A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Infuriating! Idiotic!

One of my AP students came into my room and handed me her homework. "I may not be here for class, Ms. Cornelius."

"Oh? Why not?" I asked.

And then she started crying. Big fat tears from eyes squeezed tight.

"The school... the school... they are kicking us out and say we don't live where we are living...."

To sum up, it basically equals a lost job, a lost home, living with a family friend until they move into a new apartment in a few weeks. They pulled her out of her class and told her she was no longer enrolled and to go home. They did not contact her parents, and she doesn't drive. So she huddled in my room for two hours until she finally could get grandma to come and pick her up.

By the way, during that time, she voluntarily took a quiz (got a B on it, too, even with the tear stains) and took notes from class discussion. Even knowing she might not be back.

Now, they ARE living in our district, and I have told you before that this district is usually more than willing to allow any batch of malcontents to remain in our district even if they claim they are living at the Mailboxes-to-Go store down the street. And once granted the boon of a completely free edjicashun at the expense of the actual residents of this district, these non-resident kids promptly proceed to fight, skip class, sass teachers, call other kids fags, and whatnot. These kids still roam the hallways of our district. There are several dozen of them in my school alone. Some of them even live in a nearby state. They cause chaos and disrupt learning as naturally as breathing.

But hey, let's fitfully start enforcing attendance on a kid with a B grade point average in honors classes. Let's KEEP the miscreants and toss out the students! Because I notice they haven't dragged the other kids out of here that we all KNOW live twenty miles away.

This is a hard-working, diligent young person who has kept working through economic turmoil, who has been and remains a resident of our district.

And -- well, let me just go there. Let's also consider that, as a student who falls within TWO targeted categories on NCLB, this kid's presence at our school should actually be considered a blessing when it comes to making AYP across targeted groups. Maybe that would help overturn this stupid decision.

Makes me want to barf.

And yes, I did suggest to her that the magic words to make this all go away were "homeless student," since they believe that her family is lying about living wherre they live.

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7 Comments:

At 1/14/10, 8:06 PM, Anonymous Exhausted, but won't be beaten by middle schoolers said...

That's just insane! And trying to send her home in the middle of the day? My word. I guess they decided it would be easier to kick out the nice, hard-working student than the difficult ones.

Sigh. First year teaching in a school of the difficult ones. Last stop before you're in the "bad kids" school or...other even less pleasant places.

I hope I make it, but I know exactly what you mean about wanting to keep the kids who are trying from having any more bad experiences!

 
At 1/14/10, 9:04 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

It sounds as if your school is violating federal law. It's called the McKinney-Vento Act, and it protects the rights of homeless students. Under that law, students who are living with friends and/or relatives are considered homeless, and are to be allowed to stay at their home school. The district is even required to provide transportation to school under the law (even if the student has moved out of district bounds).

Excerpt:
(3) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY REQUIREMENTS-
(A) IN GENERAL- The local educational agency serving each child or youth to be assisted under this subtitle shall, according to the child's or
youth's best interest--
(i) continue the child's or youth's education in the school of
origin for the duration of homelessness--
(I) in any case in which a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; or
(II) for the remainder of the academic year, if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during an academic year; or
(ii) enroll the child or youth in any public school that nonhomeless students who live in the attendance area in which
the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.
(B) BEST INTEREST- In determining the best interest of the child or
youth under subparagraph (A), the local educational agency shall--
(i) to the extent feasible, keep a homeless child or youth in the
school of origin, except when doing so is contrary to the wishes
of the child's or youth's parent or guardian;
(ii) provide a written explanation, including a statement
regarding the right to appeal under subparagraph (E), to the
homeless child's or youth's parent or guardian, if the local
educational agency sends such child or youth to a school other
than the school of origin or a school requested by the parent or
guardian

Our Teachers' Union has actually gone to bat for kids because administration was ignorant of (or chose to ignore) this legislation.

 
At 1/14/10, 9:19 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

Amazing...in our building we do whatever we can to make sure our homeless kids fly under the radar and stay in our building - for some, it's the only "home" they know.

 
At 1/15/10, 1:51 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I'd say "you're KIDDING!!" but I know you're not.

Sigh.

 
At 1/15/10, 2:12 PM, Blogger Mamie said...

I was going to rant about how the school/district is breaking federal law (the McKinney-Vento Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2001 (McKinney-Vento) is a federal law that requires states to make sure that homeless students have equal access to a free public education), but I see that Cheryl has given all the pertinent details. Many districts have a person who is SUPPOSED to make sure that the law is adhered to. I hope you can advocate for this wonderful student!

 
At 1/15/10, 6:07 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Cheryl-- I KNOW. But who am I to the ptb?

 
At 1/18/10, 4:43 AM, Blogger Magical Mystical Teacher said...

YOU, Ms. Cornelius, are the voice that this child needs! Stand up to the PTB--and let the child's voice be heard!

 

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