We've all seen die-hard fans camped out for days just to get a pair of concert tickets or technology fanatics huddled in long lines that snake around buildings to be the first to hold the newest gadget, but have you seen parents camped out for kindergarten?
In one West Philadelphia neighborhood, parents are so eager to get their kids into a choice school that they camp out for a shot at a limited number of spots. In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article, Miriam Hill writes about registration day at one of the city's best schools, Penn Alexander. It seems this school is so popular that parents are willing to pull out their sleeping bags and spend the night on the sidewalk for a chance to enroll in this sought-after school.
In an otherwise struggling school district, Penn Alexander, which is subsidized by the University of Pennsylvania, is a bright light. Parents are willing to pay a significant real estate premium on homes in the area just to be in the school's catchment area. The recent coverage of Penn Alexander's registration process has left many parents asking themselves just how far they would go to get their kids into a desirable school.
In light of the state of education in our country, parents are planning ahead to make sure they have a chance at enrolling in a preferred school. "School registration is definitely a stressful topic," says Kim, a mother of two from Arizona. "My kids aren't even in kindergarten yet but my husband and I are already developing a game plan to make sure they get into the best school possible. If that means sleeping on a sidewalk, that's what I'll do."
Given the pressure to snag a spot in the right school, parents are leaving no stone unturned. Many are willing to drive an hour each way, research charter schools that are yet to be built and accept every spot that is offered to them just to be sure they get a spot. "We applied to three charter schools and open enrolled in a public school about thirty minutes away," says Andrea, a mom from Colorado. "We were accepted at two of the charter schools and I said yes to both. We didn't make up our minds until we absolutely had to. I'm sure the schools don't want parents to do this but you just never know what's going to happen so you have to cover your bases."
Are you happy with your neighborhood school, opting for private education or looking for alternatives like Montessori or charter schools? Perhaps you are among the growing group of parents who are eschewing the process altogether and choosing to homeschool your kids. Would you be willing to sleep on the sidewalk like the parents in Philadelphia? How far would you go for your child's education? Let us know.
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