Saturday, April 23, 2011

School, Schmool

If you haven't read me lately at my other blog, then this will be the first time you find out that I am now homeschooling the Munchkin.

This was a fairly agonizing decision, and my family (especially my sister, the teacher) fought me every step of the way. Even though I've been doing it for almost a month and a half now, my sister refuses to speak to me about it. Anything having to do with school or homeschool is verboten with her.

Boo to that, I say.

But that isn't really what I'm here to talk about.

I'm here to vent.

Because isn't that what blogs are really all about? A place to vent?

Now, anyone who's ever met the Munchkin knows that he is a very smart boy. His former teachers thought so too, and recommended that he be tested for the gifted and talented education program in our district.

Great, exactly what I was hoping for because damn, homeboy was really starting to hate school. He was bored as hell, and due to the class size increase and the fact that due to money issues his school was no longer clustering high achievers meant that he was sitting alongside children with learning disabilities. Which is fine, but it meant that overall the class had to move slowly, and that was making him annoyed with the entire experience.

So he took the screening test for the gifted program, which happens to be a little test called the Naglieri. The Naglieri is best known for being a test that is unbiased towards non-English speakers, as it has no words. However, the problem with this test is that it can fail to catch students such as my son, whose area of giftedness is verbal. You know, because he reads at about an 8th grade level, and takes standardized tests on those types of books and passes, so you know it isn't just me being a proud mama.

So today I get the letter from the district. Now, I had personally asked the woman who runs the gifted program if indeed it was true that the Naglieri could miss identifying someone like my son, and she agreed that yes, it could very well happen.

Well, happen it did. Not only did my son not get into the gifted program, he scored a spectacularly low score, in the 31st percentile. The 31st! Grade-level profieciency is between the 40th and 60th percentile, so according to the test, my son is not even functioning at grade level.

Which to be honest, is ridiculous. His grades are stellar, and if nobody thought there was anything upstairs, he would never have been referred to take the test in the first place.

So now, what to do?

I wanted him to qualify for the gifted program in case he ever chose to go back to a traditional school. He will be tested again next year with a different test, but I'm going to be honest, I am so flabbergasted at his score that I want to do something to FIX it. Like NOW.

So I can try to contact the district and see what my options are. I suppose I could point out the acknowledged problem with the test itself. I suppose I could ask that he re-take the test, but I still don't think he would score high enough to be accepted into the program due to the inherent issues with the test and his area of strength.

I don't know what to do.

I am homeschooling, so it isn't as if he is attending a traditional school and will miss the opportunity, but we were waiting to find out the results of the test to discuss with him if he wanted to attend the gifted program or continue the homeschooling. I can guarantee you that if he does not get placed in the program, he will not go back to a traditional school next year.

I know this is fairly inchoherent at this point, but I just needed a place to register my shock and utter lack of awe at how badly he performed on this test.

I guess I need to decide if I'm going to go all bitchfest on the district or lay low for a year.

Decisions, decisions.


Anvilcloud said...

I was also a teacher, and I see nothing at all wrong with home schooling. For some kids, it is the best solution -- or the best viable solution.

Anvilcloud said...

Where is your other blog anyway? I don't see a link anywhere.

Awesome Mom said...

I hope you can figure out what is best for him. Tests are so tricky because no matter how well written they are some how someone gets left out.

J at said...

Crap, I hate when I leave what I believe to be a well thought out and reasoned comment, and blogger eats it. :(

J at said...

OK, consider that gripe my test, and I'll try again for the real comment.

I'm sorry that your sister is taking your decision personally. My mom was a teacher (Montessori, not public/union/tradional, but still), and when our public school wasn't right for my brother, she took us out, and put us in a private school, and when that wasn't a good match, she home schooled us. Eventually we went back to regular public schools, because she had to work and so on. I did fine, my brother didn't. He did well enough, makes good money, etc., but he tested out of high school and only tried college for a little while. Not living up to his potential, school-wise. If she could have figured out the answer for him, she would have done it in a heartbeat.

If I were you, I'd try to find out if there's another option, test wise. Perhaps the counselor who admitted the failings of the first test will know of another option, and won't be so overwhelmed and under funded that she can schedule another test soon. If not, work towards that in the future, and in the meantime, just be glad that you can teach him at home and help him keep a passion for learning. Multi-age classrooms, multi-skill classrooms, are great when done correctly. When they honor that children learn at different speeds, and one child might be thriving in math and lagging in reading, or the opposite, or something else, and make that OK. When they don't hold anyone back or make anyone else feel badly for being 'behind'. But when they're done incorrectly, as is sadly done so often in our school system, they are a disaster. The faster learners learn that school is boring and frustrating and learn to hate it. The slower learners learn that they are stupid and frustrating and learn to hate it. None of this need be.

benny said...
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