In case you are not privileged enough to find your way through the labyrinth that is called the New York City Public School System, consider yourself lucky. In a complete panic over O’s future education, I began researching alternatives two years ago. Yes, she was only TWO. But you have to start early, just to get a lay of the land.
With a late birthday, she will be a younger 5 year old when she starts kindergarden next year. And we have been looking into our options: Public school with D rating (that’s not an option), Catholic school (our neighborhood is FILLED with Catholic schools, so making the right choice will be hard), Gifted & Talented program in public school (AKA free). But the G&T program requires a test, and being compared to kids her own age.
The problem with G&T programs is that some parents pay to have tutors come in and tutor their kids into taking the test. This year they changed the verbal part to non-verbal (which sucks because I think O would have kicked ass in the talking part.) So I signed her up, got the books, and we started working on them. But then life got in the way, and we didn’t work on them every weekend like I expected. And before I knew it, the test date loomed like a big red number on the calendar. As to be expected, we crammed a little during Christmas break, but even that was not every day. Then I had a hard time explaining why the answer was what it was. But we got through it.
The day before the test, we went through more questions, not too much. We told her that she will be going to visit a big kids school, and that a teacher will ask her some puzzle questions. She needs to concentrate, listen to the teacher and answer the question. My biggest concern was hoping that she would be in the mood to listen. If she is not in the mood, then we can kiss the test goodbye.
That morning we arrive early, and they take us in the auditorium, check her in, but then she is promptly whisked away to the testing room. She of course didn’t want to go. It was only with promises of ice cream that she finally went.
Then one of the mothers came up to me and started chatting. I probably should have rebuffed her advances because the conversation made me angry. She was zoned for a school B, and that the quality has gone down so much since her older daughter attended the school. And in my head I was thinking, give me a break! At least your zoned school is a B. Mine is a D. Your daughter and all the other parents who are only taking the test to prove that their kids are smart are only alternating the grading curve. Then she walked away, and I started listening to other parents. “I don’t know why I brought my kid here. There are no G&T programs near me.” (FUCKERS! I will probably have to drive 10 minutes, or 30 minutes public transportation to get to a G&T program that will be MUST!) “I don’t see the point of this.” (Then don’t do it. Leave it to the parents and kids who don’t have many options).
Anyway, O came out, and she said she answered all the questions. And that she had to name colors and shapes, and then she got a candy cane. And they asked her questions like I did last year. (Not sure if this means from the book we went over, or what). Now we wait until April for the results.
But now on to open houses for Catholic schools.