Raise your hand if you want your children to surpass your current station in life. Well, my hand is firmly planted in the air. Now that I am a bonafide stay-at-home mom, I find that although this has always been my mission, I am now in the trenches up to my nappy roots. My renewed mission is to not only to help my children stay on track but more specifically, it is to get my son in an Academic Center for 7th and 8th grade and my oldest daughter into a Gifted Center.
For those of you that live outside of the Chicago area, Chicago Public Schools created an Office of Academic Enhancement for the sole purpose of making parents and students compete to send their children to a select number of schools that maintain academic excellence. In layman's terms, all of the "smart" kids apply for a chance to get out of their crappy neighborhood school and get bused to a good school. Although this whole concept warrants a long conversation about the fairness, rationale, and morality of this whole process - this is not my point today.
My children have always performed well and this makes us very proud. However, I have been conducting some informal research on what is needed to get a child into an excellent school vs. a good school. The process in Chicago is broken into 3-300point scores on a scoring rubric. A student's ISAT score, grades, and their entrance exam are each 300 points. Parents and teachers have a hand in how well a child is prepared when it comes to the ISAT and report card grades; but the entrance exam is left a mystery. Why, do you ask? Well, there are no study guides, teachers and administrators give you a scripted response when you ask about it, and there is no appeal process.