Monday, July 30, 2007

Charter school

I'm not able to afford private school, of any quality. In order to get into a good public school district, I'd have to move, and then go back to paying a mortgage so huge that it would have a Schwarzchild radius. I don't want to go back to the knee-knockers' current public school. For three reasons. One, first grade was essentially a repeat of my oldest's church kindergarten, academics-wise. She was tops in everything, but she didn't have to try, and I was afraid she'd lose interest and become easily discouraged at anything that took an effort.

The second, third and fourth reasons were a little touchier. The school has been trending black for years, and is now about 80% African-American. That by itself is not troubling, especially in the innocent early years. I myself grew up in 50-50 racial environments. But tell me: in an 80% black school, why is the turnout at the monthly PTA meeting 60% white? Second, I was at Field Day last year, and there was a dj, pumpin' up the rap for the elementary school kids. Ugh! The dirty stuff was edited out, as you could tell by catching the silences in the rappers' cadences. I think that turned my stomach just as much as uncut rap would have. "See? We care about our kids. We're playing 'muthaBLEEPuh-muthaBLEEPuh-muthaBLEEPuh', so everything's cool." Ugh, again.

The deal breaker was one day when I was doing some volunteer work for P.E. Day. But first, tell me: what does an over 60% out of wedlock birth rate mean to you? Poverty? Unemployment? STDs? Crime? What it meant to me on that day was this: I found myself amid a group of curious first-graders, explaining what my wedding ring was. I resolved very shortly thereafter that "diversity" like that could wait until my kids' formative years were a little further along. Yes, they have their own minds and wills and personalities, but they will inevitably soak up as much if not more from their peers than they will from their parents. (I have some sad examples from my own relatives to that effect, which I will not share here.)

So, on to charter school, and its baccalaureate program, its uniforms, its year-round school term, and its horrendous traffic flow (It's in temporary digs for now). The racial makeup is close to 50-50, with a smattering of Indians and other Asians, many of whom are friends from my youngest's kindergarten last year. I hope to contribute something to the success of the school by getting involved, as all the parents are required to do. Since all the parents at least wish for better things for their kids, rather than seeing the school as free day care, I'm looking forward to creating relationships with them. It starts a week from today.


  1. I applaud you for trying the charter school. Having been involved in education for five years, I think charter schools would have to be the way I would go, if I couldn't get my kids into a selective magnet program and didn't want to do private school.

  2. "I found myself amid a group of curious first-graders, explaining what my wedding ring was." - this is shocking, a big slap in the face so to speak than reading dry statistics on - I am planning to move as well so my child can be in a better school district. My current area of metro Atlanta *does* reflect this as well. Also, welcome back! - love your blog. I've known you a while, back from the atl.general usenet days. :) ~s


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