"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Friday, May 5, 2017

Which School Should My Children Attend?

In our neighborhood, we are assigned to a public school for elementary, middle school, and high school. So, there is really no choice when it comes to sending one's child to a public school. Of course, we can always enroll our child in a private school. In fact, one of the teachers in the daycare my son attended when he was a toddler recommended a private school. Her reason was children in public schools were more likely to be bullies. My son started formal schooling in a Catholic school and surprisingly, he was not able to make friends and there were several times that I even witnessed another child being unkind to my son. My son is now studying in a public elementary school, Mason Crest Elementary School, where every child is treated as a celebrity.


This is the last year my son is studying at Mason Crest. Next September, he will be entering middle school. I have a daughter who is also studying in the same school but she is also scheduled to transfer to another school after qualifying for the Advanced Academics Program in Fairfax county. I can therefore only wish that my children find a second home in the schools they will attend this coming Fall.

Bullying is truly a scourge in schools. It is heartening to see that even the karate school my children attend, we spend quite some time to address bullying.


Bullying comes in different flavors. There is physical which is quite obvious but there are also varieties that are purely verbal and subtle ones that can hurt a child emotionally. And in this digital age, there is likewise cyber-bullying. However, bullying does not happen everywhere and does not affect everyone. Thus, it is useful to examine what factors correlate with the number of instances of bullying in schools. These factors can be divided into two: characteristics of the child and characteristics of the school. Such study has been made by Fink and coworkers in more than 500 primary schools in England. The following are the child factors that they find correlate with being bullied:

  1. The child is poor.
  2. The child is black.
  3. The child has disabilities.
Children who are deprived, children who are African, and children who require special education are much more likely to be bullied. The authors find that bullying incidents increase with an increasing percentage of children from poor families enrolled in a school. But the only school factor that appears to be independent of child factors is school climate. In this study, the operational definition of school climate is as follows:

school climate, frequently operationalised as the extent to which students on average feel connected to their school and have positive perceptions of school (and their teachers).
It is no surprise then why Mason Crest Elementary School, the school my kids consider as their second home, goes to great lengths just to make their students feel like celebrities.


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