I am frequently asked where our children go to school, and when I respond "Albany City" the reaction is almost uniformly one of surprise. It seems that many (most?) people don't have confidence in urban school districts and elect to move to the suburbs rather than subject their children to an "inferior" educational experience. The district where I work is filled with students who attended Albany's schools until the-oh-so-dangerous-middle school days, at which point the families fled the city for a suburban, homogeneous educational experience. I've talked to these kids and, you know what, they were comfortable and challenged and happy in the city. I've never had a single one of them express fear or anxiety to me about attending a school with a diverse population. And, parents, FYI - middle school sucks everywhere, it is not just an urban issue. When you take a bunch of hormonal kids from various elementary buildings scattered around a geographic area and then throw them into a building together, please don't be surprised that things might be combustible.
Our kids go to public schools in the city in which we reside. Homes are less expensive in Albany than in many of the outlying areas, and this savings has provided us the opportunity to travel fairly frequently with our children. At this point, everyone in my home has a passport and is not afraid to use it. As a parent, I believe it is my job to expose my children to as many experiences as possible and I feel that placing my children in an environment in which they are surrounded almost exclusively by faces that directly match their own in skin tone, would be contrary to what I want for them. If we discover that our children are not able to be successful with our involvement and support, or if there is an opportunity that they are seeking which is not available in their respective schools, we will seek out options. Until that day, however, I will continue to believe in my family and in the city school district.