reputation of a fine administrator and school. . . Well, do your job and maybe another school will actually take you. People love Roosevelt because of the diversity of the student population. The students get along. . . especially if their teacher is actually engaged with her students and school community. Roosevelt is a loving, caring school for all!
Que tenga verguenza Sra. Hopkins!

Professorate (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 9:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

An entirely predictable and desperate attack on a wonderful teacher and a wonderful person. You should be ashamed of yourself.

You should talk to all of the parents who've either taken their children out of Roosevelt, or not enrolled them at all, because of Ronzone.

I don't have to pretend to speak Spanish to make myself seem credible. I am a Latina who is disgusted by Ronzone's actions. Your hatred and bitterness toward Ms. Hopkins are very revealing.

NSeverin (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 10:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting observations the academic attitudes of what the study author claims are voluntary immigrants and involuntary immigrants: http://faculty.washington.edu/rsoder/...

Even more interesting is while all spanish-speaking immigrants today are voluntary immigrants, radical Latino groups who claim Alta California and other borderlands were taken from their ancestors now allows voluntary immigrant children to adopt the alienating features of involuntary immigrants instead.

This includes a hostile attitude towards academic success -- which is deem "too white". Anything "too white" is now perceived as a threat to their involuntarily displaced "culture".

So they trap themselves into a self-defeating cycle resenting their new country's culture as "too white", yet have no incentive to return to a life of poverty and lack of opportunity their parent's voluntarily left behind. ... so their children could have a better life in the US.

The study is limited in its scope but does provide food for thought. Self-imposing an "involuntary" immigrant status upon themselves, encouraged by radical latino political groups with the attendant required resentment of anything "white" is contradictory to finding academic success in "white" schools.

So yes, negative peer press not to be "white" does exacerbate the "achievement gap". All I can say is get over it. Because guess what, whites are not even white. And whites resent other whites too.

Academic success is academic success. It has no color identity. It is a gift handed out freely to all who come. Seize the opportunity to take advantage of this gift. It is the best thing America can offer and it is yours.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think this issue should rip apart the community. Let the court process work, it's out of everyone's hands now. No use creating ill will.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 21, 2012 at 11:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

O-blah Blah blati, rant on in your detestation of public school teachers, e.g. in your line "Teachers on the front lines need to stop looking for blame elsewhere" ...get a job teaching in public school and try it for a year.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oblati, you are simply wrong. I personally know many folks of Latino and African American ethnicity who went through the California school systems and never received peer pressure to fail. In fact they succeeded quite nicely thank you. Of course they came from middle class families that valued education. My children did not experience peer pressure to fail, in fact the pressure they did receive among their peers was quite the opposite. In my view, there was too much pressure to get straight A's. There are serious studies that have concluded that there is a strong correlation between the income level and academic success of the mother and the academic success of her children, regardless of race or ethnicity. Your cultural argument is shallow and I suspect based more on preconceived and archaic ideas than on objective science and facts.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've never heard of peer pressure to fail. If anything kids want one brain in the gang to cheat off of!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 12:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Blame is useless, and all the mutual mud-slinging is a waste of time. What we need is inclusive schools that both demand involvement and support input from parents of all levels of education. That way the curriculum will be more relevant to the children's out of school experience. All children are born curious, no matter their ethnicity and socioeconomic background. A good school helps all its students succeed. Bilingual education from day one would be a good thing too, teaching Spanish to the Anglo kids and English to the Hispanic children.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 1:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's weird how this thread turned into blaming the students themselves.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 2:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you want to understand why the children are failing to thrive, you need look no further than the many mean-spirited, selfish, unimaginative comments on this thread.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 3:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hate? Absolutely not. My words are spoken out of Love, yes,love for children. . .ALL children who deserve an excellent education. My comments stem from knowledge and truth. Mrs. Hopkins spews unsubstantiated and inflammatory accusations just days before school is out. She leaves on vacation. . two days early . . The District and Dr. Ronzone can't respond because of the. . . Lawsuit....So, who is the person that is hateful? Could it be the same passive-aggressive, always the victim. . person that is running to the press? Mrs. Hopkins might be a nice person and even a great mom. . . But not everyone can or should teach. Mrs. Hopkins comments may have been
directed toward one person but her nasty rhetoric casts a shadow over the entire school..a really great school. Roosevelt has fantastic educators (Mrs. Hopkins has been heard to ask her colleagues, "Why do you care so much?" ), wonderful parents and community volunteers, and a dedicated support staff. . .
So yes, I'll say it again, Shame on you Mrs. Hopkins!
And.... I believe I have the freedom to say it in whatever language I please! Talk about intolerant! Feliz Navidad a Todo el Mundo!

Professorate (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 4:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There is a whole lot of uniformed or misinformed opinion reflected in these comments. This is not a case of "who is right: the teacher or Ronzone?" The unfortunate truth is that there are two "villains" here: both Ronzone AND the teacher who is bringing suit. As a former parent of children attending that school, I happen to know many people involved in the Roosevelt community: teachers, parents, students. I will not comment on the suit, but I will say this: that teacher is well-known to be a nice person, but is difficult to work with and not a strong teacher.She is the kind of person who makes everyone around her work harder and does not get the job done. That is how teachers who've had to work with her feel, but they can't go on record and talk about it, and furthermore, they bear her no ill will; they just want her out of there.

Now as far as Ronzone....."a divisive figure" is right: Me and others have watched over the years as her oppressive and authoritarian style of leadership has driven off many teachers, staff, and families.

The article mentioned that her office staff has turned over twice. Think about what that means: the people who work with her most intimately, on a daily basis, cannot tolerate working under her. This includes several people who had a long, happy history at that school; who had gotten along beautifully with staff and former principals for YEARS, who were extremely competent in their jobs....but who felt they had to leave to keep their sanity. Several of the staff and teachers who left are thriving and well-respected at other schools, so what does that tell you?

Ronzone inspires not loyalty, but FEAR. The best you will hear from staff who've remained there over the years is "She's not as bad as she used to be." I believe that parents who swear by her do not see her in the same context as teachers and staff who must work with her on a daily basis; it's a whole lot different when she is your boss. She is simply not a very nice person, and can be cruel in her dealings. Does a principal have to be a sweetheart, warm fuzzies-type? No. But they also can't be the kind of person who browbeats people and kills staff morale.

sbresidentist (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 4:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sbresidentialist.....you sound bitter.. . . People who work hard and do a great job need never have fear

Professorate (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 4:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is wealth distribution the only solution to close the achievement gap?

Not sure I am following what people here are claiming is the only way to close the achievement gap - every student needs to come from co-equal family incomes, regardless of the earning capacities of each individual family.

Ergo: wealth redistribution among all families so each child has an equal chance.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Professorate: “People who work hard and do a great job need never have fear”

That is a nice ideal; one I wish was the norm. Unfortunately it is not generally true. It may describe, even define, high achievers but certainly doesn't apply to typical middle class aspirants, especially in a slow economy.

@Oblati: “Not sure I am following what people here are claiming is the only way to close the achievement gap - every student needs to come from co-equal family incomes, regardless of the earning capacities of each individual family.
Ergo: wealth redistribution among all families so each child has an equal chance.”

I've read the article and comments and can’t figure out where you came up with this. I searched the text and the word “wealth” appears twice – both in your post. Based on your previous comments, for example, your ‘peer pressure to fail’ invention, seems a safe inference that you made it up; another straw man. I‘ll go further and guess that you’re mad at the education system because it failed you – you don’t seem to be aware of your own logical fallacies and fantasies. Or are you Loki?

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 6:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What solutions did you come up with to close the achievement gap, hodgmo?

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 7:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Liquidate Chase Manhattan's assets and use the money to reboot our schools, a far worthier investment than slave shops in the third world.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 8 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There is an idea but first: How much of Chase Manhattan's assets belong to their depositors? After you liquidate and spend what is left, what do you do for the next year? How will spend this one-time money to reboot our schools? Thnx -- all ideas need to be put on the table.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 8:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now for something completely different, Ms. Hopkins lawsuit against the school district.
Both sides have valid points and observations as well as some personal experience. hopefully a court will decide on a fair resolution.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This particular forum is the product of a news item describing a conflict between a teacher and her administration. With that focus, I agree with KV’s last post: there appear to be strong feelings (at least) on both sides, the details are known only to the players, so we should recognize we are on the sidelines and let the system run its course. That said….

@Oblati: “What solutions did you come up with to close the achievement gap, hodgmo?”

An ‘achievement gap’ has always existed in public schools; it is natural and expected. It was true when I was in public school on the East coast in the ‘60s and ‘70s, still is, and will remain so. Schools have the responsibility, with support of parents, of exposing children to basic skills and ideas as well as encouraging the development of critical thought processes. Some minds are drawn to the concrete, others to the abstract. There is room and need for both, as both mind sets contribute significantly to all human activity, be it art, science or finance. A good school system needs to transcend the always-present petty distractions posed by some parents, certain elements of the community and those posed by some students (or even school staff, as in the subject letter), and stay focused on developing their students so that they can thrive in the world that lies beyond the school.

My children were at Peabody when it became a charter school. They went on to SB Jr and Sr Highs, college, and graduate degrees. In the process they learned ‘school-yard Spanish’ (and one of them went on to minor on Spanish). As they approach and enter the once-dreaded thirties, they are thriving and certainly some of the credit, at least, goes to SB public schools. Perhaps to the point, they remain friends with many of their school mates, who come from that broad range of racial and socio-economic classes present in our public schools, and went on to careers in academics, military and the trades. Our contribution, as parents, was to judge their (and our) friends solely on what they said and did, and nothing else.

It’s not about closing a perceived gap based on a particular metric. It’s about giving every child all chances to develop. Beauty is as beauty does.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 10:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It stopped being a "forum" long ago and became a "platform" for ideological m*st*rb*t**n.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 22, 2012 at 11:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is it possible that the underlying issue is that Ronzone is mentally unbalanced?

I'm not saying she is, but if she is so hard to get along with, and actually made the comments she is accused of having made, than maybe the issue is a medical one, not a racial one.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 1:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For Gawdsakes Bill, now you, one of the soundest thinkers involved in these forums sound nuts.
Maybe Hopkins is mental and views anything that she does not like through a victims lens and she made all this up.
Maybe the Mayan Invasion Sonic Booms from the other day are a precursor to us all getting ice cream for free, right before the world ends...
All we have is an accusation. What I do not like is this lady went public and cried racism; instant attention and elevated importance to what otherwise may be an internal administrative spat
I declare Hitler/WooWoo.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 7 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@professorate, I have no dog in this fight, as they say, and I am somewhat late in coming to the discussion, but you should know that your negative comment about Ms. Hopkins' teaching abilities is potentially actionable. Even though you do not refer to her by name in your original post as an "incompetent teacher," your subsequent post makes it clear that you are referring to Ms. Hopkins. Many people make the mistake of thinking that anonymity on the Internet equates to invisibility. There is a significant body of case law in which anonymous posters have been identified and sued for defamation. I am sure Ms. Hopkins' attorneys are monitoring message boards like these on a regular basis for potentially libelous statements against their client. Just a cautionary note in case you are unaware of it.

Anecdotes (whether true or false) about alleged parental unhappiness with Ms. Hopkins do not constitute compelling evidence of her performance as a teacher under the law. The exact same thing applies to Ms. Ronzone. Anecdotes (whether true or false) about alleged parental unhappiness directed at her do not constitute compelling evidence of her performance as a principal under the law. In either case, you would need to present evidence such as a history of unsatisfactory annual evaluations, suspensions for cause, unauthorized absences, etc., etc., to prevail.

One of the things I find most interesting about this case (other than the underlying legal arguments) is the fact that Ms. Hopkins is being represented by the same law firm that represents Ms. Wendy McCaw (and which just this week won a very significant appellate court ruling in her longstanding suit against the former News-Press reporters). Typically, in my experience, firms like these do not accept such cases -- presumably on a contingency fee basis (I have no idea how much teachers make today, but I assume that Ms. Hopkins is less wealthy than Ms. McCaw) -- unless they believe there is a very high probability that they will prevail. As the tired old saying goes, they must smell blood in the water.

WJMcM (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 7:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

WJMcM-Nice try but you are simply incorrect.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 9:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ms. Hopkins has had the courage to come out publicly and take a stand for her convictions. Those of you who are orchestrating this anonymous smear campaign against her should look in the mirror and ask yourselves whether you have the same courage.

frankielee (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

WJMcM - what do you mean you don't know what teachers earn in the SBUSB? You are a taxpayer. You need to know this.

You can view the salary schedules online at the SBUSD or the state Controllers Office website, keeping in mind this is for a180 day year with an approximate $10,000 in additional benefits on top of the base salary.

Much like your referenced Wendy McCaw, professorate has a right to free speech and her/his opinions. Take your bully pulpit threats somewhere else when you think you can chill free speech with your box top law school misrepresentations. SLAAP might be another chapter for you to read in your Big Bully legal theory classes.

For the record for future reference, all of us are less wealthy than Ms McCaw. No need to drag her into this now was there? Sounds like you do have a dog in this fight.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Frankielee, we smear everybody equally here.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am very familiar with the California anti-SLAPP statute. I did not intend in my post to suggest that I am in favor of inhibiting anyone’s free expression. In this country, thankfully, anyone can say or write anything they want about anyone they want whenever they want, within, of course, certain legal restrictions. The two points I was attempting to make are 1) that the laws of libel are not suspended on the Internet and 2) that anonymity may not be as absolute as you think it is. I am personally familiar with a case involving two physicians down in Los Angeles who identified and sued several authors of anonymous posts that they considered defamatory on a Los Angeles Times columnist’s blog.

I am a firm believer that temperate speech is always preferable to intemperate speech. I found certain comments about Ms. Hopkins to be, at the very least, intemperate. Given the obvious heightened emotions in this case, there may well be people out there who are considering making equally intemperate comments about Ms. Ronzone. I should also add that I have absolutely no expectation that adherents of either side will be swayed by any of the points I am raising. They are merely intended as my own observations.

In hindsight, I realize I ignored my own admonition against intemperate speech when I used the phrase “smell blood in the water” in my previous post. It was intended ironically, as a joking reference – a lame joke, I admit – to stereotypical public perceptions about the supposed rapacity of the legal profession. I should have remembered that, while the laws of libel may not be suspended on the Internet, the laws of ironic expression invariably are.

WJMcM (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 2:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Point of order WJMcM: At this point until settled in a court of law, or among the parties, it was Ms Hopkins who initiated the alleged intemperate statements about Ms Ronzone.

So glad you clarified you did not intend to inhibit anyone's speech here. Mutual personal hair-pulling is unseemly. Discussing abstractions of the achievement gap is not.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 3:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is Ms. Hopkins lawsuit about gaps in achievement? I do hold parents responsible for much of it. Schools aren't supposed to be mere babysitters.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 3:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The bottom line is that the billions of dollars are poured into the public schools and the we're not getting the results we should.

Any wonder why homeschooling and charter schools are gaining traction?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 4:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How will you rehabilitate the parents so their children do better in school, KV? I agree, schools should be about teaching the core curriculum and not be substitute mommies and/or daddies.

Teachers should be teachers - what they are uniquely trained to do and should not be responsible for having to sort out medications and restraining orders for each of their students and tend to the wounds of today's dysfunctional parenting.

I also wish teachers dressed more formally like trained professionals they are, instead dressing like their students.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 4:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The boundary between adult and teen clothing disappeared about four decades ago.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If this boundary between student and teacher disappeared forty years ago, it is time to re-instate it.

Might work wonders for class discipline and learning results. The two seemed to work together forty years ago when women teachers dressed in appropriate business-type attire and male teachers wore at least sport jackets and ties.

Do ya think?

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Unless you're a Fashion or Costume Major, Education has little to do with clothing; the Greeks taught quite successfully in the nude.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 5:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Setting the tone for education to happen is everything. The last few decades of casual, unstructured classroom has not paid off in better learning ......yet. Except now all teachers need an aide to keep some semblance of classroom function.

Nor as the decades and billions of dollars dedicated to the tobacco tax First Five paid off improved and lasting learning outcomes.

Might want to try sending a few teachers down to Brooks Brothers or Ed's for Style for a wardrobe tune-up and run that education experiment through the hopper for a few years.

Or, we could just keep doing what we have been doing for the past forty years, but maybe keep spending more money doing more of the same. Just sayin'.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 6:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who should be appointed District Fashion Gestapo?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 8:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dock the pay of those who wear white after Labor Day !

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No need for a Gestapo, (hmmmm, kind of close to Springtime for Hilter, but its Christmas so you get a pass on this one KV)

Only those who want to conform to professional dress standards would be choosing to work as teachers in the first place. They do this because they want to. Life is not always punitive and adversarial, KV.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 9:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wouldn't call you a Nazi dear Oblati, you're more of a total square. You can guess what I suggest you do with your 1950s conformity.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 23, 2012 at 10:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Although I am at risk of being sued for libel by the Indy editors according to WJMcM, the headline should have been "Jaime or Hime..." not Juan. No?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 24, 2012 at 5:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes Italians.., I was thinking that as well.

And Ken/Oblati et al, I guess I have to respond to your "springtime" comments with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LxM3f...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 24, 2012 at 5:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm surprised no dolphins or shrimp have joined the fray.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 24, 2012 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Most of the dolphins were eliminated, and I think Kingprawn is on vacation--swimming around the warm waters of the south Pacific.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 25, 2012 at 2:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Upon much reflection the fact that Hopkins is seeking monetary damages tells me she cares more for herself than any student.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 25, 2012 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Agreed KV. Hey KV and BC, I hope your Christmas day is going as well as mine is, thanks for being a part of this little mostly virtual community...
And to all the black, brown, yellow, red, and white ones, regardless of what your belief system is, Buon Natale.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
December 25, 2012 at 1:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Grazie. Shades of John Lennon come to mind in your salutation. Molto bene buon natale.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 25, 2012 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People please!!
Donna Ronzone is NOT a racist! she is far from it. My Family and I know because she went out of her way to help us out when the school my then 6th grade son was going to, wanted us to put my son on medication and not assist him in any way. Donna took time out of her very busy schedule to sit down with my wife and I and tell us what rights we had as parents and even guided us in writing a letter to the school district in getting the assistance we needed for our son. We were fortunate to have Donna Ronzone help us because that year our son got straight A's in all his classes. We owe our sons success in school since then to Mrs. Ronzone. He is now a Sophmore in High School and is an intelligent, confident young man because of the help of a Woman who was not a Racist, but a Woman who in one word is AWESOME! By the way I am not white and blue eyed nor is anyone in my family. I am brown skinned and brown eyed and Mrs. Ronzone treated us like we were Family. I've grown up in the public school system and there have been times the teacher will make you want to learn and do your best and there have been times that I did not want to go to school. I want to say that dealing with Mrs. Ronzone in the past and today is always a pleasure because she has a BIG heart for all.
We hope all ends well for Donna Ronzone so she could do the Job that she was put there to do.

hijazr68 (anonymous profile)
December 25, 2012 at 7:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Buon Natale Italians and Bill!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 25, 2012 at 9:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

After reading many of the above comments, sbresident's explanation of the situation sounds like the correct one. The great thing about private schools is that it's easy to fire both teachers and principals who aren't up to snuff. Getting rid of both the teacher and principal is probably the best remedy for the kids in this case -- but of course, the focus is on the "complaining" teacher and the "crude" principal, not the kids.

Lars (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yes, after perusing the 89 (!) comments above, sbresident's comments are the most persuasive. S/he writes, "that teacher is well-known to be a nice person, but is difficult to work with and not a strong teacher." And Lars you're correct that in private schools they try to spot (and get rid of) those nice and kindly teachers who, using baseball parlance, hit .240 most years when there's a peer professional who routinely hits .350 and occasionally smacks .400 or more in a spectacular year with students. Most independent schools do not have unionized teachers, and the benefits package they offer their teachers do not compare to public schools' offerings. The average tenure of a principal or Head of School in the NAIS (Nat. Assoc. Indep. Schools) is only about 3 - 4 years, and this reflects considerable turnover.
I appreciate Eckerman's and others focus on the achievement gap. While socio-ECONOMIC differences can be seen as THE prime difference in this gap, this doesn't mean it causes this difference. In Finland, yes a heterogenous country, the achievement gap between the much wealthier children and the poorest kids has been remedied. The e.g. of Abe Lincoln scrawling in charcoal on a shovel is the exception that proves the rule that usually affluent kids achieve much higher than less affluent kids. (I think the e.g. with Lincoln was the mere 5 or 6 books he had available, less than one year of actual "blab" school, and he often read into the evening by the actual fire-light in his log cabin. In his e.g., his step-Mother was the one in Thomas Lincoln's extended family that heavily encouraged the young L. to read.)

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 10:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If you create an environment where a principal can be dismissed merely upon unproven whim and slurs, you will have a hard time finding competent people to replace that position which you unfairly accused tried and dismissed in your version of a kangaroo court. Look at the big picture, if you want to run competent schools.

Das Williams went too far protecting a criminally egregious teacher under the grounds of "fairness", but in this case the facts are so murky your solution is far worse than the problem. You have to also deal with the aftermath of such a capricious wholesale firing.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hand wringing and partisan mudslinging aside, what betrays Ms. Hopkins true motivations is a lawsuit seeking monetary damages that will wind it's way thru the courts for years and if she wins, guarantees no effective change to a what she has deemed unfair but depletes the budget to educate the children she professes to care about.
If she REALLY believed an injustice was being done there is no shortage of avneues that could influence a more immediate remedy to any injustice:
1. No shortage of media outlets or journalists for that matter who would've been happy to talk to her.
2. All manner of effective protests could've been launched, from a protest to flooding the residency verification personnel with paperwork.
Just two or three ideas that would've pushed positive change if needed.

Instead, it just seems to me she wants to get rich quick on the backs of the children and whoever falls underneath the bus be damned.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 12:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The stories in the Independent and the News-Press both clearly state that Ms. Hopkins went to the district to try to resolve these issues but the administration took no action.

And just FYI, most of the 93 comments (to date) are written by about six people using different usernames to push their own agendas. More importantly, they're only read by about eight people (the six people who wrote them and the two people who couldn't figure out how to create a username so they could join in the fun).

frankielee (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And how do you know they're using different names? Clairvoyant? perhaps you can look into the future and tell us how the court will decide?
Obviously you ignored my suggestions on a constructive approach to the allegations, or are you a lawyer on the case?
Face it, you're looking to be offended.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Did she go to the County Grand Jury before she filed the lawsuit?

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2012 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I knew Ken Volok. Ken Volok was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Ken Volok.

frankielee (anonymous profile)
December 28, 2012 at 10:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My point is, there are A LOT of positive, constructive avenues to effect positive change and right wrongs without depleting the school budget.
As for people who know me and don't, sorry.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 28, 2012 at 10:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It would of been nice to see more comments by parents of kids with a connection to Roosevelt, or those that have first-hand interactions with Dr. Ronzone or Mrs. Hopkins. I have, for several years & let me tell you... Dr. Ronzone is no peach. When I first heard of this lawsuit, I laughed out loud. It doesn't surprise me, one bit! That woman is a joke & doesn't deserve to lead Roosevelt. Seriously, she is pompous, overly defensive & happily takes the credit for all the successes at Roosevelt, but not the responsibility for the issues. I have personally dealt with her wrath, as have many parents I know ( of various races & economic status) And we shared the same disgust for this woman. However, Roosevelt has some very good teachers & staff, which make it a good school. In my opinion, Dr. Ronzone is the weakest link there & sadly she is in charge. Parents like Christine Feldman, who is quoted in the article, are just kiss asses because she was PTO chair & got privileges for her kids. Dr Ronzone always carried herself with an air that she was better than everyone & it doesn't surprise me one bit that she would make the "brown faces" comment. Mrs. Hopkins is not the strongest teacher by ANY means, but she genuinely cares about her job & takes it seriously ( She taught my kids) .She's pretty harmless... And sort of meek, honestly! Ronzone has been sitting pretty too long at Roosevelt. She has drained the parents dry of money over the years, for ridiculous things like a brand new marquee, instead of focusing on education. It's not all about test scores. Maybe she should go back to the east coast, where she won't have to deal with so many brown faces. Why the hell did she come to California?

Rooseveltparent (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2013 at 8:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Why the hell did she come to California?"
Why does New Jersey have the toxic waste dumps, the horrible weather, and the high crime rates while California has the lawyers?

A: New Jersey got first pick.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2013 at 8:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Why does New Jersey have the toxic waste dumps..."
How did Christine Todd Whitman get appointed EPA chief??

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2013 at 11:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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