Blog: Got School?

In which I share what I've learned about educating my kids since those first brutal days, infant in arms, when I was faced with the question: "So, have you put his name on any lists yet?"

(Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My Public Elementary)

We are in a quandary, no doubt about it. 

It's not just Silver Lake, every neighborhood - in cities across the country - is facing this overwhelming obstacle of educating our kids and the challenge of the best way to do it. Make no mistake, everyone wants a fabulous education for their children, no matter their place in the economic spectrum. That is the one thing we all have in common. And let's be deep-down honest, most of us don't really care about fixing it for everyone. We've all got the intense microcosm of our own daily struggles to worry about; who has the luxury to try and fix things for everyone when all you want is to manage the best you can for you and your family? The bottom line is that we want our kids to go to school and have the best teachers, the best learning programs, the best food, the best books, the best computers... the best. None of us know quite how this is going to happen, but golly-gee-whillikers we have to try.

So, yeah, my husband and I didn't know anything about educating that little person who'd started drooling on all our stuff and taking up all our precious couch-sitting time a few years previous, but we'd heard about the process. Other people with kids would give us these long-suffering eye rolls and say "Oh, gawd. You have to start getting on the waiting lists NOW." It made us nibble our fingernails a bit, but the problem is that both of us are lazy, lazy people... and, speaking for myself, stubborn about such things. The thought of having to go put a 3 year old's name on a list somewhere, of filling out applications, of doing interviews, of having to take a shower... all for what? The privilege of paying someone half of what I make in a year so my kindergartner could eat a higher quality of paste? Yeah, I balked. But still, what were my options? I wanted my kid to go to a good school, but I didn't want to have to enter some labyrinthine process to do it. I grew up in a small town where you just... you know... went to school. That was the extent of the process. There was just the one, and you went. I had this hardwired into me. Couldn't I just ...put my kid in school? OH NO, honey, I couldn't. That's what I was told by every single other parent I knew, and that's what I had to believe. So I did believe it. 

My husband and I put our son into private school, even though we couldn't afford it. We did this without even looking at our local Elementary. We didn't even take the five-minute walk down to look at the outside of it, that's how indoctrinated we had become against the entire idea of an urban public school even though we'd never been inside one. Everyone in our neighborhood just slowly shook their heads when we asked about it, and I'd looked at those scores online, and they seemed bad, even though I'm educated enough to know that, without understanding the metrics behind those random numbers, they mean absolutely nothing. I knew that intellectually, but it's so psychological, let me tell you (I probably don't need to, you all know what I mean), you see a low number and it informs instant opinion. Plus, there was almost no diversity...  when I looked at the demographics, it was something like 96% Latino. I'm horribly embarrassed to admit that I was afraid of putting my kid into an automatic minority. Would he be accepted? What if the other parents didn't speak English? Fear won easily. I didn't even put up any kind of sissy slap fight. To me, our local school was automatically crossed out as any kind of option. End of story.

To private school we went for two years. It was a fine school, yes, we liked it there, liked the teachers, made a few lifelong friends, our kid did well... we promptly burned through our savings, and just like that, it was over.

So, here we were again (only broke now), and again, what were our options? This time I figured I had to deal with applications and the lotteries, so I went to the Charters. I put my kid's name in for the usual Silver Lake suspects - you all know the schools - and he didn't make it into a single one of them. And thus, we now only had ONE option and no more choices. It was our local school or we would have to start home-schooling (cue laugh track), and trust me - that was not gonna happen. So, we girded ourselves and walked bravely down to the School Of Ill Repute (known to others as Micheltorena Elementary), and we took the Open House tour. And ... 

...we @#$% loved it. We loved the principal immediately. We loved every teacher we met and were somehow surprised to learn how long they had been at their school, how much experience they had. We saw classrooms that, true, didn't have the shiny appointments of the private school we'd just left, but the papers and posters of the kids' work on the walls told stories of engaged, clever, creative children... stories we had needed to see all along. Plus, the 5th grade teacher had a curly handlebar mustache and suspenders and I was like: WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR HIS CLASS?

As I like to say to people, five minutes after we'd been inside I was experiencing what I like to call 'kicking myself'. For WASTING our savings and for countless months of worrying and stressing over the lotteries, all for fear and for ignorance. I now have two kids, and both go to our local school. Thing 1 is in the Gifted program and doing extremely well. He's in 4th grade and, hilariously, learning to play the flute. Because... you know, ROCKSTAR. Thing 2 is in first grade and reading at a 3rd grade level.

Fellow parents, I understand you, because I was you. I know why you go to the Charters or to private if you can afford it. I also know it's because you don't know what else to do. It's because you are afraid - for lots of different reasons, some related to class, some related to race, some just related to curb appeal - you can admit it, I did. And it's because you love the mental picture of this magical education for your kids - where fresh faced kids in airy rooms full of color clamor for knowledge - and your mental picture tells you that you can't get that from an urban public school. 

What if I told you that you can actually take your local school and make it what you want it to be? I know that's not what you believe, not what you've been LED to believe. It certainly wasn't what I believed four years ago. Public schools DO have to take that stupid test, we DO have a horrific lunch program, we DO face a massive, unwieldy bureaucracy and we DO have countless silly rules and regulations to get around. But, look, Micheltorena did get around all that crap. Turns out you can teach your kids just fine and still take that ridiculous test. I just pack a lunch for my kids, and we find ways to work around or with the rules we've got. I talk to my kids, help them with their projects, and I know they are engaged, smart and curious. That's the real litmus test.

We all know that there has been a movement in this country for the last 20 years to dismantle the very idea of public education and that it has led us to a place where a privately-run, unaccountable, sometimes-corporate Charter School is being touted as the answer. Some established, proven Charters (like many Public schools) are perfectly good schools, but if you've done any real homework, you have to know that these legions of new schools are just as likely to fail your kids as any public school, and that, often, these untried schools are (by law) allowed to paw through public school assets just to get started. I also know you don't really care that much about all that, as long as your kid gets in to that glorious, safe place of magic. 

Because, the Myth. And the Myth works both ways. You believe that you can find your utopian classroom at Private or a Charter just as strongly as you also believe that Public is worn-out, peeling, colorless, and filled with society's poor and unwashed all studying day after day to take a single standardized test.

This perception goes on unabated, despite the fact that many Charters have younger, inexperienced teachers using untested "progressive" techniques created as lures for enrollment. So many parents end up as 'Charter-Hoppers' because these untested programs fail their children. I know you want to believe that 'new' is better because obviously 'old' has failed, right? I've got some shocking news. My son's 4th grade uses 'progressive' project-based learning techniques. I know! Public school! What-what?! That failure? That bureaucratic bastion of grey-faced automatons and hallway violence? I'll have you know that the Kindergartners' knife-fights settle down by first recess and hardly any of our automatons are grey-faced.  It's more of a silvery sheen.

Look, no one is asking anyone to fight a socialist battle for the Children of America or that you need to take a socio-political stand for What's Right by enrolling your kid in the public system. That's not realistic, and we all stopped doing stuff-for-the-sake-of-idealism as soon as we got out of college and started having to live real lives. As I said earlier, we all know that everyone is only worried about their own kids reaching their potential, about their kids making good friends, being among other eager learners and getting the best teachers. That's the bottom line, and no one thinks it should be otherwise. 

Silver Lake's Micheltorena is living the plot line of The Bad News Bears right now. We are an underdog Title One school with no money and no one rooting for us, but us. No one to speak for us, but us.  In January, out of nowhere, we found ourselves fighting not only a Charter who wants our classrooms, but a School District who is legally powerless (and politically uninterested) to stop them. Our own Principal has been warned via threatening letter that she cannot publicly protect her own school. Our parents don't have the money the Charter does. LAUSD cannot interfere without facing lawsuits. And the saddest part is that those parents behind the Citizens of the World Charter who want our real estate, they have the same goals that we do. Their kids. These Charter parents are not bad people, they just want to believe in the Myth of a magic education so badly that they seem completely willing to harm the education of other kids to do it. They don't and can't look at it that way, of course, but that's what it is.

What's happening to us is happening to schools all over the country because parents so whole-heartedly believe in this Myth. It's being perpetuated by an inherent, socially-reinforced sense of the failure of our Education system. People more eloquent than me have made the plea that we should FIX our schools, not abandon them. That Education is something that CANNOT be privatized. What happens when we take away the right to a free education? In all practicality, what happens to the masses of people who fail in the lottery and don't have the money to buy their kids into a Charter or pay for private? People may not realize it, but by shunning our system, by living only in the moment with their fear, they are dismantling something that enables a free society. It is not only short-sighted to abandon public education, but dangerous. A stable society is an educated one. 

Here in our small corner of Los Angeles we feel like we've become ad hock mouthpieces for Public Education, when really, we just wanted a great school for our kids and we turned our public school into one. The Charter who wants our classrooms for their own don't hear the desperate, protective intent for our own children when we protest their co-location, they only hear our anger and proclaim that we are unreasonable. Unreasonable to want to protect our kids? I don't think they can hear themselves. This isn't about a bunch of local parents barking territorially at intruders. The Charter co-locating at our school will harm our kids, harm our school, harm our democracy. I'm sorry to put it so bluntly and so melodramatically, but that's what I believe. It doesn't just compete for enrollment, jeopardize our Elementary's future, take our classrooms, or bog down our Principal's already-stretched time with administrative haggling over resources; it will teach my kids lessons I only want them to read and puzzle over in history books - that segregation is OK. 

What did she just say? Why use such a loaded word? Because what we are seeing now is precisely what segregation is. This Charter, like so many others have done already in this very city, wants to put a dividing line down the middle of our school grounds so their kids aren't contaminated by our kids - in direct opposition to the very ideals this country is supposedly built on. What kind of things do they want their children to learn from that? Look at that mental picture. How could anyone want that? We don't. And honestly, deep down, I can't think the Charter parents want that either. I won't believe it. They just want the Myth so badly that it's blinded them to the means they are using to reach the end.

I wrote this (ridiculously long) essay because I wanted to speak to all the parents out there who believe in the idea of that perfect, golden school - who are afraid of public school for all the wrong reasons. Who might be a part of another Charter in another part of town taking away another public school because Prop 39 has made it legal to do so (and we all know legislation can never be wrong). I wanted to speak to them because I absolutely understand the Myth. And I want to shout from the rooftops that a great education for your kids is real, and that you can make it happen while still supporting a local, public system that is the social and economic backbone of this democracy. 

There is no magical, hands-free education on the other side of this fence or any other fence. Education is what YOU make it, the energy and ideas you put into the school and the teachers and what your kids get out of it. That is just as possible at a public school as it is at a Charter. 

Trust yourself, and trust your kids and the Myth stops being an idealized hope and becomes real.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Catbo April 25, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Ah, report cards... That one from 2010-2011certainly has some ups and downs, but I don't think it paints the overall picture. (I had really good report cards growing up, but there were many people smarter and more creative than me whose report cards didn't show that.) There is so much happening at our school right now. The school tour was packed. Our FOM meeting last night was too, and bustling with all sorts of ideas. New parents are telling us how excited they are about the school, that they've toured so many, and this is the place to be. The energy around that place is buzzing. As the parent involvement continues to grow, you'll see that report card get better, yes, but, more importantly, you'll see a good neighborhood school become a great one. The principal, no matter how energetic, can't do it on her own. She needs us. The more of us helping, the faster the school establishes itself in the Chronicles of School Mega-Greatness-Supreme-Alleluia.
Catbo April 25, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Two things: 1) Check out Diane Ravitch's "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education." She too firmly believed in school choice and fought for it in her high-level appointments, then changed her mind when she saw that it did more harm than good. A very interesting read. 2) You'd be surprised how much parent involvement CAN help in-class teaching. Principal Furfari listens to her parents' concerns, actively seeks out professional development to alleviate these concerns, and observes teachers in their classrooms to follow-up. Also, a teacher myself, there's nothing like a parent volunteering in the classroom to make you step up your game. We want to be good at what we do and to be proud of our classroom successes, and getting a chance to prove that to someone other than our students can be quite invigorating. Not too late to change your mind, enroll in the bilingual immersion program here, and save yourself the twice-daily drive to Glendale.
Analise Dubner April 25, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Raycine, I'm glad you found the right school for your child, I'm sure you will be very happy in Glendale. But... I'm a little confused about your point, actually. It was a nice "why can't we all get along" speech at first, but then you finished up with a detraction of our school - linking to a "bad report card", implying that it's just 5 of us defending Micheltorena and describing those horror-filled moments you spent in a classroom with a dreaded overhead projector. While MY education was super-exciting and clown-filled every second of K - 12, Micheltorena ran out of money for clowns just last year. And honestly, I didn't feel right asking Mr. Moreno to learn to juggle protractors. As I said in my post, MY litmus test is my own kids. They are thriving in their "bad report card" school, and I hope I'm capable of being able to judge their progress outside of some District Survey. You talk about being informed and then hold up what I know (personally) to be a pointless metric. I'm honestly not really sure why you even brought it up. To defend your choice to go out of your neighborhood? The whole point of this discussion IS choice, you don't have to defend your decisions to anyone. Just because Micheltorena wasn't 'the right fit' for you doesn't mean it isn't for others - which is what your 3 paragraph investigative report, "Micheltorena, Nice Garden - Bad School" implies. Sorry, Catbo is the nice one. Usually they keep me locked up away from people.
doreet April 25, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I was a parent at Micheltorena for 6 years, 05-06 to 10-11. From 2nd to 5 grade, my daughter participated in state testing. Each of those years she scored 100% o all tests but PE in 5th grade (she got 93%) These were years when API went up and down, when we started FOM and PTA, with principal Susanna and before she got there. th eonly thing that was always the same was the teachers and the parents. I LOVE Susanna but I must say what made Micheltorena a great school and what made if possible for my daughter to learn the subjects, to love school and love learning was the teachers and other students. What made the school a great place to come and visit and put in the volunteer work as a parent (both me and my husband) were the teachers and other parents. Raycine and other parents not going to Mitcheltorena, I wish you and your children the best at the schools you choice to go to. But please don't dis Micheltorenas teachers or "original" parents.
WAGPOPS! April 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM
All evidence points to experienced teachers as having the biggest impact on student achievement in the classroom. The current climate of demonizing seasoned teachers can't change the studies that show that teachers don't really get into the swing of their best teaching until 5 years into their careers. One of the tactics charter schools use to justify hiring recent Teach for America grads is to exploit naive parents who have deep seated fears of stodgy old teachers sitting on their laurels all day long and barking at students. Citizens of the World proposals show that they are looking at teachers with only 2 years of classroom experience. Don't fall for the stereotype that public school teachers are bad and fresh-faced college grads with 5 weeks training out of Teach for America are better teachers.
Catbo April 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Analise and Doreet, Thank you for defending our teachers in your posts. I seem to have forgotten to do so and shouldn't have. My daughter's kindergarten teacher is the model of professionalism, kindness, and creativity. I can't tell you how much my daughter loves her and has learned in her class this year.
Catbo April 26, 2012 at 12:48 AM
True enough. I'm Teach for America alumni, circa 1996. When I first started teaching, I had passion and a love of literature, but not the instinct. Sixteen years later, still in the same classroom, and I'm a much better teacher. I think Micheltorena teachers average twelve years of experience. Good stuff.
gym jim April 26, 2012 at 03:42 AM
What's up? I want my kid in that charter school. How do I get him in? does anybody know? It sounds awesome. Why is everyone so mad?
Carli April 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Gym Jim, I find it interesting that after reading all these comments you come away with "that charter school sounds awesome." there are links to the school in previous posts if you want to do the research. For all others go to www.micheltorena.org. Personally, I am not concerned about Micheltorena's future. I think it is very bright. I think the Dual Language Program is a savior and I think all this controversy is a savior as well. Micheltorena community got a kick in the pants and we are rising to the occasion. Aside from all the wonderful people inside the walls of the school, there are so many community partners in support of the school that it is truly heartwarming and inspiring. From the garden volunteers to Silverlake Conservatory of Music, to parents volunteering when their kids don't even go to school there yet, to the local politicians, and local merchants and business folk. I believe Micheltorena has a guardian angel. And in terms of what it can offer, I have a feeling it will surpass Franklin and Ivanhoe.
gym jim April 26, 2012 at 06:08 PM
who are franklin and Ivanhoe? are they the dudes in charge of the charter? I'll call them. Love their names they sound smart
gym jim April 26, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Dear Carl I think I blogged my reply in the wrong spot. But, yeah man, I'm with you. I think that charter school sounds awesome too! I didn't have time to read everything here its too long - like a book. I mostly read books when I"m on the treadmill at the gym. but that's really just so the girls there think I"m smart and not just super cut. Anyway don't you use that trick Carl - that's my trick. But you seem cool. we shold work out. also, I heard theyre putting up a fence at the school with armed guards. Does anyone know if they aleady hired for this? I got a buddy who was trained in the Isareli army. He'd be perfect for this. Kind of a bad a#@. Knows crav maga and all that crap. I don't know if he has a resume but you should see him - super cut.
Wavey Gravey June 09, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Gym Jim, you are my hero.
LT June 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, Analise! So well written and so close to home. Our son got into the dual-language program at Micheltorena and we are so excited to start in the fall. We've been following the co-location drama, and are so disappointed that it will be happening, but hoping that it is only temporary as Micheltorena improves and increases its student population under its amazing principal Furfari and her staff.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 07:01 PM
We so wish Analise would do a follow up blog. This has generated great discussion. Apparently, Citizens of the World will have a spelling bee team this Saturday at the Micheltorena fundraiser. Already things healing.
Analise Dubner June 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Thanks, LT! We are so happy to have you!
Sara Roos February 14, 2013 at 07:08 AM
Analise -- I am so so so in awe of your essay. So. I've been reading a lot lately about all of this, having gotten caught up in the David-Goliath reenactment of LAUSD4 between Zimmer and Broad-Bloomberg-Etc-backed Anderson. If you like you can read my pale-beside-yours piece about it here: http://venice.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-lausd-school-board-election I came to your piece looking to hook up with the folks in Silverlake who were referenced in this article: http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-01-30/news/Eva-Moskowitz-Bloomberg-Charter-Schools/full/ about the Charter-pushing in Brooklyn, Bloomberg's backyard. If anyone would be willing to join forces, you can find how to reach me at the bottom of my letter. I would really like to hear from you about your Silverlake-charter experiences. Thank you! Ms Dubner, Again my pencil eraser is OFF to you... that was brilliant.
bertis downs February 14, 2013 at 10:42 AM
that is a wonderful articulation of so much I believe-- I have always wondered just how bad all those "failing public schools" were, the ones Davis Guggenheim passed by every morning-- my film would be to stop at those schools in my town, the ones my kids go to, and go inside and see what is going on. Believe me they are good schools, high poverty, high achieving, a community of teachers, students and parents that acres about each other. Regardless of what the people who've never walked through the door pass around as conventional wisdom. Sure, the schools are challenged as hell, especially in this age of education reform, but as you put it so artfully here, they provide real education, and a good education, not some Myth of Magical Education. This essay should be picked up by every PATCH in America. Thank you for writing it and thanks to the new public school friend who alerted me to it. It inspires me to fight on another day, for a real fundamental aspect of our society, something we used to take for granted: good schools for all kids. See also the wonderful new book Saving the School, by Michael Brick, about a year in the life of a real-life high school in East Austin, and on which this Op-Ed in the Times from a few months ago was drawn: http://nyti.ms/WEp3sF
bertis downs February 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM
see also a fascinating law review article form a law professor in New Orleans: http://works.bepress.com/robert_garda/1/ from the Abstract: scant attention is paid to the benefits whites receive in multiracial schools despite these interests underpinning over thirty years of Supreme Court integration jurisprudence. This article explores the academic and social benefits whites receive in multiracial schools, and from a white parent’s perspective. The article begins by explaining the interest-convergence theory and how white interests explain the course and content of the Supreme Court’s desegregation jurisprudence. White parents must understand that their “buy-in” is critical for the creation and permanence of multiracial schools. The article next describes the extreme racial segregation in schools today and how white children are the most racially isolated students. This isolation contributes to the unconscious and automatic racial bias that infects everyone and will impair our children’s ability to successfully navigate the multicultural marketplace. Integrated schools, however, can de-bias our children and teach them crosscultural competence, a skill they will need to effectively participate in a market with increasingly multicultural customers, co-workers and global business partners. The article ends by describing steps white parents can take to integrate their schools and ensure their children can learn crosscultural competence.
Analise Dubner February 14, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Thanks, SDR! I will check out your piece, and be in touch with you about connecting with the Micheltorena parents, if you like :) There is also a great little community on FB for communities and schools fighting/facing co-locations. Come check it out :) https://www.facebook.com/groups/257898800957458/
Anthea Raymond (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Thanks for checking in Analise! As always we hope that you will gift us with another blog.
Analise Dubner February 14, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Thanks, Bertis! I've heard others recommend 'Saving The School' before, I will be sure to check it out. Watching the process of my kids and how they learn has been a fascinating one, it's too bad that the entire process has been so obfuscated by all this nonsense. And now, more recently, turning against teachers themselves. Just insanity. This whole dialogue needs to be steered to a place of rational thinking, but I sometimes worry that the fear is too strong - and the pull of the Myth, too powerful.
bertis downs February 14, 2013 at 08:43 PM
I nominate Analise for a Ted Talk-- ideas worth spreading and this one surely is. And I think it'd be about 18 minutes long. People need to know it. It caused quite a stir in my GA town today-- same day as the Seeing Is Believing Tour in which people go on busses around to actually walk in the front door of the school and see for themselves. And people interested in this complex of issues should know about this new blast email from Education Opportunity Network, sort of a Best Of coverage of issues that is a joint project of Institute for America's Future and the Opportunity to L:earn Campaign. It is real and meaningful reform-- not astroturf nonsense peddled by the snake oil crowd of edupreneurs. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/
Sara Roos February 15, 2013 at 08:25 AM
Analise - I was just musing today on the detachment of rationality from hyper-emotional issues -- e.g., abortion. Facts and data will just never get you anywhere in a discussion of this topic. Likewise I fear this Chartering topic, because of the Pull of the Myth you so artfully define, may well have slipped into the realm of no-facts-needed please. If this is the case -- and I suspect it is -- those of us who would wish to engage in dialogue with others of the opposite persuasion, need to understand better where all that emotion is coming from. You'll never engage a Charterer without understanding the strength of their conviction, and it doesn't seem to come from facts. That is, just explaining and 'proving' that on average charters are not educating their charges as well as the public schools, or even some more specific metric than that -- data to this end will not help. Something else is being held out as an endpoint. That's got to be addressed.
WAGPOPS! February 15, 2013 at 03:56 PM
In the comment section of a local blog, WAGPOPS member Brooke Parker responded to the question of why a small minority of parents might support Citizens of the World Charter Schools opening in an area where there already are strong neighborhood schools with diversity: "The steadfast supporters of Citizens of the World, and there really aren’t many of them (we’ve seen their email lists), can never seem to articulate what they find unique about Citizens of the World. Members of WAGPOPS! have had plenty of discussion on and off the brooklynbabyhui with them about this, so we’re familiar with the paucity of their arguments. I’ve also thoroughly read the Citizens of the World proposal which details (as much as there are any details) the reasons why parents want these schools. When pressed to go beyond “I just want more choice,” the supporters invariably point to the non-union teachers (read: TFA is more white than our public school teachers) and the “diversity” of its student body (with a goal of 55% white, Citizens would definitely be whiter than our neighborhood schools). Draw your own conclusions." Full interview here: http://greenpointers.com/2013/01/31/charter-schools-and-wagpops/
Dwain Wilson February 15, 2013 at 11:41 PM
I started to leave a comment but it got out of hand and turned into a blog post: http://echopark.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-charter-school-founder-sounds-off-on-the-impact-of-charter-schools
Anthea Raymond (Editor) February 15, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Thank you Dwain. You are the kind of Patch reader we love. AR
Zima March 29, 2013 at 11:04 PM
I've applied to 10 charters/magnet schools and I'm on 10 wait lists. My tax money goes into funding schools that my child can't attend. What about all of the kids that don't get into a charter and do go to a public school-not a Silverlake public school- one that is really a bit iffy in terms of safety and education. Those resources are being funneled to the lucky charter students that literally hit the lottery. This is a solution? It's ridiculous. We should all be taxed A LOT more and yes, even those of you who hate children should be taxed to hell and that money should be dumped into PUBLIC schools. Screw Charters. Private schools can "tax" their own wealthy parents. Get some help to the non-priviledged children that really need it.
Analise Dubner March 29, 2013 at 11:37 PM
So right, Zima. This is the flaw in the Charter concept that is only now coming so clearly into focus as more and more of them spread like an out-of-control virus and more and more public schools have to cut staff, services and programs. Those who claim "choice!" as loudly as they can to defend these schools are somehow missing that it's only a choice if you get in. And that ALL of us are paying for these exclusionary schools that have no oversight and no accountability and, yes, the ability to pick and choose the kids they want to admit. Sure, not all Charters employ these shady techniques, but they *could* if they wanted to... because, no oversight. Those of us in Public end up paying even more because the money that should be going to ALL children is now being siphoned off to anyone with a glint in their eye and a crowd of scared parents behind them. Public Schools can't pay for art or music, but the state somehow has the money to toss to the new, shiny "Miss Flutterbottom's Progressive Diversity School for Excellent Children Only" so they can steal space from a floundering public school and then have that school pay their utilities? A great system indeed. Hurray for choice! *No one* thinks public education is perfect, but when given a "choice" between rolling up your sleeves and fixing your local school or signing junior up for Ms. Flutterbottom? I think I know what most parents would do. The question is, what do they do when they don't get in?
Dwain Wilson March 30, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Everyone concerned with the health and vitality of public schools ought to know about the new organization being headed up by Diane Ravitch: The Network for Public Education. http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/ Finally! Common sense ideas from real educators in the debate about public education. From their website: "The Network for Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society. Our mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, share information about what works and what doesn’t work in public education, and endorse and rate candidates for office based on our principles and goals." You can see a map on their site showing the partner organizations in the Los Angeles region: https://batchgeo.com/map/f897806cd8715a41ebb27130ce948d66 Who thinks there ought to be an affiliate group here in the Echo Park / Silver Lake community? Anybody with me?
abigtal May 03, 2013 at 04:48 AM
You can find Tops In Lex on facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/TopsInLex">TopsInLex</a>


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