Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

June 23, 2013

CEPEDA: Trouble with a 'textured' life

(Continued)

This summer, our schools are undergoing dramatic restructuring designed to, for the umpteenth time, boost student achievement. Our community is experiencing its annual restructuring, too, as the parents of eighth-graders who can afford to move take that option to avoid having their children attend our troubled high school. My son began a special summer program last week for incoming freshman who will be taking honors-level courses. It's a small attempt to prepare students who performed well in middle school to collectively lift the performance of their high school class by getting good grades in the very few honors and Advanced Placement courses the school offers. In a school where 63 percent of the students are low-income, the chronic truancy rate is almost 20 percent, and about 6 percent of the classes are taught by teachers who are not "highly qualified" — that's optimistic. But I'm grateful for the attempt to give these kids a leg up. Most impoverished schools can't even do that.

Desperate parents are resorting to lying about their home addresses to get their kids into higher-performing schools — and in some cases getting arrested or jailed for it — so it's admirable that there are people out there like Hinds who would even consider risking their kids' education for the greater good.

Hinds, however, closes his essay, "Ultimately, I'm not going to let my kids go to a school that fails them." If only every parent had that choice. To those who can choose decent schools for their children, a word of advice from someone already leading a "textured" life: It's a noble gesture but not at the expense of your kids' education.

Esther J. Cepeda is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. She can be reached at estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

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