I’m one of those people who likes controlled spontaneity. However, when it comes to my children, I like to have a concrete course of action regarding their rearing. This is why I called the GA Department of Education last year to find out what elementary school my eldest would be assigned to.
After tapping away at some keys, the man on the phone pulled up our information and said “Northwood Elementary”.
Perfect, I thought. I had looked up their scores, scoured their website and was confident that Nadjah would receive a quality education, even if it was from a public school. That is part of the American dream, isn’t it? Well today, my worst nightmare came true. I became a victim of Fulton county’s school redistricting.
Battling flu symptoms, head and body aches, I trooped down to Northwood to register Nadjah for her first year in kindergarten. A kind faced lady with white hair and a gaudy black and silver necklace took me through the registration process. I tried to seem cordial and professional, even though my nose was dripping and I had no tissue anywhere on my person. I thought about pulling out the baby’s size 4 diaper to clean my face, but I opted for the back of my hand instead. Real classy, I know.
Anyway, after completing the forms and scheduling my biggest baby’s Kindergarten assessment, I drove home, pleased that I had done something meaningful for the day. I thought about Northwood all the way home. The library was impressive and immaculate. When we entered the colorful facility, a staff member was reading to a group of second graders about Hitler and the history of Curious George. She used an LCD projector to demonstrate aspects of the book. When she was done, the children politely raised their hands to answer and ask questions. Everything was so orderly and well…perfect! She was going to love it there. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the ring of my cell phone. An unknown number popped up on the screen.
“Hello. Mrs Grant?”
“You were just here to register your daughter for kindergarten?”
“Uh huh!” I was smiling.
“I’m sorry, but someone took a look at your address, and it seems you are supposed to be going to Mimosa, not Northwood.”
My smile immediately faded.
“If you could come down and get your paperwork we’d appreciate it.”
“Ok. I’ll be right there.”
By this time, I had already pulled into my driveway and had to turn back around. My first thought was that they didn’t want any Negros sullying their perfect grounds, so I called the DOE again to confirm that I was not supposed to be at that school. Turns out we had indeed been redistricted to go to Mimosa some time last year. It wasn’t racial after all. I strode into the building, collected my paperwork, and assured the very apologetic old ladies that it was all right.
“Thanks for being so understanding.”
What did they think I was going to do? Pull out my chicken head card and cuss them all out? It was ok. I would just re-register Nadjah at…Wait. Mimosa??
Mimosa Elementary is the quintessential poster child for the movie “Lean on Me”. It’s a school that used to be pretty darn good until a group of undesirables moved into the neighborhood, took over the school and took test score waaaay down. Mimosa ranks 799th out of 1079 schools in Georgia. Northwood ranks 114th. I’m only mildly racist, but if I wanted my children educated in the barrio and/or the ghetto, I’d move down to South Central LA! Check out this link: http://www.schooldigger.com/go/GA/schoolrank.aspx?level=1&findschool=0228001025. It ranks all the schools in Georgia and gives their CRCT scores year over year. Does the State/County really think I have time to sit around to wait for Joe Clark to come in and turn this school around?!?!
At this point, I have 2 choices: Send my child to school where the state tells me to, or fork over a kidney to fund her education at a decent private school, since my Black behind does not pay enough in property taxes to allow her go to a quality public school like Northwood. School vouchers anyone?