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Saturday, June 12, 2010

No Child Left Behind: Hey, you missed one, MINE!

Summer has finally arrived and I'm so glad school is out I almost cranked up the Alice Cooper and danced around the house myself.  It's not that we have some crazy town vacation planned or that summer is all that easy for us 'work from home' types.  I'm just glad that SCHOOL IS OVER for a little while.

Remember my interview with Dude on why school sucks?  Well, this is Dude's Mom's perspective on why school sucks. Crank up the Alice Cooper and here I go ......

At the beginning of 6th grade, test were given to determine our kid's proficiency in key areas. Dude was reading at a Senior level and writing as a Sophomore.  Pretty good, huh?  Dude is also ADHD so school is not exactly built for his brain.  Teacher lectures mostly sound like Charlie Brown's teacher while he thinks of cool stuff in his head. Because he's smart he still does o.k..

Here's how things went on the reading report card for the year.

1st Semester -      B-
2nd Semester -    C+
3rd Semester -    C-
4th Semester -     D+

Then I get his ISTEP scores

Is anyone else scratching their head, more than a little perplexed?

If you double click on that D+ you see out of 57 grades, 28 are A's and 10 are F's mostly for homework that was done but lost or late.

So this begs the question, is the D+ a measure of Dude's reading ability or of his organization ability?

Here's my biggest complaint.  What kind of message do we send to Dude with this D+ grade?  The teachers feedback to me via email before the end of the year was, "Dude needs to be more organized." If you remember from the earlier post my response was, "yea, and the deaf kid needs to listen more." ADHD kids are not usually organized.  We have now sent the message to him that he's not smart. That he barely passed. What in God's name do you think that does to a kid's self esteem?

I've had it.

I sat down with Dude and we had a great conversation.  I don't let him off the hook completely with grades because he does need to find strategies to deal with his ADHD, but never will grades be a measure of his ability, intelligence or capability.  I'm hopeful that he'll have a virtual assistant that handles all of this organization crap that he's not good at and he'll be changing the world with his brillance and creativity.

To be clear. I'm not down on teachers.  They've got the 2nd hardest most underpaid job on earth after stay at home moms.  Yes, some of them suck. I won't name names here, but for the most part they are great people with a huge heart working in a system that fails them and our kids every single day.

Not one time throughout the year did ANYONE from Dude's school call and ask to speak to me that his test scores and his grades seemed to be completely out of sync.  His test scores helped them get the funding they wanted and needed and that was the end of that story.  No need to worry about the lasting effect a D grade gives a pre-teen about who they are and what' they're capable of.  There's no funding for that. 

Next up on my School Sucks Rant: Look What Your School Book Money Bought

Note: If you buy something from Amazon with those links, I get some dimes and nickels. No harm, no shame.