Berkeleysider and graphic designer Diana Howard attended the Berkeley High School graduation at the Greek Theatre on Friday. She was there to see her mentee graduate.

She writes: “Here’s a sketch of what I could see from the nosebleed (lawn) ‘seat’ I was in. No one up there could understand anything they were saying because all the speakers, in their undoubted enthusiasm, yelled into the microphones and the echos were dreadful. It was sweet to see all the families come out for their graduates. Hot climbing all those stairs, then cold as the fog inevitably rolled in.”

See Howard’s previous Berkeley sketches.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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18 Comments

  1. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear: 

    What the courts will have to remedy is the education system being dismantled by attempts to solve social problems far beyond its scope and resources. The “achievement gap” is a marketing term for funding attempts to correct the failure of families to adequately instill the value of education in their children and to take an active part in encouraging and assisting their children to succeed in school. This analytic perspective was first presented by UC Berkeley Prof John U. Ogbu, see:

    http://www.hepg.org/her/abstract/38

    …in particular the last paragraph of the section titled “Community Forces”

  2. and all of you are the most ungrateful people on the internet. you could be the emperor of the world, and you would still want mars.

  3. lol…look at the pretentious parents with their amazing sense of entitlement complain about…well, everything.

  4. What solution through the courts?  Is there a case pending?  How would such a case be structured?  As far as I know, public school students are entitled to a free, public education.  Not the “best free public education available”.  

    As far as the Vision 2020 is concerned, anyone who thinks that you can solve this issue by working with high school students is dreaming or misinformed.  The only place such aggressive changes will make a significant difference is in elementary school.  The focus should begin there, follow through to the middle schools, and bring students ready for the rigor of Berkeley High.  

  5. Given your forthright description of the problem, which I sincerely agree with, I did mistake your observation for a rationalization.  

    The remedy to Slemp’s poisonous legacy will be had through the courts, the incumbent school board and BHS administration lacks the will and determination.

  6. Given your forthright description of the problem, which I sincerely agree with, I did mistake your observation for a rationalization.  

    The remedy to Slemp’s poisonous legacy will be had through the courts, the incumbent school board and BHS administration lacks the will and determination.

  7. the achievement gap; the well-meaning but mostly ineffective efforts to bring everybody up to a higher standard (i.e. the Slemp era); the unstated but very real counter-measure which is to underplay the awards and accomplishments of the top performers (BHS refusal to rank students, etc.) lest it shine a light on the achievement gap.

  8. “I’m fully aware of the problem and don’t condone it.”

    Precisely which “problem” (that you don’t condone) are you referring to?

  9. Kindly do not conflate observation with rationalization. After eight consecutive years as a BHS parent – most recently, of an ELC achiever – I’m fully aware of the problem and don’t condone it.

  10. Punaise writes “It’s a cross-cultural celebration”

    yes, you are right that the style and emphasis of BHS graduation builds on their traditions.

    I think the performance linked below illustrates well the particular politicized style of multiculturalism that in 2011 is looking  tired, arrogant and provincial. At a time when black intellectuals Loury and McWorther agree that racial identity politics are irrelevant,  BHS continues pretending  they are “special” compared to rest of country.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syNZb1Kqkwc
    graduate spoken word performance as she states explaining to outsiders what Berkeley is.

     

  11. “Yes, many high-achieving students were not highlighted, but they and there families know what they have accomplished. Maybe BHS feels compelled to downplay the academic achievement gap..”

    That is the most pathetic and dangerous rationalization for the “lowest common denominator” tripe which BHS (East Bay High) and BUSD are forcing on our children.

  12.  @woolly:

    So sorry to hear your were subjected to such unacceptable treatment. It confirms that we made the right decision by inviting my mobility-reduced octogenarian parents to the smaller AC ceremony at the Community Theater the preceding week (although the theater has nothing you could really characterize as wheelchair accessible seating, other that a small platform at the outer reaches of the uppermost pow of seating. that’s a whole different subject).

    @libra : it was indeed a pretty raucous event, but that seems to be a BHS tradition. Some families really get into vocalizing their excitement; the only regrettable aspect of that is that they sometimes drown out the names of those who follow. It’s a cross-cultural celebration.
    Scuderi intervened only when he had to. Yes, some onstage attention-grabbing antics were over the top, and the water-spraying was uncalled for. Yes, many high-achieving students were not highlighted, but they and there families know what they have accomplished. Maybe BHS feels compelled to downplay the academic achievement gap. In any case, congratulations to ALL graduates.

    Note to organizers: skip the water bottles next time….

  13. Agreed on all points.  In addition to the juvenile antics and deafening sound reinforcement, some of us were treated to a singularly tone-deaf experience…
    Berkeley High had arranged to shuttle guests from the high school to The Greek.  Poeple with disabled tickets were asked to arrive early.  We arrived at BHS at 4 pm, with an hour and a half to spare.  It took two hours until our shuttle actually arrived at graduation, at 6 pm.  The ceremony had started at 5:30pm.  At the Greek, my mother fell out of the bus onto the pavement, because the bus had to park tilted on a slope, and its last stair step became 12 inches high.  Then we were held at the gate for 15 minutes for the Senior Procession.  Inside the pavilion, there were no seats available for us.  Instead, my mother with a walker, my mother-in-law with a cane, and I, who am legally blind, had to wait an additional 20 minutes for someone to unlock the folding chairs in a wheelchair flat.  We finally sat down at 6:35pm.  We left to go home a few minutes early, and the driver of the disabled bus (which was already full) said that they were going to send someone else for the assembled crowd.  Fifteen minutes later, a mini-bus arrived with space for only 8 people and 2 wheelchairs, whereas we had about 30 disabled people waiting, with several wheelchairs and walkers.  They said they would send the other bus back for us.  We waited over 1.5 hours!  In the cold.  First the cops all left.  Then BHS security left.  Then they moved out the plants.  Really?  Plant transportation first?  Then they moved out the sound equipment.  There was no more traffic.  Just 11 disabled people and one able bodied attendant on a steep, sloping driveway.  We were considering calling 911 because we thought that no one knew that we were still there.  We had no contact person and no way to reach staff.  The only people left were movers.  Someone who worked there mercifully called transportation, eventually.  A small bus returned, again with room for 10. Appalling does not begin to describe this.  In no way does this meet the requirements of the ADA law.  NO WAY!  Nothing about this event worked for the disabled people who were treated like livestock.

  14. Although much of the entrainment program was amusing, the unconscionable absence of recognition for the many remarkable BHS academic achievers was a sad, sad comment on the direction of East Bay High and BUSD.

    There was time for a shout out from a security guard, but no time to recognize the kids admitted Harvard, Columbia,Yale, UC?

    The was time to lavish praise on the triumph of a young girl and her social entitlements over teenage pregnancy, but nothing about science and publishing awards.

    And poor Scuderi didn’t have the stones to take the beach balls from the kids, even when they dominated the on stage performances.

    I suppose kids pulling antics while walking the stage are an accepted part of high school graduations, but ripping off your gown for a bump and grind in your underwear seems a stretch…if you hadn’t heard the massive applause.

    This graduation turned water fight and lewd joke should cost a few board seats.