Prequel to RG’s Changed Circustances–RD and the School for Very Bright Children

December 22, 2008

About the time our daughter was attending first grade, it became apparent to her parents that she was a very bright little girl. We lived about a mile or two away from a private school for highly intelligent children. It was sort of the Harvard (or Yale or Princeton or Stanford, if you prefer) of private grade schools.
We considered sending our daughter to this school and began by having them test her to see if she was bright enough to be accepted.
The director of the school happily told us that Random Daughter qualified. “Your daughter is a very bright child,” she said. We complacently basked in the glory of being the parents of such a prodigy.
However, we never enrolled her in this school for two reasons:
First, it would have been expensive to send our child to this school (almost as expensive as sending her to one of those “Ivy League” colleges) and we were very poor at the time. Even with the financial aid they offered, it would have been very difficult for us.
Second, we moved. First, we moved closer to the high school where I taught. Then I was “RIF’d” (victim of a “Reduction in Force,” jargon for a layoff caused by the failure of a school budget election. I became angry–I have a bad temper–and looked for a job in Oregon and found one. (It turned out that if I had stayed in Washington I would have been rehired the next fall when they came up with money to hire the people they had first released.)
It would not have been convenient or even practical to send RD to that school, especially if she would have had to make a daily commute from Portland, Oregon to an area north of Seattle.
As a consequence, RD attended public schools for her entire grade school and high school career, though eventually she attended Oberlin, a moderately exclusive (though perhaps very dangerous, not to mention very expensive) private college. Among other consequences of attending Oberlin:
She roomed with and fell in love with another Oberlin student, who to this day is her Out of Law partner. (I guess that was the dangerous part. Would you want your daughter to marry “one of them?” Even more dangerous, after a week for the idea to settle in, Mrs. Random and I said, “Whatever.” I guess it RD picked dangerous parents as well as choosing to attend a dangerous college. Some children have little sense.)


5 Responses to “Prequel to RG’s Changed Circustances–RD and the School for Very Bright Children”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    My kids attended private and/or parochial schools all of their lives. It wasn’t because I felt a burning need to be an elitist, but because at the time my son entered kindergarten, there was a mini-baby boom that year. I couldn’t see one public school kindergarten teacher with 36 kids, even if she had Hercules for a teaching assistant. The kid had some developmental problems and I felt putting him in public school would have been detrimental. He would have fallen to the wayside and off the radar.

    There are very good public schools in our area. Unfortunately, we didn’t live in those chi-chi districts. After that, it was a habit and we could afford it, so we just carried on.

    Both kids are in private colleges, which is just about killing us this year. Thank goodness the older one will graduate in May. The younger one may need to consider a public college especially if her 529 becomes worth about $5.29.

  2. modestypress Says:


    I suspect that for many college students, a community college will do as well or better for the first two years of college than a four-yea college. I intended to push my daughter on that path, but she was always so sensibly independent, responsibile, and intelligent, I ended up going along with what she wanted to do. A course that worked out well until she went to graduate school. Even there, when she crashed and burned, she did so in a sensible, responsible manner and walked away with a masters degree and no dings on her record. So what could I do? She’s a good kid.

  3. spectrum2 Says:

    I went to a private college, but was publicly educated in k-12. I enjoyed both venues. Though growing up in a small town in the south probably made public school more tolerable than that of a large city where violent crime is more prevalent at school. I see these sweet kids, age 11 was the one the other night on TV, getting hit in a drive-by shooting. The kid was just walking down the street. He was being a good, innocent kid, and some thug shot him by accident. Goodness! I know if I lived in that I’d be freaking out on a daily basis! We’d never leave the house, unless in an armored car!

  4. truce Says:

    I am confused (again). I thought all college education in the States had to be paid for by the student/family?

    And, wait, didn’t our very dear mutual friend who is this minute shovelling his car out of the snow in Portland also attend Oberlin?

  5. modestypress Says:

    I can see that my incoherent writing has created considerable confusion. I will try to explain things tomorrow, thereby causing even greater confusion.

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