(public) School of Choice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 05-09-2003, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi again, I know I'm posting a ton lately, that is because I'm trying to make a decision about where to send dd for 1st grade, so bear with me

In our state (michigan) some school districts offer what is called School of Choice and it's gaining popularity fast. Simply put, you can send your child to another school district other than the one you are in. The ones I know about here even offer bussing if you drive your child to a bus stop on their route.
Anyone doing this or heard of it?
I am thinking of touring a school that would be about a 20 minute drive in another district. They got our states "blue ribbon" award for excellence and has very high test scores and is reputed to be a great school district, set in the country. When we were looking to move I wanted to buy a house there so our kids could go to the schools, but this county I'm in is one of the priciest counties in the U.S. to live and we decided to settle for a lake lot to build, but in a less reputed school district. I don't know. Maybe I am being too picky. I just want the best!
sigh!

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#2 of 16 Old 05-09-2003, 10:31 AM
 
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We havesachool of choice in Colorado. My DD goes to a public school that is an "alternative" in the district. It is called the Lab School for Creative Learning. There are 110 kids grades k-6. It is fantastic! However, in our district school of choice forms are due by Feb 16th. After that a child can only enroll in the school if there is room.

Good luck, the 1st grade think killed me. I lost so much sleep over where dd was going to go after waldorf.

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#3 of 16 Old 05-09-2003, 11:57 AM
 
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Unless there are specific things about your own district that give you pause, it may not be a great idea. High test scores aren't such a great indication of the quality of teaching that goes on in a school. Standardized testing does not test children's ability to think critically or have opinions or be creative. Because school often receive funding based on test scores, teachers in many schools are put under tremendous pressure to keep test scores high, and this means a whole lot of "teaching to the test," that is, teaching kids test-taking skills and teaching specific things that will appear on tests.

I worked in a school that was consistently in the top five out of about 650 elementary schools in reading scores (NYC schools), and it is not a place I would want to send my own child, that's for sure.

This is not to say that a high-scoring school might not be a good place, or that a school with very low scores would be a good environment either. But if your child goes to a school out of her own neighborhood, it will definitely have an impact on her socially, and while that may not seem to be a big deal, it will be to her. Especially as she gets older.

Just my $.02, hope it helps!
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#4 of 16 Old 05-09-2003, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for shedding light on this, the social aspect IS a big factor. I agree the test scores don't indicate much really, how schools teach the test, etc. Did you read my post on the stand. test my K had to take this week? :
I have an appt. to tour the school in our district with my dd next week. As far as I know, where our new house is, the kids all go to the local ps's. DD is now finishing at a charter school IN the same district but I have to drive her there everyday, at 7:45am! So, the drive to the other school district to me is not appealing in the least. I don't mind the drive but if the local ps's are good, I'd rather her take the bus (she wants to!).
It's funny because our charter school boasts 'academic excellence' but their state scores are about the same as the elem. my dd would go to for 1st. But yet, ppl are putting their kids on these wait lists to get their kids into H.A. because they think it's better (like I did). My dd has an awful teacher this year. She isn't warm or loving to the kids at all. So, one of my main concerns now is that I want my dd to have a NICE teacher. I want HER to be happy where she is.
The good news about the schools, even though they've had this bad reputation (for whatever reason) is 1) the district is in a rich county, the county spends $ on the schools and are more progressive at making changes 2) They pass their school bonds..they just got a new HS four years ago (the county we lived in prior couldn't pass a bond to save their butt and the kids are crammed in like sardines in portable classrooms) 3) because our city is in the northern end of a very wealthy and populated county, more ppl are moving further north to our area = more $$ moving in..
It's sad how a school or city can have a trashy reputation and then can't shake it. There are drugs everywhere, there are going to be trouble makers in every school!
So, I'll keep you posted on my visit next week. The pricipal (lady) sound very nice and I personally have a friend who taugh in this school for 7 years (she is a SAHM now) and said the teachers are young and ambitious, she knows my dd and thought it would be a nice place for her. So, we'll see.

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#5 of 16 Old 05-09-2003, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bathrobe, why didn't you keep your child in waldorf? just curious. I know what you mean tho, I feel like I need prozac to help me thru this Hahaha!

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#6 of 16 Old 05-10-2003, 07:16 PM
 
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Dear Sneezykids,

In our town we have to beg to get into our neighborhood schools...

I would ask you to consider a couple of factors above and beyond the classroom:
1. How long do you want her to be in a car or on the bus every day? 20 minutes times two is forty minutes that she can't be running around outside, or drawing, or cuddled in your lap.
2. How many other kids come from your neighborhood to that school? My daughters blessedly go to school about a two minute walk from our house; most of the other kids drive or take the bus. Arranging for playtime with friends in a real pain! Especially when you've got more than one child, and the friends are from different directions!
3. Will having to get in the car limit your participation in her schooling- the playground supervision, classroom help, PTA activities?

Maybe you live in an area where any school she attends would be a distance in a motor vehicle. If not, consider the fact that eventually she'll be old enough (4th grade? 5th?) to walk alone or with a friend to school - which is incredibly empowering to a child.

All things being equal, I would heartily recommend a walkable school to one that encourages car culture as the norm.

As for begging to get into our local school - it's a lottery, you have to apply and just be incredibly lucky to get the school near you. We got the school, then moved to be close!
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#7 of 16 Old 05-10-2003, 08:51 PM
 
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I can't afford to live in the town that has the good schools. The town I live in is really known for not having great schools, very little diversity, etc. I School Choiced my son into kindergarten in the next city over. I found out yesterday that he was ACCEPTED! I'm so excited. It's a real option for those of us that can't afford to live in towns with better schools and can't afford private. My son will be able to go there until he graduates. His brothers will also have priority when they get old enough to go to school.

In my area the 2 towns are pretty close, plus a close friend lives near the school and her son goes to the school. I think there will be extra driving around for me, but with a private school it'd be the same thing.
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#8 of 16 Old 05-10-2003, 10:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Standardized testing does not test children's ability to think critically or have opinions or be creative. Because school often receive funding based on test scores, teachers in many schools are put under tremendous pressure to keep test scores high, and this means a whole lot of "teaching to the test," that is, teaching kids test-taking skills and teaching specific things that will appear on tests.
Perhaps I will look for the school with the lowest scores...maybe that means more real learning goes on there!

Of course, those will probably receive the least funding. Maybe I will look for mediocre scores, but not the lowest.
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#9 of 16 Old 05-13-2003, 01:23 AM
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DS attended 3 public school before our decision to homeschool (1st change was due to redistricting, 2nd due to a move. All 3 schools are in the same county)
I found the school with really good test scores did not put preassure on the kids when it came to taking the test. The school with the worst scores was the one that tried to teach the test all yr. DS attended that school for 3 yrs and each yr the pressure was worse the so were the scores(across the board)
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#10 of 16 Old 05-15-2003, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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a walkable school is not an option. First we are building a new house in the country. Also, the whole area where we live is the country/suburbs. The only walkable schools are the one right IN town where the houses are old and small. I don't want to live in the city. Our new house is only two miles from the public school, and even that school is in the country..
I drive my dd to her charter school now and it takes me about 5 minutes. But when we move it'll be about 14 minutes (I timed it) and the moms usually carpool too.
I guess I am not going to explore the Brandon schools (SOC) I'm thinking of just keeping her where she is. It's a great curriculum and the school is small (and free!)
Thanks for the replies!

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#11 of 16 Old 05-16-2003, 12:32 PM
 
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We have school choice options where I live in Florida. The main problem with this is that if you want into this great public school out of your district, chances are that many other parents want the same thing. Here, they only allow entrance for out of district families if space permits. This almost never happens. So, if I wanted my children to go to a specific school, I would most likely need to buy a home within that district.
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#12 of 16 Old 05-16-2003, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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interesting point M.22
I asked about that w/ this school in question and they said if they get so many kids they just add another class!
For now, I'm leaning toward keeping dd in her charter school until the 8th grade (that is as high as they go) then maybe school choicing her over to Brandon, since it's about the same drive time as her charter. That is a long time away and our local ps might be an option too. That is the best thing about schools of choice is they open UP options for parents, but not every school district participates (in MI)
toodles.

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#13 of 16 Old 05-18-2003, 04:15 PM
 
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To answer your question about waldorf:

dd didn't go to waldorf 1st grade because:

1. The teacher they hired wasn't waldorf trained
2. Her class was only 6 kids
3. I was the enrollment director and didn't get any tution break (6K a year tution, 10K in pay: )
4. The school was in trouble
5. I didn't feel like waldorf was the only school that dd would be a sucess in.

I am now really, really gld I pulled her when I did since her class is now only 4 kids and is combined with the lower class. The school also has had a huge amount of teacher turnover in the last two years. The staff have changed by 1/2 in that time.

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#14 of 16 Old 05-18-2003, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Eden,
So the alternative school, what is that like? We have one in our district but from the website I gathered it was more for kids who had failed out of the regular programs, or deliquient kids.
That is nice you found a good place and are happy with it!
I don't know how some of these Waldorf school justify their outgrageous tutition!
High teacher turnover..not a good sign..

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#15 of 16 Old 05-19-2003, 11:53 AM
 
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I can't expain Lab as well as the web site so here it is:
http://oldwww.psd.k12.co.us/schools/lab

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#16 of 16 Old 05-19-2003, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That sounds SO nice!! I would love a school like that too!
And it's free? Another plus.
We don't have anything like that here, that is free anyway. My dd's charter school is free but is not as hands on as I would have hoped. They are more paper happy than I would like too. But, they balance it out pretty well, like no academic work on Fridays (for k's) and they do a lot of feild trips. THey do have a good science and spanish program that I like. Right now the kids are waiting for their praying mantis coccon to hatch.

Hollyacademy.org

This is it if you want to see..

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