Going Where the Road Takes You

We recently circulated a request to area parents asking them to complete a survey share their school choices.  This is one parent’s response.

By Shauna Bracy

I would love to do the survey, if I felt I actually had a choice with schools.  You see, my younger son has developmental challenges. Not exactly Autism or Aspersger’s, not quite mental retardation, but a little of this and a little of that that creates an imperfect storm of being a socially aware, adaptable, Lego-loving seven year old who has academic deficiencies and  is difficult to understand. He defines the ‘I’ in IEP.

‘Choice’ is a term that makes my blood boil when you have a special son like mine, because it’s only existent to the extent you want to play roulette with your child’s education. I played.  I played charter lotteries. Of course, I’ve entered every lottery since he was 4. After touring many, in my heart I knew that if he won a seat at one of the popular charters, we’d have to pass it up. Despite their or any other charter’s legal requirements to educate any child… some programs just weren’t ideal for my son’s needs. Sometimes you have to look at your hand and walk away.

I played his fate on Catholic school. It was my educational upbringing and the perfect place for my older son. Though I felt like I was sticking a roundish peg in a squarish hole, it was better for him then our local public. Two years in Catholic School proved to be to much for them. They wanted more for him (or their reputation..) then their curriculum could offer.

By now it’s 4 years worth of defeated lotteries, unsuccessful voluntary school transfer requests, school tours, principal networking, budget crunching, contemplating moving; all no dice.  I played his fate in public school. He started Fall 2011 at our neighborhood public school. Despite paving a home-school communication road for 2 years knowing this day was on the back-burner, we still only felt a lack luster sense security in our ‘decision’. So he started and yup we were right. He didn’t like it, we didn’t like it.   And just when you’re in the space between accepting defeat and forming a new gameplan, your phone rings at work and the charter school you’ve had your sights on since he was 4 years old calls and tells me they reached his name on the wait list and they have a spot.

Technically, I didn’t choose that charter school, they chose us and we couldn’t be happier.

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