Poaching Students the Publishers Clearing House Way
When our daughter, Christine, was ready to start kindergarten, we were not convinced that the K-12 public school in the district where we lived, a tiny farming community in mid-Michigan, was a good choice for her. I knew quite a bit about the district, because I subbed there for year--and while I greatly respected the teachers and the work they were doing, there were things missing. While the school had two full-time agriculture teachers, there were no four-year foreign languages offered, no AP classes, and only a handful of basic arts and humanities courses.
In addition, Christine and her younger brother were in day care in the district where I worked, and if she were in half-day kindergarten 30 miles away, in the district where we lived, I didn't have an after-school care option for her. My district was willing to enroll her as a tuition student--but we had to get a release from our home district. We visited the superintendent, taking pains to express our support for the district as voters and citizens. They would still be getting our tax dollars, after all. But he was unfriendly, and adamant: the district did not give releases for "parent convenience." Either we enrolled Christine in kindergarten there, or--irony--find a private school.
What we ended up doing is moving. Suddenly. As emotionally hard as it was to leave our beloved 100-year old restored farmhouse, the financial hit was greater. We moved to a district with top-notch, comprehensive schools (mine)--because kids' needs are more important than original crown moldings and an apple orchard. Believe me--I know how fortunate were to be able to scrape together the resources to get what we wanted.
A few years after this, I was having dinner with the education advisor for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which was promoting a statewide cross-district choice initiative. I told him my story. He wanted me to share it widely--maybe a radio spot--but I declined. It's coming, he asserted--the day Poaching Students the Publishers Clearing House Way - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher: