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.

Posted by Scott-san on 01/30 at 10:09 PM
  1. I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where their schools will not be judged by their “diversity” but by the content of their lesson plans.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:28 PM
  2. I don’t believe in any form of segregation or anything like that. I’m for the brotherhood of everybody, but I don’t believe in forcing brotherhood upon people who don’t want it. So, white brother, don’t sweat your own segregationism.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:30 PM
  3. Let’s go block the school house doors!

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:32 PM
  4. Now, friends, please let’s engage in an open and free discussion and move past our prejudices. Let’s love one another now.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:34 PM
  5. Yeah, Oprah! Can’t we all just get along?

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:35 PM
  6. We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:37 PM
  7. Please email me for the administration’s views on education and diversity.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:38 PM
  8. Don’t forget me, I was Florida Secretary of Education way back when.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:38 PM
  9. I’ll put a cap in yo ass if you come to Oakland, honkey!

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:41 PM
  10. I think we can all agree that Mississippi has the most diverse education system: illeterate and funktionally illeterite.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:43 PM
  11. Don’t be a drop out. Stay in school, don’t be a fool!

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:49 PM
  12. I think there’s just one kind of folks.  Folks.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:52 PM
  13. Please let me know if you would like to attend our next meeting.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:53 PM
  14. I have some skin dyes that Mia can use to make her feel more comfortable at the black school.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  02:57 PM
  15. We need diversity in schools, not kids drowning in pools! Children in class, not fine pieces of ass! Money for books, not hoodlums and crooks! Pencils and pens, not chickens and hens! Scholarships, not Gladys and the Pips! Better teachers, not rhyming preachers!

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:03 PM
  16. Me and Jim got along fine on the raft. I’m sure Miss Mia will play nice with her classmates.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:17 PM
  17. No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:26 PM
  18. I went to a diverse school, look at what happened to me.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:27 PM
  19. Ebony and Ivory, live together in perfect harmony. Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord, why don’t we?

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:29 PM
  20. You can lade a man up to th’ university, but ye can’t make him think.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:31 PM
  21. It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:36 PM
  22. We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:37 PM
  23. Panic on the streets of London. Panic on the streets of Birmingham.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  03:37 PM
  24. Panic in Detroit.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  04:53 PM
  25. Thanks for your comments, notable (and dead) celebrities!  It’s almost like there’s not enough work to do in the world of banking law.

    Posted by Scott-san  on  01/31  at  04:56 PM
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