Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Calling out the big guns

Our school district is known nationally as one of the top districts in the country. Unfortunately, the district is running on ancient accolades and has gone downhill in the past few years. It used to be tops in the nation. Now, not so much. Not to say that it's not good, because it is, but the city is out of money, the buildings are crumbling, teachers have been laid off, and we've got a superintendent that is not performing up to par. I happen to like the school my kids attend, and I think that most of the people working there try their hardest to provide a decent, solid education for most kids.

But not all kids. And not all staff.

Some staff seem to feel that they don't have to do their job. Nothing, but nothing pisses me off more than people hired to do a job, and then trying to get away with not doing it.

Without specifics, the deal is, the Girl is not being served by the school system. It's illegal, and I'm sick to death of it. She's been in and out of school all year, some because of her stay in the hospital and then because some complete asshat that headed her program pushed her over the edge with me following quickly behind. This guy is a power-hungry moron who went so far over the line that I had to pull her out of the program. He continually insinuated that she was doing things she was not doing, he lied to cover his ass, and he got way too comfortable asking her personal questions about our home, our lives, etc. that were none of his business. The last straw was when he told her that she was not allowed to discontinue a medication without his direct permission and he wanted to hold a meeting to discuss it. Um, no. He's not a medical doctor, he has no right to tell her what medications she can and can't take.

To say I went ballistic would be putting it mildly.

Since then she's been in the same program her brother was in. The school is required by law to provide tutoring after a child is out of school for 2 weeks. She's been out of school for over 15 weeks. They did not arrange for tutoring until I started harassing them. The tutor is here for the first time today. I'm so not happy.

She's missed almost the entire school year. The school has totally ignored her. And I'm tired of it. She wants to go back to school. They have known this for weeks and weeks and have done nothing. NOTHING. She has no place to go. They have not found a suitable program for her. Nor have they tried. They have not provided her with tutoring so she's essentially missed the entire school year. They have done nothing to prevent this. And I'm beyond upset. I just can't understand why they keep pushing her aside. She has an IEP. They know they're breaking the law. And they just keep doing it.

So today I had enough. I called her guidance counselor, the person who has been coordinating the tutoring and all the rest of this nonsense. I told her that most of the Girl's teachers had refused to cooperate with the tutor because there was too much work to make up and they didn't want to have to do any extra work to help her catch up. Only her math and science teacher bothered, and neither of them did a spectacular job of it. The other teachers just flat out said 'no'. So freaking illegal. So morally wrong.

When the guidance counselor deigned to call me back, hours and hours later, she started in with the excuses and I politely (I have witnesses) listened and then said, "I want you to understand that I have an educational attorney and I'm just about ready to use her. It is your responsibility to educate my daughter, not mine. You need to get the teachers to cooperate, and you need to find a program for my daughter now. Don't tell me that you're planning a meeting. HAVE a meeting now and let's get going. No more excuses. Now."

To say she was stunned would be putting it mildly. She was almost stuttering. I reminded her that any legal proceeding would be public record, and that I didn't particularly want to have to bring non-compliance charges against the school and they really didn't want non-compliance charges filed against them, so they needed to hop to it and get their asses in gear.

We'll see. I'm dubious. I have a feeling I'll be calling the attorney in the next week or so. I just want my kid in school. Is that too much to ask?

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Blogger Daisy said...

We were backed into a corner several years ago and had to file a complaint at the state level. It was difficult and uncomfortable, made more so because I teach in the district. I felt I had to risk my job in order to make sure my child got his education. You have my total support.

5/3/08 9:01 PM  
Blogger Ladybug's Picnic said...

Have you contacted PQA? That *might* be an option.

5/3/08 9:43 PM  
Blogger Dave2 said...

If she's missed almost an entire year, how can that be made up? Wouldn't it be best that she repeat the year so that she has the best chance of learning the material at the pace it was designed to be taught? It seems unfair to The Girl to heap on a year of work on her like this. It's almost setting her up for failure, and I find that even more wrong.

5/3/08 11:26 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Dave, excellent questions. First, they go by credits, not by classes. She only needs 7 credits to complete sophomore year because she did so much work last year. So all she has to do is pass English (required) and math (mom required). She can be tutored to make up most of the work and catch up so she can get a couple of grades, and THEN... summer school. Yes, the dreaded summer school. She can make up History and Science in summer school. She's not thrilled about it, but you know what? If she goes this summer and next summer, she'll have totally caught up, earned decent grades, and only 'wasted' five weeks of the summer.

Of course I'm not paying one penny for summer school. It costs the district ~20K per student per year, so they owe me big. With the tutoring, she will at least be caught up with this term, which is half over this week, and then can do the last term once the damn school decides what to do with her. Her tutor is recommending that I homeschool her, which is fine with me, but Girl isn't too thrilled with it. The last time we homeschooled (a long time ago) she was NOT the most willing participant.

Believe me, I have NO desire whatsoever to set her up for failure. I just want her to get her fair share, you know?

6/3/08 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If summer school doesn't cost you anything, why were you soliciting funds for it on your blog last year? I vividly remember seeing a tip jar labeled, "Help me pay for summer school."

6/3/08 9:32 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Anon. Summer school costs $375 PER CLASS. It costs a lot for 5 weeks. I don't know where you got the idea that it didn't cost anything. I said that the school is going to PAY for summer school this summer since they owe me that much. Not that I've told them this yet, but they will. But it costs. Believe me, it costs.

6/3/08 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I GOT the idea that it didn't cost anything, from your post. Of which you've edited. It no longer even mentions summer school. What gives?

You've always had a history of throwing your weight around on your blog, especially concerning your childrens' education.. and then editing things out. Do you think that people don't catch it when you do that?

6/3/08 8:21 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Anon. I didn't edit one single word of my post. Evidentally YOU have a problem with A) reading and B) understanding. If you don't like what I write, don't read it. There are a million and one blogs out there that you probably would like better than mine. My feelings aren't hurt. Personally, I'd rather you left than continued to find fault and accuse me of things that are falacious. YOU misread me. Really, you did. Not one word has been edited.

I mentioned summer school in my comment to Dave2. It is still there, as written.

So, you have something else to say? Like I'm sorry?

6/3/08 10:19 PM  

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