Posts Tagged ‘No Child Left Behind’

Booya!

Friday, February 6th, 2009

I am happy today.  It looks like the district agrees with our private assessment and that our son will get Occupational Therapy, Speech, and perhaps Adaptive PE at the district’s public pre-school plus transportation to and from the pre-school he’s in now.  The district assessed him this morning, a swarm of specialists rolling him on giant rubber balls, tinkling bells behind his head and otherwise making a fuss.  My son even kicked in with an unrehearsed look-how-rigid-I-am tantrum when he didn’t get his way.  I was happy when they gave me a preview of his IEP.  Yes, your son is autistic “but his cognition will carry him,” which is pretty much what the private psych said.  He will get help.  There is no conspiracy to deny him what he needs.  Of course, nothing has been signed; there won’t be until the end of the month.  But there’s hope…

Plus last night the Lakers won in Boston, plus I ran across this article that supports what I think is true: that poor students fail not because of their crappy teachers but because they’re poor:

The impact of poverty on education is most obvious in the state’s poorest school districts, where many students still struggle to pass state tests. But disparities also exist in suburban schools, where, despite the perceived advantages of attending some of the best public schools, disadvantaged students still fail at a high rate.

So what do these kids need? Hello! They need attention, they need support. They need to be like Juanita at my school. She was having trouble with her reading so she got a little one-on-one. Guess what? She’s getting better. She’s on the rise!

So booya for Juanita and booya for our schools. Booya for my little boy. May all kids be so lucky.

A New Day

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

It’s a new day. My son was sick yesterday but is better now. He and my wife and I watched the inauguration, and now it all seems like a dream or a Disney movie, one of the vintage ones with the handsome prince, earthy princess and rascally daughters. A really good movie that you don’t want to end. A co-worker at school said, “Now I can be an American,” which I thought was a lovely sentiment. Yup, we can all be Americans now. But Obama also says that the challenges are great. They are and I hope in some way I can help meet them. I am against so much in No Child Left Behind, maybe even its core: the idea that you can improve student performance by decree. I’m proud of the school I teach at. I don’t think of it as “failing” even though it’s a “Program Improvement” school. I don’t think that the students are failures and I don’t think that the teachers are failures either. I think that there other things to blame: poverty being the main culprit. But what of similar schools that are out-performing us? What of impoverished people who lift themselves up? What of Barack Obama? I was watching a sports show a couple of days ago and the black co-hosts joked that the angry black man thing is over. I think the complaining teacher thing is also over, the helpless dad of an autistic kid thing. The hopeless thing, the regretful thing–they’re all so ‘08. It’s time for Obama. It’s time for a new day.