Monday, October 24, 2011


Last week, after about 10 weeks at her elementary school, Sophie transferred. Without going into all the details, we had the opportunity to move her from one of the lowest performing schools in the city to one of the best. And while we struggled with the guilt of abandoning our struggling neighborhood school, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to move her. In the transfer we gave up walking to and from school each day, which saddened all of us. Still, it was the right decision.

At her old school, Sophie was at the top of her class. Now? She probably falls in the bottom quarter. Frankly, this is a sign to us that we made the right decision.

We are so happy Sophie is now getting such an amazing education. Every week she has an hour of drama, music and art! Her teacher is committed to her school in ways that have simply knocked my socks off, and the school is so well organized I know exactly when everything is happening for the coming year - and boy is there a lot! That wasn't the case at her old school.

And yet we feel a great deal of frustration over the fact that the kids who are struggling at her old school will continue to struggle. The best principal and the best teachers should be there, not in the rich neighborhoods! Of course every child (parent) had the opportunity to transfer, but few made that choice. And by making the choice to pull out Sophie, we took from that school a good student, active parents, and people with a desire to make a change.

Every day our decision to transfer Sophie is affirmed. The community garden in association with the Temple next door. The not too hard, not too easy level of homework that comes home each night. The professionalism of the staff. The fact that Sophie says she "didn't have a good day" and yet is happy and excited and talking about what she does.

But there's a pang of sadness every time I drive by that school, where the teachers are doing the best they can and the families are poor and I, with my privilege, drive my daughter to a better school across town.


kclblogs said...

Don't beat yourself up about it, AM. You're right to acknowledge that, but it's not worth the guilt. There are powers beyond your control that play into this, too. Besides, it's not like you're pulling her out and paying 13,000 to put her in a private school, which obviously none of the other families would be able to do. I think your guilt will fade with time. I'm so glad the new place feels good!

AnnaMarie said...

You're right, Katie. And it's not so much feelings of guilt, but feelings of frustration at a system that allows struggling students to continue to struggle. Our education system is just so out of whack!