Every day it seems like doom and gloom for Long Beach Unified School District. Major budget cuts, a school year reduced to just 175 days (the minimum allowed), pink slips, expanding classroom sizes, , programs on the chopping block, and permanent school closures. And that’s the good news! Seriously, the state of our education system, not just in Long Beach but throughout California, seems to be in dire straits.
Given the current climate at LBUSD, will you continue with public education, look for private school alternatives or, perhaps, take the classroom behind closed doors and home school your kids?
Is our public education system, specifically LBUSD, making the grade?
Once upon a time, long, long ago California had one of the best public school systems in the nation. We certainly can’t make that claim any longer. At the moment, I’m still satisfied with the public school system and Long Beach Unified (with the exception of such politically correct jargon as “number cube” instead of "dice," which apparently promotes gambling; and “bunny basket” instead of Easter basket … oh, don’t get me started!). But I would be lying if I wasn’t concerned about the multimillion dollar budget cuts that are going to take place as a result of poor planning at the state level.
I am the proud mother of a second-grade daughter at Lowell and a seventh-grade son at Rogers and, thus far, the budget cuts from last year have not posed much of a problem. However, we still have a long way to go before high school graduation and I worry about my friends and neighbors pulling their kids from our schools and placing them in private institutions or home schooling because, once that happens, the schools will begin to decline even further as involved parents share their knowledge and resources with schools elsewhere.
It happened at Wilson during the 1990s until, from what I understand, parents became fed up that their children couldn’t get a quality education at their public school. I believe this is when the whole uniform policy, which I love, went into place. When my son started kindergarten at Lowell in the fall of 2003, there was a wait list to get in as parents bragged to those attending “lesser” schools in the area that Lowell was like a “private school.”
I thought that was a bit of a stretch then—and now—but as far as public schools goes it ranks rather high. So, would I consider sending my children to private school if things got bad, really bad? Of course I would, but I hope it doesn’t come to that. As for home schooling … as long as the curriculum calls for the Fundamentals of Fashion Island, Open Court Beaching, and a three-hour recess–I’m all over it!
Let's get rid of the home school option. Although I believe that home schooling is very acceptable, and I know at least one super-achieving kid that was home schooled, I personally don't have the time for home schooling.
I also personally like the fact that in a larger school setting there are so many options for activities and friendships. For the record, I really believe in the equity that a public school offers. I like the fact that we have a system that provides an education for all, and I want to participate in it. More...
Let's face it. Private school would cost extra, and who's got a bunch of cash lying around? I love that our elementary, middle and high schools are all within walking distance. That local feel is important to me. That said, when it comes down to it, it's all about me. And what's all about me is all about my family. I would have to look at the specific impact of changes on my child and his/her education. I have observed what 20 busy kindergarteners look like in a classroom. I personally think it's great that the teacher can handle all 20, and I can't imagine it with many more.
This year, I saw a class of 35 fourth graders. WOW! Even with the maturity that comes with them being of double-digit age, 35 is a LOT of kids! The formula of 20 kids in K-3 is just right.
If I had an entering kindergartener, I would have to question whether s/he would be able to get the foundation s/he needed with a larger class size. I'm glad that I don't have to make that decision.
I think that after the second shoe drops, we will still be in public school (unless they went to auditorium style teaching in high school!!!). What I think we will be doing is filling in with special programs: Additional after-school activities, tutoring programs and extra lessons is the path we would take. It would cost more, but each decision would be an individual one.
I would have to find a sales pitch for an educational program done outside of school hours.... “Come on, you're going to have SO much fun!“
Hmmm, this is a good question to ponder right now. First off, I am so sorry that our school system is going to be hit with layoffs of teachers, staff and budget reductions. I am a true believer of the public school system. I am born and raised in L.B. and grew up going to Horace Mann Elementary, Jefferson Junior High and Wilson High School.
It would be hard for me to consider sending my children to a private school, not only because of the expense but because I am very happy with the education my children have received at this point in their lives. I have a fourth grader at Lowell and a seventh grader at Rogers. However, I certainly would consider sending my children to a private school should our school system be so impacted that I didn’t think my children would be getting the education they require.
For now, I still have hope that our schools will get additional funding, parent involvement, and be able to work around some of the budget cuts, and be able to provide and maintain the standards are have been provided.