The outlook seems is bleak; poor test scores, below average everything. Bad kids, underachievers*. So when after numerous false starts today was the the day I was set to visit one of the schools my library services I worried. And I was nervous, even more than usual. Listening to the parents who use my library I was under the impression that my visit would be like a scene from that Michelle Pfieffer movie.
When I met with school staff I was very excited (I still am but cha know). They have a new reading program and wanted some community partners to help the students get and stay excited about this program. Some of the students come to my library already and I just wanted to spread the word about what the library has to offer. I hit up everyone I knew for ideas, trolled the web, spent way more time than I should’ve on Pinterest, and gathered my favorite books. I also made sure I was comfortable, caffeinated and ready to go.
This morning I woohsahed, listened to something with a beat and put my game face on. And when I got to the school I was welcomed with open arms. The kids loved the books, were excited to hear what I had to say and I had to tell myself to stop believing the rumors and to stop listening to the hype.
Is it race? The majority of faces staring at me were shades of brown. Is it socioeconomics? This area is not one of the most affluent in Delco; at least 80% of the students get free or reduced lunches. I don’t think that the people who frequent my library are biased. Like me, they want the best for their kids. But I think in the future I will recommend and encourage a visit to the schools so that they can see for themselves that the schools are not totally terrible, that there is no need to rush off and move out of the area or to pay for school.
Let me add that yes, I am part of the problem; I have, am, paying for The Bee to go to a private/independent school. Way back when The Dad and I were trying to figure out where we were going to send her after she was ready to leave her daycare, Philadelphia only had half day kindergarten. After searching we decided on the friends school she used to attend. When we decided to switch her school at the end of the last school year I looked at test scores, looked at the kids in the area, talked to friends and still am paying for The bee to go to school. I didn’t like what I heard and admit that I have yet to talk to anyone actually employed at any of the schools.
I realize how much of a hypocrite I sound. I got scared and did what I thought I needed to do for my kid. I’m sure that’s what my parents are doing when they engage in “bright flight” a term I learned today. But if they could see that while yes, some of the kids that enter the library are a tad, er rough and no, some of them may be not so gentle, these kids are smart, getting a great foundation and it’s not that bad.
When it’s time for The Bee’s next school move I won’t rule out the public schools. I will do my homework and see what is the best fit. I can only hope that my parents will also take time to visit the local schools before writing them off as “bad schools.”
Not too cool for school,
This post is a part of Shell Things Pour Your Heart Out Wednesdays
Write a post from the heart.
Something that has been weighing on you.
Something you feel passionately about.
Something you’ve been wanting to talk about.
A cause, a memory, a belief, a world view.
*I don’t think my kids are bad or underachievers. I am being dramatic.