Election Results

Garvey School District Board of Education -- Final (Unofficial) Results

Henry Lo . . . . . . . . .1,129 . . . 31.96%

Janet Chin . . . . . . . .1,031 . . . 29.19%

Felipe Agredano . . . . . 684 . . . 19.37%

Linda Becerra . . . . . .  491 . . .  13.90%

Sam Yue . . . . . . . . .  197 . . .   5.58%


Congratulations to Henry and Janet!

In the Rosemead Elementary School District, the incumbents were reelected, but challenger Qui Nguyen scored a very impressive 25% of the vote.  For a campaign that was primarily composed of Qui going door to door with his photocopied flyer (and one flyer from Mayor John Tran), that's a strong showing against two long-time incumbents.

The other race I was watching is in West Covina.  It's been a real soap opera out there.  But it looks like both incumbents will be returned to office.  Steven Herfert looks safe.  Roger Hernandez is on the bubble, but leading.  Lots of votes still to count, and I don't know whether those precincts are pro- or anti-Hernandez.

Somewhat interesting is that the "running mates" (one with Herfert and one with Hernandez) are virtually tied with each other for third (only the top two finishers win).

More final "unofficial" results

Hernandez appears to have hung on to his seat in West Covina.

In Montebello, the incumbents were tossed out by more than 2-1.  I doubt that this was primarily due to their city mailer debacle, but I'm sure that didn't help.  The Whittier Daily News story is here:  http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_7392188

And congratuations to Henry and Janet. Apparently, all those flyers left around town by Crazy Bob and those signs that Mike Lewis paid for didn't have much of an effect in the Garvey School District race.

Election Results

Scores in the Rosemead schools are strong, so it's going to be hard to unseat the incumbents. (Man, we need stronger performance in MUSD elementary schools.)

The big Urteaga win was interesting. I didn't expect that big a margin.

It's a big win day for UCLA alumni, Dem party insiders in MTB.

Election Results

I don't follow Montebello politics closely enough to know the full implications, but, yes, a pair of incumbents getting ousted by a margin of 2-1 is unusual, especially without a MAJOR scandal of some sort.

[Although I still think the mishandled the Fire Department thing:  Let the people vote!]

need stronger performance in MUSD elementary schools?

Actually, when one compares Rosemead Elementary Schools (all 4) annual test scores to MUSD (all 18), Rosemead's avg API (or Academic Performance Index) is 809, and MUSD's avg API is 674.05, which is ONLY a difference of 135 points--800 being the desired minimum target (or a B, 1000 being an A) and 674.05 (being a C+ to B-).  Of course, MANY factors go into how one "interprets" these scores such as the number of schools being considered, student population, school crowding, teacher to student ratios,
 % on fed lunch program (a poverty level indicator), % of English learners (English as a 2nd language at home), etc.  Also, there are other socio-economic factors NOT considered such as divorce, family size, domestic violence, area criminal activity (at home or school), STABILITY, and last but not least FUNDING!

However, where scores really count, MUSD high schools are holding their own:  MUSD HS (3) API avg 642 vs Rosemead HS (1) API 675.  BTW, Rosemead High is in the the El Monte Union School District, whose overall API base is only 336, and MUSD base (28 schools total) is 303. 

(Oops, is my allegiance to MUSD showing, lol)

Election Results

Definitely, the Rosemead district has a demographic edge. They're skimming from the northern (wealthier) part of Rosemead, and it's a small area. MUSD has a much wider range to cover, from Bell Gardens up to East LA, Pico Rivera, the Montebello Hills, and South San Gabriel. MUSD does above average at all their schools, which is good for starters.

But if you factor in economics, the less wealthy Pico Rivera has done better than MUSD. The most affluent areas in MUSD aren't doing that great compared to areas with similar demographics. So with what MUSD's got, they should be able to send more kids of Ivies, win more CIFs, and do better at all their schools. The district seems to be able to produce some impressive candidates for local office, and you often run into MUSD alumni at the top universities. I still think they can do even better, and help make Montebello a community of choice for parents focused on education.

(If I don't shut up, i'm going to have to get involved.)

Problems w/ Inter-District & Intra-District Transfers

Pico elementary schools, which are in the El Rancho School District avg API is 695.58 versus MUSD 674.05 (so 21.53 points is not much).

I think what is happening is that parents from LA Unified are somehow finding or "paying" to use an address in MUSD so their children can attend school here AND in the past they had principals who were just too willing to accept inter-district and intra-district transfers.  It is a quandry, because kids don't have any control where they live and shouldn't be penalized for it. 

However, school attendance officers are now actually going to the homes and asking to see the student's room and looking for books from MUSD to verify the student actually lives there, b/c MUSD is getting the short end of the stick w/ overcrowding.  And, isn't it illegal to ask if the student is here legally?

In my area, our kids go to Potrero Heights Elementary (which is a Title I Achievement and Distinguished School), Macy Intermediate, then parents can choose to send their child to Schurr (written up positively in Newsweek), Don Bosco and/or Sacred Heart of Mary/Cantwell.

However, as you know, every decade there are population shifts and demographic changes.  I remember when Mark Keppel was a sub-par school in the 70's to early 80's, now I believe it is a Title I Achievement and Distinguished School as well. 

No doubt, there will be more population and demographic shifts in the comiing decades as well.  To be continued, AS THE WORLD TURNS, lol.

PS: "send more kids of Ivies, win more CIFs" - what did you mean?

PSS:  If you are interested, there are many ways to get involved, schools can't have enough volunteers). 

Election Results

I meant that the high schools should try to get kids into ivy league universities, and also win more CIF championships. People pay attention to both.

Ivy League???

dear night reader, i do not mean to be insulting, but what planet or zip code are you living in 90210? because i was under the impression that this was a predominantly proud working class, predominantly asian and hispanic community.  while some educators and a few parents might appreciate setting high goals (two social classes above your own), with a 40-50% DROP OUT RATE affecting not only our area schools, but nationwide in many minority school districts, i would say that was lofty indeed.  i think the idea of mainly focusing on kids in AP classes was novel for the 70's (which benefited only the top 1-2%), but in 2007-08, MUSD and El Monte Union Districts are going back and also investing limited resources into vocational/allied health programs.  I believe a fire fighter and nurse are just as worthy professions as a teacher with a master's earning about the same (not to mention a 60K college loan to boot!).  of course, med and law school are an entirely different blog.  besides, the gates foundation is and will continue to subsidize most, if not all our gifted students' education and beyond. 

The soft bigotry of low expectations

I would hope our parents have higher expectations for their children than to merely not drop out of high school.

Stop drinking the Leftest Kool-Aid

Zebara says, "I would hope our parents have higher expectations for their children than to merely not drop out of high school".

 But as a community our collective responsibility to ensure that our kids are not dropping out are NOT being met, and not being met in a HUGE way!  We have to learn to walk before we can run.  Zebra, as a parent, YOU have every right to have high expectations for your OWN children with your OWN personal income,  but when you depend on my $5000 annual property tax money to support our schools (and when I have NO kids in the district and haven't for decades) I think I have every right to have my own EXPECTATIONS for minimal standards in the broader picture and for ALL students. The schools will always have AP (advanced placement) courses, and then there are our gifted kids, but we have FAILED miserably with almost half our students--and that is the true prejudice--the few over the many.

Soft bigotry of low expectations, redux

Centaur, I think you need to google "soft bigotry of low expectations" before you start talking about leftist Kool-Aid.  This is the same discussion we had a few months ago:  I'm holding individuals responsible for their own actions (and for teaching their children values), and you want to talk about "society" failing.

Stop drinking the Leftest Kool-Aid

My full response is below, but, that quip about AP always being there isn't true. Inner City Struggle in East LA is fighting to get more AP classes at Roosevelt and Garfield. Apparently, the schools have focused on NCLB and dropouts, and the college-hopefuls are getting fewer resources. (I think this only reinforces the "leftist kool-ade" argument, because they are definitely serving it up with a big helping of Che, and are definitely arguing for stronger academics and lower dropout rates at these schools.)

"soft bigotry of low expectations"

Yes, Zebra, while this phrase was attributed to some conservative pundits and unfairly on Pres Bush,.it nonetheless was helpful in persuading and enacting the Leave No Child Behind Law, which requires all schools receiving fed money to meet a B avg or risk losing funding. 

Although you lost me when you took the position that you hoped all parents expected more than a HS diploma. 

My response was to "night reader" in having an "unreasonable expectation" of all our area students going onto ivy league colleges.

Whereas, my pragmatic position is that a HS diploma, with a 40% drop out rate, should be our collective goal, with new vocational programs instituted, so the next gen will have some kind of reasonable hope for gainful employment.

Voc prgs were mostly done away w/ starting in the 70's b/c many liberals thought our students were being "pigeon holed" and that every student should be "college bound". 

As stated above, I believe becoming a police officer, firefighter, nurse, etc., are all "honorable professions", as long as they are the students' and family choice AND that the students are not prevented from pursuing higher education IF that is their choice, and they have their own money to support it (which is NOT the sole responsibility of the gov).

"soft bigotry of low expectations"

I would say it was properly attributed to President Bush:


And it's hardly surprising that I would take your comment as intended for me, since it appeared right after my post, and the first words in your post were, "Yes, Zebra."

No Child Left Behind does not require a "B" average of anybody.  It requires students to perform "at grade level" in math and reading.  That's on a test.  Doesn't say anything about grades in classes.

And, funny, but you added the word, "all" to my response.  I suspect you inserted the "all" into night reader's response, too.  This sort of reminds me of the old saying that "All generalizations are false, including this one."

No, I don't think everyone should go to an Ivy League school, or even that everyone should go to college.  But just because some parents may be satisfied with their child graduating high school is not a good reason for saying that money spent on gifted children or AP courses is a waste.



You are incorect about that NCLB not requiring grading.  What do you think the API (academic performance index) is for?  And, for those not making the grade, what do you think AYP (adequate yearly progres) means?.  The numerical number assigned to the API does stand for something, and it's not a C and definitely not a D.

Zebra, are you on medications, because what ever you're taking you need to double it. 

I said that the Gates Foundation (you know Bill and Melinda) will subsidize our gifted kids now and throughout their entire academic careers, AND I said we needed them b/c they will hopefully find a cure for cancer and the andedote for AIDS.  What I don't need, and I said it,  was for us to graduate more politicians from public unversities. 

P.S. You do not have to be "argumentative for the "sake" of being argumentative when you don't understand something.  Nobody is grading you, certainly not me, and this is after all only a blog site.



First you call me a leftist.  Then you say I'm on medication.  Then you presume to know what I do and where I went to school.  THEN you say *I* should not be argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, and that *I* don't understand something?

Hey, guess what?  Just for the fun of it, I googled [api grades nclb].  The first hit from google explained the API scores here.

A brief excerpt:

"The API score summarizes the results of various indicators (i.e., statewide tests used in calculating the API). The 2006 Base API uses 2006 statewide test results and the 2007 Growth API uses 2007 statewide test results. Indicators used in calculating the 2006-07 API reporting cycle include. . . ."

It is then followed by a list of TESTS. No mention is made of grades anywhere.  As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!"

sighing back at you


Tell me you can't be that "clueless".  Ask a taacher, ANY teacher what the numerical API score means, THEN ask what happens if they do not meet an API score of 800 by the year 2008?  (dee dee dee)

sighing back at you

I see.  So we should take what you say the law means rather than what the California Department of Education says the law means.  Thanks for clearing that up.



LNCB or (Leave No Child Behind Law), is a mandated FEDERAL law (which passed w/ bipartisan support) and SUPERSEDES state law. The CA Dept of Ed has the task of carrying out LNCB w/ a grading system.  That grading system uses API and AYP, CA uses a numerical value, but that num value does ultimately indicate a letter grade, and a B avg must be met by 2008-09 or all schools risk losing fed dollars--GET IT NOW?


Why don't you just keep repeating the same false information without providing any evidence?  I'm sure people will be persuaded if you repeat it often enough.

Did you even read the link I attached? If not, for your convenience, it is repeated here, again:

  That's the California Department of Education explaining what the API is and how it's calculated.  They say it's based on test scores.  Since the California Department of Education is responsible for overseeing the implemention of the No Child Left Behind law in California (NCLB), while you are not, I tend to go with the Department of Education's explanation.

By the way, the law is No Child Left Behind.  If you can't even get the title of the law right, then you have to admit that your claim of expertise in the law's requirements are rather suspect.

Yes, NCLB is a federal law.  It mandates that states develop and require local school districts to administer annual testing of math and language skills for all elementary students (and one high school grade level).  Those tests are used to compute the API.  An API of 800 indicates students are reading at grade level.  If a district is performing below 800, it needs to show Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) towards getting the API up to 800.

One last time:  The API is calculated based upon test scores.  Letter grades assigned to students is not part of the API computation.  These are the facts.  If you have facts to refute this and post them, that's great.  We can continue this conversation.  If you're just going to keep ignoring the facts and keep calling me names, then I think our conversation on this matter is at an end.



Funny, how your previous post made no mention of NCLB, until I re-emphasized it to you.  And, trying to "inform" you is very "daunting", so forgive me if I had my acronyms transposed.

And since you are claiming to be so knowledgeable, what do YOU think "at grade level" or "proficiency" means?  Just passing, average, above average? 

If schools are given monetary incentives for not only reaching the benchmark of 800, but exceeding it to the highest numerical API value of 1000 API, than that benchmark of 800 must mean something more than just "passing at grade level"?

Of course, it might come down to semantics, but the term "at grade level" or "proficient", MUST be the same nationwide, and it is NOT average or passing, as most of us remember what "passing", "at grade level" or "proficient" meant.



Though I enjoy sparring with you at times, I sincerely wish you and your family a HAPPY THANKSVIING, as well as ALL of you on this BLOG.

Long Reply

I don't see there being any conflict between supporting students seeking higher education and efforts to reduce dropouts. In my opinion, aside from teachers' salaries to teach AP and honors classes, the expense is the same. The academic classes require books, but not much more. It's more about teaching the teachers about what it takes to get into Ivy schools, or the "public Ivies" like U Mich and UC Berkeley. Most teachers didn't go to the most elite schools, and probably think they're unreachable. I went to Berkeley, and know others who have, and met people up there who came up from MUSD, and people who have been to the Ivies. These top universities are within reach for MUSD students. For that matter, they're intellectually within reach for many people in LA who, for lack of money, think they can't go.

If more tried, more would get in.

If more got in, more of the kids coming after them would have expectations of being able to get in.

It's not even up to the parents' expectations. Most parents haven't set foot on one of these campuses. They may think it's impossible to go -- in fact, I bet most parents think this way. (That's just my limited experience.) The main actor is the student; it's up to the school to spread information about these top colleges, so that the kids can get this info, and develop high aspirations. It's also the school's job not to discourage the students by telling them to be "realistic" about their goals. They already have a little voice in their heads telling them that higher education is too expensive or too difficult. They may have parents telling them to stay close to home, or that girls don't need a college degree from UC, or that Cal State is fine for someone with straight A's, or that law school is too hard. There's no need for the policies of the district to contribute to these attitudes.

"Realistic" can be the enemy of "possible."

It was never realistic for Bill Clinton to go to Yale. His mom waited tables, and his brother was on the road to ruin. The "realistic" expectation was that GW Bush would go to Yale.

MUSD could send the next Bill Clinton to Yale. Given our demographics, we're never going to send the next GW Bush. That's something to contemplate. :-)

Again, the issue isn't low parental expectations, but low personal expectations. Parental expectations matter a lot, but, ultimately, the student must learn to balance those expectations with personal expectations.

The reason I think this way is due to an article I read in one of those "youth" papers they give away at the library. A kid from Baldwin Park wrote about how he wished he'd known more about college, earlier in his high school career, because he wanted to attend Yale. He made it to UC Irvine, which is a great school, but, it was a bittersweet accomplishment. His writing was great, his student resume was stellar, and his explanation was clear to me -- all it would have taken to get into the Ivies, was to get Ivies presented as a realistic possibility in middle school. Who's at fault? Well, he had the grace not to point an accusatory finger - so I'll do it: the school district was at fault.

My opinion's also informed by the many people I've met who are smart, self-starters, who seem to be able to crack open moderately complex books, and understand them, and intellectually break them down. They know history backwards and forwards. They're great strategists and tacticians. They're total intellectuals without even a B.A. Maybe they didn't get along with the teachers. Maybe their families were involved with gangs. Maybe they got into drugs and bad relationships. Maybe they had negative parents. Maybe they were social rejects. They all lacked enough money (but that's what loans are for). For whatever reasons, they ended up not pursuing higher education, or restricted their goals to the community colleges, and even rejected the idea of going to UC, when they could have done it.

It's better to try, and fail, than blah blah blah etc.

Even if you fail, at least you'll get to meet some of these "elite" people, and see that they aren't so big.

(I guess you could put me in the camp with people who allegedly caused voc-ed to be defunded in the 70s. I also support public higher education. Better education translates directly into a more flexible labor force, and also gives workers more leverage in negotiating wages. There's nothing wrong with being a cop or fire fighter with a degree. You need one to be an R.N.)

I'm all for reducing drop outs. According to this government page, Texas reports that poor grades was the fourth most common reason for dropping out. Above them were poor attendance, GED, and employment -- these all point to work as a motivator encouraging drop-outs. It could be that real-world "success" - the lure of money - is causing students to give up on academics. Reasons 5 to 7 were marriage and pregnancy issues. Reasons 8 and 10 point to discipline or inability to adjust to school.

It's food for thought.

Yup, that's explains allot


Night Reader, there has never been nor is there currently a policy at MUSD, El Monte Union or LAUSD that "discourages" our students from seeking out UC or ivy league--that is a flat out lie and you know it.

My family members have gone to USC, the Pasadena Art Center, Claremont and Loma Linda (full scholarships or partial scholarship w/ sexy dirty cash, little or no loans--BUT NONE will ever go to the Peoples' Republic of Berkley, not if they want to come home for Christmas! lol

Night Reader, Im glad for your "personal" gain and accomplishment; however, my "legacy " wants to ensure the other 40% of our minority students also have a life.

I'm also very selfish, I need the police officer to protect me from harm, the nurse to clean my butt when I'm old, our gifted kids (yes we we do have them) to discover the cure and antedote for cancer and AIDS.  But the ones with the expectations for a B.A. and M.A. in "history or art" who end up teaching our kids to hate America at Berkley--or worse becoming a politicians (I'm sure as hell NOT paying for that)

Yup, that's explains allot

I didn't say that the district discouraged going to UC or the Ivies. They encourage UC, but don't push the Ivies. I said that it's parents who discourage their kids. Evidently, you don't discourage your kids (except going to Berkeley), but I've met enough people who suffered because of their parents' active, passive, or unintentional discouragement.

Even the encouraging parents are going to be at a disadvantage, because they might think the most elite schools are unreachable, and teach this to their kids without intending it.

There's likely to be a lack of knowledge, on the part of teachers, about what it takes to get into the elite schools. So, they can be encouraging, but may not have the nitty gritty details that can help the ambitious students develop a strategy for getting to where they want.

There's also a lack of knowledge on the part of parents and students, about the existence of colleges. How many folks out here know about Brown, Princeton, U Penn, or Wellesley? Jeez. I barely know about them today. How can you know that you might want to go, if you haven't ever heard of them?

I speak from personal experience. When I was a clueless student looking for colleges, I'd never heard of Princeton. I hadn't even heard of Berkeley, because I wasn't into college football. University of Michigan. Oberlin. Oxford. New School. Columbia. All unknown. In fact, I didn't know about most of those schools until I went to college. In 9th grade, I recall being asked about college, and thinking that Cal Tech was part of the Cal State system, and the other options out here were UCLA and USC.

Did you or anyone know that if you make under $60,000, you probably qualify for free education at the Ivies? I just learned that (here, in a conservative essay). Does the district promulgate this info? That kid who wrote that inspiring article could have gone to Yale for free, except he did not knowing about Yale early enough to adjust his academic plans for high school.

Do any of us here know about the myriad ways to apply to UC, so that even if your grades aren't great, you can still manage to get in? I learned the tricks in college, a year after all the fine young people at the elite prep schools were told. Maybe this info could help someone out?

(By the way, UC Berkeley isn't as radical as it's reputation. It's the surrounding city that has a radical self-image, but a lot of it is just "image.")

Also, regarding the dropout situation. I don't know that much about it, except what I've read, and some anecdotes from a few dropouts. It seems to be under-researched, and also misunderstood. It looks like most dropouts are choosing between school, work, and family, and are not failing out of school.

Here's a clip from: http://educationalissues.suite101.com/article.cfm/dropouts_give_reasons

When 500 dropouts, ages 16-25, were interviewed, they gave many reasons for leaving school:

* 47% said classes were not interesting
* 43% missed too many days to catch up
* 45% entered high school poorly prepared by their earlier schooling
* 69% said they were not motivated to work hard
* 35% said they were failing
* 32% said they left to get a job
* 25% left to become parents
* 22% left to take care of a relative

Two-thirds said they would have tried harder if more was expected from them.
Only 35% were failing. 32% specifically said it was for work.

Of course, this wasn't MUSD. The reasons here probably differ.

I don't see how having the district *not* focus on college would cause money to be freed up to support whatever it might take to reduce dropout rates. The majority of reasons for dropping out have little to do with failing grades.

It seems like some of the people are making rational near-term decisions, based on their situation. If you have a child, school takes 6 hours out of your day. If you have a job, and need to make money for the family, school is 6 hours out of the day, without pay. If you have to take care of a relative, school is 6 hours you can't run errands.

These are bad decisions, but, nonetheless, rational if you don't have long-term goals that would require a decision to stay in school.

ok-but it sounds like you still take exception to

HS vocational programs, and that worries me b/c you sound like an educator or even a school board member.  Nonetheless, thankfully, there are private schools here like Don Bosco (which goes up to grade 14) and like it or not, two school districts (which I'm NOT going to mention the names of) are building new schools geared just towards vocational programs (Amen!).  Also, LNCB will eventually lead to Charter Schools, which will HAVE TO adjust their programs to benefit ALL stakeholders, not just the unions. 

Yeah, yeah, we all heard in our HS junior and senior year and in college about "deferred gratification",  BUT this is a new desperate time.  There are parents here raising 3 or more kids w/ each parent holding down 3, yes 3 minimal wage jobs.  In my generation, we didn't have the volume of illegal migration of today. 

So, so what if these new immigrants (or old immigrants for that matter) want to maintain cohesiveness in the family, wholesome family values, religious values, take pride in having large families, want to buy a house (the American Dream and expect the kids to chip in), if multigenerational members live in one household, or want their children to go into business with them?

This is what our community is mainly all about--and we need to "cherish" that fact as well.

You seem a little "fixated" on Ivy League (which traditionally meant East Coast colleges), but never mind.  That seems to have been YOUR goal, and the personal goal of most teachers I suspect, BUT clearly as an educator, if our students don't hold your same dreams and goals, you seem to come up empty handed. 

We need to do better. 

You know, one family started and own Panda Express.  Is that so bad? Maybe some of their family members went to college, maybe none did. 

There is an Asian proverbs--all our ten fingers are not exactly the same for a reason, to remind us that people aren't either (or something like that). 

Panda Express founders graduated from Mizzou

FYI:  Peggy and Andrew Cherng are the founders of Panda.  They both graduated with masters degrees from the University of Missouri.  Peggy has a PhD.  They're engineers, by training:


. . . which goes to show that the value of a college education is not just in the specific skills you learn, but also in terms of critical thinking, logic, problem solving, etc.

and andrew's father

Master Chef Robert Cherng, on whom's recipes the company was founded on.  Zebra, we can go on and on and on and on and on and on about "Asian success stories", which is almost a cliche ad nauseum at this point.  But, how can one tout one group's personal success stories, when others around us, or next door to us, are flunking out at 40% and are hungry, maybe almost homeless?  Yes, one certain group might have qualities of being "clever, motivated, value education at the point of suicide (yes, I have heard horror stories), but what happened to understanding and generosity? Is this a "winner takes all attitude"?  All my blogs above point to the fact that I have taken a position as a "stakeholder" in my school district and support NCLB.

and andrew's father

I was not talking about "Asian success stories," per se.  I was responding specifically to your comment that, "You know, one family started and own Panda Express.  Is that so bad? Maybe some of their family members went to college, maybe none did."

It seemed to me you were implying that you could become fabulous wealthy without having to go to college.  Fair enough--it's possible.  Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are examples of that.  But your example does not illustrate this point.  Your example illustrates exactly the opposite:  The folks who made Panda a success DID have to go to college and did get advanced degrees.  If all they had was the vocational knowledge, then they'd be cooks in a restaurant like Panda Express and not the owners/CEOs.

and andrew's father

Dear Zebra,

This is what I said in a previous post, AND I was referring to family cohesiveness and family values.

.....["So, so what if these new immigrants (or old immigrants for that matter) want to maintain cohesiveness in the family, wholesome family values, religious values, take pride in having large families, wanting to buy a home (the American Dream and expect the kids to chip in), if multigenerational members live in one household, or want their children to go into business with them? This is what our community is mainly all about--and we need to "cherish" that fact as well"]....

BTW, I don't mind being "doubled team" by both night rider and zebra.  It is me and my family members who went to PRIVATE colleges (and where religious studies were required and NOT ridiculed), NOT public ones.  And, while teaching is a noble profession, it is still a GOVERNMENT JOB--not a Fortune 500.

and andrew's father

>If all they had was the vocational knowledge, then they'd be cooks in a restaurant like Panda Express and not the owners/CEOs.

Well, this isn't true if you're already rich to start out. Odds are, combined with the success of Panda Express, their degrees, savings, social connections, and other "human capital" assets made it a lot easier for them to get additional money to fund expansion.

The quality of the recipes isn't what makes a big chain restaurant successful. It's a necessary component... but great recipies are everywhere, especially in LA. A lot of mediocre food joints expand and dominate a market, because they have better access to capital. That seems to be what sets Panda apart -- after all, their food is similar to a lot of mom-and-pop Chinese-American restaurants. Panda had the "vision" and the access to capital to expand at a rate that no others could.

Late reply

Sorry this is so late, but work and the holidays have me pretty busy. It's kept me away from a detailed reply.

I don't know that much about vocational programs, and my limited knowledge is from taking a couple voc-ed classes a long time ago. I didn't know they were being phased out. They still existed in the late 80s, and were somewhat lightly attended.

So, I don't have anything against them, or much to say in favor of them.

Ideally, voc-ed kids would get some mastery over the 3-Rs, and some managerial skills, so they could choose to do different things at work. I think, just like the situation with the Ivies, a lot of kids need to be told about possible career paths.... or the very idea of a career path. Thinking in terms of a career is so different from just taking jobs. (Heck, *I* didn't really understand the idea of a career path until college. Back then, nobody in my family seemed to have a "career." They had "jobs.")

I guess, from the other posts, you can say that Panda is an example of getting over-educated. Extra education gives you an edge, because you have more work options, and you also are likely to be able to use one job to save up money to pursue the other venture.

I agree about the labor situation today for poor people. It stinks. And it's better in LA than other cities. It's easy to blame illegals, but I think there's been a series of huge economic shifts, like the end of the Cold War, NAFTA/FTAA, free trade with Asia, education cutbacks, corporate consolidation, outsourcing, and a shift away from agriculture that have affected people a lot more.

Like the story of Panda's founder, we've gone from engineering things, to serving each other food.

(BTW, I didn't have Ivies as a major goal, back in the past, because I never really understood what they were. Today, they seem more accessible for graduate education.)


night reader, your gen had the highest default on student loans 22-30% in the 80's, its now down to 5%

Well, the interest rates were higher...

See: http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2003/09/09162003.html

ed.gov says they peaked in 1990 when I was in. The interest rate was 9%. We had also coming out of a period of high inflation and high interest rates, so people may have borrowed more, to pay expenses, and found themselves entering a period where interest rates dropped, and they were paying a higher, fixed rate. So the future looked more expensive than expected (because the principal doesn't decline in value as fast). Also, credit rules were relaxing, and personal credit was more available than before. That probably made defaulting on a loan seem like a good idea. They sacrificed their credit ratings to get cash for living.

In 2003, it was less than 4%.

Also, there's a growing income gap between the college grads and everyone else (aka, the vanishing middle class), so for some people, the payments aren't so onerous because their income, or expected future income, is higher. So it makes sense to keep paying, to keep a good credit rating for large capital purchases, like a house.

Personally, I took on a few loans, but not for very much, and payed them off in a few years. I got some help from parents, and worked a lot, and lived in low-income neighborhoods. I'm debt-phobic.