School choice

With Nico starting his new school, I have been thinking a lot about how we are going to do school in Chicago.  I know, right?  Just what I need, something new to obsess about, right?  Given that we are thinking about having another kid in the next year or so.  And given that not all of Chicago’s schools are that great.  And given that we’re not opposed to moving up to Evanston, Skokie or any of the other nicer suburbs on the northwest side of the city… it’s a lot to think about.

One thing that gives me pause is that CPS doesn’t allow for redshirting.  I understand why, intellectually.  It creates an unfair situation where the kids of affluent parents (who can afford another year of preschool) are at a natural advantage because they are older, bigger, smarter, etc.  when they start.  And therefore will be for the rest of their lives.  As an October baby, I believe that I had a distinct advantage over a lot of my peers because I was much older than most of them… because I turned 5 right after the cut off, I had to wait till I was almost 6 to start kindergarten.  Nico’s case is even more extreme because he will turn 5 about two weeks before he would start kindergarten.  CPS deals with this by putting a kid into the age-appropriate grade.  So even if one did redshirt their own kid (but letting them do another year of preschool/junior kindergarten), CPS would fix that by booting that kid to 1st grade when he started (not kindergarten).  Most people I have heard of have never regretted holding their kid back a year, but most have regretted not holding them back.  And this seems to be the case with boys… since they are so immature anyways.  Of course, this is all part of a crazy conversation about parenting, one that I have no interest in conducting here.

While we have a couple of years to think about it and make that decision, I am looking into our options.  We could enter him into the lottery for a magnet schools.  Chicago actually offers STEM, Language and the Humanities magnet schools… although I am not sure that is a great idea… to start fostering a love of the humanities at such an early age.  I mean, I’d like for him to be employable at some point.  The unemployed humanities major that decides to get a PhD in humanities and still cant find a job is sort of an inside joke in Academia.

The other options are regular school,  private schools, charter schools, and selective enrollment schools (Chicago really is the wild west in terms of education).  The good news is, that two of the best schools in the city are close to us (Edison Regional Gifted and Northside Prep).  The downside is that they are both selective enrollment schools, which means that he would have to test into them.  BTW, I have no idea how one would test into a kindergarten.  I mean, seriously…. what the hell?  However, that said, I am kind of  in love with North Side.  Choice of languages one can learn: mandarin, chinese, japanese, latin, french, and spanish.  And seriously, you can’t swing a dead cat at the course offerings without hitting an AP class.
Of course, this is all assuming that Nico is going to be interested in being all academic.  It’s possible that he’s not able to do the work.  Or that he won’t want to.  I mean, I was burned out of school by my junior year at Ft. Myers.  And if he wants to be a soccer player or a judoka?  I am not trying to have Nico staying up to 3 AM doing school work and trying to be an athlete.

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