Alternatives to public high school when options are limited?
I've never been a fan of our school district. Blatant nepotism and other politics top the list of reasons why. It wasn't that bad in elementary school, so I had no qualms about sending my dd there. By the time she reached middle school, however, it was clear that the kids with well-connected parents were reaping all the benefits while the rest were overlooked or outright ignored. In 8th grade, dd made it clear that she did NOT want to attend the public high school.
However, our options are limited. Dd's application to a prestigious magnet high school for gifted and talented students was rejected. Local charter schools use a lottery system, and with thousands of applicants dd's chances of getting in are slim. Homeschooling? I almost failed algebra in high school 30 years ago, making me the least qualified to teach it. Dh is opposed to it on the grounds that it's socially isolating (never mind the dd has felt isolated and ignored in school for years). Private school is obscenely expensive (I know; I looked). We've been saving for college since I was pregnant, but we'll probably still need financial aid to cover the rest. We can't fund private high school AND college. Moving to a town with a better school system is both expensive and impractical (plus dh has deep roots in this town and will not budge).
Then there's dh's opinion. He honestly believes that all schools are the same...they all have the same drug, alcohol and bullying issues and there's no difference in the quality of education (try telling that to a parent with a kid in an inner city public school). He thinks that putting dd in another school will simply be a case of SSDD (same shit, different day -- or in this case different school).
With no other choice, last week dd started her freshman year at the public high school and desperately hates it. Classes are overcrowded. Hallways are jammed and the older kids shove the younger ones aside to get through while the teachers look the other way...she comes home banged up and brused from being slammed into lockers. Her textbooks are falling apart. Her chorus teacher just took away her solo with no explanation and gave it to the daughter of a fellow teacher. Because our district is considered the best in the county (which gives you an indication of how bad the surrounding districts are), every year kids from other towns attend our schools illegally until they eventually get caught and kicked out. Many of them are thugs from rough neighborhoods whose parents want to keep them out of the schools they're supposed to be attending because those schools are so bad. The cops get called to the school at least once a week due to fighting until they weed out the kids attending illegally, usually around November of each year. Then the number of fights drops dramatically. Last year there was an incident involving one of those kids taking a gun to school.
The saddest part? Nobody says a word. Other parents complain among themselves, but none of them will speak up for fear of repercussions against their kids. I used to be quite vocal when dd was in middle school, but school officials quickly branded me a complainer and ignored me so I gave up. They'll never change their ways; the paradigm is too firmly entrenched.
When I pick up dd from school she begs me to get her out of there. Every morning she begs to stay home. I know teenage girls can be drama queens but it's not typical of her and she clearly is miserable. I keep telling her to hang in there and I'll see what I can do, but I feel as if we have no options and dh wouldn't be on board with them anyway.