I would like to classify myself as a normal, frum, working Lakewood family. I grew up here, went to school here, married and settled down here. My oldest child, a boy, is happily settled and thriving in a wonderful cheder in Lakewood. And now it’s time to send my second child, a girl,to primary. After much research, I have applied to 5 schools which sound like a good fit for my daughter, and into which our family will fit in well. I sent out my application right after Sukkos in hopes to hear back shortly.
Of course, I didn’t just leave it at that. After submitting my application, I reached out to close acquaintances who are known to have “pull” in the school that appealed to me the most, who graciously agreed to help. I patiently waited at the phone each day in the for an interview (I was under the naive impression that one gets interviewed wherever they apply…I have learned the brutal truth the hard way, and it baffles me). It is now November 30 and I still haven’t heard from that school, let alone a single school to which I applied. I called each school myself and they said they will contact me when applicable.
I called my “pull” contacts again. They all said that they have spoken to the principal in the school but s/he has no say. It is the owner who makes the decisions in that school. My contacts told me that they have given over very good information about me and my family, yet the principal is not in a position to utilize that position as according to them, it is beyond their power to intervene.
One of my contacts was straightforward with the principal and bluntly asked whether I should apply elsewhere. The response: “That would be a good idea, as my school is focused this year on taking in BMG families only.”
I then looked into another school that I applied to and I got the very same response.
And, apparently, that is why I am still waiting by the phone and davening for at least one interview, somewhere, somehow.
To all the schools ‘focusing on a BMG-only parent body’, I’d like to say this:
My husband learns every single morning and almost the entire Sunday. This is besides for having a demanding full time weekday job. He gets up before davening each Shabbos morning to put in some learning as well. He is in shul learning at every opportunity that comes his way. But because we have to work to pay our bills (and B”H full tuition, on time….) my sweet four-year-old daughter can’t get into school. I’m up at night and can’t focus during the day because who knows where my daughter will be going next year.
I have heard that its possible to get placed into schools where I didn’t apply, and where the chinuch isn’t what I envision, nor what is appropriate for my family. Why should an upstanding, Torah-centered working family have to compromise on their chinuch values because they don’t fit into the BMG mold, or don’t have the right strings to pull (this description probably applies to 50% of the Lakewood population)? This is such a painful process! I prefer not to have to wait until school starts to get my daughter a place in an appropriate school.
But I’m simply not sure what else I can do, and it’s terrifying to think of how many mothers are in the same place as me with absolutely no recourse.
Editor’s Note: Attention school owners: If you’d like to get in touch with this family, please let us know.
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