A Conversation.

I have no idea how the Tucson Unified School District works. I know that even though we live in the city limits (our properly line is against the city line) we do not live in TUSD, but rather we live in the Tanque Verde Unified School District. It seems there’s a high school every three blocks in Tucson, mainly because there’s charter schools and magnet schools and public schools and private schools. Students appear to start school at the end of July in these parts, but only if you go to certain school districts. When I look at nationwide ratings, Arizona isn’t high on the list.

Thank god we don’t have kids.

I try to strike up a conversation with my husband about the education system here in Tucson and how I compare what I see here to what I experienced growing up in a small town in Upstate New York. There was one school district in our town of 3000 or so people. If you wanted to go to Catholic school or something, you still went to public school but every Monday afternoon you walked over to a different building to go to “Religious Ed”. I don’t know what happened there but I like to think there were nuns beating on students with rulers for writing with their left hand or something. If you went to private school, and opted out of our public school system, you were shipped away to a far away land to join the military or be rich. Toward my senior year there was rumors of home schooling and some religiously oriented students moved from a neighboring district to our school system, but otherwise it was PACS all the way.

My eccentricities and incredibly accurate, while highly selective, memories of my school years put a smile on my face and give me points of conversation. After 27 years of discussing these things with my husband I’m surprised he can’t tell me what room I was in for grade one. (It was Room 104 with Miss Kania).

When we were recently at the movies, a local elementary school was advertising on the big screen to entice elementary students away from the public school system and into their “traditional school”. I don’t really know what that means but I assume there’s highly curated curriculums, uniforms, and God.

I wouldn’t trade my public school education for the world.

When it was time for college I wanted to go to a private college for my music education degree. I didn’t really want a music education degree but I had been convinced that was all I could do so I went along with it. My parents couldn’t afford the private college so I applied at two state schools, auditioned at one twice, and got in on the second try. I didn’t even try that much at the SAT but I pretty much aced my ACT and that got me in. Also, the fact that I played tuba and no one else did made it easy for me to get into music school. I flunked out in express fashion by the end of my freshman year. I don’t blame my public school education for this. I don’t blame anyone for this, outside of my lack of interest.

I can think of a dozen or so classmates that started kindergarten and walked down the auditorium aisle for graduation, the likes of us attending all 13 years of public school together.

Many are friends on Facebook. I really don’t know why but we are.

And even after typing this blog entry I still can’t figure out how Tucson Unified School District works.