Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pre-K, Part I

The issue of what to do for pre-Kindergarten for The Boy has been pressing on my mind a lot lately. I didn't get into the whole preschool frenzy that some of my friends and many of my online acquaintances did. It hardly seemed worth it to stress over which program, which philosophy, which school was the right choice for a 2- or 3-year-old. Not to mention that while we probably could afford to pay preschool tuition of $300+ per month, I'd rather spend the money on something else, or save it for his high school or college education.

But now, with pre-K applications due in December 2006 (for the fall of 2007 -- eek!), I feel that I should get on the ball. I don't know if I am a disadvantage compared to my research-heavy compatriots or not, because we've decided that our children will attend public schools. This decision makes us anamolies among upper middle-class urban parents; most parents, it would seem, would prefer to send their children to private schools. But my husband and I feel strongly that we should employ the public school system, for several reasons:
  1. I'm a product of the public school system and although I am not a rocket scientist, I feel that I received an excellent education that has prepared me for work and life.
  2. I feel that if we are going to live in the city and enjoy the benefits of urban life, we should put "our money where our mouths are" so to speak. This is our community; one way to make the schools fit our ideals is to get involved by enrolling our children and working from within to effect change. Related to this is that our local school community will be more reflective (than private schools) of the diverse community in which we live.
  3. My husband went to parochial (Roman Catholic) school and disliked everything about it. Incidentally, my own father went to (Roman) Catholic school from K-8 and my mother went to (Roman) Catholic school from K-12, and their experience is part of the reason that I attended the public schools.
  4. Cost. We're paying for the public schools in our property taxes. As I said above, while we could find ways to afford private school tuition, I don't want to. And I certainly don't want to get into a situation similar to one I read about in a magazine, wherein the author's daughter's education was paid for by grandparents who were suddenly unable to meet their obligation. The author had to scramble to pay her daughter's tuition herself, but didn't want to pull her child out of the school that she and her husband otherwise couldn't afford because of the stigmatization and lack of continuity her daughter might experience.
To be continued...

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