I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A School Like Costco

J'adore me some Sandra Tsing Loh. Once more, she has written exactly the words I would like to think I would write if I had her forum. I happened on her critique of Kozol's latest book, which appears in the March 2008 issue of "The Atlantic". In it, she describes how she learned to stop worrying and love her children's poor, urban school, discovering that it can be like "A giant Costco -- overcrowded parking, gray lighting, but replete with buried treasure."

She describes how her "pushy, whitish, Type A, middle-class poor" family, decided to throw their all into the depressing neighborhood school -- I love how she put it, "Play[ed] Lady Bountiful," to said school -- not because they are so all-fired principled, but because it's what there is. She freely admits, "We tried to flee to the white suburbs, but we failed." Because, even though she is obviously a person who can, for instance, get herself published in "The Atlantic," the good school zip codes and/ or private schools remain way out of her price range.

And even though it exhausts me just to read what it took for this quasi-celebrity to secure, in this case, a Vh1 Save the Music grant. And even though I have more and more often experienced my own neighborhood school as a sink-hole that shows little return on my investment. Still, it is heartening to know that Sandra shares and has given a name to my own "Pushy whitish Type A middle-class poor" experience.

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