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    #175553 - 11/22/13 06:05 AM Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy.
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    I'm seeing many changes in my state and my district I'm uncomfortable with. This trend toward putting money we don't have into technology (we can't pay teachers what they deserve or have teaching assistants, but we can afford to outfit every child and teacher with Ipads and schools with computer specialists), a trend toward unreasonable expectations (kindergarteners sitting for 90 minute uninterrupted ELA blocks, during which they can do nothing outside the directed curriculum, not even color a picture related to the story), a trend toward scripted lessons, and many more changes by the state that affect the lives and moral of the teachers.

    Ds12 has not had a teacher in his Enrichment class (AIG) since the year started and he hasn't had a science teacher for four weeks because the one he had quit. There have been a variety of inadequate subs since then but things hit bottom for me when he came home and told me there was no one in the classroom two days ago, no sub, no teacher, no administrator, until 5 minutes before the class ended.

    In our district, there seems to be a huge drive to make the numbers look better, and that is accomplished by teaching everyone the same way and assume everyone is on the same level. How will they accomplish this quickly and impressively? By keeping the ones who could soar, the AIG kids, down so the gap is essentially closed. Yes, my district loves that catch phrase: Close the achievement gap. And while I understand what the phrase initially meant, and I agree it's reasonable to work harder to help the disadvantaged, I think the idea has gone too far and the people in charge implementing this idea have lost their common sense along with their decency.

    I'm hearing stories of the district office bullying and berating teachers, putting unnecessary pressure on them. One woman was put on medical leave because her hair was falling out. Teachers are quitting faster than the district can hire them.

    Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I heard the district is doing away with the AIG program (the gifted program). I haven't heard the reason, but I assume because they've bought into the idea that the Common Core Standards are rigorous enough (but we know that standards are only standards and not curricula). I did hear that they will expect the teachers to differentiate and we all know how well that works out.

    I feel completely helpless. Ds is missing two teachers and may lose another one if not more. Ds12 will be in high school by the time AIG is done away with, but it still matters to me, it still matters that gifted kids in my county get their needs met.

    How do I protest this mess in my district? I can't keep up with the disturbing changes and the problems keep getting bigger.

    Edited by KADmom (11/22/13 06:12 AM)

    #175554 - 11/22/13 06:16 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: KADmom]
    Bostonian Offline

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: KADmom

    How do I protest this mess in my district? I can't keep up with the disturbing changes and the problems keep getting bigger.

    You could write an opinion piece for your local newspaper or Patch web site and create a mailing list for parents in your town. Does your PTA discuss educational issues (ours is focused on things like fundraising and field trips)? If you are really willing to invest time you can run for school board. Does your school board have a public comment period at the beginning of each meeting, where you could voice your concerns?

    #175556 - 11/22/13 06:30 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: Bostonian]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    Thanks, Bostonian. I like your first idea, and I will investigate

    As for our PTA, it's mostly fundraising (no field trips) and yes, our school board meetings offer a person three minutes to voice his concerns, but when a local teacher took that opportunity to voice her concerns over scripted lessons, the underwhelming Journeys curriculum, the fact that her African American students are pulled out for isolated instruction daily regardless of intellectual ability, the board sat like lumps and the one member I could see in the video looked anywhere but at the woman speaking. The Superintendent adjusted his seat and looked mildly uncomfortable for a moment, but then the moment was over and we were on to financial matters.

    Edited by KADmom (11/22/13 06:31 AM)

    #175559 - 11/22/13 07:03 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: KADmom]
    Sweetie Offline

    Registered: 06/05/11
    Posts: 669
    Our schools each have a school advisory committee that meets once a month (called SAC) made up of staff, parents, and community members/business owners. Then the district has an advisory committee too. And I think there are various district level committees for various topics...rezoning, ESE, gifted, ESOL, just to name a few, which ask for regular parent participants on the committee as a year long commitment as well as random community input (like a one time speech or attendance).

    I keep thinking I should bring recess articles to next month's SAC meeting at my son's elementary school for discussion...but I don't want to get people mad at me.
    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary

    #175561 - 11/22/13 07:14 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: master of none]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    MON, this is a great idea. I may even start a facebook group.

    Edited by KADmom (11/22/13 07:15 AM)

    #175562 - 11/22/13 07:17 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: Sweetie]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    You're lucky. Our district seems to be very interested in controlling the message, so while I attend communicator meetings at the central office, the communication is usually district-driven propaganda to be distributed throughout the community.

    #175564 - 11/22/13 07:31 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: KADmom]
    Gardengirl09 Offline

    Registered: 07/19/13
    Posts: 54
    Loc: Midwest
    KADmom, we must live in the same district! Attending their scripted meetings make me crazy:-)

    #175573 - 11/22/13 08:13 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: KADmom]
    22B Offline

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    KADmom, many people on this forum have bad experience with their schools and districts. But what you are describing in this and your other thread
    is in a completely different league.

    The people running your schools are severely wacko, and someone needs to shine a spotlight on these bizarre practices. You have to go to the media about this and bring the intense scrutiny this deserves.

    #175578 - 11/22/13 08:55 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: Gardengirl09]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    Gardengirl, Ha! I feel the same way.

    #175579 - 11/22/13 08:57 AM Re: Losing Ground for Gifted Advocacy. [Re: 22B]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    22B, I'll do what I can to bring attention to it, but I fear that this misguided drive to standardize education and improve test scores is happening all across the country, and if not, at least in certain pockets. I was hoping it was limited to my district, but the more I research, the more I learn it's not.

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