I am so tired. I feel like I need three of me: Super Homeschooling mom/wife Me, Competent Professional Me, and Gifted Education Advocate/Communicator Me. I want to do all three fully, totally, excellently (yeah, there’s that perfectionism thing again) and that’s not working out so well.
And I am so tired of thinking about MCPS. Truth be told, I’ve been playing hookie, lurking on the College Confidential Prep School Admission and DC Urban Moms and Dad Forums. (Aside: the whole frenzy about the Huguely/Love lacrosse murder and what it says–or doesn’t say–about Landon has been weirdly fascinating in an anthropological way.) I haven’t Twittered in at least a month. My feed reader has been neglected. I’ve just been kind of burnt out.
Because god, it’s depressing. The latest word is that the MCPS operating budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is about $138 million below the “maintenance of effort” level, or about $1000 less per student. There is talk of increasing class size by 2 or 3 students. Cutting magnet transport. Cutting the afterschool RideOn/MetroBus program for students. The Visual Arts Center at Einstein is being slashed in half even as its students win awards.
Meanwhile AEI continues to grind away in kabuki-like fashion, with its ridiculous Advisory (not) Committee and bland insistence that yes, its middle school courses are rigorous, yes, we differentiate and yes we can do it in heterogeneously grouped classes. Seven Keys, Seven Keys. Money continues to be poured into the Parent Academy and “Diversity Team” and self congratulatory visits to conferences by high ups. It’s enough to make one want to poke one’s eyes out with Number 2 pencils. On the GTA list the same issues get rehashed and rehashed by the same strident voices. GT is dead in the MCCPTA and local PTAs. Where are the parents? Where is the media (what’s left of it)? Where is the outrage? On the DCUM forums wide-eyed parents of toddlers wanting to make a break for the ‘burbs breathlessly talk about the “great schools” in MoCo and trade tips on where to buy in Silver Spring, I’m thinking, Like lambs to the slaughter, like lambs to the slaughter. I feel like that fat, jaded lady with the croaky hoarse voice and the cig hanging from her mouth. “Honey, you ain’t seen what I seen.”
I will no longer have a dog in this fight come this fall. For one year, maybe more, I will not have a child enrolled in MCPS. Part of me thinks, Whew! So glad we got out while the getting was good. But of course part of me can’t just walk away. Not when I have friends and neighbors with kids coming through the system. So I continue to give advice. Yesterday I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a mom desperate to move because her child is so profoundly underchallenged in elementary school. This evening I got an email from a mom weighing staying in an immersion program versus attending her neighborhood school. And somehow my blogging cred is still strong, because the other day someone from CTY contacted me and asked to pick my brain about their programs and the state of GT.
It’s late. Lack of sleep isn’t helping my mood. My homeschool review is around the corner and I promise a report on that soon, as well as other more uplifting subjects.