That's exactly how far I'd go for my kids. It's how far I went when we moved from New York City to Mayberry.
OK, so that's not really what the Parent Bloggers Network meant with today's Blog Blast question, but watch while I string this together.
We moved because we wanted more space, safety, and time (which we'd get by eliminating commuting from our daily routine). And we wanted good schools, without having to pay exorbitant tuition or be a part of the loony urban private school admissions scene.
I believe in public school. Every child has a right to a free, high-quality education, one that will prepare him to be a successful, productive adult. And everyone in a community--young or old, parent or not--has a responsibility to make sure that education is available.
But was I willing to stand on principle and send my kid to a school where only two-thirds of her class could be considered "proficient" in language arts? Where 80% of her classmates would qualify for free or reduced lunch? Where the paint was probably chock full of lead, and the textbooks out of date? Where she'd be Left Behind before she even finished kindergarten?
I wasn't. It was enough for me to juggle a job (with commute), a child, a husband, and an apartment, without trying to add "singlehandedly reform crappy public school" to my list.
My ethics, in this case, took a back seat to my child's immediate needs--and I still feel bad about it. Because this is how we got into this mess. The smart, savvy parents walk: to the suburbs, to the private schools, even to their own home-school classrooms. The just-trying-to-keep-their-heads-above-water parents stay. They don't have the time (courage, wherewithal, awareness, language skills, etc.) to agitate for change. Things get worse and the cycle continues.
Since moving back to the crummy school district is not an option for us, and neither is coming up with a magic answer to this country's public school crisis, I'll have to start smaller. If I win the prize on this blog blast, I'll take my winnings and donate them to a public school teacher through Donors Choose. If Random.org doesn't smile on me this time, I'll take all my BlogHer Ads earnings from now through the end of the school year and donate them instead.
I'll tell my kids how lucky they are to live in a place where school is free, fun, and actually educational. I'll tell them that not every child is so blessed. And I'll tell them that they just might be the ones who could make it right.