Does kindergarten choice affect your kids' career?

Last night, I had a devastating conversation with one of my favorite dads, about kindergarten. It started innocently enough. "Do you think test scores matter?" he asked. He has a little boy -- friend since (practically) conception to my second son -- entering kindergarten in the fall. This is the man who'd just as soon passionately argue the evils of our fossil-fuel dependent society, or why he built a 325-square-foot house, as fret over his kid's eventual career. And yet here he is, attending his first kindergarten roundup session and trying to figure out where his not-yet-five-year-old will be most "challenged."

Here in Portland, Ore., like many cities and towns across the country, it's time to start thinking about kindergarten registration. And though it seems ridiculous to link a person's future to the choices parents are making right now, well, it's surely not the first time (just look at Baby Einstein and the famously bitter battles to wangle admission to Manhattan's top preschools).