Friday, February 27, 2009

Choices, choices, choices.

I'm up to my armpits in test scores, statistics, curricula and information.  I'm drowning in subtle differences, guiding principles and estimated distances from our home. I'm obsessing about transportation, child care and clusters. In other words I live in Seattle and have a child who will enter kindergarten next year.  See, in Seattle we get to apply to our public schools and all of that means more work for the parents.  Awesome. Because what I need right now is more stress.

We've scheduled school tours, compared test scored, looked at enrollment histories.  I've browsed school reviews on line, asked friends about their school choices and generally worried about every wrong decision I could make.  Mr. Dog has gone as far as making graphs of the data we've been reviewing which made me feel like I was not holding up my end of the bargain.  To counter this feeling or inadequacy, I created a matrix of my own that ranks schools based on enrollment information, distance from our house and our initial impressions of the educational program at each option.  I'm not sure if it helps, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something while I wait for the next tour to begin.  And from what I've heard, it may not even matter.  They may still override our choices and assign us to our "reference" school, which is so cruddy it hasn't even made it to our list of possibilities. 

We've already registered as part of early registration.  A process that required multiple documents to prove my child exists, is vaccinated, has parents who live where we say we live and have contacts with complete information.  So any day now I'll get our application.  Or at least I should get our application.  Let's just say getting a mailing from the school district about school enrollment and school choice addressed to "The parents or guardians of Laura Williams Argilla" makes me wonder if there was something wrong with paperwork I already sent in. Heaven forbid I call to make sure it was all in order, because I called "after business hours" at 4:05 pm.  I guess it can wait until tomorrow, but if I didn't screw up the paperwork, this may point to bigger problems with the school district.  I mean, do they really want my parents involved in this?  And am I expected to re-enroll in kindergarten for the upcoming year.  I don't think my employer would be too understanding about that.

8 comments:

Stranded in Stepford said...

Yuck. What a mess. Sorry that your 'reference' school stinks... we don't have that type of selection process here in Stepford and that's how I ended up in this suburban hell-hole. I have to live in this snake pit to get them into a good school. I guess I'll be glad when their education pays off and they can spring for the cost of Mommy's institutionalization. . .

Anonymous said...

Hey don't mock the 4:05 after business hours! Remember what time they start (whimpers the non morning person who has to wake up a 5:45 to get to school on time)

K

geekymummy said...

many parents here are actually pushing for the 'reference school' option here in SF. At the moment you can apply to any 7 schools anywhere in the city, and usually get assigned (based on extremely complex lottery system)to a completely different one miles away (and there is no bussing here). They are trying always to balance social backgound etc, but the formula doesn't take into account the fact that many parents opt out of the public system if they don't get one of their 7 choices.
The idea being that if a local school is available as a default it might encourage more community involvment in a school. We have this committed bunch of parents of younger kids who are working to improve the 2 elementary schools local to us, but they have no guaruntee that they will get their kids into the school when the time comes. It is so difficult to develop a fair school assignment system. Best of luck.

followthatdog said...

Seattle's system is better than SF's because it does give you a reference school that you are pretty much guaranteed to get into if you don't do anything, it also puts a high value on neighborhood schools, so the distance from your house to the school is one of the tie break deciders. That said, our reference school sucks. Luckily there are some pretty good schools just a bit farther away, but not too far.

mamikaze said...

1) I am shocked that your neighborhood school sucks;
2) I am surprised it is not on the closure list since it sucks.

I feel bad that the Seattle school system is in such sad shape they have to use that open-registration lottery system.

followthatdog said...

The Seattle Public Schools are going to move to a new school assignment system next year, but this is what we're stuck with. I'm not sure if the new system will be better or worse. I wish they'd focus on making the schools that are less desirable into better schools, but that seems not to be happening.
Our neighborhood school has a new principal and is supposed to be getting better but it isn't there yet.
The school closure list is not hitting our cluster so much because they are dealing with overcrowding in our cluster. While I understand the budget issues, it seems like closing schools when there is higher demand than ever is probably the wrong way to go about fixing things.

Green said...

Look if you can't share and get along with others and consequently have to re-do kindergarten, then just do it and get it done with now. It won't help any to wait until you're an 85 year old beating other residents in the nursing home because you think they've stolen your false teeth or taken the last Scrabble tile.

Mrs. F said...

Wow, in our neck of the woods we are assigned to our closest school. In the case that the school is full, the kids get bussed off to the next closest school. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part you have to live on a particular street to go to a particular school.

I can't imagine the headache that searching out a school would cause me, but I hope you are having luck in finding the right school for the big dog.

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