Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rethinking My Passion

I am an educator. I am very proud of being an educator. I come from a long line of public educators and I work hard to deliver instruction to students that is a cut above anything else they have ever received or will receive. In my current position I have revamped the technology curriculum at the elementary school where I teach. Instead of doing what every other school in our district does in the computer lab--electronic worksheets, essentially--I created a curriculum that starts with PreK students learning to alter text color, backgrounds, and inserting clip art to 5th grade students who powerfully blog about what they read and create multi-media projects on a whim. The school I teach in is AWESOME! It's a foreign language magnet school with a literacy curriculum that draws national attention (no lie) and a math curriculum that is being modeled across the district. It's the cleanest school I've ever been in and lately I've been in MANY. Why? Because my son is going to start Kindergarten in the fall and I have to get him into a good school. Here's the problem, he didn't get into the school where I work. He didn't get into our second choice, either. He's zoned to attend a school where he would be the only white kid. A school where we saw a drug dealer in the parking lot just today when driving around. That school is 2.2 miles from our house. Up the street is another wonderful school that has awesome parent support and is actually only .8 of a mile from our house. On a nice weather day, we could walk to school. We're not zoned for that school and I've been told they have only 1 student opening for a 3rd grader. Our third option is another magnet school. It's about 20 miles from my house. I can't get him to school on time and be at work on time myself. I've been told to put him on a bus. The neighborhood in which this magnet school is located is sketchy. In fact, I'd be concerned about PTA presentations in the evenings, even.

How am I supposed to go to my job day in and day out, pour my soul into my passion of educating kids, giving them the BEST education they can get in the district, yet my kids don't get the benefit? I have to send them to something less than that and be okay with that! I am furious. I cannot afford private education. I'm not about to send my kid to a parochial school and I'm at my wit's end. How do I look at my sweet boy each morning, drop him off at school and say, see ya after I finish teaching at my great school that you're being denied entrance because your name didn't come up in the lottery. I love you!

Here's my question. On the magnet school waiting list, we're #18 for our first choice and #40 for our second. Siblings get preference. If you have an older sibling already in the school, then younger siblings go higher on the wait list. How is having a sibling at the school any different from having a parent working at the school? And when my kids can't get in, how am I supposed to remain loyal to my job?