12 November 2011

Ohio Parents Brave Below Freezing Temperatures

Last Sunday, November 5th, my friend Steph and I did a short loop in Clifton, which is a small, hilly, lovely little area in Cincinnati.  I had chosen the route, and we had plans to get coffee afterward.  As we made our way over the last short hill, we saw several people at the German Language school, sitting in lawn chairs in the grassy area next to the parking area.

As we rounded the corner to make our slow descent down Clifton Avenue, Steph and I had to dodge people on the sidewalks, all supposedly making their way out of a church service.  Most were dressed in long, colored robes, and I glanced at the church and realized it was a mosque.

This was a little bizarre: several people camped out in front of a school, hoards of people on the sidewalk.  It was a quiet Sunday morning until that moment.

A couple of days later, Steph found out that the parents we'd seen, and probably some of the supposed church-goers, were actually getting in line to enroll their kids in school.

Now, these are publicly funded schools.  These aren't private schools, and they're not selective in nature. It's just that while Idaho has a lottery system, Ohio enrollment is a first-come-first-serve sort of system.

Which leads me to wonder: what about the lower income parents, the ones who can't get off work and camp out for 10 plus days in freezing weather to get their kids enrolled at these schools?  What about the single moms and dads, who have no one to watch their children?  What about them?

I do commend the parents who are camping for their kids.  It shows true dedication to a child's education.  But, really, Ohio Department of Education?  Isn't it time for a change in enrollment?

Today, as I did a very hilly, 5.25 mile run past the German Language School, I saw dozens of tents in the lawn of the school.  There was a cookout, and there were cars continually entering the parking lot.  More parents, more tents, more days ahead of them.

Last week, temperatures got down to 28 degrees...and enrollment doesn't happen for four more days.  Brrrr.

I'm curious about other people's thoughts about this.  Being from the West, this seems a little absurd, but I guess it's hard to understand all of the decisions that go into structuring education this way.

Is it like this in other cities?  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?  I'm curious to hear opinions.

No comments: