by Mary MacVean,
Dec. 5 - It's December, and the pressure is mounting. Not from the presents or the cooking or the relatives. Those are a piece of cake -- a fruitcake, perhaps. It's the agony of choice. Or, more accurately, CHOICES.
The worry season officially begins when the L.A. Unified CHOICES booklet arrives in the mail. Right there on the cover it says, "Please open at once." Why wait to ramp up the anxiety?
The booklet, much improved in the last several years, explains the possibilities clearly. It includes an application (no copies accepted), due by Jan. 11, and an envelope to mail it – though plenty of faithless parents carry it by hand downtown to the district offices. Anyone who needs a booklet can get one at any LAUSD school.
Last year, The Times played host to the Magnet Yentas, writer Sandra Tsing Loh and other moms who answered readers' questions about the system. In the links [following], we're repeating excerpts of their advice. Information also is available at www.lausd.net.
smf's 2¢ - This article marks the debut of a new byline in 4LATimes, welcome Mary MacVean. I wrote my very first piece for publication about the Choices brochure process. Last year Sandra Tsing Loh and Co. - under the guise of The Magnet Yentas wrote some very good, funny and informative stuff for the late, lamented School Me! blog in LATimes. The Times in their infinite wisdom - demonstrating the viability of reruns on the Internet to prove the Writers' Guild point - has republished online.
2. Mail your application and all correspondence in, certified mail, return receipt requested.