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The Sad State of City Schools

September 05, 1993

Your Aug. 22 article on "Schools Fight Flight of Students to Los Alamitos" is a sad commentary on the state of Long Beach education.

As parents on the east side of Long Beach who struggled to bring two children up through a deteriorating school system, it is obvious to us why families are jumping over to Los Alamitos School District when they can. It's called better education.

The same Long Beach school administrators who have gutted out a once excellent school system now want to offer day care on the east side, somehow believing that this will make a difference.

Has it ever occurred to these administrators that what parents really want is high quality education?

Just 50 yards east of the Long Beach city line is Los Alamitos High School, which consistently ranks as one of the best high schools in the state. Two miles west into Long Beach is Millikan High, which tests out at the bottom of the academic barrel in standardized test scores. Can you blame parents for wanting to jump ship?

For 20 years Long Beach school administrators have tried to fix all of society's problems through the schools. A constant stream of nit-wit programs and upheavals have only produced one thing--bright flight. Parents found deaf ears from "all-knowing" administrators. Parents who really cared about education did the only logical thing, which was to pack up and move to Orange County. Consequently, Long Beach schools have a 25% white minority.

Politicians and school administrators, take heed. All of the Queen Marys and redevelopment zones and car races and fish tanks in the world won't change one fundamental rule of life: good schools produce good neighborhoods and lousy schools beget lousy neighborhoods. Any city made of lousy neighborhoods is destined for the scrap heap.

KEN AND SANDY SULLIVAN

Long Beach

Editor's Note: The state has not released the 1993 California Assessment Program scores, and the test was not given for the previous two years. The only current test scores for Millikan are the locally administered Metropolitan Achievement Test, on which Millikan scored in the 52nd percentile in math and the 46th percentile in language, said Long Beach schools spokesman Dick Van Der Laan. The Los Alamitos School District does not administer MAT or similar standardized tests.

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