In 24 hours, the applications for one of the county’s specialty programs will close. The vague online form hardly seems like an adequate assessment tool for determining a child’s scholastic aptitude in these coveted programs.
We are at that moment. Eighth grade, mid year – a nearly 4.0 average, advanced classes, extracurricular activities, a social life. My firstborn is a young woman.
She’s got a Venn Diagram of her life plan. Honestly, I don’t know what she means by this. What choices are juxtaposed, combined, optional?
Yesterday, she said I ruined her “million diagrams.” All I told her was that animation comprised of many jobs. “It’s just too much,” she laments. I’ve blown her apparently obsessive consideration of which friend chose which school, which school offers a particular program, and which programs are best suited to her career dreams.
I remember my eighth grade year. All I thought was that it was cruddy that I’d be one of half a dozen kids forced to attend a different school from everyone we knew. There was no choice, no decisions needed. I wrote off to some artsy boarding schools hoping to find other opportunities. The cost of those institutions didn’t make sense for me. I knew I’d be at G-F when freshman year began.
And then, there were only two tracks: college bound students took advanced classes and the rest pursued a standard course load of core courses with a few random electives thrown in the count. Trade students had options then – program completion meant certificates for the workforce. Grades meant something, too. Summer school threats fostered work ethics and teachers were believed to possess worldly knowledge.
Now, there are choices. Public school programs invite students to delve deeper into possible disciplines that were once only available post graduation. Among Chi’s choices are Cyber Security, AP Scholars, Fine and Performing Arts, and Computer Graphics and Design. She had others, but she wasn’t interested – furniture design, IB, Cambridge, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Welding, to name a few – options to make building skills possible sooner.