Posted on Sunday 13 April 2008

We went to a benefit last night for Leadership High School, a charter school in San Francisco. When is the last time you heard about a high school with a documented academic philosophy? When is the last time you heard about a high school that requires it’s students to have demonstrated social responsibility, personal responsibility, critical thinking, and strong communication skills in order to graduate? 100% of last year’s class graduated. 100% of last year’s graduating class went to college. I’m going to say that again, 100% of last year’s class went to college.

Ten years ago, a group of teachers and administrators set out to change the face of public education. Right now Leadership High School is changing the face of public education.

What is your ten year goal?

    April 14, 2008 | 12:56 am

    My dad spent 40 years fighting the good fight in K-12 public education, for which 100% college attendance could fairly be described as the Theoretical Maximum of success.

    Getting everyone into college is great, but it would be a lot better if it were happening at a school that didn’t use an application process to exclude students who weren’t already likely to succeed. For example, even students who could do well at a school like this won’t be able to go if their parents don’t care about their education— and that happens a lot. (What happens even more is that those parents set their kids up for failure before they even started school. Pre-K literacy is a strong predictor of 12th grade graduation, because it correlates with how the parents value education.)

    I don’t want mean to belittle the statistic, because it is important to create better opportunities for America’s best students to be the most that they can be. But it’s also very important to create opportunities for everyone else.

    April 14, 2008 | 9:55 pm

    Ah, but you do want to belittle the statistic, so why would you suggest otherwise?

    I’m assuming from your comment you know very little (if anything at all) about charter schools. Charter schools are public schools, so they can’t reject anybody anymore than your run of the mill public school. When Leadership High School’s applicants exceed their budget, they choose their students at random. LHS is an inner city public high school. It is not uncommon for their first year students to have under a sixth grade reading level. Two thirds of the graduates are the first family member to attend college.

    So while you spout statistics about pre-K literacy predicting graduation, the teachers at LHS are actually doing something about it. And fuck graduation, they are sending kids to college. To quote a parent from LHS, “you didn’t just teach these children, you saved their lives.” What is most amazing about it all, is they are doing it in the face of people like yourself, who use decades and decades of failure in the public school system to try to discredit their success.

    Save your disdain for the expensive private schools. The facility and students of LHS deserve better.

    Sejal Patel
    April 18, 2008 | 9:13 am

    Thanks for writing about this! Our friend Mark is a teacher there, and it seems like an amazing school. I know that my boys and Antonio are also supremely jealous of the Mythbusters auction item you won. :)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.