Crystal Clear Views

by Crystal Medina 

I recently received a letter letting me know that my daughter was accepted to a well-known magnet school here in Chicago. To put it simply, a magnet school is a public school that has a more advanced curriculum and somewhat better materials than other public schools.

A child can only be accepted into a magnet school if they are selected by a lottery. I was very excited because like any other parent, I want the best education possible for my child and a private school is not an option for my family.

When I happily shared the news with my boss, she brought up an interesting point of view.

She doesn’t like the idea of having some children in “special schools” where they will get the “best” and other children get less.

In the public school system, she said, children should get the same kind of education and have the same opportunities. I agreed.

With that said, I would like to share some advice with parents. I encourage you to check out the guide to magnet schools here in the city.

You can find it at your neighborhood school or check out CPS’s website. This book lists important information about the schools and has applications with directions on how to fill them out and where to send them. If you do not get the chance to enroll your child in one of these schools, don’t worry. But I do suggest you be very involved in your child’s education to make sure that they get the best out of their school.

Get to know your child’s teacher. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the year and let the teacher know that you are not only accessible when needed but want to be involved in the classroom whenever possible. You might even want to try to volunteer in the classroom and for field trips when and if you can.

Show up to all of the teacher conferences and pay attention to your child’s report card and don’t hesitate to request a conference with their teacher to discuss any questions or concerns you might have. Make it known that their education is important to your family.

Get to know the administrative staff at the school so you can always know what is going on and find information about the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings. Attend these meetings so you can have a say in how the school is run. Remember, your tax dollars are paying for your child’s education. They deserve the best so they can go into the world and be the best they can be.

Our kids are living in a time when they are going to have to compete with children from other cities, states and even other countries for careers and jobs when they become adults.

Let’s give the children a fair shot at a bright future. Not only do they deserve that chance but they need it.

I am happy that my daughter got accepted to a great school but I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen to other people’s children who didn’t qualify.

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