Thursday, May 26, 2011

My kid's a freaking genius

My kid is a freaking genius. At least that is the conclusion I have come to after attending Zachary's kindergarten "orientation" last night. I am putting orientation in quotation marks because the whole thing seemed like a joke. I left this evening meeting truly concerned about the quality of the school and wondering if next year will be an academic waste of time for my kid.

The entire 1.5 hour meeting can be summarized as such

  • Before entering kindergarten your child should have the following skills:
Know their name.

Count to ten.

Identify basic shapes (circle, square, triangle)

Know their parent's first names.

Have the ability to dress themselves

Use a glue stick

Listen to a story

Recognize colors

Identify body parts.

Is it just me or does this sound like a list of requirements for the exceptionally slow preschooler? I jokingly asked Zack if he could count to 10, he responded with "Mom, I can count to over 100!" He must be a genius. What other explanation is there?

  • School starts at the end of August. Teacher assignments will not be announced until the first day of school. There is no orientation for the kids. You are to drop your child off that morning and quickly say goodbye on the playground. Do not come in to the classroom, that makes kids cry.
We are talking about kindergarten right? 5 and six year olds *might* benefit from a little hand holding on their first day, or at the very least have an opportunity to meet their teacher or see their classroom before being abandoned with a room full of strangers. Have I gone soft?

  • The school has no money. Parents need to donate money. A lot of money. They accept checks. We should write one. Now. Tshirts are also for sale.

I bought the T-Shirt. This is the sad state of our public schools. Depressing.

  • The classroom may be as large as 30 children. In order to customize learning to each child's needs there is a 30 minute block of time every day where the kids can select an activity appropriate to their learning level.

Wow, a whole 30 minutes! I am sure my son will select his activity carefully. He will probably choose to read a chapter book in the corner quietly. Or wait Tommy is demonstrating how to shove a pencil up his nose. Maybe he will try that instead. It's okay, there is nobody around to stop them.

So that was about it. My kid's school is suppose to be one of the better Oakland public schools. I am starting to understand why so many people go broke paying for private school.


  1. Oy yoy yoy. Here they encourage the parents to stay with the kid (you are expected to - the teacher pretty much demands it) the first day for at least 30 minutes. They eventually kick you out - but there's no drop-n-leave allowed. We got very lucky after campaigning for 6 months to get her into a semi-private school (cost is $100/month.) Sometimes, I really like socialism.

  2. I feel for you. I am so grateful to live in Bozeeman. Our schools rock! I'm not just saying that because I work there. We have sneak peek. The kids drop
    off their school supplies and meet their teacher. The teachers cycle so his second grade teacher is his fourth grade teacher. Also if you are really smart you get to be in advanced math and reading groups. Our district is having financial issues but they work hard to make it work. We do have an awesome PAC that raises money for stuff like enrichment activities and playground equipment. I really love our school and greatly appreciate how good we have it.

  3. my boys are in private school- we tried public- for my oldest, for one year. Jewish Day school is what we do.

  4. Wow. 30 kids in a class. Poor teacher. no wonder they need the 30 minute block of time for kids to teach themselves. Here (ACT, Australia) we have 21 -22 per class in the junior classes. This is public school and ours are generally good. there is however endless rounds of fundraising for extra resources for enriched learning.
    I was horrified to find out that in my daughters high school the government only provides $69 funding per student. The other $220 pa comes from parents. I don't know how they continue to be such a good school on that kind of funding???
    I really worry about what will become of the public system if the middle classes abandon public education - and that is what is slowly happening here due to a fear mongering compaign our previous conservative Prime minister began a few years back to undermine confidence in the public system. Evil.......

  5. Yes, that list of skills is kind of sad. Isaac can do all that stuff now (age almost 4 and starting pre-K in the fall), as I imagine Zack also could long, long ago. I hope Zack won't be out of his mind with boredom.
    And yes, wtf, seriously? Teachers announced on day 1 and you can't go in the classroom? Maybe you can visit ahead of time and meet all the teachers and spend time in each classroom?
    Wow, that's awful. I think elementary schools here aren't perfect, but they sound better than that...You should move back!! And in case that's not realistic, I know Zack will do great...a good teacher will make all the difference though.