Now that our local public schools have closed for the summer, it’s the appropriate time to look at what we have had and continue to have: great schools.
We may already know that, but it’s easy to be distracted by the negativity out there that diverts from what’s actually happening in the classroom.
We get hit from all sides, locally, statewide and nationally. The facilities rift between Bullis Charter School and the Los Altos School District shifts our attention from the fact that the charter and district schools are among the best in the state, based on the latest test scores.
We get caught up in the politics of the intractability of the California Teachers Association over tenure, but if we focus on our local districts, our teachers are, overall, pretty darn good. Whether it’s the Los Altos School District or the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, our local teachers are passionate and engaged in helping students learn.
Districts all over the state are dealing with tight budgets. But the struggles are not nearly as challenging for our elementary and high school districts. Both are basic aid districts, which means they receive funding based on property taxes from the surrounding community. They’re relatively well off because we are. And the districts collect millions more each year from their parent-run foundations and PTAs.
Of course, good school districts in turn benefit the community by attracting new residents who are consistently willing to pay top dollar for homes in the Los Altos area.
But what we should really take pride in – beyond budgets, test scores and property values – is how our children are being raised.
Success stories abound as local students look to make a difference in the world and seek to get involved with causes like helping those less fortunate. Some of that ambition and effort is attributable to strong families, but it also comes from the classroom. For example, Los Altos High School instructor Robert Freeman is teaching early lessons about philanthropy through his students’ efforts in One Dollar For Life, a nonprofit addressing poverty in Third World countries. Our school districts are prime breeding grounds for the next generation of leaders. Now that’s something we can all agree on.