Next September my oldest will be going to kindergarten. However, due to some issues, we are now unsure where we should send him. And we need help and perspective about our system. Please help!
posted by katers890 to Education (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When we moved to our house, we had no kids and we weren't planning on staying long term. We checked out the local elementary school (School A) in case we needed to use it and it was OK. Greatschools rating of 5/10, 3rd grade testing scores of 86% in English and 78% in Math, with a teacher to student ratio of 14:1. But after we moved, the redistricted (or something) and now my son is looking at going to the other elementary school (School B). At first we didn't think this would be a problem, and might actually be nice because one of his best friends was always districted to that school, and so they could be together. However, I recently checked out the stats for that school, and... they are not good. Greatschools rating of 3/10, 3rd grade scores of 39% for English and 44% for Math, and a 17:1 teacher ratio (though a parent I know there said her daughter actually had 20 kids in her kindergarten class). And to top it off, the scores have been decreasing by 10-20% every year (4 years ago the scores were 73% for both, School As are fairly constant). And now I'm very concerned about my kid going there. The town does not seem to be set up where you can send your kid to any school in the town, but rather you are supposed to go to your appointed school, but I don't know if there is any wiggle room I can exploit do to the redistricting/fact that school A is technically a bit closer, and the crappiness of school B.
My kid is bright, his teachers report him being ahead of most of his peers in most things, and he can already read fairly well and understands the basic idea of addition. But he's a quiet kid. He won't shout over other kids, he won't demand attention in most ways that kids his age do. He'll wait his turn even if others aren't and even if it means he never gets a turn. He also is a bit... lazy for lack of a better term. If he isn't pushed to do things, he'll happily not do them, or let others do it for him. He'll keep up with kids in his class, but won't push to do things that are beyond them, even if he can do it. For example, his teachers had no clue he could read until we pointed it out to them, and he still won't do it unless they specifically ask him to. He's also more likely to try to learn new things if the other kids are doing it. We had to change preschools in part because the class was too far behind him skills and age-wise and where he should have been learning to write his letters, he'd throw a fit anytime we tried to do it at home with just him, but now happily does it when asked at school.
Put together, I'm concerned that in a poor performing school, he will be poor performing as well, even if he is bright. I also don't want him to form any negative views of school and feel like the early years are really where you form your opinion of school for the rest of your life.
We also have a 3rd option. The school he (and his 1 year old brother) are at now is actually and infant-8th grade independent school. So we could actually keep him where he is now, but he'd transition from the early childhood program to the actual school program. It's a much smaller school, with smaller classrooms and more individualized attention. They also have Spanish, Music, and Art programs along with ample exercise/running around/playing time. They are a little... hippy-er than I would like in a school (no standardized tests, etc), but they kids there seem nice and caring of each other and he likes going there a lot now. The big downside to this is the cost. We are making do now with him full time there in Pre K and his brother going 3 days a week. We had hoped to up his brother to full time (because the other 2 days of care are less than ideal for a variety of reasons), and still save some money by going into the free public school system (after school care we could cover for free through family). And then ideally, use that money (and me actually getting a job that pays real money) to move somewhere better soon. But that was back when we thought he was going to school A, not B.
So we are left with 3 possibilities (one of which may not be possible depending on the town). 1) Just go to crappy School B and keep an eye on him, and try to challenge him as much as we can on our own, and try to move soon, 2) Try to fight the town on the school he is going to and try to get him switched to School A, 3) keep him in the private school he is now. Option 1 has obvious problems, option 2 may not be possible, and I am also concerned that his best friend's parents will be deeply offended by this move and not let their kid play with my son anymore, and option 3 bites us big financially and may make it harder to move. I can't think straight anymore and need any and all guidance I can get. Please?