Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Excuse My Sarcasm

*I'm in a hurry today, so I apologize for any typos!*

Here at Four Strong Women, Marci and I are the two who bitch about the public school systems until the cows come home. I think I tend to get on my soapbox about it a li'l more than she does, but phone calls between us often center on public school woes. She'll discuss her issues with her daughter's school with me, and then I'll tell her the latest about the three school districts I've dealt with over the last two years. One thing is for certain. We both agree that today's school systems are all about money and control, and less about a real education. However, the federal government seems to ignore this issue in each state, but doesn't have a problem preaching education is a top priority for the future generations.

Bwahahaha! No child should be left behind—my ass!

Okay, okay, let me back up and start from the beginning. I'm in rant mode, so grab a cup of coffee.

Some who know me online know that my granddad was a teacher his entire life. I've taught in public schools on a volunteer basis, and I was an online writing instructor. One thing my granddad always said, and what I've learned is true, is that no two children learn in the same manner. One will pick something up immediately, another learns quickly, yet another has a moderate pace of learning, and then there are others who struggle to grasp their studies or perhaps they have problems in math and science, but excel in history and English.

And then you have ones like my dau who was so bored out of her mind she stopped doing her homework because it was the same crap over and over…

As a result, you have morons in the board of education offices who look you in the eye and tell you your child isn't smart enough to do online schooling.

As Ace Ventura would say, "Oh ree-hee-hee-heely?"

If the damn schools would truly teach our children--I repeat, IF--then our kids wouldn't be struggling or bored out of their ever lovin' minds! After battling that particular school district for nearly nine years, I'd had enough and I pulled my oldest daughter out of public school and enrolled her in a state-run online school direct out of Columbus, Ohio.

The first year my dau breezed through everything. Her counselor and teachers were so impressed that she was told she'd graduate early. Elated, we were so happy that we'd found a great online school. The girl maintained a 4.0 gpa, and was well ahead of the other students in her classes—remember, the moron who said my child wasn't smart enough to do online schooling?—and furthermore, the classes were ten times more difficult than what was being taught in her old school. And it was so nice not to have to deal with teachers who worried more about fundraisers for the football team or taking valuable class time to teach HOW to take the proficiency tests so the school would rate higher and get more funding.

Excuse me. I must apologize for my scathing sarcasm when it comes to school systems and the government.

After years upon years of fighting three different school systems in the area, I can't seem to curb the sarcasm anymore. Anyway, when my daughter finished last year, she had high hopes of graduating early. All she needed—or so we were told—was senior government, one more year of science, and since she wants to go into animal medicine, she was told another year of math (this made five courses of math) would help her (which stymied me, but I thought okay, she only has three classes this semester, so why worry about it?).

However, the problem was that government class wouldn't be taught until the second semester, so she'd have to wait until after the second semester to pursue an early graduation. So my dau took her science and math class, plus she took a 5th year of English just to have something to do with her time. Report card time rolled around and hers was all Ds and Fs. I nearly came unglued and chewed my dau out because I'd trusted her to get her work done and do it well. A week later I was apologizing to her because it was the school's computer system that had messed up her grades. It took one of her teachers nearly a month of battling the main office to rectify it. The office said they'd send us an updated report card--and she had all As except for a high B--but regardless of phone calls and emails inquiring about the updated grade card, we never got one.

Second semester ends, and along comes the Ohio Graduate Tests, which are the most useless tests created! No matter how well you do throughout your school career, if you do not pass these tests by the time you're to graduate from high school, you just don't graduate. You are forced to then pay for the tests and continue to take them until you do pass, and then you'll receive your diploma. No going to college until you graduate, right? Right. The dau took the OGTs. A teacher even came to our home to give her the exams, and she said the dau had aced hem.

A month passed and we were notified that the dau failed he OGTs and that she also got Ds and Fs on her second report card. Then we caught the error. The last two numbers of her student ID were transposed! We called and called, complained and ranted, and even the same teacher went to bat for us. And I can only assume the other girl—yes the school knew who it was—passed all these courses with flying colors that she never worked for. After all, she had my dau's grades! The school would not rectify the situation no matter how many times it promised to do so.

However, during this time, the school kept calling me about the re-testing time for the OGTs again. And, I might add, threatening me with recordings and some live jerk who was a pompas ass called too. Talking to me like I'm a stupid mom is an excellent way to activate my Sarcasm Mechanism (I can strip the hide off a Gila Monster with my snark).

Needless to say, the guy hung up in a huff when I got done with him. Why wouldn't the school rectify her report cards and OGT scores? I have no proof, but my theory is that they wanted to keep her in school another year to get the funds for her as a student and to get the funds for her re-taking the OGTs too.

As for the other girl with my dau's grades? My guess is she was the type of student that schools love to push through to get them out of the system and out of their hair.

Finally, after weeks and weeks of arguing with the state online school, my dau, who is 18, withdrew from school. She's going to study for her GED and hopefully catch the testing date this fall to take the test. She has a fiancé, a baby, and they have a nice li'l home, but she desperately wants to get her diploma and go into college to make a life for herself. Our worry is that the dau will have to jump through hoops of fire when she applies to college to prove that it was the state's screw up on her grades and OGT scores.

I was seriously thinking of getting my teaching degree starting this fall, but after this last battle, after I saw how the state and federal government truly does not give a shit about a REAL education, how it's all about the money, the control, and taking parental rights away, I decided against teaching. My dau is so disappointed in the system, as am I, but what can we do? We're only two li'l drops in an ocean of unrest. Unless parents take back the educational rights of our kids, two li'l drops here and there are waved away by the government like we're just pesky flies.

My two youngest are now in a school district that focuses on teaching and less about what the state insists it should do (they can do this because they're well funded outside of the state's help), but they do have some incredibly stupid policies—so they can keep the state off their back—and it abides by strict laws due to the school being so large. Two examples are the following:

A) If your child is sick and you can't get h/her into a doctor because you have no transportation or help from family/friends, or the doctor is booked solid, your child gets 5 unexcused absences then your ass lands in truancy court where you have to explain this to a judge and then pay the court costs.

B) My youngest dau was attacked by another girl and ended up in a physical altercation to defend herself. However, the principal could not tell me the other girl's name (although I knew who it was because she's THE school bully), nor discuss the incident with me due to new confidentiality laws. However, the bully still bothers my dau, and the principal continues to ignore the situation (and yes, I'm gearing up for another battle over this, and will be well-armed with copies of the no-bullying laws!).

What the hell is going on with the U.S. school systems? Where is the common sense? Home schooling and private schools are on the rise. Gee, wonder why? Get the damn politics out of the school systems and go back to good old-fashioned teaching!

The following sign should be the U.S. Government's motto for our education system.


Anthology Authors said...

I am so with you on this, Faith, but you know that. DD is starting to read to herself. She's so excited to do it, too. That's great.

So, I volunteer to help in her class twice a week. Tuesday mornings, I just go through the kids' folders, correct their homework, mark down they've done it, and put the folders in their cubbies. (The homework is 1st grade is really just to get them used to doing homework. So, in other words, time wasting.) There was a question on today's homework that most of the kids didn't get. Why? Because it's one of those math "tricks" that sound good to adults, but confuse the hell out of kids. So, I think maybe three out of 22 kids got what they were supposed to do. Even the kids who are really advanced didn't get it. When you see so many kids struggling with this concept for weeks on end, why do you waste time on it? It's mind boggling.

Another thing that irritates me is that, instead of calling die a die, they call it a number cube. WTF? A number cube? I've taught my daughter that it's die or dice, not a f$*&ing number cube! Kids are smart. Kids can get it, and if they ask why it's called a die, look it up in the effing dictionary for Pete's sake!

Breathe, Marci! Breathe!

I'm done. If I keep this up, I'll start breathing fire. (g)

trinity said...

Oh Faith I know what you mean! I so know the problems of the school system. All through out my daughter's jr.high she was bullied to the point where she didn't care anymore about her grades she just gave up. I would call, go up to the school everything finally her last year and they actually did something, but you know what she'll remember the bullies not the stuff she learned.
Also tell me what is up with calculators? Do you know they don't teach the times tables anymore! Kids are allowed to use calculators instead. What the hell? What happens when there is no calculator not to mention the fact they don't know the basics to go onto Algebra which they have to have for High School.
Also they dropped teaching cursive writing.Both of my kids can't read or write in cursive. WHY? Because of the computer! Um excuse me but what if we don't have power for the computers?

Faith said...

LOL, Marci! We could rant for years!

Trin, the cursive thing sounds like the school's choice. Down here on the opposite end of Ohio, cursive writing is still taught.

As for calculators, I believe students are permitted to use them now instead of their brains because everything nowadays is done by computers. What would happen, however, if there was a magnetic pulse that rendered all electronics useless? No one will know how to think except for people 40 and over!

trinity said...

I took my kids to BK they other day and told my kids I use to work there standing outside during lunch hour collecting money for the orders. They looked at me and said, "How did you do it with out a computer? Did you have a calculator?" I just look at them and shook my head.
It's real sad if you ask me.

Ginger Simpson said...

I remember the days when my kids were in school. Most of the class materials and extraneous stuff was provided. Now I have an eight-year-old grandson, and every year we get a note of what we are required to send. It reads something like this:

Six rolls of paper towel
Wet wipes
Hand Sanitizer
three boxes of kleenex

What happened to all the lottery money that was supposed to "pump up the coffers?"

I'm not a fan of public school either...and I really think homework should be outlawed.


Faith said...

My oldest son can't add in his head at all. Math isn't one of my strong suits, but I can certainly add and subtract in my head. When I was a kid, if any of us was caught with a calculator it was a ruler across the fingers or detention.

Ginger, I bitch up a storm every year when I get the school supply list. I remember all I needed growing up was crayons, pencils, some notebooks, a ruler, and maybe a pack of colored pencils for history class to do maps.

Now, each kid (although two are finally out of the next) would bring home a list with up to 20+ items on it. And from what I'm hearing now, some schools insist parents buy a notebook or laptop for their kids. If they can't, they have to rent them.

Also, until my youngest started school, the school would supply a snack for the kindergartners like gram crackers and milk. Now I'm forced to send a snack to school on my son's designated snack day, so I'm feeding 21 kids once a month when keeping groceries in my own home can be quite a feat.

Anthology Authors said...

You know there are numerous studies that show homework is useless, Ginger? No big surprise there! How much homework did we actually have until say 5th grade? None. Most of us are better educated in the basics than the kids these days.

Trinity, what happens when you go to a grocery store? If you can't add or subtract, you don't know if they are giving you the proper change. I've caught the clerk accidentally adding something like an extra Mac & Cheese or missing one before. I've also caught the wrong prices on items. It will say one thing on the shelf, but be something different in the computer. If you aren't paying attention, you can't add/subtract, you can get bilked. Sometimes, it's on purpose, but a lot of the time, it's not. And since a number of the people running the cash registers are younger, we are relying on someone who can't add or subtract. Yeah, not on my watch!

Faith said...

Marci and Ginger, you should see the amount of papers my 6 yr old brings home each day from kindergarten. And I dread him missing school due to illness. If he misses two days, it takes us two evenings to catch up on the homework.

It infuriates me. He's 6 so why all the damn homework???

And although he loves school, he's bored. He needs to be in advanced classes, but the school won't do that for him unless he's tested and has an IQ of 160 or higher. So hold him back makes more sense?

Nix Winter said...

I'm sorry there has been so many problems with the school. I pulled my younger daughter out, and moved to another state over some school problems.

A GED will get one into a community college. Community colleges have smaller class sizes and lower costs. If she lives on line.. she might want to look at www.wgu.edu


Sharon said...

I whole heartly agree with you. And I can sympathize. I went through almost the same thing with my son. The teacher actually told my son he'd be better off to quit and go to work flipping burgers. Needless to say when he called me at work I told my boss ( who was very understanding) that I was taking off to go to school. After a face to face with the teacher , Superintendant and others I said "I want that teacher's job now" .After they tried to get me calmed down I told them...uh uh..you done bit a bear in the ass, woke a sleeping cougar, and done stepped on the snake tail...now it's your turn to received your just reward.
My son did not quit school, they gave that teacher the rest of the year off ( oh of course with pay) and did not renew her contract. They heard me roar.
I am so glad i do not have a child in school due to the politics. I'm right there with you.

Angel said...

Get'em good Faith. The school systems are crap. No one should excuse the sarcasm, it's well warrented. My dau is add adhd and some teachers don't understand her chemical imbalance. So now we're fixing to finish up the 3rd grade and her learning rate has reduced by half.

She's really going to struggle next year. So I'm hoping by switching her school systems, down here to Tx, she'll do better.

Lor said...

My oldest daughter was bullied. She was really pretty and boys liked her. Their girlfriends on the other hand...and here's the kicker. My daughter was dating a girl at the time. The kids at her school didn't know she dated a girl but the point was...their boyfriends looked at my daughter even though she blew them off...and they made horrible threats. Like cutting up her face or breaking her bones kind of threats. I went down there breathing fire. I'd been bullied in high school. I wasn't about to allow my daughter to fear each day. They refused to do anything. I finally told them I'd have every damn one of them arrested (the adults) if my kid was hurt. I'd offered to go sit in her classes with her but they refused to allow me to guard her since they sure weren't willing to protect her. They KNEW there was a problem. KNEW she was being threatened. Didn't do squat. I had to pull her out. Then FIGHT to not end up in court over pulling her out because they wanted the $ they were missing and held her records hostage trying to make me appear as a bad mother because she was missing school. I tried to put her into one of those schools where the kids go a few hours a week, she did all her homework at home but I needed her records for them to accept her. The high school tried to block me from doing it. I threatened to hire a lawyer and sue each one of them. I told them I'd picket the school until someone from the news station came down so I could tell them the kind of threats my child got every day until I pulled her and how they had that 'kids will be kids' attitude while they refused to hand over her records to allow me to get her into another school. They backed off quickly. To get her records I literally sat down in the morning and called them EVERY HOUR. EVERY day and reminded them with each call...my cell phone keeps a record of EVERY call I make so if I end up in court...explain it to the judge on who is to blame for her not being in school since I'm CALLING YOU. After two weeks they were so tired of it they handed them over. I told the woman who ran the school...I'm your worst nightmare. I have nothing better to do than ruin your day for as long as you hold my kid hostage between schools after you refused to make the bullies stop. That's what it took. It's...amazing to me the kind of crap they do. Or that I had to go to those lengths to get my daughter to safety.

Fiona McGier said...

And yet I've raised 4 intelligent, erudite, well-spoken young adults who are all college-bound and tested at the top of the ACT scores. I'm a published author and a certified English teacher with a specialty in teaching writing. I've been subbing for 7 years in 8 different high schools. Kids love me so much one started a facebook fan club calling me the best sub ever. There are about 500 names on it. The school districts find reasons to drop me from their lists. I've been banned from multiple schools. The kids still send me their college essays to read over, because their teachers are "too busy" to help them get into college. And every time I apply for a teaching job, if I do even get that rare call for an interview, they give the job to a newbie whose degree still has wet ink on it. Whose in charge? The bean counters! Educators? Many simply do day-care.

Faith said...

Thank you, Nix!

Sharon, we have some teachers in this area who have said similar things to students. None spoke in such a way to any of mine, but I heard parents screaming about it. We did have one gym teacher who knew some boys were going to do a public "stoning" to my oldest son and said she'd turn her back while they did it. I blew up, and with the testimony of the gym aide, she was removed of her job and prevented from teaching in that particular school again.

Angel, I know of so MANY parents who fight teachers and schools due to their lack of patience or understanding with ADHD kids. It's so damn sad that the system seems to push these children to the side. They're bright and imaginiative kids who simply need an alternative way of learning.

Holy cow, Lor! You sound like my twin! You have a determination and disposition just like mine when it comes to your kids, lol! Way to go, lady. Give 'em hell!

Fiona, I'd probably be treated the same way you are if I had went ahead and got my teaching degree. I'm on the records as a troublesome parent. I have to be, because if you say my name around the school my kids just moved out of, everyone has one of two reactions. Either the root for me because h/she is a teacher who wants to teach instead of dealing with politics and in-school bs, or h/she hates my guts because we've locked horns several times over their blatant stupidity.

Tess MacKall said...

I had a round with my boy's school this morning over a report card. Report cards were issued last night on conference night. Only one conference per year is required. I've already been to two. Last night I did not feel like going. So I didn't.

I went to school about noon, asked the front desk just as nicely as I could for his report card. I was told in a very stern voice, with a very disappointed-you-are-a-bad-bad-parent look on the receptionist's face that I would need to make an appointment with the homeroom teacher for a conference. LOL LOL LOL

And I did, laugh out loud. Really did. And then I leaned over that counter and just as nicely as you please said: "No. I don't. Get the report card."

She said, in another very stern voice, "You'll have to take it up with the principal."

I said, "Here ya go, sweetheart. It's like this. Only one conference is required of me per year. The school encroaches on my family's life enough as it is. You are very very lucky that I am even standing here being nice. Now if you want me to go to the newspaper with this, I most certainly will. NOOOOOO PROBLEM."

Ya see, I learned a long long time ago. Anytime you have issues with the school system, threaten them with the media. They bust butt to fix ANY situation then. They do NOT like negative publicity. Doesn't matter if they are in the right or the wrong--they have pissed off enough people that ANY publicity that questions them in any way, makes them look bad.

So, I got the report card. I wasn't happy with a couple of the grades I saw, but that's another rant.

Faith said...

I give you credit, Tess. You seem to be able to control your temper better than I do. After years of putting up with the bs of three different school districts, I tend to snap pretty fast when dealing with school officials/personelle.

Heather said...

Wow. I am sorry to hear that the schools in your district/state are so bad. Did you ever make written complaints to the district or state? Or consider takign your story puclib? One of our local TV stations has a "Call to Action" team, and this is just the sort of story they would have jumped on.

I was one of those kids you mentioned who struggled with math and science, but was in advanced history, English and foreign language classes. I feel very lucky listening to others peoples' horror stories that I had such good teachers when I was in school. I can honestly say that I never had a bad teacher until I got to college (and then I had two).

However, with the Idiot in Charge's recent hacking at the state education budget, I fear not only for the kids who struggle and need extra help, but those who excel and won't get the extra push they need when classes are cut. No surprise that funding for public education is always the first thing to be cut. Afterall, an uneducated public is easier to dupe and control.