Child’s educational needs vs. your ideals and anxieties

–Couldn’t figure out a pithy short title for this one.

As parents know there is nothing like having a child to make you review your own childhood.  From the “I had to make my bed every morning so should you.”   To, “I was sexually exploited by family members and I will never let that happen to my child.”

It’s not really accurate for us to compare our childhoods to our children’s when it comes to the new world order of the economy, education, social mores, etc.  I am still jarred by seeing a tattoo covered lady, but no one else is.  I’m gladdened that it’s not okay for kids on the playground to say some of the racist things I use to hear when I was a kid.  I can’t believe how much harder schools are now then when I was a kid.

is this what I want for my kids?

is this what I want for my kids?

I recently had an ah, hah ( is that how it is spelled?) moment when I was hearing about a charity that supported underprivileged kids gain entry into private high schools.  My knee jerk reaction was “why do they have to go to private schools?  Why can’t public school be better? Is that the only way for poor kids to do well is to go hang with the snooty snoots?”  They talked about having to get their academics up in middle school, laudable.  But, also take them to the beach, because many had never been.  To take them to museums.  To coach them that when they are in these high schools they will have friends who get Italian sports cars for their 16th bday and know that they will not.  The reasoning is something like this, to succeed in the world, really do well, you have to be comfortable in the milieu of the rich and educated.  The high schools, the college, the social arenas.  My leftist, child of boho upbringing, middle class, went to city college than to a public university self was stunned.  I think I thought because I was a sophisticated, educated white lady that I was in the the In crowd.

But, really.  I’m not, never have been.  I’ve been invited in for glimpses, but that’s it. Ditto my husband.  He is a public school educated, middle class outlook kind of dude.  So, that is the trajectory we set for our own children.  But, is that a good idea?  When the world is different than when we graduated from high school.  My tuition was $650 a quarter.  While my kids are not strangers to the beach they aren’t kicking it at country clubs either.

Barack Obama was raised in a middle class, single mom with help from his grandparents apartment.  But, they got him into the best prep school in Hawaii.  It has given me pause.

I’m such a proponent of the egalitarian society and education, but maybe I’m wrong.  Is this one of those things were I should do something different for my kid than was done for me?  Besides, trying to figure out how we could pay for a private high school, but I’m struggling with this philosophically as well.  I know it’s harder in LA where are public schools are not great and private schools are pricey.  It would be different in other areas I’m sure.

But, what educational path are you chartering for your kids?