Saturday, January 9, 2010


i'm not sure what has me more concerned: the insanity of the admissions process for kindergarten or the lack of great public schools in nyc. it was competitive 9 years ago when i was applying zach for kindergarten and it's even more now. i remember friends so freaked out with the process that they needed tranquilizers to sleep. i also remember wondering if i was making the right decision about which school was perfect for zach. i wish someone had said to me: you're not signing a 9 or 13 year contract, only think about where you see your child k-3.

i don't believe in this-is-the-perfect-school-for-my-child. there are many great schools and my guess is your child will succeed at any of them. since there are a lot of families staying in nyc, it would be great if they knew there was an exceptional public school option. in some neighborhoods there is, but not all. it's incomprehensible to me that we live in one of the most cultured and wealthy cities in the world and our public schools are not nearly as good as some of the schools in nearby suburbs.

so maybe one idea is community service for families applying children to kindergarten. some sort of commitment to your neighborhood public school. whether it's volunteering time, helping in the classroom, collecting supplies, or donating money - maybe we can stimulate interest in helping to make public schools better. i already hear my friends who are applying their kids now saying: are you crazy, who has the time? well, something has to give. there aren't enough spots at private schools for all of the kids applying and $35k is a lot of tuition money.'s almost february and acceptance letters will go out soon.  i wish for you patience and perspective and know that it will all work out.

wwcd: and remember, it's only kindergarten, and school will not determine life-long happiness

1 comment:

  1. In my work I see that parental anxiety can make any school experience a difficult one, second-guessing and vigilantly critical even if the child is actually having a valid (and often mixed) experience.

    I like your idea of being attentive to your local public school even if your child does not attend there. (I always encourage my clients to visit, even if it they do not consider it a reasonable option for their child.) Most of your neighbors' kids do attend there, and pretending that it is not important to you and your family is a sorrowful situation that helps explain why our NYC schools are not 100% wonderful, and why our nation is in such trouble.

    The day may come when we understand that innovative education of all our young (not just in our family, neighborhood, city, state, country...) is critical to the survival of our species. Not to mention essential to the quality of life for people and the planet!