New York City is a competitive, complicated, and fast-paced place — especially when it comes to early childhood education. As a parent, I want to give my son the best future possible, and I believe this begins with education. You see, I have a passion for education.
I’ve always valued education. Most of my work experience is even in higher education. However, when the time came to look for a school for my son, I began to see education from a whole new viewpoint — as a Manhattan mother. While applying for independent schools for Cameron, 4 years old at that time, I quickly realized how complex and involved the decision-making and admissions process was.
I took charge by conducting an initial school search on my own and visiting dozens of schools — some multiple times! I made sure my son took both the Education Records Bureau and Stanford-Binet standardized tests. Applications went to eight schools, five private and three selective public schools.
Other parents took note of my successful navigation of what they viewed as an intimidating and competitive undertaking. I found myself lending my expertise and knowledge to the other parents. I walked them through the entire process from selecting the right schools for their children, to applying for admissions and even securing financial aid in some cases. I was not only successful in each case; I found I loved the experience of guiding parents in need.
The United States public school system has acknowledged changes must happen. However, change — especially for government implementation — takes time. Children who are school aged now are not likely to see the needed progress happen quickly enough for them to reap the benefits. Some addresses in Manhattan come with great schools. Many do not. As a result, parents must look elsewhere to ensure their children receive the excellent education they deserve. I urge parents to look into all options for education for their children, including charter and independent schools outside of their neighborhoods. My son Cameron ended up at a school in a different part of Manhattan than my work or our home, but he loves it there.
The school search and admission process is complicated — especially in this city! However, New Yorkers are tough and resourceful. I recommend that parents lean on that resilient and tenacious asset when it comes to their child’s education. Check out the resources available to you. Gather some information. After all, knowledge is empowerment. Consider what is best for your child and your family as a whole. Your child deserves a quality education.
Val Ambrose is an education advisor and chief executive officer of iSearch Schools, www.iSearc