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Keeping up with education in Huntington Beach

A powerful message about public education

Reposted from a post in the Facebook Group “Protecting Our Surf City Students Everyday (POSSE)” by Kurt Chrestensen

I want to thank all of those who have joined, particularly those who have been moved and joined in the last week. I’ll be honest, as I see negative comments spread around on social media about our neighborhood school, Perry, in trying to justify its closure, it crushes me. Originally I got involved trying to save our schools and open parks, but the conversations and words that have developed in its wake have revealed something deeper in our community, and that is an attitude of entitlement and segregation by some.

You don’t have to agree with me of course, and I’m not saying you personally harbor these feelings. However, when people on social media criticize the test scores or call the clientele trashy, it breaks my heart. A good school is not measured just by test scores and google ratings. A good Elementary School is also measured by the support and care of the staff, the sense of community that is fostered there, the diversity and acceptance that goes on their each day. My wife and I have poured out our hearts at that school for the past 7 years, and we will continue. We love the place.

As I mentioned in the last board meeting, there is a real problem when the socioeconomic disadvantaged level is at 49%, but the other schools are often in the single digits. There is a real problem when the Latino numbers are at 48%, but 6% at the school just to the West. Yes, we face certain challenges at are unique to our school. What we need to realize is that these types of discrepancies affect all our kids- and that a policy that allows for neighbors, our own neighbors to decide to send kids elsewhere due to not liking the first language spoken by many of the kids there, even though the school is right down the street, that is in fact discriminatory.

I am more and more convinced that policies in school districts today and the politics of boundaries today don’t give our kids equal education. What it does do is reveal some of the darkness harboring in the hearts of our some in the community. I guess my main point here, is that in order to move forward, the entire community must embrace all of kids. No matter whether they live in a tiny apartment, or a mega house. No matter if their parents went to USC, or if they are just trying to survive on hourly wages.

Please community, let’s pull together and protect the schools and open spaces for the sake of all of us. We can’t go down without a fight. We need our few remaining schools. We will need them when times change in the future. There is already slight hints of families being able to move into our communities today- young families who deserve a place to play on their bikes and walk to school. Imagine if Peterson had been sold off for land when they closed it? We already have higher numbers than all of the neighboring districts (per school averages) that I have compared. We live in a wealthy county- our kids deserve better! And please also correct those who say false, inflammatory information about the school 461 children know and love!

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