This week, Newsweek Magazine put out the 2014 list of America’s top high schools. My own alma mater, Westfield High School, was ranked as number 29. I feel a sense of pride in that–a sense that is probably much higher than any school spirit I might have had when I went there. And I realize how lucky I am to have learned in such an environment. Did I love every day of high school? No. Not at all. Did I like every teacher? Every class? Also no. Not even close.
But I recognize that it was an environment in which learning thrived–and in which, ultimately, my love of learning was nourished. I realize that those teachers I did like, whose classes helped to spark engaged learning for me, really made a difference in my life in the long run. And my classmates, even the ones I wasn’t friends with, helped to perpetuate a learning atmosphere that was challenging in a good way.
And I realize I’m lucky to have had that. And that socioeconomics, unfortunately, have all too much to do with the environment in which kids learn. I have hope, though, that there’s potential for change. Newsweek also published a list of schools who beat the odds–the top schools for low income students. And there are several schools that are on the top of both lists. Education disparity is something that we need to address–so that all kids, no matter where they are from, can learn in an environment that fosters good learning.
Because from that, we get a society full of educated people. And we get kids who love learning. And adults who continue to love learning.