Kindergarten culture clash - move? or private school?

We live in an area that is nice and safe and we like our house and backyard.  It's in the Bay Area, but doesn't feel like it. Our child just started at the local elementary school and I am not really loving it.  It's decently ranked, has strong parent involvement, and our child enjoys it.  I am really not a fan of the homework load for 5 year olds or the amount of junk food that seems ever-present or the fact that they spend a decent portion of time on the computers at least three days a week.  The real problem, though, is the school population.  We were very excited to go to this school because on paper it is very diverse.  In practice, however, almost all of the children of color seem to be in self contained special education classrooms, and most of my child's classmates are white.    

The families at this school tend to be working class white families, and I frequently see NRA T-Shirts, Blue Lives Matter T-Shirts, and Make America Great Again hats at pickup.  I know that several households have guns, which is something I am deeply opposed to.  In addition, most of the kids seem to have smartphones by the 2nd grade or so and when we see them at the park or at school events more than half of the kids are behaving in a way that I would absolutely not want my own child to behave.  These are not evil people, they are not overtly racist or homophobic or sexist or... but their entire world view and values are in opposition to our family's and I do not want my children to be raised in the way that they are raising their children.  My child has started to make close friends with one little girl who is downright rude to adults and mean to other kids, and her mother takes pride in how "feisty" she is.  

We have about two or three like-minded families that we have found, but I feel like we are sort of stuck between compromising our values so our children fit in to the dominant culture at their school or our kids being the weirdos who don't fit in (which was my experience being raised by a hippie family in a rich white suburb in the 80's).  We are trying to decide if we should stretch our budget to the max and try to get into Crestmont or if we should just pick up sticks and move to Berkeley, despite extortionate rents.  We could just about pull off either option, although we would have to go back to clipping coupons and not taking vacations.  I just don't know which is the right option.  Has anyone else experienced a similar dilemma? What choice did you make? How did it turn out? 

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There have been a spate of recent questions about moving to Pinole/El Sobrante/Hercules... maybe you are on the flip side of that? The culture can be different in the different corners of the East Bay, you may not make great family friends there but if the school works for your child, you might feel like you can settle in. 4 weeks is not very long to "give it a try". Of course, having differing cultural values than your kids' friends happens no matter where you are - also disliking your kids' friends! Remember whoever they glom onto in  kindergarten is not necessarily going to be their best friend for the long haul. To sum up... If my child were happy at a school, I would live with the Make America Great hats etc., just as you would expect those folks to tolerate you and your "hippie" ways. Host all the playdates; don't let your child have a playdate at a home with guns; be the parent who serves organic snacks and who bugs the district nutrition staff to improve the offerings; nag the teacher to drop the homework packets; discuss your concerns about computer time with the teacher or principal. (some of these things are WCCUSD districtwide initiatives, some have leeway at the school sites) My ananoymous-stranger-on-the-internet advice is to hang in there at least for the K year. Don't worry about getting into Crestmont, there's always space there in all the grades, as with *almost* all the local private schools. In answer to your specific question about a similar dilemma, we go to what I'm sure is a different WCCUSD school than yours (whites a minority at ours); college going is not the automatic path, English language skills aren't a given, and some of the little girls wear hijabs. Culture clash indeed. It's not always easy on a day to day basis and I can't always communicate (literally) with my kids' friends' parents. OK, so they may not be MY lifelong friends, but my kids are accepted and doing fine, and these friendships may or may not last at Korematsu and ECHS. I'm in it for the long haul of getting out of my white liberal bubble - or at least recognizing I'm in one.

I'm guessing you're in El Sobrante or Pinole. Welcome to West County, where MAGA is part of our diversity. 

Be the squeaky wheel where you really feel you need to, and let some other things go. If, by January, you're still unhappy, you can put in that application to Crestmont. If you're willing to drive your child to Crestmont, also consider asking for a transfer to either Mira Vista or the new West County Mandarin School, both of which are located really near Crestmont and are (obviously) tuition-free. You will likely find your tribe at either of those places. The WCCUSD transfer office isn't easy to deal with so make calls to principals and be persistent. (If the Mandarin program is like the Spanish immersion program, they take new students in first grade but not after that).

I don't know where you are, but I assume WCCUSD.  I'd work with the transfer office and say you want to stay Public, but something about this particular place is not jiving with you and you want to move.  If they are not responsive, climb all the way to the Supt.'s office.  I think they would try to keep you.  There are some wonderful diverse schools in the WCCUSD that are trying to do real work knocking down walls.  Also, if you have a kindergartener, there is a brand-new full Mandarin Immersion school that would *LOVE* to have you. Contact them directly. I am sure you could transfer right in.  DO IT!!!!

I personally think that a kid's early education is really important in setting the tone for future years.  If you are in West County, there is a small, comfortable private school on Tassajara that you might like.  Great community.  Not sure if they have room in your grade, but it's worth a call - next week.  510.233.3013.