Saturday, February 27, 2016

Exclusion

This week P was admitted to our district's gifted and talented magnet school. I'm excited, but still a little worried that it won't be a good fit. I suspect that he won't fit perfectly anywhere, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I think it will be better than anything else available to us.

The school can be described as "exclusive," and I don't really mean in a complimentary way...I mean it in the most literal sense. As in, it's a school that excludes kids. I was told that each year roughly 400 kids apply for 100 spots. So, about 75% of kids will have to find another school for the fall. Working in the district means that I hear things about schools, and not everything I hear about the magnet school is complimentary. There are some people that complain that the premise of having an exclusive school is a bad one, and that in a public system all opportunities should be open to all students. Or that it's easy for the magnet school to do cool programs and have high achievement when they skim the brightest kids from the other schools.

Some people think it's unfair to have exclusive schools.

I would like to point out, though, that in its own way, my son's neighborhood school is exclusive.

Even after I found out that P was bright I didn't want to send him to the magnet school. I wanted him to be at his neighborhood school with his sisters and the kids in his Cub Scout troop and the other kids who live around here. I wanted him to finish 8th grade in the same building he started Kindergarten. But every time I've sat down to have a meeting with the school's staff this year they've pointed out that the neighborhood school is a poor fit. That other schools have openings. That I could move him. They weren't doing it in a kind-hearted way, either...they just didn't want to deal with him.

So yes, I'm sending my son to an exclusive school. But that's only because he was excluded first.

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