Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Private school tuition: More than some people's yearly salary dollars.

Private school tuition after lovely generous financial aid package from lovely generous foundation that has now earned itself a place in your will should you ever actually become a famous wealthy author: Still only slightly less each month than your mortgage payment.

Knowing that in his new school, no one will accuse your child with a medically documented fine motor skills delay of "just not wanting to do the work" when he struggles with writing, no one will confuse attention issues caused by a medically documented sensory disorder with willful misbehavior, no one will keep him from joining the second-grade reading class just because his delayed handwriting lags behind his advanced reading ability, and no one will call you "hostile" during a teacher meeting for very politely requesting basic accommodations that your child with a medical condition is technically entitled to by law?


There are some things money can buy. And I've realized I'd rather worry about how to afford my son's school than worry about whether my son's school is killing his love of learning. I'd rather swear off restaurants and new clothes for a year and live off of peanut butter sandwiches and live with the draft coming through my cracked basement window than fight daily against the urge to swear at the mechanical representatives of a soulless, broken bureaucracy who cannot ever seem to say anything to me about their continuing failure to effectively do the job my tax dollars pay them for other than endless variations on the phrase "We're sorry, we can't help you."

But have I given up on trying to fix my local public schools? Hell, no. Not every family has even our modest means to sacrifice to pay for private school.

If the public schools think I'm out of their hair for good, they have another thing coming. My goal has never been just to fix things for my kid with special needs. All kids with special needs deserve better treatment than the American school system and medical establishment currently offer. I feel compelled to do something big about this. I'm just not sure yet what.


Kathy G said...

Glad to hear that your son is in a least restrictive environment.

We sent our boys to our parish elementary school and Catholic high schools, so I know a bit about pinching pennies to pay for education. If I had it to do over again, I don't think I'd change anything.

JessiTRON said...

oh good! Your last post about it was heartbreaking. I thought about how well he would do at The College School. I'm glad you found some financial aid.

That teacher doesn't deserve to have him in her class.

Farrell said...

I'm so sorry you have been going through all of this. I...I am so so happy you got financial aid and are able to make this happen and I back you 100% in all your efforts.

Jen said...

We make the sacrifices we need to make. The two GT private schools nearby both went under in the last year or so, so there went my last best hopes. I'm working on a charter school with some friends for next year, so cross your fingers. It may not be a GT school, but I'll go with small class sizes and a rigorous curriculum. So glad you found a good place for him!

Anonymous said...

What a relief! I'm glad he's in a place where he can thrive.

I wish all public schools could be functional, responsive, and able to deliver the best to every child who attends. Sadly, that hasn't been a funding priority in a lot of states--or even district by district--for a long time now.

sugaredharpy said...

Girl, I am with you. I am so proud of you for advocating for your beautiful, smart, sweet as pie son. Money can buy help in these areas.

It's why I'm homeschooling my older son. I couldn't in any way pay for the high school tuition for the schools that fit him best (the very, very few) and even if I could, we lived far enough away that I couldn't get to work on time, thus losing the pay that could barely afford the school....shitty cycle.

But then again, so far homeschooling is working better than public school. At least I'm not being an asshole to him all day.

You are a good mama, and a good citizen, and I'm so happy for the financial aid to make this work for you guys!

Bridget Murray Law said...

So glad to hear your son is where he needs to be now. But I'm with you on public schools -- it's a pathetic state most of them are in, except in really, really rich areas of the country.

Here in Washington, DC, of course, it's abysmal.

I would love to know more about sensory disorder if you wouldn't mind a brief explanation? I've got two four-year-olds and want to be sure I'm on the lookout for the right things.

PunditMom said...

I'm so glad to hear that you've found someplace good for him and that there was some financial help. While PunditGirl didn't and doesn't have the issues your son does, we knew from the get go -- after many trips to the supposedly good public school in our neighborhood -- that her attachment and anxiety issues would not be tolerated, let alone supported, and we feared that she would be lost and overlooked in a huge school (9 classes of each grade!). I knew in my heart if we didn't find the right place for her, she would hate school and hate learning. We figured it was better to spend what money we could at the beginning of her education to lay a foundation, so she would LOVE school and learning.

Today, as a fourth grader, she is thriving both educationally and emotionally in an environment that she would never have had in our public school.

My husband and I are both products of public schools and we believe in them fiercely. But I'm not sure what has happened that children are not viewed as individuals anymore. :(

Peter said...


Christina said...

I'm so glad that you found the right school for him, or at least a school that is leaps and bounds better than the one before it.

I'm already starting to panic about kindergarten next year. Cordy's special needs pre-K has 7 kids in the class - the minimum size of a K class in our public school is 20 kids. I worry she'll be lost in the crowd.

We've already started considering alternative schools in the district and possibly private schools. (Although the costs may be prohibitive for us.) We're also looking at the possibility of moving to a small town that has a small private school that our friends' (Aspie) son attends.

Please keep us updated on how this new school is working out! I'm hoping it continues to be just what he needs!