Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just say no to the mishugas: go to your local public school

A letter to the fellow parents at our daughter's pre-school about our choice.
>> I realize that most of you are considering other options. But if you want to
>> skip the pressures of applying, waiting, and stressing about  kindergarten, not
>> to mention the high price of tuition, be aware that you have a choice.
>> We have decided to "Just say 'no'" to the craziness that applying to
>> Kindergarten in NYC can represent for families. We are sending Ahuva to our
>> zoned public school which happens to be PS 165. She will attend the dual
>> language (Spanish) K class. The advantages for us are clear:
>> -No travel. The school is one block from our home. We look forward to having
>> classmates who live close by.
>> -Spanish. Learning another language is more than most kids  elementary school.
>> Additionally, the dual-language programs supposedly have a    curriculum that match
>> the G&T programs, except that you gain another language.
>> -Cost. None. We can spend the extra money on ballet or karate or on  donations to
>> help improve the school's library. Or we can just feel a bit less    strapped for a
>> change.
>> -Community. I attended the first "meet and greet", I and was  impressed by the
>> small core of parents I met who care deeply about their school and  who are open
>> and welcoming to anyone who wants to get involved.
>> -Great teachers. We met the dual language teachers for K and 1st    grade who were
>> both wonderful.
>> -A very decent public school. A tour of the school was eye-opening.    There were
>> no ipads, but the children were happy and engaged in their lessons.  The younger
>> grades were safely separated from the older grades. The classrooms    were in good
>> shape. There was a positive feeling in the air.
>> The disadvantages?
>> -Low test scores. To be fair, the school has those test scores in    part because
>> it does take whoever comes. However, there is a new principal at  the  school who
>> is bright, articulate, energetic, and seems to have what it takes to make a
>> difference at the school.
>> -Diversity. Right now, it's not very diverse. I expect that will    change. We will
>> add to the diversity. If you join us, so will you.
>> -Bad reputation. This seems to be an outdated hold over from the    1980s when the
>> neighborhood was quite different than it is today.
>> I encourage you to join me at the next meet & greet and to sign up    for a tour.
>> And tell your friends!>>