Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Public Break Up

Let me start off my saying that I have high respect for individuals who follow their calling to educate the next generation. My favorite adults were my teachers when I was a student. I used to be a para-educator in the Special Education department at a high school before my daughter was born. I married (the first round) to an art teacher. I felt the chasm between teachers giving their blood, sweat and tears to the profession and parents letting them down.

Public School Works for Some Kids

But now I've come to the realization that public school is not for everyone. We have bought houses in the best school districts and still, very little education was being fed or stuck with my stepson. On the other hand, my daughter is doing just fine. I suspect our youngest boy will be just fine also. But I feel that "No Child Left Behind" has grossly underserved my stepson, who was the younger of two boys for his first 8 years of life, or 4 years of schooling.

Avoiding a Blame Game

I'm not saying that public school was totally responsible for my son's lack of learning. But I can say that he did not read until the 4th grade, when I spent my husband's night shifts getting him up to speed to reading at 1st grade level. I cannot fathom a child being able to learn ANYTHING within the traditional school "system" without being literate. Also, he did not have much functional language skills. It was truly a recipe for educational disaster.

Aren't Parents Experts Regarding their Children?

Our biggest mistake as parents and educational advocates was placing too much trust in the teachers. There was this Chinese wall of sorts. Even though I was going to IEP meetings, it was still unclear what his day looked like at school. He would bring home connect the dots sheets and other "busy work." Many of his pages of school work (not home work) was either in a para's handwriting or empty. All the while, they spoke of "we have his education covered, don't worry."

We need more than just good teachers...

We didn't just leave it to the school, although we had full faith in the protections of special education (so we thought). We exposed him to outside cognitive and speech therapies, martial arts, boy scouts, drumming group, and church groups. We fully recognize that our son has been underperforming; there is no denial of that sort.

An At-will Relationship?

As children enter the public school system, parents forge a partnership, a relationship, if you will, with the teachers and service personnel. Parents, like my husband and myself, do their best to align with the teachers and perpetuate their techniques and approaches at home. We emailed them with hopefully helpful information so they can have an easier time of interacting with our kiddo. After so many years of putting into the educational relationship-- We are calling a breakup. The affidavit is en route~

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