Dear San Domenico Students, Parents, and Guardians,
My name is Isabella Engler and I am a Junior at San Domenico. For my ROSE Project, I am working on education inequality in Marin. ROSE stands for Real Opportunities in Service Education and creating a personally meaningful service learning project is a requirement for graduation from SD. As you hopefully read in the letter from some of our parent leadership yesterday, we are asking our entire SD community to join us in taking a few steps to address this issue.
Throughout Marin County, neighboring schools are producing different levels of education. The difference in the quality of education can be measured through the size of the achievement gap among different children within each community. This gap is steadily growing wider throughout Marin as some local schools lack necessities such as teachers with credentials in the subject they are teaching, equal and widespread internet access, textbooks in the student’s native language, and other tools students need to achieve a successful education. As of 2018, 57.29% of sixth graders in Novato are reading at a level that is significantly below the standard reading level, according to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. In contrast, at White Hill Middle School, serving Ross Valley, only 8.46% of students are significantly below the standard for reading. Inequality between schools is not a recent phenomenon or an isolated incident. In 2017, the California Policy Center reported that 50% of adults in America were considered “functionally illiterate” due to the limited educational opportunities they experienced as children.
In order to address this deeply ingrained injustice, we need to not only address the issue, but stand in solidarity with our disadvantaged neighbors and help them secure the level of education to which they are entitled. As the previous supervisor of District 4, Steve Kinsey, stated, “The achievement gap in Marin isn’t an unknown problem; it’s an unowned problem.”
Please join us in the fight for equal educational opportunities for the children of Marin by participating in the events during SD for Literacy week, April 1 through April 5. From attending our Literacy Kick-Off party at Book Passage on Tuesday, to participating in the All School book drive, to wearing your PJs to school on Friday, it is easy to be involved and show your support. Stay tuned for additional ways you can make a difference.
Thank you for doing your part to promote literacy equality in Marin.
Isabella Engler ’20