Unfortunately, this explains declining enrollment in Mercer Island schools. The elephant in the room/third rail — or pick your metaphor — has nothing to do with the needs of a few which are being met off Island. It has to do with meeting the needs of the few on Mercer Island. First, we have a system that values job protection for math teachers over their effectiveness in the class room. Second, we have a system of education that values a minority group of vocal parents of the ‘gifted’ over the interests of the majority of students. Great attention and budget have been dedicated to ‘gifted’ and AP programs focused at the students with the highest GPAs. The majority of students, along with their parents, are left to ‘make it work’ however they can. For those who can afford it, private schools are an option. Hundreds of students are tutored by ETC and Privett because their needs are not being met. And those parents are not “buying A’s.” In fact, most parents are “buying B’s or C’s.” They are just trying to help their students get educated. If you were to add private school students, plus the tutored students, the total would be shocking. And they would far outnumber the ‘gifted AP’ students. Yet they have become the stepchildren of the school district. Why? We should all be asking that question. Are average kids (the majority of students) just too average? Do they bring down the MI District GPA, which wouldn’t look good in the paper? Do administrators just assume that the wealth on MI is adequate enough that parents can cover what the district will not? Not everyone on MI is wealthy. Yet we all pay taxes. And all our children deserve an excellent education from MI.