Delilah, being born in 2013, will be making her way to Elementary school next year! With that being said, my Husband and I are on a quest to find the best school District 5 has to offer. Considering that Charter schools have a lottery selection process and the school for Talented & Gifted requires a test score of 90+ for entry, our safest bet is to go with Public Schools. Besides, like my husband would say, not ALL Public Schools are bad right? Sorry to disappoint, but just off of statistics alone I’m turned off to the Public School system.
While I was searching through the Kindergarten directory, in our District specifically, there are 14 elementary schools. The directory offers minor insight to each listing : ex: the State Math and State English test proficiencies. Of the 14 schools, only one of them had over a 50% math proficiency. It doesn’t look much better for English, where the highest average on record is 39%. Now, every child learns differently and sometimes things like pressure and timing play a roll in test results but HOLY SHIT that’s embarrassing. I went on to investigate a few pages to the left and it just so happens that the schools from Districts 1, 2 and 3 perform better overall. Surprise surprise, the students who attend schools from Downtown Manhattan to the Upper West Side produced better statistics.
Now before you get all up in arms and roll your eyes at the previous statement, I’d like to bring something to your attention: New York has the most segregated schools in the United States. Yes, this melting pot of a city which is as rich in culture as it is in status holds the title for the most segregated schools. How did they manage to pull this off? By separating us by class. Isn’t that illegal? Well, lets break it down:
The boroughs are divided up into Districts. Districts are assigned to neighborhoods. Residents of these assigned neighborhoods get first priority into their District. Siblings get second priority. Now, although you are allowed to apply to schools outside of your district, the odds are up against you. If there are 100 seats for a school in District 1 and 50 applicants reside within District 1’s barriers, 25 of which have siblings who are also applying, that already reduces your chances by 75%.
Now let’s say, you live in a neighborhood where poverty and crime rates are high. Considering that everyone in your District’s boundaries are getting priority into the neighboring schools, what do you think the condition of the schools are going to be? The supplies will be scarce and second-hand, the teachers will be unqualified, the staff turnover rates will be through the roof and the quality of education will be lacking.
Having to take all of these things into account has been overwhelming. After all, your education can make or break you as an adolescent. Being exposed (or NOT exposed) to certain things can shape your views on the future, education, and your peers. Ideally, Delilah would go to school with like minded children who have a love of self and a thirst for knowledge. Her teacher(s) will be equal parts attentive and nurturing while adhering to the needs of the children (as opposed to drilling lessons into their brains for the sake of test scores). Despite the odds, I remain optimistic. Well, wish me luck…