Let me recount my dream last night: I stood on a hill, overlooking the City of San Francisco. A large black shadow covered much of the City, including my neighborhood. The shadow was created by a giant black cloud. After a week of fighting with my self-absorbed 20-something neighbor because she can’t sleep til 1pm due to the antics of my children, and the ongoing struggle with shit falling apart all over our rented house and the landlord always blaming us, what happened to me on my BIRTHDAY finally put the nail in the coffin. I think the universe is trying to tell me to leave this ridiculous city.
(Note to sensitive types: I rarely curse in my writing because I think if I do it too much it cheapens the prose. I like to save the rude words so they pack more punch when I use them. Today is such a time, so prepare to endure a shitstorm.)
Not too long ago I blithely wrote a flippant article about “Kindergarten Kapers.” It has come back to bite me in the ass.
Never again will I blow off people who criticize the San Francisco public school system. Never again will I roll my eyes at people who skip the hassle and go straight to parochial or private schools. We trusted the system. We toured the schools. We thought we picked schools we could get into. The joke is on-freaking-us. And I got the letter on my birthday.
Not only did we not get into any of our 7 “choices” in the “school choice” system, we did not get into a school anywhere near our home. Let me tell you about the school my daughter was assigned to. Judge me if you will, but I have to put aside my liberal, progressive supporter of public school bullshit and be selfish. I will not sacrifice my children to make a point about changing the system.
Our school has these qualities:
A GreatSchools.net rating of fucking 2 (out of 10)
abysmal test scores
75% free lunch
Nowhere near our home
I don’t give a damn if I sound like an evil bourgeois hypocrite, I will not send my children to that school. And this is not about race! Our top choice school is majority Latino and it is also an excellent school.
Here’s another kicker. Most of my friends did not get into any of their choice schools either, except for (ironically) one family who can actually afford to have private school as a safety net. We’re flailing here, planning on working the system dutifully, but also researching parochial schools and homeschooling. I am not a parochial school kinda gal but it suddenly sounds like an excellent alternative.
My friend just said, “This is what matters to San Franciscans: dog issues, LGBT issues, and being kooky. Not children.” I’m starting to think she’s right.