The Definition of Education
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The Definition of Education
We took a vote at the July 21st Council meeting that was, in my opinion, the correct vote for many reasons for our City.

I wish everyone out there could sit in our chairs and listen to the pros and cons on every issue that Foster City faces. The bottom line is we make decisions in the best interest of ALL the members of our community.

Let me remind you the people we represent: men, women, children, sports enthusiasts, seniors, disabled, renters, homeowners, business owners, property owners, folks that love squirrels, folks that have a passion for education and of course what they think is best for their children, soccer lovers, levee walkers, visitors and those who disagree with City Council decisions……

What we are elected to do for you is represent you……..the diversity of our City is what makes it wonderful and complex. I can only speak for myself but I understood the duty of this job was to vote on policies that would protect our rights through the political process, keep our infrastructure in good repair, keep us safe through police and fire protection and keep the service level as high as it has been through financial responsibility.

A quote from Martin Luther King “Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

At the 7/21 Council meeting there were speakers insinuating we had another agenda which, I’ll be honest, is offensive. Remember for every passionate parent standing at the podium giving their reasons for wanting a charter school there are ten more at home that say it is irresponsible considering it wouldn’t fulfill the obligations to all the students in Foster City……unfortunately those opposed are at home watching the proceedings on TV knowing their feelings have been heard by us via email and conversations around town. They trust we will make the responsible decisions for them.

I am not discounting the sincerity of those who spoke but instead of stomping out of the room when it was apparent we weren’t continuing to hold this land for a charter school was not helpful. Why not stick around and find out how you could make Magnolia have a sounder financial picture if that is the education you would prefer for your child. Of course if education is really the issue, then on the merit of Magnolia’s presentation, they will get their charter and hopefully accept any property the School District gives them instead of building on property that is one of the most expensive in the State.

To argue that our children need to spend their entire educational process in Foster City does not make sense to me. When they interviewed kids at Bowditch the 8th graders were anxious to meet new kids in high school in San Mateo and all that the parents saw was they would have to cross scary Highway 101. We cannot protect our children their whole life……..change is good for them at that age to prepare them for college or just life.

To have your child educated in four square miles for 18 years seems constricting to me and we must let them go to experience new cultures and the diversity of others outside their own community. I also do not believe our property values would increase if we had a charter school, nor do I believe our property values have suffered because we have not had a high school.

The bottom line of course is that Magnolia’s financial plan did not convince me they could get the financing and the Foundation, with all their goodwill, didn’t convince me that a charter high school is what Foster City should take a chance on. We didn’t build up our reserves to 17 million by taking chances.

Seems to me the more pressing issue is the growing concern regarding our grade schools. My fellow councilmember Linda Koelling and I met with two trustees of their School District and told them even though we know it is not our decision as to where we might fit more children that have entered our schools, we must know what the School District’s intentions are toward fixing this issue.

Possibly modular units this year on two campuses but possibly a permanent addition to the Foster City School campus which would then require an assistant principal would be a thought. Just because my son was bussed to Knolls grade school at 37th and Alameda thirty years ago does not mean we would be willing to accept that as a solution.

Instead of letting any of our egos get involved, why not look for solutions for some of the issues you can contribute to. I don’t want just complaints………I would like to hear solid leads on correcting issues you think are bothersome. Remember I vote on policies and I have to look you in the eye with a clear conscience that your quality of life will not change because of a vote I make.

Complaints and statistics are great (and in abundance by presenters). Ideas are wonderful, but those I respect the most are the implementers of said ideas!!!!
My definition of education has everything to do with the quality of the teachings not the location of the institution.

Please contact me if you have any comments at pfrisella@fostercity.org.

Council Corner

August 06, 2008
The Definition of Education
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