I have taught at one of the ten lowest performing schools in LAUSD. I have taught at one of ten highest performing schools in LAUSD. I have taught at schools that are in between.
What is the difference? Is it the community? Is it the dedication of the teachers? It is the experience of the teachers at one school versus the inexperience of the teachers at the other one? Is it the economic levels of the parents? Is it the languages spoken at home by the families?
Is it the expectations and educational level of the parents? Is it the time spent on discipline? Is it parental support for student’s conduct and homework?
It is all of the above!
One school had transiency and was in a neighborhood with gangs. The other school had children out on vacation and restaurants that you could walk to.
One school had discipline problems. The other school had gardening, science and computers labs, art and music programs, school sports, and much more.
One school was harder to staff and took in new teachers. The other school had veteran, experienced teachers and rarely took in a rookie.
One school had parents struggling to survive financially. The other had parents who raised thousands for enhancing the school’s programs.
One school had young parents, single mothers, some on welfare. The other school had educated, professional parents.
When I got to know the better school, I thought that every school should be like that, that every school should have what this one had.
All schools are not equal—they should be. But, economics and social diversity have condemned some schools to be perennially down while others enjoy the blessings of high academic results and enrichment.