Wednesday, March 29, 2006

No Child Left Behind My Ass

I hated seeing the signs at the school... my daughter was attending another school that was backing the 'no child left behind' wagon. Of course, what this means is, she's being left behind. Or rather, allowed to pass on to grade after grade, because she is being left behind and in the left behind program, all children must succeed.

All this program seems to do is require that my daughter pass a multitude of tests. Well, she has ADD, *of which she's being reevaluated for because she's being left behind in class...* and she is anxious about tests. So, you see how this works for her. My sister was a, as my father would say, piss-poor, test taker. She barely passed the ones that mattered. But she KNEW the stuff. She just froze. She had major test anxiety. To compensate for this anxiety, she would study soo hard, study everything, even the minutest, minorist thing, and then, when she saw the test, forget it all. Panic. If only they allowed us to smoke during tests. She probably would have aced them.

You can see why she had problems with me. I know how to study. I had an instinctive understanding of how to study only the relevant things that mattered. I am an example of one of those children who put in the least amount of effort required to get grades good enough to be considered smart. Not smart enough to be tested for special IQ genius level classes, just smart enough to make it into a few honor classes, just smart enough to make the honor's roll enough times no one ever actually asked about homework, just smart enough to do well enough without actually doing anything. If I think back, it's amazing how much work I got out of. I assumed my kids would get that side of me. Well, my daughter didn't get that gene. She can't study either. She's smart, but she can't just memorize and regurgitate. She needs to understand WHY she's memorizing and regurgitating. She can do her homework with me. She can't do it with her father. *The irony being, he has more patience when it comes to her homework... She hates reading so when she reads she doesn't pay attention. Her teacher calls it 'critical thinking.' My daughter recognizes it as 'effort I'd rather not expend on something this mundane and boring.' Her teacher was surprised she did so well on a few readings, but not on others. Well, I'm not. the readings she did well on? She liked. So she paid attention.

Now, her teacher isn't bad, but there is only so much you can do with a nine year old who simply isn't interested. I think my daughter is the only child I've ever known who will, while taking an assessment test, stop midway through to draw, on the test itself, a rendition of herself and her crush at the altar getting married. She's also the only girl in class not allowed to wear jewelry *a distraction.*

Thus, she's left behind.

My husband and I do what we can to help her, but I honestly believe that she's going to be left behind until she, on her own terms, 'gets it.' To this end, I make her do extra math sheets for the second grade math, even though she's in third, because I know she didn't ever GET second grade math. We'll cover third grade this summer. I am trying to enroll her in summer school. * I know, mean mom...* and I will continue to buy flashcards and spend an hour a day after school about three days a week *it should be five, but it's stressful tutoring your kid* working with her on reading and math, hoping that between my work, her brain, and the ridiculously under-funded institution we call public school, she will 'get it' sometime before she graduates high school.

But I do have something to say to all those parents who whine about how their genius kids must suffer in classes with doodling daydreamers like mine who need more attention. VOTE FOR MORE SCHOOL FUNDING. I mean, what do you want when your state pays less for your child's education than Alabama? Don't take it out on my kid. The state is, as far as I'm concerned, correct in helping the ones that need it the most. Your kid probably isn't even a genius anyhow, it's just not hard doing well in elementary school in America. Unless you're a daydreaming doodler who stares at the clouds all day....

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