Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day and Wanting What is Best

All you bloggers out there probably know this feeling far better than you wish - you know you had at least three really great blog topics you wanted to cover, but when you finally sit down at the computer to write, they are gone. That is what I am faced with this morning. These were actually real topics requiring almost deep thought and everything......Oh, well, guess I could surf the net for movie trailers, reviews of generic Phentermine, and best ways to make a child-friendly garden.

Ah-ha! I remember one of them - Wife and I spent Mother's Day evening doing a task in the best interest of our son. We filled out a form and composed a letter requesting a boundary exception for our son so he can go to a different school next year. Not just a different school - a better school; the school with the highest test scores in our district and the lowest percentage of students in the free/reduced meal program. We found out from a teacher friend that there is a very direct correlation between the free meal percentage and test scores - meaning a very direct correlation between income and test scores.

Our son's education has caused us to come face-to-face with our own prejudices, level of snobbery and cold-hard reality. The idea of our son being educated in a school of children with mixed economic backgrounds, race, languages...etc. seemed like it could have its benefits. It could, but the reality is that in this school, whose boundaries include a lot of apartment complexes and judging by the number of late registrations, maybe people who either move a lot, or just have no clue how to find out how, or that they even should, register their child for school BEFORE the first day of school. So, what I am dancing around is that there are a lot of people with low levels of education or low understanding of English language and/or "customs." I am voting primarily for poorly educated, possibly struggling to make ends meet and not being able to take time to consider their children's schooling, OR way too involved in partying. We met a few of those parents.

Wife was only kindergarten parent volunteer, and noticed many students never turn in their weekly homework. At this age, that is a parental responsibility even more than one of the students'. There are many areas we are concerned about, and we really want something more for our kids.

My point, if I had one? We realize on some level we are being snobs by wanting our child educated where parents will take a more active role in their children's education and where behavioral problems starting at home to not leak into a large portion of the classroom. More importantly though, we want Boy Wonder to get a good education and have every advantage possible. Being in a classroom where the teacher has to spend a lot of time dealing with kids with behavioral problems, or working on basic skills that the kids should have known coming into kindergarten is not giving him any advantages at all. He is definitely not having the same experience as his friend that is going to the better school that we would like to get him into.

Of course, many people want their child to get into the "best" school, and only so many boundary exceptions can be made. Will Boy Wonder be one of them? If not, what are the other options? We intend to find out!

So, there you have it, a Mother's Day evening spent doing what Mothers do - loving their kids, and wanting what is best for them.


Monogram Queen said...

I wish you luck on getting him in!
I have had to confront the very same issues that you have.
I am sending Madison to private school, not for any snob issues but because I honestly think it will give her the best educational opportunities.

Dakota said...

I hear you. We would if we could, but the price tag is just too high. Funny, the idea of snobbery. (Which is looking like a mighty funny word right now.) It really isn't being a snob to want what is best for your child, and to work to get it. It's not that we don't want him at his current school BECAUSE of the income level or ethnicity of the other student, it is because of the quality of the education. Is there a correlation in this neighborhood? Yes. Does that make us snobs. Maybe some would say yes, because why do we think our son deserves better than the other kids at the school? They probably deserve better too, but my direct concern is my own child. It does get complicated, doesn't it? Maybe the best thing is to take care of your own kids, but also find a way to help fix the system that is not working. Like we all have energy for that....

Anonymous said...

I'm with you guys; I went to private school, and I thought at first that's why I had a "snobby" outlook on public schools, well and hubby told me I was too ha!! Anyway we changed schools for that very reason you did and it all worked out well for us and hope it does for you guys! You gotta do what you gotta do for your kids. Man I really sound uneducated huh?? ha ha maybe I've been in the south too long???? OK that was mean but true in certain cases!!

Audra said...

Good luck with that! I grew up in a lower income level and struggled with my schooling. The children were never good in school, never did homework, were always fighting, arguing with the teachers, etc. Back then the only way you could change schools was if transportation was provided, and since my parents worked during school hours, I had no way to do it. I think the families really are struggling to keep the family afloat, and don't help the kids with homework, etc. And sadly the kids attitudes weren't much better either- I was always getting picked on, made fun of, etc. Which is never fun! I'm sure this could have happened at any school, but I did spend a year in a fundamental school, (kind of like a private school, only under the public city school umbrella) and had the most perfect year ever.