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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sucess for all....or is it???

As a parent we have many decisions we have to make, most of them are about our own children and their future. Education is something I think about a lot, and it's very important to me for my girls to be able to get the best education that can be provided for them at that point, and that doesn't always include the education they get at school.

However, my daughters school and the entire district is headed for some cuts that I'm just not fond of. I know schools across the country are going through this, and it's sad that cuts to things like the arts which is very important to our family and education have to suffer because of educational cuts that have to be done. I'm already thinking in my head what we're going to do in the upcoming school year and beyond, whether we pull my daughter from the public school district we're in and go to a charter, private or Montessori school, or keep her in and try to enroll her in programs we can find out of school, so we get her all the education she can take in without suffering.

Last night I was informed that the reading program they have at her school called Success For All (SAF) was going to be cut by the district. Something I was not happy about at all! The Success For All program is a comprehensive reading approach designed to ensure that every child will read at grade level or above, you can read more about Success For All by visiting their website As parents, we were sent home a letter about this, and asked to write to the district about our displeasure with them cutting the program, which I did!

My daughter has been excelling at reading, she loves it, and has been striving to do her best so that when they had their reading test, she would test above grade level and her goal was to go to the 1st grade reading program. She had her reading test last week, and came home saying she did really well and thinks she'll be going to 1st grade reading.

This morning I was chatting with my daughters teacher, I was telling her about how I wasn't happy with a lot of the cuts, but was equally disappointed that they'd be cutting SAF. She in turn told me that she was being pulled both ways and she wasn't too sad to see it go, I kinda of just looked at her sideways like are you kidding me? She explained to me further though. Only two schools in the entire district participate in this program, and while its a great program, if you leave this school and don't go to the other one that is provided with this program, that you would be back where you started. THAT I didn't know. She told me that my daughter tested high on her reading test, and she's so glad that she's excelling and wants her to push herself, she'll be starting with her 1st grade reading when they get back from break. I was happy to hear that.... However, there's a few things I didn't know!!

Her teacher informed me that my daughter will now be missing 90 minutes a day of Kindergarten to go up to the 1st grade class to spend their reading time with them. Which means she'll be missing the fun things they do that she knows (and I too) that my daughter loves, like calendar time, farm, animals, feathers that sort of fun curriculum that my daughter enjoys. She'll be missing all this to go to the 1st grade class to read. I was blown away, as a parent, shouldn't this be something disclosed to us? Shouldn't we have a say/choice in this?

I'm so happy that my daughter who never went to daycare, preschool or anything before her first year of Kindergarten is excelling at reading, it makes me feel good to know that I've been doing well with her at home, I'm so proud of her that she's at a 1st grade reading level, but I'm not happy that she's going to be missing educational things that she enjoys! I was under the impression that when they went to 1st grade reading, it wasn't any different, they were in a different classroom yes, but I thought it was during the rest of her classes reading time. Apparently that's how it USED to be but they since changed it, and she told me, even when the parents have come in to complain, it's a oh well your child tested here, your child is going to be staying here....

I now need to decide who I need to talk to and if I do talk to anyone and I don't just mean picking up one of the cellular phones to do it either, I'm talking about going in to talk to SOMEONE face to face! I'm thinking about letting my daughter see for her self first, but if she starts to complain about missing things her own class is doing, I just might have to step in and fix things. I can challenge her reading at home further if I have to, and we already do that anyways...

As a parent I feel pulled in different directions here. This is something that should be decided by myself and my family, something not forced to happen, something that should have been communicated to the parents a little better because we/I had no idea this is how the program works. Had I had known, I don't know that things would have been any different but I also know that I may not have pushed her so hard to excel with her test. Not that it would have made a difference, she reads well, that I wouldn't want to change, we read at home all the time and I do it with her every night, I want her to excel with her reading, but I don't like that other curriculum at her grade level now has to suffer, and now I don't know what to do.....


Jason said...

That is such a tough thing to decide for your child knowing that she loves to do both. Whatever decision you make she will do well as it is great to see that reading is a very important part of your home life. It is such an incredible feeling seeing your child have a love of books.

Good thing that you are involved parent or else you might have been more blindsided with not knowing the full details and it is amazing that schools don't disclose everything that is going on.

TechyDad said...

I can definitely sympathize. NHL will be in the 2nd grade next year, but his elementary school is on the chopping block thanks to budget cuts. His school is one of the top performing ones, but also one of the smaller ones. So they're going to cut it and split the students up to 2 other not-as-good schools, in not-so-good neighborhoods, increase the class size and cut programs/teachers. They're also cutting technology education. That's not important in today's world, is it? *rolling eyes*

We can't afford private school (none we'd send our child to in this area anyway) and hate the local charter schools (they're not state audited and score their own tests, ripe for abuse at all?). We're not sure what we will do if his school is closed.

We've actually discussed moving. As much of a pain/expense that would be, perhaps that would put NHL in a better school district.

Anonymous said...

I in no way am speaking for your daughter or you. I just wanted to share my experience. I tested really high as early as your daughter did. The school wanted to move me ahead because I was bored in my current class and doing other children's work. My parents said no, they wanted me to stay with my peers. I wish they had let me move ahead and my parents wish they had to. Although I graduated in the top of my class with excellent grades, I have struggled going to college because I get bored waiting for everyone else to catch up to me. So, I drop. I've tried 5 times.

Regardless, I think it's wonderful you are so involved with education issues. If more parents simply became informed about what's going on, I think it would make a huge difference.

Corine S. Hunter said...

I really am happy to hear these things about your daughter.

What is running through my mind when I am reading your post is that even if we want to have our child to excel in anything they are into, we must not forget that we should ensure that they don't miss anything as they grow up as we can never turn back the time.