Council moves to curb traffic near Tracy High
by Michael Langley
Jan 24, 2014 | 8448 views | 45 45 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parking problems
Cars park along East 12th Street near Tracy High School on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Neighbors have complained about cars belonging to students and parents blocking their driveways.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Curtis Brown has had to replace four broken rear-view mirrors and repair dented doors and fenders on his car because of the traffic that flows down his street three times a day during the school year.

Brown lives on East 12th Street, a block west of Tracy High School, and is fed up with parents and students racing through his neighborhood, blocking his neighbors’ driveways, throwing litter on his lawn and verbally abusing residents who just want some peace on their streets.

“I’ve probably been hit five or six times now. It’s all during school hours. The streets are fairly narrow, there’s lots of traffic and it’s very difficult for people to get by them,” Brown said at the regular meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

A group of neighbors on the 200 blocks of East 12th and Berverdor Avenue took their grievance to the council, asking for the city to establish a permit parking area on their streets.

“It is a daily struggle,” a 12th Street resident named Melissa said. “If we go out there and ask them to move, we are called every name in the book.”

Melissa, who would not give her last name, said the daily disruption was made worse by litter from uncaring Tracy students and parents.

“Saturday mornings, we have everything you can imagine on our lawns, on our streets. From condoms to pizza boxes to hot dog wrappers. Everything,” she said.

City engineer Kuldeep Sharma told the council the city has tried to work with Tracy Unified School District to alleviate the concerns of the 34 residents on both streets. In 2008, Sharma said, the city painted red zones on both sides of every driveway to prevent residents from getting blocked into their own homes.

“After completion of these initial remedial measures, there have been some improvements,” Sharma said. “However, the residents are still inconvenienced.”

The city engineer said the city received a letter from TUSD Superintendent Dr. James Franco, dated Oct. 29, objecting to the proposal to make 12th and Berverdor permit parking zones.

“There’s no one in this community that deserves our respect more than Jim Franco, but I disagree with him on this issue,” Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel said. “I would have loved to have seen the school be more proactive about this. I think they have allowed their problem to become the community’s problem.”

TUSD spokesman Joel Danoy released a written statement Thursday, reiterating the work the district had already done with the city on the problems in the neighborhoods.

“Now that the City Council has adopted a plan,” Danoy wrote, “the district wants to work with students and the city to resolve this long-term issue.”

Maciel was not the only member of the City Council who expressed frustration with TUSD’s inability to mitigate the concerns of the residents.

“I’m a little disappointed in the school district that they allowed things to get this far,” Councilman Charles Manne said. “Unfortunately, it’s now on our table to fix and address an issue that the school district didn’t.”

Councilwoman Nancy Young supported establishing the permit parking zone but added her doubts that any ordinance would solve the residents’ problems.

“You’re going to still have people that are driving down those streets every day. You’re going to still have people that are dropping off their students,” Young said. “A parking ordinance is not going to take away the litter on the streets. Some people are just going to be rude. Some people are just going to be mean.”

Mayor Brent Ives proposed a different solution.

“I’m not for an ordinance here. What I am for is calling this a pilot project where the city pays for the signs. Where the city sets this up for a definitive amount of time,” Ives said.

The mayor suggested studying whether the permits worked through the end of the school year in June 2015.

At the end of the discussion, Manne moved to ask the city staff to draft an ordinance establishing a pilot program to address the parking concerns on the two streets and send to the council soon for approval. Councilman Robert Rickman seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

Sharma said installation of signs marking the permit parking zones could be installed three weeks after the council approved the final ordinance.

“The other thing this is going to do,” Ives said, “is put the school district on notice that we’re not going to just take it. We’re going to do something about it, and they need to come to the table and help us with this issue.”

Other council business

Ellis project amended

Just before the permit parking issue was taken up, the City Council got a report from the staff that Surland Communities LLC had amended its Ellis development, at the corner of Linne and Corral Hollow roads, and negated the need for city staff to research an override of a decision by the San Joaquin County Airport Land Use Commission.

The Ellis Specific Plan called for four to nine homes to be built per acre in the outer approach departure zone of the Tracy Municipal Airport. The land-use commission had found during its regular meeting Sept. 26 that the plan was inconsistent with the 2009 Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, which includes a safety zone at the end of one of the airport runways that cuts across the southeast corner of the Ellis development.

The finding meant Surland could not build as many homes as planned.

Surland had asked the city to override the decision from the ALUC, which it has the power to do, and during the regular City Council meeting Oct. 15, the council asked the city staff to research an override and the implications.

City planner William Dean told the council Tuesday that Surland had amended the Ellis plan to remove the request for an override.

Amazon applies for more space

During the city manager’s report at the end of the meeting, Leon Churchill announced that developer Prologis had applied to expand the Amazon Fulfillment Center by 575,000 square feet. That space would increase the size of the 1 million square foot facility at 1555 N. Chrisman Road by more than half.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at 830-4231 or mlangley@tracypress.com.

 

Comments
(45)
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me-here
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February 06, 2014
What gets me is that students think they have a right to drive to school when there is no where to park except in a smallarea.

Call me "old school", but I walked to school which was at least 2 miles from my house. College kids ride bicycles...why are high school kids so entitled?
MaryShi
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January 31, 2014
Many high school students cannot carpool to school because of before/after school activities, and biking is not an option for students with a lot of sports or music equipment. Permit parking would punish students when they are also the victims of TUSD's poor planning. If residents want to let TUSD that " we’re not going to just take it," they should be targeting TUSD and not the students. This could take on the form of a city injunction to require TUSD pay for litter removal on the streets in question or hire new security to manage the morning/afternoon parking frenzies. These sort of measures would hopefully be the sort of financial incentive necessary to push TUSD into finding a long term solution to the parking deficit.
SpikeVFR
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January 31, 2014
Yes, because as we all know, the TUSD, like most school districts is just sitting on a big pile of cash they don't knwo what to do with.
CharlieWaffles
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January 30, 2014
Everytime i drive by those streets i think im so glad i dont live their
MrSycamore
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January 29, 2014
Permit parking is a great solution! Make the fine hefty! $200 should do the job! New revenue stream for the City!
klm3471
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January 30, 2014
Where do you suggest the students park? NO ONE parks there by choice. Parking is a hassle for students. There are roughly 200 parking spots available for students on campus. With over 500 students in JUST the senior class alone (sophomores and juniors drive themselves to school as well), there are very limited options for the students. While I understand that some students are disrespectful, I have heard many stories of homeowners yelling at and attacking students for LEGALLY parking on a PUBLIC street. Their frustration is somewhat understandable, but they fail to see the student's perspective. For those living in the area, a parking permit is a sound solution. For students, it eliminates necessary parking spaces and makes getting to and from school that much more of a hassle.
MrSycamore
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January 30, 2014
One solution would be for the kids to carpool. I see too many single students driving to school. Taking the bus would also be good. Most of the time I see very few kids on the bus. Ride a bike or walk would be ideal but not too many kids are interested in exercise. The last resort would be to build a parking lot but that would be too costly. I just feel sorry for the residents who have to put up with kids blocking the the driveways and throwing trash on properties. Using alternative transportation would not only please residents around the area but it would decrease the traffic for morning commuters.
PublicCitizen
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January 31, 2014
One solution could be for the school district to lease that eyesore of a vacant lot on the southeast corner of 11th and MacArthur and turn that into a parking lot for the kids.
LiveYourLife22
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January 29, 2014
This makes me so angry. The student have NO choice but to park there. They have a lot with 200 spaces and have 800 driving kids. All this solution does is move it so it longer is there problem. The school was here before they were so they already knew these issues were to come. If its that bad, pay for a new parking lot or move out, its easy.
SpikeVFR
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January 30, 2014
"The student have NO choice but to park there"

Sure they do, not drive?
Firemedic_not_Tracy
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January 29, 2014
For those concerned with parking issues... Invest in some cones and signs for in front of your home... Put them out early and then bring in after school starts... If blocking a hydrant.. Call Parking enforcement... It's a big ticket.. For the speeders.... Be proactive, use your camera or video camera to video speeders and reckless drivers ... Put out a sign next to you.... Stand near the street.... If someone is not slowing down.... Slowly walk into the street and make them slow down... Or do what my father did... Push an empty stroller with a toy doll in front of them ... Then they might get it that they could possibly run over and kill someone .... Kids and parents today have little respect for others or their property... Telling them what they are doing wrong only makes them get defensive instead of apologetic... Some might say.... I'm ONLY doing 30 mph.... You can reply... Do you know what happens to a kid hit at 30mph? And the difference in time down this street doing 10-15 vs 30 is less than 30 seconds... So take 30 seconds to save a life and keep your ass outa jail for manslaughter ....
SpikeVFR
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January 29, 2014
you can't legally just put cones in the street to block another person's usage
newtotracy
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January 29, 2014
you also can't push a stroller in front of a car. how do you explain that to your neighbor when the car crashes through their house...or worse...when the driver is killed? firemedic...really?

yes, people need to have respect, but even though I've thought of similar methods...they aren't correct and should not be put forth as such.
Kponce
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January 28, 2014
I happen to live next to Tracy High. I am a parent of a Tracy High student and Graduate. The students are disrespectful and rude. I have asked students to pick up their trash and was told no. I have had my driveway blocked and been unable to get out when there was a family medical issue. If my son acted like half the students do around here, he would never leave his room or have a social life. How about the parents of the students that can't seem to learn how to park or clean up after themselves start paying fines. Even better why don't I come to your house and block your driveway and dump my trash on your lawn! If parents can start taking responsibility for your kids like I do, then your kids have no business driving. For those who think it is to far to walk, there is the bus as well as a two wheeled thing called a bike. Maybe we should start putting your kid's cars on the internet to show how they can't clean up or park!
lifeasweknowit
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January 27, 2014
I totally understand both sides. As a parent of a Ths student driver and one that has graduated from THs and is off at college. When my oldest was at the school he often did park in the neighborhood until a resident on that street hit the side of his car. My current student normally parks in the parking lot but with the limited parking, has had to park on the street. I have asked my kid not to park on the street but obviously there is at time no choice. The last time he parked on the street about 2 weeks ago he and his sister climbed in the car and then were confronted by a male resident verbally and then the resident pulled his car out of the driveway and made it so my son couldn't leave, after doing so he got out of his car looked at my son and said now move your car and don't hit mine.. Really?? If the kid parked in front of your house every day and you asked him continuously not to do so , maybe I could understand the behavior from a grown man a little bit, but to me it seems like a few of these neighbors just ask for there to be a problem. For me I guess I am thankful that the kids parking to attend SCHOOL...
newtotracy
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January 27, 2014
I'd like to see some enforcement of traffic laws around schools. I live near Tracy High but not close...after living next door to a high school once before it will never happen again! Thankfully I was in a state that still uses school busses, so there weren't as many parental vehicles (they seem to almost be worse than the kids sometimes!), but it was still awful. All day, games, after dark...it was the hangout. I really didn't think it would be that bad...lesson learned in what was thankfully a rental!

but...even on my street...several streets over...we get people hauling butt down the street every day before and after school. we have kids and pets on the block and it's one block between the stop sign and the next corner. NO reason to get up to 40 mph...NONE!!

I'd love some speed traps to nail a few of these folks who think it's ok to treat other people's neighborhoods like a freeway...bet they wouldn't like it if we did it ON their block!

permit parking won't work though...Tracy isn't set up to handle the need for constant patrolling...and that is what will be necessary.

Now I want to walk 12th after school to see this lady screaming at people! ;-)
fortheunderdog
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January 27, 2014
West Side Union High School was built in 1917 and renamed Tracy High School in 1928. I'm guessing that back in the day there weren't many students who had cars to drive to school. Even when the surrounding homes were built there still was a scarcity of students driving to school. Students nowadays have parents who work, thus they'll purchase a car for their student to drive to school so mom and dad can go to work. Students also have part-time jobs which afford them the ability to purchase their car(s). Naturally, as time went on, there would be more cars. THS doesn't have the greatest parking area for students. It's a first come, first served basis so those who are late to find a parking spot are forced to park in the residential areas. It's a public street for public parking. Unfortunately it's also a residential area where neighbors fret at the sight of a car parked in-front-of their home all day, litter in their yard and in-front-of their home. There's not much more area on the THS grounds to allow for more parking but some clever realigning of the existing parking lots may allow for more parking. Either way, this parking problem isn't going to go away any time soon.
1219tracy
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January 25, 2014
Wasn't the school there way before the residents that live there now? So when they bought near a high school didn't they anticipate any traffic problems? I'm sure it's a pain to have extra traffic, but you live next to a high school, where did you think the cars would go? Tracy High parking lots are really small for the number of students. So the cars can't be contained for pick up in the lot like at Kimball. As far as kids walking, two of the feeder schools are in the southern most part of town (Hawkins and Jefferson), so it would be a really long walk. Maybe the best thing would be to have a police officer direct traffic and keep things moving. Or build a bigger parking lot.
doors17
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January 25, 2014
I know I'm going to sound like an old goat here (which I am) but why don't kids walk to school anymore? I know some do but it seems the majority don't, or at least it seems that way because of the traffic.

The rare times I got a ride to school is when the weather was bad. But it had to be very bad. Now here I go with a back in my day speech...most families had only one car which dad used to go to work which is why back then we had no choice but to walk to school.

The school has been around for over a hundred years, was this much of a problem in the past, or is my memory just fading?
MCA821
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January 25, 2014
In all honesty it isn't any worse than it was back then. I have a friend whose family has lived in the neighborhood for decades and says that its just recently been an issue because of one particular neighbor who has taken it to the extreme. Sure enough this person I mentioned earlier on my comment was on the news last night. My son does walk most of the time, and passes through 12th Street sometimes. He said that just yesterday noticed that the lady was out there being nasty to everyone even the kids minding their own business and just walking by. Saying they weren't allowed to walk down the street or even drive on it? So when was it illegal to walk down a street sidewalk? My son also mentioned that this lady sometimes favors certain kids and sits around to smoke with them? I don't understand...
klm3471
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January 30, 2014
Many students do not have the option of walking to school. Some students have to take their siblings to other schools across town, leave school early to go to their jobs, do not have parents or older siblings that can provide a ride, the list goes on and on. Walking to school is not an option for many students.
Wobbley
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January 24, 2014
Regarding Amazon,

I think they need to determine the traffic impact this is going to have on the 205 entries prior to allowing additional expansion.

Those trucks are going to cause a lot of damage to the city streets.
Wobbley
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January 24, 2014
I live adjacent to a school.

I've had parents yell at my wife because we didn't move our garbage can out of the way before 8:00am so that they could park in front of my house (which has a hydrant in front of it).

On a few occasions people blocked my driveway at night and in the morning.

One JERK smoked cigarettes while waiting to pick up his kids every day and flicked the butts on my lawn.

Our neighborhood Mello-ruse agreement precludes any resident from parking in the street, AT ALL. No one enforces that. I'd pay to have the curbs painted in front of my house.
DunkMan
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January 24, 2014
I doubt if your Mello-Roos agreement, a financing tool used to fund public facilities or services in your neighborhood (CFD), includes any restrictions on parking.

The parking restrictions are more likely in the CC&Rs for your development, but you can only blame yourself and your neighbors if together you have decided not to enforce them (presuming the restriction are legal -- not all rules in CC&Rs are legally enforceable.

What does your HOA say when you bring this problem to their attention -- you and neighbors voted them in and if you don't like their inability to take action, then run for the HOA board the next time elections are held and get like-minded neighbors to run for office too, or at least get their support to vote for board members dedicated to getting the CC&Rs enforced.

Steve
Wobbley
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January 27, 2014
I have neither seen or heard from the HOA since I moved here in 2003, when the home was built.
SpikeVFR
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January 28, 2014
typically a HOA has meetings you can attend to bring up issues that are of a concern
SpikeVFR
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January 24, 2014
what about having the police patrol the area on foot and by car durign the rush times and coming down hard on violators? A few days of that would take care of 70% of the problem
MCA821
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January 24, 2014
Ask people to move their cars, that is fine! But if you come at them with a nasty, crazy attitude and vulgar language what kind of response do you think you will get back? I have experienced it from a crazy woman that walks up and down the street yelling, cursing and screaming at everyone. She is crazy! I was parked legally too. Its a public street. I feel sorry for those that live next to her. Best of luck. This so called "problem" will only be pushed to other neighboring streets. It will never go away.
SpikeVFR
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January 28, 2014
see that would make me more likely to park there
pnutgallery
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January 24, 2014
It is ironic that Dr. Franco opposes parking permits. Could this be a conflict of interest? Dr. Franco and his wife live in the area and strictly enforce a "no parking rule" in front of their home.
SpikeVFR
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January 24, 2014
how do they enforce a no parking rule in front of their house?
pnutgallery
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January 24, 2014
@ SpikeVFR - Good question. Most of the neighbors are afraid to park there and other times the Mrs. moves cars, trash cans, etc. around so no one can park there. The Mrs. has been know to confront those who do not know her rules.
SpikeVFR
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January 28, 2014
gotta give up the address so I, and others can be sure to park there when in the neighborhood (which in my case is admittedly hardly ever)
PublicCitizen
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January 28, 2014
Just look for the house with the cone in the driveway and a 49er flag flying out front.
newtotracy
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January 29, 2014
sounds like it's time for someone to complain to TPD about the actions of the Franco's. it is NOT legal to block a street parking space...garbage cans are to be taken in within 24 hours or the city can cite the resident. if they are using a cone...simply remove it...we do NOT buy the street...we don't even own the area past the edges of our lawns.

and confrontation? as soon as someone comes out and is anything less than polite (like if a friend is on their way over and needs to be up front due to handicap or whatnot)...then I call non-emergency and have a nice man/woman with a badge come and educate the educator's wife about the street laws. might not be a good use of police time, but if some idiot wants to get after me for something they are wrong about and is aggressive...that's what the PD is there for.
Hahahahahaha
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January 24, 2014
If resident Curtis Brown has had to replace his rear-view mirror four times, I'd be just as concerned with the apparent problem of people entering vehicles and damaging the rear-view mirrors as I would be with having the side of my vehicle damaged by a passing car.
SpikeVFR
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January 24, 2014
I am guessing and it is a guess, that he meant his side view mirror(s)
seedym
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January 24, 2014
Why do we still have brick and mortar schools? Home schooling and internet schooling have eliminated the need for traditional schools.
victor_jm
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January 24, 2014
Let me tell you something about Mr. Ives. He really isn’t concerned about individual group issues, because the viability of a community—and its supposed reputation as a tourist stop or “a good place to live”—is predicated on placating (cajoling) the ambiguous needs of a collective citizenry, while projecting an image of wholeness about the City. This issue is a nuisance to Mr. Ives because any potential monetary positive from its resolution isn’t obvious (or non-existent).

I get what is implied in the idea (or reality) of a “public street,” but perhaps we ought to re-consider its functionality and value and accord greater interest to those whose properties flank these over-used streets by non-neighborhood residents.

Does this make sense?

I think it does, but people are so self-centered and inconsiderate, they truly lack the idea of what it means to live purposefully, cooperatively, and respectfully within a community.

victor_jm
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January 24, 2014
Don’t these people have a right to a street which serves as a vessel for passing automobiles, rather than a stop for a blood clot?

victor_jm
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January 24, 2014
These streets weren’t intended to serve as parking areas (lots) for the school or the many organizations which use the school property on weekends. Is the idea of living in a quiet neighborhood dead in this country? Given all the (caged) dogs barking every night in my neighborhood, I think it is.
Wobbley
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January 24, 2014
Oh yes, because parents are much more highly educated these days.

My wifes sister wanted to homeschool her kids rather than have him suffer socially in real school, I laughed about it. She dropped out at the 6th grade, and he was in the 7th.
newtotracy
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January 27, 2014
home schooling is great to a point, but not all of school is in the books (not that the standardized testing fiasco would make anyone believe that!).

so much of school is the social interaction. we gain social skills, communication capabilities...you name it. how would you propose public speaking experience if you are home schooled by your mom?

in addition, there are athletics...both team sports and gym class (though I still shudder to think about gym class!).

home school is great...have friends that did/do it with their kids, but when push comes to shove...we live in a public society and being exposed to that is vital.
FidesEstCaecus
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January 30, 2014
We still have real schools because we need real teachers. It's a joke to think that a person who has ZERO training in education and does not have a degree in the subject area can possibly teach better than a professional teacher. That's completely idiotic and only someone who knows NOTHING about education would type that.

Also, internet schooling, apart from a basket weaving class, relies on two things.

1. Highly motivated students.

2. Top level students.

That eliminates a VERY large part of the student population.

Hahahahahaha
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January 31, 2014
My kids were always average students until we moved to California. They went from being "regular" to "super-intelligent" simply by enrolling in Tracy. They were immediately tested for GATE and one even had to skip forward a grade to put him more on par with his classmates.

We were happy to be a part of GATE because we were told only the best educators could be GATE teachers. Unfortunately, it became obvious that even GATE teachers have trouble with basic punctuation and sentence structure and are, at best, just okay with basic math and science. They know the bare minimum, teach the bare minimum and do the bare minimum.

As a parent who cares about my kids' futures, I have to supplement their education with what they aren't taught in school, which is a lot. It would honestly be easier, less confusing and more effective to homeschool my children.

FidesEstCaecus, your comment was completely idiotic and only someone whose job security was determined by union affiliation and not by actual job performance would type that. It's a joke to say that just because a person holds the title of teacher they are automatically suited and able to teach anything better than anybody else.


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