Skipping past Writober and Nanoblomo . . ? Shit, I dunno. I'm as bored as you are.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Sick of School. Or, Sick AND School.
One of the crappier blogging conundrums that occurs when you’ve been away for a few (or seven) days is when you feel like you need to come up with something brilliant to justify being “gone” for “so long.” Yeah, it’s those times when I wish I had the gumption to post every day.
It’s been a tumultuous week. Most of the tumult started Friday when Michelle woke up and croakily announced that I’d need to take Mia to school. She had hints the night before that she was coming down with something, and by Friday morning, it was full-on kicking her ass. Neither of us are strep-prone (*knock on wood*), but she was convinced that she’d picked it up from Mia. Michelle was in shambles and couldn’t drive, so I took her to the
doctor HMO’s urgent care center (because her doctor is a worthless, overflowing douche). Not only did she NOT have strep, but it wasn’t even the flu. Just some non-specific virus that’s caused across-the-board symptoms and from which she’s still recovering.
In the middle of all of this, we had a couple school tours set up. Friday was the school she’s zoned for, and Monday was a well-regarded local charter school. The crux of the school search is, as I’ve discussed before, the feared culture shock that our tender flower may experience if she enters a school that’s up to 75% not-like-her.
The tours were eye-opening and shone a bright light on our own prejudices . . . and those of our “neighbors.” Y’see, the school Mia’s zoned for has been called “ghetto” by many people we’ve talked to. But it fluctuates between A and B ratings . . . unlike the “South Side” schools that are solidly C- and D-level schools. Interestingly, the new community/development in our corner of town is zoned for the same school. And that area is chock-full of upscale white families. Both the elementary school in question and the high school we’re zoned for are now being extensively renovated. See how that works? The money moves in, and shit gets “fixed.” And it turns out that the elementary school, which currently has a “magnet” program is going to become a “non-zone” full magnet school in a couple years; if Mia is there when that happens, she’ll have first priority to continue on at the school. The upscale community is reportedly the site of a new elementary school that will, in essence, replace the school we’re currently zoned for. Which would be nice, but the location would be totally out of the way for either Michelle or I. (Mia isn’t riding the bus. Ever.)
My visit to the first school made me much more comfortable with the situation, making it much less of a “only as a last resort” school. Yes, it is, as the tour guide (drama teacher) described, “diverse.” But there is a huge focus on the arts and infusing art into learning and social studies. Very interesting concept. The other worry was an on-site “after school” program, which turns out they do have. (I’d found no evidence of such on the school’s website.) Overall, I got a good feeling from that school.
The charter school is much less traditional and more Montessori-esque. There are mixed-age classes, and all of the learning is participatory/hands-on. Which is another interesting concept. The students there are taught to respect one another above all else; it’s a somewhat touchy-feely atmosphere, and I never saw any tension between students during the whole tour (and we walked through SEVERAL classrooms and came in contact with just about every student at the school . . . which is relatively small). The downside here, for one, is that they have 26 kindergarten openings each year, and those spots are available to any child in the county. Reportedly, the list for the lottery drawing (in March) is over 500 children long, but not all of those are kindergarteners-to-be.
We’re still trying to decide, although I’m guessing we’ll enter her in the lottery for the charter school and make the best of however things turn out. At least I’ve learned enough now that we won’t have to panic.
ETA (the next day): Okay, so this should be the last earnest/serious post I ever do. It’s been pointed out that even bringing all of this up makes me seem like a racist. I was a little uncomfortable throwing it out there because I didn’t want to create that impression.
I was raised in a solidly middle-class environment. We moved from Connecticut to Florida in 1974. My parents hadn’t made a big deal about racial issues with me growing up because none of us had lived in a racially charged place until moving to The South.
So, yeah, this was all new to me and, in a moment I’m not proud of, I busted out the “N” word speaking to a black child on our front porch . . . right in front of my mother. My white friends in the neighborhood were all about using that word, and not playing with black kids. Anyway, that night, I got the first (and worst) spanking I can remember. Oh, and I was five or six at the time.
I have a very idealistic view of race and ethnic differences now, in that I try to treat everyone the same and believe that everyone is equal. This is why I don’t favor affirmative action policies; I just want to rocket ahead to where we’re all just on a level playing field . . . even though we’re not (yet).
We’ve made the decision not to even “prepare” Mia for dealing with people of different cultures/races because she shouldn’t be hampered with predispositions either way when interacting with other children. If she has questions or problems when she starts school, we’ll work with her on them. It’s just that I’m not four or five years old, so I’m not exactly sure how she’s going to react; things have changed a lot since the mid-1970s. My gut says that she’s going to be fine, as she’s fascinated with other children, regardless of color, and has shown no prejudices in interacting with (the very limited number of) black children at her preschool. Except for that one little prick who’s always being mean to her, but he has emotional problems that are unrelated to his being black.
Thus ends me being serious.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
You Give Me Fever. But Please Don’t.
It seems I’m getting the vacation I never got during the Holidays*. Mia woke up with a fever yesterday morning and, after a trip to the doctor in the afternoon, we found that it wasn’t the flu but some other virus that could take three or four days to run its course (i.e., into the weekend)**. After the weekend, it’s MLK Day, which state workers get, meaning Mia’s preschool is closed. Michelle and I have to work. Lookin’ like I won’t be workin’ too steadily for the next few days.
In other news, my pessimism about picking up Mia’s “big-girl bed” was all for naught. I went to the store to get my “pick-up ticket,” making sure not to make eye contact with the Salesdouche***, and finding out (from the stock guys) that, indeed, we were receiving everything promised to make the awesome loft bed. Which, even in its half-constructed state, has completely taken OVER Mia’s room.