Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hartford Magnet Schools Go Begging For Suburban Students

Well I knew things were bad with regard to luring suburban kids to Hartford's magnet schools, but I didn't think they were THIS bad:

Can you believe that I got a call today from a representative from the Hartford Magnet School for Sports and Medical Science asking if I knew any homeschoolers who might be interested in enrolling in their magnet school????


The woman who contacted me said she found my name on the Internet as a contact for CT Homeschoolers Association. And I told her yes, I was a contact for homeschoolers in our area.

She said they were looking for kids who were interested in going to Hartford schools for middle school or high school and that homeschoolers could apply there. Now she clarified that it wasn't a dual enrollment type thing, but my question to her was, "Why would they want to enroll in public school if they are homeschooling? The fact is that many parents have left the government schools for a reason".

Well, she said thanks anyway and we hung up. Our conversation was very cordial.

But the question begs to be asked, what on Earth are they thinking, asking if homeschoolers are interested in this school that has a gazillion rules and courses that typical homeschoolers have already mastered in middle school grades.

I'm not saying they have a bad program there, and actually it is pretty decent, but gee whiz...for many homeschoolers that I know this type of program could be a step backward. Many homeschooled high schoolers that I know are already taking local college courses. In general, homeschoolers don't let themselves get limited by a high school curriculum mandated by others; they instead are free to explore and challenge themselves and craft their own course of study. They look at things like block scheduling and school uniforms, school contracts and school mission statements as very strange and artificial restrictions. But, I suppose that type of system works for others, and that is why we should have the choices in education that we have.

At this magnet school, just as in other government schools, there is lots of emphasis on preparing for CAPT's and SAT's too in their program. Homeschoolers don't get caught up in "teaching to the test". Maybe in general that's why they do well on the standardized tests, they tend to dwell more on content and understanding of material.

That phone call gave me pause to think about choices. I'm glad that magnet schools are a choice for many, but I am also glad that we can and do homeschool. Still I thought it was quite interesting for this magnet school to be looking for homeschoolers to come back to government schooling, and it sure made for some interesting conversation in my house.

Looks like Hartford is going to have to find other ways to fill those Magnet School seats. Hmmm, maybe they can ask the kids going to Kingswood Oxford or Choate.