Thursday, January 26, 2012

Playing the Lottery

So on a last minute whim, we're taking the plunge. I kept telling myself that we didn't need to worry about it because maybe we'd move back to Texas. Or I could become a Blogging Bazillionaire and send the girls to private school. But alas, we're entering the world of nail-biting suspense known as the Boston Public School Lottery. Where you throw your name into the giant city-wide hat and find out which school you get picked to go to. That cute elementary school down your street? Off-limits if your number isn't picked. Yes, my friends outside of Boston, it really is as bizarre and unbelievable as that. No, I take that back. It's actually more bizarre than that. The whole system involves concepts such as North, East, and West Zones, walk zones, sibling preference, random numbers, and wait lists. 

I'm sweating and nauseous as I type this. Is it because I'm nervous, or just because I'm staring at a tiny iphone screen on a lurching train? People visit dozens of schools before entering the lottery. And we're just doing it on a whim. I haven't visited a single school. Not one. What if I screw it up?!

Ok. So HeyMama's only old enough for K0. (That's public preschool for you non-Bostonians.) And the available slots are few. And not in our neighborhood. I'm pretty sure we're not going to get a slot. But it's called a lottery for a reason. If we win, we win big. Free full-time preschool. Maybe even in that new experimental school with tons of arts and mixed-age classrooms. The odds are slim. But all we have to lose is the time I'd have to wait in line to register. Which is admittedly valuable...

But hey, let's live dangerously. It's good experience for trying next year, when K1 matters more and I'll be disappointed if we don't get in.

So wish us luck. 

Bigmoneybigmoneybigmoney NO WHAMMIES!


  1. Good luck, Joy! It can happen...we got our first choice for K1 for M years ago and now with sib preference T will be there next year (fingers crossed! can't count on anything with BPS!) I hate the whole crazy lottery system but I love living in Boston and we've been really, really happy with M's school so far. Hope you get a good number! Crazy, isn't it??!!

    1. Thanks for the well-wishes! I know all will work out in the end, and there are plenty of great schools, but the uncertainty of it all is a bit unnerving. Something about combining my children's educations with the word "lottery" just seems wrong. We're not the gambling type!

  2. Okay, I can't even begin to tell you how weird that sounds. I'm sweating just thinking about it. What if you get sent to some ghetto school??? What would you do? Homeschool?

    1. Shannon, it's so unnerving to so many people that there is a school-age exodus to the 'burbs so that you know what school your kid is going to when you buy any given house. From the anecdotal evidence (is that oxymoronic?) I've gathered, the majority of the home-schoolers in Boston seem to either be motivated by what they perceive as a mis-match between their child's learning style and standard ed practices, or parental attachment issues. There are a lot of parents who can't stand the idea of their children not being with them all day, and they homeschool. It's odd to me.
      But I haven't heard of a lot of people homeschooling to avoid "ghetto" schools. All of the schools in our West Zone are generally adequate.