Saturday, April 18, 2009

kindergarten

Today is "The Day in The Life of Kindergarten" at M.'s potential school. I am thinking about the 48 minute drive to the school from my house, and the pressure parents feel when choosing their child's school. We are lucky that here in the country we don't face pressures to enroll their children into expensive private schools that have lengthy waiting lists. But, we do have charter schools that are part of the public school system that offer an alternative curriculum. We chose a charter school that is a K-8 waldorf school. The very long drive aside, I am very excited that M. will potentially be at a school heavy on music, art, virtues and individualized learning that does not include homework or textbooks. I was sad to find out a couple of weeks ago there are 40 kids on the waiting list for 18 spots because I don't have a plan B.
We have a local elementary school 3 miles from our house, but I am opting to not send M. there for about 10 different reasons, but mostly because I disagree on the curriculum. This has created somewhat of a firestorm in our community because people are very passionate about their local schools and have a vested interest in maintaining their survival. At community events like May Day and Halloween people like us who are choosing not to send their kids to the local school have been publically humiliated and chastized for not supporting the local community. There is a public forum at these events, where people can speak in the middle of a circle surrounded by hundreds of people. This has been used at a platform for airing both judgemental and non-judgemental opinions toward a group of parents choosing to send their children elsewhere. But, today I am putting that all aside to enjoy meeting new parents, children and teachers at the school we will hopefully soon be calling our own.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

How did it go? The reactions of the community toward families that choose not to send their child to the local school is the most frigging outrageous thing I've ever heard. I am doing some SERIOUS cyber biting of my tongue ever right now because I don't need to offend anyone reading your blog BUT has freedom of choice completely gone out the window? Are the local schools in danger of being shut down for low population or something? I doubt it. SHUT UP. So you choose not to have your child tested three ways from Thursday on tests that determine nothing? You want her to become an independent learner who's curriculum isn't determined by the material on the standardized tests that hold everyone's future in the balance? My god that pisses me off. Public education is a bit of a sore point with me, however.

heather said...

I hear ya!! SCHOOL UGH!
That would be so frustrating to be made to feel like you were letting the community down, when you are such a big supporter of the community you live in. I have big issues with the school system too...but alas have chosen it for now. We, unfortunately, do NOT have a big charter school system here since the public schools are " so good"... I wish we did. I personally have yet to see what's so good about them. People either choose public, EXPENSIVE private or homeschool.... j was in private school for the first two years but that just wasn't an option any longer...
Is the waldorf school you are looking into a charter school? That would be so amazing.

I feel already like I have made some big mistakes in the education of my oldest child. It's so hard to know what to do....
Each year he starts off with such enthusiasm for learning and not a month into it, he gets discouraged. Now he's sort of resigned to it....it's very sad. And like Sarah said about standardized testing, j is going through this week and last. The are not so subtly counting on him and others like him to help pull up the rest so the school gets the rating they need.... We had a meeting with them and they said he seemed stressed about it, asking us if we had made a big deal about it at home...(we hadn't even mentioned it, because we weren't worried.) So it was a bit of a shock to hear that he was showing anxiety...hmm...wonder where that came from???? Maybe the school?? If he (and kids like him) were to freak out and not do well, then they would be in trouble. It's terrible. And it does nothing for the kids....except possibly help the school. crazy.
(sorry to rant about my frustrations on your blog...)

Good post, I bet a lot of people have a lot to say about this.!!!

heather said...

wow. that was long...sorry.:(

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