Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Child Left Behind? Yea, ok...

Ok. I'm confused and upset. I attended my children's curriculum night last week and learned some things about Brunson Elementary and other schools across the county and I guess, from a letter I recieved today, maybe even the nation...

I'll start with the letter I received today in the mail. It is with regard to the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) legislation that requires schools to meet targeted achievement goals in both reading and math. If they fail to meet these goals for three years in a row they need to provide Supplemental Education Services (SES) [free tutoring] to eligible students.

Apparently Brunson is one of those schools because I learned at curriculum night that SES were being offered to students from their school. I visited with their teachers and learned of their expectations for the school year and certain testing schedules, which I thought was actually the point of the night. We were all told at that point that the school was offering these services without mention to us of why. I thought it was just something the school system did to supplement their normal day-time program (until today's letter).

Now, I know from my twins that there are drastic academic differences from student to student because Ashley is advanced, reading books on her own, while Anthony is having trouble even recognizing his kindergarten words. Strange because they both do everything together including sitting with me at night for stories so they are even getting the exact same stories read to them. The only differences in their lives are their teachers at school and their own ability. Anyway, my point is that Anthony could benefit from the tutoring.
We went to the cafeteria where all the providers were set up (there were 18 of them I think). They were all set up with freebies on their tables to draw attention to them, lots of literature and applications.

I was then informed that eligible students are defined as students receiving free or reduced lunch. I was disappointed because we are not eligible for free/reduced lunch. So I asked how much tutoring like this would cost a parent whose child isn't "eligible". The response was the same from every table. It is against the law for them to even give such information while there. Because my child wasn't eligible, they couldn't even (without breaking the law) give me a business card for me to call them outside of the function!
I am now furious! The more I think about it the more angry and confused I become. It's Saturday so I cannot get any further information from the school until Monday. Consequently, you are reading my rant. I am left to think that because their school isn't doing an adequate job of educating their students that the financially disadvantaged children will get extra help to bring the school up-to-standard while my ineligible child in need of the service will not. I cannot afford the tutoring which runs from $30 per hour on up. I could quit my job to have the extra time with my son to work with him (vs. him having to stay up later to study his words with me when I get home at 5:30).
What I want to know is who decided what "eligible" means. As I stated earlier I am aware of the differences between students academic progress - the difference is not a financial difference. Why is the eligibility not based on academic need?

Hey, maybe if I do quit, we'll be eligible for the free tutoring?

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