As a current teacher at The Preuss School UCSD, I’m glad to see our school’s success be referenced in this discussion on local education. However, there are a couple misconceptions that I want to clarify.
1. Preuss takes students through a lottery. Research at UC San Diego has shown that the kids that “win” a spot at Preuss in the lottery are no different than the ones that applied and “lost” the lottery. Same grades, reading/math scores, etc. By the time those kids graduate from high school, the ones that got into Preuss succeed at a higher rate than the ones that “lost” the lottery (as measured by A-G classes taken, college acceptances, SAT scores, etc.). Our success comes from the strength of our educational model.
2. Preuss’ success is not due to a private school model of education. My colleagues and I are still on the step and column system (some might suggest that we earn our raises by staying alive). Our teachers are on single-year contracts, but we’ve also had a stable teaching staff for the past five or six years. This is not a school of teachers in their early 20s who get burned out and leave after two years.
3. If there is anything in the Preuss model that the district should emulate, it is that which requires more education funding: We have a longer school year (200 days versus the district’s 180). We have professional development every week. We have a nurse, a special education counselor (with assistants), a college counselor, a literacy enrichment specialist, two regular counselors, two librarians, and psychologist resources at school every day of the week. All of this costs money, which we unfortunately have to raise (state funds don’t cover all our expenses). If the public wants Preuss-style success in the district, they also have to fund it, because it doesn’t come cheap.
A version of this article appears as a comment on “A Bottle With Bernie.”