• Name: Patrick Cady
• Age: 64
• Occupation: Retired teacher; Coach
• Marital status/children: Married to Linda Cady, recently retired JAMS science teacher; One child, Kristin Cady Russio, graduate of Samohi
• Your neighborhood? How long have you lived there?: Malibu. 35 years
• Own or rent?: Own
• Public school or private?: Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C; Attended UC Berkeley and UCLA; All public schools
• Do you believe the district should cut in half the number of permit students admitted each year? Should permit students be required to maintain a certain GPA to remain in Santa Monica-Malibu schools? Should there be a zero tolerance policy for permit students when it comes to fighting or other acts of violence?
I don’t believe in any kind of quota system. I support permits for those whose parents work in the district and for some whose need is great. GPA requirements … should be the same as for participation in athletics. Suspension and expulsion for violence are already covered in the education code and district policies and are designed to protect due process as well as the safety of other students. Arbitrary enforcement of rules and a two-tier system of justice are not appropriate for a public school.
• Should teacher evaluations be made public?
Teacher evaluations should not be part of the public record. However, teacher evaluations should be collaboratively established and should include parent, student, peer, and administrative components. Student achievement can be a part of the evaluation. I support a longer probationary period for new teachers. I would also support employing some of the district’s retired teacher pool for both evaluation and mentoring.
• Given state funding insecurity and the failure of a recent parcel tax, what should be done to increase local funding for schools? Is a parcel tax the right approach? What other ways would you recommend to raise revenue for the district? Will you look to City Hall for more funding?
We need to assess our district spending priorities based upon what directly supports the student-teacher relationship. I’d like to spend less money on general administrative costs and put more into people and programs that support the student-teacher relationship. I support both measures Y and YY and have … contributed to the campaigns.
• How much homework is too much for a student in middle school and high school?
This is a question best left to each teacher. It is inappropriate for a board member to presume greater knowledge and expertise than the classroom teacher over what is necessary for his/her students .
• The district requires PTAs and other fundraising groups at individual school sites to contribute a certain percentage to an equity fund, which is then distributed to schools in poorer neighborhoods where parents do not raise as much money on their own. Do you believe this policy should continue? What percentage do you think is fair?
Equity does not mean equal resources, it means equal opportunity. Unequal treatment is sometimes required to provide equal opportunity. We all have a responsibility to educate all children and moving money to where the greatest need is to provide equal opportunity seems fair to me.
• What do you think is the appropriate class size for elementary, middle, and high school students?
Stephen Frank of Education Resource Strategies suggests that recent studies bear little evidence that smaller class sizes work. … I would suggest 15-1 in K-2 classrooms with an aide; 20-1 in 3-6 classrooms with aides/resources as needed to coach reading and math. Middle and high schools should be no higher than 25-1 although classes with writing should be capped at 20-1 or less — even then instructors would be looking at 100 essays so no teacher should have more than two writing classes. I agree that class size and groupings should ideally be more flexible.
• What role should the district play in ensuring there is more affordable, workforce housing for teachers/staff?
The district should work with the City Council, health groups like Saint John’s and UCLA, and others to provide the capital needed to provide affordable housing for employees.
• In remodeling campuses, what should be the top priority?
Site groups are best at knowing their needs, but I would want to be sure buildings are earthquake safe and hard-wired for technology.
• How do you propose closing the achievement gap?
The literature on school reform suggests that districts that have had some success in closing the achievement gap have implemented sustained systemic reforms which include a standards-based K-12 curriculum that includes accurate assessment instruments for students and professional development for teachers on how to teach to those standards.
These systems have made investments in ensuring that their teachers are highly qualified and have the resources they need to teach the curriculum. Students know and appreciate the difference between demanding teachers who care and those that are just strict and perceived as mean. The critical element in success is meaningful teacher-student relationship.
Besides high-quality administrators, highly-qualified teachers and a standards-based curriculum, all-day kindergarten, a good pre-school program and small class size all play an important role. Finally, keeping a superintendent in place for at least five to seven years or longer is important. Boards have to understand that reforms take time, and while you can get some quick results by “picking the low hanging fruit” (often scores go up in the first year or two), patience is needed while the reforms mature and take root; they will be a lull and then things go up again around the fifth year.
It is important to continue to provide anti-racism training for teachers and students. I helped create the Racial Harmony Retreat at Samohi and developed curriculum for Freshman Seminar that is anti-racist. Certainly more teacher training can be done.
• How can Santa Monica-Malibu remain competitive with private schools such as Crossroads, St. Monicas, Wildwood, New Roads, etc.?
I’m not sure a competitive model is the best way to look at public and private education. Many parents want religious instruction to be a part of their children’s schooling and rightly choose those schools sponsored by religious institutions. … Public schools offer much better support to special needs children than many private schools. Advanced classes and superior art and music programs exist in both spheres. Being sensitive to the needs of parents and responding to those needs when possible is the best overall strategy.
• What qualities make you a good candidate for school board?
I have twice served as the advisor for the leadership/ASB class with oversight for the entire student body, team, and club budgets. I have been the track and cross-country coach since 1992 and have raised funds for that team in time of contracting budgets. I have written grant applications which resulted most notably in the resurfacing of the all weather track at Samohi.
During my tenure as leadership advisor I worked to increase the diversity of the ASB. … I insisted on inclusion of those with disabilities into the leadership. I oversaw multi-cultural assemblies which unified the school body. I’m proudest of “Victor Viking goes around the world,” in which campus identity clubs provided skits about their homelands when Victor visited. I helped institute the “racial harmony” retreat and participated many times.
I helped design the first humanities course which became Freshman Seminar. I sought to teach kindness and compassion as a way of living. My students were required to do “acts of kindness” on a weekly basis in order to feel the benefits. …
I have always been a caring and compassionate individual of integrity who has been able to create sense of community in both the classroom and on my cross-country and track teams. I collaborate well and am sensitive to the needs of a wide variety of people. … I’m pleased that my former teaching colleagues have endorsed me and even prouder that the classified employees support me. I take that as an endorsement of my fundamentally democratic and egalitarian nature that values every individual and the work he/she does.
I am retired and have the time to devote to my passion for children and education as a board member.
• Administrator and teachers salaries are among the highest in the state, How will you keep these and other personnel costs under control?
Recruiting and retaining the best means that the district must pay the best. I should hope that we can afford to stay near the top in salaries and benefits.
• What will you do about teachers’ union president, Harry Keiley’s “No show” job that costs the district a minimum $55,000 per year?
The relationship between the district and its teachers has always been one of trust and collaboration. The union president is often called upon to represent teachers to protect their due process and professional rights. Having an advocate is a win-win situation.
• If elected, what would you change about the food that is fed to our students?
Probably nothing. The district has a nutritionist on staff, caring and hardworking cafeteria staff who buy locally and do a far better job then I could. The school board has set policies over the years that set high standards for nutrition and I support them.