I don’t know how I missed this, but in case you did, too: Annelisa Hedgecock wrote this Op-Ed piece in Oakland North a couple of weeks ago about her family’s school search — and the reactions she gets from other parents when the name of her kid’s Oakland public elementary school comes up.
Here’s how it starts:
As sure as it’s the New Year, it’s also school selection season in Oakland. Obsessing about kindergarten is one of those things almost every middle-class parent here does, as normal as buying a family membership at the zoo. So, parents are touring private school after private school.
“It’s a nightmare,” sighed one mom to me in the library, lamenting her packed schedule. A well-meaning dad in the grocery store explained, “Well, we only have one, so we can do it. What are you going to do? You have two! That’s going to cost twice as much!” Some are taking on additional jobs in order to afford it all. Many are planning moves to different districts, or scheming to fake their addresses. But I love my child so much, they say. She’s sensitive, smart, gets bored easily, loves art, is so good at numbers, can’t sit still, is young for her age, is old for her grade, needs small classes, will be a GATE student, has to play sports…I just want what’s best for her, the best. And, despite all of this expense and angst, many are freely dismissing Oakland public schools without ever stepping inside of one.
Why is this? I’ve participated in (and, I’ll confess, eavesdropped on) many conversations about local schools, and this talk almost always has a certain Oakland flavor––sheer panic. But is it justified?
Can you relate to Hedgecock — or, maybe, to the other parents in the piece?