The case highlights disparities between a private gifted-testing process for preschoolers, where children "pass" in relatively large numbers, and the public process, where very few students are cleared.
Further, it underscores the complexities and challenges of winning a coveted prekindergarten spot at a New Orleans public school, some of which accept only gifted 3- and 4-year-olds, and the lengths to which parents often must go to secure one. Bella is fourth on the waiting list at Edward Hynes Charter School but can attend only if the "gifted" dispute gets resolved in her favor.
"I don't want to send my child to a private school, and why should I have to?" Schoenfeld said. "This process really stinks."
...except go read the whole thing first.
Even the comments.
Yes, you read me right. They aren't the complete cesspool with this article that is the usual fare with a posted article on nola.com.
Granted, the article is pointing out a bias, and a number of commenters picked up on that. There are comments about people "paying their way" into a better class or a better school this way, there are comments maligning the parents for their lifestyle that somehow "expects" better treatment because they have paid their way with a private tester, blah blah blah.
A comment by kswilliams1 really jumped out at me, though:
Isn’t the point of the public school system to provide access to good public education for everyone? I love how some of you comment that they should just bite the bullet and send their child to private school. No they shouldn’t. Some of you call them snobs, really? Snobs would just send their child to a $15,000 a year pre-k. Bella’s parents want her to have all of the opportunities and to be exposed to the diversity of all races, cultures and socio-economic groups that go along with public education. Yes, they may have the means to send their kid to Newman or Trinity or Sacred Heart, but why should they have to? Let’s think about this for a second, aren’t people such as Bella’s parents the very people who are paying the taxes that fund the schools that they are trying to utilize to educate their child? So you demonize them for trying to do this?
I think you all need to step back and look at this. Bella’s parents don’t care if someone tags their child as gifted (though being around her for 10 minutes you would know she clearly is), they just care that their child is able to receive a good public education and unfortunately in New Orleans in order to receive this you have to cut through all of the red tape.
Welcome to public education bureaucracy in New Orleans, circa 2009.
Far from being an example that presidential candidates can cite as proof that things are turning around, public and charter schools here are a lightning rod for all sorts of seriously divisive crap.