I need to self-regulate in a major way. I’ve become obsessed with finding our next home, less so about the actual homes and more with regard to the school districts. I’ve been comparing reading level test scores, student / teacher ratios, math scores, ethnic composition, state percentiles, total number of students. I’ve compared elementary schools, then the eventual middle schools and high schools. It makes me very anxious.
We’ve been looking at homes zoned for Jericho school district, where the kids are now, small schools with 7 students per teacher (though it certainly does not feel that way). These stats can all be gathered on the site: schooldigger.com. I get anxious at the idea of sending them to a new school district, all of us starting over, yet again. And I’m struggling with what makes a good school a good school. Test scores aren’t the full picture. I have to keep reminding myself of this.
Though, when I think of the bigger picture, I think small. Meaning, I keep returning to what I know. My graduating high school class had all of 98 people, maybe. 108? We were all together since kindergarten, with only one elementary school, one middle school, one high school. It was like private school. And it was a blessing, and somewhat of a curse. You knew who shit himself in kindergarten and thought twice about going to Prom with him. I didn’t love all my teachers, adored most of them, and I felt understood and heard there–not liked, but at least seen for my strengths and talents. Encouraged, pushed, encouraged some more. The teachers really cared.
Ken Robinson says it best: “creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” I can’t wait for his new book to be released this May. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life! We are educating people out of their creative capacity by teaching them not to guess without thinking, that they should want to be right. We teach that the “right” answer is better than coming up with the wrong one. And in teaching this, we also teach people to fear being wrong. You don’t come up with many new interesting creative ways of thinking if you fear being wrong. When they’re young enough, kids don’t fear this. Robinson is a wonderful speaker. I think his talk has put me at ease some because ultimately if I pay close enough attention to these beans, we can together explore what puts the color on their canvases.
In the meanwhile, I’m going to look at more houses now.