Friday, May 15, 2009

Education ..a rant

My heart is breaking over my children's education here in California. Every where I look I see ludicrous wealth and ostentation and yet California is broke! How can that be? Fertile land , a booming film industry , great tourism , high taxes..yes I have paid more tax here in the three years I have lived here than I ever did in London and yet I have earned less? How can this be? Today there have been protests about the cuts in Education that are going on here and having just made a decision to educate my kids at Public schools I am saddened and scared. By the way English readers Public school here means State Education.
In England being married to a former teacher we became very savvy about how to educate our children at the best State schools. We were lucky enough to live in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which offered a variety of excellent free church schools. Getting into these schools required enormous amount of effort and research into how often you had to be "on your Knees to avoid the fees" , getting tip top Priests references and written assurances that you were sound of mind and body. We would spend many hours studying SATS results in order to find the right school. We managed to get our eldest daughter Grace into Our Lady Of Victories where she developed a passion for learning and a love of reading aged 3. The school had a wonderful cross section of students ranging from every stratum of society .The parents were all very committed to their childrens education and Christian values. Gabriel also attended nursery at the same school and was equally enthused by learning. Just before we left for America Grace landed a place at Sacred Heart School for girls , a Secondary State School infact Tony Blaire's daughter went there . One of the hardest parts about leaving the Uk was giving up the place at this school.
Arriving here in the US I had no idea how Education worked. We placed our children into Catholic school in Beverly Hills. Although inexpensive the school was private and uninspiring. Our eldest girl lost her love of learning and complained of bullying. We had been heavily warned off our local school due to the "ethnic imbalance" and that it was overcrowded and the Education was rubbish.We ended up putting our girl in a very expensive private school with a higher class of Bully who wore designer shoes.She became moderately more interested in learning and alot more interested in shopping Malls. So now she has got into Arts High a small public school but where students spend half the day doing what they are passionate about and I am looking at the local elementary school we were warned off for my son. The children are focused , well behaved and enthusiastic. I was so moved by the mother who showed me round who was clearly so dedicated to the school and making it a better place, she expressed sadness at the cuts saying the classes would get bigger. She also expressed detemination to continue her hard work and despite these difficulties she was eager to persuade local parents like myself into sending our kids to this school which little by little was gaining a better reputation.

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