Shouldn't public education be a level playing field?
OK, it's going to be difficult to write this article without sounding like a "complainer." You will just have to take my word for it--complaining for the sake of complaining is just not in my DNA. So I am raising the question here today because I have never been able to come up with a good answer myself, and maybe someone out there can help me out?
Now that we are on the same page with the motivation behind the headline, here's what it's all about: Why is El Marino one of the only Spanish immersion elementary school in Culver City? Isn't the very essence of having taxpayers fund the school system, that the same opportunity be available for ALL children who attend these schools?
If the playing field isn't level, i.e. some children are somehow deemed to be more worthy than others, then who gets to decide and why? Who gets to decide what criteria is used to determine who is selected and who is not? Something just doesn't sit right, or is it just me?
Another thing that just doesn't settle right is the selection process itself. El Marino ends up with more applications than places available. So they have a lottery every year and names are pulled out of a hat. One troubling thing for me is that the so-called "lottery" is NOT carried out in public, so no one really knows how the "lottery" is conducted. Shouldn't this process have the cleansing power of the full light of day so that there can be no doubt as to the veracity of the process?
All taxpayers pay in so all taxpayers are entitled to complete openness, right? Or am I just being old fashioned?
Lastly, Culver City has five elementary schools. Whether we like it or not, there is a de facto two-tier system. By whose authority did we get here? We certainly couldn't have one school that taught--oh, let's say--Judaism or Christianity when the others did not, and that these schools took applications from parents and then decided behind closed doors who was "in" and who was "out."
I am all for raising the standards of education, and El Marino has an exemplary record of which they should be very proud. Somehow for me, even though both of my children are beyond the age where they could attend El Marino (so I have no ulterior motive for penning this article). Their achievements are attained in a way that excludes a large number of students from it. There have to be better ways for our children to learn to speak Spanish without employing some arbitrary, shrouded in secrecy, system for a select few.
This is, and has always been, very troubling to me--I would love to know what your thoughts are.
Mike King is an Associate Partner at Partners Trust Real Estate and Acquisitions. He is passionate about three things: Family, Real Estate, and McVities Chocolate Biscuits (or cookies to the uninitiated). You can connect with Mike on Twitter @mikeking4re and on Facebook.