Saturday, January 14, 2012

Superstars

Are you annoyed at your kid's mediocrity? Is your kid just another face in the crowd? Does he or she not stand out in any way whatsoever? Did you know there was a way for them to instantly become the most brilliant, interesting, all around talented kid in school?

It's easy!! Soooooooo easy!!!

If you're like me, your kids go to a school where 'low income' really has no meaning. It could mean you don't have a yacht. Or that your two car garage has a Ford and a Nissan inside rather than a Mercedes and a BMW. Maybe you don't have enough money to vacation in the Caribbean, but you can take the kids to Disney Land once in a while. This is America, after all. We may be poor, but nobody's so poor they can't drive to Disney Land, right?? Right??

For the record, I was vaguely aware REALLY low income people existed. I'd read about them in newspapers. I'd seen a few documentaries, I'd heard of people who had heard of people who came from those places. They existed SOMEWHERE, just no where near me.

Then it was time to enroll my kids in school. I was exhausted from my summer of 'Working My Fucking Ass Off" so I decided they'd just go in whatever school was nearby. Also there was a lot of drama in RainyTown that went into getting your kid into one of the 'Alternative' schools and I was not in the mood to find out what that entailed in CrazyHellTown.

I looked up the schools in our neighborhood. The elementary school wasn't horrible, the middle school, however, scared the shit out of me. Here are some actual quotes from people who's kids went to that school:

"There are gangs."
"Instead of kids bullying each other the teachers are the bullies at this school."
"Too much violence in this school."
"She has been exposed to far more ridiculous and childish behavior from the TEACHERS than I ever thought possible."


How could I sent my innocent little nearly middle class MiniFantabulous into a school like that?

We considered sending her to a school near where AwesomeCool works. The area was more affluent. The schools were supposedly better, but she'd have to wait after school every day until AwesomeCool could pick her up, because we are a one car family and it is literally IMPOSSIBLE to go anywhere without a car. Believe me. I would do it if I could. There is no way.

In the end, the prospect of them both being able to ride the bus home, allowing us to never worry about how and when we would be picking them up won out. Yay for us being good parents and making decisions based on their best interest!

Despite our careful considerations, I was still nervous. I wasn't sure we shouldn't make a last ditch effort to get her into a different school but then we went to the counselor and MiniFantabulous was enrolled in all advanced placement classes. I decided that made up for anything else that might happen. Anyway, back home, she once stabbed a boy in the neck with a pencil. I was fairly confident she could throw down if necessary.

Now fast forward the first term is over and they have both survived. There was no violence. They both have friends. The teachers are not bullies as far as I can tell (except for her math teacher who intimidated the fuck out of me at parent teacher conferences). And both are earning top grades in everything and succeeding at life!!

Thanks to our new and interesting insight into low income life, we've learned a few important lessons about what it means to attend these schools:

1. Just by doing their homework, my kids are going above and beyond what many of their classmates are able or willing to do.

2. Putting a little effort means they are pretty much guaranteed an A in every class (Well, MiniFantabulous has decided in her infinite wisdom that studying for tests is a waste of time and is betting a few Bs. I have no idea where she gets these wild, crazies from).

3. They both won their class's science fair by doing an experiment that wasn't all that impressive.

4. Same kids+Lowered Expectaions=SuperDuperStars!!

Lucky for my kids, I come from a place where it was expected that I go to college. Add my aversion to work and you have a mother with all the time in the world and years of pointless knowledge gleaned from higher education to help/force them to do their homework, harass them into keeping up with their assignments and due dates.

I expect all the little middle classers are going to be following my lead and stream into the down and out cities of America so their kids can be super-duper also. I've discovered something spectacular, no?

I'm pretty sure if we moved to Detroit, they could become mayor. Who knows. Maybe we'll give it a go. I hear you can buy a house for pretty darn cheap.

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