I am so frustrated and upset with our public school system.
I am somewhat new to this public school thing... Jordan is the only one who has gone to public school. Other than Mrs. Robinson in the fifth grade who kept losing her homework, we've had an OK experience with public school. Of course, she was in the gifted education program, and they have a really great program. Even that being said, she and I both have said we wish she could homeschool and she still get her IB diploma. Going to school to sit and do nothing just to get the hours in that the government mandates seems like a huge waste of time.
I have been somewhat disappointed with Josh and Jameson's public school experience thus far. Here's the typical report I receive from them about what they did at school: ate candy, ate ice cream, ate popcorn, watched movies...
I received a call today from the ESL teacher who called to "go on the record" to tell us that holding Josh back in 5th grade (which we're doing because he only actually went for 2 months, and WE ARE his parents) will be detrimental to his social and emotional well-being because he's going to be taller than all of his classmates.
Her platform of disagreement was that the Springfield Public School System does not agree with holding kids back for any reason. She informed us that this decision is basically going to ruin his life. Ruin his social skills. Ruin his self-esteem. I guess this explains why so many people graduate from high school without a clue how to read. She kept saying that holding Jameson back would be fine because of her small stature. But Josh is going to be taller than all of his peers.... She indicated that she had been talking about this with her peers all week, and how they all disagreed with our decision to hold Josh back a year. Wow, we've been a topic of conversation.
So when I asked if we move people ahead based on their height instead of their educational level, she said, "Oh no. That's not what I want you to think. But Josh is going to be so much taller than his peers." What????????
Jeff and I feel that their education has been so shotty in Ethiopia. There are still so many things that they don't know. Josh has minimal reading comprehension. He absolutely has no writing or spelling abilities... Please reader know that I'm not being hard on Josh, but simply pointing out that he is a VERY bright kid who still has a lot to learn. Neither Josh nor Jameson know their multiplication tables. Fingers are still required for addition and subtraction.
Junior high is such a different environment. Josh still needs to be reminded to take his backpack and lunch to school...to take a towel to swimming... We are still trying to make him responsbile for himself and his things. The responsibility is not there yet, and we feel strongly that moving him into a junior high environment is a really bad idea. Talk about getting lost in the shuffle.
I tried to explain that we want Josh to excel in school and not just be passed along because he's the same height as everyone else... I don't want him to just get by. I want him to GET it!
I told her Jeff and I were really going to have to talk about this. Of course Jeff was as upset as I was. He basically said, "Let's just go take them out right now. We can homeschool them better than that."
I really don't know what we're going to do. I'm really disappointed and pissed right now at our school system, and I think that this lack of a backbone of the school system is a direct link to what's going on in our society full of mediocre people who just made it through and didn't get it. We put them in school because we thought the "ESL" thing would help them so much... I can't see that they are doing anything except going on field trips, watching movies, and eating candy. We were hesitant to put them in Gloria Deo Academy with the other kids because GDA is grades ahead of public school, the memory work is very difficult, and it is generally very academically rigorous. I didn't want to stress them out. Evidently public school is not stressful at all because there are no expectations except less than mediocrity.
We are going to meet with the principal, the ESL teacher and the individual teachers about this. Wish us luck! I have a very low threshold for this kind of crap. I have paid a lot of taxes for our public school system, and have not even used it. I expected better than this.