The Neighborhood School

by Rachael on March 5, 2013

P.S. 139, Beverley Square West, BrooklynApplications for kindergarten in New York City public schools were due last Friday. We applied to two schools. Unless we win the lottery for admission to one of the two schools (not impossible, though unlikely), L will be going to our neighborhood school.

There were a few other possibilities that we either decided to skip or just didn’t bother to explore, mainly because I’m tired. For three years, I’ve been schlepping to and from L’s preschool. Whether by foot or by public transportation, the round trip takes more than an hour. I don’t regret the years of commuting — we love the school, and there’s nothing comparable nearby. But I’m done with schlepping.

And so there will be tests, and there will be homework. I’m not in favor of either, especially for very young children. But no matter where we go in the system, there will be tests, and there will be homework. So instead of seeking the elusive perfect school, we decided to go with the school that is nearby (and, it should be said, apparently better than good enough).

After all, no schlepping means more time to do whatever we want.

Photo credit: Flatbush Gardener

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey March 5, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Unfortunately for us, public school (or private) will mean more schlepping for us. I am not looking forward to that at all. We’re hoping for a spot in a close by school, but the chances are pretty awful for us. Actually, we’re just hoping for a spot, any spot, because they aren’t guaranteed. We find out in a week or so. It’s terrifying.
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Rachael March 11, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Best wishes! The system in Boston as my sister (aka “Auntie Birdie”) describes it sounds so nerve-racking!


mumsyjr March 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I know how you feel. I have fairly radical views about what a good education looks like, so sending Pookie to public school felt dismaying and dissatisfying. Not like it was the end of the world, just not what I wanted. Even though her school is actually one of the best public schools in our state (in Georgia this is sort of like being the least stinky cow patty) I’m mildly but consistently irritated. I console myself that she is learning valuable lessons about surviving monolithic and anachronistic social systems, which she will encounter everywhere as an adult (unless we undergo radical and unprecedentedly fast social changes in the next fifteen years or so, which I’m not betting on). Also, their “successmaker” computer program is inadvertently allowing her to learn math concepts through experimentation, because it’s self-paced and she’s light years ahead of her class. Here’s hoping you are equally mollified by whatever DOES turn out to be really good about the new school.


Rachael March 11, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Regarding “learning valuable lessons about surviving monolithic and anachronistic social systems, which she will encounter everywhere as an adult,” I’m still trying to teach those lessons to myself!


Auntie Birdie March 5, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Yeah. I’m not holding my breath for a preK spot here in Boston, but when we go for K I’m trying for schools close by. Sucks that my favorite is two blocks away but our chances of getting in are about .0000001%. That’s not a real number, but based on my observations of some of the parents’ questions/laptop usage at recent open houses, I’m guessing some have calculated actual percentages and developed algorithms from which they created their lottery list. I just put the schools I heard were good that were pretty close by.

Formal education is kinda lame and completely outdated. I’m just glad we are back in the city where there is ready access to diversity and varied informal learning opportunities. Nothing beats the 39 bus to the MFA.


Christine March 5, 2013 at 11:41 AM

I think you’re right to value its proximity. That’s a major factor in overall quality of life. I have several friends who are very happy there. And their kids all have time to play or take fun classes afterward. My kids don’t. Daughter does NOT like the bus. It’s “loud” and “dirty.” I’m not a fan of all these trade-offs and compromises, mais c’est la vie.


Rachael March 11, 2013 at 9:33 PM

If we DO happen to win the lottery, L is not too keen on the bus idea. I’ve tried to sell him on the idea that (your) Daughter will likely be on the bus with him. Perhaps her misery will like his company?


Lauren @ Hobo Mama March 6, 2013 at 4:43 AM

Yeah, I can see the tradeoffs there. Our elementary school is a half-block away. Close enough for our kids to walk to alone, if people wouldn’t think that illegal and dangerous. Since we’re happily homeschooling, it’s not an issue for now, but we did put in some time considering nearby vs. the other options further away, and I just cannot do horrifying traffic even to go somewhere super-cool every day.
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