shuangwen.jpgFew things get NYC parents more antsy than making sure their children get into the "right" school. And whether it means camping out for days to get into a public school or forcing the mightiest Wall Street tycoon to corrupt himself in addition to forking over millions to reserve a spot in a private sandbox, getting into the school of one's choice can make applying to Harvard look like child's play. The dream of acceptance, however, can prove to be a chimera, at least to some parents of pre-kindergardeners who might not make it all the way to the show, prime time, the big leagues: Kindergarten.

The New York Post reports on frantic parents who are upset, with good reason, that their tots already enrolled at the Shuang Wen School on Cherry St. in the Lower East Side must enter a lottery to reapply for admission for kindergarten and may not be readmitted to their school. The Shuang Wen School, or P.S. 184, is graduating its first class of 8th graders this spring after opening in 1998. The public school emphasizes multi-cultural learning and requires students to attend afternoon classes until 5 p.m. to learn how to write Chinese and speak in Mandarin. Now offering classes from pre-K through the 8th grade, Shuang Wen School students' test scores are among the highest in the city.

Meanwhile, a similar dual-language school is fighting just to open in Brooklyn. The Dept. of Education is fielding a litany of complaints about its decision to open the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Park Slope's P.S. 282. Parents of the latter school's children are concerned with crowding and grouping older children (the Khalil Gibran school will begin at a 6th grade level) with younger elementary school kids. These are similar to complaints the parents of P.S. 36 children raised when Columbia University tried to shoehorn its own magnet school into their building. Less attractive opposition has come from opinionists who feel that a public school that would graduate bi-lingual students is a monstrosity worth stopping by breaking out the torches and surrounding City Hall. We actually missed that lesson in our 8th grade Civics class.