When I think about The Hunger Games, I think of the sadness that overwhelmed me as I read the books. A world (albeit fictional) where kids and families are deprived of basic needs based on where they live. A world where kids are selected at random to try to successfully represent even the poorest area. A world where kids are trained and manipulated for the entertainment of others. A world where kids are forced to fight to the death for their own survival.
In what world is it ok for some kids to not get enough resources to succeed?
In what world is it ok for some kids to be chosen as favorites?
In what world is it ok for kids to be left fighting for themselves, alone?
In what world do children vie for position against other children?
Are we still talking about a fictional world? It’s beginning to sound a bit like our education system. You see, our family is now at the mercy of the Columbus City Schools’ School Choice Lottery System.
The other day our current school principal said “May the odds be ever in your favor”… It’s a sad fact, but this whole process really does feel like the hunger games.
Is it ok for some kids to not get enough resources to succeed?
Is it ok for some communities to be chosen as favorites?
Is it ok for kids to be left fighting for themselves, alone?
Is it ok for for children to vie for the privilege of quality education?
I’m convinced that in a fair, just system education wouldn’t be about competition for resources. But here I am, looking at a list of middle schools for my child. About half are really good or pretty decent. Good academics, good extracurriculars, arts during the school day, and so on. The others are under-resourced, scrambling for the basics. Like reading The Hunger Games, sadness overwhelms me.
In what world is it ok that I’m hoping other kids DON’T get into that school so that there will be a spot for my kid?
I’ve been defending our choice of sending our kids to the public, neighborhood-assigned elementary school for years. I believe if we pull all the kids with resources out of the schools, then the schools will fail from neglect. If parents who use their voice for the betterment of the school all (or mostly) pull out, then the school is left flailing. I also believe that my kids are not some societal experiment. If at any point in their education they were not receiving quality instruction and thriving through it, I would have moved them. But it just isn’t so. My kids are gifted, bright, active, well rounded and well-liked students at their “failing” urban school.
Middle school is slightly different for us. Our daughter is particularly interested in the arts (music mostly), and her assigned middle school has no music program. Where some middle schools have daily arts classes (sometimes multiple periods of arts), our neighborhood middle school does not – only bringing in high schoolers when the schedule allows to expose some kids to music. Knowing H as I do, if she goes to that school, she won’t thrive. So I am forced to apply to the schools that have arts, and remain at the mercy of the lottery. A completely chance, computer run system that pulls names and places them in their chosen school if there is room left. There’s no recommendation made based on academics, talent, etc. We just tell them our top three choices and hope for the best.
In what world did it become ok for me to hope another kid is left out so mine can thrive?
And yet, may the odds be ever in our favor.