Friday, May 2, 2008

THE SAD STATE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

My daughter is smart. REALLY SMART. She reads like crazy, always having a stack of books at bedside. She's curious, always eager to learn something new from whatever source. She's got a vocabulary to beat any college student. She's been in the Gifted program since first grade. So why is she failing?

Because she HATES her school, most of her teachers and the administrators who hound her like a criminal. Since DAY ONE, she was branded as a troublemaker. It all began with her purse. It was TOO BIG, in their opinion. Not a backpack, mind you, where you could put away books and toiletries, but a purse. Arbiters of fashion that they are, they decided her purse was unacceptable, and certain teachers would argue with her and refuse her admission into class unless she put it in her locker. They cited security issues. What, she's got an AK-47 in there? Don't they know the most lethal of weapons is in daily use in school anyway? IT'S A PENCIL.......nicely sharpened.

It all snowballed from there when I wouldn't back them up on it.

I can't believe that anyone, much less a teacher would waste precious academic time and alienate a student for stupidity like this. Not only did they diminish themselves in my eyes and hers, they soured her on the learning experience as well. And this is not the only occurrence, either. Having been a teacher myself, I know about the school grapevine among teachers. The gossip rolls, and suddenly every one of her teachers is on guard for the "bad student." She even quit the cheerleading squad over this.

I didn't just sit back. I fired off a strongly worded email to everyone from the teacher in question up the chain of command, including the superintendent of schools and the local newspaper. They repeatedly ignored my requests to be called at hours I'm awake, since I work nights. They insisted on calling me every day around 10am for weeks on end. I finally showed up at school and met with the administrators to tell them I'd be happy to call them at 3am every day for a month and see if they'd appreciate it.

They've stopped calling me because I told them, in very plain language, not to bother me with bullshit.

So now, I've got an angry kid on my hands who thinks school is stupid and has just given up, because she knows her teachers hate her no matter what. Mind you, she hasn't given up on learning. Still reads all the time. Still curious. Still very technologically savvy, more than me. Just burned out on school. She's got 4 weeks left.

Now put this in the proper context. This is a little school in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of nowhere. Not dangerous, not inner city. Not even big, since it encompasses K-8 with a little over 700 students. This is a PUBLIC SCHOOL in the Florida Keys. It's hot. It's tropical. You can't wear shorts or open shoes in this heat She has to wear a jacket most of the time because her shirts are sleeveless (DUHHHHH........It's 85 degrees outside!). They told her her pink streak in her hair is inappropriate. Inappropriate, MY ASS! I PUT IT THERE! Her best friend was sent home for wearing an open-toed shoe when she had an ingrown toenail and a closed-toe shoe would be painful to wear, despite a doctor's note. What, you prefer her to stay home and lose school time?

These people are UNBELIEVABLE!

YET.........Florida is an FCAT state. If you pass the FCAT exam, they cannot fail you and refuse to promote you. Dani has passed the FCAT with flying colors since grade 1.

I feel your pain. Hold on for 4 more weeks, kid. THEN YOU'RE OUTTA THERE.............and you can be back to being the happy teen I was getting used to!

1 comment:

buttercup58 said...

Oh my that's terrible for them to be so petty as to alienate such a bright girl over something so stupid. Is there any other school she can go to? I'd hate for someone so gifted to be put off formal education becasue of a bunch of close minded idiots.
I hope things get better.