Thursday, December 18, 2008

Education Options

Last night the school district hosted a magnet school open house.
All of the various magnet schools were on-site to discuss their programs and answer questions.
It was an awesome opportunity to plan for Gwynyth's future school possibilities.
It was also at the same time as a Girl Scouts meeting, so I had to attend the open house alone.
On the surface, this would seem to be a bad idea.
I can tell you, having done it, it is a completely horrible, why-the-hell-can't-I-self-edit, bordering-on-restraining-order idea.
See, all the various magnet schools were all set up at this High School with those tri-fold science fair displays.
And the tension was there before I arrived, since the teachers and administrators were, in my opinion, too close to one another with the impending state education budget cuts threatening to close down about 40% of these schools next year.
Also, each school had a theme or purpose, I guess.
Like the Civic Leadership magnet school, which is apparently the elementary school equivalent of Skull and Bones. It should be noted that making that joke out loud around the principal causes him to launch into a diatribe about parliamentary procedure, socially responsible government and, eventually, commies. You should totally try that, but maintain eye contact as you slowly back away towards the arts school display, which is what I did.
They have strings at the arts school.
The lady at that booth said that three times while I was in earshot. Strings!
While I'm impressed, I'd have appreciated a little information about test results. Saying that out loud seemed to trigger a rant about the layoffs at NPR and a targeted attack against me about how my tax dollars aren't used to fund the arts. Hey, if I had a check box on my tax form to specify where my money goes I'd be a lot happier about the whole tax-paying process, to be honest. But that doesn't mean I think the arts should be funded by anything other than private parties and corporations. When I said as much, the rant slowed into an icy glare which seemed to physically push me over to the Environmental Awareness magnet school.
The hippie running that booth immediately offered me a flier with information about the various programs at the school. Almost automatically, I looked around the room and calculated the number of families present against the giant stack of green leaflets.
Asking if the extras would be recycled triggered an attack on my leather shoes, belt and jacket.
If we weren't supposed to wear cows, they wouldn't be made out of leather, in my opinion. They'd be polyester.
There are very few situations where that observation can be uttered aloud. I did not find one last night.
I did get chased over to the Science and Mathematics magnet display.
By the time I arrived, I was a bit flustered.
Seeing the test tubes and burners set up reminded me of my most recent experiment at home.
Since the children in the room seemed to be enjoying some Lego robot wars, I shared the results of my experimentation earlier this week with some guy in a lab coat.
I told him that mixing the contents of several half-empty bottles of wine with some vanilla vodka and coffee liquor in a giant plastic tumbler with ice results in something I named "Midnight Hobo", which resulted in an almost immediate coma followed by a surprisingly mild hangover.
Oddly, they had no openings for my child at the Science and Mathematics school. No openings at all, yet their display was massive.
What a waste of resources.
The technology school was awesome, though.
They have Macs and they make podcasts and blog.
Unfortunately, they also put a little "i" in front of just about every word.
"iTestscores" and "iMinimumstandards" and "iTeacherstudentratio".
I'm intrigued and repulsed.
Gwynyth would probably prefer the school with strings.
Luckily for her, I never gave anyone my name.

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