Scared of Kindergarten

Scared of Kindergarten
I don't know where to send my twin 5yr olds for Kindergarten!

Finding a school should be a fun thing. But with everything I know about Chicago Public Schools and their competing charters, I don't know what I'm going to do this Fall. In short, I'm scared of kindergarten for my twin five year old girls.

Presently they are in a free full-day Pre-K program at Burke Elementary, a CPS school, which they were forced to attend after the Child Parent Center at Overton Elementary was closed last year. Overton was one of a dozen or more schools to be closed in last year's CPS restructuring. As a result, my kids went from being in a safe facility on 49th and Indiana to be merged with a huge CPS school within Burke on 54th and King Drive. Each day when I go to pick the girls up, I hear parents yelling, snarling, and growling at their children like they are vicious animals. I can't help but think this is why many of them to grow up and behave the very way they do. All I do is pray their kids don't bother mine. But even that prayer has had to be expanded because just last week when I picked up my youngest daughter of 6, a little girl who is as sweet as pie, whose greatest joy is singing and dancing like a "Cheetah Girl", this same little girl announced to me last week that one of her classmates called her a "bitch." This is what 5yr. old girls are now calling each other in Pre-K.

And now I have the arduous task of trying to find, select, and then get the twins enrolled in Kindergarten in the Fall, except I have NO CLUE where to put them! I don't want them in a school that begins to prepare them for the penal system by hounding them about their uniform, or walking in straight lines, or for all the kids in the lines to be silent, or all the other systems schools now put in place to create order, somehow forgetting that these are children.

I want my children to color outside the lines.

I want my children to color outside the lines.

I also don't want them in a school that won't allow them to color outside the lines. I want my children in an environment where their creativity is encouraged to flourish, along with them having recess, and exercise and healthy meals, but I'm just really curious: Does such a place even exist anymore?

Everything seems to be about test results, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. Where do kids go to learn and play? Most schools don't even have assemblies anymore with plays and and scripts and songs and all the other stuff we did as a part of the school day that was just plain fun. Now that's an enforced after school activity that may be withheld if the child doesn't behave appropriately during the day.

I really and truly don't know what I'm going to do.

My name is Elana and I'm from Chicago and I'm afraid of CPS, charter schools, and Kindergarten.

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About Me: I'm a mother of six daughters whose ages range from adult to teens to twins in Pre-K. Needless to say, I've had my share of CPS experiences, which in years past, were enjoyable. Now, I can't say the same. Not only have I worked in Chicago Public Schools, I was also the Dean of Students for a South Side charter school where their sole purpose was to have kids live "A Disciplined Life" by mandating policies and procedures, which by default, shuffled them right into the suspension to prison pipeline in which research proves more young Black male students are funneled into at alarmingly higher rates than others. That could not be my legacy. So after four years I resigned. They said I wasn't a team player and the truth is, they were right. I couldn't play "right" on a team that would not allow children to express themselves without giving them a demerit for each and every little thing they did. I saw more children harassed, depressed, and humiliated than I even care to remember. Now as a parent having to find a school for my daughters, I'm at a loss for where to put them. I'm sure there is a school for them that meets my ideals, I'm just not sure how to sever my arm and leg to get them in it.

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