Deciding about school

Jan 2003

Re: How do you make the right choice?

These lessons are not just for BUSD, they are for most parents in general dealing with their kids education.

There is a perception that education like a kitchen renovation or a vacation can be constructed into an ideal that we can manage and control. We read articles, books and watch "competent parents" asking questions, probing administrators and advocating for the best educational product for their child. The educational product is measured by grades, SAT scores and admissions to college. The pace is frenetic. If we all follow that advice all our children should be successful and happy scholars, but they are not.

The reality is that education, like most life is a muddle. A complex lifelong activity. We cannot take credit for our child's success or blame for their failure. We have to let our kids sometimes fend for themselves; learn how to struggle; find their paths; manage bullies, give of their time so that others can learn; understand how how complex and different the world is from the safety of home.

The reality is that parents concerned about "bright" children at BUSD have really nothing to worry about. It's the middle bubble, the kids that it takes a few times to learn something, the ones that don't always raise their hands, the ones that will not always love doing their homework, the ones that need to be inspired, fired up by a wonderful grown up that is not necessarily a parent. I have worked with many "bright" adults that could have used the humility and compassion that can be learned from a BUSD education.

How do you make the right choice? Go with your gut. There are not guarrantees. You have to have patience and love. A wise older mother told me early on: "Don't judge your child by their grades or school reports". You can ask all the questions, get all the advice and ultimately you have to see what works for your child. Clio