Saturday, May 26, 2012

The homeschooling continues

This week, my daughter told me that she wanted to try a year at public school. I wasn't happy with the idea, but I looked into it.

Our school district sucks. I looked into each of high schools, to see how they were currently doing. Every one of them is doing horribly. Even if you ignore the cops in every building, the fights, the fact that one of the high schools was recently shut down for a day because a parent called & informed them that her child had a gun in his bag when he left for school that morning, the fact that someone on staff at one of the high schools was arrested for inappropriate attention to a student just a year or two ago (I believe it included sending an inappropriate picture to the student's phone), and other similar issues, there are still the academic issues.

Now, I don't have a high regard for standardized testing. I am not required to have my kids do regular tests, so we don't. They will take the ACT & SAT, but I won't force them to take standardized tests every year. Public schools place a lot of value on those tests. There is a ton of teaching to the test. They have the students take practice tests. They teach test-taking skills. I was reading the description of the grade 9 English for the Gifted program. It was talking about all the test prep they do for a test the students will take in grade 10. That is an excessive amount of test prep. When that amount of time, energy, resources, and effort goes into preparing students to take the standardized tests & most of the students still fall below expected standards on those tests, that is not a good sign. I can't trust that my daughter would get a decent education in a school where less than 40% of the students meet or exceed standards on standardized tests. Every high school in our district has those statistics. One boasts less than 30% meeting expectations. The school with the Gifted program & CAPA, less than 40%. The school in the best area of town, with more money, where the wealthier students (the ones who don't go to the Gifted program) attend, less than 40%.

Even better, over the last few years, our district has decided to zone all the schools. This means that, unless you are in a special program, where you attend school is decided entirely by your address. We are zoned for the absolute worst high school in the district. It is the one with less than 30% of the students meeting standards. According to someone who works with my husband, the school was without running water for some time last year, while the students were there. The building is decrepit. That is where they expect me to send my daughter for high school.

Our district does not have the same offerings at all the high schools. Only one school has ASL offered as a foreign language. One school has the bilingual program. One school has classes for students with emotional disabilities. One school has classes for the hearing impaired. Various classes may be found at only one or two schools. So, you can attempt to attend a school other than your zoned school, if you will be in a program that is specific to another school. However, that depends on there being room in the program.

So, testing for the Gifted program was done 6 or 7 months ago. She though about going into CAPA for art. However, that requires an audition where she would have to provide a portfolio of her work & draw a still life at the audition. Her talent is in Photography, not drawing. Whoever decided that everyone with a talent in Art is good at drawing, is a moron who should not be in charge of a program that allegedly caters to artistic students. Then, she decided to do ASL as her foreign language. That would have put her in the high school that her cousins attend (and is also closest to us). The program is full, though, and she can't get in. There is nothing we can do to get her into a different high school. I was actually yelling at the person in the Student Assignment Center because she was being rather short & bitchy with me just because I don't want to send my kid to the worst high school in the district. After exhausting all reasonable options to get her into a different high school, I informed them that my kid simply would not be attending public school for high school.

I may hate the idea of one of my kids attending public school, but I was willing to seriously consider it because it's what she wanted. However, I simply will not put her into the worst high school in the district. So, she will continue homeschooling. There may be some changes to how we do things, in an attempt to meet her needs, but we all agreed that she will stay home.