Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No Parent Left Behind

School starts next week.  Tuesday in fact.  I feel like summer's been incomplete some how.

We did the usual family vacations to Seattle, Winnipeg and Kentucky (camping and Disney World still to come!)
We did the usual summer stuff spending some time outdoors, at the park, in the water, at the pools.
M Bug did camps galore.
We biked and scootered and gardened.
It was hot this summer though.  So I felt like we spent most of it indoors which sucks.
Because that is what we do in the winter months too.  Oh well.

School.

I bought all of the school supplies a few weeks back.  I just wanted to get it done.

I had the list in my purse and I did it.  Sales be damned.  Actually I only bought things on sale so there!

I bought this backpack for M Bug because he wanted it, the soccer ball one, and he wanted it to be personalized.  I acquiesced.  It is fun to have cool things in school.  I am thinking of my Esprit bags!  Those were so cool back in the day.

When the fam was away, I took a drive to the outlet mall to get some "stuff" for the kids.  I bought them long pants and cute tops and socks and undergarments.  We still need some additional pants for M Bug as he is growing and growing and he is seriously going to have bigger hands than me by the age of 7, or that is what he thinks.  We measured last night!

{{Abrupt topic change, sort of....}}

One thing I am smidgen pissed about it that we received this letter, TWO times, yesterday.  First of all, if education is in such a quandary in the US, what the hell are they doing MAILING shit?  They have my email, they have my phone number (s). Call me.  Email me.  Do not mail me something, twice.  What a waste...

The letter was to notify us that our school underperformed on testing.  Second, I admittedly hate testing. I think testing is a crock of shit she says oh so eloquently. I think the top schools in our district are stacked for various reasons BUT that is another story for another time! 

If some percentage of children achieve well on testing than the school is reportedly better but seriously basing the relevance of my school off of a group of 9 year old's taking a standardized test completely misses the point!  Part of this is a district issue.  Redistrict than!  Parcel out the "richer" homes into my kid's school and I will tell you you will see an immediate improvement in school testing.  The teachers rock that school.  The administration is okay.  The problem with the school is that you are dealing with a massive at risk population.  You are dealing with a group of people who do not understand that stability for their children is the number one priority.  You are dealing with one of the highest population of kids who receive free/reduced lunch.  Kids came to school last year with NO school supplies and in the winter months no COATS.  One little girl in my son's class sadly said she misses her Momma who is in JAIL.  Beautiful sweet lovely little girl with better manners than any kid in that classroom who doted on Missy and hugged me and made me cry almost every time I saw her because DUDE she was awesome and can you imagine your Momma being in jail when you were six?

With that said...

The thing that I feel is missing from education today is parental involvement.  Some parents want to give their kids to the school and not look back.  They do not want to be involved, many parents in our school are duel income parents in low income situations.  Some do not necessarily have a choice in the matter.  Even if I was working full time I would make an effort to be completely involved but I understand that not all parents understand they can do something about their kid's education or they simply cannot leave their jobs to be involved.  The more well off the kids, generally the more educated the parents are and the more involved the parents are in the education of their children.

 I spent almost two hours during my son's parent teacher meeting last year.  I went into the classroom once a week if not more.  His teacher came to his sporting activities outside of school on her own time.  We spent time getting to know the kids in his class, even the not so good kids.  We gave money and tried to give back to the school community in the best ways we felt we could since time was not always an option.  Do you know the reason I could meet with the teacher for two hours that day?  NO ONE ELSE SHOWED UP FOR THEIR PARENT TEACHER MEETINGS THAT SHE SCHEDULED!  Are you kidding me???  The same 2 dozen parents volunteered for every event.  The same people brought treats.  The same the same the same...

Get involved.  Be a strong advocate for your kids.  Do not shirk your responsibility.  And heaven help me do not remove your kids from an under performing school to put them in a higher performing school across town because you think it will get better.  They will just be an outcast and they will be miserable and if we as parents do not change our ways than kids are going to continue to under perform on tests no matter where they go to school

This whole no child left behind sucks my hinny (that's a technical term BTW!)

Finally, I love my son's school.  The teachers are committed, kind, friendly and amazingly well trained.  I have no fear sending him forward into this place.  The kids are neat, most are good eggs and even the ones who are not, well even rich kids can be little shits so there you go.  Trust me, I know.  The facility is lovely.  I can only be the best parent I can be.  I can only hope that the good parents stay in the school.  I can only hope that test scores improve this coming year.  I can only hope the good teachers stay put.  It should not be no child left behind, it should be NO FAMILY left behind.  Oy vey.

School.  Love to hate it, hate to love it.
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