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On school choice: any decision is the right one

For years and years, we have had to make school choices, even from a young age.  Which childcare and why?  Which kinder?  Which middle school?

Our oldest is entering high school in the fall, and we have had to make choices.  What is the right environment, the right size, the right academic mix?

We have asked these questions of ourselves before.  Ten years ago, I stayed up worrying about what decision to make.  We have faced these choices several times since.  At the end of the night, at the end of the day, my co-parent and I have agreed on one thing: whichever school we choose, it will be the right one.

To have a choice is a luxury.  To research our choices as fully as we do is so much more than other families are able to do.  To have communities - like our playgroups, neighborhood families, our local yahoo groups, or urbanMamas - where we can discuss every angle and pro/con for every option is a treasure.

As we enter this decision-making season as acceptance and wait-list notices are being issued, rest assured that the school you choose is the right one.


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Huh. My kid's entering HS this fall, too. And we didn't have any choice except his zone school. I envy folks with the means to consider so many different options!

My first choice turned out to be completely wrong. It took me about a year and a half to realize it. I kick myself for stubbornly beating a dead horse when my child needed something else. Glad it's better now, but I needed more self doubt, not less.

The whole high school choice thing makes me a little sad. Kids applying to private schools, lotteries for public schools not in their zone... I just wish that funding in this state would allow schools to serve all students well. I know there is no one size fits all solution, and some kids need something other than their zoned school to thrive. But, is seems like here, it's the rule not the exception to search for a school outside your boundary. It does nothing but divert even more funds from the public schools. :-( My kids will go to our zoned public school when the time comes.

I had originally posted, and I know of a couple of families who are considering a private school despite having gone to a public school thus far.

We are not in the PPS district. Our assigned high school is a desirable one. Families pay top dollar to live in our neighborhood to attend the school. There is another school that has no boundary. Any student living within the city can attend it. It has lately been considered "less desirable" and "more diverse". We were drawn to that school and filed paperwork to attend it. So: that was our choice.

Because we do not own our home and never know if the lease will be renewed each year, we don't feel comfortable enrolling in our neighborhood school. Going out this year potentially for the first time after nine years of private school means we have applied to two charters. If those both fall through, we will need to move to a neighborhood where we know we can stick it out for six years. We chose to sell our home years ago to allow for flexibility in their education. It means we've given up a certain amount of security, but we've also got choices. There are always choices.

I used to believe the same as anotheranon, until I sent my Aspie son to kindergarten at our neighborhood school, and he had the most traumatic experiences there that it will take our family much time to recover from. The school did not understand his needs, and when he didn't fit into their narrowly defined box, they threw their hands up in the air.

This isn't just me. If you are at all interested, try attending the monthly PPS SEPTAP meetings, which is a district-wide PTA focused on special ed issues. There, you will hear countless similar stories.

My point in all this is to raise awareness that the whole conversation about making all schools "better for everyone" needs to include kids with disabilities, as well. And kids with disabilities live in every neighborhood in Portland, regardless of socio-economics.

Understanding something about the demographics of the women who frequent and post on this site, I seriously doubt that any of you would send your child their neighborhood high-school if that high school were, say, Jefferson.

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