Public School Foolishness

Our four-year-old nephew is a very bright little boy.

I’m not bragging on our shared genetics, because he’s adopted. He’s been in preschool the past couple of years where he quickly absorbed everything they taught him and then some. And then he got bored.

His mom (my sister) recently moved back to Illinois and decided that her little guy is a good candidate for kindergarten this year because he needs to be challenged. But in Illinois, kindergarten students are supposed to be five by Sept. 1 and his birthday is in October.

So before they moved, she called up the school district and described the situation. This set her off on a ridiculous journey through the labyrinth of public school administration.

First they insisted on checking out the credentials of the preschool our nephew attended in California. When they discovered that the preschool is run by a certified teacher but that the woman who taught our nephew’s class is not a certified teacher, they rejected his preschool experience.

They decided instead that our nephew should meet with their school psychologist once he got to Illinois. This visit would cost my sister, an unemployed single mom, $300. They also insisted on a meeting between my sister and the school principal as soon as she and the boys arrived in Illinois.

As it turned out, the purpose of that meeting was so the principal himself could tell my sister that her son would need to meet with the school psychologist and that it would cost her $300.

Now that my sister and her boys have moved to Illinois, the school district has informed her that our nephew will have to take an IQ test, and that he will only be allowed into kindergarten this year if he scores at or above 145.

All this because his birthday is six weeks past the cut-off.

I’m thinking these school officials are the ones that need an IQ test. And I’m thankful that homeschooling kept me from having to deal with public school administrators when our kids were growing up.

14 thoughts on “Public School Foolishness

  1. Amazing and stupid.. sheesh….. My son is in “Karate” so I spend a lot of time in the seating area at the gym, while he is in class. My son is one of maybe two others who are home schooled, so I get to listen to the conversations of the parents of PS kids along with a few teachers that are there. Almost ever conversation affirms the fact that I am glad my son is HS’d. The violence among students, the pettyness of the teachers, just make me sick for the other kids. Livng in a small town like I do, I would not have imagined the lack of control in the ps schools

  2. We’re sheltered from that, aren’t we Kristy, until we hear these ps parents talk about what it’s like. Seems like things are getting worse, too. No wonder my kids’ friends asked if I would homeschool them. 🙁

  3. An IQ requirement of 145 is absurd. That is about the 99.9 percentile and well abuve accepted genius cut off of 137. I hope your sister can find some peace with the school board and your nephew can get the education he deserves.
    I’m glad I will have the time to homeschool when my sons gets old enough.
    Stories like this are so infuriating.

  4. Agreed, Gen. Unfortunately he did not pass the test yesterday. The tester made it clear she was opposed to early kdgn. entry, and even told my sister that she held both of her own children back a year from kdgn…..unreal.

  5. What an ordeal!

    But, I wonder if there isn’t a need for such screening (maybe not to that extreme!). I know of a lot of people who try to get around the deadlines. (Hanging around soccer practice is very educational.) A deadline is arbitrary but there has to be one or there would be chaos. Or should I say more chaos than there is.

  6. I see what you mean, Marbel….many parents think their kids are geniuses. OTOH, my sister tells me the trend among parents in CA (the state she just left) is holding their kids back a year so they’ll be more likely to get into sports when they’re older because they’ll be bigger than everyone else. Go figure.

    Bottom line is school personnel should use some common sense when looking at each situation. But these are the public schools we’re talking about…..thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. Pingback: Carnival of homeschooling – August 31, 2010

  8. I can see my little boy being in a similar dilemma if I tried to send him to school–he has a late Sept. birthday, but is already way ahead of kindergarten work academically. Yet he’s small and not very coordinated, so I’m not sure putting him in early would be good for him either. I’m so thankful I don’t have to pick–he can just be himself and learn what he’s ready for.

  9. My eldest daughter was 2 weeks under the entrance age. I kept her back, but had been homeschooling her through pre-school anyway. After 3 years in the system, we moved and I was thrilled to homeschool all my children since then.

    As a government school teacher for 10 years, I have seen the many benifits of holding a child back when young. They need maturity on their side to cope with the enormous social pressures.

    Despite all this, a mom knows when their child is ready or struggling and no IQ test result can replace this!

  10. Queen of Carrots, how fortunate your son is to have a mom like you!

    Nadene, I agree: parents know their kids far better than any educrat ever can 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

  11. We have lived in several states, but currently are in Illinois. I didn’t know a lot about our local school when we moved here, but started hearing things and getting a sense of what was going on. We then had a foster son move in who was high school aged. My, my. The more I learned the less I liked our local school system and am glad DH and I are on the same page when it comes to homeschooling (if we every have kids of our own). I grew up going to public school and liked school, enjoyed it. But that was a different state and several years ago. Now, I see how much time they waste, all the things the kids do that is unrelated to learning, and the politics. There were a few great teacher and administrator who tried to help, though, so it wasn’t all bad. But over all, let’s just say that my opinion of Illinois schools has gone down in the past year. It doesn’t help that the state is behind in their money given to the school districts. I think they owe our local district about $300,000 and we are a small school system. The local parents are now fundraising to help offset some of that cost. What exactly are we paying property taxes, to schools, for then? Okay, I’ll get off the soapbox.

  12. You’re preaching to the choir, Stephanie 🙂

    I was a lifelong resident of IL until 2007. We were in a school district on the academic and financial watch lists, for which we paid $6000 a year in property taxes. It’s ridiculous!

  13. This is particularly ridiculous because there was a time when the cutoff date was different. Both my husband and I have November birthdays (we’re only 9 days apart) and we both started kindergarten at age 4. This is in California and I know the cutoff has changed since the 70s but really, how ridiculous to have it be so strict!

  14. When I was a kid, the cut-off was Dec. 1, and that was in Illinois. Ridiculous is a good word for it. Thanks for weighing in, Tina 🙂

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