OUR CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE WHICH PERFECTLY EXPLAINS WHY OUR GREAT STATE MAY CUT 15 DAYS FROM THE SCHOOL CALENDAR

Our children are the future. So, it makes perfect sense that our great state is proposing to cut 15 days from the school calendar.

Even if you don’t have kids in the school system, even if you don’t like kids and can’t stand the sight of them, you should be aghast. But this is exactly what happens when the state cuts school funding. First to go is usually music, art, sports and technology programs. Then teachers, guidance counselors and librarians. And now, the state is proposing to cut actual days from the school calendar. Three whole weeks, to be exact.

To say there’s a huge gap in what is required for a quality education and what the state provides to schools is an understatement. An understatement as big as the gap itself.

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Date posted: April 26, 2012

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DOES “ACHIEVEMENT GAP” REFER TO THE DISPARITY AMONG STUDENTS OR TO THE DISPARITY AMONG PARENTS?

Marin County. Known for its affluence and natural beauty. But that’s not exactly an accurate portrayal of the entire county. Because we also have our fair share of poverty.

Poverty? Are you kidding me?

No. We’re not.

In truth, there are a growing number of families in the Marin community who are struggling. Struggling to pay for rent, childcare and insurance. Even struggling to put food on their tables. In fact, almost 25% of the student body in Marin is economically disadvantaged.* And the challenges that these families face often lead to poor performance in schools.

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62 PERCENT OF HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS ARE UNMOTIVATED

WHAT YOU DON’T REALIZE IS THAT THE OTHER 38% ARE EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE*

The words most associated with “dropout” are words likes “failure,” “deadbeat” and “burnout.” What you would never expect is that there’s another category of dropouts altogether. They are driven, ambitious and will stop at nothing. These are the 38% of tenth-graders in California who left high school to work. That’s right, to get a job.

So why would a tenth-grader leave school for a job when they’re barely driving? Actually, they’re getting jobs to put food on the table. So many families are struggling to make ends meet that kids feel pressure to contribute.

But we live in Marin. So this isn’t a problem we face, right?

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BUSINESSES OF MARIN: EVENTUALLY YOU’RE GOING TO HIRE EMPLOYEES WHO’VE COME THROUGH THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM SO WHAT ARE YOU OK WITH THEM NOT BEING ABLE TO DO?

I’M OKAY WITH THEM NOT BEING LITERATE.

I’M OKAY WITH THEM NOT UNDERSTANDING TECHNOLOGY.

I’M OKAY WITH THEM LACKING CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS.

All kids deserve the very best our public schools have to offer. But when almost 25% of Marin students are underprivileged,* that’s not always the case. So, we’re going to make this easy for you, business people. One donation, and you can affect every public school student in the county. And by “student” we mean future customers and employees. And there’s no quicker way for your contribution to make an impact in the classroom. The funds are divided up equally throughout the county on a per-student basis, and are earmarked for one of three key areas: literacy, technology and the arts. When students thrive, the community thrives and then, lo and behold, your business thrives. You okay with that?

*24% of Marin students qualify for the Free/Reduced Price Meals Program. Eligibility is based on household income in relation to the federal poverty level (as of March 21, 2012). Source: California Department of Education.

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SO, HOW MUCH LOST POTENTIAL ARE YOU COOL WITH?

The above is not a question any of us want to have to answer. But with the state slashing $55 million out of Marin’s public school system, enrollment growing and the achievement gap widening, it just may be time to take a long hard look at our options.

Options? What options?

Glad you asked. We’re just going to blurt it out: SchoolsRule is our option. Business leaders, community leaders, educators, parents, seniors and even folks who generally have nothing to do with kids, have all come together to develop and support SchoolsRule.

But why is it different from other school efforts?

Must say, you have some excellent questions.

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