Thursday, September 20, 2012


My kids attend public schools.  They attend VERY GOOD public schools.  Denver Public Schools.

We live in the city.  I got as close to the suburbs as I could get.  Technically, the suburbs start across the street.  Literally.  We live on the dividing line.  In our one neighborhood, you can either go to Denver Public Schools, Cherry Creek Schools or Englewood Schools.  In fact, you walk through the "Cherry Creek Schools" portion on the way to my sons school.

Technically, they now attend two different schools.  First I'm going to start with our neighborhood school.

Actually, I'm going to back up and start at pre-school.

My sons attended a Montessori school in "Five Points" for the first five years of their lives.  Yes, daycare, pre-school and kindergarten.  All at the same school.  What a wonderful place this is.

"Five Points" is one of the more "challenged" areas of Denver.  There are shootings. There is poverty.

Half the kids were to come from outside the neighborhood.  The other half were from the neighborhood.  I couldn't have asked for a better place.  My children were loved.  Cared for.  And both were bilingual in Spanish when they hit first grade.  The had culture and diversity in their lives.

I then moved.  A whole 4 miles away.

I'm still in Denver.  I still expose my children to all that the world offers.  Only I went from Yuppy-ville to "Stepford in the City".  My thoughts:

Can't stay inner-city - only 5 years after moving the elementary school around the corner, became really good.

Can't move to the suburbs - I can't play the game.  I don't care what you have.  What someone else has.  Or doesn't have.  (Of course, I've never lived there - this is my perception) I'm here to make this world a better place.

My compromise - I live in Denver.  My kids attend the best Denver school there is.  Hands down.  It wasn't "the best" when we got here.  It is now.  We are about to win a "Blue Ribbon Award" - a national award.  A national award several DPS (Denver Public Schools) have been nominated for - I don't think any elementary/middle schools have received.

Truly though, this is how I imagine the suburbs.  We are truly "Stepford in the City".  It's the parents that run this school.  Honestly though, I think in suburbs (once again, just my opinion since I don't live there), they let the "school" run itself.  Yes, they are involved, but the "establishment" knows best.  At our school, there is over an 82% participation rate in activities.  Seriously?

The EDUCATIONAL system will NEVER change unless the parents are involved.  Period.
We can't make people want to be involved.

Back to the school  It's a great, incredible, wonderful school.  It's small.  50 kids per grade.  One grade has 75 kids.  Everyone is white, upper-middle class.  We live in the city.

Wait!!  Isn't the whole purpose of living in old houses to provide the parents with easy access to the city (a life outside our kids and easy to get things with our kids) to show them what city living is all about?

I guess not.

This sums the diversity we have experienced at our school:

Two Asian girls - both adopted and living with white families.
Two "inter-racial" families.
A couple of foreign adoptions
A couple of kids with ADD
Two kids with two moms - whom should be the poster parents for all parents.  Period.
Some of the parents are divorced.

Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up.  This has been their exposure  to the "world". 

Which brings us up in time.  Until today.

I now have a high schooler.  In the state of Colorado, you can "choice" into any high school you want.  Not everyone gets in (unless that is your "home" school).

He attends a high school in "downtown" Denver.  Okay, so not RIGHT DOWNTOWN, but "in the city".  Literally, "in the City".

We are back to:  half the kids are, as I lovingly refer "over-indulged white kids" (although they aren't all white) the other half:  well, we live in the city.

There is a girl in one class whom has 8 brothers/sisters and her mom is 30.  There are 4 different dads.   A kid in one class is a freshman and has a tattoo.  There are piercings.  There are kids whom can't afford food.  The school gives away breakfast everyday.  Side note:  even though my child eats breakfast at home everyday, he goes and grabs a free burrito.  Keeps saying how happy he is with his school.  This is a big adjustment.  For all of us.

He's a little more skittish these days.  He locks the door between the garage and the house.  He's seen a couple of fights where the police have to come.   I have a glass of wine every night.  He doesn't want me to have any wine.  (I immediately fall asleep - he wants me alert).  He rides the city bus home from school.

He wanted to attend this school.  His teachers are incredible.  I've been very impressed.  He's impressed.  I'm not impressed that all your friends are still "over-indulged white boys"    He's right where he is supposed to be.

I told him:  "This is the real world".  Learn to play the game.  He can't believe you can graduate with high school with a "d". 

He said today in the car (he is a bit dramatic, btw) "I've just never been around something so different".

My response:  You don't have to like it.  I hope you will.  I hope you understand not everyone is like you or likes the life you live. 

He said:  You know what I have noticed?  It seems the people without "money" have really nice "stuff".  And I think I have money, but I don't have those things.

Me:  They have things that won't matter later.

Him:  The people with things, think things matter.  We don't think "things" matter.  Only people matter.

Maybe I'm doing okay.......

No comments:

Post a Comment