Last year Frick was in PreK. They played. They sang. They danced. It was so much fun! So much fun in fact that she craved more. So we did “homework” at home. Mind you, I’m not an educator, and I’m not very patient so God bless my cutie for actually wanted to learn with me.
This year as we were “lucky” enough to have been accepted into a Magnet School (urban speak for what suburbanites consider normal). It’s not my neighborhood school but it holds promise. The promise of a “better” high school, therefore a greater chance of higher scores and a great college.
Mind you the entire “selective enrollment” process is more like entering college then what you would expect for Kindergarten, it is after all just Kindergarten! Well here in Chicago we don’t mess around when it comes to the “right schools”. It’s a two-tiered system. You have you innocent little preschooler tested as “gifted” which are tests administered verbally by college students to preschoolers in an alien environment to ensure the best success. Well, we did that. I did not tutor my child in advance like some do, but we did test. Then we filled out the paperwork requesting entry into one of the “better” schools, stood on one leg, rubbed our bellies, patted our heads and waited… and waited… and waited.
Am I crazy? Was the question I got from an education reporter, “your neighborhood school is just fine!” Which she’s right, it is. But according to the current information available from “those in the know” the reason parents are chomping at the bit to get into a “good” kindergarten is because this sets them on a path for success. The chances are greater to getting in since not all parents at this age are willing to go through the process (trust me, it’s a nail biter and I did feel slightly ridiculous during the whole thing, until I received the acceptance letter).
So why am I telling you the harrowing tale? Because you my dear, yes you with that adorable baybe pulling at your hair while you read my blog post. And you, with a 5th grader. And you, dad, yes you too. We must not only be involved in our children’s education – as we show them through our actions that we care – but we must be involved in the policies. We must learn, we must speak, we must make changes. Or else you too will end up driving 90 minutes each way to get your little one to school in the morning.