Why I Hate Back-to-School: A Rant

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I just returned from dropping off enrollment forms at my daughter's kindergarten. For the second time since early enrollment in May. Apparently, they're afraid we might have moved in two months and thus shouldn't be eligible to attend my girl's public school. And this leads me into my rant about schools in this country.

here were many reasons we moved to the suburbs, but school districts were first and foremost in our minds. We lived in Kansas City, Missouri, a city with a beleaguered school system that has struggled since I moved here eleven years ago. I always thought by the time I had a school-aged child, it would have righted itself. I was wrong, and thus I was led to the same conundrum of legions of parents before me: stay and do private school or move and uproot the family?

School bus approaching

I really wanted my daughter to attend public school. My mother has taught in public schools for more than twenty years, and I have quite a few friends who teach or serve as guidance counselors in school districts around the city. I have no gripe with private school educations -- surely they are excellent, for they have that reputation -- but I feel public schools are an important part of America's fabric, and I want to participate in that fabric as actively as I can.

That said, we need to divorce public school funding from property tax. It's ruining education in this country. What happens? Rich people have rich schools, and poor people have poor schools. And middle-class schmucks like me weigh bankrupting ourselves over private school or moving somewhere to avoid the out-of-date textbooks and overcrowded classrooms that plague our nation's inner cities. I know this happens -- I taught basic composition in an inner city community college here for four semesters, and the students were at a sixth-to-ninth-grade writing level when they entered college as freshmen. Somebody fell down somewhere pretty hard.

If property tax didn't determine school funding, we could all stay put and choose schools based on their merit and not on their ZIP code.

Of course, there's another option: homeschooling. That's not one we were able to consider, since we both work full-time. I'm not sure it would've been a viable option for my daughter, anyway. She's an only child, and we feel she needs the opportunity to interact with people who aren't obsessed with Six Feet Under and the state of healthcare and other adult concerns for at least five hours a day.

When I asked Twitter "What do you dislike about back-to-school time?" the answers came rolling in.

CPA Mom wrote:

The cost. Private school. The tuition, the uniforms, the school supplies.


Ovolina wrote:

that I don't really have a back to school time because I homeschool my kids so it's all year around. :)


Of course, not everyone is as grouchy as I am. Margo_L_Dill wrote:

back to school season--makes me want to buy school supplies because they are like 20cents--20cents--can't pass up the crayons!


So ... there's that. I, too, love paper products.

What do you think? Do you prefer public schools or private schools? Do you think they make a difference? Would you move for a school district?

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