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Saturday, February 17, 2018

When Did Schools Start Failing?

The more I know about the public school system, the less inclined I feel to have my children enrolled. My two boys are struggling and my kindergartner is going through the same torture that myself and others who were considered "gifted and talented" went through. Sad to say, but in the past 22 years, the school system still has not changed in that regard. 
My oldest son has a teacher who pretends she has it all together. Lady can't be on time to her class. But complains that my son isn't taking advantage of coming to class early when she is "always there at 7 to help with homework". She doesn't truly listen to the parents who are trying to get their kids the best education available to them. She doesn't know how to communicate effectively with parents on misconduct acts. Although lets face it, neither of my kids second grade teachers are able to use proper grammar or spelling in their emails to me. Even some of the homework sheets they send home are full of errors. Both in the English and in the math. She expects every child in her class to be honest when they are being bad. She doesn't show that she bothers checking homework assignments outside of simple reading projects. She gets an attitude when her assumptions of what should happen don't (i.e. - parent calls instead of arriving for a face-to-face meeting). And here is my favorite ill conceived idea of hers - kids have to earn the right to have their snack in class. These are second graders being forced to go from breakfast at 7 AM (or earlier if they are eating at home) to 12:19 without their snacks. And on some days, while having PE class in between. My kids have hyperactive digestion systems. They burn through what energy they get from eating pretty quick. And they get hungry. But in her class, you have to earn the right to eat. Otherwise, you can sit there and watch others eat. And if your snack doesn't meet her idea of "healthy", you also won't get to eat. Granted, when I was in their grade level over 20 years ago (yes, I'm dating myself now), we didn't have snack time. That is something newer in the schools. Then again, we didn't hear much about how many American kids are starving and only eat at school either. Another problem I am butting heads with this teacher on is how she thinks (or is the normal guidelines in schools now) that it is more important for a 9 year old to know how to get the answer rather than get the answer. What do I mean by this? My son can do the math in his head, but struggles when he has to show his work or label the strategy that is used. She makes the kids label each part of the problem and then solve it. He knows the answer, but that is not important to her. How is he getting the answer? My cousin was a math genius who couldn't show the work, but could solve any problem in his head. Got accused of cheating no matter how he proved that he wasn't. Remember, this was before cell phones and calculators were being carried by everyone. She says she is treating the kids as though they are in the third grade already. Lady, you are forcing them to grow up before they are there yet! Why?! She also had the balls to make the statement that I need to help my son be more independent because she knows that I have "other kids" and my "focus is divided". Followed by other statements leaning towards the idea that because I have 4 kids (which is a lot to a woman like her), I can't devote as much time to each one as is needed. Sweetheart... be glad we were talking on the phone or you might have needed to take a sick day. So help me... Who does she think she is? As another mother, who removed her child from this teachers class, pointed out - we Mothers have different levels of what we can handle. Some Moms can only have one. It is all they can take. Some Moms have 2, 3, or 4 kids and that is their limit. My Mother has 10. We all have different thresholds of where we can balance ourselves. I hold to the belief that God gives us what we can handle. 4 is my limit. But I'll be darned if I don't give them my all and give them the attention they need as they need it. I might be poor. I might not have a college degree. But I have a heart full of love. A love that overflows for my kids. So tread lightly when you make out that I'm not fully able to be there for any one of them. 
My other son excels at math, but he's not confident in reading because he isn't as good at it. I feel his pain. It is the same that I had when it came to math. I'm not sure I qualify for even average. But I excelled in reading to the point that I was "gifted" you might say. But because of this deficiency in one subject, she doesn't feel he is truly ready to pass and is, instead, "placing" him in third grade next year to be "watched and assessed". When did it stop being a pass or fail? When did they introduce the "placing" method for the grey liners? Not in the red (failing), but not in the black (passing). So we put in this middle category and hope you make it. GAH! 
Then we have my kindergartner. This girl is already reading nearly as well as her older brothers. She sounds out words that I wouldn't have seen her reading yet. She attempts math that is ahead of her. So her teacher, seeing her long strides, sends home an assessment to see where we think she stands and if we think she is worthy of being tested for the gifted program. I'm all for it. I think that just maybe the system has changed and maybe they will later advance her if they see her pulling far enough ahead of her own level. Challenge her and see where she lands! What do they do? Start sending home packets of worksheets. Enough that she has to do 5-7 pages a night, Monday to Thursday and hand them all in on Friday morning. Where have I seen this before... Ah, yes! My cousin. Same grade level work or slightly ahead, but not advancing him. It was just to keep him busy and to make him feel better about being smarter than everyone else. My daughter gets so fed up after the 3rd page that she just starts whining and begging to be let go. She can't play games with her brothers who have maybe half of the workload she does now. She can't have play time with neighborhood friends all the time during the week either. No time. Just enough to eat dinner, shower and get to bed. 

That's another thing. My kids have to sleep early. They wake up at 6 AM to eat, dress and be ready to walk to the bus stop every morning. They don't have much time between getting off the bus and bed time. Especially not when they keep getting new bus drivers who don't know where they are going. They dropped some kid off at the wrong stop recently. Poor kid had to walk home a ways. Bus driver didn't realize the mistake until the next stop, where that kid should have been let off, when no one came forward to get off the bus. They just call a name from the list and say, "Get off here". Some days, we stand at the bus stop worrying that something bad has happened. At which point, we are all dialing the school and get the phone picked up by stressed out admin staff that say the bus will arrive "soon". 
This system is too broken. You are facing kids so bogged down instead of promoted up that they want to quit school as soon as possible. I have said it before and I say it again - public schools are like prisons. You have teachers that are not getting proper support from the administrative roles above them. You have admin that are blaming teachers for student not passing, no matter what the teacher does. Every couple of weeks, it seems like I'm getting requests for money or supplies. Some fundraiser is happening or something else is missing in the classroom. They send home pictures of my kids that I did not authorize them taking and say I can buy them or send them back. Just don't send them at all! Then there are holidays every month. If not a national holiday, there are student holiday/staff training days. I don't remember having so much time out of school when I was incarcerated in the public system. How about the fact that they are not teaching real life lessons as much as teaching what will be on the next test? It is all about getting kids to pass a test and make the passing grades higher for the schools rating. My second graders still are not being taught cursive in school. They aren't retaining some of this other fluff stuff though either. They spent a single day practicing how to write a letter. Still don't do it right. I'm having to show them that art as well. But they have to learn about Kwanzaa and Ramadan at Christmas time. Because that will be helpful in their lives. 
My husband and I have agreed. Either next year or some time before they reach 5th grade, they will be home schooled. I'm done putting up with this crap. I want my kids to succeed at life. I want them to learn real skills. And I'm going to have to show them how. Because I just don't see it happening in the public school system anymore. And with the latest school shooting... I don't see them being safe anymore either.


  1. Well you have hit some key things about public schools.. Remember it is a business. They need kids signed up at the first 2 weeks to get federal funding. If everyone held their kids at home till the 3rd or 4th week after school began, the schools loose thousands of dollars. School shootings are going to continue as this country has kicked God out of it. We are lacking in morals these days. I hope things work out for your kids. Raising them is a hard job and I think many moms have forgotten that.

    1. Some very good points. We will see how things go. I'm not backing down in seeking the best I can for my kiddos though. It is a hard job that I take pride in.