by George J Elbaum
Lighthouse Community Charter High School is a public charter school with 214 students in grades 9-12, located in a light industry area near the Oakland airport (see photo below). Due to the high diversity demographics (83% Hispanic, 9% Black, 3% Asian, 2% White) and low-income economics of its student body (89% participating in free or reduced-price lunch program), the school’s test scores are grouped by Great Schools Ratings in “Test scores for low income students,” but are rated an impressive 9 out of 10. These are compared to state averages as follows: English Proficiency 76% vs. 44%; Math Proficiency 53% vs. 33%; Graduation Rate 46% vs. 81%; and Graduates eligible for UC/CSU 84% vs. 42%.
Teacher Sarah Purdy organized my presentation for her students who have been studying the beginning stages of the Holocaust: “the rise of Hitler and the failure of democracy, as well as understanding (the Nazis’) themes of classification and dehumanization” of peoples. Perhaps because the students were only at the beginning stages of studying the Holocaust, many of their questions were refreshingly focused on the “here-and-now vs. then.” Jack Weinstein of Facing History and Ourselves arranged my presentation and made the introduction.