On Getting My Kids Into College

2014-10-11 15.05.22

This kid is less than one year away from starting kindergarten. I think most people know that where your kid goes to school is this weird polarizing issue in parenting.

In California, schools are rated with an API score with number ranging from 1-10. This score is based solely on test scores and do not take anything else into account, for instance, funding, immersion programs (spanish and mandarin immersions are popular here), teacher to student ratios, etc. Despite, considering these issues, people usually take one look at the API score and judge whether a school is “good” or not based simply on that. For us, the school Henry is zoned to attend is not a 10. It isn’t a 1, but it isn’t a 10. Lots of people consider this elementary school “bad”. And I am torn.

I know that a lot of things go into a child’s education outside of school (parental involvement, limits on screen time, reading to your kids, etc) and I have read a lot of opinions on sending your kids to the “bad” school (specific to California or not) and what is important (hint: getting your kid into college may not be.) Yet, I am pretty torn. I have conversations with my mom friends, educators in the field who are active and involved and know what the situations look like. And we agree with each other that the home environment, learning opportunities and stimulating creativity and a curious spirit are just as important as the school our kids attend. But I also talk to parents who say student to teacher ratios, music programs and libraries (which are surprisingly not found in every elementary school here) are very important. And I cannot help but agree with those parents, too. For the record our zoned school has a library, but no music and a relatively poor student to teacher ratio compared to surrounding districts.

And so I don’t really know what to do. My first priority is to raise kind, curious, compassionate individuals who are capable of taking care of themselves.  But what is the path I need to follow to achieve that? Is it highly rated schools that offer lots of electives, activities and opportunities? Or is it a decent school, with some flaws, but a focus on the home environment and the opportunities and experiences we provide outside of school? I feel lost in this particular aspect of parenthood.

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One thought on “On Getting My Kids Into College

  1. I am facing the same questions. My goals for my little one are so much more than academic, and so his academic progress is only one of many things I will be watching lovingly in coming months and years. And yet … I do want the best for him. But what is the best, and how do I find it?

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