The reporter thinly veils his degrading, elitist and borderline racist tone as a celebration of Linda Common's tenure as principal (who, I might add, truly was a great leader for the school).
The story states that public schools "can hardly avoid" being a "magnet for diversity," referring to the spectrum of students' socio-economic backgrounds. This phrase carries a negative connotation and implies that students of lower income backgrounds cause the majority of problems at Woodside (from "substance abuse" to "fights") that would deter parents who could afford "private school tuition" from sending their children to Woodside.
The story slightly touches on the academic and extracurricular opportunities Woodside has to offer, but undermines the good by incorrectly finding fault in Woodside's inability to exclude students.
While of course gang problems exist, and fights did occur during my time at Woodside, the story fails to recognize that an equal number of issues stem from wealthy students from Portola Valley, Woodside and Redwood City. These are the students who brought confederate flags to Cinco de Mayo festivities. These are the students who can afford to buy large quantities of alcohol (and harder drugs).
The story pins all of public education's negative attributes on "diversity," which is an incorrect, elitist and misinformed assumption. Perhaps the writer should reflect on his own attitude which holds him and others back from appreciating our local schools, both public and private, for what they are and also from making progress towards peaceful and equal (I will not go into the faults of the No Child Left Behind Act) education for all.
Emily Marie Beugelmans
Classical Civilization and Italian
Woodside High School 2006