As a parent who chose private school over public school, I would like to offer some suggestions as to how to make McGilvra Elementary School more attractive to neighborhood parents who may be considering private school.

First of all, private schooling does not guarantee a better education than public schooling; in my daughter’s case, it did not even guarantee that the school would teach her to read. I had to pay for expensive testing and expensive, time-consuming tutoring all to identify and teach her the basics.

What the PTA at McGilvra can easily offer is what neither the private nor the public schools offer in this city: serious competent foreign language instruction, beginning as early as possible.

The brains of young children (under the age of puberty) are equipped to learn foreign languages more efficiently than adolescents or adults. Also, once puberty sets in, the ability to acquire foreign accents is severely diminished.

If a child learns a language early, it elasticizes their brains so that they will be more receptive at learning more languages later. If you ask any person who is multi-lingual, you always find someone who either learned a second language early or grew up in a bi-lingual household or grew up in a multi-lingual country.

All of the private schools my children attended offered foreign language, but only one, a brand new high school with 12 students in their graduating class, had decent language instruction.

If McGilvra Elementary can get a five-day-a-week competent language teacher teaching in every grade, enrollment will soar.


Ellen Taft,

Madison Park