I've been thinking of transferring my son to a new school. I am sooo fed up with my city's public school system. It really is the pits. I was blessed to have gone to a private school for the first half of my K-12 education and if I could afford to send my son I would have. So I spent this past school year narrowing down my choices of charter schools and picked a few. All my charter school choices have lotteries that they do and it's really the luck of the draw on who gets in. So I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Originally in my quest to find a good school I looked into both public and charter schools. In the Philadelphia School District, you are placed into schools usually based on your neighborhood. There are some that get to transfer out of their neighborhood school into better ones by applying for a transfer, but trust and believe all the "better" public schools have waiting list days long.
When Bush came out with this "No Child Left Behind" nonsense, and at first I thought it was a great idea. The school district had a list of schools that were failing based on nationwide testing. They presented the parents of these children who attend these failing schools a few options. One option was busing their children to other schools that weren't on the list. They could let their child stay at the present school and the district would pay for a tutor. There was also charter schools and cyberschool.
I'm from the hood, and all the schools in my vicinity are tore up, so I thought that this was a way out for my son. He could go out to another school and meet new people, and be exposed to a less distracting and safer environment, so that he can focus on learning. There just was a shooting near the school around that time that scared me shitless. So removed my son from the school around the corner from me and sent him to another school not too far away that was considered at that time to be a good school. It was in a neighborhood that was more racially diverse than mines. (My neighborhood USED to be like this, but that's another post.)
But along with this "No Child Left Behind" crap comes the drama. First off the curriculum sucks ass. No phonics anymore, they do memory based learning. WTF! So I went and got him phonics books so that I can teach him the way I learned. Also this new way they teach kids math is crazy too. How am I supposed to help him with his homework with all these dumb methods? I asked my son's teacher at every parent teacher meeting I ever had what was up this new way of teaching children. Almost all said the same thing. What they are doing is basically teaching the kids the nationwide test. Teaching the test. Marinate on that for a bit. Wow!
Then after about two years in this new school and now this school is on the shitty school list. So not only are they teaching kids the test, but now teaching the test isn't quite working. One of his former teachers said that the reason for the school poor performance on the test was that the neighborhood surrounding the school was starting to change. White people crack me up thinking that as long as they don't use slurs in their reference to us that it's all good. He said that now the school had so many English As Second Language (ESOL) students move in the neighborhood that it has messed up the schools average. (I case you missed it he was he was talking about my latino brothers & sisters.) This infuriated me to say the least.
So I'm going with the charter school system. I feel it's the safest choice with less kids in the classrooms and a better student/faculty ratio. The violence in Philadelphia's schools and in Philadelphia period has made me think about home schooling. Home schooling or Cyberschool isn't an option for me right now, maybe it would be if I worked from home or was a stay at home mother. Besides, he's an only child, and he likes being around others his age.