The other day Husband Dear pointed out a blogging milestone that slipped my notice: sometime in the past month I exceeded 200,000 page views. Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by and who continues to read my musings.
A milestone which most certainly did NOT escape attention took place this morning: For the very last time, I drove C. to school. Her last day ever as an MCPS student. Hard to believe this MCPS chapter, such a huge part of our life for the past 10 years, has drawn to a close. Seems like just yesterday that I stood with her on the playground as she lined up with her class for her very first day of first grade. I didn’t have to drive her, and normally I don’t, but hey, it was her last exam and she needed the extra half hour of sleep. Besides, she’s leaving in three months–I have to spend some time with my baby while I can!
So was C. the least bit wistful? Um, no. Not a bit. She attended the drama picnic a week ago and will miss her drama friends, but has no interest in attending her classwide picnic tomorrow afternoon. Didn’t want to buy the yearbook. Laughed how all of a sudden people who never talked to her were posting to her Facebook wall about how her leaving is a “betrayal” of the ol’ alma mater. Nope, no looking back.
It’s a nice half hour drive to her school, so I asked, what were her reflections on this, her last day in MCPS? What would she do differently, what should have been done differently? Because one could argue, hey, it didn’t really turn out too badly. You’re in the best school in the county (Newsweek says so!), and you’re leaving to go to one of the best boarding schools in the country. Can you really complain?
Her answer, unequivocally, was that she should have been allowed to grade skip. Really? I pressed her. Really, she insisted. Socially, she has always gravitated to kids a grade, and more often several, ahead of her. The teachers she looked back on most positively were the ones who understood, and gave her more challenging material beyond what was offered to everyone else. The second grade teacher who gave her unlimited access to the library. The third grade teacher who let her read different books from the rest of the class. Aha! So doesn’t that just prove that MCPS does differentiate and that it works? Alas, those teachers were, according to her, the grand exceptions. The counter example would be offering to “reward” a verbally gifted kid with math acceleration and sitting in heterogeneous classes where all the other kids loath you because you “know everything” (being called “The Walking Dictionary” comes to mind) and you resenting them for being so painfully slow. So much for having bright students serve as “role models” in the class.
I told her that it had recently been suggested that we could/should have pursued a legal remedy back in her middle school days. Part of me so wanted to, however I also knew that legally gifted isn’t like special education. And really, when you are in the midst of the crisis, stressed beyond belief, does it really make sense to launch a lawsuit? How is going to make the immediate situation at hand better? Which sadly means that the system continues along, unchallenged.
I’ve suggested that she document her experiences and maybe even share them with members of the school board. Heck, ask to meet with Jerry Weast and Jay Mathews. It’s what her friend up in the Boston area is doing. Only he’s actually been invited by a member of the school committee to speak to them about the needs of “high-end learners.” When’s the last time AEI ever asked students what they think of gifted education in MCPS? Oh, that would be never.