kindergarten chaos

Back in November, Mister took the infamous “gifted” test to get into a gifted program in CPS, most of which start at the kindergarten level. I’m not one to drill flash cards over a bowl of Cheerios, but it’s a widely known fact that to get a decent public school education here in Chicago, it doesn’t hurt to take the test.

We applied to over 10 schools and find out this weekend where he’s accepted. It’s been a long 4 months (it was so kind of the holidays and the new year to keep us busy and distracted). Of course, Micah comes of age the exact year that:

1. courts overturn a 30-year old admissions process (race-related) and CPS scrambles to implement a new, experimental one
2. CPS head Ron Huberman announces a $1 billion deficit , which means:

– 500+ layoffs
– mandatory teacher furloughs
– potential budget cuts for the gifted programs (killing off your prize pony makes no sense to me, but neither does much else in the system)
– class sizes of up to 40 kids
– half-day instead of full-day kindergarten
– cutting after-school programs (yes, it takes an MBA to decide that ending school at noon for 5-year-olds who have two working parents and pulling programs at safe places where they can stay afterwards is the best possible option)
– bussing services
– food services (a big deal for a lot of kids whose food source is school meals)

Questions about how to repair a broken school system snowball quickly. Where do you even begin?  How does laying off teachers solve anything if you don’t have a viable training program in place to begin with?  To what extent should families be relying on the school system as a second home anyway?

Chicago needs some Michelle Rhee. A public school product myself, I knew we’d have to deal with these issues for our kids — I just didn’t think it would be before the first day of school. In some ways, and this is my naivete talking, it’s simple: teach and nurture our children. I’m just legitimately wondering if that onus, and expectation, should fall on our schools anymore.

Hm. Homeschooling looks tempting right about now. It’s a free country, right?

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1 Comment

Filed under development, family

One response to “kindergarten chaos

  1. That’s great!

    It’s nice to find someone else that uses their cell phones as flashlights! What we do with technology 🙂

    I started following your blog and hope you’ll do the same with me!

    Melanie

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