The following is in response to the cancellation of a comedy show last Sunday to benefit Edison Language Academy (“District cancels benefit amid controversy,” page 3, Jan. 13). At a time when California schools are suffering deep budget cuts, Edison Language Academy, like many schools in the state, is struggling to raise funds to meets its basic needs. Edison, the only dual-language immersion program in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and one of the top immersion programs in the country, has just received its fourth Title 1 Academic Achievement Award from the state of California for exceeding improvement goals for all students and for every significant subgroup of students on our campus.
Edison owes its success to a wonderful partnership between our principal, teachers, staff and parents who have instilled in this very diverse school made up of families from a multitude of nationalities and ethnicities, the belief that effort equals success, a commitment to high academic standards in two languages and respect for yourself and others. It is in fact the mission of Edison to prepare its students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century that already reach far beyond the borders of any nation. Its students will be global citizens
As a result, Edison parents are involved and passionate about their school, spending thousands of hours every year lending their talent and expertise to help in classrooms, beautifying and improving one of the oldest campuses in the district and raising funds to pay for classroom aides, office equipment and summer reading assistance for needy students.
Yet, like thousands of schools in California, and countless more across the nation, education at Edison is in jeopardy.
In this next year, schools are facing what could be the most severe budget cuts in a century.
Raising money in a community where more than 50 percent of the population is low-income presents special challenges. The Edison PTA is perpetually looking for inclusive ways to raise funds in a community where many parents work more than two jobs and many struggle to keep a roof over their heads. So when an Edison parent approached the PTA about the opportunity to have a big-name performer do a show to benefit Edison that could potentially raise between $25,000 and $50,000 from outside sources, the PTA saw this as an opportunity to relieve parents from once again pulling out their already tight pocketbooks for the sake of their children’s education.
The Edison PTA deeply regrets any hurt feelings or divisions that differences of opinion about this event have created and respects the concerns raised. We also continue to believe that sincere people committed to the education of all children can and do sometimes disagree. We remain committed to dialogue and respectful problem solving. Since the sudden cancellation of a key fundraiser has left a $25,000-plus hole in our budget, we must turn our attention immediately to efforts to raise from other sources the resources for the programs that our students need.
As we renew our efforts to raise funds, we cannot help but wonder how is it that we live in the world’s most affluent nation, and yet education funds are wanting? How is it that California — the ninth largest economy in the world — is nearly rock bottom in per pupil funding? How is it that our elected officials in Sacramento can engage in endless bickering and finger-pointing while letting education slide into an abyss?
The outrage in this is the utter failure of our leaders to see the value of investing in our children. Dollar-for-dollar, there is no better outlay of a nation’s resources than education. Any land in which education goes begging will surely become a second class nation.
The Edison PTA will continue to seek ways to support our children and their school. We invite any and every member of the community to join us. We are dedicated to preserving the extraordinary learning environment we call Edison. It was a large task before this economic crisis; it is enormous now. But we know it will be well worth every bit of effort.
Nancy Geshke and Claudia Vizcarra are co-presidents of the Edison Language Academy PTA.