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We live in a liberal oasis.  Our Pacific Northwest city is famous for its light rail, bicycling, beer, swooshy shoes and amiable eccentricity.  I can go weeks without having another human being say –to my face anyway-  something conservative/stupid.

But the human capacity for finding new veins of throbbing insecurity is infinite, and parents-of-eighth graders (a mob prone to hysteria) become foaming rodent idiots when forced to the abyss: choosing a high school.  

Our move from Chicago to here was prompted by a mesh of motivators, the greatest of these being greed.  During thirteen years (91-04) of living on Chicago’s North side, we had amassed a really big (for us) pile of equity.  And being the Americans we are, we took the whole wad and shot it into a giant property out here.  When I look at our house and yard I think of Bono’s line:  I don’t believe in riches, but you should see where I live.

I will be the first to admit that because of our irrational exhuberance, we can’t afford the vacations I hear about at my kid’s soccer games.  But people won’t catch me complaining about much (besides my goddamn hay fever).

Our child and her friends are going into 8th grade and discussing the impending choice of high school dominates the parents around Pinots and pints.  And I am having an increasingly difficult time to keep from calling some really good people some really awful names.  Coward.  Chickenshit.  Gutless.  Hypocrite.  Blahbitty blah blah.  Progressive, liberal citizens who vote Yes on every funding initiative, or rush to the phone banks to save the:  Libraries, Bridges, Rivers, Schools, Bicycle Lanes, etc., are abandoning the Public School System at the moment in history when the need for their participation has never been greater.

Why are my fellow progressives doing this lemming-to-the-private school migration?  Why else?  Fear.  They have sipped the sauce of hysteria and are quite convinced that their child will end up as another public school mouth-breather destined for the overnight assistant manager’s shift at a call-center for baby-naming software.   We went to a college graduation party last summer and my kid was subjected to a well meaning but never-the-less obnoxious sales pitch about the local religious, prestigious girls school.   I was really proud of her polite responses and enthusiasm for her destined public high school, but the woman giving the spiel was not seeing what I was.  My daughter was having a hard time responding to the statistics being offered as irrefutable proof of our misguidedness.  Forty vs. twenty students to a class; college bound rates; friends-for-life; blahbitty blah blah.  So, I accidentally spilled something and moved the PowerPointless along.  

(When was she going to tell my kid that it’s only $14,000 a year?  But don’t worry, they offer a lot of financial assistance.  Lady, my kid is thirteen years old.  Shut the fuck up.  And you really don’t want my opinion about giving money to this particular, legally embattled branch of Christianity.  Trust me.)

I’ve heard this pitch before.  It usually comes from people who have just been through the Forum, or some other type of “awareness/enlightenment” seminar.  They’ve been convinced of the true path, and they naturally want to share their bliss with people that they care about.  No one is as evangelical as a recent convert.  

My question to my concerned, well meaning friends is this:  What about the children who would benefit from your child’s presence at the local public school?  Excellence rubs off too.    

We have an only child.  It took us ten years of infertility treatments to finally have our miracle.  We QUALIFY as helicopter parents.  We struggle constantly with the urge to hover.  But we recognize that our child will be forced to interact and negotiate with a spectrum of people that will grow more diverse as she moves forward in life.  It is a component of our family’s education plan that my daughter, in the words of my mother, “Get some bark on her.”  And it’s not like we’re sending her to some pit of violence and addiction.  Does this school have weed and alcohol and truancy?  Of course it does.  But this school also has an Advanced Placement enrollment of 52% of the student population (2010 stats).  53% take the SATs.  The graduation rate is a realistic 80%.  In 7th grade my kid knew who cared about school and who did not.  And she learned something invaluable from that.  

These are not the lessons one learns in a parent-perpetuated bubble.  We don’t even call it hovering anymore.  It is literally a force field that scared and panicked parents are attempting to keep in place at all times in an effort to “provide the best possible education/future for my child.”  I do not deny the excellence of education provided by the private schools in this city.  But I do deny the scare tactics they employ to woo people away from a public system that is not broken and would be all the better with their child’s involvement.

Here’s my obligatory line about recognizing exceptions.  Bullying, special needs, etc.  Now, let’s move on.

This will be dissected as envy, or some type of ‘warfare,’ or anger issues, and my dissectors will be correct.  My wife can attest to my many issues.  And the truth is I can’t afford to send my child to a private school.  That’s why she needs your intelligent, lively, lovely child to go to public school with her.  Many, many children need your child to go to school with them.  Don’t give in to the fear.

Originally posted to ratsowhat on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I predict a much greater issue with your title (12+ / 0-)

    "Liberal Lemmings" than any accusations of envy. I certainly understand your frustration.

    •  I predict it is the diary, not the title, that (6+ / 0-)

      will cut a little close to the bone for many here.

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:46:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my own hysteria (9+ / 0-)

      my biggest fear is hurting some good people with my big mouth

      •  you're fine (5+ / 0-)

        And I think you're making the right choice and this is a perfectly good diary.

        Myself, I don't have a huge property anywhere, but I get by and there never has been any suggestion that my kids will be going anywhere other than public school.

        Just as I remembered, there are good teachers and there are bad teachers, but you always tend to get the heads up and better "luck of the draw" when you're active and participate.

        School fund-raisers? A necessary evil, but we're there.

        Special classes where parents are invited to come share their skills with the kids? Done?

        Parent-teacher nights? PTA meetings? School Fair? Yes, yes, and yes.

        I attended both public and private schools and I realized that the teachers at both were just as competent and just as dedicated. The private school ones tended to have nicer cars.

        •  Some parents dont have the luxury of time (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gramofsam1, mariva, treesrock

          There are parents who have multiple jobs just eking out a living. Such parents should be able to trust their school to be good enough where they do not have to spend that much time engaging in local politics to make sure the right school board members are being elected and keeping an eye on which administrators are hired. Ideally, a parent should be invovled enough to get to know the teachers and making sure their kids are being responsible and attending clases, but should not have to expend energy on actually getting involved any more than that. Sure, everyone has to be involved in their kids education, but the current model kind of demands way too much involvement if one needs to reform a failing local public school.

        •  Nicer cars? Not really. (0+ / 0-)

          In general private schools pay significantly less than public schools.  

          Private schools can and do get away with lower salaries in part because they don't have to negotiate with a union, they usually offer somewhat slimmer benefits plans, and they have total flexibility as to levels of teacher qualification and credentialing (that is, you don't need a teaching certificate to be hired as a teacher at a private school.)   But mainly, private school pay less because many teachers will accept less, in exchange for an environment with less grueling conditions.  Half as many kids each hour, matters.  A nice building and nice classroom supplies, matter.   Parents who are providing enough shelter, food, supervision, and academic expectations, matter.

          I've taught in both.  Both were hard in their different ways.  Dedicated teachers ARE found in every setting, but I wasn't well suited.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:18:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't hurt me (9+ / 0-)

        I live in that gawdawful overtaxed state of NY, and the public schools are great.  Why?  Because they are funded, because we get good teachers who care, because we have great sports programs, because we have great art programs, because we have great music programs, because, because, because.  My daughter gets to take any AP class she wants if she qualifies (which she did), paints after school or during free periods even though she's not taking art this year because the art teachers encourage her to do so, belongs to clubs like Chess Club, Math League, Gay Straight Alliance, Japanese Club, Chemistry Club, etc. Is it a perfect school? No, but I can tell you it is better than the high school I attended in the 70's, and better than the private schools my brother's kids attended when they lived in Georgia and Arkansas.

        What are your state's priorities?  Good public education for all or creating a two tiered system of private schools for the rich and an underfunded public school ghetto for everyone else (to be run by, naturally by the same bottom feeding for profit corporations that are taking over our prisons and other essential government services)?

        I feel blessed my kids both went to public schools in a state that cares more for public education than the vast majority of states in this country.  They received a superior education, better than many of the highly touted private schools around here.

        "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

        by Steven D on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:54:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  envy (4+ / 0-)

      "We only covet what we see Clarice."

      •  and what do we covet? That which we see... (0+ / 0-)

        EVERY DAY!!! OMG!! Run for the hills....ok, now read Marcus Aurelius.

        Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. Buy ALDUS SHRUGGED on amazon, and ALL royalties will be donated directly to HELP ME TO HELP THE BIG O!!! And follow the fun: @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some liberals need a thicker skin (6+ / 0-)

      Have you any idea how much whaaambulance service actually costs?

      Besides, the ones who take offense the quickest are the very ones who seriously need to be offended. There's a reason they get so defensive: they know they totally deserve it.

  •  And you haven't come to our meetups (3+ / 0-)


    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:48:22 AM PDT

  •  yay public schools (7+ / 0-)

    But that said, if my parents hadn't sent me to a private (Catholic) middle school (in the days of Hunthausen and liberation theology, granted) I doubt I would have survived middle school, and I would have learned and internalized some terrible stuff -- the middle schools in our town ran 1500 students and so near as I could tell from the fate of my former classmates, they were meccas of bullying which acclimated people to the machine.  This can be good or bad.  For me it would have been pretty much it.

    Agree with your sentiments but when I consider if I were a parent (which will never be) I know I'd probably choose the best I could afford for her or him, public or private.  And like you, I'd hate the groupthink smugness in any event.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:56:24 AM PDT

    •  appreciate your honesty (6+ / 0-)

      the most important tool I want my kid to have about bullying is the ability to recognize it.
      and unfortunately, "liberal theology" is now a non sequitor

    •  I barely survived the nuns. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, bmcphail, AoT

      ...but I hear they don't have so many of them any more in the Catholic schools. But seriously, I wrestled with this, especially with my son. My daughter did perfectly fine in public schools and would not have had it any other way. But one day I happened to ride the subway (DC) with a bunch of students from the high school I had almost sent my son to and (though I'm sure they were lovely children) the conversations I overheard appalled me. They were talking about classmates and bashing them for not being rich or for not having grand houses. I realized that if I had scraped the dough to send my son there, he would have probably been a pariah. Now it's possible that I could have just happened to be sitting near the Rmoney contingent but no thank you anyway.

      •  We all have our anecdotes- (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MaikeH, bmcphail, treesrock, tejassaluki

        I went to private school, and most of the nuns were great.  When we hung out with kids from the local public school, we were often amazed that so many of them were so mean to each other.  Bullying in my school did not happen, because we got the message early on that we were expected to support each other and treat each other well, and we did.

        So does my experience negate yours?  I don't think so.  And neither of our stories does more than describe a specific experience.  Neither experience should lead to a conclusion that one type of school is always better or worse.  

        I'm not a fan of telling other people how to live their lives or raise their kids.  People make choices for a variety of reasons; most of those reasons are valid to them.  I think respecting the choices of others is a big part of being a liberal.  YMMV.

        •  I have to tell you... (0+ / 0-)

          I'm kind of offended by your post. Not trying to make a big deal of it, but I have read it over about five and six times and I want to say, as respectfully as possible, that you seem to have made a lot of false assumptions about my intentions if you think I am a "fan" of telling people what to do or raise their kids.

  •  We have a similar phenomenon in DC. (12+ / 0-)

    People move into the city, build a career, get married, and have a kid, at which point they promptly move back out into the suburbs of Northern Virginia because they're afraid of sending their kids to an "urban" school.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:58:05 AM PDT

    •  It's just bigotry. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Apost8, pitbullgirl65, brae70

      As a culture we demonize "urban" environments. And then we scratch and claw to stay away from them or to keep our kids away.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:16:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These people are very wise. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      High school is important. A bad high school can permanently block a kid from entering the upper-middle class.

      (One must be upper-middle class just to have Healthcare in the USA today, so don't accuse me of greed).

      If you and your spouse are highly educated and have very flexible jobs, you can try a bad school. You can make up for the drugs, crime, and unmotivated classmates by being Helicopter Parents.

      But if you are a single parent, or a struggling immigrant family where the parents work 60-hour weeks, you don't have time to Helicopter. These families need a Good School.

      They don't need to be asked to sacrifice their kid to make "the system" better.

      And I don't want to sacrifice my kid either.

      I'll make a deal. I'll put my daughter in one of these bad inner-city schools when the Bush, Obama, Romney, and Koch families put their kids in with her.

      After all, sacrifice shouldn't just be for the middle class, right?

      No takers? Nobody?

      Didn't think so.

      (I want to be clear that I respect the Diarist for what they are trying to do. But I can't go as far as they are willing to go. Call me a lemming if you wish, but I am actually keeping my daughter away from the cliff).

    •  I can't tell you how many people I know that grew (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      up in the suburbs, moved out to Oakland or SF and then as soon as they had kids fled back to the suburbs.  And these have generally been people who absolutely loathed growing up in the suburbs.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:41:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Schools need a critical mass of achievers and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, TheDuckManCometh, quill

    parents that support excellence.

    Private schools attract their share of achievers, but also students whose parents can pay to have lower achievers/slackers attend as well.  So in the end, the advantages are somewhat muted.

    I have siblings who in one case, sent their kids to private, religiously affiliated schools, and in the other case, to the local public school.

    Guess whose kids all went to Ivy League or comparable schools and which went to lesser colleges?  And which are the more critical thinkers?

  •  this is the challenge for urban and (7+ / 0-)

    suburban liberals.  we want the public schools to work, we want all children to do well, but when it comes to our own, sometimes what the public system has to offer just isn't good enough, and when our own are falling through the cracks, we have to make a different decision.

    We've made the decision away from public schools, and I've been flogged by people here on the great orange for it, and yet, and yet, my kids only get ONE chance for a great education.  (and we didn't choose a Christian private school)

    In Washington state, there was this big committee including the governor on down who created a big old blueprint for how to make our schools's a 15 year plan (or something like that).  So if my kid was in, say 5th grade when that comes out, what are the chances he'll be impacted by it?

    We moved to Washington from Michigan, and the expectations for kids in the schools here, compared to what we came from, were laughable.  I've sat in on meetings where teachers say they don't have enough time to teach science and social studies in elementary school...and guess what, I live in a district that is halfway between Boeing and Microsoft...and the elementary teacher doesn't have time to teach science?  

    I could go on.  In fact I have written a diary about how hard the decision to leave public school was.  Find it here.

    HOw far should we go to sacrifice our own kids' education on the altar of social justice??

    If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

    by k8dd8d on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:30:05 PM PDT

  •  Sorry ratsowhat, but you're wrong and (0+ / 0-)

    those trying to sell your daughter on private school are right.  I speak as someone who went to a public high school in a very nice midwestern town famous for it's state university.  I went from there to a prestigious, private, Seven Sister college where I actually had a couple of friends.  I recently went to a high school reunion.  I have nothing in common with those people and they know it too.  I never did.  I essentially educated myself in high school.

    You and your daughter don't owe the public schools squat.  You owe your daughter the best educational experience you can afford for her.

  •  Sorry, ratsowhat, but you're wrong and (0+ / 0-)

    those trying to sell your daughter on private school are right.  I speak as someone who went to a public high school in a very nice midwestern town famous for it's state university.  I went from there to a prestigious, private, Seven Sister college where I actually had a couple of friends.  I recently went to a high school reunion.  I have nothing in common with those people and they know it too.  I never did.  I essentially educated myself in high school.

    You and your daughter don't owe the public schools squat.  You owe your daughter the best educational experience you can afford for her.

    •  Defensive Condescension (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChurchofBruce, burlydee

      Surprising as it may be to zealots of charters, religious schools, and other private institutions, the privatization of education is actually a BAD thing.

      Many people are products of public schools. Shoot, most of the country is a product of public schools. I'm glad you feel so much smarter and better than the people you went to high school with -- really, it must be nice to feel so superior -- but recognize that your experience in your home in one place in midwest is FAR different from the rest of the country, especially the coasts.

      Bad schools suck, but bad is a subjective and often classist assumption that promotes the very segregation we see in this country on a regular basis. Even so-called liberal progressives refuse to send their White kids to schools where the Black and Brown kids go. Why? Because they tell themselves it's for their kids' education, but really it's about the parents' fear.

      Regardless, the reality is that public schools run the gamut from good to bad and it's not a risk or a gamble or some kind of political statement to send your kid to a public school. It's just called living in the real world. Y'know, the one without all the ivory towers and gates. You should try it sometime.

      "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

      by Zek J Evets on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 05:13:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a teacher in a public school and I do not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        promote the privatization of public education by any means.  But one school is not necessarily the right answer for everyone and there is nothing wrong with the fact that people do have choices supported by private money.  

        A school doesn't have to be bad to be the wrong school for some people and maybe the right one for others.  

        And I was smarter than the people I went to high school with.  I was smarter than the teachers who taught me.  I don't say it to make myself feel good.  I state it as a fact.  We aren't all the same.  We are all different and the fact that there are different educational opportunities to meet the differing needs of different people is a good thing.

        •  I do not disagree with your comment... (0+ / 0-)

          ... Except that it doesn't really address the point I was making regarding the actual topic at hand. The diarist sending his daughter to a public school is not a controversial thing worthy of attack as it has been.

          If you have choices, good for you! Most people don't, because our country hasn't handed out bootstraps for a long time. So we make due with what we can, and surprisingly we do damn well at it.

          But back to your comment: what is it you're actually saying? Do you agree with the diarist, or the commenter above me?

          "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

          by Zek J Evets on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:23:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We are lucky we live in a county (3+ / 0-)

    with good schools (mostly).  We are even more lucky that our girls won "lottery" picks to attend a public "Choice" school.  They used formerly closed schools to set up "choice" programs 12 years ago to ease overcrowding.  The facilities aren't as nice as the new schools, but everyone who attends WANTS to be there.  They must keep up their grades, and families must volunteer during the year.  That is the main difference in schools.  Too many kids and parents really don't care in the average school.  I don't blame anyone wanting the best for their kids.  We couldn't afford tuition at the private school some of their old classmates are going to now.  But we feel good where we are.  I don't know what I'd do if we were stuck in a lower performing school.

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:58:22 PM PDT

  •  Brilliant (5+ / 0-)

    I've been saying the same thing for years.  If the parents who are oh-so-involved in their kids' private schools (because they HAVE to; many private schools have an parent-involvement policy) were half as involved in the public schools, ALL the kids in the community would benefit, not just their own special snowflake.

    We used to say that the private school kids had the best drugs because they could afford them.

    Here’s my obligatory line about recognizing exceptions.  Bullying, special needs, etc.
    Some of the worst social bullying I have ever seen was a local private "Christian" school, and a lot of the bullying came from so-called adults.  Not to mention that lots of private and charter schools won't take special-needs students in order to keep up their SAT/AP stats.

    It just fries my grits that public schools are expected to educate every single student who walks in the door without any community consideration given to what kind of funding and support the school needs, and then parents pull their special snowflakes out because the school is underfunded and "underperforming".

    When did "education for all" stop being something Americans were proud of?  (I know, around the time Ayn Rand started spewing her nonsense).

    (aka NobleExperiments). ‎"Those who make a peaceful revolution imposible make a violent revolution inevitable" ~ John F. Kennedy

    by smrichmond on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 01:07:18 PM PDT

  •  You can vote with your words, your ballot and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with your wallet.  When it comes to choosing which school system to trust and support, public or private, it is in the end the place where you enroll and send your kids that is the definitive statement of your values, whatever else you may avow in public or vote in private.

  •  That is why we cannot get stuff done (3+ / 0-)

    Liberals and Progressives are really one in the same.  We mean well and we talk like we mean well, but some of this stuff is so hard to comprehend.  I mean, it is not like we went to public schools and got our educations from public higher education.  We did, didn't we.  We all had a good time there and we were taught important stuff that helped to make us who we are.  That then is the rub, we have gotten to the point that if someone talks stupid shit to us, we respond by taking our ball and going home.  We did this in 2010, no universal health care?, boo frigin hoo.  Now look what happened,  we got Joe Walsh, the loud mouth dead beat for one, and there are many others.     We all need to kick this private school, religious school idea right in the balls and grow a pair of our own to help make all of our children as bright as we think we are.  When we do that, we win elections and put America first, not some private business that steals our taxpayer money for the good of their stock holders or padres, and dumbs down our kids.

  •  Greetings, ratsowhat and welcome to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gramofsam1, quill


    liberal oasis.  Our Pacific Northwest city famous for ...
    We welcome you to the public schools of our fair city.  

    And to the debate, ongoing these many years, over how to structure and fund public education, along with the many other necessary public services!

    There is concern in some circles that this important complex of issues is as yet, shall I say, unresolved.

    Our governor, one "Dr. K", has imbued his newly hired education chief with

    unprecedented power to shape [Northwest State's] public education, from preschool to university. The governor wants [his chief] to transform the system so that every student in the Class of 2025 graduates from high school, and 80 percent of them go on to attain a two- or four-year college degree.

    And [his chief] must complete the task without the promise of a significant boost in state spending.

    "We're definitely asking him to perform miracles," ["Dr. K"] joked.

    (Houston Chronicle)

    As a parent of a recent HS grad, I have worked with both public and private schools through the thirteen years of my son's education.

    This has afforded me the privilege of knowing parents, students and staff in both contexts.  I have supported out public schools, both through participation and donation through this time, and I continue to donate.  

    Still, in my experience, our public schools have some distance to go.  They need to meet the needs of all students and families with excellent programs.

    I think it is worth some effort to understand the perspective of a broad group of families who don't feel their needs are currently being met.

    While you may indeed find some whose concerns seem trivial to you, it is good that you hold back on calling them

    fellow progressives doing this lemming-to-the-private school migration, ... Coward.  Chickenshit.  Gutless.  Hypocrite.  Blahbitty blah blah.
    Please note the context of many years of inadequate funding, reform efforts, crumbling physical plant, etc.  We have worked with these problems for years trying to get our families' needs met.

    We need to understand each others' situations as we try to engage the problems constructively together.

    "You're only allowed a certain number of flips before people begin to doubt your character." - Mitt Romney

    by rsmpdx on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 01:48:48 PM PDT

  •  Yep. (7+ / 0-)

    Been there. My kid ended up in public school, went to class with mouth breathers and, heaven forfend, a bunch of minorities, and guess what? He found out the former were not necessarily the latter. He also got five years of French from Vietnamese expats, two years of calculus, and two years of physics. His high school was so poor that the principle hawked candy bars at the graduation ceremony and they allowed corporate advertising over the soda pop machines. That's a poor effing school, but it is your job as a parent to teach the beloved offspring critical thinking about what he is seeing from 8:30 to 4:30. If you do that, it will all be fine in the end...or at least as good as it can be given the economy.
    Save your money for university. You'll need it.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:20:53 PM PDT

  •  Whether we admit it or not, we are all socialized (0+ / 0-)

    to understand that there are a class of winners and a class of losers. One small example of this is when I went to public school in the 70's the teachers told us we needed to care about getting good grades or we would be blue collar workers (ICK!!!).

    Personally I don't think these class distinctions have to do with our work ethic as much as how much money we have. Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood, etc.

    We don't talk about this directly. You can watch parents acknowledge it indirectly in the way you identified in your diary.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:27:27 PM PDT

  •  well said, rasto, and my niece has joined your... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, jbob

    ...daughter. So has niece's friends. For the same reasons you mention.'Way down here on the Dirty Coast (NOLA).

    An' if I had pups, they'd be right alongside 'em. For the same reasons.


  •  Parental involvement will have a huge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    impact on educational success.  I know it seems like a trite platitude...

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:36:17 PM PDT

  •  to be fair (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, gramofsam1, treesrock

    St. Mary's IS a good school. I wouldn't send my girls there, but it's a good school, and the students do make important connections there that will serve them later in life, if you want the sort of life those connections are useful for.

    One of my daughters has decided to stay home for high school, the other has decided she'll go to public high school (probably Cleveland, our neighborhood school), though she's not due for another three years and might change her mind. Either way is okay with us as long as it's an affirmative choice and they follow through with learning. Both have been homeschooled since birth.

    Every school bond that comes up, we vote for it. We support public school. It's just not the best fit for all kids. My daughters are not in a bubble; they know all kinds of people and get along with lots of different age groups. The oldest has two professional internships in her field already, and she's 15. I get accused of not hovering enough, if you ask my mom.

    There's nothing new in parents wanting their kids to go to the best schools possible. Private schools did not suddenly pop up fully formed out of nowhere. What this diary primarily tells me is your friends have money. Mine don't, which is why I probably don't hear this talk myself.

    (Little known fact: You can homeschool and still be lower-middle class or working class--or even poor. It's not expensive in and of itself. In our case, I can't work outside the home, so I'm home with the girls and we scrape by as best we can on what I can make from here and my husband's salary. Often leads to interesting times.)

  •  You could pose the same question for others (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, gramofsam1

    What is so different between a parent wanting their kid to go to private school versus a parent who changes neighborhoods for a better public school. Isn't the latter abandoning the old neighborhood's public school making it worse by your llogic? If someone truly supports the merits of public school eudcation, here is my challenge, would you be willing to send your kid to a randomly assigned public school within a reasonable commuting time , if the system was changed that way?

    By the way, if I had a kid, i would probably send him to public school and I would actually not obsess over the school district because the money I save , I could use to send him or her  to custom camps or take him or her around the world and give them a better real life education with the savings. So this is not about my personal preferences. But I do want to stick up for the right of parents to not be judged.

  •  It's all about the fear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, brae70, burlydee

    What these parents are responding to is the carefully inculcated message that public education doesn't work and your kid is going to be screwed for life if they don't get that Golden Ticket at XYZ (fill in the blank) that will put them on the guaranteed track to the right college where they'll come out with a degree and a surefire entry into the 1%.

    30+ years of conservatism have instilled a lot of paranoia in people - but is it really paranoia when we know what conservatism does? The dirty little secret is that if you're not in the Romney Class, you're disposable.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 05:17:35 PM PDT

  •  Lol (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "So, I accidentally spilled something and moved the PowerPointless along."

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 06:36:52 PM PDT

  •  My parents sent me to private school... (0+ / 0-)

    ....because they were afraid I'd be racially bullied by both my own ethnicity (for not being brown enough) and whites  (for not being white).

    They paid thousands of dollars each year. AND their school taxes and support the public schools. The sneaky school district claimed me as a student even though I didn't go to school in the district (across the river) so they could get more money from the state.

    So by doing what they did, my parents got me a good education, and actually brought more money to the school than if I'd attended (because then they would have had to spend money on me). Going to private school helped my local public school system.

  •  School funding is unfair (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let's talk about the elephant in the room: rich districts pay higher property taxes and get better schools
    poor schools means lower property taxes and less money for schools.  I'd rather see the the money spread through so horrors!! the poor school districts can get their fair share.

    I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you/ YOUR WHOLE FUCKING CULTURE ALIENATES ME. Bikini Kill

    by pitbullgirl65 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 03:33:34 AM PDT

  •  Simple Solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Our move from Chicago to here was prompted by a mesh of motivators, the greatest of these being greed.  During thirteen years (91-04) of living on Chicago’s North side, we had amassed a really big (for us) pile of equity.  And being the Americans we are, we took the whole wad and shot it into a giant property out here.
    Why would "shoot the wad" on a big house then complain they can't send their kids to private school?  At least the diary is honest.  Greed.
  •  Do what's right for your daughter (0+ / 0-)

    . . .and that may or may not be public school.
    I do remember the 8th grade angst well, and having to deal with neighbors, friends, family members etc. who thought they had the better solution.

    Private school adherents like to tout their inherent superiority, but bottom line, private schools are not required to disclose specific statistics about academic performance or anything else, so a lot of the claims are hard to verify or quantify.
    It is possible to blow a lot of money at a private school and have a really terrible teacher. There is a lot of partying, drugs and alcohol at certain private high schools.
    Private schools can also have a very insular environment, and in some cases the religious teachings may be offensive or unacceptable (not all "Christian" schools are teaching that the earth is 6000 years old, or preaching damnation of gays, but some do--others teach more positive things).
    We also found that private schools we looked at did not offer the advanced/accelerated science and math program offered at a public school alternative.

    On the other hand, private schools seem to offer a lot more support through the college application process.  Smaller class sizes are common.  At a smaller private school there may be more opportunities to participate in sports, etc. than at a large public school.  Also, less time spent on standardized testing. Some private schools are really excellent and/or provide a good fit for a particular student.

    We are in a large urban school district with many problems--particularly high drop out rates at many of the high schools and excessive amounts of time spent on standardized testing preparation due to high failure rates.  We were fortunate to have excellent magnet schools and a good neighborhood high school to choose from, as well as a wide variety of private schools.  Our kids chose public high schools (with our blessing after a lot of careful consideration), even though we had been prepared to juggle finances to pay for private school.  We were able to bank more money for college as a result, which was another benefit.

    You just have to weigh your choices (which might include ditching the big house) and make sure you are more comfortable with your choice than your diary seems to suggest.

    Unfortunately, many folks do not have good school choices and we should all be trying to promote better public education policies and funding.  And of course, promote your local public school through involvement, donations and volunteer work as much as you can.  But supporting good public education for all does not in my mind necessarily mean putting your child in a public school that is not a good fit for her.

    Oh, and by the way, if you think this 8th grade high school angst is bad, just wait until you are looking at college in four years!

  •  My sister and myself excelled academically (0+ / 0-)

    despite our education in a not-especially-great  public high school that struggled to maintain a 60% graduation rate and did not offer even one AP course  --had to drive across town to the big new school in the richer neighborhood, for those, which was not an option of 2 working parents already shared 1 car.  

    But our brains did fine.  Our SATs and college admissions and scholarship offers.  did fine. We had a few superb teachers, too.  And a few run-ins with peers who wanted to beat us up for being eggheads.  

    My folks offered to try to swing it for me at a posh private school, but when I visited I hated the snobby rah-rah.  

    Public school was okay.  I don't think adolescence is easy anywhere.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:09:51 AM PDT

  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    I look to my sons future as he entered school this year. If there was a better private school I could afford he would be there.
    Our local public school rests firmly at the top of the bottom 1/3rd of schools in the state.
    I pay my taxes, I pay my school taxes and I pay my property taxes. I worked 836 hours of overtime last year and so far this year I have worked 679 hours of overtime - banking cash for college school and college.
    I bust my ass to be a liberal lemming. If parents were parents I wouldn't be hoping my body can last another 7 years of working and saving so my son doesn't have to go to public school.

    you can't remain neutral on a moving train

    by rmfcjr on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:53:50 AM PDT

    •  And that pendulum (0+ / 0-)

      That judgmental pendulum swings both ways there, diarist .
      I went to a Catholic School in an urban environment. Yeah, the public school produced the likes of Joey Merlino , of course my school produced his henchmen.
      You spent all your money on your house ? How about I swing and do some judging. Some obviously uppity snot wants to feel hip and have all her friends buy into her crap. It is just like people who lay claim to musicians selling out.
      Had you vested your money wisely you would have the money for private school. I grew up in a hard neighborhood , which means exactly nothing. It means some kids saw a kid going to school dressed up and made the mistake of thinking they were going to take advantage of a kid not wanting to ruin clothes dad worked hard for.
      If I could afford 50K a year for PreK and grade school I would pay it in a minute, and anyone who says they wouldn't is an unfit parent. Why would you not set up your kid with every opportunity possible ?
      I look at my parents-they wanted better for me. I want the same for my child as does my wife. Now, she can talk about poor-she wasn't raised American poor, she was raised developing country poor. She dropped out of school in the 8th grade because her parents couldn't afford the uniform .
      What should I tell her ? yeah, I am working all this overtime and saving every penny for what ? So our son can end up like who ? Me ? WHY WOULD I WANT THAT?
      I want my child to eclipse my every success not 'end up' where I have. The best way to assure that is to give him the best education I can afford and try to be the best parent I can be next to his tiger mom.
      Your inability to budget your money properly doesn't mean the rest of us have to send our kids to public school if we work enough to afford better

      you can't remain neutral on a moving train

      by rmfcjr on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:59:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I went to a public high school and (0+ / 0-)

    got into Carleton College.  My public high school also got a second person in from our class.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 04:10:00 PM PDT

  •  T'd and R'd, despite the strange title. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm seeing what you're seeing and totally agreeing with it.

    The private-school fixation is part of White Flight.

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