Earlier this year I had to make a decision that I never thought it was going to be a difficult one to make. My son was going to start the kindergarten and I had to decide.
We either move back to where we own our house and have them attend to the local school or seek and rent another house in the current community that we live in so my son could attend the school where my daughter was already attending.
My daughter’s school is unique in the sense that parents play a big role in the success of all their students. Many years ago the parents came together and eliminated the PTA and created a non profit for the school. The non profit is responsible for funding the after school programs, the field trips, the additional aides in the school, and fill the gap financially where the LAUSD has decided to cut.
As a parent I am not asked if I can volunteer. Instead volunteering is almost expected and I am asked “What will you be helping out with this term?”.
My kid’s school is not a magnet school but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from their test scores. It has the Highest API score in the area and the kids with special needs outscore students without needs at other top API scoring schools.
Personally I think the involvements of the parents and the dedication of all the great teachers in the school is the perfect blend that leads to such a great experience for my kids.
So, it should have been easy for me to just move and have my son attend the school my daughter was already attending. Right?
Well I felt guilty. I felt guilty because the local school is a descent school. It is full of the great parents who want the best for their kids, full of a educators that care, and good kids who want to learn to succeed.
I felt guilty for being able to move. I felt guilty for leaving those parents behind who are not as fortunate as me and can move. I felt guilty for not becoming a helping parent as I have become at my daughters school. I felt guilty for being a helping hand to the teachers who would be able to do the more with the kids and give them a chance to dream and light the spark of desire in one of the kids in the school that will eventually change the world for a better tomorrow.
But, the biggest reason I feel guilty is that I feel like I letting the kids in that community down by continuing to let the system that makes it harder for them continue. My elementary school was a great stable place for my as a child but I had the similar struggles of the kids I feel I am abandoning.
I came across this video that basically brought my guilt back.
Just to make it clear – areas that you consider good doesn’t automatically mean the schools are good. The area where my house is located is a what many would consider a good area. Also, don’t assume areas you consider bad have the worse schools. My friends live in what many be consider a bad part of Los Angeles and their kids attend their local school. That school has the highest API score in that part of town. Their API score is over 900.
If you are not familiar with API scores you can read more about them here http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/. Just to let you know the highest you can get is 1000.
What makes a good school great differs from community to community. That is why I think we continue to struggle with trying to solve the so called education problem because we continue on this path of a one solution for all.