Thursday, November 16, 2006

How Can We Leave No Child Behind When the Parents Are Dragging Them Down?


We have this student I'll call The Brick. As in "thick as a...". Brick is s....l....o....w. Brick reads at a 2nd, maybe 3rd grade level. Brick can't read cursive writing. Brick is as unmotivated as, well, a brick. Brick doesn't turn in work, even work done in class, doesn't study, doesn't do school.

Brick is in my Title I tutoring class as he tests in the lowest 20% of our population on his state tests. I actually have an aide in the tutoring class and she practically has to sit on top of him and prod him the entire session to get him to do anything outside of misbaving, wasting time, and whining. To say that the lights are on and no body is home is being kind.

He whines well however.

He also would spend the entire school day in the bathroom if we'd let him. His favorite thing on earth to do is to come in class 5 seconds before the bell rings and then ask to go to the bathroom. He freaks when I tell him no, whines and whimpers that he'll die if he doesn't go, that he doesn't have time to go between classes, blah, blah, blah. It never occurs to him that the other 129 kids on the team can figure out how to get to the bathroom on time, and that we're not buying his song and dance. (Fortunately he doesn't have issues like the infamous Poop Boy from last year.)

We sent Brick to support team because he's failing every class and we're all but pulling our hair out trying to find a way to get this kid to learn something. We reviewed all the files, interviewed his former teachers, modified like mad for this kid and we're still looking at a kid with a 40% average. With modifications.

We recommended to have him tested for special education. It's obvious something is wrong, but until we know what we're just throwing tactics at him and hoping something sticks.

Mrs. Fish, who's in charge of the special education department, sent four different letters home informing the parent that we feel it would be in Brick's best interest, especially as he moves into high school in a year or two (or three...) to get tested into special ed, and if he qualified, to be able to serve him better. (Hey, learning to read might be a plus!) After all, he will have to pass the state graduation tests in a few years to get a high school diploma and unless he's special education labeled, he is limited by the number of times he can take the test. Special education kids can take it a zillion times or until they pass. Without it, Brick will most likely be a high school dropout.

Mom apparently got fed up with the letters and finally responded.

She wrote a big fat "NO!" on one of them and returned it.

So there.

Looks like mom wants this one left behind, doesn't it?


Jennie said...

I just found your blog (via "but wait, there's more!"), and I've really enjoyed reading through it. I'm a teacher as well, and my team recently sent a similar recommendation for testing home to a parent. Our reply? A (badly spelled) note indicating that the insult of being "labeled" Special Ed. would ruin the child's life. We have yet to point out that never graduating middle school will do the same thing (but much, much faster.)

Mrs. Bluebird said...

You can't win for losing. There are some parents who want their kid labeled special ed (even though they aren't) for some perceived tax benefit...then others who have a kid who's barely room temperature, who can't read, and who couldn't carry a clue if it had handles, and yet they don't want them to get tested and "labeled". Forget the labeling..getting special ed services may actually enable you to do things like freaking read.