Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Choosing public school      
or at least hoping to

School starts in Oakland, at least for OUSD, next Monday.  A time of excitement and anxiety, eagerness and trepidation.  In our own family our youngest will start kindergarten and has been instensly preparing though play for the big day.  Yet public school, or the challenge of choosing it in the urban jungle of the Bay Area, and Oakland in particular, is one of the things that drives Oaklandites away.  In our own travails of trying to get into a public school, other than the just-above-failing one around the corner from our home in East Oakland, led us to question staying in Oakland, our commitment to the city, public education and our children.  The problems facing urban schools are not black and white.  They can't merely be solved by throwing more money at them.  It won't change overnight.  And yet the cost of change isn't just money and time, but one's children.  The tension of being committed to your children and your city/public schools is one that goes all too often under the radar.  What happens to the middle-class, lower creative-class families in our urban areas that are too monied for help, but too poor for private school, unlucky for a charter school spot or stuck for a move to the burbs?

I've blogged about our family's journey through the process here on Monteskewed under Schools - Education.

C.W. Nevius published two great articles this past week about this tension and trouble for families of San Francisco Unified in the SF Chronicle:

"Parents struggle for choices in Schools"

"Extreme volunteering not the answer"

A movie, The Lottery, came out this past Spring addressing some of the issues and questions.  I've yet to see it, but am eager to do so when I'm reconnected to the DVD world.

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