Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Last week, a teacher walked into my 10-year-old daughter’s math class, handed her math teacher a stack of envelopes and told the kids, “If you get a letter, that means you have to come see me for extra practice.” Lily got a letter. When I took the letter from her folder, she burst into tears.

“Why are you crying, sweetheart? What’s wrong?” I asked. She said, “I’m dumb.”

The letter indicated that she was eligible for Title 1 math--which, I'll be perfectly honest, I had no idea what that even meant and had to google it. I assured her she wasn't dumb, even if she did need extra help in math and then started typing...cause that's what I do.

Even before this letter arrived, I had already had it with middle school in just a few short weeks.

It started with "gifted" children. 

Evidently parents use this identification to feel superior. Then their kids use it to feel superior. I guess it is widely known these kids get special treatment because they will get the test scores needed to label our school system “excellent with distinction.” I should know this; my older kids went all the way through Lakeview's "gifted" program, which is/was in fact excellent with distinction. But I didn't.

At Lakeview Middle School, we put said fourth graders inside the building, and the average or below average or whatever you want to call the other kids are relegated to trailers outside. 

I've been told by several students, "Oh yeah, everyone knows the smart kids are inside and the dumb kids are outside."

Are you fucking kidding me?

A few weeks ago, I read about a 13-year-old girl who took her own life rather than return to a school where she had been bullied. 

Schools install systems to prevent our kids from being killed by intruders--my dear friend actually invented one. 

They institute zero-tolerance policies against bullying. 

Then the exact people who are supposed to protect our children walk in and hand out letters that say, “YOU. NEED. HELP.” Or "You. Are. Dumb," as it said to my child. 


So, I emailed the teacher. I emailed the principal. And, I just wrote an email to the superintendent.  

No one contacted me to tell me Lily was "struggling" in math. She brought home A's and B's last year and scored "accelerated" on the spring standardized tests. Lily said she asked one question in class, and she herself did not feel she was "struggling." If a child needs extra help, I would think the parents would be the first point of contact. 

We have declined this extra help. Lily has confirmed that her dad, the electrical engineer, is really good at helping her with her math homework even via facetime.

All that aside? She still doesn't want to go to school. And really...middle school is hard enough without this added nonsense.

I waited for awhile to post this because I've been soooooo angry, but nothing is changing, and no one is responding, and my kid still doesn't want to go to school. So please, parents, teachers, friends, I implore you to share your opinions with me. Do other kids feel like this? I know a few who do. How can I encourage this kid who's told every day in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that she is less-than? Why is it okay to do this? And what can we do to change it?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why You Gotta Be Like That?

My daughter told me about this great podcast called You've Got Issues with Anna David. The host and guests talk about trivial things that irritate them and then break those little things down to get to the deeper issues behind them. And that is like my absolute favorite thing to do.

So, today, while driving to the airport with my husband, I decide it would be a fantastic idea to listen to the episode in which they discuss obnoxious drivers because this is one of his biggest petty issues. And of course one that I'm always trying to delve deeper into. "Why do you think it bothers you so much when that driver does that? How is it affecting you?" It always comes down to arrogance and a sense of entitlement, but we haven't cracked why those are such triggers. I'm still working on it. 

I also love to point out to him when he does the very things that enrage him if another driver does. Why yes, I am a complete asshole about 75% of the time. He loves me anyway. 

So, we listened to the podcast, laughed, agreed with a lot of what they said, and then I dropped him off and headed home. Let me preface the second half by saying, I rarely get irritated by other drivers' actions. I get irritated by all kinds of stupid petty things but usually driving isn't one. 

Except this one super-petty thing...

Here's the scenario: You're driving along and the person in front of you is going a tad slower than you'd prefer, so you move into the left lane to pass them. They speed up. Okay, cool. So you speed up a little more. They speed up a little more. And the race is on.

Depending on how enlightened I am on a particular day, I react differently to this. Sometimes, I simply get back behind the car. No big deal. I just wanted to go faster and now we're going faster. That is what happened today, by the way, cause I was very zen. 

However, the other day on the 82 bypass between Elm Road and 46--which is now 65 MPH, fyi, for those of you who didn't know--some douche decided that he was going to speed up as I tried to pass him. Whatever, dude, it doesn't call your masculinity in to question if you get passed by a woman. I think nothing of it. In fact, if you'd been going 70, I never would have wanted to pass you. But you were going 60. SIXTY. 

But now you wanna go 70. Cool. Imma go 75. Really? Your little car goes 75? Awesome.  It's on now mofo. I had to accelerate to an unreasonable speed to pass this car, and as I passed him, he flipped me off...and then exited at East Market. Seriously?? SO...his sole purpose in these shenanigans was to keep me from passing him. What. The. Fuck?

Has this happened to you? Are you a person who won't let people pass you? Never mind, I don't want to know if you are, because it will irreparably change my view of you. But seriously, what is going on here? I don't get it. I just don't understand. I don't care if people pass me. It doesn't make me feel inadequate. I never make any judgments about the people I pass. I simply want to go faster. I'm not trying to infringe on your personal space or emasculate you, I just want to go faster than you're currently going. I didn't even think you were an asshole for one second until you started this bullshit. 

Phewwwwwwww......exhaling all that nonsense out and...

Okay, I'm done. It can't always be rainbows and butterflies (heyyyy, Adam) here, I gotta vent occasionally. Thanks for indulging me. What petty issues drive you nuts? I wanna talk about them!