Meet another student blogger, Isabel Rodriguez-Vega, who discusses the merits of her public school experience. -Katy
My name is Isabel Rodriguez-Vega, I am 17 years old, and I attend Skyline High School as a junior. I have been in the Oakland Unified School District all 11 of my academic years. First Montclair Elementary, then Montera Middle School, and now Skyline.
We were asked to write for the blog to give a student perspective on life in the OUSD, and I personally think it’s a great idea. The students are rarely asked about their views or experiences, but who would know better?
I know parents, teachers, or just people in the community all have questions about the education system in Oakland because, lets face it, it doesn’t have the best reputation. In all honesty, however, I wouldn’t trade my educational experience in the OUSD for the best education system in America. Well, I don’t know about that, but I do feel I have received a very good education in Oakland. In my opinion, better than any of my friends who attend private school. To me, private school deprives students of real life experiences or interactions that you would get from a public school.
For example, at the beginning of the year there were some serious scheduling mix-ups and it became the students’ responsibility to fix their own problems. Although administration problems within a school are not a good thing, it forces the students to develop problem-solving skills because we are pretty much on our own. I guess one could say life in the Oakland Public Schools is like life out in the real world, or close to it.
What comes to mind when thinking about Oakland Public Schools? Bad teachers, bad administration, out of control students, difficult learning environment, drugs? Yes, there are all of these things at Skyline, but there are good things too. Going back to the life analogy: life is what you make it. This goes for school as well.
If you are motivated enough to get good grades, take the AP classes, and stay out of trouble then you will probably not even encounter the negative aspects. Private schools definitely offer a different sort of environment, maybe better to some, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have problems also. Every school has negative aspects, and it all depends on your personal motivation.
The differences between Skyline and private schools are slight. Skyline offers as many (maybe more) AP or Honors classes as any Oakland private school, but has the added student diversity providing not only an education, but also a different outlook. In public school you encounter all different sorts of people, races, cultures and social classes. This is what makes public high school unique.
So parents, when thinking about sending your kids to a public high school or private, consider these things.