Cheap Seats

Toeing the line on high school boundary exceptions

I am the parent of an eighth-grader in the Evergreen School District. While it’s always best to “stay in the moment” when it comes to their education one can’t help but look ahead to next year and the start of high school.

For me growing up it wasn’t that big of a deal. You went from the only public middle school which was right by a crime-ridden apartment complex (or from the K-8 catholic school) to the only public high school. Sure, there were a handful of kids who went to the Christian high school but for most of us it was the aging high school up on the hill next to a cemetery.

But for kids not only in the Evergreen School District but in the Vancouver School District as well there’s a choice on high school…the districts rank #5 and #7 as far as size in the state with nearly 50,000 kids combined in these two districts. And, the two districts allow boundary exceptions and, get this, some of these kids go to different schools because of athletics. Sure, there’s other reasons but the fact that their new school is so much better in (insert sport here) than the high school in their boundary is merely a coincidence I’m sure.

At first, I was against these boundary exceptions. It makes the strong teams that much stronger and the weaker ones weaker. Nowhere is that more evident in football where you need lots of talented kids and as a whole it really makes leagues weaker.

However, athletics is merely the hole in the doughnut when it comes to the best high school for your child I came to realize.  The “whole doughnut” is the school’s education offerings and how it prepares students for the “real world”. Are there problems with gangs or drugs at the school? Bullying? And how are the school’s test scores?  There are also schools in the area which are “magnet” schools…schools that emphasize a particular field or area for kids who want to go down that path.

So what I’m trying to say here is switching schools might not be the best thing for your child. Or it might be…but where I sit from the cheap seats you’ve got to consider the whole experience…athletics, academics and social setting, when making the choice. Because those who are reading those transfer applications certainly are, and if you’ve got very good reasons to make that switch you should have the right to explore going down that path.

PAUL’S PREDICTIONS, WEEK 6

That’s two undefeated weeks for yours truly in a row.I didn’t expect the Cougars to get thumped like they did but now that we enter Pac-12 play the games are going to be tougher to pick. So here we go!

STANFORD 23, Washington 21 (breaks my heart to pick this, but the Cardinal are just too strong)

Oregon 55, COLORADO 3 (yet another blowout for the Ducks…why does it seem like their road games are always against horrible teams???)

Washington State 21, CALIFORNIA 18 (Cougs bounce back…Cal isn’t quite there yet…close game only because it’s at Berkeley)

Last week: 4-0   Overall: 16-2

Paul Williams

I am a sports nut who has tried to make the transition from athlete to athletic....err....supporter of my two children and their athletic endeavours. I am also a former sports reporter for The Arlington Times, Marysville Globe, The Skagit Argus and The Coeur d'Alene Press. Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter (@PDub4170).