Friday, May 16, 2008

Charter school rant

Warning: this is a rant about how much I hate the kids school. It is boring and random and the thoughts contained herein are unorganized and probably uninteresting.

The kids will be out of school in a week for summer break until September. We are very anxious to get out of this school and will not be returning next year. I am going to put the kids in a good old fashioned public school. If the academics are lacking, I can always supplement at home. What I cannot go thru anymore, however, is the elitist stepford mentality and lazy teachers that North Star Academy charter school has had this year. It was so great last year but has taken a nasty change and I have yet to talk to any parents who don't agree with me.

Dillon's first grade teacher has been fine. Tyler's teacher has been an absolute nightmare. His lack of flexibility and concern for the kids are coupled by this attitude that he is "preparing them for the future". They are in fourth grade, give me a freakin' break. He expects them to be completely independant and what I think it really boils down to is that he is unorganized and lazy and this "theory" makes his job easy. Nothing is his fault, the kids are supposed to know what to do and do it. If anything goes wrong, he can always blame the kids for being irresponsible. This is convenient because any academic issues can be swept under the "they just need to be more responsible" rug.

It would be one thing if they had clear instructions and his high expectations were based on something concrete. But this man is all over the place (I know because I have observed his classroom for an entire day) and totally inconsistant about rules and procedures, (I didn't even know what they were at the end of the day) leaving the kids unsure what is due and when and if they are allowed to go get a drink or not so the classroom is like a bunch of 10 year olds in college. They come and go as they please and listen when they want to.

I have tried to conference with the teacher and the principal several times since the beginning of the year (when Tyler's first progress report showed d's and f's as opposed to last year's a's and b's) and the attitude was that he needed to work harder and we needed to help him more. (That conference, by the way, began with, "I just want to strangle Tyler" and ended with "Tyler just needs a good slap". Nice. The school has taken zero responsibility in guiding and helping the students. They are apparantly supposed to show up to learn every day even though they already know it all and they are as mature as adults so they don't need any discipline either. I am not the only one whining, he has had several kids from his class transfer out mid-year. My final conference with the principal ended with her stating that "this just might not be the school for my kids". I think what that meant was, "We are looking for kids that make us look good and are effortless, so we don't want you here." Nice.

I tried to bring up the grades issue and get some help. If Tyler is really dumb, (we all know the answer to that question) and if we are going based on the failing grades, he needs to be getting special tutoring or something. His teacher just kept saying he needs to try harder. His grades, in my opinion, warranted him repeating fourth grade. The school, however, winked and said, "we won't hold him back". Nice. So he is now being taught that you can mess around and fail all year and you'll still move on.

If a kid needs help, help them. If they are doing fine, their grades should reflect that. Tyler's state test scores were all well above average, most in the 90 percentile. Hmmm. It leaves me wondering what grades are all about anyway. I wanted my kids to learn to love learning, to love school and to feel good about how smart they are. Tyler is walking away from this year feeling like he is a failure and that there is no use trying because there are no consequences for failure anyway.
That should make for a fun summer, trying to undo the lessons he has learned over the last 10 months!

Too much birthday

Sometimes I overdo it too. But who can resist cake?