This blog will be devoted to discussing educational issues affecting the San Mateo, California area, but, if it provides information and inspiration to those in other locations, so much the better! Local parents should be able to use the information on this site to navigate our educational system successfully, saving themselves and their children the grief of repeating mistakes already made by others.
It is my firm belief that if everyone takes care of their own backyard, the world will be a much better place. Too often, people feel overwhelmed by the constant barrage of global crises in the daily news. They retreat into passivity instead of being engaged in their community. This is a mistake; productive change is possible if we focus on issues that are within our power to address.
Parents often do not have the expertise to address a problem with their local schools; they know that something is wrong, but do not know how to fix it. Sometimes they are concerned about possible retaliation against their children if they speak up!
I started this blog because I have the unique background, academic knowledge, and most importantly, independence to help address educational problems. I have lobbied local officials effectively on behalf of my students.
I am also concerned about the U.S.A. maintaining a leading position in science, engineering, and mathematics, so the prevailing educational trends in our country are worrisome. Though this is a BIG problem, I took personal steps to be part of the solution instead of simply complaining about it!
After a long career in research and industry, I tried, starting in 2010, to become a full-time teacher, but due to school district budget problems following the financial crisis and my lack of seniority in the teaching profession, this was not to be. See this article for details.
For the last four years, I have worked part-time during my retirement to tutor local high school students in physics, mathematics up through multivariable calculus, and chemistry.
To address specific educational challenges affecting our city, I also began writing articles for local neighborhoods on Nextdoor.com. An archive of these earlier articles is available at my tutoring website.
Demand for access to these articles and the ability to discuss them expanded to other parts of San Mateo and adjoining cities, so I am moving from Nextdoor, which has restricted geographical reach, to this WordPress blogging site.
Discussions on this site will be moderated. I am a big believer in considered, rational debate, but am not a fan of our current cultural trends towards name calling and other invective. There have also been occasional unfortunate and uncivil displays of behavior at some local school district meetings. Posts of that nature will not be allowed here. I will typically review comments for posting each morning, so if you miss this window, please be patient until the following day. Sorry, but this will not be a site for instant gratification ;-)!
I will also be sending out short notes about education news, articles of interest, and new posts on this blog via my Twitter feed at @kristutoring.
Note: although my small one-person tutoring company, Kristofferson Tutoring, is sponsoring this blog, please note that I am NOT soliciting new students here. That is not the purpose of this site. I get more business than I can handle each year from referrals, and my tutoring schedule is usually full for the next school year by May or June.
My primary mission will remain the education of my students, but every year while teaching them, I see recurring problems with the educational system that need to be addressed. The purpose of this site is to take action for the benefit of not only my students, but all others in the San Mateo area. If we can make progress, perhaps we can also serve as a model to help other locations across our country.
I welcome your participation and hope that you find this forum to be of use! Please note that you do not have to have children in local public schools to participate. Public education is the lifeblood of our democracy. The graduates of our schools go on to become our neighbors, co-workers, doctors, teachers, firefighters, AND voters. If they do not receive a good education, it will affect everyone here, so, if you care about your community, this site is the place for you!
David Kristofferson, Ph.D.