Note – I published this by accident, but there are comments, so I’m putting it back up.
One thing that is really important to me is that L has a positive school experience. My own experience was mixed, but ended on a high note and had many highlights in between, and I’d like to make sure her experience is at least as positive as mine. I’d like the following:
1.) Opportunities appropriate to her intelligence level. If she’s smart, I want her to be challenged. That does NOT mean more work – just the time she does spend in school learning, not being bored while other kids catch up. I’m worried that in a big city like Sea.ttle, there might be too much pressure and work for smart kids.
2.) A good social environment. Maybe L’s personality will change, but right now, she is very obviously shyer than many other kids her age. I’m assuming it’s really too young to tell, but given that B and I are both shy introverts, there’s a good chance she will be, too. It’s very important to me that we find a school situation where’s she’s happy socially.
3.) Arts, music, etc. Sports and other extracurricular activities. School isn’t just about the ABCs!
4.) Affordable. $30K a year is not impossible but definitely not a preferred option for us. If L for some reason really needs private school, we’ll make it happen, but I’d much rather she go to public school or some kind of free or nearly free school if possible.
I grew up in arguably the best school district in my rather small city. I went to public school for high school for half a day, and to a public school for science and math (magnet) for the other half a day. Overall, I had a very good experience in public school and I’d love L to have that as well, but I’m very conscious of the fact that there is huge disparity between public schools.
There is actually an elementary school a few hundred feet from our house. As you can see from the link, greatschools rates it 2 out of 10. Students score well below state average on all tests at all grade levels. More than 70% of kids qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Basically, it’s only redeeming quality is that, like our cul-de-sac it is incredibly diverse – 25% Asian, 25% white, 20% black, 20% hispanic and 1% native american and otherwise unspecified. While I think it would be good for L to go to school with kids who weren’t all wealthy and who were from varied backgrounds (in particular, there are a lot of recent immigrants in my area), I’m extremely unimpressed by the test scores.