First, let me say that I admire anyone willing to become an educator, and especially those who are willing to start an entire new school. Education is, of course, the most important element of our lives. Especially a solid, innovative, thorough education of youth. I attended the community meeting that Nia Charter School held last night. I was shocked to hear all the mistakes that NIA made, but also shocking that PUSD would allow a school to be set up with as little care as NIA administrators admit to. They were new, all their teachers were new, and so no one knew what was truly involved in setting up a school that was prepared to actually educate students in a responsible way. They didn’t understand assessing students upon enrollment (how do you know what to teach students if you dont’ know what they know?), when to stop enrollment, how to test well, and more.

Here is the link to the Pasadena Now article, which sums up the content of the community meeting. http://www.pasadenalivingmagazine.com/_ArticleManager/publish/niameeting.shtml  

The lack of PUSD involvement, assistance and supervision of a school that began in a church, then begged for space until they were given space — after school had already started — at Edison last year, is appalling. I am certain Nia administrators and teachers want the best for their students, but the way they began, and the catch-up they are having to make, is embarrassing at the least, and tragic for any students who were caught in a perfect storm of inexperience, naivete, and, as it appears, seemingly disregard by PUSD. I need more information about the structure and responsibilities of PUSD and the schools themselves before I can comment further. I’m glad Nia finally is embracing the community, but it took Elliot Gold and a lot of community members to rattle the cage and get them to speak up. 

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