Preliminary Feb 5 Presidential Primary Results for AUSD
on observations at the Eliot, Farnsworth, St James, Sue B.
Dance Co., and Webster polling places, voters seemed to be
in a more festive mood than in the gubernatorial election
and more ready to sign the AUSD petition than ever before.
Petitioner productivity mirrored the enthusiasm seen in the
voters, with a very high average of 1 signature recorded every
4.5 minutes on the petitions received to date with completed
Our AUSD message seemed to work quite well on February 5,
particularly when we were able to be generous with our distribution
of the AUSD brochure – many voters took our brochure
on their way in and signed the petition on their way out.
It was a “no-brainer” as one volunteer called
it, and the brochure seemed to continue to do its job in introducing
voters to the very important responsibilities they will need
to own after we’ve achieved our signature count goal!
As always, voter education regarding the urgency for achieving
the following is as important to us as getting the signatures
in the first place:
Close Altadena’s large academic achievement gap
Altadena students to 100% grade-level proficiency
conversant with what reliably closes the gap in the shortest
between educators who talk about the gap vs. the few who
actually close it
some 15 petitions originally distributed for February 5 are
now in circulation, most of these have been checked in and
redistributed for near-term future AUSD events. Experience
also tells us that speculating on the number of signatures
on unreturned petitions is a pretty unreliable exercise. So
with that said, we’ll continue to focus our published
signature counts on those consisting of valid signatures on
returned petitions with completed petitioner affidavits. As
of today, 670 signatures have been returned from February
5 on completed petitions, lifting our cumulative signature
count to 3,256 for 47% of our 7,000 signature goal!
Why Are We Here?
Why do we talk about closing the academic achievement gap?
We do so because by the third grade nearly 2 out of 3 Altadena
public school students, almost all of whom are low income,
end their school year below grade level, with deterioration
in future years such that by high school even fewer of our
public school students are at or above grade level.
To those for whom concern for the outcomes of our many low
income neighbors does not particularly resonate, we talk
about closing the gap not only because doing so is the right
thing to do for the vast majority of Altadena’s students,
but because bringing our students to 100% grade-level proficiency
creates outcomes that begin to make the public system a
viable alternative for the 1 in 3 parents in our community
who choose private schools, a penetration that is itself
3 times the CA private-to-public average and the largest
of any school district PUSD’s size in the USA. Is
there any better way to unite the Altadena that drew so
many of us here in the first place?
The Middle Stage
Needless to say, we have officially left behind the early
stages of this petition drive and entered the “middle
stage” where it is important for us stay focused on
our goal. As we’ve said before, 2008 has a significant
number of opportunities for completing this petition drive
that 2007 lacked, and we as volunteers need to collectively
step up and take advantage of these opportunities, donating
whatever time we can and attracting new volunteers to join
us along the way. Our volunteers were very productive on
February 5, and our Altadena voters were certainly more
willing to sign than at any time I’ve ever seen. More
arms and legs for distributing petitions in our future events
would be useful for getting this petition drive finished
this year. A few smaller petition efforts are being added
to the calendar for the near term (including this coming
Sunday 2/17), along with some big events that are being
considered for this summer. Please do whatever you can to
help us get through this middle stage and on to our goal.
Sign up as a volunteer at http://www.altadenaschools.net/getInvolved.htm.