Friday, April 24, 2009

Public schooling in Silicon Valley

I am torn by the public vs. private school debate. In general, I believe in supporting public schools. However, I won't sacrifice my children's safety or future opportunities to make a political point.

The elementary and middle schools in my San Jose neighborhood are safe and provide a good level of education. For the most part, the teachers are engaged and provide challenging and interesting instruction. My daughter is in 7th grade and is still attending public school. (There have been some instances of teachers showing movies in class and using instructional time for fund-raising events like walk-a-thons, but it's been more the exception than the rule.)

By comparison, the high schools in my neighborhood (Eastside Union Highschool District) are abysmal. Out of the 22 high schools in the district, 19 of them scored in the 60 or lower percentile when compared to other California high schools. (Particularly horrible considering that California schools rank 34th in the nation to begin with.) I find it amazing that in what must be one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, the public high schools are so bad.

After significant angst and weighing of options, we enrolled my 15-year-old son at a private high school this year. It's turned out to be a great decision and a worthwhile, though costly, investment.

To see what the situation is with your neighborhood schools, go to If your nieghborhood schools are decent, I urge you to support your public school system. If not, it may be time to start investigating other options...