Friday, June 08, 2007


Bitch. Bitch. Bitch. Bitch. Bitch.

Oh, I am in such a mood.

My nostrils are flaring, I'm breathing heavily, and my neck's all hot. And that's just when I'm sitting down at the computer. When I start walking around the house papers get tossed, pots get slammed, and toys get kicked out of my way.

One part of me knows that I should find a way to calm down and be adult.

The other part of me is just riding the adrenaline wave, burning holes in target with my imaginary laser beam eyes. Sucks to be angry, but you have to admit that it is energizing.

I lost a political battle last night, and I'm just so pissed.

This town has half-day kindergarten, which is simply ridiculous. The state curriculum is built for a full-day. Our teachers are great, and they manage to cram as much stuff as they can into those little kids, but still. Come on.

70% of American households have all adults working. That means that most kids have seen daycare before they hit kindergarten. Most kids who go to kindergarten GO TO DAYCARE for the other half of the day.

I'm a stay-at-home mom. I pick up my kid from kindergarten at 11:40 every day. I think it's stupid. She's bright -- she could be learning more in school. My son, who had a lot of difficulty in kindergarten, would have ALSO benefitted from going longer. Longer day, fewer transitions, happier kid.

But we got letters from the whiney stay-at-homes who complained that their kids need to be home. (Fine. Then don't send them to K. It's not a mandated grade in California. Just be sure that they're ready to start at the end-of-K benchmark before you enroll them in Grade 1. OK?)

And the Board caved. Totally caved.

Piss me off.

There's more to the story. Stuff about negotiations too. (I sat in on negotiations until I told the lead negotiatior I was going to crawl over the table in order to throttle the lead Teacher's negotiatior if she didn't shut up about how "Those Kids" [Identitifed Special Education Students] were making life harder for her teachers. And the UNION wanted a say on which class each child would be placed in, what monies would be spent on them, and where resources should be allocated. Uh huh. The union. Come over here, dear. I have a fist you need to be introduced to.) Stuff about how we now don't have enough money to pay for librarians, computer technicians, psychological services, and anti-drug education services, because we just gave the teachers another big raise. At an amount that I voted against. Which made me unpopular with the board.

Hey, but at least the employees have a raise. Which is a good thing. I like handing out raises.

But don't ask me to be happy that we just fiddled away 4 million dollars on bigger paychecks while refusing to plan to for rush of autistic students that are headed our way, according to County statistics. Or that there will be MORE interventions needed for First Grade students because they didn't learn how to read with comprehension during Kindergarten. Interventions cost money, people.

So very, very pissed.

And, as always happens during these personal tirades, all I can come up with is that I should have fought harder to get my point across. Damn.


sxKitten said...

We went through the same thing with teachers demanding big raises, then whining, once they got them, that there wasn't enough money in the school budgets for other stuff, so I totally sympathize.

I hadn't realized how different our education systems were, though. I can't speak for the whole Canada vs the US thing, but certainly your school vs my kids'. Most kindergartens here are half days - there are full day programs available, but they are generally reserved for kids with special needs like ESL, speech impediments, or behavioural problems. And our K kids aren't expected to read by the end of the year. They do a lot of reading-prep work, but they're not expected to actually learn to read til grade 1. My son started reading at Christmas, but he's the exception. I was the parent helper this week, and got to read with all 25 kids in his class. There were 4 who could read beginner books fairly fluidly, and another couple who could get through with help, but 2/3 of the class aren't reading anything beyond their own names.

Marianne McA said...

Ours don't go to nursery full time either, but I'm not sure how the age compares. They've a free nusery place (say two and a half hours) from three years old, if they want it, and go to school the year they turn five - but even then, they're only in until lunchtime for the first few months.
I've got to say my middle daughter, who was four and a quarter when she started school, wouldn't have benefited from longer days. She was so tired when she got home that she went back to taking naps.
And I'm not sure what the research says about learning to read early - I know at least one school in our town is trialling starting reading later, which I think is what the Scandinavian schools do.

I agree with you about the provision for special needs - that has to be in place.

Mailyn said...

What the hell? Half day kindergarten?! In my day it was a full day or you had to stay home! This sucks.

Suisan said...

kindergarten is for five year olds.

When they are six, they enter First Grade, the first year of mandatory education under state law. California's Dept of Education lists all the standards on their website.

Fleunt reading is not required by the end of Kindergarten, but they have to know all their letters, a list of twenty sight words, and be able to blend "CVC" words. (Consonent vowel consonent: hat, bat, cup, etc.)

Then they have Social studies, science, mathematics, Physical Education, and social integration standards to meet as well.

It is truly what First Grade was about ten years ago. ANd our teachers are supposed to do it with three and a half hours of instruction. (Truth is, they don't. A LOT of kids get held back in K. No one likes to discuss that statistic.)

Marianne McA said...

Interesting. Stupid question time. How many years do they do in Primary school then? And how does the holding back thing work? Can you be held back in any year, or just in Kindergarten? And how do they do that - are they tested, or do the parents and teachers decide what's best? And then, if you've been held back, how do you get caught up again? And if you're bright, can you skip forward?

Suisan said...

K-5 is generally considered Elementary school, with various exceptions. THen 6-8 is Middle School or Junior High. 9-12 is High School.

Broad strokes here, but usually a child can only be retained once during any level, so one grade from K-5, etc. If the child is recommended to be retained, there is a meeting b/w the teacher and the parent. I think the parent has to sign off on it? (We actually went through this proceudre for my son for retention in K, but then receinded it so that he could advance to 1. But now I forget exactly what it was that we did.)

Same thing for promotion -- if the teacher recommends it, then the parents have to meet and sign a form. But there's a lot of resistance to promoting beacuse of social problems later on. Again, you can only skip a grade once at any level.

CindyS said...

Let's see, Josh is on full days every other day and by the end of the day he sits down and falls into a nap. Makes my heart go all soft and mushy.

We discovered much later that Zach was basically tied to his kindergarten teachers leg and not allowed to move anywhere. (Zach was always high maintenance but we don't think the teacher even tried to do anything with him). It was suggested to his parents at the end of grade one that he be held back and they refused. He was in second grade in a new school for three days before the teacher contacted the principal, parents and special needs. She told Sue that Zach had to go back and he had to be tested. For some reason this worked and he was 'held back'.

Sue has kept Zach in the mainstream public school but this year she was approached by the teacher (etc) and told that in Grade 5 the resources would not be there for Zach and Zach gets attention almost everyday.

So he will be starting at a new school with a program for children with (dang I can't remember but basically his brain interprets things differently audio/visual wise. He's ADHD and there is another part of the spectrum that I can't remember but it has to do with fine motor skills - takes him longer to print out his spelling words than other kids) oh, I think it's a communications orientated program.

The weird thing is he will be considered to be in grade 6 (where he should be) but that it means nothing in these programs - their job is to get him prepared for high school. Basically all I can do is pray.

I'm sorry that you lost and that you are pissed. I know that you did absolutely everything you could and to be fair, if others don't want to hear what you have to say they just ignore it.

Hopefully today is better.


Marianne McA said...

Thank you.