Monday, November 17, 2008

Something New, #203

The Big One has made straight A's since kindergarten, tests in the 97-98-99 percentile range on all those asinine standard tests, and in the seventh grade, has qualified to take the ACT.

But apparently, according to the Kansas Department of Education, is not qualified for their gifted and talented program.

When she was in the third grade, I felt like I was being pressured by peers and her teachers to get her into the program. She went through several rounds of tests and we both were interviewed. She missed getting in by one point on one standardized test. It was actually a relief for me, because at the elementary school level the "EL" students are put on a bus one day a week for their special program, and sent to another facility and I was not crazy about the idea. So I figured we were done with it.

Until I found out a year later that one of her classmates who scored a full TWO points lower than the minimum required got in.

When The Big One tested and interviewed, there were two others in her grade going through the same process. They too scored one point lower on one test.

However, the parents of the student who got in argued that because their older son was in, the sibling should be as well. When the older child got in, the standards were lower, and they felt the younger sibling should be admitted on that grading scale.


I had it from one of the horse's mouths that the only reason the child got in was because the parents wouldn't let up. I don't really see this as them doing a favor for their child.

So anyway, when The Big One qualified to take the ACT this year, and the child who I feel stole a spot in the program got qualified only on the basis that she's in the gifted program, it got me pissed off all over again, so we reapplied.

I filled out all the forms and she was retested. Today I met with the school's "gifted" sponsor and the school district's psychologist. We reviewed all her forms, reviewed test scores and report cards, and discussed the project "work" she submitted. Both agreed she did well on the test scores and acknowledged that her GPA is over 100%. They asked her opinions on world affairs and social issues.

I thought "World affairs? Social issues? She's 12...she's got her brain full of Edward Cullen and what she's going to do over the weekend."

They both said, "Well, she obviously makes the grades and test scores, but she's just so quiet."

Apparently, in the eyes of the Kansas Department of Education, you can not be "quiet" and be "gifted."

So toward the end of the meeting, they both kind of looked at me in a condescending way and they both agreed that they while she is "above average," she's not "extraordinarily exceptional."

I had a flash to the scene in Risky Business where Joel is being interviewed to be accepted into Princeton.

In case you've been in a cave the past 25 years, I'm referring to the scene where Joel is having a party for his friends with a houseful of prostitutes to earn money to repair his dad's Porche that he drove into Lake Michigan and the recruiter from Princeton shows up. After his interview, the recruiter looks down at Joel's record, folds his hands and says "You've done a lot of solid work here, but it's just not Ivy League, now is it?"

At that moment, if I'd had a pair of Ray-Bans in my purse, I would have taken them out, put them on carefully, and responded, "You know, there's one thing I learned in all my years. Sometimes you just gotta say, "What the fuck, make your move."
But since I was short a pair of Ray-Bans, I did Something New instead.

Instead of bowing and scraping to the professionals and leaving with my tail tucked behind me and thinking "my daughter isn't good enough," like I usually would, I said, "Look."

"My daughter has made straight As since kindergarten. She excels on all the tests she gets three times a year. I never have to tell her to do her homework, or remind her of assignments, she always is responsible for those and gets more of what is expected of her done. Her teachers have had nothing but praise for her for the last 9 years. So you're telling me that because she is "quiet", you're going to penalize her and not offer her an opportunity to better herself."

So they agreed to one more meeting, "after her current teachers have gotten to know her better."

"Princeton could use a guy like Joel Goodson."

1 comment:

Beverly Biehl said...

Good for you! Actually, I think that the GT teacher would relish the opportunity to teach a quiet child. I know my son's teacher would find it very refreshing!