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Oh my God this school choice process brings up so much old damage. And just when I think I've got it all squared away and settled in my head and I'm all reconciled to my palette of choices and shit, there's some real-life plot twist and it all gets churned up again. My whole morning so far has been school choice, school choice, school choice, and my afternoon will also be about school choice, and then in the evening I may just hide under the covers for a couple hours and whimper.

The extra-annoying part of old damage is that there's about three people in the world that I can just freak out at without having to explain myself endlessly -- and two of them are my parents. (So I did indeed call my mother at work this morning. She was appropriately sympathetic.)

The other extra-annoying part of this is how very, very class-conscious I am right now, of the privilege of "has a spare afternoon to walk down to OUSD and file the paperwork in person as required" et. al. Man I need to get my collective action on.


Applying for schools in SF made me cry at the SFUSD offices. I wrote notes on why their paperwork sucked and easy ways they could make it more clear, and two years later I still haven't written the letter.

It was stuff like their paperwork said "bring copies of blah blah blah" and what they meant was "bring originals of blah blah blah."
Oh ick. That would make me cry, too.

And the class privilege issue is my biggest problem with school choice systems. And it's a really big problem. It takes time, cultural capital, comfort and familiarity with the American educational system, and usually English fluency, too. (I know you already know this stuff. I'm just agreeing with you.) If the kids who get the best education are the ones with parents who know how to work the system, how is that significantly better than a system in which the kids who get the best education are the ones with parents who have the most money?
I have to say that every time I encounter an actual person at OUSD, they have been surprisingly helpful and accommodating and friendly. I feel like there is an esprit de corps at OUSD that I really, really like and find quite attractive. That's the good part. And the paperwork has been mostly straightforward, except for the appeals letter form glitch this week, and that was pretty minor -- an old link stayed up too long on the web, so the new forms have to be filled out in the office.

But there's so much of it. And so many iterations. And then the charter schools and their paperwork (even though I only applied to two), and the deadline windows, and having to walk down to the office to file stuff in person, and does it ever end? Or am I going to be doing this all summer, right up until the first day of school or even after?