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.

Wanting More

05.28.10

We all want more, we want the best for our kids. Defining the best can be problematic.

For the past month of so I’ve been actively house hunting. My husband wants a change of neighborhood, a larger lawn , and I would like a smaller house. We live in a neighborhood where we can walk to shopping, we would like to move to another neighborhood where we can also walk to shopping. We will not move into the hills, nor will we move further from the children’s school. The homes we are looking for are priced about the same as the one we will be selling, this is a lateral move. We are looking forward to an unchanged budget.

My kids are in a K-8 school, Jane will be entering the 6th grade in the fall, and Alexander will enter the 4th grade. It’s a good school. Like any school it is imperfect, it’s not inexpensive, but it is not expensive by Los Angeles private school standards.

We were a public school family. Alexander went to an SRLDP program instead of a private kindergarten. It was a wonderful choice for him. He thrived in an academic setting, and we both loved the shortness of the day. Unfortunately our public school was not a match for us, and we moved the kids to the private school they currently attend.

While house hunting I realized that a significant portion of our budget is going to tuition expenses. I love that we can give our children a great education, it’s my job as their mother to provide them with every opportunity, what they do with it is up to them. I don’t often feel burdened by the tuition, it’s enough money to change our lifestyle, but I’m grateful that we have it to spend.

While driving through Beverly Hills a few weeks ago, I realized that we could afford a small house on the south end of town. We could afford Beverly Hills and we could send our children to public school. Case closed. Right? I’ve looked online, and driven past a number of homes in the pocket of Beverly Hills that we could afford to live in, and then the real epiphany came.

We moved into this neighborhood so that we could be with families like ourselves. Our children have access to everything, in part because we live in Los Angeles, and in part because everyone we know is in Sports, TV or Film production. Our children will struggle with excess, why add more? We’ve chosen a part of Los Angeles where children grow up a little slower, and this is good. I like that my kids wear a uniform to school each day. Today was a free dress day, and it reinforced for me that we have made the right decision.

I remember growing up in Manhattan Beach, and how it had the best schools in the country, but still we went to private school. I know how you plan for one thing, and end up with another. I don’t want to be house poor and find out that the Beverly Hills School District isn’t a match.

So we won’t be looking at homes in Beverly Hills, not in the next ten years at least. Sometimes wanting more for your family looks like you’re being modest, but in reality you’re reaching for the stars.