No Child Left Behind or Not?

I know this isn’t really related to arts or crafts but it’s been top of mind lately so I feel the need to share or vent my thoughts on this. I was never one that got overly involved in my son’s school events, even with his curriculum; he always got good grades so I never thought there was reason for concern. I never thought I’d be that parent concerned and semi-upset with the U.S. education system but things are messed up and it’s become very clear to me why our country ranks poorly when compared with other nations.

When I started looking for a house about six years ago I narrowed my search to the areas that I knew had ‘good’ schools and only searched in those areas. We purchased our house and that year my son went to kindergarten in this ‘good’ school district. I thought I had nothing to worry about, I did my research and we were good to go, right? Wrong!

I believe it was first grade when I went in for my parent teacher conference and sat down in my little blue chair, thankful that I’m a fairly small adult to fit in that chair, the teacher started off like any other conference showing me samples of his work and talking about his behavior in class. Then she mentioned that he’s very smart, finishes all of his work ahead of the other kids and it’s always correct so she allows him to draw while the other kids are working since that seemed to be his passion. Then she handed me a packet of papers and explained to me that if they had advanced classes in the elementary building she would place him in those classes but they had to do away with them due to funding and she continued to say that the junior high had advanced classes but by the time he gets there they’ll have done away with them. So this packet of papers was information on different resources that I could look up on the internet so I could help him at home so he doesn’t get bored.

I left with my jaw on the floor but also slightly reassured that she was aware of his gift and was actively working with him since the school wasn’t able to.

I should have taken that as a sign for what was to come.

A few years later he got a teacher that told him that there was to be no doodling or drawing in her class and that seemed to really burst his bubble and things have slowly started to crumble from there.

That same year the school also did away with art, music and gym due to lack of funding. My son is very right brained so doing away with art and music was very disheartening, not to mention we live in a country with an obesity problem and they’re taking gym away from the kids. Things were not making sense.

They eventually brought gym back into the school but art and music were up to the teachers handle. My son came home one day singing a Katie Perry song and told me he learned it in music class. You can imagine the look of confusion on my face when he told me this. He then went on to tell me that the teacher turned on the radio and played some Katie Perry songs for music class. Ummmm, no! That’s not music class material!

I was really starting to question the school district I moved into but I knew in the back of my mind my son would be going to junior high soon and would soon have more opportunities and doors opening. I really hoped that things would get better.

Now my son is in fifth grade, the work load is a little tougher and he consistently has homework but he also consistently has straight A’s. He’s started complaining more about how he doesn’t want to go to school because it’s so boring. He’s really starting to remind me of myself at that age which is a little scary because I remember just giving up on school in sixth grade and that’s when my downward spiral began. It seemed pointless and redundant and I didn’t understand why we had to learn such remedial stuff. I’m afraid he’s falling into that same boat.

About a month or so ago we were all sitting at the dinner table talking about our day and my son all excited asks us how many different ways we know how to divide. His father and I looked at each other a little confused and both agreed on one, we knew one way to divide, are there more??? Our son told us he knows six ways to divide a single problem and was proud that he knew so many different ways and we only knew one way.

Once again I was confused!

After dinner he showed me all six ways of dividing a single problem. I didn’t want to burst his bubble but by the time he was finished showing me I was pretty furious to say the least and went on a rant with his father for the rest of the night. I don’t know if it’s with all schools but his school has to teach all six ways on how to divide a problem in fifth grade then in sixth grade they are allowed to divide like the rest of the world does. The six ways to divide include different visual ways of dividing that involve long drawn out processes to understand how and why you’re dividing so those that can’t grasp the concept of division don’t have to be put on the spot or called out. Instead of having remedial classes like they had when I was a child the entire class is forced to work at the pace of the remedial children.

So now I sit here thinking about how my son can’t have advanced classes even though that’s where he should be and now I’m learning that he’s not even learning at a normal pace that the entire class is working at a remedial pace so no child is left behind. To me, in my mind, all of those children who are a little more gifted are being left behind. They’re getting bored. When children get bored good things rarely come of it. That’s when they shut down, when they start finding other things to do. Eventually they’ll stop learning at the speed that they had been and may become further behind than the remedial students that the government is trying so desperately to help. What about the rest of our children?

I’m now finding myself torn between leaving him here in this school that isn’t teaching him much of anything, switching schools and hoping that they might have better programs and that the programs won’t get cancelled due to funding once we move, going to a school for gifted children which will probably cost and arm and a leg or home schooling.

I’m quite disgusted with the education system that we currently have and would love to get some input on this topic. What do teacher’s think??? I have a few teacher friends that I’ve talked to and I know a bunch of them are up in arms about many things going on in the education system. I know I can’t be the only parent feeling this way.

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