Thursday, May 7, 2009

She Got In: Or, A Tale of Two Schools

We got the call today that Mighty Mouse was selected for a specific Charter School we applied for. This is fantastic....and a pain all at the same time.

So - from this point, if you are not interested in transracial parenting or adoption or such, skip this post.

Here's where we start....

We live in a good school district. A rather good school district. This was great when we moved here and enrolled Songbird and began sending her off to class.

The schools have good test scores. The Middle and High schools are practically brand new and not shabby (yet small). The schools aren't huge. There is all kinds of tutoring available...for free. Lots of little benefits. No gang/violence problems or serious/huge drug problems beyond the norm.

Now, it is time for Mighty Mouse to start school.

So we should be thrilled, right?

So not.

(Here we go again.) The school district is BEYOND white. Worse than the Omaha schools we came out of. Shockingly white - which I did not expect from Texas schools.

So the dilemma of race rears its head. What do we do about it?

We can ignore it. After all, we are in a great school district! The class sizes aren't that big (although that is constantly changing as we are in a growth area). She will get a great education! They are already familiar with her and vice versa as she went through about 6 months of speech the first half of this year. They already have an IEP in place for her even.

What is my problem?? (This is where other parents shake their heads at me or roll their eyes and elbow each other.) It. Is. Too. White. And newsflash....Mighty Mouse is NOT white.

But her family is all white.
And her church is predominantly white.
And the grocery store we go to has mostly white patrons. (I tried to change this but the produce is the deciding factor.)
Our neighborhood is mostly white (yet not as white as Omaha, thank goodness).

So where is my daughter's racial identity validated in all of this???

How about nowhere?

So this specific Charter school came to my attention when Songbird was invited to tour and learn about it as an alternative to her district when she participated in a science fair. She was having problems with some girls at the time and thought she wanted to change schools so I took her to check it out (knowing fully well she wouldn't switch). I liked the brochures and the promises of diversity and classes based on other cultures.

So, we took the tour. Songbird realized there was NO choir. No go. As predicted.

And I got what I wanted. A look at a school where white is the minority and browns of all kinds are the majority. The class sizes are about 15 students. The test scores are off the charts. No child is allowed to fall behind in any subject....required Saturday tutoring if this begins to occur. Home visits by the teachers. Parents required to be involved.

The ONLY drawback is that I am required to provide all transportation. This means twice daily trips into town. It's going to cost.

And hubs was NOT happy about this one point.

I look at it like she's going to a private school...with the cost of gas and miles on the car as the price.

It is so worth it.

For her.

Even though just about everyone, including my better half, think I'm nuts. Why should I worry about that at this young age? She's fine with being with mostly whites! Who see's color nowadays anyways????

Well. I'm excited for MM anyways. I know she's going to love it. And we will still have racial incidents - human nature pretty much guarantees it. But its the only front I have been able to make any progress on since we moved here.


Guess I'll celebrate by myself.


  1. I'll celebrate with you! :)

    You gotta do what you feel is best for your child. This charter school sounds awesome. I am so impressed at how hard you work at parenting her, realizing the differences and paying such close attention to detail for her sake. That is wonderful. Can't put a price tag on that! Combine trips in town and you're good :) You gotta go to the grocery store sometime... and to zumba or something, right?! :)

  2. I am celebrating with you!!! This is so important for Mighty Mouse. And it won't cost you as much as a private school.

  3. I guess we aren't going to let you celebrate by yourself! :) I think she will do great...

  4. If we had the opportunity I would go for it!!

  5. The school sounds great! I drive my daughter to school right now and it has just become routine... not too bad. I am just thrilled knowing she is going to a good school and I trust the people. Like your one friend said, "you can't put a price tag on that". Take care!