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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