2010 will not be missed when it's over. This year, for real, has been incredibly hard on so many levels. While I am so proud of a lot that took place over the year-- my play debuted in the Fringe fest, I had some incredible contract work and opportunities to meet artists in other states-- the tough times have been abundant. What has really been a challenge just in the last four months has been my daughter's start in a public school.
While I've written past blog posts talking about instances at her school that have been of concern, nothing compares to last month's situation that stemmed from a parent-teacher meeting we had with the teacher. Needless to say, it wasn't good. At all. The teacher didn't have a gradebook with her, didn't have Khari's portfolio with her to speak from and was literally chatting and shooting the breeze it felt, unable to convey any info of substance about our daughter's progress. A red flag for us also was when we discussed with her a situation Khari had alerted us about where a boy had been kicking and messing with her and the teacher pulls out a note of help that Khari had written her that she didn't show the counselor or really respond to. We wrote a letter that day to the principal, requesting a meeting, indicating that we were not sending her to school until we met with the principal. Let's just say that we had to go to the area superintendent before a meeting was scheduled at the school and then it was with the Vice Principal and a pupil personnel worker that they had brought in because, at this point, Khari had been home nine days because they had not met our request for a meeting and we felt it was a matter of safety sending her to school and we hadn't met with an administrator yet.
We had the meeting and the Vice Principal appeared very accomodating and willing to remedy the situation, but we learn today that our daughter will be penalized and given a zero for the time she was out, even though I had requested the classwork during the week and the request was not met. The teacher sent the classwork home last week in a stack, giving the impression that if Khari does it then she would have made up the work, only to inform us today that she will be given a 0 for the work and she sent it home just as a study guide.
What is wrong with this picture? A lot.
I sent a message to the Vice Principal via email citing student code of conduct indicating that she has the authority to make Khari's absence lawful and allow her to make up the work. We are waiting to see if she makes that decision. But, I question the integrity of a school staff that makes that even an issue. Advocating for your child basically means rubbing school staff the wrong way which will, ultimately, harm the academic success of your child. I live in Prince George's County, Maryland and this is the caliber of schooling that is being offered. When we made the decision to try PG County Schools, it was after a hard decision of taking her out of the private school she was in that, honestly, was not that much better in terms of instruction quality, though the small classroom size was ideal. PG County Schools are the worst in the state of Maryland and given our experience so far, it is by no means surprising. When you have teachers who don't take their jobs seriously, administrators who support said teachers and have limited skills in customer service and handling conflict, you have chaos. I feel like I am sending my daughter into chaos each time I send her to school. Pray for us.