Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You know, I keep thinking about how I speak about Teach when people ask me about my son’s school.  It seems as though we have been somehow gently pressured into making less of our kids and our school in public.  As if we’re supposed not to say that our kids are smarter than other kids because it’s not nice to the other people’s kids.  The parents of the students at Teach have always worked their asses off so that their special children could have special opportunities.  Because they deserve it and we want it for them.  I wonder if this sortof apologetic, my-kid-isn’t-better-than-any-other-kid thing has leaked out onto our collective enthusiasm with respect to school events and fundraising in particular.

I was having a conversation with a home-schooling neighbor who asked me about Teach.  I heard the things I said to her and wondered if I was being too p.c.  She says she has a smart kid.  She wants him to have “enrichment” in his education.  Why I shouldn’t I say, “You kid is smart…he should go to Teach!  That’s a great place for kids who want enrichment!  We offer so much more than any other local school!”

She said, “Is it free?”

I thought for a second.  I mean, nothing in life is free, right?  I explained about how much the “enrichment” costs, around $800 per child.  I explained that we contribute as families, but not everyone can, so we generously work as Boosters to ensure that all the kids can have it, even if their families are too poor or too lazy to contribute.  “Poor” and “lazy” are negative terms, but in only 4 letters more concisely describe families who just can’t seem to swing an extra $800 each year for each child or who don’t feel like they should have to do anything since their school is publicly funded or they are just ignoring the way the whole thing works.  But, yeah, it’s free.  I don’t know if it’s the school for her, but it’s the school for me.  Where else can you get so much for only $800 a year?  It’s probably not the best possible school, but it’s sure good.  I explained about the huge class sizes, and also that it didn’t bother me.  It didn’t seem to make my son’s educational experience any worse than it would be at any other school.  Homeschooling wouldn’t be better, Catholic school wouldn’t be better.  Any of our local public schools wouldn’t be better.  At least I don’t think so.

Why do I feel like I am expected to explain why my kid isn’t any smarter than other kids?  He is.

Why do people keep their smarter kids in schools without opportunities for them to excel, just because it may make them seem “snobby?”

What if we collectively stopped being so apologetic about our class sizes and our smart children and our better opportunities?

I don’t know where I’m going here.  Just thinking.

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