I’m venting today because I’m ridiculously stressed out. Over kindergarten.
When I grew up, and probably still in a lot of places, you went to the school you lived near, end of story. It might not have been the greatest school, but it was good enough. And safe.
Now I live in Los Angeles and am in arguably one of the worst school districts in the country. We live in a decent area, affluent even. Our neighborhood school isn’t great and it’s in a vicious cycle of getting worse.
Because the school isn’t great, most people around here send their kids to private school, magnets, or charters. To fill their seats and keep state funding, the school buses in kids from the inner city. Since inner city kids don’t have the same advantages as the kids in the area, like going to preschool, having educated parents at home, going to mommy-n-me classes, they start kindergarten academically behind most of the kids in this area. So, the school isn’t good, so no one sends their kids there, so more kids are bussed in, and so it keeps going down the drain. And no one, no way, sends their kids to the middle school or high school in the area. They are flat out dangerous.
It’s not just our school either, it is affecting the other schools in the area as well, so there are more and more people applying for the charter and magnet schools.
If you’re unfamiliar with the terms. A magnet school is a school with a special focus, like science, the arts, etc. It is state funded and part of the school district, and therefore free, but still must teach to the test. A charter school is also state funded and free, but not part of the school district so it has a lot more leeway as far as how they go about teaching. They may use some alternative teaching methods (which I’m all for).
We have a charter near us and a school that is both a charter and a magnet.
We really want our kids to go to the magnet/charter. Because the magnets are controlled by the school district, you can only apply for one and there is a lottery for the spots based on a point system.
In our district, points are given for having a sibling at the same school, having your home school be predominantly minority (ours is), and for applying previously and being put on the wait list.
There is also a charter school near us. They assign preference only for siblings or students of faculty members. Then they hold a lottery.
We applied to both schools along with apparently everyone in our area. We found out last week we were wait listed at both schools. Sammy’s in the 40’s at both which means we will not be getting in to either school almost definitely.
We are applying now, probably along with all the other people on both wait lists (there are 300 names on the magnet school list), to be granted permission to leave the district and attend school in a nearby district that has good schools.
I’m not optimistic. The other district is actively seeking students by sending fliers out to the area preschools and mass e-mails. They have a page on their website dedicated to explaining the process and links to our district’s site for the forms we need to fill out. They even have links to where to go to appeal when you get turned down, because they turn almost everyone down initially.
If we get a permit out of our district, we have to go to the other district and face interviews. Interviews for kindergarten! They’ll let us know no earlier than August if we get in. Registration for our home school closes for the summer June 17th. So, I have to register Samantha there.
Frankly, I’m pissed. It shouldn’t be this stressful to go to kindergarten. Our schools should be safe and effective and I shouldn’t have to pay $10k a year for kindergarten. (Yes, private school is at least that much around here. And no, we can’t afford that, especially for 3 kids.)
Now, not only do I have to worry that my child’s education is going to be hindered while she waits for the rest of her class to catch up to her, but what do I do next year?
Apply for the magnet and charters again? Of course. We’ll have more points since we got wait listed this year. But my shy little girl might have some friends I’m going to have to tear her away from. I shouldn’t have to sacrifice her social development for her academic one.
What if we get into the other school district? Great. There’s a new law we don’t have to reapply next year. But we will for middle school and high school. What if she doesn’t get in then and she’s torn away from her friends she’s had for six years?
What if we can never get out of our home school? Is her education going to be lacking? Is she going to be safe? I toured the school. Some of the older kids were bigger than I am (I’m 5’8″), clearly outweighed me, and were kind of scary. There were also clearly behavioral issues in the kindergarten classrooms. This was in early April, so no blaming it on new kindergartners not used to school.
And then what about my other two? Getting Sammy into a magnet/charter might happen, but there are siblings this year that didn’t get in. Getting a permit out of the district for Sammy does not mean I’ll be granted one for Penny and Ella. So I have to go to two schools? Three? So my kids get different educational experiences? How is that fair to them?
I am so stressed out I actually broke out in hives when I found out we didn’t get into the second school. Hives. It’s crazy.
I have no answers. Just stress and anger. It’s kindergarten for crying out loud. Not an Ivy League university.
Anyone have a similar situation? Any advice? Any one else in L.A. not pleased right now?