Tuesday, February 12, 2013

skool vs school

The current situation with the TDSB (Toronto District School Board) is so frustrating.
I know I know, one of my new year's resolutions was no not get involved in school politics, but how can I not when they directly affect my child?
The strike doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon, or at least that's the impression I'm getting.
Then again, who knows? as there's been such a lack of communication between the parents and the school during this whole dispute.
Currently there are no extra curricular activities (choir, sports, school plays), no pizza lunches (even though we already paid for the whole year) and now no more field trips.
Isn't going to places like the Science Centre, The AGO and The ROM part of the learning experience and done during school hours?
As a parent I feel so frustrated and helpless.
All of this has been extremely eye opening.

I've always considered us to be lucky that we live in a community where we have such a great school, but now I'm not feeling so sure.
Clearly over 60% of our teachers are on the side of the union, unlike some of our neighbouring schools who are still running programs like field trips and school musicals etc.
So that makes me really question which of the teachers are really there for the kids?
How can we as parents know who voted which way?
Earlier in the year I was completely in support of the teachers but now as the year is half over I'm just feeling confused and discouraged.

To make matters worse, Lulu came home last week and told me that she was told that they have to run the tap water for 20 seconds to get rid of the lead in the pipes before drinking out of them.
WTF?! Lead?
Isn't that like um POISON?
She also mentioned that 6 out of the 8 bathroom stalls were not usable last week.
As in floating fecal matter in every one.
OMG- and parents wonder why things like Pinworm are contracted at school.
SO So gross.
Our school is in desperate need of renovations and is close to 100 years old but I'm not holding my breath.
(unless of course I'm in the vicinity of any of the bathrooms)

So as a result of all this we have been investigating private schools for Lulu.
I went on a tour of a school last week and can I just say that I was completely blown away.
You really get what you pay for that's for sure.
It was so impressive.
The teachers all seemed so enthusiastic and professional.
The classes were organized, bright, clean and inviting.
The kids were all so attentive in every single class from JK all the way to grade 6.
So polite, so well groomed! I just love school uniforms..
The quality of the education is above and beyond what I would have even expected.
I know it's not the most important thing, but when Lulu comes home and expresses anxiety about having to use the bathroom at school, to me that's a problem.
Needless to say all the bathrooms were spotless.

So the big question is what to do?
Do we bite the bullet and make the switch?
The only thing holding us back is the hefty price tag.
When you add up the numbers it is very daunting that's for sure.
But maybe in the end it will be well worth it.

Then again, one of the main the reasons we moved to our neighbourhood in the first place was because of the schools' fantastic reputation.
It's one of the reasons families pay a premium to live here.
I love belonging to and being a part of a community and the great people we've met through our school.
I also really love that we can walk to school and as she gets older, Lulu can walk on her own or with a friend and gain a sense of independence.
If we were to stay in the public school the grade 3 & 4 teachers are amazing and I've been looking forward to having Lulu in their classes since we started there.
I know it's hit and miss with teachers in the public school, sometimes you win the lottery, some years not so much.
But for the most part I think we have a lot of really good teachers who DO care about the kids in our school.
And let's face it- it's FREE.

Ultimately I just want what's best for Lulu and because we only have one child it would be great if we could give her any advantage possible.
Private school would be completely out of the question if we had more than one child that's for sure.
It's such a huge decision and I feel like what ever choice we make now will have such a huge impact on her life down the road..
No pressure or anything. gulp.
Oh what to do...


Lynn said...

That's a really tough one - especially since are facing another year and a half of "strike" action. GAH. I sympathize heavily with the teachers, but it's still such a sad situation all around. I just heard that teachers at our school won't be doing parent-teacher interviews for the report cards, either.

We got to keep pizza day, though. It's completely run by the parent council, from orders through collection through distribution. Do your teachers run the program usually?

Looking forward to hearing what you decide to do.

kurrabikid said...

Wow - I don't fully understand what's been happening in your neck of the woods, strike-wise, but whatever the teachers are protesting against must be BAD! I'm sure our public school teachers are not far off doing similar here, given how much they've had ripped out of their budgets in recent years. I'm a big believer in public education - and in the power of unionisation. I just hope your teachers get what they need soon. Oh, and that the loos get a bit of attention PRONTO!

karen said...

Oh we totally went through this. We can't afford private, so we starting looking Catholic. We aren't religious, the kids aren't baptized, but man oh man was impressed with the school in our 'hood, the teachers, it is just awesome on so many levels. We are holding back bc we didn't want to traumatize our girls with another school switch just after they got settled from last years move. It's still on my mind though....