Transitions

Soon, my family will be heading to drop my son off at college. It is bittersweet for so many parents, but it is especially so because my son had a lot to deal with as a child. I am so grateful that my son came though school when he did, when the teachers were allowed to have the child determine educational needs, and not have to force the child to meet what has been determined by an out of control bureaucracy.
Except for a few specific times, my son always enjoyed going to school. I am in several special needs groups and my news feed this morning is post after post of heartbroken parents whose child is dreading going to school. Not the usual, not just not wanting the summer to end, not grumbling because they cannot sleep late any more. Real dread, that cause real stress and real meltdowns and lead to real anxiety….
“That time of the year is upon us once again. The time when my feed is full of new class assignments, parents connecting with other parents about placement and schedules. Happy pictures of kids’ new wardrobes and school supplies. It’s a sad time for us. I know that in two short weeks, My child will go from being the light-hearted, funny, creative old-soul she is during the summer, to her “school self.” It’s not a fun thing to watch happen to your child. So, please share, connect, get excited. But, don’t forget to feel lucky. Feel blessed that your child likes (or at least tolerates) school and that they look forward to reconnecting with friends. Any parent of a child who dreads school can tell you that it’s hard to send their baby back after a fantastic summer. I know I’m not alone. I know many of my friends have children who feel the same way. Maybe this post is to let you know you’re not alone.”
Years ago, in a self contained class, a student said “I love this class because it gives me the chance to feel smart.” She did not make it though the Regents, did not graduate, and is hoping to now pass the TASC (GED) which has an 80% failure rate. Another child who pulled out eyebrows 6 years ago during state testing (before it got as bad as it is now) refuses to go to school at all. These stories are not one-off stories, but the true experience of too many families.
We need an education system that will flex to the needs of the child. Teachers know so much more today about learning differences and learning disabilities, but they are not able to use this knowledge to benefit the child because education has become standards and modules driven with too much emphasis on testing. Refuse the tests and fight for the restoration of local control.

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