|One Child Left Behind: A 4yr history of my child in the public school system that failed him.|
|Written by OHmommy|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:00|
The thing I dislike most about myself is that instead of celebrating something, I wonder what I could've done differently.
This is highlighted most in my ongoing struggle to give my first born child all the resources possible for him to succeed in school. And while I danced around this afternoon celebrating his latest proclamation "I feel like I'm doing a gazillion times better at my new school" - (he had the written proof too! - high written remarks from his teachers because no reports cards until 8th grade in our new progressive school) secretly on the inside all I could think of was that my maternal instincts were right all along, and I should have acted on them sooner to save my son from struggling for years.
Years! He never truly belonged in his old school (a traditional school in an outstanding Ohio district where I watched my daughter thrive). I knew by kindergarten that things in school were "off" for him and me. He is in fourth grade now. Fourth!
I've written over and over again, throughout these blogging years, that "The biggest mistake I made in my parenting career is that I allowed an award-winning public school district to lead me" and "I feel like my public school system has left my child behind and dragged him along" and even early on that "If I was able to rewind, I would've told his kindergarten teacher that I was (more) concerned". But what better did I know? I was repeatedly reassured at meetings that the school was on my side, doing the best they could. For four elementary school years I regurgitated those words to my husband, "They are doing the best they can with what they've got!" hoping that the more I said it out loud, the more convinced I would be.
I knew he didn't belong in a traditional school setting.
"We are thinking about private schools for Jay." I said at one of the last IEP meetings in Ohio, knowing very well that it was nothing we could really afford but if I had to take out a job pumping gas 24/7 on the corner to afford tuition, I would. "No, no. We can modify things and add resources." I was told by the team. And while it worked for a month or two (Look... I celebrated!) what I didn't document online was the slow decline afterwards. No one ever took my statement "I feel like my child is left behind" seriously enough, in my opinion. I still lose sleep over the fact that they didn't take the words "I wish you were dead" directed towards my son seriously enough, in my opinion. I think the school was lacking in resources for someone like my child, like so many schools across the country are.
Just re-reading through years of posts that I linked to about our struggles sends me into a rage of tears. How blind was I? Why didn't I trust my instincts? When did I begin to trust administration more than myself?
"I feel like I'm doing a gazillion times better at my new school." Jay smiled. Without getting into too many details he is getting fifteen hours of resources a week in his new school compared to the fifteen hours a month at our old school. That doesn't even include the before-school resource hours - that's an extra three hours a week, bringing the new total up to eighteen hours a week. Just. To. Catch. Up. Because it was apparent to our new school just how much he was left behind (that statement made me weep). He is no longer sitting in-front of a computer program trying to improve his comprehension but sitting next to an actual teacher who incorporates what is taught in class. We are lucky. We are at a school that actually developed the idea of the resource room. The resource room concept started right here in our Chicago school!
"We will not leave your child behind." Our new public school reassured me at our IEP meeting. "We will go above and beyond to do what is needed."
I hope our new school is a good fit because I've grown to question the public school system. For years I trusted and was constantly discouraged by administration. Not anymore. My child will not be left behind.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:45|