08 June 2011

No! Child Left Behind

Nerdhood came to me at an early age. I was the weird kid who loved to learn. At night I would sneak into the tiny hallway between my sister's room and mine and read random excerpts from our vintage Encyclopedia Brittanica set.

Imagine my complete incomprehension at having a daughter who doesn't enjoy learning. In my small brain, to dislike learning is akin to...disliking to breathe! School has been a bit of a battle these last 2.5 years. Sometimes a single assignment  takes hours to complete. Not because of difficulty of the assignment, but because of the unwillingness to get it done. As a result, homework time is dreaded by both parent and child.

Fast forward to the end of the school year, and report card day. B, B+, C, C+, N, N. What? What's an "N"? What happened to D & F?

Thanks to legislation for "No Child Left Behind", the report card reads like a feel good summary for the end of year, instead of the reality: my child failed 2 classes out of 6. But don't worry- she still gets to go onto the 6th grade, no educational help needed. Wait, what?

I don't say this to shame my bright girl. I say this to shame our educational system. After a number of phone calls to the school, then the district, and hours of internet research, I learned Utah has NO summer school programs for children under high-school age. Apparently, kids can keep failing subjects through elementary & middle school without consequence. Sure, they might get tossed into a remedial class or 2, but hey, what's the big deal? Of course, the kids will be functionally illiterate when they graduate, but on the up-side, they never got left behind. Awesome.

By failing to "fail" our children is one of the biggest disservices I can imagine. I've talked to several people about this very topic (now a hot-button issue for me), and the most prevalent attitude is, "kids should be educated at home." Whoa? Don't we pay taxes for education? Isn't that one of the few vital services our government actually provides? While I do educate my child at home, I'm not a teacher. I don't spend 8 hours a day my kid, teaching and testing.

Today "summer school" officially begins for my girl. And by summer school, I mean, pay-mega-bucks-to-private-learning-center-for-curriculum. Various people have chided me and even tried to persuade me to just "let things be" or hire a regular tutor to help in the deficient subjects. But I don't think that's enough. It feels like a band-aid for me. And I believe our kids deserve more than an educational band-aid. Which brings me back to the whole principle of "No Child Left Behind". I think the policy alone is tantamount to leaving learning behind. Sad, sad day, folks. Who is really failing now?

1 comment:

  1. So it's not a matter of preparing a child for the year to come and the challenges it will hold, it's a matter of not going through the hardship of "dealing" with a child who struggles (for whatever reason) ... What about teaching consequences, or helping to build a strong foundation for our children??? Who are our future??? It seems bass akwards.....Leaving a child behind is EXACTLY what this "ACT" does!!!