School Placement

[deleted account] ( 19 moms have responded )

My county school district allows parents to choose their child's school, within the district, by filling out an application for change of enrollment. The applications are accepted on site at the desired school on a first come, first served basis. If you are not one of the first 20 (or however many applications the school can accept) people to turn in your application, you have to go to the school to which you are assigned according to your address. Most schools have 20 open spots to accept change of enrollment applicants, but some schools in highly populated areas have less, also some schools that do not score well end up with more because their students apply to other schools.



This year, people are camping out for some of the schools, and one mother was injured during a "chaotic scene" getting into the line. People started camping yesterday (Friday) after the school pick-up line cleared, applications will be accepted Monday morning. (Parents are not allowed to camp on the property during school hours).



http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/gre...



Thoughts? Do you think this is a good method? Does anyone have a better solution?



I think it is an "okay" method. I like that it gives everyone an equal opportunity to attend the school of their choice, and that it does not allow people to "buy" their way into the school they want, which would eliminate the possibility for poorer students to attend the better schools. I also like the fact that children living in areas with poor quality schools have the opportunity to change schools without lying about their address. Third, I like that it forces schools to step up and make sure their performance attracts parents and students, because with extra students comes extra funds. Of course, no school can take all of the applicants because we would have over crowding issues.



Of course, there are problems with it too. Many parents just can't camp out for 3 days in the middle of the winter to get their kid into a choice school. Poor parents will not have tents and sleep sacs, nor the $$ to go out and buy them just for this one camp. Plus, well, the chaos that ends up with people getting injured.

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Lady Heather - posted on 12/02/2012

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It works that way for french immersion here and it can get a little competitive. I'm going to camp out if that's what it takes. lol. I didn't stick her in French preschool only to have her go to English elementary school.



Yes, a lottery system is probably more fair. But I don't know if I could stand my kids school being drawn out of a hat. omg. It would make me so anxious.

Momma - posted on 12/02/2012

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Here, they have to go to the school that is within their living area. However, I have had a problem with this in the past. When we lived in a very poor neighbourhood, my daughter was going to have to go to the Elementary school in our living area. It is not a "good" school. A lot of the kids are "bad" because they do not have good role models. There is a lot of fighting and bullying in that school and there was no way I was sending my daughter there. In order for me to get out of sending her there, I had to put her into a child care centre that was within the area of the next closest school (which was much better but not as good as the ones where we live now). At first the principal said no, we will not accept her. I had to go to the school board and fight for her to get enrolled there. I did win but that is where I can see a downfall for how our system works.



Now, I am also not sure I would like it the way it works where you live, Kelly. I don't find that fair at all.



I agree, picking names would be the fairest but then what if your kid doesn't get in and they have to go to the worst school in the district? I don't know. For me, I would just move to where I would live the closest to one of the better schools. It is what I ended up doing 10 months after getting my daughter into the better school. I wanted to ensure she was going to be able to stay going there. Not everyone cares nor worries about the school their kid goes to. So, it is not like everyone would be moving and yes, even poor people can move. If you want it bad enough, you can make it work.



~Meme

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Julie - posted on 12/12/2012

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It's one thing to camp out to get a year's worth of free wings at Buffalo Wild Wings as my 22 year old did recently and quite another in this situation. I think it's absolutely ridiculous. I think parents should have the option of which school they want their child to attend, provided they are willing to provide the transportation for their own child to an out of neighborhood school. I personally would never do it. I believe most of what makes a school a good one is parental involvement, working with teachers and administration on a volunteer basis, attending parent teacher conferences and working with your children at home to help reinforce the concepts they might not understand as well that they learned in school that day. Studies have shown that the best schools have the highest number of parents that get involved in P.T.A., volunteering in the classroom etc. I think every school can be a good school when parents get involved. When parents are in the school they can see what's going on. Teachers are very overwhelmed with everything they have to do. My best friend teaches 3rd grade. She is at school from before 8:00 a.m. every morning and often doesn't leave until after 7:00 p.m. She only gets paid until her contract time of 4:00 p.m. though. Then she has to drive to another county to take an E.S.L. class in the evenings and by the time she gets home it's after 10:00 p.m. Then she still has papers to grade or lesson plans to make for the next day and she has 4 children of her own. When parents come in to help out with making copies, grading papers, reading with students etc., it frees up the teacher to spend more time teaching her class. I go for an hour once or twice a month and help my daughter's 4th grade teacher by quizzing students who are struggling, with multiplication flash cards. My 11th grader gets out of school an hour before her 4th grade sister and she goes and helps her former 4th grade teacher by grading papers for that last hour of school. When you are in the school teachers and administrators know they are being watched and that more is expected of them as far as your child's education goes. Also you are able to see any problems and talk about them with your child's teacher and/or principal for a resolution. Too many people look at their child's school as a babysitting service where they send their kids while they work or have time to themselves. They look at schools as being the ones responsible to teach their children everything they need to know and that because teachers and administrators are getting paid for what they do it's THEIR job and parents don't have to do anything. Public schools are partners with us in educating our children. Educating a child is a parent's responsibility and no one else's. Most of us do not have the education and/or the time to do it all ourselves so public school is a tool to assist us with that. It's our responsibility as parents to know what our children are learning and what they are struggling with by attending parent teacher conferences. Then it is our responsibility to work with teachers to find out what we can do to help our children improve, make sure their homework is being done each night and checked for errors and helping them study for tests. When we talk to teachers about what our children need and we work with them to find solutions to help them learn schools become better. When teachers see that parents care they feel supported and are energized to make learning fun and find innovative ideas to help our children learn. When parents don't care teachers get burned out dealing with badly behaved, undisciplined children and when they spend all their time disciplining their class they can't spend any time teaching. Are there still bad teachers at good schools? Yes. It used to be when someone went to college to be a teacher, they didn't actually spend any time in a classroom teaching until after 4 years of college. By that time if they realized it wasn't for them, they felt it was too late to change careers because they had already invested 4 years of education in teaching. So as a result they had a career they hated and their students suffered. Now you go into classrooms your first year of college so that if you see it's not for you, you can change your major before it's too late so to speak. It weeds out the bad ones. When you are at your child's school you can hold teachers accountable for what they do or don't do and speak up to administrators. Sometimes there are bad administrators who don't do anything and that's when you keep going up to the school board. Our taxes support public schools so it's up to us to make sure those tax dollars are being put to good use and making sure that our schools are everything we want them to be for our children. As far as the camping out problem, for track changes our school doesn't allow anyone to come line up before 7:30 a.m. on the day the track change forms can be turned in and a school administrator is right there to make sure everyone forms a straight line and behaves themselves. The forms are taken in order one at a time and everyone leaves right after. There is no time for people to get irritable, like from camping out all night, and if anyone shoves I think their form should be automatically turned down. Also most schools have a school cop these days. If the police know the day forms get turned in is a potential problem they can have an officer posted at the front of the line that can arrest anyone who gets out of line. Just the police presence alone should keep the crowd settled I would think.

Jenn - posted on 12/12/2012

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Open enrollment and lottery is the fairest, for certain. We did that to get into a charter school in another city! Both my daughters attend, the youngest was automatically accepted in Kinder (which obviously always has the most openings). Some elementary schools did the first come first serve and it got more ridiculous with each year so the school banned camping out. Accepting a lesser school to avoid the headache of transfer isn't an option for us. I will drive however far to make sure my girls get the best education they can!

[deleted account]

Our school system does a lottery, but you have to apply for it. I have two schools of thought when it comes to school choice, having done things both ways. If your child's school is failing on the state report card, then transfer at once! If your neighborhood school is passing, then I would keep my child there. Easier for them to develop friends if you don't have to plan a drive clear across town for them to play together. I know some people will say that "if every good parent takes their kids out of failing schools then those schools will really hurt for money and will have less class offerings and really hurt the kids who do remain." My feeling is that your child only has 12-13 years to get the best education they can, why shouldn't you want the best for them. Failing schools sadly teach to the lowest common denominator, so if you have a bright child, then they are left out. (Been there with my eldest, a nightmare!) Do your research, talk to other parents, and visit the schools of your choice, then make an informed decision on what is best for YOUR child.

Terri - posted on 12/09/2012

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I think the lottery system would work best. That would avoid ridiculous scenes in which parents are willing to injure each other just for the chance to get their child into their school of choice. I also think that siblings getting priority slots is good. When you have families spread out over several different schools it makes it tougher on the family and the children. I'm a teacher at a school who has a lottery system enrollment with siblings getting priority. There are always spots for others to come in every year due to families moving, changing schools, etc. Lottery is just that, everyone has equal chance. The camping out bothers me in that families that have to work on weekends or have young children that they can't drag out are at a clear disadvantage. Lottery gets rid of all of those issues.

[deleted account]

I think here we have school of choice so parents can pick what ever school they want as long as they are willing to get the kid there, I never dealt with it but that's my understanding of it anyway. Some schools opt out of it though. My cousins high school was already over crowded (it was still a really good school just big) so they would only take students in their district but in her junior year her dad moved to a different city so she ended up using her grandparents address so she didn't have to change schools.

Mary - posted on 12/03/2012

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The automatic entrance of younger siblings is up for debate in my area. Up until last year, children with an older sibling already attending a school were guaranteed admission. That is due to change in the 2014-2015 school year. Beginning with that school year, younger siblings will have to enter the general lottery system just like every other applicant.



I'm of mixed emotions on this. While I understand the hardships of having two (or more) kids in two different schools, I guess it really is the most equitable way to do it. How would you feel if your kid didn't get a spot because his or her year was already filled with younger siblings of current students? It really is the best way to give all families an equal chance at one of these magnet schools. If a younger sibling doesn't get in, it is then on the parents to determine if they want their kids in two different schools, or if they pull the older kid into the school they are districted for.

[deleted account]

Here's a video from one of the schools published this morning. I think this is the same school where the injury happened. I think it's crazy--reminds me of Black Friday.



oops, I'm editing this. This video was for the little piano prodigy with Leukemia and Downs Syndrome (who I did get to see play last night and it was awesome!! but totally unrelated to this debate :P)



New Link to video of rush:

http://www.wyff4.com/Video-shows-scene-o...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/03/2012

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With a lot of places that do use the lottery system, siblings are grandfathered in automatically. I like the idea of lotteries. It keeps everything fair.

[deleted account]

I suppose if you want to insure that all of your children go to the same school, you would probably just send your children to the school they are assigned to based on their address and avoid the whole change of assignment application completely. Children who had siblings attending a school via change of assignment used to get first choice in the application process, but that was amended along with a few other policies a few years ago when demand became so high. In response to those changes, a few of our worst performing schools have improved dramatically, but our district as a whole is nowhere near where it needs to be--there is still a HUGE discrepancy between schools in the same district.



Unfortunately, you cannot fill out more than one change of assignment form per school year, so you can't have one parent in line at one school and another parent at another school. If you do not get accepted to your choice school, you just have to go to the school where you are assigned based on your address. Not all schools have lines, only the really good ones. I saw the line for our school this morning when I dropped J off--we had at least 50+ people waiting, and I'm pretty sure we have less than 20 spots, but we won't know exactly how many spots we will have open until summer. These parents won't know until right before school starts whether they got into their choice school or not.



I suppose if we did a lottery system, we would still have to limit parents to applying to only one lottery per year.

Tracey - posted on 12/03/2012

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The problem with the lottery system is if you have multiple children, they could all go to different schools which would cause chaos doing the school run, different times, uniforms, holidays etc. I live 400 metres from my kids' school but under this system they could end up 4 - 5 miles away? Take Octomum as an extreme example - could she have each child at a different school, how on earth would she organise that every day?



First come first served is going to start queuing earlier and earlier, and what do you do if you don't get first choice - do you have two parents queuing at different schools hoping that one of them is going to be sucessful?



Our schools have 3 mile catchment area with priority going to those with siblings already at school, then it goes special / health needs, vulnerable children, then everyone else.

[deleted account]

Yea, I'm torn now.



Fortunately, we live in the area designated for a great school, so I don't have to worry about this issue that the moment. People could move, but there is one school in our district where literally every house assigned to that school sells for well above $500,000 (the median home price in our state is $200,000, so these are expensive homes for our economy), thus a poor person really could not move into a home assigned to that school. My son's school is similar--we don't have any poor or low income areas assigned to our school (but all of our homes aren't quite THAT expensive). The only way for a low income person to go to one of these schools would be to file a change of school assignment application, because there is no way they would ever be able to afford to buy a home assigned to them. Well, a very small chance. I do believe that anyone can do anything that they want to do, but it takes time--often a lot more than 4 years.



I liked the lottery system at first, but then I thought about it and I'm not so sure. It would be nerve wrecking to have absolutely no control over where my child went to school. At least with the first come, first served method, parents have some control by getting to the school first. I don't know....I wish all schools were equal :P

[deleted account]

wow! I can't imagine that. I should though because the Buffalo school district is like that.. NY doesn't have a main school district, it's all divided up in the townships. So while I live in a Buffalo suburb, my son goes to that suburbs school district. So it's based upon where you live, not how long you camp out and frankly i think that's a better method (and I know some will disagree.)



This whole camping out to get the best deals mentality is really NUTS though and Isay the same thing about stupid Black Friday sales where morons engage in hairpulling/fistfights over the last Furby.

Mary - posted on 12/02/2012

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In my area, the public school system has certain schools that are designated as magnet schools. At the middle and high school levels, the student must meet a certain criteria to be considered for admission. At the elementary school level, it is an open lottery system, and there are no academic (or other) requirements for admission other than being a resident of the county the school resides in.



Of course, within the county schools themselves, there are those schools that are "better" than others. Some of it has to do with socioeconomic makeup of the school's district. It's no surprise that those schools that have a higher percentage of "wealthier" neighborhoods in their district (meaning they have greater number of parents that are well-educated and involved) tend to be stronger. Currently, the only way to attend these schools is to live within that specific school's boundaries.



I guess this lottery system is the best way to go, and would work for what your community's open enrollment opportunity. Parents have from September through the end of November to submit an application by mail, and a random drawing is done shortly thereafter. A child's number on the waiting list is also done through this lottery system. I think that is a much more civil and fair way to do things. The method you describe seems to encourage the potential for mayhem, and relies heavily on a parent's ability to be physically present during that short window of time. For the average working parent, that may be next to impossible.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/01/2012

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Is there some way that you can mention this to the school board or even bring it up at a meeting? Stand up and talk about fairness and how this would be a great way to decide instead of this current way where people are getting physically injured. That is NOT the example parents should be setting for their kids, especially about school.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/01/2012

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Well, the whole point would be that it would be fair. It would not be about money or any other power. The reason I even thought of that is cause the charter school my son was in picked its students like that. I thought it was such a great way to give everyone a fair shot.

[deleted account]

That is a good idea. I think some of the charter schools here do that. I'm not sure why they don't do it that way for the public schools. I'm sure it would upset some of the parents that are able to camp out and do so, but I to think the lottery would be more fair. It would also upset the Type A, control freak moms that are usually in these lines...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/01/2012

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I think what they should do is have an open enrollment, and have a lottery to pick which applicants get accepted. That would be the fairest way IMO.

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