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The future of school

Becoming a parent has changed everything for me. It's not that I didn't hold the same set of values and beliefs before, it's that enacting them has become intensely, critically important now that my daughter has to grow up in this world.

The bane of my existence for the first...well, for my life so far...has been education. Or, rather, school.

School sucks. Everything about it is frustrating, enraging, confusing, archaic, and counterintuitive. I've felt that way since my first day in school, and I still feel that way today.

I've said for many years that I want to start a school - a place where I could dispose of all the systems, incentives, and relationship dynamics that resulted in my hating school with a stultifying passion. The problem, after all, is not the idea of a school. The idea of a school is wonderful, exciting, inspiring! It's the current construction of school that is so disappointing. And that can be changed.

Thanks to another seed of inspiration from my mom (via this link, plainly embedded in an email titled "Have you considered Framingham MA?"), this issue now occupies the majority of my attention...

Some day Artemis will have to go to school.
Do we attempt to support her and assuage the inevitable feelings of frustration, confusion and humiliation as she adapts to the NYC public school system?
Do we sacrifice our financial future to fund a private school education that is questionably more effective and demanding?
Do we leave Brooklyn?
Do we homeschool?
Do we search out a school that embodies a different philosophy, here or elsewhere?
Do we realize our fantasy of building a school that reaches out to the whole person? And when, when do we do that?

The way I see it, the clock is ticking. At the best, we could delay her entrance into school until she's 6...forever if we commit to homeschooling, but the requirements for that in NYC are already ridiculous. They presume compliance with the evil corporation that is "Common Core" requirements. There are standardized tests and worksheets involved... And can we afford it?

What I know for certain is that I can't set this aside and just accept what's handed out, or gulp down my aversion and join the rat race that is charter school admissions in Brooklyn... I don't want to be one of those parents that's harping and harassing the "good schools", because parental involvement in school is worse than neglect - that lack of trust communicated to your kid and to the teachers and staff? No. Hell no.

Becoming a parent makes me want to be an activist... Don't mow your lawn, let the wilderness grow! Everybody bike! Turn off your lights! Buy reusable containers! Buy organic! Grow your own! Build your own! Design better! Play outside! Dance ugly! Sing your own songs! Form cooperatives!

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