Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Great Reason to Send Your Kids to Public Schools in LA

One of my favorite reasons for sending my kids to public school in Los Angeles is meeting people from all around the world. And I'm not just talking about my kids. I'm talking about myself, too.

Coming from homogeneous Colorado, where everybody is white and protestant, I didn't grow up around anybody other than people who looked just like me. So when I moved to LA over 20 years ago, I couldn't get enough of the many different cultures, peoples, and traditions that I was exposed to. I loved getting to visit different cultures without ever leaving home.

When I became a mother, I wanted my kids to experience the rich diversity that Los Angeles had to offer, via the public school system. So I sent my kids to the neighborhood school, in their own community. I didn't want to send them across town to a private school where they could be insulated and set apart, with "their own kind". Having my kids attend public school in LA means that they get to make friends with children from many different countries. They get to learn about different cultures, values, histories, and traditions. They have been exposed to different languages, customs and religions. I consider that to be part of their public school education - to befriend children from around the world. My daughter's best friends in her classrooms for the past three years have parents who have come here from Mexico, Iran, the Philippines, and India. Which means that I have made new friends from Mexico, Iran, the Philippines, and India. I love learning about their cultures and what led them to America. In getting to know them, my life is enriched and I become more open, receptive, and well, educated.

I send my kids to the neighborhood school and I become educated. Hmmm. Imagine that.