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:
– 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?