I was thrilled to stumble upon Jay Mathew's article in the Washington Post about parents protesting the changing boundary lines because they want their children in a more diverse school, not the school with higher test scores. It's nice to know that there are parents out there looking beyond school ratings based on test scores and thinking about the education their child is actually getting. I know students who attend both high schools mentioned in the article, and I must say, there is a special place in my heart for the students who attend Annandale High. Maybe it's that their motto is the atoms (who does that?), or that attending their homecoming parade reveals a high school not reflected in any movie I've ever seen-it is a true a snapshot of the amazingly diverse, passionate, and active student body.
I wonder about where my own daughter will go to school (years and years from now)- I hope we will be living in an area that will provide her with a diverse yet academically rich school. I'm so glad to know there are parents there that appreciate what the non-test-perfect schools have to offer.
One of the speakers we heard at ISTE discussed the importance of global awareness and how to use technology to expand your students outlook on the world. Jenny and I appreciated the passion the speaker used to discuss global awareness, but we couldn't help but feel that his ideas of using technology to connect with another part of the world was somewhat a waste of our time- because of the diverse make up of our students, even in first grade, have a global awareness that goes beyond that of many adults. Understanding other cultures and our roles within the larger global community is an essential skill for our students to have in the work force. It is one thing the think-tank is able to offer all of our students- right within our classroom walls. These are lessons that cannot be taught during a set social studies block.
(I also appreciate that Jay Mathews notes that his own rating scale can cause parents to want their children at the more high-performing, less diverse school. I have my own problems with that rating scale and I'm glad to see that he acknowledged its role in the boundary debate. As he states in his article, both schools have excellent programs, both are in a county that provides strong teaching and a good education, and both are rated high when compared to the national average. One is just more diverse than the other, and one has a higher poverty rate than the other. A higher poverty rate or lower test scores does not automatically translate into poor teaching or a bad school. One must consider the whole picture)