Thursday, December 25, 2014

Even Dr. Seuss couldn’t figure this one out


From page A2 | October 09, 2012 |

MOM BATTLES SCHOOL, WINS … thank goodness we have folks in town like my friend Tawny, who won’t take “no” for an answer from a Davis High School official when she knows the law is on her side … turns out Tawny was seeking an “excused absence” for her high school son, who was performing in the recent “Seussical” at the Davis Musical Theatre Company … furthermore, the audience for the performance was to be made up entirely of public school students …

According to California State Education Code Section 48225.5, “A student shall be excused from school to participate with a not-for-profit performing arts organization in a performance for a public school pupil audience for a maximum of up to five days per school year …” and so on … turns out DHS officials denied Tawny’s request for an excused absence for her son, leading her to write to them and various school board members that “I don’t understand how it can be policy that my child is not excused. He is participating with a not-for-profit performing arts organization in a performance for an audience of public school pupils. This matches the wording of the above attendance exception of the California Education Code exactly, so I do not understand how it can be the interpretation of the Davis School District that this only applies to performances for school assemblies.” …

After a bit of back and forth, not to mention intervention by one or more board members, Tawny won, but one wonders how and why this mistake was made in the first place … and suppose Tawny hadn’t raised a hand in protest? …

SPEAKING OF THE EDUCATION CODE … I’m not sure why Section 48225.5 (see above) allows for an excused absence only if the audience is composed of public school students … given that it’s the actor — not the audience — who is being excused for this activity, what difference does it make if the audience is made up of public school students, private school students or members of the local Rotary Club? … if the activity itself is worthy of an excused absence, the composition of the audience is largely irrelevant …

As it stands now, a kid can be excused if he’s performing for fourth-graders at North Davis Elementary, but not if he’s performing the exact same play for fourth-graders at St. James Elementary … makes no sense … aren’t all those kids equally capable of learning from such a performance? …

LOCAL IS AS LOCAL DOES … because we live smack in the middle of the most productive farmland in the world, combined with a climate that allows us to grow dozens and dozens of different crops, it’s easy for us to proclaim ourselves as “local” consumers and push the concept on the rest of the world … grocery stores have jumped head-first into the movement, trying to “out-local” each other with every full-page ad … our good friends at Nugget even have a cute little tractor logo with the words “LOCAL (within 100 miles)” that they run next to various products …

For example, San Francisco Bay K-Cup Coffee gets the “local” designation, apparently because of all those Bay Area coffee plantations on the tropical slopes of Nob Hill … another “local” designee is Blue Diamond Almonds, which very simply has the best flavored nuts in the world … but isn’t this the same Blue Diamond that ships almonds all over the planet? … I mean, doesn’t this farm to fork stuff go both ways? (Or, in the case of almonds, farm to finger) …

Are the processed, canned and exquisitely seasoned “Smokehouse” almonds I buy at Nugget really any fresher or more nutritious than the ones I might buy in Kansas City? … or Tokyo? … and if Blue Diamond really believes in all this “local” stuff, why is it shipping almonds so far from home?

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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