Kindergarten WarsShawn Burns
Hooray! Crank the stress-o-meter up to 10 (not 11. 11 is awesome and this is not awesome.), fill out paperwork, memorize deadlines, schedule tours and parent info nights. Get on the ball before the ball runs you over.
(Actually, Kindergarten Application Season began, for many of us, in October, as schools tried to get even farther ahead of the game by scheduling info nights and campus tours months ahead of the application deadline. I hate them.)
Now, when I was growing up I lived on army bases, in small towns, or on a reservation. With the exception of being bused over the bridge to attend a school that offered French, I always just went to whatever public school was nearby. I don’t know if my parents wished they’d had the resources, or opportunities, to send me to private schools, to charter schools, to specialty schools, to higher-performing-out-of-district schools; I’ve never felt like I missed out on something. But maybe my parents did.
It’s thoughts like that, and falling for the conversations with other parents about our neighbourhood school that have them saying about it “Yeah…it’s not…uh…great….”, that influence me to strongly consider sending my daughter to a private or charter school in her upcoming kindergarten year. Why can’t I just relax about it, save the money and the time and just wash my hands of it all?
Here’s the war going on in my head:
Surely the money going into private schools, or the passion going into charter schools, must have a positive effect on education in those schools, I offer.
Surely it’s just class-warfare riddled with racist undertones to think that public school is bad for my kids, I think right back.
Surely if I have the resources available, I should use them to give my child the best education possible, I think, possibly fallaciously, in response.
Surely whatever the public school lacks can be made up in my own effort and I would make that effort if I really cared about my kids, I snap.
Surely no family is better off if the parents are over-scheduling their kids because the school they attend isn’t meeting whatever educational or extra-curricular goals the parents have, I mutter.
Surely it’s parents, and the kids themselves, that make education in the younger grades a success or a failure and at the end of the day that’s the real difference, I think to myself, wondering if it’s a platitude.
Don’t call me Shirley, everyone else thinks.
I don’t know how the Kindergarten Wars will end in our house (or in my head). All I can do is prepare the earthworks, line the hills with machine gun emplacements, and wait for the shelling to stop before charging across the field toward the Germans on the other side. (I may also have to stop playing Call of Duty…it’s infecting everything.) I trust that we will do what we feel is right, and that is going to have to be enough.
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Is my 4.9-year-old ready for kindergarten? To red-shirt or not to red-shirt.