Mitchell hates school.
He's in a Title I school (code for lots of poor people at a school, mostly). He's already been retained a grade because he's not ready to sit still and pay attention. He gets his stars taken on a regular basis, so he doesn't usually earn his good behaviour prizes (you know, happy meal toys, pencil toppers, that kind of thing).
He hates reading. Hates it.
The teacher is sure to tell the parents that he must read for half an hour each night. And study his 20 spelling words. And his math worksheet usually takes him an hour. He's tired when he comes home. He doesn't wanna study.
He hates school. He hates math. He's eight, and he hates learning. Learning sucks.
His mom and dad, for various reasons, are unable to homeschool him. No way they can afford private school, and no way the child would do well in private school even if they could.
The school is under big pressure to get those kids to perform well on tests coming up soon. They've been railing on Mitchell's folks to get him reading, writing, work-work-working. Afternoons? At Mitchell's house they're pretty hard. His mom and dad want him to do well, so they've instituted a "no game system until your homework is done" rule.
Did I mention Mitchell hates school?
Mitchell's mom and dad are trying to do the right thing, to help him get a good education. I looked at the school's website and it clearly states that if these children don't perform well on these tests, the school will be mandated to give school choice and "supplemental education services."
I'm thinking I'd like some school choice and some "supplemental education services" for my kid if I were in that position. I'm thinking if it were my child, I'd instruct him to fail that state test on purpose and see if anything good comes of it. But Mitchell's mom and dad want him to do well in school, which means doing well on the test. They want him to succeed in everything he tries. I think they also feel intimidated by the college-educated school staff and the teacherese that is employed. And they are embarrassed by some of Mitchell's "bad choices."
When I think of failing schools, I think of the kids like Mitchell who are trapped in them.
Nope, not going to say that more funding would solve things. Or teacher "accountability." These teachers already feel "accountable" enough and are pretty frantic. Or parental "involvement." Poor Mitchell is working as hard as he can and burning out.
I'm not going to pretend to know what the answer is. Your thoughts are appreciated. :]