Monday, August 22, 2011

And the Frustration, or Advocacy, Begins

So, at the kid's Kindergarten "Kick-Off" he - as well as all of the kids who attended - participated in an assessment. Well, kiddo failed his first public school "test". While he told them his colors in Spanish (without being asked) and finally in English, and scored 93/100 on the Math concepts, he refused to participate in the Reading portion. In his defense, he was super tired (it was nearly 7pm by then and bedtime is 7:30, plus we'd had to wake him up from a really late nap to go) and simply put his head down and said he didn't want to participate. Now, reading has never been the kid's fav activity. Well, he loves to be read to, but he's simply not yet overly interested in reading himself. However, kid can identify all his letters, knows all their sounds, can read a few words, can write his name and most uppercase letters, and, in my opinion, is on par with all Kindergarten expectations.

So, the teacher called us out after the assessment and told us that she believes he's smart, but was just tired. She did warn us that the score wouldn't support that opinion. However, I didn't realize just how that score would affect us. Already.

Until today. When we received a letter in his take home folder saying he's been flagged for participation in an "Early Success" reading program. My defenses were immediately up as I waded through all the emotions. Of course I think my baby is a genius (honestly, that's not true. I think he's smart, but not genius-like. I don't think that makes me a bad parent, either, just an honest one). No parent wants anyone to insinuate otherwise. But that wasn't it, wasn't what has gotten me so upset.

There were two things that have me (for real) pissed off about this. The first is that I *know* children of color are discriminated against in the public school system. They are so much more likely to be labeled with some kind of disorder and end up with special education services. And, as we all know by now, I was already feeling sensitive the possibility of him being labeled.

Second, I really and truly believe that the kid is on par with where he should be for his age/grade. And this reliance on "the test" has me livid. It is and has been my one, true problem with the public school system. I understand the need for tests and assessments to give us a baseline from which to begin. However, even the teacher recognized that the test wasn't an accurate assessment of his abilities. And yet we STILL go with it?! Uh, no. We won't be doing that.

So, I wrote an email to the teacher asking what, exactly, the recommendation is based on (though, really, the letter didn't phrase it as a recommendation; it was more of a "how nice of us to let you know we're sending your kid to a special reading group for kids who are behind" kind of phrasing). I also asked for the specific areas he's struggling with, as we'll focus on those at home.

So, yeah. I'm ticked. And it didn't take long. Momma bear is, I'm afraid, here to stay.

Today's lesson - just because your baby has 4 teeth, it doesn't necessarily mean he'll bite while nursing. Who knew?!


Lechelle said...

Ugh, that would piss me off. How could they base all this on a test taken late at night? Seriously? 7 is pretty late for little kids with decent bedtimes. I could understand more if they wanted to have him retake a test during a normal time of day, like say real kindergarden hours!

Good luck, I hope you can fight it and get him off that label.

Myra said...

keep those claws out girl, and keep your eyes sharp, as soon as you stop paying 110% attention and fighting for him noone's sad that is the way it is, but it's true!


Emms said...

Big hugs and good for you standing up for him! I think it's Crap that the teacher recognized he was tired but he is still being labelled. I hate public schools when they do this.