Palm Lane Elementary Parents To Turn In Petition For Charter School Conversion Next Week

This just came over the transom from the Center for Parent Empowerment:

Anaheim Parents Trigger Historic School Transformation File Petitions to Restart Palm Lane Elementary School

Parents announce filing of Parent Empowerment Act petitions to trigger school transformation; will lead official delegation to file school petitions at District headquarters, school; celebratory press conference to follow

Anaheim, CA: Parents at Palm Lane Elementary School in Anaheim, CA will officially file petitions on Wednesday, January 14th, to trigger a restart of their school utilizing California’s historic Parent Empowerment Act, the “Parent Trigger” provision. Palm Lane Elementary has been identified by the California Department of Education as an underperforming school since 2003, posting an anemic 746 Academic Performance Index, dropping 33 API points in the last three years. Student testing results indicate that 60% of 5th graders are below basic levels of proficiency in mathematics, while 63% are below basic levels of proficiency in English Language Arts.

The filing of Parent Trigger petitions at the Anaheim City School District represents the first set of parents in Orange County to utilize the Parent Trigger Law. Parents in other California cities, including Compton, Adelanto, and Los Angeles have made previous efforts.

Cecilia, a Palm Lane parent leader and petitioner, stated “the Anaheim school district keeps telling us the school is doing well but the state data tells us a different story. More importantly, we see the deficiencies in our children’s academic performance: they come home without homework, without being able to read, write, and perform basic math. We don’t see any evidence that our kids are exposed to science, history, health, art, and a complete absence of kids being taught visual and performance arts. This subject matter is required per state standards. It’s not fair. The staff of Palm Lane, the superintendent, and board members have done everything in their power to ignore, discourage and scare us away from living the American Dream. Why do they want to take that away from our children?”

Accompanying the parents in the filing of petitions and celebratory press conference will be Senator Gloria Romero (Ret.) who authored the 2010 historic law and subsequently founded the California Center for Parent Empowerment, which has provided support for the Palm Lane parents; newly elected Orange County Assembly member Young Kim; and Arturo Garcia, District Representative for Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff.

“Here, in the shadow of Disneyland with its promise that dreams that can come true, these parents have organized to truly become the architects of their children’s educational futures. I am proud to stand with these parents as they make history today”, Romero said.

“Providing a quality education for our children is one of the most important tasks of state government. I’m proud to stand with the parents of Palm Lane Elementary School in their fight to ensure that their children receive the quality education that they deserve,” stated Assembly member Kim.

Maggie, another Palm Lane parent petitioner, added “Despite the fact that school officials made many attempts to discourage us and numerous violations against the Parent Empowerment Act, we were committed and always encouraged to continue to fight for a better future for our children. We are grateful to all who stood with us and who are genuinely concerned about our children. Sadly, the district only cares about adult needs and about keeping the status quo alive. It is our hope that parents everywhere will follow our lead and seek a better education for their children”.

Parents began mobilizing prior to the start of the current school year to obtain the signatures needed to initiate a restart model for Palm Lane. Under the Parent Empowerment Act, a restart model will enable the parents to transform the school into a publicly funded, independent charter school. Parents have far exceeded the threshold of signatures needed—50% plus one—to file restart petitions, collecting an estimated 60% of signatures needed to qualify under California’s historic 2010 law, which granted parents the right to transform their own schools. Palm Lane has been designated as chronically underperforming since it was first identified in need of “Program Improvement” in 2003—12 years ago.

Anaheim City schools were even cited in a landmark civil rights voting rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Anaheim, claiming that the chronic underperformance of Anaheim schools contributed to the political disenfranchisement of Latinos, particularly, in Anaheim.

Both the California Center for Parent Empowerment and organizers from Excellent Educational Solutions provided support for parents understanding and exercising their rights under the law.


  1. As a former employee for ACSD, and PL, I have to point out that these parents are forgetting that we sent homework, which which was unreturned. We worked late into the night to come up with ways to help students, only to see a 40% attendance at things like Back to School Night. It’s a two part issue. Teachers working hard, and parents holding kids accountable and partnering with the school. The PL teachers that I knew, loved these kids, and it showed. These teachers completed training after training, putting their own kids aside to help these kids because they were passionate about teaching. Granted there were a handful of parents who were committed to their children’s academic success, but these teachers were being asked to plug so many holes. This Charter will take twhom they feel to be the brightest and best from all over the county. I hope our students get in, otherwise, it’s more reshuffling of an already transient community. Too bad.

    • The portrayal of PL teachers as people who want to keep kids from living the American dream, is both absurd and damaging. This is a community issue, not a teacher issue.

  2. This is sad time in education. I have been an educator for 22 years and while I agree there are teachers who do not belong in the classroom the majority of teachers give more than 100%. While teachers give more than 100% the return of homework that I have received from students is at most 30%. The discipline issues stemming from disregard of authority to cheating have more than doubled. Before such measures are taken I believe that parents need to be held accountable for their children not learning and outright disrespect for teachers.On many occasions I have sent papers home to be signed by PARENTS and I never got them back. PARENTS START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CHILD OR DON’T HAVE THEM. YOUR CHILD’S FAILURE TO LEARN BEGINS AT HOME NOT IN THE CLASSROOM. THIS ISSUE IS BEING FUELED BY GREEDY COOPERATE PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. MY QUESTION TO YOU IS WHO WILL YOU BLAME WHEN THE CHARTER SCHOOLS FAIL AND YOUR CHILD STILL CAN’T READ OR WRITE

    • Matthew Cunningham

      By organizing to convert Palm Lane Elementary into a charter school, these parents are doing EXACTLY what you ask: taking responsibility for their children’s education.

      • Signing your name on a petition is to taking responsibility for your child’s education as anaheimblog is to unbiased reporting of the truth.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Maybe you or any of the other commenters who come here to attack this blog, and/or attack the parents who want charter status for Palm Lane, can actually explain why charter status would be such a disaster? Thus far, none of you have. I’ve only seen condescension toward these parents and attacks on this blog for — gasp! – expressing an opinion.

          • You really should go back and read each comment in its entirety. I believe those who have commented have clearly explained in detail what the real issue at hand is. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY for ensuring children are put in a position to succeed. This can’t happen only in a classroom. Parents, not teachers own the vast majority of this responsibility. When your only exposure to learning takes place in a classroom you have a problem. Charter status will not change this….Again, the real issue is these parents either do not have the capacity or are unwilling to supplement the additional learning needed to make a difference. Simply put, we are sacrificing a group of professional teachers who have worked extremely hard to make a difference. Years of schooling, hard work and a commitment to their careers is being second guessed and “attacked” because of the lack of value and worth put on education in these households.

          • That’s a very good question,Matthew! So… the parent discovered that her child did not have the literacy or mathematical skills to do his/her homework. Is this when it was first discovered – during the homework assignment/s, that is? So if the child’s academic performance is faltering, let’s add more visual and performing arts into the instructional day – yes?

            Okay, so even though science and social studies are monitored by administration and other teachers as a requirement to the instructional minutes- and the parent has conveyed this to teacher or principal that the subjects don’t exist or, better yet, observed it during her time spent in the classroom- it just didn’t happen! There are some who like to stand at a distance and hurl accusations because they don’t want to get close enough to hear the truth.

            Parents are partners in their child’s education. For many children, it is the reason for their success.
            A charter does not guarantee a child’s success. Their parents do – in any environment!

      • Mathew, your comment was clearly well thought out and constructed with the type of critical thinking I would expect from a parent of a Palm Lane student. You are absolutely right, these parents did one heck of a job and deserve an accomadation. It must have been extremely difficult and I’m sure the effort it took was excruciating, having to pick up a pen to sign a petition. I’d venture a guess that most of these parents still have no idea what they signed and the ramifications of things to come. This situation is a perfect example of everything that’s became wrong with this country. EMPOWERMENT without RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY….that’s a scary proposition. We should all expect more, and from a “responsibility” perspective, these parents should be expected to produce a lot more for their children than a signature on a petition. How about showing up at home and being an example of hard work and accountability!! Stop blaming others, step up and be a TRULY “responsible” parent. A charter school is not going to solve the problem, because the problem started in your home at your dinner table!



          • Matthew Cunningham

            Another example of what I pointed out in another comment: attacking these parents as stupid and mutterings about unnamed “large corporations.”

            You don’t see this in Mission Viejo and Irvine because they have high-performing school districts that constitute a big reason families move there. ACSD is the second-worst performing school district in the county, and your advice is what? Parents and their kids have to shut up and suck it up?

            • Here’s a thought….Mission Viejo and Irvine have high performing schools because the parents in those communities actually put a value on education? Perhaps by ensuring their child’s homework was completed each night and turned in the next morning was a start? I’m quite certain the majority of those parents in Irvine and MV are completely committed and engaged in their children’s educational goals and it shows in the results. The simple fact is, families who have the financial capabilities to leave cities like Anaheim for greener pastures will always choose to do so and it won’t be because of the TEACHERS……it will be the result of the continued degradation of these communities at the hands of its inhabitants. And who is responsible for that??? It’s certainly not the TEACHERS!!!

              • I agree with you. My parents were middle class people who put a VALUE ON EDUCATION. Both of my parents worked. My brother and I were accountable for our school work and were not permitted to do anything until our homework was done and I mean NEATLY AND COMPLETELY. Homework was checked before we went to bed and we prepared for the next day by putting our homework and needed materials in our backpacks. Having a child is more than giving birth to that child. Parents are responsible for that child’s every need including homework after school. My friend is a teacher and he told me that he is lucky he gets 40% of the homework back he assigns. Not the teacher’s fault here. Sorry!

              • Matthew Cunningham

                This “don’t blame the teachers” argument is a red herring, because no one here is blaming the teachers.

                What I have not seen any of you fear-mongers do is mount a rational, reasonable argument against what these Palm Lane parents are trying to do.

                • Learn to be a critical reader and not so fast to defend Charter Schools.

                • What have the parents done up to this point? Dropping the student off at school/picking them up after school is not all that is required of parents.

                  I tend to believe my teachers are in it because they love what they do, and they love teaching kids. I have three children and have had nothing but positive interactions with the teachers. I have been there when they stuggled in math and I spent hours upon hours helping them complete their homework.

                  This charter thing assumes the parents are doing everything they can to help their children, but I think we can assume they are not. I could care less about the YEARLY tests, because I am involved daily with my kids education. TESTS that are administered yearly are nothing but a snapshot of the childs learnings. What if my kid had a bad night, and didnt sleep well? What if they argued with me on the way to school? Do you think that might affect their yearly test? I think so.

                  I would suggest parents be required to be involved. Once a month meetings with their teachers and others involved, like their counselor.

                  Parents and students volunteering in the community together. I do this with my kids, but do not need the school to tell me.

                  Long and short of it, Charters have a profit motive and public schools do not. ADA is used to pay for all the services they use. Pay for instruction, sports, breakfast and luch and after school programs like Anaheim Achieves.

                  Charters pay their teachers 1/2 as much, overwork them and the turnover is close to 50% a year. I want my oldes child to have a teacher that she likes, and then my other two can have that experience with that same teacher.

                  With Charters, that does not happen.

                  How many kids do you have Matt? And do they attend schools in Anaheim?

              • So what is your solution? If parents don’t do what’s necessary at home, how do we help the kids succeed?

            • No one said they were stupid. Being illiterate means they cannot read or write. A vast number of adults in Anaheim are illiterate not stupid. Before you make a comment like you did please get your facts straight. Maybe you need to spend a day in the classroom sir before you start pointing fingers. The average class size is 36 to 37 and that is what needs to be taken care of. imagine yourself in this position with 37 children 20% of which are behavior problems.What would you do? Maybe you should get your credential.

              • You make an excellent point. Class size. How can we expect teachers to be effective with so many kids in a classroom. And no aide. Class sizes shouldn’t be above 20 or so and they haven’t been there in far too long.

          • The idea of the parent trigger law is to empower parents, but charter schools do the opposite. The school district is run by an elected school board that has plenty of ways for parents to get involved to make positive change. A charter school is typically run by out of state corporations who do not have to follow the same rules? Why is it fair for 50% of parents (plus 1) to turn the school into a charter school forever, when future parents may not want it? The trigger law is poorly written and there is no way to undue it. Parents in Adelanto, CA were duped into signing a petition to take over the school. When they wanted out, they were SUED by the very people who claimed to empower them. Wake up and look at all the research about charter schools, everyone.

      • Don’t think so. Taking responsibility of your child’s education begins in the home. turn off the TV,put the cell phones away and sit down with your child and read a book and do homework with them.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Again, these are parents who are taking action and demonstrating greater commitment and involvement in their children’s education. Why does that unnerve and upset you?

    • You’re right. Parents are responsible for their kids and must take part in their child’s education in order to ensure success. I also believe that a good majority of teachers are good and effective at their jobs. However, I also believe in school choice. If their children still fail to succeed outside of Palm Lane, then clearly the blame is not on Palm lane or the district.

  3. This is an obviously slanted piece that never asked for input from either the teachers or the district. There is a disconnect in good news reporting here. This is a sad day for Palm Lane.

    • Matthew Cunningham


      It’s a press release from the group helping with the charter petition, so it stands to reason it is carries a distinct opinion – just as your comment is “obviously slanted.”

      • You printed it so why are you ashamed to admit that it is biased? and how is it biased to ask for comment from the other side?

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Ms. Heard: you have a pronounced tendency toward “when did you stop beating your wife?” argumentation. I am not “ashamed” nor do I have to “admit” the press release has its own bias, anymore than I need to “admit” that your comments have their own bias.

          As for your statement “how is it biased to ask for comment from the other side?”: who said that? I certainly didn’t.

  4. To the parent(s) who stated that the Anaheim City District, school, and teachers were discouraging and preventing you and your children from living the American Dream, how absurd!!!
    Teachers in our community work very hard to provide your children with a safe, engaging, and overall positive learning atmosphere. Teachers are dedicated professionals that have your children’s best interest in heart and mind. To place blame on our teachers is a huge injustice to them, and our community.
    That being said, If you would like to live the “American Dream” you must work for it. Living the “American Dream” requires hard work. In fact it requires more work then many are willing to do these days. I suppose it’s much easier sitting at home collecting welfare, and/or free and reduced lunches. Last time I checked living in America doesn’t guarantee that you will live the American Dream. However, it does provide the choice of either success or failure. People living the “American Dream” have earned it. If you would like your children to succeed you must work with them at home. If you would like your child to improve their reading skills, you must read with them for at least 20 minutes per day. You and your children will never live The American Dream” if you are not willing to work for it, and if you continue to blame everyone but yourself for your problems associated with your poor work ethic and laziness.

    • Having a poor work ethic and being lazy is a good part of what is wrong with students.You put the work in front of them to do in the classroom and they sit there and don’t do it.”i don’t get it” they claim. Students sit in class and talk while the teacher is teaching. No wonder they don’t get it.The American Dream is not guaranteed it is achieved by hard work. The sad part here is that people who have WORKED VERY HARD TO BECOME TEACHERS WILL LOOSE THEIR JOBS FOR A BUNCH OF STUDENTS WHO ARE LAZY AND HAVE NO WORK ETHIC. PARENTS ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS GROW UP, PUT DOWN YOUR CELL PHONES AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOU KIDS. DON’T BLAME THEIR FAILURES ON OTHERS. QUIT WAITING TO HAVE THINGS HANDED TO YOU AND REACH OUT FOR THEM.

  5. Mr. Cunningham, the reason so many people see this charter as a disaster is because most of the kids who are at that school will not get to return to that school. There will be a lottery, if it goes the way other charter schools have gone, and most of the current population, the ones who are trying to make the change, won’t even be allowed to attend the school. If all students who are there now were guaranteed a spot, that would be different. We have all seen this happen too many times. The charter won’t offer services for kids with special needs. Schools in areas of high poverty have a much higher need for that kind of support. But those kids will be sent to a different school.

    And can we try to be honest here? Teachers are teachers. Parents are the ones who make the difference. Of course there are exceptions. We’ve all read the great stories of teachers who have inspired, but that’s not the rule, it’s the exception. Please don’t try to tell me that my kid is an excellent student because of the teachers. My kid is an excellent student because that’s what we expect and promote in our home. Instead of a war on schools, let’s address the real problem…poverty. Until it’s addresssed, nothing will change.

    I’ll add this, too. I’m guessing that the teachers in Irvine couldn’t go into a high poverty school and know how to be effective. They work with kids who come to school READY to learn…not wondering if they will get to eat dinner, or with a lack of sleep because they sleep on the couch since their one bedroom apartment is shared with 10 people, or worried about the gangs in their neighborhood getting to them, or a myriad other things that only people who live in poverty must worry about.

    This is why people are unhappy with a potential charter school that makes promises that it probably has no intention of keeping.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      “Mr. Cunningham, the reason so many people see this charter as a disaster is because most of the kids who are at that school will not get to return to that school.”

      Again, let’s assume your claim is true (and for the record, I don’t think it is). In essence, you oppose converting Palm Lane Elementary to charter status because SOME of the current students will receive a the kind of education they are currently receiving at a different ACSD school – and so you think ALL of these students should instead stay where they are and receive exactly the same education they’re currently getting at Palm Lane.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      “The charter won’t offer services for kids with special needs.”

      This is also untrue. For one, how can you make such a statement about a charter that hasn’t been written? Secondly, this is an ancient misinformation tactic trotted out to oppose charter school, school vouchers or any idea for reforming the status quo. State law grants parents with special needs children of strong rights requiring their children receive a free and appropriate education. There are conventional public schools that do not offer services to kids with special needs – but those parents can have those needs met in other way, with state support.

      Here’s more information for those interested in exploding this tired criticism of charter schools:

  6. What the parents that signed this petition don’t realize is that once a charter school Palm Lane will then be able to hand pick its students. So if you signed the petition and your child happens to not be proficient, your child will be bused to another school. If your child is in the RSP or special education program, they will be bused to another school. The teachers will be the least experienced since the pay will not be based on ACSD’s contract. These teachers will be paid less than half of what Anaheim’s experienced teachers receive, so although you think you are getting rid of “bad” teachers, you will actually be getting rid of teachers with lots of experience for teachers with little or none. Sadly many of the parents who had good intentions will realize that charter schools are in it for the money and if your child doesn’t bring in the money (good test scores etc.) they will be out and you will not be a part of your neighborhood school. I suggest people start researching what happened with parent trigger in Compton and Adelanto…see what those parents now say about their decision.

    • Matthew Cunningham


      Let’s generously assume for the moment that all your claims are true. What better alternative does the status quo offer these parents? You and others who come here to basically call these parents unthinking sheep offer nothing better than for them to accept the status quo like…unthinking sheep.

      These parents cannot hit the pause button on their children’s lives and wait for the public education establishment to some day make good on years and years of promises that at some undetermined point in the future they’ll be able to deliver a quality education for all these kids.

      As for the “charter schools are in it for the money” claim: I have to laugh at that one. As if school districts do not view each student in terms of ADA funding. One reason the public education establishment is so hostile to charter schools is they see every charter school student as lost ADA funding.


      • I think in the end this is another example of the less informed being used by the powers that be. These charter schools are nothing more than another way for the wall street credit default swap bankers to make another few billion. They degregulated the banking system to the point that it nearly collapsed our economy. Then the taxpayer bailed them out. I think we all agree on that.

        Then we create a system that is NCLB that will test students yearly, who we already know are behind due to the fact that they are 2nd language learners and are struggling to keep up with native speakers. As my father was by the way. Add to this, the fact that many of these 2nd lagnuage students are living in poverty and lack the resources our native speaking students do. You then compare the apples to the oranges and find that their is a wide disparity between the two. SUPRISE!

        Now turn the Public school, which is designed to help produce a public good to benefit society and turn it into a for profit venture. Look at Chicago and Philly and the data from DC. It all points to the charter performing below average in those areas where there are 1. Low income 2. Second language learners and surprise 3. lack of transperency leads to a lot of missuse of government funds.

        I am involved as a parent, I know what is going on in my child’s classes. I know my teachers names and have been to back to school nights and open houses. I bet the turnout at Palm lane for these events is low. They want someone to blame. This allows them to do that.

        No one wants to say, hey I am a bad parent, and I have dropped the ball. Nope blame others. Sign a petition and I can feel better about myself as a parent. Good luck parents of Palm Lane. Be careful what you wish for.

  7. These parents are being very responsible, they want to remove their children from a School that has been under performing for years. This takes a lot of organization and work on the parents part, good for them every child deserves a chance!!

    • I hope they know that signing the petition is not the end of their involvement. I think the child has a chance. Like life, opportunities are there for the kids, but so few take advatage of them. The organization you speak of is provided by wall street. They send petitioning gathereers into neighborhoods and promise them things like ipads and computers.

      These charter schools are bad for kids, communities and the state which they reside. They want to deregulate the public schools the way the way they did with the banks and wall street. Do some research, follow the money. These charter schools are backed by wall street and people like President Bush, a NCLB advocate. The same guy who said that Saddam had WMD’s. How did that turn out? He and his family are directly linked to these endevours.

      • Matthew Cunningham

        “The organization you speak of is provided by wall street. They send petitioning gathereers into neighborhoods and promise them things like ipads and computers.”

        Gosh, another commenter making the same unsubstantiated attacks. I find it amazing that none of you have managed to be anymore specific than “Wall Street” – which is not a company, you know. Plus the lies about promising iPads and computers.

        It’s worth pointing out that the charter school movement wouldn’t be a movement at all if the public education establishment, despite decades of promises made and tens of billions of dollars spent, were able to deliver the quality education to all which they are obligated to do. It says something that the prospect of parents taking control of the destiny of a single school in the Anaheim City School District has prompted such a river of misinformation and hysteria in opposition.

        • Gates foundation, Broad foundation, Walton (Wal Mart), New school venture fund.

          The problem I see is the for profit model. It does not work when it comes to a public good. These groups all have profit in mind. They funnel money from one “non profit” to fund their “for Profit” company, and you advocate for them.

          You should know better than most.

          Your a tool,

          of the man.

          • Matthew Cunningham

            “The problem I see is the for profit model. It does not work when it comes to a public good.”

            Yep – nothing good ever comes from that darn profit motive. Except electric power, the light bulb, the internal combustion engine, airplanes, pharmaceuticals, computers, the Internet, the automobile, trains and railroads, shipping, agriculture, housing, grocery stores, hospitals and about a thousand other things that serve the public good.

  8. Mr. Cunningham, please try not to misunderstand me. I don’t think “some” kids won’t get into the charter. I don’t think MOST of the kids will get in. If a charter is supposed to serve the community that the current school appears to be failing, then shouldn’t ALL of the kids be accepted? I understand the charter hasnt been written. But I’ve seen how most (not some) charter schools deal with special needs kids.

    You haven’t addressed my biggest concern of poverty.

    What about giving your child’s teachers complete credit for your child’s successes? Are you willing to stand up at your kid’s high school graduation and give every one of his teachers all the credit? Admitting that you had NOTHING to do with your child’s success? I’m guessing not. It cannot work one way and not the other. This group’s outrageous comments about the current teachers is ridiculous. A few rotten apples? Sure. That’s believable. An ENTIRE staff that’s hell-bent on keeping kids from the dream? How can anyone take that seriously?

    Hooray that these parents want to make their child’s future brighter. Hooray they are stepping up. No one has a problem with that. Why would they? The problem is the false promises. And yes, I know, how can I say that when the charter isn’t even written? By taking an honest look at other charter schools.

    Only time will tell if this is a good move for that community. For their sake, I hope it is.

  9. two words: Roberto Baeza

  10. I have been a member of the Palm Lane community for some time now. I have seen this school go thru all sorts of policy and administrative changes. Throughout this time, the teachers and staff have met students’ needs with kindness and respect. Throughout my relationship with Palm Lane, the school has consistently bent over backwards so that the students can achieve in the state tests and more importantly, life.
    In 2013, the administration changed at Palm Lane. During this turbulent time, the administration seemed to use strategies of bullying, favoritism and flagrant disrespectfulness towards ACSD, Palm Lane parents, teachers and students.
    In the aftermath, the outside influences of Charter school politics entered. Greed, political agendas and self-satisfying egotism have corrupted our community. Parents who care about our neighborhood school and love the staff have been deceived, tricked and harassed into signing a petition that they did not understand.
    If lies and bullying are reformation for our public school system, welcome to the American Nightmare.

  11. jose must work for Palm Lane or is one of those bad teachers

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