Letter: Politicized Back-to-School ‘News’

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letters to the editorIt is annual ritual for federal and private policy organizations (sponsored by political and/or corporate interests) to issue annual ranking of nations. If the desired result is U.S. to be ranked No. 1, the criteria might include size of economy, per capita GDP, per capita income, access to education and health care, social cohesion and tolerance, rule of law, economic opportunity, quality of life and overall well-being.

If the Wall Street Journal publishes federal government or private foundation “news” ranking the U.S. No. 1, how many of us would conclude the current President and Congress deserve credit for our great nation?

Yet, our School District is hiding behind a ranking by Niche, a private website which monetizes rankings to which public schools subscribe at a cost.

The School Board President touted the report in the press, without mentioning Niche ranked LBUSD overall as a district No. 1 in OC based on non-academic criteria. But that overall rating masked campus-by-campus rating for LBHS at 18th in OC and 118th statewide (CDM and 5 Irvine high schools ranked higher than LBHS in both OC and state). In OC, Thurston was ranked No. 7, El Morro No. 6 and TOW No. 7.

Those of us with children or grandchildren relying on local public schools in the years ahead do not need a taxpayer-funded School District public relations campaign to know strengths and weaknesses of our schools.

Given generous investment by residents paying taxes, extracurricular activity fees, School Power donations, and private tutoring to raise GPA and test scores, we appreciate great schools.

It’s our civic duty to elect and hold accountable a School Board that governs as well as our teachers teach. That means basic civic literacy and competence, due process, fairness, respect for diversity and dissent, respecting all. 

Niche missed those criteria for ranking LBUSD.


Howard Hills, Laguna Beach

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