Sam Kumar Addresses His Comments About Wilcox High Math Scores

By Srinivasan Sambathkumar

Karen Hardy wants kudos for Wilcox having a slightly better math test pass rate than Santa Clara High.

There’s a Shania Twain song relevant to this conversation titled “That don’t impress me much.”

In football Wilcox does not compare itself to Santa Clara High, instead choosing to set the aim of its football team to that of Bay Area powerhouse football schools.  Why not do the same in mathematics? This is needed especially for the many District 3 kids who are falling through the cracks.

Milpitas High School: 58% passed the math exam;

Homestead High School: 71% passed the math exam;

Cupertino High School: 79% passed the math exam;

Lynbrook High School: 90% passed the math exam;

Monta Vista High School: 90% passed the math exam.

At Wilcox just 44% passed the math exam. I’m deeply concerned about the future of other 56%. My simple question to Karen is, who is responsible for this low achievement gap? Year over year trend is not looking good also.  What is the plan to reverse the trend?

I am running for City Council to inspire positive change in quality of life for the working families of District 3, not to continue the status quo.  This is a serious issue for residence of Dist. 3 and it’s having impact on their quality of life.

Citing publicly-available statistics is not negative campaigning.  Karen inappropriately impugns my honor.

We can do better in District 3 – in academics, in removing graffiti, in cleaning up illegal dumping, and thus improving quality of life.

Karen rudely laughed at my suggestion for homework centers during the LWV candidate debate.  She said “the City Council has nothing to do with schools,” suggested her students are not “motivated” and said I said should have run for school board instead of City Council.

Whatever.

I could call Karen defensive and short-sighted and bitter. I will conclude by saying we have different priorities.

And, I will focus on the future of quality of life for District 3 – for kids, for seniors, for working families.  I ask our neighbors of District 3 for their support and votes.

9 comments

  1. As a District 3 resident, I was happy when the judge created districts because those of us who live in District 3 have never had any representation on the council, and we have had an enormous amount of development go in along El Camino, Lawrence Expy, and Monroe without any concern by council members about the traffic and parking problems it’s created (and people speeding through neighborhoods to get away from traffic jams on clogged major streets.)
    Having lived in Santa Clara for many years, I’ve never seen the level of negative campaigning by a council candidate that we’ve seen from Sam Kumar. We received a disgusting postcard from him, blaming Karen Hardy (through pictures) for damaged signage on El Camino (the site of a fire last year), an adult bookstore, graffiti covered buildings, and junk piled up in the streets. Those photos were not taken in District 3! They were taken in areas surrounding District 3, and just because Ms. Hardy was on planning commission some years ago does not make her responsible for any of that! If Sam Kumar received a reduced rate on his ballot statement through the City of Santa Clara, then he had to agree to the conditions of no negative campaigning (no personal attacks.) If this is the case, then the City should charge him for the full price of his ballot statement, because he did not stick within the agreement to not make personal attacks on other candidates.
    City Council races are supposed to be non-partisan, yet we received a letter from Sam Kumar and the Democratic Party County Chair, Bill James, which was also negative campaigning. Partisanship has no place in our city council races. (We have enough of that at the federal level!) Note that Sam Kumar has made a huge loan to his campaign (greater than $25,000), so he is personally approving and paying for these negative pieces of mail coming into our homes. He cannot argue that the negative attack mail pieces are the work of an independent expenditure committee.
    Ms. Hardy was the leader of the group which fought having gambling come in to Santa Clara in 1992 (we voted down gambling which the city council had put on the ballot.) She will always do what is right for the people here, and will be independent of special interests. Her vote cannot be bought by campaign donors. She is ethical, and as a math teacher will understand the numerical information presented to the council.
    My family and I all voted for Karen Hardy, and I encourage all other voters in District 3 to also vote for her.

  2. Mr Sambathkumar should just concede now. How can you even think to run when you don’t even live here. Your focus should be on the WHOLE city not just district 3 Splitting the city into districts was supposed to foster diversity and yes you are of an ethnic group so that works right. It was not meant to create fiefdoms where you or whoever is elected lords over the residents within the boundaries. Get out now while you’re still ahead and run for the council in the city you actually live in

  3. Sam, let’s take a look at the history of your campaign:

    • You pulled papers to run for office on the day you registered to vote in District 3.
    * You admitted to only living Santa Clara on the weekends while cameras were rolling. Evidence from public records supports this admission.
    * You’ve had two city council members walk back their endorsements of you because of your campaign rhetoric.
    • You’ve attacked a much loved and highly dedicated teacher. Hint: attacking teachers is almost always a bad idea. Attacking an excellent teacher is a really bad idea.

    I have a suggestion for you. Stop talking.

    • Mr Srinivasan Sambathkumar should not just stop talking he should stop running. There are many questions that have not been answered truthfully. He has never answered how long he has lived in District 3 yet the evidence is there to support about a week. He even stated that is only weekends he lives here.

      Many of us in Santa Clara are confused why he would attack a teacher who is highly respected in our community and well known. Ms Hardy has given ‘freely’ hours to students that need assistance, guidance and care. We live in a bedroom community and we should be praising teachers like her. Perhaps the award she received from her own school last year is an indicator of how respected she is in her own community.

      If her opponent really knew the district, the city and the residents he would be supporting Mrs Hardy and backing her and not running against her.

      It appears from what I have seen Sambathkumar cannot attack Ms Hardy for anything and had to create a campaign based off a math score and is trying to blame Ms Hardy for all math scores in Santa Clara School district. Send this candidate back to FREMONT where he came from, after all they have a better school district there, isn’t that why he lived there? Because he believed in their school district?

      My fear is we will have him as a council person and no way to get him off council (look at Kolstad that fake is still there) – he is a fake candidate and does not have our city at heart, who is backing him? Who is behind him? what special interest? Is this what we call the Santa Clara way?

  4. As a teacher, I find your attacks on Karen Hardy offensive, and your policy prescriptions demonstrate a totally naive understanding of the realities of education, as other commenters here have pointed out. Your decision to run a negative campaign instead of focusing on your own ideas and qualifications speaks volumes about you. I hope this is your first and last foray into public life.

  5. It sounds like Srinivasan Sambathkumar has never really worked as an educator/teacher. Nor does it sound like he understands the basic structure of how the SCUSD and most school districts work. A major clue is that homework centers would work for the student body as a whole. The students who would most often use those centers are likely already high achieving or already involved in additional structured learning programs. There is no need for a separate and distinct “Learning Center” if easily accessible tutoring is offered at every school. Not only would is barely address what often are the primary reasons why gaps in education happen, it would also waste funds on something a majority of students would likely not benefit directly from. Finding ways to engage parents and holding them more responsible for their children’s educational success would be greatly more beneficial for all and it would also address arguably the largest determiner of how well a student performs. Expanding alternative educational opportunities like vocational programing, strengthening ESL courses, and finding ways to keep students interested are all things that would likely see much stronger positive results.

    To be clear, I am all for brainstorming new and creative ways that may help students learn. In this circumstance however, its clear Srinivasan Sambathkumaron is ignorant on the the subject and his critique is sloppy. Considering the damage the comments may bring to credibility with employees of SCUSD, especially other math teachers at Wilcox and Santa Clara High School, it likely could do more harm than any good.

    Instead of focusing on critiquing the teachers at both schools, maybe more time should be spent trying to create an educational platform that is informed and credible!

    -AJ Green

  6. Suds, thank you for engaging with this discussion.

    What is important here is that Karen stated publicly her belief that the City Council has NOTHING to do with the schools. I believe that the community does have responsibility to address community needs of students.

    As a high school teacher It has not been Karen’s personal responsibility to fix the lives of every student who lives in the City borders of Santa Clara. But she is not running for high school teacher. She is running for City Council. I believe it is the duty of City Council members to address the needs of our community’s children.

    If our community’s public school 11th graders demonstrate low math proficiency, then it absolutely is the responsibility of the City Council to co-address thissamk issue, along with business leaders and other engaged people.

    Suds may be correct that math non-proficiency starts at the lower grades. My proposal for City-led homework centers addresses this concern head on. As a City Councilmember I will fight for the children of District 3. The resources we provide them now will pay off in better employability and future self-confidence for our local kids.

    – Srinivasan Sambathkumar

    • Give it up Sam … you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about in Santa Clara politics and every time you attempt to clarify yourself, you just keep digging yourself into a deeper hole!

      Mrs. Hardy is 100% correct in correcting, you and, your ignorance of what a council member’s role is …. the City Government is totally independent and separated from each and every school district that has students in the City of Santa Clara. BTW! aa Do you even know how many school districts are in Santa Clara and can you name them? And recite all their test scores too? Go ahead, give it a try and no cheating (by you or any other mouthpiece, do it all by yourself)! They are all separate entities funded by their separate tax bases and managed by their own board of trustees. Schools and test scores are NOT a responsibility of the City of Santa Clara. Period. Get over it!

      Don’t know who talked you into running against Mrs. Hardy, but I hope you have been well compensated … especially when all the illegal voting you’ve done is handled. Shame on you — the Secretary of State should be in touch with you contact soon. Shame on you!

      You should be spending your time cleaning up your rat-infested restaurant and taking care of all your health-code violations and stop trying to kill & poison your restaurant patrons with bad (dangerous) food handling. The Santa Clara County Health Department inspections sure are telling and very, very eye-popping … how many times have they shut you down? Has it been three or four or more? Because of all your health-code violations .,, so bad that you wouldn’t even be allowed to stay open for another moment.– shut down immediately by the inspector. Go take care of your own business and stay out of politics .,, maybe you know more about a restaurant …. maybe? Cause you are clueless about politics and are going to loose big time.

  7. Mr. Kumar doesn’t seem to understand how little influence the City Council has on the operations, curriculum, hiring, and training at schools in Santa Clara. By stating these statistics, he is implying that Karen Hardy is responsible for the math scores. Besides homework centers, he hasn’t brought forward any innovative solutions. I venture that he hasn’t even spoken with the superintendent at SCUSD nor the superintendents of other school districts to see which programs are most effective. Having taught algebra for two years, I can say that poor math scores in high school are probably the result of ill-prepared students entering high school — it’s hard to learn algebra if you don’t know how to manipulate fractions. I coach the Wilcox robotics team with Karen Hardy and it’s hard to find a teacher as dedicated to her students. — Suds Jain

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