Today's parents actively seek out the best educational opportunities in their areas and often do whatever it takes to secure a spot, even if that means sleeping on the sidewalk.

How far would you go?

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?

Worth the effort

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.

Read how to choose a kindergarten >>

Doing what it takes

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."

Read 10 ways to make homework time less stressful >>

You never know

"We applied to three charter schools and open enrolled in a public school about thirty minutes away."

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."

What are public, private and charter schools? >>

How far would you go?

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.

Read more

Parenting school age children
Homeschool: Why are so many parents choosing it?
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Comments on "School registration leaves parents in a frenzy"

Robert February 09, 2012 | 5:57 AM

I like alternatives to education. The best school I know of is my 'home school'. Everyone I know, is allowed in, and they can sleep in their own beds (and me too).

allie February 08, 2012 | 9:12 PM

We're in the LA Unified School District and can relate to the challenges associated with getting your kids into the best schools possible. The option for Charter schools is limited, the private schools cost upwards of $25K per year and the public schools are bursting at the seems. Of those choices, we're still unsure which one is the best but if it took sleeping on the sidewalk to give our kids the best of the best, I'd break out my coleman and hunker down. A night (even a few days really) of being uncomfortable is nothing in exchange for a great education for our kiddos (supported of course with the morals and values you teach at home). thanks for the article :) interesting to hear other perspectives.

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