Sunday, August 26, 2007

School Anxiety

School doesn't start until the Thursday after Labor Day. But my stomach is already tied up in knots with worry about my child. I am too swamped over here to blog about it, but I wanted to provide some timely links. If you know of others, please let me know.
  • Labels Aren't What Kids Need Washington Post article about how pushy middle-class white parents distorted a Talented and Gifted program in Virginia and the push back from the school district.
  • Are We Failing Our Geniuses? Cover article from last week's Time magazine. I have mixed feelings about this article as it focuses mainly on one school and only on kids only at the extreme end of the IQ spectrum.
  • Who's keeping score and why? My thoughts about school testing and why it is a disservice to kids who score well without pushing.
It probably won't be wise to blog about it anyway, as we are still in negotiation with the district about what they will or will not. They do not start the "great sorting" until third grade and the Gifted and Talented (GATE) program does not start until fourth grade.

Other parents have complained that the district GATE program is practically nonexistent anyway. The district has a $50,000 grant to serve ALL the gifted students in the district, and doesn't appear to add money of their own. This translates to 8 HOURS per academic year of after school activities for GATE identified kids.

The district is broke because they must provide many autistic and other "special needs" children with full-time aides just for them. In Iris' first grade class (of 20 students) last year, two other children had aides assigned to them and another was sent to the "learning center" for special tutoring.

Charges of elitism, racism and pushiness were thrown out at a parents' meeting last spring when parents suggested clustering, which costs the district nothing. At that meeting, and an earlier private meeting concerning our child, school officials repeatedly asked me why we don't put her in a private school A mother's job is to fight for her kids. I am not concerned about how people perceive me; I worry for my child. I know mother's who have allowed their gifted children to be labeled autistic just so that their kids could get the aide and a tailored curriculum. Luckily, Iris is too well-adjusted for that to work.

I don't want to blog about the time she came home with a "test taking skills" worksheet that included one-digit arithmetic sums and bubbles. The real intent of the sheet was for the first graders(!?!) to practice filling in the scantron bubbles quickly and cleanly.

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