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August 31st, 2007 at 11:42 am

Oh I got school on the brain lately but I Was kind of laughing at the homeschooling thread. I have to agree with Devil's Advocate that those are some pretty broad generalizations about public school. No offense but I had to laugh about the public school kids hanging out in the bars. Sounds like a parenting problem, not a school problem. IT makes about as much sense as the idea that homeschooled kids have no social skills. I didn't realize school was the only place to gain social skills. From either side there is a million different way to teach your kids and I am afraid no size fits all.

But anyway, I didn't reply to the thread because I didn't want to get into it. Also living in the big city I do find things to be very different. We have public schools that are merely supplements to homeschooling. You can find just about anything you would want in a public school out here so I have little issue. It would be absurd to think that the public school system would teach my kids all they need to know though and we would just leave it at that. we are very hands on with our kids so just kind of in the middle - I see the benefits of both and we'll kind of approach it with a hybrid approach. But as with anything when it starts to get all black/white it annoys the hell out of me.

Well wasn't what I Was going to post about, but ironically I came on here to post about public school and saw that thread, and had to get that out I guess. I didn't want to get into it, but then I did anyway. Oh well...

Actually, I wanted to say i skimmed the "2-Income Trap" when I was on vacation in June and it was kind of interesting. Not what i expected at all. For one there was a lot of "the problem is not over-consumption." Since the author has done a lot of research in the area of bankruptcy and I know she has found over-consumption has little to do with bankruptcy (historically) I guess I have to think about it. There are statistics to back it up. BUT it is awfully hard to take the idea seriously when I look at the over-consumption (& debt) around me. It is just insanity and I find it 10 times worse than when i lived back in San Jose. Since housing isn't so expensive there is way way way more over-consumption. My parents argue with me that the Bay is the land of over-consumption. But the difference is most of the people there over-consuming there have the money. None of my peers were buying fancy cars, vacation homes, diamonds and such, but that all seems to be the norm up here (which I find very bizarre since there is not a lot of "wealth" up here). I mean I was telling you about a day in our friend's $2 million house. I think they are more frugal than most the people I know around here making $30k. So yeah I am smack dab in a sea of over-consumption. so I read the whole book cringing at the idea that the cars and homes and vacations weren't the ruin of 2-income families. OF course it is (from my view). most the people I know who work a 2nd job work for all that stuff. Many work just to pay for daycare and a ticket to eat out every night (even sadder).

However, she had some interesting points that with the public school system, homes where the good schools were, well they were bid up in the fierce competition. I see it. I hardly know anyone who has bought a home that wasn't based on "test scores." I find the idea absurd myself since we feel education is in our hands for one, and secondly, since when was a school only measured by its test score? BEing frugal through and through we would be more likely to find that school that didn't have the best test scores per se but had the best program that we felt fit our kids. There are plenty of wonderful schools without the "best" test scores.

Anyway, no I can't say school was our #1 choice when it came to our home. Sure we considered it a bit, but the idea is even more absurd somewhere in Sacramento where public school options abound. There are so many specialty/charter schools across the city that anyone can go to. So you would think it really wouldn't matter as much. I guess the bid is for the high test scores and the convenience of a school in your own backyard. The smart ones can see through the smoke and mirrors though and can figure out a ticket to a good school without the most expensive house. (For one they completely wrote off the option of renting to get in a good school, don't ask me why. I am not a fan of renting, but would consider it if it was a cheaper ticket to the best schools - why not?).

Anyway, moving here where housing cost like 1/3 at the time we bought in a very upscale neighborhood. To us it was cheap so why not. We were to have a school (new school as it was a new development). But with the nasty school board politics & obvious developer bribing (I wouldn't know where to begin) we were left with no school. You would think being in this area most people would happily send off their kids to private school, but that turns out to be not the case at all. Instead there was a huge public outcry. & having a lot of educators and politicians in our community, the parents decided to start our own Charter School. We have 1000 families, most of the families with kids have preschoolers and the school board is in denial why we would need a school. They seem to be looking at nothing but current enrollment, which is absurd. There could well be 1000 kids in our neighborhood alone (not to mention the eons of new construction).

Anyway, dh got really involved with it as something to do and a way to secure a spot for our kids. I think it was more something to do than anything. I am not sure I was thrilled about the idea of sending our kids to a brand new school (We don't even have a site yet in its 3rd year of operation at this point).

But you fast forward today and everyone just raves about the school. I have been asking other parents where they will send their kids (trying to guage who will be in class with my sons) and everyone keeps telling me they want to send their kids but aren't sure they can get in with the stiff waiting lists. As for us we are guaranteed spots, so phew.

I didn't realize how amazing this is though until I Was browsing school data online yesterday and I just saw the school had the highest test scores in the school district (by a mile, and it is a good district). dang.

I kind of worry how the momentum will be when my son starts school. Seems like they have new teachers, new programs, and everyone is really excited about it all. You wonder if with time things will slow down, the excitement will wear off. In the meantime I find the school will be a good match for my older son (just what he needs really - it has a rather unique approach) and we might of got ourselves a ticket to the best public school around. Who knew... The thing about charter schools is they are heavy in parent involvement. IT makes all the difference. This one being built from the ground up by the parents... The whole experience has been rather interesting.

Of course I have to admit, would a school like this pop up in a poor neighborhood? Of course not. Would the parents have the time or the resources to set something like this up? Um, no. I guess I am impressed that everyone didn't just roll over and send their kids off to private school. But all the same you can kind of see the inequality of it all. The good neighborhood will buy the good school. Back to square one. Interestingly, they have to have x amount of poorer students and they will try to get a broad demographic (which I think is great - more like the area I grew up which had a lot of diversity - I want my kids to see that - to not just go to school with a bunch of wealthy kids). But you know only a very lucky few will make it. I guess frankly in the end we bought a good education with our neighborhood.

Such is school and politics, apparently.

I have to say too though that most of the neighborhood is million dollar homes and we aren't even close to that. So on a frugal note, buy the cheap home in the nice neighborhood - it's another ticket to the good schools I guess. OF course with time these homes have been bid up exceptionally high (like a $100k premium to live in this neighborhood. Dh and I look at each other like lord knows why - it's just a neighborhood. We'd pay $100k less to move a few blocks out. We'd still have the same ticket to the same schools. It's all rather absurd I guess).

But yeah - the "2-Income Trap" - was very politic-y. I am not sure I would recommend it. There is probably some truth to it. But it's like, yeah everyone is bidding up the price of schools and education. My family has found it easy enough not to fall for that. my dad and I both have professional, very well-paying careers that cost us little in education. I expect my sons to be able to find the same. I don't buy that my kids need the expensive preschool to succeed in life (in fact I am more convinced by the day that the fancy preschool does more harm than good). Since when did you have to spend $20k-$30k for a decent set of wheels? We just never bought any of it - it makes ALL the difference. The 2-Income trap was all about this kind of stuff. People paying way more than they should for everything. & the authors failed to realize that this is all easy enough to avoid. Pushing for political policies to make things more fair instead of just saying, hey, this is all a bunch of BS. Of course not "buying" it all it has been easy enough to stay out of that trap for us.

1 Responses to “School”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    I know that book was published in 2003, which means it was probably written in 2001 and 02, but I found it to feel much more seriously out of date than it's copyright implied when I read it back in 2003. And also like the authors weren't living in the same universe as I was. Not that that's a first.

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