The target audience - N - was not impressed. He challenged the middle school principal (5th grade is middle school in their system) with "why can't I wear t-shirts with words on them?" Answer, we have a dress code. There is no uniform. You can wear any shirt you want as long as you tuck it in and any label or words can be covered up with your thumb. Still, it was a bad start in terms of PR.
He then asked lots of other non-educational questions of everyone seeming like a precocious child (that he usually isn't) and very fidgety. I'm sure they were rolling their eyes.
The non-target audience - C - was very very impressed and ready to sign up that night. We are giving her mixed signals - yes, education is the single most important thing right now, but no, we are not planning on sending her even if she really really wants it. One reason: it's too expensive.
"What if we buy everything on sale?"
"We already do!"
So I explained it like this. Even if I didn't buy any groceries or visit the mall even once for an entire year and never buy another Christmas present, it still wouldn't cover the cost of a single year at this school.... the only way to make this work would be for Mommy to work full time at a majorly stressful job (assuming stress = pay).
Nonetheless, the school was a very inspiring environment. I kinda wanted to go there myself. So I get that she liked it. If only they could reach MY (and not necessarily the school's) target audience...N could really benefit from their small classes, direct instruction and interesting teachers.
And what is the point of sending your kid to such a school? Learning for learning's sake? Sure... but it's also so that they can go to a good college. Perhaps a prestigious college. Kaaa-ching! The estimated cost of attendance for Princeton University in 2009-10 is $50,620!
Assuming our kids could get in, what will it cost in 7 years??? Sending our kids to public school means we can save something for college.
We've been happy for years with this environment (Mrs. R's awesome kindergarten, picture from 2003). Can't BRRSD continue to meet our needs since we are already paying more than half of what private school tuition would cost (per kid) in property taxes?? I'm not 100% sure. I wish I were!