Grades for the girl

I haven’t men­tioned how Katie is doing in a while. While there have been some adjust­ment issues switch­ing over to “school” from home­school­ing, she’s got all As. The “life by the bell” thing has been a nui­sance, and she and one of her teach­ers just do not com­mu­ni­cate on the same wave­length, but she’s deal­ing with it. She adores her art class, some­thing I’m def­i­nite­ly not equipped to teach at all.

Two of her three aca­d­e­m­ic class­es are advanced, and the third would be but was already over­crowd­ed when we reg­is­tered her for class­es. So much for hav­ing trou­ble going into high school as a homeschooler.

The sched­ule isn’t easy on her body or the fam­i­ly, but again, she’s deal­ing. She does have increased fibromyal­gia symp­toms as a result and has had to add a dai­ly nap to her sched­ule after school.

One of the most dif­fi­cult issues is hav­ing cer­tain lines of dis­cus­sion “off lim­its.” That’s just too weird, after years of being encour­aged to fol­low her inter­ests and inquiries wher­ev­er they lead. While she’s attend­ing a rel­a­tive­ly lib­er­al school, the fact that it is a school means that there are con­straints on sub­ject matters. 

Her lit­er­a­ture teacher referred to chasti­ty belts as a medieval urban leg­end ear­li­er in the year, and when she start­ed explain­ing just how very wrong he was, he slammed the dis­cus­sion to a close. If the man is going to be so slop­py with his facts, he should­n’t be sur­prised when he encoun­ters disagreement!

Sam and I met some­one yes­ter­day who said, “Advanced class­es are how we seg­re­gate these days.” I point­ed out that they cer­tain­ly aren’t new, as my own class of 1984 was tracked into advanced, reg­u­lar, and reme­di­al (although the last two weren’t called that, pre­cise­ly) tracks, too. I found it an inter­est­ing state­ment, but we were in the mid­dle of Charis Books and dis­cussing many things, and did­n’t get to pur­sue that one as far as I’d hoped. What do you think of it?

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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One thought on “Grades for the girl

  1. Whether or not it’s inten­tion­al, advanced class­es *are* how we seg­re­gate stu­dents these days. As a for­mer pub­lic school teacher (now a grad­u­a­tion coach), I saw it in my class­room and see it now on transcripts. 

    As a “reg­u­lar-lev­el” Eng­lish teacher in a very diverse high school, I made a point to refer any stu­dent to hon­ors class­es who demon­strat­ed the desire and basic abil­i­ty to pur­sue a more chal­leng­ing class. I would, to my col­leagues’ dis­may, rec­om­mend stu­dents to hon­ors who still wrote and spoke in dialect (instead of “stan­dard” Eng­lish) as long as they were strong read­ers, inter­est­ed in lit­er­a­ture and dis­cus­sion, and want­ed a chal­lenge. Kids are in school to learn, so they could con­tin­ue their pur­suit of code-switch­ing in an hon­ors class, as far as I was concerned.

    The sad fact is, that most of our schools are already seg­re­gat­ed *eco­nom­i­cal­ly* (and thus often racial­ly) before class place­ment deci­sions are made. It’s rare in metro Atlanta to find a pub­lic school with true diver­si­ty; most are pre­dom­i­nate­ly white or black. Many pri­vate schools’ demo­graph­ics are the same. 

    I taught in a North Ful­ton high school where stu­dent often came from pri­vate mid­dle schools. More than one par­ent said they chose that high school because they want­ed their chil­dren “to expe­ri­ence the diver­si­ty of peo­ple they would encounter in their dai­ly adult lives.” They were wrong on two counts: one, these for­mer pri­vate school kids expe­ri­enced most of this “diver­si­ty” dur­ing the five min­utes between class­es; two, most adults have friends and col­leagues who share sim­i­lar back­grounds, so they sel­dom find diver­si­ty there either.

    I used to invite dis­cus­sions of racial issues with my stu­dents, who tend­ed to be black and Lati­no more often than white. We cer­tain­ly did­n’t solve the world’s prob­lems, but stu­dents rec­og­nized the prob­lems and began think­ing about and dis­cussing solutions.

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