Thursday, May 15, 2008

Registration Blues Part 3.......The Lottery

So I got a letter in the mail telling me that my baby is a low number that is not divisible by two in the lottery for one of our many charter school groups in New Orleans. Since everyone is scrambling to find a place for their children in a few schools, I won’t put the actual number she is because I can’t afford to hire security to protect her safety. Might be some poor baby right outside of the magic number with an over zealous parent.

I am glad she got into this one because I had to spend money on the second option and there was no clear third option. This school is supposed to be really good for a public school. I am still doing what research I can.I think my registration trouble is over but looking at the big picture I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. All I can come up with is questions.

What about all the kids that don’t get into the school their parents have selected? How come I don’t know where my district school is if I had to send her there? Do I have a district school? Do we still have districts? If you have more than one child and they don’t get in the same school after the lottery, what kind of pain in the ass is it if their schools are miles apart? How much time and gas does that cost? How come we have schools advertising on the back of city buses like they are small claim attorneys? When is the local news going to mention this like they do the crime problem? Doesn’t this situation assure that we will still have a crime problem for a long time? Why isn’t our city council making more noise about getting back local control of the school system? Why isn’t Austin Badon’s bill to give all the kids in the city a chance for a scholarship to pay to go where they want a bigger story? Am I the only person who realizes his bill is a direct statement about the state of public schools? Don’t try to answer all of that because it will give you a headache.

At the risk of making the counter argument against my own blog, New Orleans schools have been a wreck for a really long time. Some of us manage to still make it through all of that to live productive lives. Just because it’s obvious that the odds are stacked against these kids doesn’t mean that we can make it alright for them to not give the total effort. That means I shouldn’t see these kids waiting for the bus in the morning without a pencil or a notepad. They are not prepared to learn anything. If my kids were going to a school with one window, no air conditioning and the entire class had to share one book, I would be mad. I would be angry. I would do whatever it took to get that fixed but when my kids left my house they would know that I am laying the smack down on anyone who doesn’t give their best. When it’s all said and done no one is going to pay your bills and buy your groceries because you went to a Recovery District School instead of a KIPP charter school. Circumstances suck sometimes but you have to deal with them anyway.

That’s my opinion as I sit here dreaming of causing an uprising at my first PTA meeting in my Clark alumni t-shirt.


Cousin Pat said...

Good questions. Please let me know when and where you find answers. I've been looking for some of those answers since September.

I had a response to this, but it got so long and involved, it just became a blog post all of its own, with linkage back here, of course, where it started.

Anonymous said...

Cliff, congratulations. I also mourn with you having to say "congrats" for getting your child into a school. It's ridiculous, top to bottom. And you are right--not only have the schools been crappy for a long time but no one is going to let you off easy or keep you out of jail because you went to a RSD or whatever school. It is unfair to make parents swarm like sharks in bloody water for what is a basic human right in an industrialized, developed nation. I mean....just....damn!

Anonymous said...

I knew you had to post that Clark shirt. I know how much it means to you. You could have found a Carver Shirt and posted it for your Mama.

Papa Bear said...

I'd agree and disagree with your statement concerning Badon's bill. I can agree that the bill comes from the fact that New Orleans public schools are in a disastrous state. My issue with the bill stems from the fact that Louisiana has NEVER invested in its OVERALL public school system, never mind the obvious dislike of all thing New Orleans by the rest of the state. How can we really use tax dollars to provide vouchers for public schools students if the schools themselves weren't supported to begin with.

The bill also doesn't address the obvious logistical problems. The bill is not just tailored to low-income families who this might benefit, but towards middle class families who would have been able to afford the schools anyway. Along with that reality, if an large amount of students leave the public school systems, how will the private schools cope with the mass influx of students?

The reasons why private schools have been successful haven't been because of better teachers per say, but rather the ability to select whom they want to enroll. Will private schools actually accept low income students, or students that need a lot of remedial work? It seems to me that this bill will only serve to privatize K-12 education in New Orleans.

Clifton said...

Papa Bear,
I agree with everything you said. I should have clarified my question and added that I don't think he expects the bill to pass. I was saying that he introduced it as a way to bring exposure to the situation. At least thats what I thought the reason was.

Thanks for reading.