Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rock / Me \ Hard Place

My child has always gone to NYC public schools. Now that she's getting a little older, I'm seriously considering pulling her out of her zoned school and putting her in private school. I wasn't going to blog about this, but I figure I should in the interest of full disclosure, especially now that Arne Duncan has admitted that he wouldn't send his kids to urban public schools, either. In fact, he chose his neighborhood so that he wouldn't have to send his children to the DC public schools. Yet, you can bet your bottom dollar that Duncan will tout Rhee as the example for the nation to follow while he sends his own children to school in Arlington, VA.

I was really torturing myself over this issue, but if urban public schools aren't good enough for Arne Duncan's children, why should I send mine there?

Now, let me state what should be obvious. As a parent of a public school child for many years, I salute the job the teachers and school have done, especially given Klein's whacked out curriculum, if you can call it that. My child's education has been superlative, primarily because of excellent teachers and (pardon me while I pat my back) caring parents. But as my child gets older, I have several concerns about letting her continue in public school:

  • Class size: Her class size has grown all throughout her years and will mushroom next year.
  • Lack of Discipline: I hear about what some of the kids in her school get away with, and that's just what she's willing to tell me about. As a teacher, I see worse every day, and I work in what would be considered a very good school.
  • Non-stop Test Prep: I want my child to be able to do more than answer increasingly easy questions with a #2 pencil. She is a top reader but she often gets grouped with slower kids and I am tired of it.
Now that I've been in the system a while and am making decent money, I've explored my options, and I found a great private school that I can afford. I hate to do it, but I feel like I have no choice. This scares me because, in truth, my choices are fairly good. Most parents in NYC have no choice at all but to send their kids to their zoned schools.

Don't get me wrong--I am NOT in favor of so-called 'school choice'. I am in favor of fixing every single public school--every single damn one--so that no parent has to be concerned about where his or her kids go to school. Why should anyone, even Arne Duncan, lose a moment's sleep over this?


Pogue said...

What's wrong with the public schools is quite simply the people who run them. They are inefficient, uncreative, and corrupt. Blame not the students, parents, teachers, or even many principals. It is Bloomberg, Klein, and Weingarten for enabling them. I wouldn't blame you for a private school decision. Getting your kids far away from these three is understandable.

Chaz said...

I agree with you about the discipline issue. Too many administrators allow bad behavior and with teachers fearful of being charged with corporal punishment if they confront the student. The result is poor preforming schools.

I also agree with you on class size, test prep, and of course parent responsibility.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I agree with you too.

I'm lucky. Both of my kids are out of school, but I did choose their high schools.

My daughter was fortunate enough to go to Townsend Harris HS. While not perfect, and she was far from happy there, she got a good education and was safe. My son did not get into that school, had grades that were good, but not great, got into a much better school than our local school because I knew the AP Guidance and she let him in.

While our zoned school is okay, it is not great and there would have been problems there.