Tonight, I noticed that Little Grump was sitting at the computer and wearing a particularly sour expression. She kept raking her fingers through her hair. Eventually, Mr. Grump reminded her that tomorrow is a school day. That’s when she burst out sobbing, “JUST A MINUTE! I HAVE to finish my schedule!”
Apparently, she was given a password to an online area where she could sign up for classes for the following school year, and the students were supposed to finish their selections by Friday.
I asked her what she had already. She laid it out:
- 1 credit (two semesters) pre-AP Calculus
- 1 credit (two semesters) Environmental Science (What the…??? In high school?!?)
- Orchestra (double blocked for both semesters for 1 credit)
- 1 credit AP English
- 1 credit pre-AP US History
She was still trying to figure out how to add in the rest of these in the last two years of high school:
- Latin III and IV (She thinks that she might want to be a linguist so she wants to take all four years of Latin. Plus she needs three Latin credits to earn the “Distinguished Achievement” diploma.)
- Phys Ed (she has to have 1.5 credit hours to graduate)
- Health (she has to have .5 credit hours to graduate, and the Nutrition class that she took for some reason doesn’t count as a Health course even though they measured her body fat and required her to keep a food diary for an entire semester.)
- Technology (1 credit hour to graduate)
Basically, the only way to do it is if she bows out of things that she loves in her Senior year (like Latin IV) and/or only have Orchestra every other day and/or goes to summer school. Or she can can help prove the theory that “Distinguished Achievement” really means “Neener! Neener! I have a time-turner and you don’t!”
She’s not amused. She’s freaking. And I’m totally helpless.
Well, maybe not totally helpless. I can do two things:
1. Send a message to her counselor asking for help figuring it out.
I’ve done the first. Now I’m going to do the second.
This morning, I had a talk with one of my co-workers while I was fixing her computer. The topic was state standardized testing and how ALL students are expected to be competent in the same things in order to graduate or move on in school.
I know I work in a school, and it’s pretty un-PC to say, but WHY do legislators think that ALL students have to be capable of doing the same things at the same time? What ever happened to appreciating people for who they are? Why is it so bad that little Jimmy or Jenny is not a great book learner but a brilliant artist, muscian, or athlete? In my daughter’s case, why does she have to give up things that she loves and will likely use in her future (orchestra, art, and Latin) so that she can take classes that don’t interest her and will likely be forgotten and never used again after she finishes with the classes?
Why are kids who are already proficient in an area forced to sit through the same things because it says on a list of requirements somewhere that they HAVE to take the class? My daughter can handle technology better than most adults that I know, and she has been able to do so for years. The lack of a technology class isn’t going to turn her into a mental midget when it comes to computers, but neither will taking an additional course necessarily make her better. So instead of taking things that will interest her and help her grow intellectually, she has to sit through a course that will in all likelihood make her resent the subject more.
It’s just stupid! We’re churning out cookie cutter kids reduced to the lowest common denominator and calling it “success”!
— Deep breath —
I’ve vented enough. Nothing has changed. I’m just disgusted, and I can’t help but sympathize with my daughter when she says, “No! High school does NOT prepare you for real life! In real life, you have a choice whether to stay in a situation that stinks!”
I’ve sent a message off to her counselor. Hopefully she’ll have some advice.
I have a feeling that nothing she says will make my daughter happy. Requirements are what they are, even if they do stink!