Heather Worthley's panic over choosing a school for her oldest child, Max, hit in February, a full seven months before he was to begin kindergarten. Under Seattle's new choice plan, her son could attend any of the city's 63 grade schools. September had seemed a long way off, until the buzz from fellow parents spurred Worthley into action. Many were poring over test scores, chatting up principals and teachers, and consulting each other for the latest news. Some parents had already decided on private or nearby suburban options, but Worthley and her husband were committed to sending their children to a public school in the city. The question was, which one?
They visited seven schools in a month's time, and after whirlwind tours and countless conversations with teachers, friends, and family, they settled on a new kindergarten-to-eighth-grade school. Now, four years later, Max is thriving. "We're really pleased," Worthley says. "Thank goodness we don't have to choose another school for years!"
Betty Holcomb is the author of Not Guilty! The Good News for Working Mothers (Touchstone, May 2000).