The Wading Pool

School assignment letters went out from the SFUSD last week, as did letters to private school applicants. We’d listed our seven public schools, applied to five privates (fewer than the seven recommended by some preschool directors), and were curious (ok, ok, anxious) to see what the mail would bring.

The SFUSD assigned us our third choice school (not, I should correct, the plastic-fish-beating school, which on review was actually our 5th choice). We should feel lucky; the SFUSD proudly claims that 90% of families are assigned to a school on their list, but in my informal survey of preschool families, it’s more like 45% get their first choice, 45% are assigned a school that’s not on their list (let alone in their neighborhood) and the rest of us wind up in the murky middle, assigned to a school we’re not thrilled about, that’s far from home, but which we put on the list to fill out our required seven.

As for the private schools, we received one acceptance, at our last choice, Tony’s alma mater, an all-boys school about which we have mixed feelings, and four offers to be placed in the “waiting pool,” the deliberately phrased non-waiting list from which random children are happily plucked to take the spots of families who have rejected acceptance offers. So if the straight white parents of a boy from an average middle class family turn down admission to our first choice school, maybe Ben will get that spot. Or maybe some other white boy will. We have no idea.

In the meantime, here we are in the waiting pool. I am absolutely not complaining, because we have options that some families would be thrilled about, but we are not at thrilled quite yet. We’re still at uncertain and pensive. The water isn’t too clear here in the wading pool, it’s crowded, and there’s an unpleasant vinegar scent in the air. We need to climb out and dive in to another pool — but where?

Tune in next week!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, it could be a lot worse! Keep us posted, and stay optimistic…


  2. Daphne says:

    Great picture! The good side is, Ben is oblivious to the whole process. My eighth grader has the wonderful fortune of getting to choose between several SF high schools. He is stalking the house clutching his hair saying “I don’t know, I don’t know…” At least it will all be decided by Friday.