From the very same institution (or at least a branch of it) that brought us taxes and war, has come the longer school year. For the kids here in Georgia–and the metro Atlanta area to be more precise–this means that next week marks the beginning of yet another year of substandard education at the hands of underpaid mother-in-laws. It also, unfortunately, means that my commute to work next week may very well signal the end of time–Carmageddon if you will. Because this is when all those teachers, who are use to sleeping late and arising well past the “safe to gas up your car due to smog” time has passed, will once again grab their half-caf-espresso with a twist of lime and head out the door clogging up the already busy lanes.
Which brings me (finally) to today’s conversational topic-school. Georgia has never ranked very high in the national school rankings. In fact, in a recent 2007 ranking of public high schools in Newsweek magazine, good ol’ Georgia only had one entry in the top 300 in the nation. Now some will say “It’s just a southern thang,” but even that’s not accurate. In comparison, our border neighbors stacked up thusly in the top 300:
- Alabama came up with 4 top 300 high schools
- Florida came up with 40
- Even daggum Tennessee (nothing sucks like a big ol’ orange!) got a bigger nod than we did with an astounding 3!
But statistics notwhithstanding, yuppy-snobs here like to brag about how smart their little whipper-snapper is compared to his or her peers. And it doesn’t just start in middle school or high school when the young Democrat starts taking liberal arts classes either. Nossir it starts much earlier.
Try Daycare! Oh yeah, daycare is all the rage too. Well first, you have to find the proper audience. Utter the sentence “My wife and I both work and we have our children in daycare,” in the wrong setting and at best you’ll get condescending looks, and at worst, people will go “Sixth Sense” (can you believe that movie is 8 years old?) on you and pretend like you don’t exist. But, in the right audience (i.e. dual income families with kids), if you utter the aforementioned death-cry, the ensuing “My daycare is better than your daycare” posturing can reach epic proportions.
And daycare is an interesting concept really, because unlike schools where children from generally one socio-economic area gather together and can revel in their similarities, daycare in a relative 10-square mile radius all cost the same and so the driving factor for what kinds of kids attend there is largely based on how convenient the facility is to one or both of the parent’s offices. So, you can, and often do, get kids of all economic levels, ethnicities, etc.
So it is at my kids’ daycare. My oldest son’s two best friends include a little girl a bit older than he, whose mom recently got divorced and now has to move away for a job she hates. His other best friend is a boy his age whose parents are very similar to us. We knew that he would soon be moving on to the next class in daycare because they’ve moved a bunch of new kids in his class and him and his buds are nearly the oldest ones there now. But what we found out yesterday is that instead of moving him to the next class, they are moving him and his friends to the next-next class. Hippity hoppity ho!
My three year old is already skipping “grades.” Well, not really but that’s how part of me wants to spin it to all my friends. In truth, the reason probably has less to do with intelligence and more to do with economics–the daycare needs to make some room in his current class and in the next class because they moved a bunch of other kids a couple of weeks ago, and since him and his two friends are well potty trained and probably the three best behaved, it makes sense that if you need to move some kids to a different, older class, then moving their little group makes sense.
Don’t get me wrong; my boy is smart, but I don’t think he’s a Mozart or an Einstein. And who wants their kid to be that smart, but socially inept anyway? Certainly not me. So, I’ll go on being proud of him for all the other reasons; he generally listens, he’s potty trained, he has a really gentle spirit, he loves his little brother and because in his eyes, daddy knows how to do just about anything.
Even if they wanted to put him in high school tomorrow and started calling him “Doogie Howser” I wouldn’t be any more proud of him than I already am.