Steve and I were discussing the school of choice option so many parents have today. It's a wonderful thing - sometimes.
When we moved to Michigan and found out Jackson offered this option, we looked into a few of the public schools in the city and in the county. We ended up choosing the school our daughter would've gone to if this option weren't given. Although the school fit our criteria in other ways, one thing we really liked is how close it is to our home and that there would be other kids in the neighborhood attending the same school (though given the school of choice option, we were not certain of this).
I grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin and you either went to the public school or the Catholic school and only to the latter if you were actually Catholic. There was not a lot of diversity in my classes, most kids were from working class families with similar religious beliefs, hobbies and educational levels. I think racial diversity did not exist at all except for the one Spanish speaking student I can remember and my own best friend whose mom was from Greece. I never heard my parents talk about test scores, activities, programs, diversity or anything beyond the 2 parent/teacher conferences they attended each year for my first 7 years of formal schooling.
When we moved to Pennsylvania as I entered the 7th grade my parents purposely bought a home in the "best" school district around. Since I was from small town Wisconsin, I did not fit in very well in my new digs and sadly, I never took advantage of the programs offered. (Again, not a lot of diversity...) My parents absolutely did what they thought was right, but back then "best" was defined only by test scores.
Nowadays we still have the neighborhood schools, but we also have charter schools, private schools, religious schools, homeschooling and co-ops. How do we decide which school to send our child to? Do we want to find a school that is the best fit for our child and in doing so, are we setting them up to be less able to adapt to various settings? Does choosing a school become more important as our child gets older and their interests are developed?