Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I’m driving my husband crazy

My daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall and this milestone is wreaking havoc on my family. No, I’m not having an emotional crisis because my baby girl is growing up.  No, my husband and I are not fighting over private-versus-public school.

I’m freaking out because our neighborhood school is one of the worst in the entire district and, as a result, we are moving. The “driving my husband crazy” part relates to my calling said husband at work 20 times a day with reminders of all the things that must get done in order for us to move (i.e., “don’t forget you have to caulk the bathtub tonight.”).

To be honest, part of me feels guilty. I have these Erin Brockovich fantasies about keeping our daughter in our terrible neighborhood school and dedicating our lives to making this low-income, inner-city school the best in the entire city. After all, the more people like us, who choose to go elsewhere, the greater the chance this school will continue its ineptitude.

“We’ll show those rich, west-side, stay-at-home mommies,” I say to myself. “We’ll start a movement!”

And then reality sets in. 

The reality is that what’s best for our daughter is for us to move to a neighborhood school that consists of well-connected, educated and dedicated parents who devote a considerable amount of time raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the music, art and P.E. teachers the state no longer funds.

Which brings me to the point of this post: My parents happen to live in the neighborhood that has, hands down, the best public elementary school in the city. And in the past month, as I’ve been fretting over kindergarten, I’ve been stunned to hear dozens of my peers and colleagues tell me I should just use my parents’ address as our residence in order to get our child into this fabulous school. Apparently this is common practice. 

But it’s a practice to which my husband and I will never resort. And no, it’s not out of fear of getting caught, or getting prosecuted like this poor woman. It’s because we believe it’s wrong. That this practice further divides the haves from the have- nots.

We believe that if it’s important enough to send our child to a certain school, then we must make the sacrifice of moving. We think it’s wrong to cheat the system.

But apparently we are the minority.

So I want to know, people: What do you think? Is it okay to lie about where you live in order to ensure your child will go to a better school? Would you do it?

Do tell.

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