School registration blues

I'm at the Jackson Mann school this morning to register my daughter for kindergarten in the Boston Public Schools.

So far we have been waiting at least one hour, even after having taken the time to pre-register on the BPS website and there is nothing complicated or unusual about our application. I don't know exactly how long we have been here because the clock in the Jackson Mann auditorium is frozen at 7:45.

For some reason they require a utility bill as one of 3 proofs of residence, but they don't accept a water bill. How a phone or cable TV bill is more trustworthy I have no idea.


  1. Anonymous10:08 AM

    You get what you pay for. I'd suggest private school.

  2. Actually, the education our son has received in his 2 years at the Gardner have been fantastic. Small classes and great teachers, administrators, and classmates.

  3. Harry, the Boston Public Schools will become a better place thanks to you and your child.

    Hang in there, it's well worth the investment of your time.

    In 14 years you'll be glad you made the selection you did.

  4. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Your children might receive satisfactory education, but is that sufficient in a global economy where they must compete with top tier kids in Indian and China? Imagine how much better the education is at private schools. BBN has a far better acceptance rate to top tier schools (Ivy Plus) than anything Boston Public Schools has to offer. The ONLY two public school options worth anything in this region are Boston Latin and Newton.

  5. >> The ONLY two public school options worth anything in this region are Boston Latin and Newton.

    Give me a break. Many public schools around here can allow students to gain a very good education.

    There is more to life than admission to an "elite" college. But if that is your yardstick, at least be informed. Using this measurement the difference between BB&N and BLS is minimal.

    And plenty of students at BB&N (and even Exeter) don't go to a fancy school.

  6. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Harry, as your kid gets older, the classroom will become a tougher place to learn. You will have to be just as involved as you are standing in that line, and the system will stonewall you harder all the time. Don't give up! If you have to act like a deranged demanding suburban yuppie then do it, this is your kid we're talking about.

    My kids are tortured by all the extra stuff we make them do, and some of the truly awful kids they have to go to school with. For a while I felt like it was the wrong decision to send them to BPS. However lately I have seen a real compassion in them that is not in their friends from private schools.

    As for getting what you pay for, yes, but it must also be measurable what you get, for instance if you send your kid to a $15K/yr private school, to the $30K/yr parents get to say "you get what you pay for"?

    If you sold your house and paid more to move to Belmont, what exactly more do you get. If you spend $30K/year on private school, what do you get, and is there a way to get that without spending all that money and hurting your kids future in some other way. Can you put in your time instead of the money?

  7. Anonymous9:12 AM

    To the person who had to wait in the line, you did not mention how many families were ahead of you. Perhaps you might have suggested that those doing the registering should have gotten someone else to help them. Maybe there should have been two lines, those pre-registered and those not. I do not know. Also, it doesn't matter too much which school costs what, it all comes down to the teachers, the behavior of the kids and the participation of the parents. When word is sent out for volunteers, every parent should have their hand up without hesitation, but they don't and they never will. You will find as your kids go through school, that it is always the same parents who do EVERYTHING. If you do not help out, how do you think your kids will be with other things in life. I did not always volunteer, but when I could, I did, willingly. Both my kids now volunteer. My son volunteered to be in the Marines so you can pick where you want to send your kids for free. My daughter also will help out when asked. Granted, neither one of them went to BPS because we do not live in Boston, but it was the seeing of teachers and parents volunteering and kids that were not wild in the classroom, and the upbringing of familty and friends that they turned out for the best. How much worse can the schools get? They should only get better if more parents participated.

  8. It might take longer at Jackson Mann because it's a satellite site, and open for just a week, and the staff are not as experienced? Both my kids attend the Jackson-Mann (I think it's an excellent school and have also heard great things about the Gardner which is the only A-B school I haven't visited). Last year when I registered my now-kindergartener, I had missed the Jackson-Mann satellite week, so I had to go to the Roxbury site (on Malcolm X Blvd - the O'Bryant school, I think), but it was a very smooth process - very professional staff. I did get irritated by how long it took me to figure out what to bring - I even emailed the webmaster of the site to suggest that they list all the info (immunizations, residency) in one place, rather than making you go from site to site to gather the information. The communications office answered me, but it doesn't look like they changed their site t - I would understand if this year it's not a priority for them, given the school consolidations

  9. Just to be clear, my son is having a wonderful experience at the Gardner and we are enthusiastic about having our daughter start there in September. My wife and I are very actively involved as parents in the school community and agree that parent participation is key. The point of my post is the the central administration could do a better job with this one-time part of a child's BPS experience.