Sunday, June 12, 2011

Superman, Education, and Statistics

Have you watched Waiting For Superman yet?

I know, I'm way behind the ball on this but just got it on my Netflix a few weeks ago.

Sad stuff.  And it doesn't even look into the special education part of these schools.  Scary.

Honestly, I knew it would be a thought-provoking and anger-inducing movie.  I did not, however, know it was going to make me cry (okay I might be a bit of a sap).

Even sadder because my school district is looking more and more like the ones portrayed.  Exactly TWO days after I watched the documentary a newspaper article was released that said our high school's graduating class has lost 40% of it's members since their freshman year.  Sure maybe a few students have moved away but really we're looking at our school district failing dozens of kids.

I know I talk a lot about the people that are responsible for my children's education and I usually have very warm feelings for them.  I think they are great people, great educators, and great compromisers (with crazy parents like myself).  Yet, you can only do so much with what you are given.  Our school is overrun with disabilities and poverty.  Our school budget is suffering.  Things get cut when things need to be added.

Even before the boys started school I wanted to look into our neighboring district.  Amazing what one town over can offer.  When I ended up doing my second internship in that district I really started itching to move there.  They have an OT room!  Actually they have TWO!  They consult with our favorite ABA professional!  They have a different math curriculum they can offer when their regular math becomes overrun with language!  They have enrichment programs up the wazoo!  They have a dedicated autism program!

I'm still not sure if and when we'll move (of course housing is much more expensive and limited on the other side of the tracks) but it's our goal.

That being said.....on Friday as I picked up my boys after school the principal came rushing out of the school in a direct line towards me.  He wanted to tell me that finally, FINALLY, our school district will have a dedicated autism program in the fall.  Up until now they have had one teacher, one poor soul, to work both the autism program and the behavioral program out of ONE room.  It was too much for anyone and probably part of the turn-around rate that I spoke of.  One dedicated program for five children with autism out of it's own room and with iPads for the students (okay iPads weren't promised but he said he was putting in the proposal).

Sounds promising, right?  Sounds exciting.  And it does make me feel a bit more positive if my goal of moving this summer doesn't happen.  But not promising enough for me to completely ditch my idea of moving.  It will be a first-year program.  Do I really want to waste another year letting my child be a guinea pig and perhaps lose a valuable year?  And it's not just Brian I'm worried about- Corbin has his own academic needs that are becoming increasingly more pronounced and it's really him that I worry about falling into that 40%.

The school doesn't know that we've been trying to finagle our way into another school district (They do now!  Hi guys!) and it's silly because I feel like I'm going against their loyalty a little.  It's like I'm in a relationship and I think it's time to move on but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  However, you wouldn't bring your car to a mechanic that only fixes it 60% of the time and fails the other 40% would you?   I don't want either of my children to become a statistic.

Unfortunately we can't wait around for Superman to fix everything, I like the direction the school is going in, but I'm going to keep sending out those rental applications.


Tessa aka Mama Apples said...

Just think how many families don't have the opportunity to move.  Believe it or not, I see a lot of kids whose parents don't bother or know enough to fight for them.  Those poor babies are at the mercy of the system.

Flannery said...

First, I've not seen that movie either, so thanks for mentioning it (I must live in a cave).  Second, we're hoping for an out of state move in a couple of years, because we live in one of the worst states in the country for sped. My view is that I don't give a damn about stranger's feelings, my job is my son and getting him the best education and resources possible.  I always think of it this way, not one teacher, principal, or autism specialist is going to give a damn about my kid in 2 or 5 or 10 years, but I'll still be there working for him, so I will do what' necessary.

Heather said...

Yes definitely check it out!  It was so worth the watch!  I love your sentiments and it's a great way to think of it!

Heather said...

Oh I believe it :/  I worked in early intervention for a few years and it's amazing how many parents just go with it...don't ask questions, don't realize what their child is missing out on, and some that just don't give a damn at all.    I do think about those who don't have the opportunity to move- I'm not gonna lie, I'm not rich haha. I'm a single mom just starting a new career, I don't know when it will be really feasible for us to move, but it's a goal that we're reaching for and it will happen at some point.

Kelly Hafer said...

Hey Flannery - do you live in Rhode Island, too? This place is the PITS. I hope you are not heading this way. We are on our way OUT, thank God. I cannot handle one more, "We can't give your woefully behind toddler summer school this year becase it would violate his civil liberties."

Kelly Hafer said...

Hey Heather - I totally understand the feeling of cheating on your school district! That sums it up exactly. In all seriousness, good luck with getting into a better district. A Momma's gotta do what a Momma's gotta do. :)

Accidentalexpert said...

I know how you feel.  If your school personnel have worked hard for you, then you feel some loyalty.  But in the end, its about doing what's right for your kids.  We switched districts for that very reason.