LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Education shouldn’t be a game of chance
May 10, 2011 · 10:47 AM
Marysville School District has eight small learning communities (SLC) that serve high school students. The eight SLCs are International School of Communication, School for the Entrepreneur, Bio Med, Academy of Construction and Engineering, Pathways of Choice, Marysville Mountain View, Arts and Technology and Heritage.
Each SLC community specializes in unique core classes geared toward specific industry. Example: If you are interested in business your SLC of choice would be School for the Entrepreneur. The SLCs are not equal; the curriculum focus and electives are different for each SLC.
Each year the school district asks current eighth-grade students to review each of the eight SLC curriculums and choose their top three choices. Students not only have to think about what classes interest them, they have to think about career choices. The district provides information to parents and students through pamphlets and information fairs. Once the student make their choices they complete their SLC form and turn it in; the district then assigns each student an number and these numbers are plugged into a computer-driven lottery. Students do not decide where they will attend, the lottery does. The lottery has made education a game of chance.
If the student is unhappy with the SLC given they can file an in-district transfer. Transfers are only honored as space becomes available; if space does not become available students remain in the SLC given regardless of preference. Never does MSD consider why the student made their first choice or ask what courses at the SLC they need to gain academic rigor. MSD is requesting that eighth-grade students make challenging choices about their future career paths and spend the next four years studying in this pathway; however there are no safeguards to make sure each student receives the needed curriculum to attain their future goals.
Marysville School District states in No. 7 of its vision statement, “We believe that it is critical to ensure that all students are prepared for work and post secondary education and training.” Yet you can be an eighth-grade student who has met the challenge to think about your future, made a definitive decision and not receive the SLC of choice. They ask that you compromise your goals, settle for coursework and classes that were adequate but not geared towards the academic rigor you requested.
When you serve 3,200 high school students with about 800 of them freshmen the lottery is a necessity, but Marysville School District needs to stand back and review their SLC selection form and the lottery procedure. MSD needs to amend its procedures to ensure that every student is the lucky winner of the lottery.