Monday, February 7, 2011

On the Sidelines

A year ago, I was utterly up in arms with the prospect that they'd be closing Youngest's elementary school. I vowed not to let that happen under any circumstances. I was so angry that they'd be considering closing the highest-performing elementary school in the district and one of the top two or three in the entire county. I was angry, too, at idiotic behavior on some people's parts. It was at that time that I had the run-in with the "friends" of mine, some of which played out right here. Some of it played out in phone calls and nasty looks.

[On-topic but not the overall point of my post today: I have let go of the anger and disappointment and bitterness toward those "friends." I took my own words to heart and extended it to more recent events. On Friday, I had an actual conversation with one of these former "friends" relating to "sporks" and thanked one of those "friends" and even called her "brilliant" for a suggestion she had. Yeah, I know, baby steps. But at least baby steps in the right direction.]

The school district has offered up the idea that Youngest's elementary school should revert back to a neighborhood school, arguing that, since 2005, it has offered the exact same curriculum as every other elementary school in the district. [Eldest entered in 2002 when the school was still in its glory days of teaching kids in innovative and engaging and unique ways. Daughter entered in 2003 when the handwriting was on the wall and some of the innovation was strongly discouraged, particularly by a principal I thought must be the worst principal I'd ever encountered. That notion has been proven incorrect.]

At the school board meeting I attended Tuesday night to rail against the lying, conniving, misleading superintendent and her lackeys with regard to her handling of the shuttering of Daughter's middle school, the first part of the meeting dealt with recommendations surrounding equity, which included altering the lottery elementary school so that it began to give preference to neighbor children before opening up spots district-wide. I lost count of the number of parents from the school who articulated reasons why that should not happen.

You'd think that given the sheer number of people that night advocating for keeping the school the way it is that the community at-large feels that way. But that's not the case. I think many of the opponents didn't realize the supporters would show up in number to speak out. Most, I imagine, believed the middle school debacle would be the hot topic. [It was a hot topic, definitely, but it was second on the agenda.]

Everyone has an opinion, but it's pretty clear that the supporters are far outnumbered by the opponents. Or at least that's my take on it.

And I sit on the sidelines, actually rather impressed that the idiots in the school district have finally devised a way to dismantle the high-achieving, by-lottery school: grandfather in all of the existing students and their siblings and watch it gradually become a neighborhood school over the next 10 years. Hard to imagine anyone at the school pulling their children out when, at most, about 40 or so spots open up each year (out of 500).

Long term, of course, who knows what the consequences are when like-minded parents realize there is no school of choice within the public school apparatus as the years pass? The school district will likely lose more kids to private schools. Worse, some might form another charter school and take money directly from the district's wallet (as opposed to the private school scenario which just doesn't put money into its coffers).

But the big elephant in the room truly isn't the people who have their kids at this lottery school. It remains the huge population of non-English-speaking parents who send their children to public school wholly unprepared and who are, generally speaking, uninvolved in their children's schools and uninvolved in their children's education and unable to be swayed otherwise. Educated parents whose kids attend their neighborhood schools with large populations of the ESL kids hate the parents at Youngest's school. They blame us for getting out. I imagine their liberal bent makes them unable to hate the parents truly responsible for the decline of the schools.

And if that makes me an elitist, racist bitch, so be it.

1 comment:

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Firstly, OMG! I'm leaving a comment!

Secondly, great post. I am amazed, here in Georgia, when I see neighboring Forsyth county turning a public HS into a science/arts magnet school while my own Cherokee county continues to muck things up on a daily basis. *Sigh*


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