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26 Questions to Ask on a School Tour

{The author’s daughter Matisse and her colleagues discussing the benefits of a play-based education.}

L.A. actor//writer//mom (and my bestie) Barbara King is back with her latest on motherhood in Los Angeles. This is the second piece in her series on the terrifying and hilarious (and very broken) school system in Los Angeles. When you’re done laughing (or breathing into a paper bag from anxiety, if you are also going through the same ordeal), wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY in the comments below, and tell her it’s all going to be okay! Here’s Barbara on the questions you should ask on an L.A. school tour if you’re a “Real Mom Of Los Angeles…”

26 Questions to Ask on a School Tour

Whew! School tours can be SOOOO daunting! Luckily, I’ve been to A BUNCH of school tours (32) here in Los Angeles and it seems like the same questions get asked over and over. So, based on the questions fellow parents have asked, I’ve made a list of SUPER IMPORTANT questions you can take with you.


  1. 1. Does this school have a cafeteria and if so, is the food organic?
  2. 2. Are the meals served both appetizing to look at and nutritionally on point?
  3. 3. Do meals include exciting and exotic items such as kelp, daikon radish seeds, and freekeh?
  4. 4. Is this a peanut-free school? Nut-free school? Gluten-free school? Sugar-free school? Meat-free school? Dairy-free school? GMO-free school? Carbs-free school? Food-free school?
  6. 6. Do the meals have a Paleo option?
  7. 7. Is there a place for our private family chef to prepare lunch on site or should our nanny just drop the lunch off a few minutes before lunchtime?


  1. 8. What foreign languages are taught in kindergarten? Spanish? French? Mandarin? Italian? Japanese? German? Latin? Piglatin? Sign language? Body language? Lip reading? Californian?
  2. 9. Do you believe in textbooks?
  3. 10. Do you use Common Core because I’ve, like, read so many complaints online about Common Core and I’m totally not willing to find out if they are based in reality and I, like, hate math and I can’t handle trying to figure that shit out because I have my own life to worry about and don’t want to solve out how many miles Darlene has left before she arrives at the library, that’s just, like, too much to take and totally doesn’t matter in real life anyway because I’ve never done math since I graduated from high school and married rich.
  4. 11. What is Common Core?
  5. 12. What are the most recent test scores and are they better than the schools that my friends’ kids attend?
  6. 13. How can you accommodate my child who is clearly a genius?
  7. 14. What is the ratio of teachers to students to aides per classroom and how many hours per day do the aides spend in the classroom and do the aides share classroom time with any other classes and are they employed full-time or part-time or both or neither and do they have their teaching credentials and if so are they from a university that I have heard of and of which I would proudly display my diploma?
  8. 15. Homework is evil and the reason American kids are failing in life. [This is not a question.]


{My daughter waits for her preschool to open with Starbucks hot cocoa in hand. }


  1. 16. Is the campus pretty enough to make my Facebook friends jealous when I post First Day of School pics?
  2. 17. What safety precautions does the school have to protect students in case of: terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tornadoes, communism, shooters, zombies, the Kardashians, republicans, shark attacks, coyotes, gluten, hurricanes, tsunamis, glaciers, lack of glaciers, meteor showers, ants, Greenpeace volunteers, and rain?
  3. 18. Where are the bathrooms located and is the toilet paper recyclable?
  4. 19. Are the classrooms inspirational, super cute, and nice-smelling?


  1. 20. What is the school’s Instagram handle and how many followers does it have?
  2. 21. Can my nanny pick-up my kids from school on the days I have scheduled appointments for my manicures/waxing/Botox/naps?
  3. 22. Can my nanny pick-up my kids from school on the days they have scheduled Reiki treatments?
  4. 23. My child’s acting agent doesn’t want any marks on his face before really big auditions so instead of participating in P.E. and recess can he sit quietly to review lines and do breathing techniques?
  5. 24. How many celebrity parents are there at this school and how can I befriend them?
  6. 25. How much money do your families raise in fundraising so I can determine how rich the other parents are and feel either insecure or smug?
  7. 26. What time does school begin?

Hope these questions help guide your perfect little angel into the perfect future learning cloud. And remember – always ask these questions while texting someone on your phone so you seem busy and cool.

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at!

More from Barbara:

How I (Almost) Lost My Mind Applying to My Kid’s Elementary Schools

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

3 Signs You’re Ready To Be A Mom

Mommy Choices

2016 Resolutions Reality Check

My Minor Obsession with the PERFECT Holiday Photo


  • Heidi Hawk says:

    Happy birthday!! I can’t even imagine what 32 school visits must be like but I love.your humor about them!

    • Annie says:

      Isn’t she the best?!? I was cry-laughing went she sent it to me. So scary, and so real! Thanks Heidi!!!! X A