My daughter was accepted to apply for both citywide and district gifted and talented programs. And, in true DOE fashion, we have, essentially, five days to make our decision. I say essentially, because we learned she was accepted last week, but the DOE was on vacation last week. So, this week, my husband and I are joining the frazzled mass of parents at open houses. And we're being hit with all kinds of information about protocol and strategizing the program ranking, transportation options, sibling preferences, seat availability and all sorts of complications that only New York City could invent. I learned the difference between district programs (who have enrichment), and city programs (that offer acceleration as well as enrichment). I could even tell you the difference between acceleration and compaction. What we want, of course, is a good education for our daughter. And for parents in NYC who seek a quality education, the choices are tough, tougher, and downright shitty.
Before we even entered this rat's nest, we had to fight for a place at our zoned school. Our zoned school, the reason we purchased a house in a pricy neighborhood, announce in October that they were overcrowded and, naturally, they were this close to passing a resolution to move the zone border. Actually, they didn't tell us as much as we found out. And, again, naturally, our house, bought specifically so that our daughter could attend this school, was this close to being placed outside this border, for the year my child was to enter the school. Four hundred petitions, hours spent on hold to get the run-around from DOE officials, unanswered emails, and many impassioned speeches later, the rezoning was voted down. Rejoice!
So, we are attending the open houses. Maybe this is a mistake; getting our hopes up for dream schools that will never meet our expectations. My husband and I are math teachers, and so we know the terminology and programs being thrown at parents, and we feel pretty smug that we have a grasp of at least one small part of this overwhelming puzzle. However, English Language Arts is a different story for us; they're really razzle-dazzling us here, and unlike with the math, we don't know what any of it means, or if it's good or bad. Does anyone know a good English program being used today? Fountas and Pinnell, balanced literacy, writer's workshop, write source, leveled reading: aren't these all fancy words for the ELA equivalent of "fuzzy math"? Do students learn grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation anymore? ELA teachers, please weigh in. Quickly!!!
Watson Mill - corner cupboard and tea trolley
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