Lying For A Better Education?

May 8, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under my family

A while ago I told you about trying to get Girlie Girl into one of the highest rated public elementary schools in the state. We received a letter recently saying that she didn’t get in. Apparently, they had so many applicants for the No Child Left Behind Program that they didn’t have enough available slots to even accomodate all of them! Since we don’t come from a low performing school district, we had last priority.

Needless to say, we were very disappointed.

Then a friend of mine came up with a solution. Since my father owns a condo in the building right next to the school, why not just say that we’re renting from him? If we live in the district, they would have to enroll my daughter. We could probably even get my Dad to put together a rental agreement if we needed some kind of proof.

At first this sounded like a great solution. However, the more I thought about it, the more something bothered me. If Girlie Girl was to attend this school, she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone where she lived. What if someone asked? How, in good conscience, could I coach my daughter to lie?

In the end, we decided to enroll her in our own district. It may not be as good a school but at least I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing that I was teaching my daughter to live an honest life.

My friend, on the other hand, thinks I’m crazy. What about you? What would you have done?

About the author:
Owner and founder of An Island Life. Sharing my life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii.


42 Responses to “Lying For A Better Education?”
  1. Renee says:

    I agree with you. I know it is very hard to give up something like that, but teaching our kids to lie about anything is wrong. We all struggle with this, but in the end honesty is always the best policy. Yay for you! :D

    And who knows, perhaps with your influence you can make the school in your district better. Which would be better for the kids in your area.

    And if it is realy bad…you can always homeschool her ;)

  2. Renee says:

    I’ve been checking out new digital cameras and found a really pretty lavendar one…but a ton of cute pink cameras and of course I thougt of you. :D

  3. bunny says:

    Hi just a question for you regarding your daughter getting into the school. On the application did they ask you her nationality and race? All schools have a quota percentage they have to admit based on such. Does she qualify based on that? The no child left behind act is such a joke, til it’s not even funny. I hope it’s not too late to ask them or for her to be accepted on that criteria.

  4. Dana says:

    I think you did the right thing! In a situation like that, it is such a temptation to tell a little white lie….for the benefit of the child, etc. However, I think the bigger message you are sending your child (that its ok to bend the rules to get what you want if you feel the “end” is justified) isn’t a good thing. Our kid watch us and the examples we set and basically, that is lying. I admit though, I’ve done small things that were sort of not the best and then felt horribly guilty about it later when I realized my son was watching and learning everything I do! I remember too, my parents always being honest to a T about things and I remember wishing they weren’t because I was denied some particular thing (like say scholarship tuition money cause they made just over enough money not to qualify but not enough for me to afford to go to that particular school). But in the end, their example of honesty and “doing the right thing” made an impression on me. Had they been willing to fudge on things, I would have been getting the message it was acceptable if I deemed the circumstances “worthy” and that wouldn’t have been a good thing.

  5. Carey says:

    You did the right thing. Lying of any sort is not a good thing, and it would have caused you more problems. Play dates would have been hard, things that got mailed home may have gotten lost, etc. Just not a good thing. Im sorry your daughter didnt get into the school, i believe that just means there is something better out there for her. You may not see it yet, but it is). Your daughter will thank you one day for teaching her honesty.

  6. BeachMama says:

    I think you did the right thing. I know a lot of other people would have done it, but just think of the fact that you would have to be constantly remembering that you live accross the street and you would have to tell your daughter to lie about it. It probobly catch up with you in the end. Maybe you can put in an application for next year and move her over.

  7. Judy says:

    You did the right thing. You are teaching her a much more important lesson. Be as involved with her school as you can be and with her education. Even if the school district itself isn’t so good, you can still make sure she gets a good education.

    BTW… you’ve been tagged at my blog!

  8. Jill says:

    I don’t think I could have done it either. If we didn’t learned anything from Andrea on 90210, it’s that it’s really hard to keep the secret that you don’t live in the school district :-)

  9. Author Mom with Dogs says:

    We were faced with the EXACT same situation. And we came to the same decision you did.

    It’s a shame that the quality of public schools varies so greatly that we’re put into the position where we’d even consider lying to get our children into a better school.

  10. Write From Karen says:

    I agree with Renee – schools will only get better if people (read parents/teachers) work hard to make it so. The potential is there, we (people in general) have to take it upon ourselves to cash in that potential and make it better.

    Not only are you teaching your daughter the importance of living an honest life, you’re also teaching her (though she won’t really get this until later) that there will be times in life when you can’t get what you want and that it’s best to make the best of every situation.

    Schools are constantly begging parents to get involved because, and I’m speaking from experience, it often times makes or breaks how that school is run, the morale, etc. So, though I know you’re disappointed, I applaud your decision to stick to your guns.

  11. Southern Girl says:

    I’m with you. It’s far more important that you teach your daughter to do the right thing, and lying isn’t it. If you did what your friend suggested, not only would you be encouraging Girlie Girl to lie, you’d be teaching her that the ends justify the means — that what you do isn’t important as long as you get what you want. That’s a horrible lesson to impart to a child, in my opinion.

  12. Twisted Cinderella says:

    I think you did the right thing. It is hard teaching our kids to be honest and not to lie, to have to try to coach her on this would have been hard for her to understand. It was a hard decision and I am proud that you made it.

  13. carmen says:

    I think you probably did the right thing. We lead by example with kids, really. And school is really what you make of it, right?

    I’m proud of your decision!

  14. sognatrice says:

    In my hometown, parents do that kind of stuff to get kids into the “right” school district to play sports!

    If you had done it, I don’t think anyone would think badly of you, but I agree with the masses and say you did the right thing being honest, especially since your school district isn’t so bad anyway. Brava :)

  15. amy says:

    I respect you for not lying and teaching your child to lie. That would have been hard for girlie girl if someone would have found out and told her that her mom was a lier. So I think you did the right thing. School is what she makes out of it. Hopefully she will meet great friends and will succeed in her schooling!

  16. Crissybug says:

    I probably would have made the same decision. Honesty is a vital thing to teach our children. In the end it will probably not make that much a difference. I take the “bloom where you are planted” theory. When I was young my mom had me at a school that was considered advanced. I feel that I came away learning alot, and in some way was “ahead” when I went to Junior High…but in the end it didn’t really make a significant difference. When all is said and done graduating from High School…the top 20 students didn’t all go to that “advanced” elementary school. There were some that did, but others that went to the other schools too. I think what it comes down to is how that child applies themself. I am sure that girlie girl will do great in the “other” school.

  17. Wendy says:

    I have several friends who have done this. I don’t think I could though because of the fear of being caught and like you said, I don’t want to teach him to lie.

  18. Holly Schwendiman says:

    I would have made the same decision. The lessons of honesty and integrity are far more critical and important in her education than anything she’d get at any school. It’s ironic how this act was put into place to become a help and security and it’s actually doing exactly what it’s title says it’s avoiding. I was talking with a friend this past week about it who shared that her brother is employed as a tutor in a intercity school of a big city. His students are the top in their class, not the bottom because the schools have learned that to average their test scores they have better success helping the high end do better than in helping those struggling come up. What a sad thing to me!


  19. rach says:

    I think you did the right thing. A parent should always set the right example to his/her children. You did well.

  20. Christine says:

    You did the right thing. I agree with everyone, honesty is more important than education.
    We were in a similar situation with Marissa. The school she goes to now is closer to us, but out of district and much nicer. There is a waiting list to get in, and I was tempted too,by my husband’s friend who lives in the school’s boundaries, to use his address so she’d be able to go. The school she would have had to go to is not in a good neighborhood, and I really would have rather homeschooled her than send her there. In the end her 6th grade teacher gave her a great recommendation, so I wasn’t faced with that difficult decision.

  21. webmiztris says:

    you did the right thing. once you lie once, you gotta keep making up lies to cover your ass and that shit is too damned stressful!

  22. Jordan says:

    I agree with Holly: what you taught your daughter through your example will serve her better than anything she might have learned at the better school.

  23. maria says:

    I debated this situation myself, turned out it was better to leave him where he was. While the other district performs better, ours is smaller and gave my youngest the individual attention he needs. So your decision will probably end up to be what was best for your daughter.

  24. The Queen Of Cute Shoes says:

    I would have done the same thing myself. What are you teaching your daughter if you let her know that it’s okay to lie, even for little things. It will just confuse her in the end if you tell her that she can’t lie and you’ve already made her do it. You did a great thing by enrolling her in her own district. I am 100% with you on that answer!

  25. Stephanie says:

    For some reason my info keeps going back to my old stuff.. ughh! I am just chaning it now.

  26. Wendy Ann Edwina D'Cunha e Pereira says:

    Youhave definitely done the right thing… It’s difficult enough to instill the right values in our kids these days. How do we explain the wrongs of lying if we do it oursleves???

  27. Angela says:

    You definitely made the right decision. Think of all the media stories out there about people who lied about their education—where they went to school, internships, etc. jut to get a better job. You’re laying the foundation for girlie girl to tell the truth–even if it costs her. Kids are smart–they pick up really fast that if its ok for Mommy to tell a white lie, who shouldn’t they be allowed to. Way to go!

  28. Angela says:

    You definitely made the right decision. Think of all the media stories out there about people who lied about their education—where they went to school, internships, etc. jut to get a better job. You’re laying the foundation for girlie girl to tell the truth–even if it costs her. Kids are smart–they pick up really fast that if its ok for Mommy to tell a white lie, why shouldn’t they be allowed to. Way to go!

  29. Eve says:

    I know this is horrible tosay, but it depends on how bad I wanted it. My parents are hard core truth people. They wouldn’t let me lie and say I’d been living with them for a year so I could get residency and cheaper college. This put of college for me for a year, and I didn’t end up get even close to a diploma because I got married and had babies. I regret not being able to finish more school.
    I’m still a little bit of the mind set to roll my eyes and say “mom and dad, get over it and LIE a little!” What does that say about me?
    I do admire your decision and in the end hope that would be mine as well.

  30. Melissa says:

    I’d have to agree with you on this one! Much more important to learn the life lesson of honesty… IMO. That kind of reminds me of the book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” :)

  31. Amy says:

    Yes, you absolutely did the right thing! You will always be able to look your girls in the eyes and let them know you did not lie. I believe for doing the right thing you will see that it will work out for the best!

  32. Debby says:

    As you know we are dealing with the same issues right now. Like you we would have been very tempted, but in the end I think we would not have done it either. As they say it’s a slippery slope…
    Good for you, though! GG will be a much better person in the end because she’ll have you to emulate.

  33. momto3cubs says:

    You are doing the right thing. Good for you. The lie would be uncovered sooner or later anyway.

  34. Pamela says:

    you did the right thing.
    the second option would be to look for a private school ? ? ?

  35. Rosemarie says:

    I applaud you! Even knowing it could have worked with a lie you thought further about the consequence of teaching your daughter an unattractive trait — deceit.

    You did the right thing!

  36. ellen says:

    Hmmmm that’s a difficult one. You could say, after she has been accepted, that you have moved if anybody asks. I am sure they will not ask her to leave.

  37. Sparky Duck says:

    For now, you probably did the right thing, because I am a firm believer in the idea that the rating of a school does not matter until Middle/High School. But, I have seen plenty of kids lie about where they were from to play on a better High School football team, so for you to do it for education purposes instead is acceptable in my book.

  38. Waya says:

    You know I believe in Karma and I agree with you for not going through with your friend’s suggestion. I think it is really up to the kid to excel wherever she/he is, regardless of schools. And with great parents like you guys, I think she’ll definitely thrive in whatever environment you put her in.

  39. Mum says:

    You did the right thing – it could get hairy when she wants to invite school friends over to play, and they go over things like addresses and phone numbers in school.

  40. Desert Songbird says:

    As much as we would like to sacrifice everything in order for our children to get the best education, sacrificing integrity is not a good idea. I think you were correct to stand up for principle and go with your local school. You said your school is pretty good; if it were a terrible school, the decision might have been more difficult, but I think setting the best example of our kids is a first-rate decision. You can always “supplement” her education with extra-curricular activities.

  41. Amber says:

    You definitely did the right thing. Kids learn so much through our examples, and as other commenters have said, lying about this would have taught Girlie-Girl that it’s ok to lie if you deem the cause to be worthy. And you would be setting a precedent in her mind that you are untrustworthy – something you definitely don’t want to be considered as your children get older. Good for you for sticking to your principles!

  42. Scone says:

    The thing that came to me as I read over these comments was, you really hang out with a lot of good, honest people.

    The one thing I have to contribute is that it might be to your daughter’s advantage (or at least look good on her transcripts later) to have A’s in an OK school rather than have C’s in a great school. At least it worked for me. Of course, at the kindergarten level it’s all about the quality of education, but your commenters are right; she’ll learn just as much as she can regardless, so if you make your home a place of learning, she’ll be fine.

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