As I type this, the San Francisco Board of Education is probably voting to approve the new kindergarten assignment system. With this vote, all of us thinking about a public kindergarten for 2011 are officially christened guinea pigs, the first batch of families to live through the new way the lottery wheel will spin.
The fun has barely begun, but already on the playground, over coffee, and on this blog, I've heard us GP's summed up in all kinds of ways. Too negative, or too naive. I'd say that some of us are indeed burnt out before the party has even started, while others are incredibly hopeful. And there's another good chunk of us who aren't quite sure what to think yet. After Kate posted a link to the SF Chron's story on the upcoming board vote, the responses have quickly gone all over the map.
In reading those comments tonight, I thought back to the GGMG kindergarten night that I posted about last week. When the PPS-SF representative at the meeting was making her pitch for public schools, she asked all those considering public to raise their hands. Most of the 200 or so parents in attendance reached for the sky. Then, she asked, how many of you expect to be in a public school next year? About half the hands hesitantly went down.
The PPS-SF rep used that moment to chide those of us who dropped their hands, saying we were signing up to pay gobs of money in private school tuition while turning our backs on schools we'd already paid for with tax dollars. I, to be honest, found that admonition to be clueless at best, and edging into rude. Most of us who lowered our hands (and yes, I was one of them) didn't do so because we think our kids only deserve a local version of Eton, dahling, and we are yearning to find thousands of dollars to hand over each year. People are simply apprehensive, especially CTIP2 families living in the assignment boundaries of lower-performing schools. Most of us have seen friends struggle with the public assignment system in the past. Now, it's our turn, and on top of it all, we are guinea pigs. How will it all turn out?
For my crew of four, everything is on the table -- public, parochial, private, and yes, even the possibility of moving. Why? Because the public part of the process will mean a lot of running on a wheel -- tours, choosing lottery picks, deciphering the new waitpool/Round II rules when they come out in November. I'm very much looking forward to touring different public schools, but will go through the process wearing my reality-colored glasses. This GP just isn't going to risk running on a wheel without getting anywhere.