1% Problems

02.14.12

I just got an email that reads:

This is friendly update to let you know that Alexander’s application for grade 06 is complete at this time and ready for review. Decision letters for Middle School will be sent on Friday, March 23rd. Please continue to check our website for [redacted] happenings!

Alexander blew his ISEE tests, but if they look at his grades and see the A’s or at his ERB scores and see the 95th percentiles they’ll see a kid with strong academic successes. If they don’t, then I guess he’ll reapply next year or maybe look at other schools.

Of course I’m worried that he will get in and Mr. G won’t want him, but I think that was an abstract and now that he’s seen the school he’s head over heels as well.

What I do is trick myself and worry about the 1% problem, which would be the problem of Alexander getting in. What I don’t do is worry about the 99% problem which is the absolute absurdity of it all and the fact that in my lifetime California schools have gone from the top in the nation to some of the worst. The 99% problem is that our kids are failed in every way, from funding to academia to safety.

I really resent that I’m on pins and needles waiting to make a decision about the next six years of my son’s life when I live in one of the most affluent cities on the planet. I should be walking him down the street to the local school. I don’t even know who to blame, it’s like a well run team and everyone who touches a tax dollar has some part in wasting it on things other than education.

So I’m going to continue my life as an ostrich, put my head in the sand and focus on the 1% problem. You may begin judging me now.

Have You Ever Wanted a Refund from Your Kid’s School?

05.10.11

My daughter went to a Temple nursery school. It was sweet and at the time it was a good place for her, but it wasn’t worth the money. When my son was ready for Pre School I sent him to an SRLDP program through LA Unified and  he thrived. I think I donated a few hundred dollars to the PTA over the course of a year.

Recently a New York City parent sued her daughter’s pre school because she didn’t feel like her daughter was prepared for the ERB tests. I get this. I really do. My kids are doing the writing portion of the ERBs today and tomorrow and had their school not prepared them at all for the test I’d be losing it too. I get that the world likes to make fun of moms who want to give their kids every opportunity. I know that we spend too much on school, sports and camps. I know that I’ve morphed into a parody of my former self, that I’m not quite a Tiger Mom but I’m not at all relaxed about my children’s futures.

So I feel torn. I’m sure there’s more to this story than we will ever know, but I understand wanting to get my money’s worth. This Momversation should entertain you, Rebecca and Daphne clearly do not agree with me.

 

Private School Tuition Is My Albatross

09.29.09

My kids are in a private school.

My kids aren’t in private school because I believe so deeply in a tiered education system, or because I think they’re too gifted/talented/smart/special to be in school with the general population. We actually bought our home in part for the local school. My children are in private school because The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is a colossal failure. We didn’t opt for private school when we found out that there was no art education or PE, we knew there would be none of that, but we also knew that we’d be able to afford to supplement those activities.

We put our son in private school when his kindergarten teacher refused to help him clean his glasses after lunch without an IEP. An IEP is an Individual Education Plan, and it’s available to children with special needs. I understand that technically wearing glasses is a special need. I simply could not start my son’s academic career with with a teacher who didn’t feel like she was on his team.

After moving both kids to private school I realized that they really do deserve it. The classrooms are spectacular, and it’s nice that they have brand new computers and smart boards, but they have something even richer. My kids have amazing teachers who love learning, teaching and who revere and respect childhood. My kids also have a peer group that will elevate them. Everything else is truly a bonus.

I try to keep this in mind when as my husband travels the world, and asks why we don’t take European vacations with the kids. “They go to private school.” I reply. He doesn’t seem to understand it, as his trips are planned by his assistant at work or by me at home. We don’t have $15,000 for a family of four to have a nice time in Milan or in London. I guess we would if we lived more modestly in other ways, but the big expense is school.

I try to not resent it, and for the most part I’m grateful that my children were accepted there. Sometimes I look at the quality of their work and just pinch myself. I went to Chadwick, my husband went to a school of the same caliber, we both understand the import of rigor, and that a good education is the one and only gift we can give our children that no one can take away. Ever.

Still, I feel a little overwhelmed when I see other families who don’t pay for school, and seem to have a lot more expendable income. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being jealous, but I know this is the right thing for our kids.

This post was inspired in part by this expose by the LA Weekly.