I RARELY Rant on my blog. I’ll make an exception for my Granddaughter.
If any of you live in Maryland and have children who are 4 years old and you’d like to enroll them in Anne Arundel County Public Schools Pre-K, I wish you luck. I can only speak on the laws in Maryland and Anne Arundel County directly because this is our state and that is where my family PAYS through the nose in taxes to live.
Below, I’ve attached the criteria for enrollment. This law was passed in 2002. I’m so happy that when I enrolled my kids in Pre-K in Baltimore City way back when, I didn’t have to provide them with my tax returns or be on government aid in order for them to go to freakin’ Pre-k.
What spurred this rant is that unless my daughter can show that she is low income or on public assistance OR my granddaughter has some other issue that would “impact her school readiness,” my bright, sweet 4 year old granddaughter will be pushed to a waiting list just to attend PUBLIC Pre-K!!!
Students will be selected from Category 1 before moving to Category 2, Category 2 before Category 3, etc. until all seats at the sites are filled. When spaces become
available during the year the same procedure will be used to maintain enrollment.
Category 1—Economically Disadvantaged
Economically disadvantaged is defined by the Maryland State Department of
Education as eligible for free or reduced lunch. Income verification is required. Homeless students have the right to enroll immediately.
Category 2—Other School Readiness Needs
If seats remain after August 27th schools will begin to offer enrollment to
students on Category 2 waiting lists. Category 2 includes English Language
Learners, children with a current IEP or IFSP, and students with health or
family emergencies that impact school readiness.
Category 3—No Documented need that would impact school readiness
If seats remain after September 10th schools may offer enrollment to a limited number of students without documented needs that negatively impact school readiness.
So much for “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND” I’d say. I suppose if you are middle-income, working to support your family but unable to pay for private school, your child has no legal right to public Pre-K in the United States of America, simply because Pre-K is not considered mandatory. Apparently daily socialization and interaction with their peers isn’t as important as I thought it was…to the public school system.
I suppose now it’s OKAY to discriminate against people because they don’t get financial aid, speak English and have no special needs. I’d be on the phone to my congress person and senator but it’s a damn law. We have no rights against this. There is no RIGHT reason why my daughter should have to PAY for my granddaughter to attend Pre-k 4. If it’s available to ALL children, she should be able to send the bill for private school to the State of Maryland for FORCING her to send her child outside of the public school system! However, after learning all of this today, she doesn’t want to send Esme to AACO Pre-K because she said she will be in a class where she could lose more than she stands to gain. I couldn’t agree with her more.
Although Maryland has some of the best public schools in the country, I’ll be damned if they’re right in doing this to children who deserve to go to school. They definitely shouldn’t have messed with my granddaughter’s rights today.
I can appreciate the fact that there are children who have special needs, be they economic or otherwise. However, the answer isn’t to discriminate against children who don’t.
After a small amount of folks disagreed, I had to get on my Soap Box and say:
There are many children who fall through the cracks. Those are the children who do not receive financial aid, food stamps or medicaid but their parents cannot afford to pay for private PreK. Many of those children may have a disability that hasn’t been detected yet. Unfortunately, many children go un-diagnosed until kindergarten and beyond because they haven’t been screened or tested.
These “categories” weren’t put in place solely for the children. They were put there for the convenience of the parents as well. I won’t sugar coat this even a little bit. Once again the school system is to take on the responsibility of raising children. Who can blame them? The earlier the schools can get their hands on these poor kids the sooner they can begin to feed them, teach them social skills and educate them out of poverty. However, they are doing it at the expense of the children of Middle America.
The bottom line is if a family pays their own way in life but doesn’t have enough left over for private PreK, the CHILD loses out. I suppose it’s okay for one child to lose out and another not to?
NO. It’s NOT OKAY.
I’m all about lifting these innocent children out of the cycle of dependence as well as providing free education for disabled children. However, I’m not for putting middle American children on the back burner to simmer while other children pass them by. I’m not insensitive to special needs children. What I believe in is equality. What I believe is that ALL children should be able to have the same head start.
The other concern is socialization. Just because children may be smart, does not mean they are well socialized with other children. Engagement with their peers is as important as learning their ABC’s in my opinion. Shutting out children just because they do not have a diagnosed disability is not the answer. Room for all children is. I believe it is terribly unfair of the public education system to cater to the needs of the disadvantaged. It was put there with all of our tax dollars to be an unalienable right but children are in fact being alienated under the guise that PreK isn’t mandatory. Well if it isn’t mandatory then why even offer it to the public at all? Why not just offer it to low income families or children with learning disabilities or those who do not speak English?
Oh wait that’s right, that’s already how it is.