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    #191786 - 05/20/14 08:07 AM When Everyone Loves the School, but You??
    Mom2Two Offline

    Registered: 09/30/07
    Posts: 99
    When you go to a neighborhood public school that is highly ranked (one of the best in the country based on test scores), but your kid isn't learning and is unhappy, how to you calibrate that in your mind?

    Two/Thirds of students are in GT Math at this school (no exaggeration - I did the math), but no one seems to notice that almost everyone is GT. Everyone just runs around going "oooh, gt." But last month, they stopped moving forward to spend a month reviewing VERY basic skills. Clearly a good percentage weren't getting it.

    So, my kid is bored which makes me frustrated with the school. I really like all the people there, but academically it isn't working.

    So, when people go on and on about how great the school is, I have trouble. How do you answer? How do you deal with these conversations? I'm finding that I isolate myself from other parents, which I'm finding isn't helpful either.

    When everyone loves the school, but you. How do you have it all make sense in your head. Is something wrong with your child, other people, education, etc.?

    #191787 - 05/20/14 08:16 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    ConnectingDots Offline

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    We had that last year with a private school that is very highly regarded (think rigor and for g/t kids with the right personality, a good fit). I learned recently we aren't the only ones who have pulled gifted kids out, which made me feel better.

    We live in a very highly ranked, popular school system whose g/t seems to be mostly pullouts starting in third grade. I was unimpressed with what I read and so DS is in a second, parochial school and doing well.

    I'm also not a fan of relying too heavily on school test scores. What I want for my children is critical thinking, interpersonal skills and learning capabilities... not easily measured on a standardized test.

    It is difficult to know what to say, since everyone assumes we live where we do because of the great schools. What we are doing makes sense in my head for now, but that doesn't make conversations with others easier. I usually leave it at a good fit we stumbled across (true) and convenient to our other child's childcare center (true).

    I have found little evidence that public education in general is optimal for most children. There are better methods but they don't seem to be widely implemented.

    #191788 - 05/20/14 08:33 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    blackcat Offline

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    I think that parents of average kids are going to find schools like this great. The 60 percent (or maybe even 80 percent) of the kids right in the middle are served well. As for the other 20 percent....the parents have either accepted the situation, or they don't want to talk about it because then they will look like one of "those" parents. The parents who brag about how smart their kid is, or the pushy tiger parent. I have told very few people how I feel because generally they are one of those 80 percent and they cannot relate to my concerns at all. Our area does have a gifted chapter where parents can discuss things more openly, and that helped me to realize that I'm not the only one with frustrations.

    #191794 - 05/20/14 09:11 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    bluemagic Offline

    Registered: 03/29/13
    Posts: 1489
    We have that situation with our local H.S. for DS. And I remember my mother having this problem with the school district we moved into when I was 8. And we had that problem with what was supposed to be a wonderful 6th grade GT teacher who sent my son into therapy and gave another friend headaches.

    It depends on the situation. When I talk about the "wonderful" 6th grade teacher I mention that this teacher's teaching style didn't work for my son. I talk about how the class & teacher serve two styles of students the gifted and the highly motivated. The highly motivated work great in his class, the but in particularly the GT boys struggle under the organizational skills this teacher expects.

    As to the H.S. it's easy because while the school has a reputation for being excellent, but it also has a local reputation for eating GT kid alive. So not everyone things you are odd for complaining. This school worked fairly well for my older DD so I do have good things to say about it. There are some really excellent teachers, and there is a large cohort of other GT kids. But the group of kids who struggle the most with the school are the GT kids who aren't as intrinsically motivated.

    I think the issue is that if your child is really HG/PG it's hard to find ANY school that is going to work well. Things will always be a bit of a compromise. I always try and talk about the specifics I don't like. Particular inflexibility, the district refusing to consider any GT program till the kid are in 4th grade. I just mentioned to someone yesterday that the reason a educational options isn't available to my son is that I feel our district is a bit "stuck up". They think that since they are so "excellent", have such great test schools they are serving the needs of all their students and don't need to offer additional options.

    #191796 - 05/20/14 09:31 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    KTPie Offline

    Registered: 03/13/14
    Posts: 253
    This is us, too! We moved here for the district and our schools are top-ranked, often highlighted in various magazines. The elementary school that my eldest is at just won a national award and five teachers were picked to go to DC to receive it from the President. No one can understand why I would homeschool in this community and I often find myself wondering if it's just us. I think, like bluemagic said, we have outliers and it's hard to find a school that will work.

    #191797 - 05/20/14 09:32 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    cmguy Offline

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    Yup. Got this situation too. Great neighborhood school within walking distance. After testing we were advised not to use it ... ever. In fact we were advised not to use most schools in our area ever.

    In our district the "GT" population is something like 10% of the kids (maybe this is political - it would be hard to get support for programs for 2% of the kids I guess).

    #191798 - 05/20/14 09:37 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    master of none Offline

    Registered: 03/18/08
    Posts: 2946
    There are surely some things you love about the school starting with how happy and upbeat the other parents are. Also, I can assure you that not all parents are happy with the level of work. At least in our schools, the average kids were totally left out and those kids moved to private. And the commercialism. Those kids moved to private too. So, you are just seeing the ones who are left.

    When there are lots of GT kids, there are lots of parents who are shocked their kid is in it as a slightly above average achiever. They are probably the ones doing the talking. And remember that large numbers of GT kids means political clout. The school board is less likely to abandon the program like many have. But it also means that the GT program is for 85%tile and up (yes that's the aim), which in lake wobegone where everyone is above average, means a very high percentage in GT, especially if it's based on parent push or teacher recs rather than test scores.

    So, what I'd say is fill that glass til it's half full. See the teachers are so loving and enthusiastic. Bullying is under control. There are parties every other day. Or whatever is true about your school. Look for the positives. Academics is just one part of the larger community. But if it's a major drag on your son, you may just need to opt out. Good luck convincing these happy people that your son could possibly be unhappy.

    Advocacy in these happy schools takes a lot of rah-rah cheerleading followed by "this tiny piece is just not working for us, but everything else is golden. Go team!".

    #191801 - 05/20/14 09:43 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    MegMeg Offline

    Registered: 03/14/10
    Posts: 615
    I've had to learn the art of being insincere. Believe me, that doesn't come easy to me! We live a 1 minute walk away from the best school in the district, and almost everyone in my close-knit neighborhood sends their kids there. All the parents of MG kids rave about it. Makes for some awkward conversations. I've simply memorized a patter about it, tagging the bases of "personal fit" and my daughter needing a small school.

    But it's a fine line. When they ask what grade she's in and I say 1st, and they get edgy and start probing for more information, I casually mention that she's in a combined K/1st classroom and they visibly relax. Anyway, I've started to realize I have this conversation in front of DD sometimes, and it sends her a message that I don't like. It's tricky.

    #191802 - 05/20/14 09:53 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    Val Offline

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Mom2Two
    When you go to a neighborhood public school that is highly ranked (one of the best in the country based on test scores), but your kid isn't learning and is unhappy, how to you calibrate that in your mind?

    When everyone loves the school, but you. How do you have it all make sense in your head. Is something wrong with your child, other people, education, etc.?

    We're in a situation like this. I remind myself that for most people, the school is a wonderful fit for their kids, which would make naturally them happy. So that's one thing.

    HG+ kids are rare and often don't fit the picture of "gifted" that a school may have (high-achiever, teacher pleaser). So from the school's perspective, my kid's not gifted and we parental units are big pains. That educators don't know about levels of giftedness in their own field is their failing, of course.

    As rare as HG+ kids are, so are parents who can see that a curriculum (or parts of it) really isn't up to par. IMO, this is a huge problem in the United States (no idea about elsewhere). If people have never been taught mathematics properly, they don't know what's wrong with presenting a recipe, assigning a worksheet, and moving on to the next recipe. Ditto for reading a passage and answering some multiple choice questions asking Which statement best describes...? The thing is that, schools and most of the parents really truly don't see that this approach is a problem.


    In answer to your question, I gave up trying. There's no point, and others just get angry at me. Though finding other gifties can help with stress.

    Edited by Val (05/20/14 10:19 AM)
    Edit Reason: Clarity

    #191803 - 05/20/14 09:55 AM Re: When Everyone Loves the School, but You?? [Re: Mom2Two]
    ashley Offline

    Registered: 03/26/12
    Posts: 639
    Our local PS maxes the test scores (STAR/highest state level API) every single year. Most kids are really smart and 60% or more are in pull outs for acceleration starting in 3rd grade. My child was unchallenged even with "differentiation". We pulled him out and put him in the most rigorous private school we could find and he is happier. We do loads and loads of afterschooling still.
    The parents in my neighborhood think that we are crazy as everyone pays high property prices and property taxes to live there and to pay private school fees on top of that is not normal. We quickly become objects of curiosity and people flock around us to figure out what exactly was wrong with the excellent school for us to pull our son out of it. They go into data collection mode to gather any information about the school that they may have missed. They are used to being envied for sending their child to that same school.
    We tell them as little as possible - but to coworkers and neighbors who are very persistent, we say that my child had behavior problems in that setting and the teachers did very little to help with those issues (true in our case - my child was bored, unchallenged and trying to entertain himself all day long with the teachers not doing much to help). That seems to make these parents happy - because we look like the parents of a kid with a problem who needed to be pulled out of the "very, very good PS".
    Public school kids from my school district routinely go to the Ivies and a lot of them go to afterschool places for tutoring in academics, so most kids look really advanced. But, having volunteered in the classroom and seen how little my son was gaining in terms of intellectual stimulation, I am prepared to stay out of such a system.
    PS is not ideal for a child who can learn at a faster pace than the average child.
    When we met the parents with kids in the private schools, we realized that there are many who went through the same experience as us, but they don't talk about it much in a public setting.

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