Mayor Bloomberg recommends that you visit a school before enrolling in kindergarten. So why won't some schools let parents in?
"We recommend that you call schools of interest to schedule a time for a visit," states the kindergarten admissions page of the city's Elementary School Directory. Good idea. The best way to get the feel of a school you are considering enrolling your child in is to take a tour, see the facilities and peek into the classrooms.
But what if the schools you wanted to visit were very reluctant to open their doors to prospective parents, allowed only zoned parents to visit, or refused to offer tours outright? Unthinkable? Not if you happen to live in Districts 20, 21 and others in Brooklyn.
While doing research for a presentation for prospective parents of kindergarten children, I found myself calling up District Community Education Councils as well as a dozen or so schools, searching for information on the availability of school tours. While CEC personnel in Districts 20 and 21 sought to be helpful, they drew a blank when it came to the subject of elementary school tours. They seemed surprised by the question. The only answer they could give me was to contact each school.
Contacting the schools took much patience and several phone calls before I was able to get a firm answer. My results: Most of the schools that were willing to give parents tours made it clear that they gave tours only to parents whose kids were zoned for the school. Some of the schools I called gave no tours at all, leaving parents to make an "informed" choice without much real information to base it on.
If Education Department officials really want there to be "school choice," how about letting parents see a school before we send our kids there? What do you say, Education Mayor?
The Haves and Have Nots of Elementary School Tours
Tours are offered at:
• P.S. 682 The Academy of Talented Scholars Dist.20
• P.S. 686 Brooklyn School of Inquiry (citywide G&T) Dist.20
• P.S. 177 The Marlboro Dist.21
• P.S. 97 The Highlawn Dist. 21
• P.S. 101 The Verrazano Dist.21
• P.S. 212 Lady Deborah Moody Dist.21
• P.S. 215- Morris H. Weiss School Dist. 21
Tours are not offered at:
• P.S. 247 Dist. 20
• P.S./I.S. 229 Dyker Dist. 20
• P.S. 186 Dr. Irving A. Gladstone Dist.20
• P.S.128 Bensonhurst Dist.21
• P.S. 315 Midwood Dist. 22
• P.S. 235 Lenox, Dist. 18