Peggy Scott 
Member since Apr 3, 2014


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Recent Comments

Re: “How to Solve Berkeley's Housing Crisis? Two Leading Mayoral Candidates Don't See Eye-to-Eye

You say, "The progressive Jesse Arreguin..." Why does voting against housing count as being progressive? He is certainly more pie in the sky and Capitelli is more pragmatic. I just wish that Berkeley's sacred word "progressive" actually meant something. In this case, it's hot air.

Posted by Peggy Scott on 11/03/2016 at 1:18 AM

Re: “Knowland Park Advocates Launch Referendum to Block Oakland Zoo Expansion

Knowland Park was given by Gov. Knowland to the people of the city of Oakland "in perpetuity." Hmm..I wonder what he really meant by that. It is not the Oakland City Council's land to give away. Mitigating by taking land that is already parkland and somehow closing it off is a fallacy and inherently dishonest to the whole process of mitigation. This is a vanity project - The zoo director wants to see Parrott Plaza at the top of the peak. He can have it - at the bottom, right next to the rest of the zoo. There is plenty of land there that is not irreplaceable native habitat with endangered species. How foolish of the zoo. This reminds me of the boy Scouts and gay members. The zoo is gambling away its community's good will with this irresponsible project. I used to be a zoo member. No more, ever.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Peggy Scott on 12/18/2014 at 2:03 AM

Re: “Zoo Gone Wild

The mission of zoos is to conserve but apparently this zoo management forgets that conserving the natural world right here at home should trump their Disney-like plans for turning our natural world into entertainment at arms' length. This article is well researched, well written and I hope it will have a longer shelf life so that the Oakland City Council will realize its duty to conserve our natural OAKLAND.

46 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Peggy Scott on 09/05/2014 at 10:24 AM

Re: “Berkeley's Unequal Punishment of Teachers

We should all be impressed that Mr Franklin Lears hero of "Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference," has weighed in here. Mr. Lears - I totally concur with your thoughts about scaffolding, but with all due respect, I take issue with your characterization that parents who care about academic standards can be translated in code as parents whose real feelings can be stated thus: "but what they are really concerned with is that the presence of these students "is holding my kid back."' That was a fallacy - a disrespectful, inaccurate fallacy - perpetrated by certain past (and perhaps present) Berkeley High staff/faculty/admin as a way to divide and conquer parents. But we can all be better than that. Are there any parents like that? Of course. Berkeley has everything - parents who are members of national academies, parents who are felons, parents who are highly paid executives and parents who are on unemployment, parents who are uncaring and parents who spend their lives doing good, plus everything in between. But I ask that you attend a school board meeting, or a BSEP committee meeting, or a school site council meeting and you will see all kinds of parents who speak, and who volunteer their time for the betterment of their school or the district. And most of them care about academic standards, and care about all students, not just their own. That is my experience, and it cuts across many lines.

42 likes, 67 dislikes
Posted by Peggy Scott on 04/03/2014 at 5:09 PM

Re: “Berkeley's Unequal Punishment of Teachers

First of all yes, BHS and the district in general, desperately need more teachers of color.
That said, BPAR is the one process, agreed to by the teachers' union, that can effectively remove incompetent/ineffective teachers from BUSD. For that, parents should be grateful. But because that process has been subverted and is being used punitively at BHS, for purposes other than teacher quality, its legitimacy and credibility are in question. No wonder teachers feel it to be suspect; it is.
This article was poorly researched and fails to present deeper analysis or the flip side of several stories.
The school has been trying to deep-six both the Latin program and the photography program, but those programs are both popular and excellent. So instead, the teachers have been called into review. That is not a legitimate use of BPAR. A school with an art requirement and an excellent photo dept. should keep what is good. If aides need to be hired to make the classroom safer so that a teacher and an aide can cover both the classroom and the darkroom, then that needs to happen, or a safety officer could cover the darkroom. Judging the class on its output - the quality of its art - is a totally legitimate approach that needs consideration. In the same vein, a foreign language requirement is served by providing a variety of languages. For academics, medicine, law, and other fields, Latin is an excellent choice. Attacking Latin due to which students may choose to learn it is exclusionary - and attacking its teachers is underhanded. Just watch those two departments shrink next year. Just watch. This is BPAR subverted to illegitimate use. No wonder the teachers think it's unfair - it is.
On the other hand, one teacher, (whose description matches the teacher not mentioned by name, but I do not know if it was her or not), was actually fired after either one or two BPAR processes. Yet she continues to teach at BHS. This further deteriorates the legitimacy of the BPAR process, when a teacher, proven over the course of 2-4 years to be incompetent, is kept on. Chalk up another failure of the system, but in the opposite direction, and once again it is the students who suffer.
It is well documented that the math program at BHS is unsuccessful, and test scores support that fact (yet scores are hardly the only measure of it). Principal Scuderi declared to the School Board in 2011 that improving math at BHS was his #1 priority. That will necessarily include scrupulous review of the vast majority of math teachers and teaching methods at BHS. Instead of defending themselves, math teachers should be looking at how they can better serve their students. They have little success to stand upon.
This is a complicated tangle, but BUSD, or at least BHS, has itself to thank for the crooked, sometimes subverted, sometimes dishonest, and sometimes dysfunctional path of its BPAR process.
BPAR should remain at BHS, but it needs to be cleaned up and re-legitimized, and I hope the new Supt. will take this very seriously, along with improving the recruitment process for teachers of color, and maybe coaching staff to improve hiring practices. On this last point let's face it - high-quality teachers of color are in high demand. Berkeley needs to be competitive in order to hire these teachers and we as parents and taxpayers need to support whatever it takes to do that effectively. It isn't just about education being equitable; it makes for a better school all around.
There are more than two sides to this complex story. This article presented only one - but it was a start.

63 likes, 54 dislikes
Posted by Peggy Scott on 04/03/2014 at 2:19 PM

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