Sunday
Sep012013

nursery school hysteria

Here is the problem. There are many people in a small space who all want passionately, and they want it NOW. Their main source of information is other people in the same boat who have a lot of fear but no accurate information or experience.

Here is the result. Unnecessary fear, misunderstanding, rigidness that creates hysteria, promotes wrong headed decisions and sets up a climate that is unhealthy for the schools, the children and the parents. You are doing it to yourselves, people.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul032013

st. crispin's day

Even though St. Crispin's Day isn't until Oct., when I think about the parents and students preparing to enter new kindergartens, middle schools or high schools in the fall...
I can't help but hear Shakespeare's rousing words from Henry V.

if you start to get cold feet over the summer, thinking about the possible challenges ahead, replace "going to battle against a huge French army" with "entering a kindergarten class in a brand new school" and imagine your Principal giving this, the granddaddy of all motivational speeches.

we happy few,
we band of brothers...

Monday
Jun032013

teachers salaries: public vs private

There was an interesting quiry on Park Slope Parents this month about teacher's salaries. It is a bit of an apples and oranges conversation. I have some links if you want to do more reading. It appears that public school teachers win out pretty clearly on salaries and benefits, but private school teachers may have some quality of life benefits (smaller class size and no state testing requirements). Both jobs are very challenging (no one has it easy!).
Here are some links, but you need to filter out the politics (right wing, anti union; left wing, pro union, etc.)

National Center for Education Statistics
ehow:money
edudemic

NY Times: Opinion
NYC DoE
salary.com

Monday
Jun032013

rezoning: 2013 edition

We don't have any maps to show because things are in the planning stages.

Rezoning for the PS 58/32 border seems to be off the table in District 15. The DoE has declined the D15 CEC's push to rezone.

There will be some kind of rezoning or other plan for the new Sunset Park Avenues School on 4th Ave. that will open in fall of 2014 in the St. Michael's School building. The grave overcrowding in several of the Sunset Park schools, particularly 169 and 94 will be addressed with 75 new kindergarten seats in this building (with growth vertically over the next years), but no plans about exactly where and how have been brought forward.

The DoE has been having "dezoning" talks in several districts around the city, including D13 (I think that their CEC may have already voted it down, but that doesn't mean that it won't come back), 14 and 17 and a few others that are out of my region in Brooklyn. It is in the interest of parents of preschool children to understand this issue. There are lots of implications to this move including, taking power from the local District CEC - Community Education Council (parents only real muscle in local school issues), the ability of parents to try for seats at more than one local zoned school, the dismantling of local neigborhood programs including making children travel out of their neighborhoods, and the possibility of the unchecked spread of charter schools (charter schools aren't evil, there just needs to be local imput and not all programs are necessary appropriate).

See what is happening around this in District 6.

Monday
Jun032013

wordsworth for graduation

This goes out to all parents of prekindergarteners, 5th graders, 8th graders and high school seniors:

--That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn no murmur; other gifts
Have followed, for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence.

"Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth

Friday
May312013

the waiting game for middle school and kindergarten

New York is a great city and raising kids here is an amazing gift in so many ways. This is the shitty part (why mince words?).

It really sucks to be the last one not asked to the dance. Most of you will get a placement that will satisfy in the end, and a few if you will have to come up with plan B. If you choose to accept the challenge, Plan B is how change occurs. It is how worthy schools begin to emerge and it is how new schools spring to life. The people who take this challenge may begin as reluctant heros, but they may also find ample rewards... or they can wait for next year.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May312013

making decisions

This is the time of year when parents agonize over decisions. April, May and occasionally in June, I will sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and at 8am, put on my headphones, and take 15 and 30 min. calls all day until 6:30. There are some days in April when I feel like I am an air traffic controller with planes stacked up over O'Hare. Parents circling, looking for a safe landing...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May162013

last minute! new kindergarten option for district 13

Thursday
May162013

the 411 on Middle School for parents of babies

The information about middle school placements this week may wipe the g&t aggravation off the front pages for a couple days. There is a lot of fear and loathing around the ms choice process. Let me lay it out for you.

In suburbia, you have a zoned middle school and that is where your child will attend. We here in NYC have district-wide middle school choice. Some very few people will also have a zoned school associated with their address, but that doesn't mean that you don't get to participate. Middle school is 6,7 and 8th grade.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May102013

tmi about college savings and aid

I love to talk about college financial aid. I am not a financial advisor or a college advisor! but I often see confused young parents writing on the list serves about saving for college, so here is my personal experience:

Click to read more ...