i mentioned the over-priced private school that most ex-pats send their kids to here in santiago.
when i was writing about how expensive it really is, it piqued my interest and i headed to their webpage to check it out.
we have plans to send samil to public school. what? yes, public school. because we believe that education happens more in the home and that the responsibility falls on the family more than on the state. and that school should really just reinforce what happens at home.
now, if you believe the state is responsible for every facet of the education of your child, public schools in the dominican republic are not where you want to send your kids. the country recently just scored dead last in a study of central, south and caribean american school systems. it says that students lack logical thinking skills and are the least prepared for the real world than any other nation.
cuba and argentina are at the top of the list. venezuela is pretty high up there, too. in fact, even haiti is above the DR.
but, there is a disconnect somewhere. a lack of understanding on both sides as to what education is. the schools say that those logical thinking skills come from home. and so do moral values and beliefs. families say, that no, those skills need to be taught in school. it's a pass off that is killing the future of the country.
there's something to remember in all of this though - that same cultural disconnect happens in private schools. most of the time, the very same teachers who teach in the public school spend at least one tanda (school here only lasts 4-5 hours, most teachers have two jobs: one in the morning, one in the afternoon - to complete their day) in private schools.
there is no regulation to who teaches. or even to who OPENS a private school. we owned a school for awhile. and right now, my english program is in a private school that is just bad. i have second graders who don't know how to spell their names. or even recognize basic sight words.
but they are in private school. and that's the important part for most people. the appearance that we have money to send our child not to public school. it doesn't matter that the private school sucks. or that it costs more than we could ever afford. or that our kids are learning anything.
it's sad. but it's a reality. and frankly, the school system in the states is not much better. sure, there are more supplies, better trained teachers, money from the government that at least helps...
so for all of those reasons, samil will go to public school. his day will be completed with some old-fashioned home-schooling in english so that he will be as competitive as any other american child if he decides to go to school in the states for college.
all that said, we had discussed pretty seriously sending samil to at least two years of pre-school in a bi-lingual private school. i could easily get a job even at that fancy-schmancy school and he'd go for almost free, or at least a comparable cost to other, lesser quality, bilinguals. or that's what i thought.
but, when i headed to the site to check out the prices, this is what i found - in US dollars.
Pre-School, with all enrollment, new student, tuition and miscellaneous fees would cost: $2462. that's a little less than what i've made so far this year.
now, if i worked there it would only cost about $60 a month, which is not bad, but it's hit or miss if i got a job there.
here's the scarier numbers. for a high schooler with all fees included it would cost: nearly $6000.
the minimum wage in the DR is something like one hundred dollars a month.
i don't get it.
obviously, we've got a few years to think the pre-school thing out. but right now it seems to me like i need to start planning my own pre-school... or we'll go broke just on pre-school... which means college is out the window without a scholarship!