Also known as Samohi and part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, this high school is located in Santa Monica, California, on 601 Pico Blvd, several blocks away from the Pacific Ocean.

As of June 2004, this school is under the tyrannical rule of a certain Dr. Ilene Straus. Originally the principal of the local Lincoln Middle School, she became the self proclaimed CEO or Chief Educational Officer of Samohi.

After decades of prosperity, Straus decided to split the school into a House System, comprised of six independently administrated house systems: the S, A, M, O, H, and I houses. Each faculty member is delegated into one of the six houses. The official goal of this system was to provide a more personal learning environment. One of the main reasons for this system was tax breaks and additional funding for the school.

Administrators expected improved test scores (and therefore more state funding due to this system). However, a lurking variable in this plan is the Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorn Effect stipulates that if a change is made in the working environment, and the subjects (students) are told that they're being watched, an increase in productivity will result regardless of whether the change was actually beneficial.

The House System also creates useless bureaucracy by the fact that so many new administrators are on a high salary payroll, leeching money from the school district’s budget. Another side-effect is competition between the houses. Houses occasionally give out food and treats in the form of special parties to students from their house alone, ostracizing other students who were arbitrarily segregated into their houses, theoretically based on race, sex, GPA, income, and social status. This causes other houses to create their own free food giveaways. This phenomenon is expected to continue for years. And people ask where all the money goes.

The budget cuts eventually work their way down to the students. They are the ones who suffer. They are stuck with cheap text books written several decades ago. One physics teacher had students write "current events" from magazines published in the 1970s.

One problem that plagues the district is known as tenure. While usually set at approximately 12 years for a normal workplace, the school has a 2 year tenure. This causes the district to automatically fire teachers before their 2 year tenure sets in, creating a state of lower job security and subtracting even more money from the budget due to all the time spent training teachers. This also means that older teachers who have somehow gotten past their prime teaching years and have less to contribute to students due to their physical or mental state stay in the system, while new teachers with enthusiasm and fresh ideas are rejected because of this extremely short tenure.

The school’s food selection is exceptionally limited. They sell high fat and cholesterol junk food on the majority of their menu, from brand names such as Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. There are also many vending machines. After insistent criticism from concerned parents, a salad bar, though pathetic, has been added. There is still a scarcity of genuinely nutritious food sold in the campus. The lack of capacity and healthy food has allowed the administration to grant off campus lunch passes, effectively outsourcing students’ money to local businesses, draining a tremendous amount of money from the school’s budget each year.

Questioning the system leads to great trouble for the school’s faculty. Anyone who questions the CEO has great risk of expulsion. One teacher is currently in the process of being fired because a student threw a pencil during her annual evaluation period. The evaluator’s opinion was that the student’s action reflected the teacher’s poor standards for classroom management.

The system shows no sign of improvement. The house system, while disguised as beneficial for students, hurts all parties involved, and the budget is rapidly declining. Perhaps in the future, a new CEO will rise and lead the school to a better future.

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