What's happened to public schools in America?

Discussion in 'Education' started by nt250, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. nt250
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    nt250 Senior Member

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    I am in the process of enrolling my 13 year old daughter in an online Distance Learning school that will cost me over $1700 a semester for 8th grade.

    Why? Because I have to get her out of the public schools.

    I'm 47. When I was a kid, you had to do something really bad for the teacher to send you to the office. Really bad. And you had to do it more than once before the teacher gave up and sent you to the principal. And for the school to call your parents? My GOD! You had to get caught cheating, or stealing, or get in a fist fight. It had to be something REALLY bad for the school to call your parents.

    Today? My daughters school called me because they don't like the look on her face. Seriously. We moved to a new town 2 years ago, and she started in this school in April of fifth grade. Within three weeks I got a call from the school's social worker. She looks sad all the time. She lacks socialization skills. They wanted a meeting. I very politely told the woman that she was an introvert and just needed time to adjust. I asked if she was a behvior problem, or if her school work was poor, but the social worker assured me, then, that it was only her "lack of socialization skills" that they wanted to address. I politely declined and just said that she needed time to adjust to the new school.

    Two years, and 5 meetings later, the principal threatened to take me to court unless I allowed her to be evaluated by the school psychologist. He threatened to file a 51A against me. That's what authority figures like teachers and day care workers are required to file with the state of Massachusetts if they suspect child abuse and neglect. All because of the look on her face, her lack of socialization skills, and the fact that she has no friends.

    My kid is what we used to call a loner. She has not adjusted well to the move, but that's mainly because they wouldn't leave her alone. She's very smart, and she's very stubborn. She's perfectly happy. Except at school.

    She hates it with a passion. But every morning she gets out of that car and she walks into that building. And every day is torture for her because they see HER as the problem.

    What hope is there for a kid like mine when the principal is a bully? I have to get her out of that school because the next thing that happens is she'll be accused of something and get expelled. And probably arrested. She's already been set up once by two girls who lied about something she said.

    Right after we moved here, there was a bomb threat written on the wall of the 7th grade girls bathroom. My daughter was in 5th grade, so she didn't have access to it. But she has never been in the bathroom in this school. She knows if something like that happens again and she's anywhere near it, she get blamed. And she's right. She will.

    $1700 a semester is small change compared to that. It's just too bad. I know she'll make friends eventually. I just can't risk it. Because they will not leave her alone. The teachers, I mean.

    What happened to public schools in this country when teachers decided that they couldn't control their own classrooms? That every little thing had to be referred to the social worker?

    When did every child have to a Stepford Child?
     
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  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    You are right, get her out! Homeschool, private, parochial, what have you. If not homeschooling, figure out the correct way to approach the 'new school', I'll help if you wish.
     
  3. nt250
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    nt250 Senior Member

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    My town considers it home schooling, but it's an online school. I work full time and I'm a single parent so I can't do it myself. Aside from the expense, this school looks pretty good. But I will be bound by the same rules as if she was home schooled.

    I could never do it anyway. I don't have the patience for it. I had a lot of respect for teachers. My sister teaches 6th grade and I've heard all her horror stories.

    But those days are over. I have had more than one teacher and social worker lie to my face. At best they exaggerate, at worst they out and out lie.

    My daughter, Kayleigh, was hyperactive. She was bad. I won't deny that. I had every acronym thrown at me. ADD. ADHD. ODD. And she was bad. This kid couldn't sit still for 30 seconds. She was quite the handful.

    But all that behavoir stopped when she went through puberty, and she went through puberty early. Sometime between 8 and 9. If you saw this kid today you would NEVER guess how hyper she used to be. But she got the rep and I thought moving would be a good thing for her. This poor kid couldn't do anything right and I thought moving would help. I wanted to move to be closer to work because I just couldn't take the commute anymore, but changing schools was another reason.

    It's been a disaster. They just can't leave her alone. So what if she has no friends? What business is that of the school? And there are worse things that not having friends at 13 and that's having the WRONG friends. Which is something I live in fear of. That she'll fall in with the wrong crowd. I like things the way they are. She's home with me where she's safe. So shoot me.

    I think they'd like to. I don't even make a pretense of being polite anymore.

    The fucking psychologist gave her a Rorschack test. Seriously. The evaluation came out fine, but what if it hadn't? Our lives were at the mercy of some hack who gives Rorschack tests to 13 year old girls. Unbelievable.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I hear you. I agree with you that the 'wrong friends' would be a disaster. At the same time, a 13 year old NEEDS friends, homeschooled or not. They need peers, it's how they measure whether or not they are on the right track. One way or another, she will find a way to measure.

    It certainly sounds like she and you have fallen into a cesspool. There are ways to climb out. Do you have good alternatives?
     
  5. nt250
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    nt250 Senior Member

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    Good alternatives to what? That online school will get her away from the public school.

    I disagree about the friends thing. I didn't make my first real friend until I was in 10th grade.

    There is nothing wrong with being a loner.
     
  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    There's nothing wrong with being 'alone' with a friend. One doesn't need a group, but kids do need at least one good friend. Getting out of public school sounds like a very good idea, though if it were a private school, same good to get out would hold. It was situational.
     
  7. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Two words: Teachers' Unions.

    Right now, government school teachers (they aren't 'public' as you can see by trying to walk in without a damn good reason) are practically the holy clergy of the left. They've been pampered for so long that nobody is allowed to see problem teachers, only problem students. And despite their claim that teachers are 'underpaid,' government school teachers are only beaten out by lawyers on pay per hour, even if you take their word for it on how many hours they work outside the classroom, and they make a mint compared to private school teachers. There's also the issue that schools teach 'self esteem' more than anything else. Since they seemed to have trouble teaching your daughter how to be arrogant, they deemed her a 'problem child.'

    My parents racked up unbelievable debt sending my sister and I to private schools until we finished the first and sixth grades, respectively. I still thank my mom for keeping me in for that long, but she couldn't keep it up, as my dad had lost his job and their credit cards were maxed (they're still paying them off, over a decade later). When she asked that our records be transferred to the government school, she went back to the car and cried for half an hour. Having seen and remembered both government and private schools, I can easily see why. I would rather sell every bodily organ I can live without than ever let my kids set one foot inside a government school. I barely escaped there with my brain intact (having been docked several points on a test because I had too much respect for facts to agree with the teacher that a light year was a unit of time) and that PC hell-hole they called a middle school (that I attended for only one, miserable year) nearly stupified by poor little sister, whose grades continued to drop after that until her freshman year in college.

    And this isn't a new problem, either. When my dad was in the first grade, he and his twin brother were an enigma. They were hyper, yes, but they were quite literate and incredibly well spoken, as their parents taught them proper English and how to converse properly with adults. The funny point came during a meeting in which my grandmother was being told they needed to be sent to special ed. During that meeting, their standardized test scores came back, placing the two of them tied (identical twins) for the smartest first graders in the entire county, and in the 99th percentile for the entire state.

    Let me also put this to you. Fourth grade is the first time international standards are available from 36 industrialized countries. At that time, the United States has science literacy test scores in the 92nd percentile, beating all comers except for South Korea and Japan. The worst score at that point is math, in the 58th percentile, which still beats out France, Germany, and Italy. This is after, at most, 5 years of damage from the government school system (while the above three countries have a couple years of preschool, too). By the twelfth grade, when our monumentally successful and well run school system has had its full effect on our kids, what kind of results do you think we have? Math falls to the 14th percentile, while science falls a whopping 63 points to the 29th percentile. That pathetic score is only enough to beat three of the countries tested: Lithuania, South Africa, and Cyprus. If those were the only countries our Olympic teams were beating, there'd be congressional investigations. The longer your kid is in government schools, the dumber she will get. Get her out, the sooner, the better.

    I could rant for hours, but I'll save you the pain. Trust me, getting this kid out of government schools, especially Massachussetts government schools, is the best decision you'll ever make. Your child is too important to trust to a government monopoly.
     
  8. Mr.Conley
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    Mr.Conley Senior Member

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    You said you were putting her in an online school. When I was in 11th grade, I decided to take some online AP courses for college. I used www.apexlearning.com, took 4 APs with them, and got 5's on all of them. It worked so well I took another 3 with them senior year. It's a great program and highly recommended. They also have courses for the beginning of high school. I was wondering if that is the program you're using, and if it isn't, I want to recommend it to you for the future. It's a good, fun program and doesn't take up too much time. Even with a full AP courseload at my old school, I still had time to take their courses and do well. I believe Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft, helped start it in the late 90s. If your looking to give your daughter a challenge, then you should take a look.
     
  9. nt250
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    nt250 Senior Member

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    I could probably match you rant for rant.

    When I think of some of the things I let them do to her from day care to the fourth grade I just want to cringe. This poor kid couldn't do anything right. For all those years the whole world was against this kid, myself included. I thought they were the experts, so I thought they knew best. It was around that time that the hyperactivity stopped.

    But they always found something else to complain about. Petty, stupid stuff that any teacher worth their salt should have been able to deal with with a look or a word. I once sat in a meeting and listened to a teacher go on for a minute and a half about how she once sat in a chair. When she got done, I asked the teacher "why didn't you just tell her to sit up straight?".

    Before we moved from Rhode Island, Kayleigh got a new principal. My house was sold and we were moving in less than 6 weeks. This new principal knew that. She took an instance dislike to K for one reason: Kayleigh wouldn't look her in the eye. Well, this principal decided she was going to fix this little annoying trait. So every morning when the kids lined up for class she'd single Kayleigh out, say "Good Morning" to her and would try to force K to look her in the eye and say it back. You know how many times she succeeded? Zip. My kid is THE most stubborn kid you could ever meet. If you get into a power struggle with her over something that stupid and petty, you are never gonna win.

    The reason this principal involved the state, or threatened to, was because of the previous meeting I had had with the social worker and her teachers. Every time the social worker called me to set up a meeting, I refused if it had anything to do with her social skills. I told them that unless it was about her school work, or unless it was her behavoir, I saw no reason for a meeting. Her lack of social skills and lack of friends was none of the schools business.

    The first two meetings were supposed to be about her school work. But within 5 minutes we were discussing the look on her (she looks sad all the time), her lack of socialization skills, she has no friends. By the time the fourth meeting took place, I was so pissed off that these jerks I made no pretense at being civil at all. I was very rude to them. I was really rude to the social worker. You blame teachers unions? I blame it on social workers.

    Columbine. In the aftermath of Columbine, kids like mine are seen as a potential threat. The loner. The kid who can't conform. Every school has a social worker now. So teachers don't have to make any effort to get to know kids anymore. They just refer everything to the social worker. I knew after that last meeting that if they called another one, it would be run by the principal, and he would involve the state. I KNEW IT. When I got home that day I warned K if she didn't at least make some attempt to play their game, and if they called another meeting, they would involve the state. And that's exactly what happened.

    My daughter is also very smart. Between the time I was threatened by the principal and she had the evaluation with the shrink, K took the SAT. She scored the highest score ever recorded in the 20 years the middle school had been participating in the program. She scored a 680 on the verbal, 490 on the math, and she got a 6 on the essay. She scored so well on the math because she followed instructions and skipped all the algebra questions. She's in 7th grade and didn't know 3/4's of the math on the test but she still mananged to score a 490.

    But the 680 score is what got their attention. They're treating her a lot differently now. But it's still a dangerous place for her to be. I just know that the next thing that will happen is that she'll be set up by other kids for something and it will ruin her life. I just have to get her out of that school. At least for 8th grade. The middle school is 5-8 and the high school is grade 9 through 12. The tuition at the online school goes up to $3000 a semester at the 9th grade level. But I have a couple of credit cards with over $30,000 credit limits, so I can pay for it until 12th grade if I have to.

    I hate to do it. I know she'll make friends eventually. But I just can't risk it. In the post Columbine world, kids like mine are a target.
     
  10. nt250
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    nt250 Senior Member

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    The school I found is called Laurel Springs. It's a distance learning school for kids from elementary school on. It's used by a lot of child actors. But it's also geared toward kids who just don't fit in a normal public school environment. I checked them out and it's fully accredited and they have many students enrolled from Massachusetts. The only downsides are the expense, and the fact that my school district considers it home schooling. So I'll be buried in paper work and forms.

    Kayleigh came home Friday with her "summer work". Three pages of the reading list, and two pages of math she's supposed to do. Oh, and she's supposed to keep a journal of her work over the summer. Fuck that shit. My kid will NEVER do homework in the summer. NEVER. It went right in the trash. It's a crime the way schools have encroached on the lives of kids. Homework in the summer? Not only wouldn't I make her do homework in the summer, I wouldn't allow her to do homework in the summer.

    Two more days. She's got a full day on Monday and half a day on Tuesday, and then she's done for the summer. I can't wait.
     

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