Monday, November 19, 2012

Schools

I am not about to write a post about education and what I think it has come to in this country. I am grateful there are educational institutions available to us and that our children are at least learning a few good things. However, I do think testing has taken too high of a role of importance, and it is ruining everything that is good and awesome about education and learning. Done. I say no more.

This post however is about NYC schools. When I was a kid you went to the school that was near your house. You registered. You showed up on the first day. Done. I assumed my whole life that is what I would do with my own kids, but somehow I never really factored in that I would be living in NYC when I had kids. And I had no idea how insane this school system is here. There is a school you are zoned for, but you don't necessarily have to go there (I will not be sending John to his zoned school. I would rather homeschool him than send him there.). You can "apply" to any school in your district although zoned kids get preference. That's all fine and good if you live in a good district (ie District 3 or UWS). When you are us and you literally live 1 city block from the dividing line of District 3 and District 5, it means getting into a good school is a total crap shoot. Cameron likes to call us District 13 (Hunger Games reference). It's one of the worst districts in the city. Awesome.

What are my options, you ask? Move? Sure, but we would have to be making substantially more money to move into a 2 bedroom on the UWS. So, no. Accept my fate and send him to a District 5 school and hope for the best? Not a chance. Private school? Only if someone out there feels really sorry for me and wants to give me $35k a year to send him. Any takers? Maybe the private schools will feel sorry for me... Homeschool? Only as a last resort. So what I do is join the crap shoot and hope the di fall in my favor.

What this means is I have to go on school tours and visits to every school I am interested in applying to. It means filling out applications to all of these schools. It means saying prayers. It means holding my breath and hoping. Is it supposed to be this hard? There is a chance he won't get in anywhere at which point I will probably be homeschooling (not ideal). Every time I go on a school tour or visit, I come home defeated and deflated like a balloon. Perhaps all mothers go through anxiety over sending their kid to school, but I don't think all mothers worry about whether their kid will actually get into a school, unless they live in NYC.

But I probably have similar concerns as most mothers. Will he thrive in this school's environment? Tradition education or progressive? How am I supposed to know that yet? He's 4. I am not sure which is best for him. Will he get a well rounded education? Will he be exposed to music, art and all the things I think are wonderful and important? What about the other kids? Will they respect him and his beliefs? What else will he be exposed to just by being around kids from other environments? Arghh, so many things to worry about and consider. I went to a private school open house for a school I have always wanted to send my kids to. It's amazing. I love it. I think the curriculum is great, the facilities, awesome and more than that... they teach about all religions (it's an Epsicopalian school at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine). I love that he would be in a place where God is present in his education. That is something that cannot be said for public school anymore. Oh, and he would learn French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese until he's in 3rd grade. I want to send him there more than anything, but the odds are not in my favor.

So every school I go to, I think about whether it is going to be as good as the Cathedral School (likely not). Therefore, I come home feeling defeated and deflated and cursing the inequality. Cursing the fact that my hard working family really doesn't have access to something that incredible.

I have another tour tomorrow. Hoping that the feeling I come away with doesn't overshadow my day or increase my dread for Fall 2013.

2 comments:

Tristen said...

Good luck, it's all so complicated, not to mention the anxiety that comes with sending your first off to school. We waited to send Avery until she was almost 6 years old because I just felt sick about it every time I considered it, so though it's not ideal, maybe that is another option... if you don't get into a school that works for you this year maybe you can get on the lists and try for the next year. So so stressful, though, I'm sorry about that. Also thanks for sharing, incredibly interesting. I really believe you will feel it when you come upon the choice that is right for you (him) next year. Hang in there!

Bekahandboyz said...

I know we don't know each other that well, but I do feel as though I know your blight. I homeschool (not my 1st choice either-but definitely the BEST choice). It came as a decision after reading/listening to Pres Uchtdorf's talk, "Of Things that Matter Most". I am attending am LDS homeschool conference in May. You might want to come. It's extremely helpful and encouraging. Check out their website http://ldshe.org/
Good luck!