Zipcodes Didn’t Matter Then: Ron,Diane, and Me

Richard Rothstein Harvard educated professor writes about the role zip codes play in the under education of children. This is a starting point for me because Dr. Rothstein is so on target. Yet back when I was a child in Los Angeles my husband Ron, and  Diane my dear friend,were raised in those ZIP Codes of  limited success Dr. Rothstein talks about; yet we went  on to have professional careers in different pathways leading to lifelong success and prosperity. Yet we are products of the  wrong zip codes. I appreciate the research of Dr. Rothstein; and it’s like that elephant fable: depending on what part of the elephant you come upon as a blind person it indeed is all true.

In a behemoth city like L A, Ron Diane and I attended three large urban high schools with Diane at Jordan, which would be closest to the flame point for the Watts Riots; Fremont High is further north and Ron’s home school; and  I attended Manual Arts which was closest to downtown Los Angeles.

Diane and I meet at a reception for Delta Sigma Theta Scholarship winners as we graduate from high school and move on to the college which becomes California State University at Los Angeles. We are both English majors and follow different pathways to becoming award winning pricipals in California and Colorado. Ron would eventually complete his degree in Colorado. His career journey was as the Trade Act Administrator for the Division of Labor and Employment for the state of Colorado.

When this essay starts I am celebrating conquering the zip code theory.  But on the way to closure on this Ron notes his work with the Department of Labor and Employment.  He was the  point of retraining authorization for Coloradoans whose jobs are moved outside the United States.  These individuals from all over the state of Colorado universally required remediation in secondary educational skills before entering retraining curriculums.

This reality left him pondering the status of public education teacher preparation programs.  What changes are relevant to meet the demands of strengthening  the educational toolkit at the colleges where teachers are readied.  Time for some dynamic review and evolution. More to come.


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