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Thursday, November 10, 2005

More on schools

Elcie's advocate checked in today. He has spoken with the Principal and Vice Principal. At first the Principal was defensive but all of a sudden the light went on and he said "we're talking about Elcie?". The Vice Principal, a nice guy, knew immediately who was being discussed. He's the one who hands out Student of the Quarter (Elcie last year) awards and Honor Roll Certificate (Elcie 4 times straight - at her level of course). John (advocate) talked to the robot to set up a meeting but she hasn't returned his calls. With a three day weekend coming up, he wanted to let me know of the progress, such as it is. He had the feeling the Principal may have spoken with the robot because she was courteous over the phone and didn't try to defend her position. It should get interesting. Meantime, she jumped from a 3.6 math level to a 5.0 since school started this year. Real problem for the school, this child. I should be ashamed.

John, her advocate, is a Presbyterian minister (ordained I think but I'm not sure) and a liberal as well. He pastored a small, liberal Pres. church here but isn't doing that now. He arranged for the laptop which will follow her all the way through school, attends all the IEP meetings, and is always available to fight my battles when needed. Great guy all around. The best thing about him is he remembers all "his" kids. None of them are numbers to him.

Nicole, when I was in school in the fifties, the kids that took the "business" or "shop" classes, were considered not as bright as those of us who took college entrance. If I remember correctly, they weren't eligible for a State regents diploma which was a little higher class than the regular kind. It was as wrongheaded then as it is now. The kids like me who took the college entrance classes without going to college had no useful way of earning a living. Luckily for me, I've been typing since I was 10. It kept me from selling shoes or slinging hash for very long.

I was thinking more about the older kids who can't or don't want to go to college right after high school for whatever reason. They should be able to continue their education so they're not stuck in the poverty rut. That's what I meant by trade schools, not labeling kids.

When I attended San Francisco State part-time in the early 60's, it was free except for books. Golden Gate College cost next to nothing as well. Now we have to mortgage our lives to afford even a State college or university. Not everyone is eligible for loans or scholarships. There has to be a way to help these kids. And there are kids who don't think they want college. They might change their minds after they work for a while, but meantime job training would get them out of the minimum wage trap.

Watching CNN while I'm writing this. Senate wants to extend tax credits on capital gains while cutting $14,000,000,000 (yes I got the zeros right) from student loans. This is the same budget bill that's attacking Head Start, food stamps, and anything else they can think of except the wealthiest people.

No Child Left Behind? Kids our most valuable resource? What a joke.

All the while they're throwing a fit because Elcie missed a few days of school.

I never should have looked up at the t.v. Usually I tune a lot of it out.


L. said...

I am exhausted -- I volunteered all day making a $%#! quilt at the kids`s school, and then I cleaned the fish tank. I am commenting just to acknowlege reading your posts but am too tired to formulate any insightful reaction to them.

Nicole said...

Ann -- I know that some voke schools offer courses for people who wish to continue their education. However, they're not publicized well (for the most part) and sometimes by the time someone's in their early twenties, they've been shafted enough times not to trust themselves to make a go of a trade. If trade schools were considered more like junior/community colleges perhaps that might make a difference...I don't know.

The sad part about having kids these days is that the biggest childhood expense is really saving for those four years of college! My husband and I probably wouldn't be able to afford more than three children -- not because of the day-to-day expenses, but because of the cost of college. We are luckier than most -- he is able to stay at home full-time while I work -- but I still find it fascinating that a certain political party can refer to itself as "pro-family" and "compassionate" when it does everything in its power to prove the contrary. (And that's as political a statement as I'll make.)