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  •  Hokay, I've been there both as kid and parent (13+ / 0-)

    AND school board member on the curriculum committee.  

    Here's the problem:
    If you have a kid that started to talk and walk at 9 months, speak in full sentences at 1, take up drawing (relentlessly) at 2, and read at 4, it seems to me that the parent's opinion should be taken into account.  
    I've had a first grade teacher tell me that she couldn't tell if the kid was actually reading or just memorizing what was written.  Even when I suggested she get any book in the library, have the kid read it and then explain what she's read, the teacher STILL insisted that the kid sit still during phonics.  
    The kid was identified as G&T in Kindergarten but wasn't officially tested until 2nd grade.  For three years, the school system shut down the G&T pull out program so that all children could be exposed to what was a very limited resource. So, the REACH teachers (1 per school) loaded their program on a cart and moved from room to room, reducing the richness of the program to a novelty and depriving the identified of a break from the endless boredom of the heterogenous classroom.  
    The brutal truth is that we underfund these programs and set an extremely high bar for admission.  This makes parents resentlful (as they should be) when their bright child misses the cutoff.  
    G&T programs are not a privilege.  They are not elitist.  They are necessary to keep the gifted from going completely nuts, acting out and getting lazy.
    The gifted are different.  There is some kind of synergystic thingy happening in their brains that make them exceptional learners.  And we need to protect them, not water their education down because it doesn't seem fair to the others.  What is not fair is depriving these kids of real education when they are asked to slow themselves down so others can catch up.  It's unfair to ignore them in a heterogenous classroom because the average and basic needs learners need help more.  It's unfair to blame the, for their boredom.  

    -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 09:11:41 AM PDT

    •  My son was accelerated in math,but his 5th grade (5+ / 0-)

      teacher (who had worked as curriculum facilitator) said she didn't teach beyond 5th grade math. Therefore, he and 15 others were bored to death for a whole year.  He was a troublemaker for her as he didn't respect her.  These children had been in split classes for years, and had always done the level of math for the grade above them.  It pains me to say that he never really liked school until college. He did get a good teacher in 6th grade, who taught the usual curriculum, but also had the students choose stocks and follow the numbers.

      •  I hear ya' (6+ / 0-)

        There's an epidemic of children who are learning to hate school because they can't learn at their own pace.  
        Unfortunately, the problem may be the consequence of the teacher certification process.  In NJ, teachers get  either a K-8 or secondary ed certification.  
        Now, what do you do with kids who have finished algebra and are ready for algebraII and geometry by the time they reach 8th grade?  Where do you put them?  Ahhh, maybe if you slow them down or give them some integrated math program for a year, that might do the trick.  
        You know, at this point, I am beginning to think that it wouldn't be such a bad idea to let some kids skip a grade or two.  Better to let them struggle a little than get into trouble.

        -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

        by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 09:44:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm having an awful (6+ / 0-)

          time with my kid's middle school experience for just this reason.  His teacher is a pedantic asshole who just reads out of the teacher's edition books as a lecture.  My son tells me he really tries to pay attention, but can only "hang in there" for about 5 minutes" (I'd guess 30 seconds is closer to the truth) and then he loses interest and starts to day dream.

          We're at the point of considering putting him in private school, and he really doesn't want to do this because all his friends are at this school and he has a good support network there, which a kid with gay parents needs.

          We have no idea what to do at this point.

          •  Can we assume that talking to the teacher... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WI Deadhead, Fabian, slksfca

            ...has already been attempted?

            •  Disaster! (7+ / 0-)

              He's relatively young (I'd say late 20s, early 30s), incredibly arrogant and just doesn't want to hear it.  He made some simple errors in recording grades which our son pointed out and asked to have corrected as they affected his grade, the teacher refused, so he came home, got his paper, copied back up materials showing that the teacher was wrong and went back.  Not only did the teacher refuse, but everything since then has gone downhill.  It seems that one of the teacher's rules (which he dictated to the class the first day) was:  don't contradict me and don't challenge me.

              Our son was out of class on a school sponsored GATE activity and made arrangements with all his teachers to hand in his homework the following day.  This particular teacher refused to allow him to turn in the homework and gave him an F.  

              •  This sounds like someone... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                barbwires, Fabian, Heiuan, Naniboujou

                ...desperately in need of a change of profession.

              •  Ignore my other post beyond what the response (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WI Deadhead, Fabian, rserven, Naniboujou

                of the administrator is.

                And I would say the issue of a teacher who will not be reasonable- in fact, the teacher displays a disturbing inability to work with others- needs to be addressed up the educational ladder.

                Are you aware if this teacher treats any other students this way?

                Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

                by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 10:51:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've spoken with (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  WI Deadhead, algebrateacher, rserven

                  parents of students who had him in prior years.  They said that he was just there to collect a paycheck.  

                  When I made an appointment to speak with him, it was certainly my impression that he wasn't interested in discussing the issues at all and just wanted to get me out of his classroom and leave.

                  I was told I should expect that he would extend at all or challenge the kids at all.  Such a shame considering his age.

                  •  My wife has always gone to war for our kids, (6+ / 0-)

                    sometimes with me in tow (unfortunately, sometimes I am the expert on education living in the house, whether I have a clue or not).

                    She has successfully irritated a number of teaching sloths into action.  They don't want to do anything and hate being challenged, but there comes a time when doing the right thing is easier as a form of self-preservation.

                    Just saying.

                    Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

                    by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:09:59 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks (6+ / 0-)

                      this is our only child and we're a little anxious about pissing off the educational system.  It seems to me that they have all the power.  So much of the grading system is subjective.

                      •  Think beyond grades, especially at your son's age (5+ / 0-)

                        What you want is what's best for your kid.  Nothing more and definitely nothing less.

                        Remember as you go up the ladder: Everybody on the way up doesn't want anybody's problems from below.  That and everybody higher up likes the occasional softball to reassert authority over those below.  An angry parent with evidence is somebody's softball.

                        Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

                        by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:27:30 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's a difficult (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Fabian, algebrateacher, rserven

                          situation because this is a brand new principal at this school.  The prior principal was a "nice guy" who never did anything and let the teachers run the place.

                          We've been documenting since we realized there was a problem.  I've got a folder about an inch and a half thick.

                          With respect to your first comment, then what do you suggest? He's got to deal with this teacher as his "core" teacher (two periods a day) for the rest of this year and as a teacher in the middle school for the next 3 years.  On the other hand, the guy is really treating him unfairly.

                          •  Someone needs to talk with him. (6+ / 0-)

                            If he is not going to listen to his students and he is not going to listen to their parents, then you need to find someone to whom he will listen.

                            He is doing your son a disgraceful disservice.  I have no doubt he is doing something similar to other children.  He needs to learn that this is unacceptable behavior on his part...in no uncertain terms.

                            This sort of behavior makes me ashamed to be a teacher at times.  There is no way I can defend it and it hurts all teachers everywhere.  Some day, his behavior will no doubt be used as a description of us all.

                          •  Don't take it personally (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Fabian, rserven

                            I've had some phenomenal teachers.  They MORE than make up for the braindead.  

                            -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

                            by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 06:38:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Is there another teacher of the same grade? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DMiller, rserven

                            If there isn't, well, then I'm stumped at the moment.

                            If there is, it's time for a class change for those two periods.

                            And if you can see a future problem in middle school, it's time to investigate a change of schools.  Do you have just one middle school in your district?

                            I'm sorry.  I should have asked this first: Can you describe your son's school and school district?  Are there any options?

                            Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

                            by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:50:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We could move (5+ / 0-)

                            him to another class.  There are about 1500 kids in this school and there are 5 "core" teachers.  Our son doesn't want to be moved, because he's afraid of being branded a trouble-maker with the other teachers.  He's also concerned about being transferred into one of the other core teacher's classes who is well known to be much worse than this teacher.  (Tenure is so much fun in Calif.)

                            We do have options.  We can put him in private school, expensive, but doable, and there's another public school in the area that has an excellent GATE program that we could transfer him into.  Again, he's very resistent to both these options because his friends are in this school.

                            This school is a California Distinguished School.  This means that the students score well on the standardized tests.  The other public school we'd consider transferring him into is actually a better school with better grades, curriculum, etc.

                          •  Get your son to make a pro and con list (6+ / 0-)

                            for changing this year's class.  If he decides to stay (not really his decision but it will seem like it), ask him what will have to happen in order for him to make it through the year.  If he decides moving might make better sense, they it's up to you to get the right teacher.  Let the person with the computer at the school make an offer; don't accept anything that includes the wrong teacher.

                            With regards to changing schools, well, I'm not being glib.  You're the parent.  Make the decision and sell your son on the idea.

                            My younger daughter was terrified that having her Algebra teacher changed was going to "brand" her.  We made the decision and weathered her whining and scowls.  In the end, she loved her new teacher because "he teaches like Dad."  Kids are afraid of change just like you and I.

                            Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

                            by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:01:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I always thought my son should work it out (8+ / 0-)

                            and respect the teacher.  Then I learned the second grade teacher put him in the corner for choosing books that were too simple for him and was having him write about how bad he was.  His math teacher in another classroom had none of these problems.  Finally, in April, I switched him to the math teacher's room for the entire school day. I should have done this much sooner in the school year. At first, I thought my son needed to be able to work with all kinds of people, but there was nothing postitive in the relationship.  If she didn't want him to read books that were too easy, then she shouldn't have given him the choice.  

                          •  My younger daughter's kindergarten teacher (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            WI Deadhead, DMiller, rserven

                            was truly disturbed because my daughter could read.  She was supposed to be like all the other kids and spend class time circling all the words with "b" in them.

                            That and other issues got the battle going.  Eventually, the teacher tried to deflect us by referring my daughter to the district social worker because of her "competition issues with her older sister."

                            In the end, the social worker told us that she thought our daughter was a "delightful child" who spent her time with the social worker talking about the books that the Principal let her read from the Principal's office.

                            Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

                            by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:22:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  I agree, somewhat (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          algebrateacher

                          I'm more interested in whether the kid is learning anything than whether she gets all A's.  Unfortunately, the A's are required to get into advanced classes.  Her NJASK scores put her in the top 2% of the state in literacy and probably higher than that in math.  (in math, they don't break down the percentiles)
                          But the resentment from the educational community towards G&T kids is palpable.  If she doesn't ace every test, it wouldn't matter how gifted and talented she is, they will shove her in a class with average learners.  

                          -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

                          by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 06:37:24 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe you have some insight into this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rserven

              I agree that talking to the teacher is frequently non-productive.  (I'm assuming that rserven would be more empathetic)  
              I find that there is an immediate drop in room temperature whenever a teacher is confronted by the possibility that the kid might be bored.  I've had teachers say that the kid just needs to organize her stuff better.  Maybe a new binder and dividers would help her stay on task (no I am not joking).  There seems to be a passive-aggressive aspect to the teacher's attitude.  It has happened with regularity so that a definite pattern is apparent.
              1.) Teacher complains that kid isn't doing some tedious assignment that "every other child has to do.  XX should not feel that this assignment is beneath her."
              2.) Hokay, well, she doesn't pay attention to work that is boring, tedious or juvenal.  If you want her to do it, make sure she puts it in a folder for her to take home, send me an email at work before I come to get her or post the assignment on a website so I know exactly what she needs to get done.  
              3.) Teacher says she can't do that.  XX has to do it like every other kid.  She needs a binder with dividers to organize her work.  
              4.) I tell the teacher she has half a dozen binders with 12 different color coded dividers.  The school supplies are not the issue.  The forgetfulness is a symptom of complete disinterest.  Either give her something interesting to do or make sure she brings it home and let me know about it.  
              5.) Teacher says she can't do that.  Oh, and she doesn't get her in-class work done either.  cAn I do something about that?  
              6.) You mean by remote control?!  Ummm, no.  That's YOUR job.  She knows what is expected of her.  BTW, I notice that she's gotten nothing but 100's on every quiz and test you give her.  Do you think she's going to bother studying when she can ace your test without it?  
              7.) Teacher says, resistance is useless.  The child will be assimilated.  
              8.) So, is the goal to get her to do her work?  Because if it is, you might have to help her with that.  
              9.) Teacher says, but if she's GIFTED, she shouldn't need any help!

              sigh

              I keep telling her that in college, she will have so much fun it will be ridiculous.  She just has to wait another 7 years.

              -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

              by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 06:30:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I told my daughter she was not allowed to do... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                goldberry

                ...some of the "math" assignments she was assigned in school...and sent a note to her teacher telling her what a monstrously dull, repetitive and pointless assignment she had made.  She wanted them to calculate 2^(large number) by hand.

                I am not empathetic with teachers who assign that sort of busy work...or who can't manage to give a shit about their students.

                •  I <3 you, rserven! (0+ / 0-)

                  Your example, moves me to tears.  Literally.  
                  (the vanilla vodka might be a contributing factor)

                  The problem is that I don't want her to develop bad study habits.  So, I thought of buying her The Art of tProblem Solving before she gets turned off of math altogether.  Do you have any other recommendations?

                  I've had tot take her to a psychologist because she keeps acting out in school and he recommended that I put her in a private school with small class size that specializes in children who march to the beat of a different drummer (did I mention she is extremely gifted in art? She didn't get it from my side of the family.  Her art teachers put her in art competitions all of the time and the first statewide competition she entered, she came in 2nd in the state, at age 10).  But the tuition for the one he recommended is $26K/year.  There is no way in hell I can afford that without a scholarship.  

                  -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

                  by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 07:15:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  What has been the response of the school (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rserven

            administrator?  What has the teacher said about your son's "problem?"

            Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

            by algebrateacher on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 10:48:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Have you considered a parent's support group? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rserven

            There used to be one in my school district and I seriously considered taking this on and restarting it but my life has been a bit weird lately and I didn't feel up to it.  
            But you might find other G&T parents with similar concerns and you can organize extracurricular activities and monitoring of school board meetings when there are items on the agenda important to you.  

            -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

            by goldberry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 06:13:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's really the biggest challenge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      algebrateacher, rserven

      The brutal truth is that we underfund these programs and set an extremely high bar for admission.  This makes parents resentlful (as they should be) when their bright child misses the cutoff.

      Thing is, for the program to address the needs of such children properly, there would have to be a cutoff.  Otherwise you find yourself admitting more and more students and the program gets "watered down" which is precisely what the program was supposed to avoid.

      So then we have to work out how we determine who is "gifted & talented".  How do we identify it?  Testing?  Ability in certain subjects?  Which ones?  In my school district, G & T programs tended to emphasize mathematics and science.  Now, I think it's definitely great to have those subjects as part of the program (having once had the goal of being a scientist myself).  But then that may create the idea that only those who exhibit advanced ability in those areas qualify as gifted & talented.  Maybe there are students gifted & talented in other subjects too, but we don't see it that way because those subjects aren't considered proper metrics of one's ability or talent.

      It's a difficult issue, but I do agree that a well-run G & T program has great potential.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:20:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (5+ / 0-)

        So then we have to work out how we determine who is "gifted & talented".  How do we identify it?  Testing?  Ability in certain subjects?  Which ones?  

        I was kept out of the "gifted" program in my school years until the 11th grade because I wasn't gifted across the board in every subject.  I got straight A's, and was doing work several grade levels above my current grade, in everything but math, in which I did very poorly.  TPTB finally figured out that I suffer with dyscalcula, which explained my math problems, so they graciously enrolled me in the gifted program for my final two years of high school.  

        Wow.  

        The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill -6.25 -5.69

        by Heiuan on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:25:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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