I just went through the stack of mail which had been piling up over the past week… Everything addressed to me was a bill. One of them demanded $194.16 for July’s electricity usage. Two hundred dollars—1,096 kilowatt hours—that’s how much it took to cool a crappily insulated, two-story house in the desert to a constant temperature of 74°F, thirty degrees below the ambient daytime inferno outside.
There was also a bunch of mail for the landlord and a glossy pamphlet called “The Report Card,” sent by the Victor Elementary School District. I was going to throw it in the trash until I saw one of its headlines proclaiming that it was: “One of the Highest Performing Districts…… page 3.”
One of the highest performing? Really? Were they talking about gym class? Or maybe they were referring to the “most likely to be initiated into a prestigious gang before the age of 12” school rating? Because the only stat I saw on Victor Valley’s education system showed the high school dropout rate to be 55%, double the US average.
But maybe the elementary schools here were using some sort of radical approach, a Mojave-Montessori hybrid that mixed high doses of amphetamine scavenged from carpets for increased frontal lobe activity, mixed in with child abandonment therapy: an organic model of childhood learning that gives kids the space they need to pursue their own interests while mommy and daddy go on a seven day speed binge. Like these two bright specimens and their loving, devoted parents:
Children found in home with drugs, ammunition
August 11, 2009 5:21 PM
BEATRIZ E. VALENZUELA Staff Writer
HESPERIA • Investigators removed two children from a Hesperia home after authorities found drugs and ammunition at the residence, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Hesperia station officials said Tuesday.
Deputies were called to a home in the 18100 block of Westlawn Street on Sunday to investigate a domestic disturbance, according to Roxanne Walker, spokeswoman for the Hesperia station. While there, officials noticed there were two children living in the home with hazardous conditions including exposed wiring, broken glass, razor blades and animal feces.
Animal Control also removed four dogs, a parrot and a ferret from the home.
Their parents obviously realized that nothing teaches kids responsibility better than pets.
So was this VV’s secret? Flipping to page 3 brought up this PowerPoint graph and a brief explanation:
“Victor Valley School District is the highest performing, high poverty district in California . . . more than 47% of VESD students tested proficient in language arts and more than 55% tested proficient in mathematics.”
“Highest performing, high-poverty district”?… Ah-ha. So the schools here have taken their cue from the banking industry, qualifying everything important and sticking it into the fine print.
And what’s up with the “language arts” tag? Must be what they’re calling basic reading comprehension in schools these days. It’s crafty rebranding on their part, proof that the everyone-is-special-no-matter-how-many-chromosomes-they-have attitude has finally made it out of special ed and gained acceptance in regular classrooms. It’s a whole lot easier to lower the bar than to divert money from prisons.
It must be a helluva self-esteem booster for the parents, too, transforming their kid into someone gifted, a bona fide maestro of words, a Desert Dr. Dre who can read a label on a can of Pringles and buy his dad’s St. Ides at the liquor store all by himself—and bring back exact change, too. That, or risk a good ol’ fashioned whippin’.
And whoa! Just look at the margins VV maintains over its competition, beating out the silver medal district of Rio Linda—a third-world shithole near Sacramento with a per capita income on par with Russia, Libya and Equatorial Guinea—by a whopping 3.1 and 4.2 percent! This place is really living up to its name.
Victor Valley may be on top now, but it shouldn’t let this win go to its head. With the way things are going for the High Desert, the hard part will be maintaining superiority… And it might have to come up with a new qualifier to keep itself competitive, something along the lines of: “highest-performing, highest high-poverty district in California.”
Yasha Levine is a McMansion inhabitin’ editor of The eXiled. He is currently stationed in Victorville, CA. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.
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