This week my husband and 5 year old daughter attended a lottery. The names drawn were given a spot in Spanish immersion kindergarten and guaranteed a place in the language program for the rest of his or her elementary school years.
One out of the 5 kindergarten classes at our suburban neighborhood school is a new full Spanish immersion class and those children will move on as a group to the established partial Spanish immersion classrooms in grades 1 through 5.
We were told there would be 24 children in the class. Twenty new families in the district applied, but only 6 children were accepted. We were told that was because the school decided to offer preference to children whose older brothers and sisters in the program.
Now I understand the logic of sibling preference when it comes to school lotteries. No family should have to have two school-aged children in two different schools. But for a sought-after classroom? Perhaps my judgment is clouded because our daughter lost out, but it just doesn’t seem fair.
If I was in charge, I could see holding 1/3 or even half of the classroom for siblings, but to guarantee them placement feels like nepotism, something that seems decidedly out of place in our public schools.