Tuesday, February 28, 2012


So...hypothetically speaking...

Say that you live in a modest home with modest cars. You make a decent income but not enough to cover everything. You pay most of your bills. But not all. You accrue debt nearly every month  not by overspending on anything but just by being short. But you refinanced recently and are making some changes.

Say you really value education. You want the question to be "where are you going to college?" and not "do you think you will go to college?"

Say you send your daughter to White Meat school.

But you attend UU church on Sunday and have progressive liberal politics.

Say that you go to parent events at school and just feel like you don't belong. At all.

Say you hypothetically can't stand what is going on in the school. Daily watching of videos. That have nothing to do with school. A lack of books in the classroom. A lack of creativity among certain teachers. Union issues. A 10 day strike that has divided a community. A total lack of organization and structure.

But say, despite all of that, you have a daughter who loves to learn. And who likes school. Who taught herself how to count in 5s. Who is reading everything she can get her hands on.

But whose teachers do not seem to not know it. Or care.

But you can't afford to move to the "good district". Not by a long shot.

Do you try to pay for private education? Even though you really can't afford it. Should you attend Catholic school even though your family has attended exactly one mass ever? Should you home school? What would that mean? Should you continue to attend and justify that it is "only" first grade? And maybe it is just a tired teacher and others will be great. Do you talk to the principal? What do you say? Do you move out of state where homes are more affordable and the schools are better? Do you move to a small box in the good district and just fix it up? Do you sell your home and rent in the good district? Do you just realize that you are still your kids' best teachers and hold on?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.



Beth said...

Yikes! I knew you were facing this question. Have you looked into scholarships for private school? Have you visited the Catholic school? Do you think it's better than where she is now? I'm pretty sure Sam would be AWESOME at home schooling. But do you think Seren needs the structure and socialization of school every day? Are there other social outlets she can participate in that would provide that outlet for her? I'm not really helping here--just asking you more questions. But only you and Sam have the answers. I think leaving her where she is is a no-go, though. She'd be better off home-schooled, IMO.

Are you SURE you can't move? Completely absolutely positive? Ugh--what a bind.

LauraC said...

I am with Beth! Staying is not an option. Watching tv in school?

I can't give you any advice other than I think there is nothing more important than education (except health). That was one of our must haves when we left Chicago - good free public education. In Chicago, everyone moves to the suburbs bc the public schools are so bad. We figured if we were moving, why not move somewhere that we could afford a home and a good public education?

Tough tough choices.

neil said...

Prefacing with "everyone is different" and "you have to decide on your own priorities" and other disclaimers ...

The main reason I moved from DC up here was that there, it was impossible for me to find a place to live that was 1) affordable, 2) had decent schools (based on my definition), and 3) didn't have a horrendous commute. That combination seemed more possible here.

That said, I chose the "find the schools you like and try to live there" approach, which essentially made me the poorest person in Hopewell Township. When I got divorced, I was in the situation you describe - trying to get by each month, accumulating some debt. But I knew it wasn't a permanent situation, and I decided it was worth it. (Also, I was upside down and couldn't have moved even if I wanted to.)

Anyway, I live in a place with ridiculous taxes. But even those ridiculous taxes are way less than the price of private school. AND I have three kids. So, all in all, I'm getting the education I want for them at a price that isn't bad. And since 93% or more of our school funding comes from those ridiculous property taxes, the people who live in the community, who all really care about the schools, make sure they stay good.

PC said...

I can't say anything different than what was already said, but I think you need to heavily weigh all of your other options. Something will work, and it has to be better than what's going on right now in the NSD. Anytime you want to talk I'm always up for GNO. Hang in there! :)