The speech I had wanted to give at the Acalanes Union High School Board meeting February 9:
My name is Peter Zoll and I am the parent of two Miramonte graduates. I am speaking on behalf of several colleagues
who are proud to be parents and grandparents of a total of thirteen Acalanes High School District graduates.
Last summer economic models in our DEEDS ABIDE software suite suggested Acalanes, rather than firing an
estimated forty teachers, should instead hire sixty-four more teachers. DEEDS ABIDE also claimed that we were in a
recession in October 2007 and that the current economic situation in the United States in particular, and in most of the
world in general, closely resembles England in 1940. Nearly six months ago we wrote that the TARP bailout tactics
were doomed to fail and we have low expectations for the current ideas.
Louis Augustin Cauchy, for whom DEEDS ABIDE is named, pointed out that any third-rate mathematician could
identify a problem. Stung by that, we spent a great deal of time and computer resources determining that a
strategy of building up schools will be a cheaper and far more effective lever to lift property values and production.
On May 10th 1940 German troops invaded Holland. Matters went poorly for the Allied forces, but between May 26 and
June 4 nearly 200,000 British and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Knowing France would
surrender in days, on June 18 in London the English Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, said to the House of
Commons, “The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin …”. As it was, England had no
money. And nobody to borrow from. And nowhere to go. And no time. No more help was coming. Britain would
have to stand alone. Just like Acalanes.
There about 1200 public high schools in California with more than 1.8 million enrolled students and more than 75,000
full-time equivalent teachers. In Contra Costa County there are 25 other public high schools with an enrollment
(Acalanes excluded) of almost 43,000 students and almost 2000 teachers. There are also almost 5,000 students enrolled
in private high schools.
In 1940 the German strategic objective was air superiority over southern Britain in order to facilitate marine landings
and parachute drops. The two air forces contesting initially consisted of, among others, 1500 German fighter planes
opposed by 900 British. In fact, German military planners expected a decisive victory within four days. It was
commonly believed in Berlin that Britain would then agree to an armistice, and that a full-scale invasion would not be
needed. American military estimates assessed Britain’s chances as less than one in seven. Churchill closed his speech
with “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its
Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’