Monday, September 13, 2010

No school for you!

Yup. That's the latest at House O' Samurai. Got a call last Thursday telling me that a school shrink who'd never met my kid (really) had looked at a two-page report and decided she's not smart enough (yeah, really) to go to school this year. Even though she'd scored in the ninety-sixth percentile for language (really), and scored above average on everything else, her scores still weren't high enough to go to school at age five. Really.

Now, I know how the state laws are written. I know how the evaluation guidelines are written. I still think it's total bullshit. I've had people quoting state law at me all weekend. Don't care. In one breath people tell me the kid needs 'classroom experience' with a 'peer group', and in the next breath they tell me she's not ready for kindergarten. Sure, she's not ready for a PhD in particle physics, but I THOUGHT KINDERGARTEN WAS FOR LEARNING CLASSROOM SKILLS. But no, professional teachers tell me. That's what preschool is for. Bullshit. They're pushing the skills back and making it the problem of preschool so they can keep their precious test scores intact. That's what it's about.

As for the family, well, they're giving me all kinds of contradictory crap, too. Everyone seems to have been in a hallucinatory state for the last eighteen months, because they don't seem to remember us moving four times across three states. Next time someone tells me the Goob needs more class time with a peer group, I'm going to say "No shit, Sherlock. You think?" Maybe that will shut them up.

I'm ranting. Obviously still just a bit tweaked about this.

Anyway. Enrolled the kid in Pennsylvania's Cyber School, which is a division of the Department of Education and I can transfer her to 'real' public school next year. If I decide to send her then. After this, I don't know. For the freaking peer group class shit, we're looking into martial arts and/or dance lessons. That ought to do it.

In the mean time, if you hear the sound of teeth grinding from the direction of Pittsburgh, it's just me, wanting to kill someone.

23 comments:

Sarah said...

I don't know about PA but in WI where I live, my twins were considered not quite ready for K when they had done PreSchool and I still put them in because I figured it would be better for them to try and need to be held back then to not at all. They love it and I think they may do just fine! Good luck, congrats on having a brilliant child that wants to learn, it's great, now if the school would get out of the way and let her learn instead of tainting anything that includes them for her. dumbasses.

Alwen said...

LSG has a (very quiet) home school group. You might be able to find a local home school group just for the whole ZOMG socializing! issue.

I'd go off into my ZOMG test scores! rant, but we're off to the library & a dentist appointment 5 minutes from now.

Whiteoak said...

Good luck - I ran into the same problem 23 years ago when my child was determined to "not be ready for kindergarden". She was already starting to read and got along well in groups (had gym and music lessons before the testing). When I found out that 4 of the 5 school age children in our section of townhomes had been told the same thing plus the school district was low on space I realized they were shining me on. I ended up homeschooling (before it was legal in the state) and when she finally went to school she started in 8th grade even though she was 7th grade age. Get your daughter some lessons (swim, gym, dance, karate, art, music, whatever) and follow the Cyber school lessons then fight like crazy to have her start 1st grade next year. Also be aware that what they test on for kindergarden is the stuff on the kindergarden curriculum - can you say "bored kids"? Again, good luck and enjoy the extra time you have with her - once they go to school it is hard to have enough time.

Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

I went to school in one state where I was within the cutoff for K & 1, then we moved to a school where I was too young, but started in 2nd grade for about a month before the school system realized it.

They wanted to put me back into first grade, but my mom was like you, and fought tooth and nail. I remember taking the IQ test, and being horribly disappointed in myself because I couldn't multiply two 2-digit numbers (although that wasn't a requirement for 2nd grade as multiplication of single digit numbers wasn't taught until the end of that year).

I not only stayed in 2nd grade, but I was also put into the gifted program.

Hopefully your girl will remember you fighting for her, like I remember my mom fighting for me.

NeedleTart said...

Nineteen years ago, my son's first grade teacher wanted him in the gifted program (he made her crazy with the questions), no go. His second grade teacher wanted him in the gifted program. The shrink who tested him said he laid the story tiles in order from right to left and so wasn't as smart as we thought. He had started Hebrew the same year. PA schools make me nuts.
PS He spent all of Elementary school in the back of the room reading library books until there was something he didn't know how to do. He is now in a master's program for computer programmers.

justthreadtwiddling said...

As long as you can keep up with her, your plan is sound. I loved the PDX school system when my boys were young (35 years ago) but I am afraid of what will be there when my granddaughter starts school! I know our tax dollars are supposed to provide schooling for all children, but the communities are NOT doing a good job of allocating that money. I don't know what the solution should be. Are there charter schools in your area that could help?

Louiz said...

You have my sympathies for nutty school systems. Ours starts the September before the 5th birthday, and saves the toothgrinding stupidity for after your child is already within their care...

amy said...

I've never had any dealings with traditional public schooling when it comes to my kids. I love love love our charter school. I determined very early on (I think my first was six months old) that traditional public schools probably were not going to make me happy, and neither my husband nor I like the idea of private schools, for all sorts of reasons. I'm grateful for the charter school, because while I would have continued homeschooling, I think this is a better fit.

Long way around of saying, now that you're settled in your new, for-always home, start looking at your options for schools? There really is no one-size-fits-all. There's also probably no One Perfect Option, but hopefully you can get pretty close.

FWIW, neither of my boys went to preschool. Of COURSE they were socialized. It's not like I kept them under a freaking rock. I can't stand that argument. Both of them did just fine when they entered school with their "peer group." (Ohforcryingoutloud!!)

Shoveling Ferret said...

The stupid, it burns.
Lemme know if you want some leads on enrichment stuff in archaeology/ancient history.

Also, based on the PhDs wandering around here, the Goob is entirely too socialized already. You need to get her to a no eye-contact, mumbles to self, and yells at people for breathing or a self-aggrandizing attention-whore level.

Barbara said...

Not? Smart? Enough??? Can they read? OMG, how moronic can they be?

We battled the system when DS was in second grade and his teacher recommended he be skipped into third at midyear. It was only after I threatened to be in the classroom every bloody day that the principal and third-grade teachers aquiesced. He did great, kept up, and did so well that his teacher apologized for her initial resistance at the first conference.

I have a lovely mental picture of the Goob practicing tae kwon do in a tutu. Thanks for the smile.

Anonymous said...

I. Am. Appalled.

My own inclination...being the evil sort I am...is to go to the local newspapers. If you can locate others (who I am sure are out there) who've had the same thing happen, all the better.

It usually comes down to something stupid, like money....maybe they'd be forced to hire another teacher or something?

My own local school system has famously high scores, which I found out the hard way they achieve by quietly pushing out those kids who might lower those scores. Part of the technique they use involves having the school psychologist find nothing wrong with special-needs kids, saving them the cost of the help they are mandated to provide.

If I hadn't been so damned busy trying to save my own kids, I'd have gone to war, purely out of the need for blood. And my kids weren't disabled in any way! They were simply quiet kids who did no homework. And were pushed out for that.

scienceprincess said...

I'm sorry. As a teacher in IL, I can affirm for you that school systems are dumb. And I bet you that if they just let the teacher talk to your kid for 30 min, she would know if the Goober was ready or not. But hey, why actually trust a teacher, when we can rely on a weird standardized test . . .

Enough ranting from me.

Take care, and good luck.
Scienceprincess

Robin said...

5. Isn't that kindergarten age??? You better get yourself a mouth guard to protect you teeth from all the grinding you're gonna be doing through 12th grade! It's a long haul! Good luck! (You watch, she'll spend this year in the Cyber School and then she'll be so advanced that they'll want to push her ahead a grade or two!)

Anonymous said...

How stupid. You should have moved to CT. The cut-off is Jan. 1.

Trish

Ellen said...

I thought that was the sound of knitting needles being sharpened . . .

sorry things didn't work out as originally planned (ie. less of a headache) but you seem like a capable adult who will remind them EVERY time the Goob gets some award that THEY turned her away.

birdmommy said...

Go with martial arts - that way if you do put her into public school next year she can 'enforce' her natural leadership skills! :)

Donna Lee said...

In the old days, preschool was an option not a requirement for kindergarten. None of my girls went to preschool and all did just fine learning to be 'socialized' in kdg. Today, all the kdg teachers are too busy teaching reading and math and other academic subjects and less of the 'stringing macaroni' type activities. I'm not sure it's a good thing.

Roz said...

Can't say what I want to say, because this is a family blog and all...

OH FUCK IT. FUCK ME.

Go to the papers and to the TV stations -- they love pissed off moms of adorable kids. Put the Goob in a charter school. (This advice comes from the daughter of a public school teacher and public school nurse, as well as from the sister of a public school assistant principal.)

One day she will OWN their asses. And we will all be here laughing...

Annie said...

Bummer. Hope the Goob's wit is even sharper when/if she does start school!

Leonie said...

Bugger. You have my sympathy. Systems are different all over the world. You'd like New Zealand. They turn five they go to school, no matter what time of year it is. Sensible people those New Zealanders. So some kids get 1.5 years of what we call "prep" which is the year before grade 1.
I like our school which has ability groups within grades so no one whether they are "top of the class" or not is pushed too hard. They are extended and challenged but within their range. Of course this means my 7 year old who is reading 18 months ahead of his age like 7 other kids in his class is not getting bored which is brilliant. I hope you can work out what's going on behind the scenes and find a good option for the Goob.

Amy Lane said...

I'd be totally pissed off too. I REALLY hate the way they make Kindergarten all academic--dammit, when else is school supposed to be fun?

kitmf said...

Sorry the school system got stubborn. If you want an email support group for people homeschooling smart kids, let me know. kitfinn@cox.net

Liyac said...

In CA, they are in the process of changing the cutoff age of 5-yo from Dec 1 to Sept 1 . My son is an October baby so we put him in to K last year when he was still 4. No formal pre-K, we just threw him into the lion's den. They didn't kick him out, but he's having a great time repeating K again this year. If they're going to lean so heavily on kids picking up all the necessary skills in pre-K, someone should make pre-K state funded rather than expecting us ignorant folks to know what we're doing. They police on everything else, right?