As many of you know, Marco is a teacher and also used to work for the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative. Ask him about elementary school testing and you might actually see smoke come out of his ears. Our discussions on this topic have been generally abstract. Up until now we've discussed the sad state of public education in the same arm's length way we've discussed the sad state of health care or the welfare system. We're generally healthy and we both have jobs.
Recently our discussions have become much less (excuse the pun) academic. In the Fall of 2008, Annabella will start kindergarten.
I've already been a part of many more kindergarten conversations than I'm interested in having since most of her preschool class will be going next year. My general thoughts on the subject are that pretty much any kindergarten in our town is just as good as any other. My biggest requirement is not good test scores, but whether or not the school is within walking distance from our house. On more than one occasion I've even said, "I don't care if the teachers just got out of jail, as long as I don't have to put three kids in the car every morning, I'll be happy."
As the wife of a teacher, I probably should choose my hyperbole's more carefully.
As it turns out, the question of where to send your child isn't the biggest issue these days, it's when. A recent article from the New York Times points out the increasing trend of waiting longer to send your child to kindergarten so that he or she (although mostly this is done with boys) is physically bigger or mentally better prepared.
"So parents wait an extra year in the hope that when their children enter school their age or maturity will shield them from social and emotional hurt. Elizabeth Levett Fortier, a kindergarten teacher in the George Peabody Elementary School in San Francisco, notices the impact on her incoming students. 'I’ve had children come into my classroom, and they’ve never even lost at Candy Land.'"
I'm all for protecting my kids, but isn't it a little ridiculous to think that as a parent we can control things enough that they will avoid emotional hurt? And is a little emotional hurt really such a bad thing? Plus, who are those kids bigger and smarter than? The kids whose parents sent them to kindergarten when they were supposed to?
Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about. My kids birthdays are in April, which isn't close to the cut-off. If I had kids who were closer to that border I might think twice about sending them right after they turned five.
If you have access to The New York Times, you can read the full story here.
When did your child start kindergarten? Any regrets? Post below or send an e-mail to megan at twit dot tv if you feel like sharing.