Problem with in-district school for son

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2007
Problem with in-district school for son
2
Sat, 05-09-2009 - 5:23pm

Hello, everyone. I have a 5 year old son who will be attending the school in our district in the fall. I noticed that it's kind of a bilingual school, and they made me sign a form saying what his first language is and such, which is fine. But then I got home and was told a second-hand account of a woman who put her child in a similar school and it ended up being mostly spanish-speaking. I'd rather have him be in a classroom where he at least knows the language being spoken. And I went to the school district's website, and they had the TAKS tests results from last year up, and the ones from the school 2 miles away (but right out of our zone) has grade averages in the 90'th percentile, while this one has 70th-80th, at best.

And, ok, I'm going to sound racist, I know...but only 2% of all the kids that go to that school are white, and only 5% are african-american, and I'm afraid my son will feel like he doesn't fit in or belong there because he doesn't look like them. add that to the prospect that they can talk amongst themselves in spanish and leave him out, and he might have a really tough year. Then again, I might be wrong. What do you think?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Mon, 05-11-2009 - 12:04pm

Our school district recently realigned school boundaries, so my (white) kids attend a different school where they are now in the racial minority, with a lot of the children being hispanic. My kids haven't commented on the racial imbalance at all. I figure that if nothing else, this helps them learn to be accepting of all people -- to notice people for their character and not whether they're of the same race. My 5yo kindy dd has even chosen an older African-American school girl to be her new "mom" when she's at school! My dd has never mentioned this girl's ethnicity to me, just her personality.
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My kids' elementary school doesn't score terribly high on their assessment tests, either. While I would prefer that my kids be at a better performing school, this school hasn't hurt my children's ability to learn and, if anything, it makes them look smarter since they're one of a few smart kids instead of just "average" compared to all the other smart kids.
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As a funny aside, my dd *thinks* she's learned to speak Spanish this year from her classmates. Dd hasn't quite figured out that when the other children speak in Spanish, that those words she doesn't understand have actual meaning. So, dd will say a bunch of nonsensical words and announce that she's speaking Spanish! Maybe over time she'll pick up some actual words and have an easier time learning a second language?!
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If you wanted, you could probably visit the school and sit and observe one of the kindy classes, so you could see what kind of experience your ds is likely to have. That might help you feel better about the school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 05-20-2009 - 7:10pm

The school my two kids attend is ethnically diverse and it has been good for them. My son has good friends who are from China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, England and Norway as well as a few kids who are 3rd generation Californians. On his tennis team is a boy from West Africa and the only reason I know that is because his mother and I have talked about the different places we have lived growing up. The kids at their school don't see the differences in skin color as a big deal. When they describe kids at school they rarely mention where the kid is from and I can't remember them ever mentioning skin color. I hear things like "I met a new girl at school today. Her name was Katrina. She had pretty barrets in her hair. We played Pony Girls." "There's a new boy in J's class. He likes Pokemon too." A couple of times I've heard that the new kid can't speak English but so and so will be helping him/her. We have to fill out a form on what languages are spoken at home and if you look at our "Report Card" the majority of the kids in the district speak primarily English at home.

I like that diversity. I like that I don't hear things about the color of someone's skin. The kids are proud of where they come from and our International Fair is a big hit with all the kids. They love hearing about different countries and showing off with what they know about where they come from. They got to try food and play games and see traditional clothes. It was fantastic seeing kids performing and getting praise from their classmates.

So what the long two paragraphs above were trying to say is that it can often be a good thing to have ethnic diversity in a school. The tests scores can be low for any number of reasons including a large number of kids who don't know English. Go check out the school. Talk to parents there if you can to see what they like and don't like about the school. Check out what they are teaching in Kindergarten.

In all honesty those test scores only show a small portion of what the school is truly like. There is a district close to us that has higher test scores but it isn't because of the teachers and what is going on in the schools. It is because the parents in that district are highly invested in their child's education and there is a lot of schooling going on outside of school hours. Kids are enrolled in Sylvan and Kumon, have tutors, belong to math club, chess club and are getting tested at home. There are a few parents in our district who do that but I refuse to do that to my kids. He's doing great in school and doesn't need to have any additional pressure. Our school's test scores are high, maybe not the highest but the balance the district, the school and the teachers bring to the academics and the fun stuff is good for the kids.