Your Kid is NOT That Bright

September 18, 2014 — 152 Comments
It's all about the Benjamins

It’s all about the Benjamins

We’re ALL in denial when it comes to our kids.

You know that book/movie/episode of Sex and the City “He’s Just Not That Into You?”

Your kid is Just Not That Bright.

Ouch. That HURT.

But I felt it was necessary to rip the bandaid off quickly, rather than prolong the agony. Sometimes brutal honesty is better than sugarcoated fantasy (which, although a great porno name, is not going to help you understand my point.)

It doesn’t do you any good for me to feed you the same bullshit the schools have been feeding you all these years.

I know you think your kid is smart. After all, he has a 4.0 GPA in school, doesn’t he? Or a 3.8?

As a matter of fact, she’s a National Honors Society member.

But trust me, this doesn’t mean anything. It may have everything to do with grade inflation; rampant cheating; tenure; weighted averages, grade grubbing – so many factors.

He could be in the top 10 percent of the class and still…not be that bright.

 

“Dammit, why does she keep SAYING that?!!”

I guess I’m hoping to take the sting out of the words through repetition.

I have found that even the most realistic, evolved parents harbor a little bit of denial when it comes to their offspring.

Take Little Dude, for example. He’s super bright (or is he? I’d like to think he is, but after all, I AM his mom. And by definition, this puts me in the paradoxical situation of writing about a phenomenon that I myself may fall prey to).

Okay, let’s assume he’s bright. Not super gifted genius bright, but above average bright.

However, he has a lot of behavioral flaws. He’s defiant, smart mouthed – a difficult 10-year-old (or 17-year-old). Over the years, I have tried to be realistic about his flaws, but I’m sure I still see him in a better light then some other parents see him.

When he’s hanging with his buds, and smashes another kid over the head with a lightsaber, I’m sure the parents of his friend with the fresh head wound is now going to think of my kid as “that maniac.”

I think he’s … spirited. They think he’s a hyena.

 

Every parent whose kid has less than stellar academic performance goes dragging their kid off to the pediatric neurologist, looking for answers.

ANY ANSWER:

ADD. ADHD. Visual Perceptual deficit. Auditory Processing Disorder. Sensory Processing Disorder. Dyspraxia. Dyslexia. Dyscalculia. Dysgraphia.

It’s actually a GOOD thing that kids are no longer seen as just good and bad, smart and dumb.

It’s a positive thing, and a long time coming, that many developmental learning issues have been identified and are now addressed in schools so that every kid has a chance to learn.

The downside to this is,

THERE ARE NO DUMB KIDS ANYMORE.

NONE. NADA. ZIP.

This is what I want to focus this post on.

 

Where have all the dumb kids gone?

Some of the other issues I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I’ll discuss in subsequent posts.

When I was growing up (wow, nothing like that phrase to make you sound old), there were smart kids, there were average kids, and there were dumb kids.

It was fairly easy to identify the dumb kids. In middle school, they were the ones sitting in the back of the room, shooting spitballs in Mr. Gleason’s crappy hairpiece.

In high school, they were the ones standing outside, huddled together in leather jackets smoking cigarettes and lighting Mr. Gleason’s car on fire.

To hear parents speak today, there are simply no dumb kids. How can that be? We’ve all come into contact with dumb adults, haven’t we? Possibly you’ve asked them for help while shopping at Best Buy. Occasionally they work airport security, or dance around inside purple dinosaur costumes.

So, weren’t they, more than likely, just not so bright as kids? And isn’t there a possibility that there are some not-so-bright kids roaming around TODAY?

If there are, it NEVER gets blamed on intelligence.

A close friend of mine has a son who’s just not that bright.  She constantly refers to him as “intelligent” but “with delays.”

Now maybe it’s easy for me call a spade a spade because my kid doesn’t have intelligence issues, but delays? The kid was dumb.

She ended up having him repeat kindergarten, TWICE. Never mind that he’ll be shaving before he leaves middle school. He’s just “delayed.”

 

I can already hear the indignant denouncements of the outraged politically correct baby boomers.

How dare I use the word dumb?

I’ll tell you how I dare. For one, it’s nicer than stupid.

The world is just not created equal.

I can already see, at 10, that my son is not a “natural” athlete. He’s better than he USED to be because I run him like a dog (I know – the dad’s job –right? I’m the one in the backyard with a ball and a glove like a dipshit). And yes, he’s improved, and will continue to.

But some kids his age can run a ball on a soccer field like Lionel Messi. The “delayed” son of my friend can run faster than a speeding bullet. Maybe it’s because his brain weighs less than all the other kids.’

And I can and do compare my son’s artistic ability to that of my friend’s kids.  My girlfriend’s daughter can already draw, at 9 years old, the kind of artwork I would consider framing and hanging up. I can see that, Little Dude is NO Da Vinci. Here is his latest drawing:

drawing

 

 

So why am I, and probably other parents, willing to admit when our kids are not naturally athletic, or artistic, or musical – but DON’T WANT to admit that our kids are just not that smart?

Because BEING SMART HELPS WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO IN LIFE.

If you can’t paint, throw a hellish long pass, play the tuba, or win a beauty contest you can still have a very successful life.

But if you’re not smart, you’re kind of screwed.

 

I recently spoke to a mother, an incredibly bright Ivy League Graduate. Her youngest son has learning “issues.” He has an IEP; an Individualized Education Program, which is a written document that’s developed for each public school child who is eligible for education. 

I inquired as to nature of these issues. The mom, as bright and articulate as she is, could not tell me anything specific. She had just identified early on that her son was having difficulties in school. She asked his teacher if she felt her son was experiencing any kind of learning delays; the teacher did not.

She demanded that the child study team test her son. They did and found nothing diagnosable wrong with him.

She then went to a private doctor, and was given a diagnosis sufficient to garner her son the aforementioned IEP. Her answer, when I asked what specifically was his diagnosis, was that he had “broad spectrum learning disability.”

What IS that?

I tried googling it.

It doesn’t exist.

Is there anything even “wrong” with her son? Who’s to say?

Many experts found nothing they could specifically pin down; the expensive specialist she went to gave her a diagnosis that doesn’t exist on the Internet.

What if her son was just not that bright?

What if she just had enough money to find a doctor who would give her what she was looking for – a reason to explain away her son’s sub-par academic performance? That would certainly make her feel better about having given birth to a “C” student who doesn’t have an iceberg’s chance in hell of attending her college alma mater.

 

The benefits of having broadened our educational system to accommodate kids with learning disabilities are extolled resoundingly.

The damage this may be doing, on the other hand, is completely hush hush. No one wants to think that people exploit the system so they can do something as unfair as get their kids undeserved extra accommodations. I see it all the time.

 

Let’s say you’re one of the smart, professional, educated parents with plenty of resources – and you  were unwilling to have your child – who may or may not have a learning disability – struggle in school.  And you choose to utilize all the support necessary to help your child.

BUT – when does utilization become exploitation?

Because remember – even with all the fancy diagnoses available, some of the kids with these quasi non-specific diagnoses are just not that bright.

Schools must accommodate these kids. Once diagnosed and given an IEP or 504, schools are legally bound to. But even with all those extra accommodations, a student whose parent fought to get them one of these bogus diagnoses is going to flounder.

In high school. In college.

And definitely in life, where IEPs DO NOT exist.

This is the where this debacle REALLY impacts us.

Let me state this, for the record: I would never suggest that some students do not legitimately deserve and benefit from these accommodations. I would never try to minimize the importance of the Special Education system in our country, and how much good it has done to help millions of kids with learning disabilities.

But I wouldn’t have written about this kind of exploitation if I didn’t know a parent, a special education teacher, tell me right out that there was nothing discernably wrong with her child.

Her kid was just a crappy student who did terribly on tests, and she told me she knew how to “work the system” to get her kid extra time on tests.

This is the type of parent I am talking about. Only one of them had the balls to come right out and say it.

But she’s like a cockroach – for every one you spot, there’s a hundred more hidden somewhere.

And this mangled intersection of finance, education and politics is not IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR CHILDREN.

 

What do you think about the accommodations made for kids who really don’t need them, vs kids who do? 

Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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152 responses to Your Kid is NOT That Bright

  1. 

    My daughter had all of the afore mentioned -ias and yet she made it now thru for semesters of college. Little dude has a smart mom and that goes a long way…

  2. 

    This is great. My daughter got a 504 plan after her freshman year in high school. I think she used it once. Maybe freshman year just freaked her out. She’s a junior now and is an hysterical, hormonal nut just like I was. She keeps telling me she needs therapy, which she has had in the past for horrible anxiety when my mother was dying (TMI)….anyway I just tell her “you don’t need therapy. You’re 16, life sucks, you don’t have the right to be whistling happily at rainbows everyday so move on.”

    Mother of the year material, yet again.

    Bravo!

    I have also noticed that in the U.S. there are no longer accidents. Someone is to blame and they will be sued. There are no dumb kids. And there is kinda no responsibility for anything ever. Oh jeez, don’t get me stahted!

  3. 

    My kid, who sounds a lot like your kid at that age, has an IEP for his mild hearing loss (proximity seating, captioning on videos, etc.) I’ve been told he is bright, but his mouth and imagination get him in deep, though that has improved with age.

    I can see where a parent might be driven to desperation to get their kids something to get through the school day. One year I asked the school to retain the kid (long story, but justified based on his grades) and the school refused. As long as there are administrators forced to push kids through because of funding, etc. there are going to be people who figure out how to make that work for them since they don’t have another choice (except private school, I suppose).

    I don’t agree with any of it on either side. I know the teachers’ hands are tied, but I understand that desperation to try to help because there are no other options available. I didn’t do it; we ended up fighting on until things got worse in high school. (sorry for the long comment, I probably need to post the whole story one day soon)

    • 

      I HATE that they pushed him through.

      They fucking push push push these kids through, and they all just slip through the goddamned cracks.

      You need lots of money and an attorney. Otherwise, You. Are. Screwed.

      I hope it all turned out okay.

      • 

        Yes and no. I may write it up next week, depending on when I finally get to meet with his guidance counselor. Stay tuned…

  4. 

    I have never heard of broad spectrum learning disabilities, but when I went to school we had SLD students which stands for slow learning disability. Maybe it’s that?

  5. 

    Oh wow…
    I’m sad to see that schools are giving idiots advantage over “smart” kids like me (I don’t consider myself smart even though I get 99th percentile exam scores). But when people can be more stupid than me (99% of all kids, and I am really dumb, plus I don’t try in school) then they have serious problems. Not problems as in disorders and all that made up crap, but intelligence issues that they should work on.

    • 

      You get 99th percentile scores? You should be writing this article.

      I’m not even qualified to drive a bus.

      • 

        You’re hilarious. But I wouldn’t let you drive the bus I was sitting in either. Just figure you’d spot someone that needed a good beating, and hang a left.

      • 

        But the thing is none of those dumb kids you speak of are people I know. All the kids I know are mostly smarter than me, and only in the school hallways do I see those dumb kids with straight F’s.

  6. 

    Maybe I’m not that bright. When we used to live at our old address, it was 504 _______ Street, and when two friends of ours (a married teacher couple) came over, they’d look at the numbers on my door, say it aloud, look at me, and then laugh a little bit. I never understood why. Now I understand. Bastards. I’ll get them back for this. I shall have my revenge!!!!

  7. 

    Honestly, Samara, I’ve not thought about this. I used to teach, but much much older kids… couldn’t really call them kids anymore, actually. They were all so bloody smart compared to me that it borderline took my breath away. But this whole issue of accommodation and the like, and parents playing the system, that’s just odd. I hope kids who have challenges get the help they need, though, otherwise I can see it being a lonely lonely school existence for them.

    Honestly, I find kids almost always to be bright and insightful. The parents, though…

    • 

      The parents are screwing it up for the kid who really NEED the services, Trent.

      The budget cuts are affecting the services in our schools terribly- and nobody really knows what to do about it.

      • 

        That sucks. Great. I may have to go to my kids’ school tomorrow and reef on some parents… but you know, I think you’re raising a point that is still hidden up here. Or maybe I just haven’t been paying attention.

        We’re tighter and tighter for resources in our school system here, too, and there never seems to be a solution. Math scores dropping, literacy decreasing, and oddly enough, we have too many people trained to be teachers.

      • 

        Trent-
        Don’t get me started. One of the posts I’m going to talk about the money that gets spent on football vs the math department…

        while our country scores 31st in critical thinking, globally.

        Yay, team!!

      • 

        Hee hee hee… can’t wait. It’s an issue that needs a good raging.

  8. 

    Damn, now you’re making me think. Start my day with some wonderful music and now you’ve got my brainwaves sizzling.

  9. 

    Both my kids have educational helper programs. Boy has Autism and ADHD. Princess has ADD. I didn’t want to admit that there was anything wrong with either of them at first and I was against the 504 plan we eventually got for Princess. However, the main reason Boy has an IEP is because he has Autism, which interferes with his learning abilities. Also, I don’t have to have some teacher tell me he’s intelligent. I can see it for myself. As for Princess, in the 5th grade, her teacher, Ms DD, was unwilling to make any accomodations for her at all (or any of the other students either) unless she had the 504 in place. Princess is smart, but she was floundering hard and Ms DD refused to see it. Now Princess is in a place where the teachers seem to actively care about her and she’s doing remarkably well. I should mention that I’m not one of those parents who crows over how smart her kids are. I’m one of those who is heard to groan, “My kids are too smart for their own good. They seem to spend all their time coming up with new ways to drive me insane.”

    • 

      But Cimmy, your kids legitimately need their accommodations.

      People are skewing the system and depleting the resources so that there IS no money for autistic kids.Why should a kid have a 504 just so he can get extra time on his SAT because his mother knows how to “work the system?

      Makes me sick.

  10. 
    ceruleanstarshine January 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    This happens all the time where I work. There are kids who legitimately need those IEPs. Then there are the parents (and educators, bureacratic assholes, and the system) who work the system for everything it is worth. I have a serious issue with the no-hurting-feelings nobody-is-stupid, everyone is a special fucking snowflake mentality of todays education system. I’m so glad you wrote this post. Going to link it to my fellow school system workers–they will appreciate it as well.

    • 

      Oh my God – you KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!! HALLELUJAH!!

      They’re wasting the taxpayers resources and cheating the kids who really need those services.

      Thank you so much for reading, for commenting, for VALIDATING what I see and hate and wish I could stop. How can we???

      • 
        ceruleanstarshine January 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

        It’s a hard thing to stop. The anti-feelings police goes way, way up the chain. They know it’s ridiculous but it’s all political, and about not getting sued. Fucking crazy talk, if you ask me. The kids that need it, great–use it. There are kids in our county who have them that shouldn’t be integrated into school at all–they need a school where there are staff trained to deal with, work with, and teach children with their particular issues.

        Not everyone should be integrated into the mainstream immediately. They have rooms in the school I work in that are empty of everything, that lock from the outside, where they will put a kid having a fucking meltdown until they get the parents or guardians to come retrieve them. SO not okay. I’ve seen these kids pick up a CRT monitor and throw them at staff members. Bite/hit/punch/kick staff members. How is that okay??? But they are Title 1 schools! So bring on the IEPs! More IEPs, more disadvantage, the government will throw more money at us next year!! The parents in our area are especially bad, because they know how to work the schools and the government assistance programs—and they do. When the kids in second grade bring knives to school, threaten to stab other kids on the playground? There’s an issue.

        It makes me SO ANGRY.
        I rant about it to my husband constantly. Since he also works for the school system, but in a more administrative position at the Board of Education, he’s told me about the paperwork, and ridiculous demands being made, and how hard it is to get someone to change anything. They cater to the whims of these ridiculous parents, when really, they should just call them out on their bullshit.

        If only. I intend to keep fighting though. I see too much crap to continue to not say something. Thank YOU! for writing this!! I am so glad there are other people out there who see it for what it is,also.

      • 

        Maybe we can make a difference.

        I don’t know. Keep fighting. I do. I make a LOT of noise where I live for the right kids getting what they need.

        love,
        samara

  11. 

    Congratulations! Because no one has ever made me cringe and laugh at the same time! It was my first time, and you were NOT gentle!

    That being said, even dumb people have a much needed place in society. If we were all geniuses and all had lots of PHD’s no one would be flipping our burgers, cleaning our school corridors, driving our taxi’s or emptying our rubbish bins into the dump truck.

    Another aspect to add though is sometimes there are hidden gems, Einstein didn’t talk until he was 5, I don’t think I need to add to that.

    Great blog, I LOVED the sarcastic tone, it feeds my soul.

    • 

      I guess what I meant was – not everyone is college material. Is that so bad? Is that so God awful??

      Everyone is cramming college down their kids’ throats to the point where no one can get in anymore. And whats wrong with a blue collar profession? I know several successful professionals who provide well for their families.

      Wake up, people! The college you send you kid to is NOT an extension of the Lexus you drive!

      Welcome to my blog. I’m so grateful you found me.

      • 

        Well I totally get it, I’m a cleaner, I work for these people but the problem is the rich want their children to be a refection of their perfect life.

        One lady comes to mind, she had an only child, her house was filled wall to wall with childrens books and she said it was because her child “Is a genius…” whatever that means, but when I had a conversation with him he seemed just normal. He didn’t use big words, he didn’t expand the conversation towards any particular aspect, and when he was on his computer he was looking up ‘cat pranks’, not “The Theory Of Negative Energy” or “The Socio-economic Plight Of Africa”.

        I do suspect my oldest has ADD, but apparently he needs 10 psych sessions and a brain scan to diagnose him, and unfortunately I do not have a money tree up my ass making it impossible to pull money out of there, so I give him fish oil, and make him read with me for half an hour a day during ‘quiet time’, that shit works! But he still wants to drive trucks when he’s older, I don’t care, as long as he’s a happy adult!

      • 

        I BOW to you, I fucking BOW to you.

  12. 

    I once had a teacher tell me that my expectations of my children were too high. WTF?! My expectations were that they do their friggin’ best. I didn’t care if they got an A or a C, as long as they did their best. It also drives me crazy when I hear parents say that they don’t see why they should have to help their kids with homework because it’s “not their job”, that’s what they pay the teachers for. Well then, when your kids fall through the cracks, don’t bitch at me. I think that’s part of the reason you’re seeing all these IEP’s, a lot of parents don’t want to spend the time needed with the kids and shove it off onto the educational system.

    • 

      LET ME STATE THIS LOUD AND CLEAR:

      ANYONE WHO LEAVES THE EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILD TO THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IS FUCKING CRAZY.

      CRAZY, DO YOU HEAR?
      GET IN THERE. HELP EDUCATE THEM YOURSELVES. THE SCHOOL SYSTEM WILL FAIL YOU,

      Thank you, and goodnight.

      xo,
      Samara

      • 

        Oh, everyone I knew who was a teacher told me that one of the BIGGEST factors of a student’s success was how much the parents were involved. I had teacher professors (yes, I was an elementary education major) that said it. I had friends and family who taught school who said it. Cimmy and I are being told that our involvement makes a difference.

        Hmm. There must be something to that, yeah?

  13. 

    I don’t have kids. It’s hard for me to relate. The only thing I relate to is ADD. I don’t have it. But a lot of my friends ‘did’. So Ritalin is what we did when we couldn’t get coke (I’m clean now btw). I think a lot of parents get sick of their normal hyper kids and think Ritalin or whatever is the answer. Off topic a little but whatevs. Enjoyed the piece! Enjoying your blog!

    PS – “Maybe it’s because his brain weighs less than the other kids.” I LOL’d at this. My bad.

  14. 

    We have friends who teach, Their biggest complaint is that their school system rushes to have ADD/ADHD diagnoses pushed on kids, because the school gets more money for those students, and it’s easier to slap a pill and a label on a kid than take the time with them.

    A side effect of what you describe is that kids going into the real world realize there really are winners and losers, and just showing up and standing there isn’t enough.

    I always wished I’d tossed the booksmarts thing and done work with my hands. And for anyone who isn’t a Rhodes scholar (myself included), there’s a lot of honor in bringing an engine back to life, regardless of your IQ or the training its had.
    (Not a shot at mechanics. Mine is both smart, and loaded with common sense.)

    • 

      The perfect comment.

      Yes. The money. God, they get money. And the bottom line is ALWAYS the bottom line.

      My mechanic as well, is bright as can be. I’d be thrilled if my son learned a blue collar trade and opened his own business. No college loans. These days, they put you half a mil in hole just starting out.

      • 

        The thing is, I think even the “blue collar” trades are requiring some school– apprenticeship at a community or tech college, unless I’m missing something.

      • 

        Yes. They are. But you won’t get half a million dollars in debt sending your kid to a trade school.

        Any good living requires learning some sort of a skill. Unless you’re a drug dealer.

      • 

        Yeah, a good accredited trade school. But there are still pitfalls– I see… what are they called again?… these for-profit, private, “non-traditional” colleges cropping up, and I think many are a can of worms (i.e., can result in even WORSE debt and may not even give viable or legitimate degrees). From what I see, they seem to target the new working class, which in my area, is primarily Hispanic.

  15. 

    I really can’t relate. The twins have always scored high on their aptitude tests and brought home good grades.

  16. 

    Where to start, Samara? I can see getting accomodations for your child if he/she truly does need them. There’s so much more awareness about certain issues, people want a diagnosis so they can have resources, but using the system and taking away from those that really really need them is disgusting. I happen to believe our educational models are big problem now. They want more at a younger age when kids really aren’t ready developmentally to do the stuff they want. THEN, oh no, my kid is delayed. No, not really. I think they need to look at how our kids are educated. They always want a quick fix! That has never worked. Let the kids read more books!! Instead they must do worksheets…And, tests, tests, tests.

    • 

      Oh, my God, Amy – you get it!

      It is ALL about how our kids are educated. Another part of my series. No emphasis on critical thinking. Just worksheets.

      They need to READ. To develop their minds. Something is broken with our educational system, and it needs to be fixed.

      • 

        Thanks, Samara! Yes, I do get it. I think the answers are staring at us in the face, but they are ignored. With Child #1, I was told that he needed an intervention in kindergarten for his letters. An intervention? Kindergarten!!! Really? Now, he’s fine and is excelling. That was ridiculous! I could go on. That’s just one example. They make parents panic. I think kids would be a lot better off enjoying books and using their imaginations.

      • 

        An intervention for his letters???

        They should be finger painting with chocolate pudding in kindergarten, for fuck’s sake!

        How ridiculous.

      • 

        Yes, that’s right. Exactly!!

  17. 

    As long as I don’t have kids, I’ll agree with you 100%. I’ll see if I change my mind if I do, but I hope I won’t.

  18. 

    This Be The Verse
    BY PHILIP LARKIN
    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

    I’m not familiar with the education system in USA, but…picking up on the aspect of exploitation. Its one thing mankind are rather good at…always have been always will be would be my guess.

    In pursuit of happiness. I sort of believe that unhappiness is the consequence of the gap between expectation and reality. My grip on reality is never too good, and as for trying to define reality…

    And whilst I’d like to think I know what’s best for my kids, its their life. That’s not to say I don’t support, advise, and try and provide loving guidance, which is probably something any education system struggles to achieve at the best of times.

    And…I’ve got two girls (16 & 15) and I know I’m not bright as both tell me I’ve ‘…not got a fecking clue…’ Which is actually OK with me, because I assume that for them to realise that, they must be bright.

    I look forward to your next blog.

    Power to the people!

    • 

      But I’m absolutely by your side sister. Hand me a placard and point me in the direction of the protest march

    • 

      Do you blog? You sure know your poetry.

      I’m looking forward to YOUR blog, when you start one.

      • 

        Hi, Wow thanks & yes I blogbadly. I’m new to the concept of public writing, although I’ve written secretly all my life (me & Emily Dickinson are like bed fellows…er sort of.…i mean she’s dead & brilliant & I’m neither of those) & poetry & music & cycling & stuff (& obviously reading your blog) are the good & great things of life

      • 

        Where is this blog you speak of?

      • 

        My blog is on WordPress. My names kitwest61….tread softly

        HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
        Enwrought with golden and silver light,
        The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
        Of night and light and the half light,
        I would spread the cloths under your feet:
        But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
        I have spread my dreams under your feet;
        Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
        W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
        “He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven”
        from the Collected Works of W.B. Yeats

  19. 

    Firstly, your friend whose intelligent son has “delays” is clearly aligning herself with Chinese thinking. In China they believe that differences in educational attainment are attributed solely to the rate at which people learn and not because people have different ceilings that they can reach. Who’s to say they are wrong? (apart from most of the rest of the world…but apart from that).

    Our education system is a bit different here in the UK, but I’m guessing (I could Google it but can’t be bothered), that what you call a 504 is probably very similar to what we call a Statement over here. Kids that are diagnosed as having certain special educational difficulties/needs are Statemented, and then are entitled to extra support etc. I’d never thought about the possibility of it being exploited in the way you describe, but now that you’ve highlighted it as being an issue over there, I can imagine that it must happen here too!

    • 

      Wow! I’m kinda honored that you are here, and commented. You’re a blogging superstar, and I’m…just me. Thank you for taking the time to read, and comment.

      I don’t know much about Chinese thinking, but I’m guessing in China, a 10 year old still does not confuse the subjective pronoun with the objective, as in:

      “her goes to the store.”

      Because they dominate the world in critical thinking.
      But my friend’s son does this. My assessment of him, however may be cruel and unfair.

      People do exploit the system here. I’m upset because it depletes the resources for the kids who REALLY need it. I try to fight this, but I’m only one tiny voice. I’m not sure anyone ever hears me. But I keep talking.

      • 

        Goodness, I don’t think I’ve ever been described as a blogging superstar before, maybe you’re confusing me with someone else! But hey, I’ll take it! 🙂

        The unfortunate thing is, if there’s a system that offers some kind of benefits to some people, then there will always be those who exploit it. But of course that doesn’t mean we should all just accept it – your post made me think about the fact that it probably happens here, and I work in education, so people talking about things spreads the word and that’s the first step towards changing things.

      • 

        Yes. You are a blogging superstar. You don’t know that? Wow. Own it.

        I work in education as well. I hope by talking about it, I can change things. Sometimes it feels like all I do is talk.

      • 

        I had no idea! I’m going to go and do a little victory dance now, and then some chocolate.

        Well highlighting issues by talking is important, but I know what you mean, it often doesn’t feel enough!

  20. 

    I know my kid is no genius. He didn’t pop out of the womb playing the violin. He’s in the (sorry to say it) Dumb readers group. Yesterday I had to sign an embarrassing note stating that he has a D average in EVERY SINGLE SUBJECT. This weekend he lied about having math (ugh, I just threw up a little bit) homework so he had to do it this morning all sleepy-eyed and cranky.

    But the kid can recite any line from any movie or song he’s just seen or heard once. He has epic battles with his friends where he is director/producer/actor. He remembers shit I don’t even recall happening. But he just might have to repeat the freakin 4th grade.

    I know what he has: DB. Otherwise known as Daydreamer’s Brain. If ever there was a real life Walter Mitty. I don’t know how he’s gonna get through school. This is his first year in public school and they are heavy with the science and math. At his old Montessori school he brought home drawings of maps and pretend Islands and homemade books about insects and trees and Presidents. Both schools have their positives and negatives. At both schools his teachers commented that he doesn’t pay attention, has a difficult time focusing, and doesn’t complete tasks in a timely manner.

    Ugh. But at home he’ll spend hours on a lego project, reading the instructions methodically, and humming some movie theme or made-up soundtrack the whole time. the stuff he builds is amazing. If I was uber patient and didn’t despise math so much I’d home school him.

    Thank you again for a thought-provoking post with a bit of LOL thrown in there. And thanks for letting me rant about my own kid’s school situation. It’s been riding heavy on me lately.

    • 

      Did you know there are 16 different types of intelligence?

      Only ONE of them is academic. Only ONE.

      Your child is probably an artistic GENIUS. Do you hear me? AN ARTISTIC GENIUS.

      Just don’t try and do what they do around here, and squash that brilliance, and force him to be something he’s NOT.

      Get him the support he needs academically, because he deserves it.

      And embrace and nurture the BRILLIANCE that is within him. If he wants to go to film school, and not some wanking bullshit liberal arts college, LET HIM.

      love you, jen girl.

  21. 

    You are right: there are dumbasses in this world. Young and old, small and large. Sadly that does translate into abusing resources kids don’t need, and searching for a diagnosis that doesn’t exist. No bueno. Do you think some of this is because parents seem to have stopped being people first and parents second? I don’t recall my parents identifying with or taking credit for anything smart or dumb I did. But I guess if your child is your main source of self-confidence and their every breath is a reflection of who you are as a person, that’s a lot of (self-inflicted) pressure. For the parent and the child. But wtf do I know? Great post. Keep on saying it like it is lady.

    • 

      Queen Molly
      (yes, you are my queen and I bow to you)

      Where I live (you’re not that familiar with my blog, but these are a certain type of wealthy entitled stuck up fuckwads),

      The parents are all distorted Dance mom/dads. Their children are an extension of the Lexus’s they drive. If they (god forbid) go to community college, or a vocational college, these people will shit purple pennies.

      They exploit the system, HARD. They do whatever they can to make sure their kids are on a pedestal. Which sucks. Because out in the world, it’s a loooooong way to the ground.

      I love your face.

  22. 

    This is just so fucking weird because I’ve been talking about school all day it seems! I remember (finally) graduating (an alternative school cuz I was kicked out of HS) and thinking, I will never do this to my kids! I hated school. It was uninspiring and a torture to sit through. I was failing every class and just gave up, quit going, got in huge trouble. I then entered an alternative school where the structure was 100% opposite of traditional public schools and I graduated with STRAIGHT A’S. After about a decade, I returned to school for college and graduated with a science degree Cum Laude. This is not to brag, anybody can do those things, it’s to make the point that I wasn’t a dumbass in JH and HS, I was uninspired and IGNORED. That structure does not work for every kid.

    I realize some things are different now in schools. And I realize my comment is going down little bit of a different trail than catering to kids with learning disabilities, but….it all rolls into one giant fuckall of a problem, doesn’t it?

    My 3rd grader is already claiming that he HATES school. I happen to love the school district I live in and I think his elementary is amazing. But he says he hates it. HATES. He gets A’s and B’s so it’s not the work. I think he’s bored out of his mind, so I’m very concerned about the future if he already is feeling uninspired. I’ve thought about home schooling but am very intimidated by it, and not convinced I could do as good a job as the schools.

    it’s possible my son (who is a total night owl like me) is just tired and being a whiny little shit. Totally possible. And a little early to tell if he’s genuinely uninspired. I’ll have to wait and see how the next couple years play out. But let me tell you THIS. If he is still this miserable come JH, and I’m able financially, I will pull him out and work my ass off to homeschool or find an alternative school (charter or whatever). I’ll do anything it takes so his school “career” doesn’t suck ass like it did for me!

    • 

      And this is so important, Beth. And will be part of my series.

      There are 16 different types of documented intelligence. Not all of them fall into the category that is touted in the school system. And a lot of kids fall between the cracks.

      What if your kid is brilliant artistically? Or mechanically? What if he is destined to build things, to work with his hands? What if he’s going to be an Oscar winning film maker?

      Parents SHOVE ACADEMICS down their kids throats because they view it as an extension of themselves. They exploit the system and deplete the resources for the kids who really need it.

      Find whatever your child loves, embrace it, and nurture. I wasn’t thrilled when my son gave up basketball for hip hop dance, but NOW? I fucking DIG IT!!

      Take your son’s education into your own hands, be it a charter school, or whatever. Just keep your eye out. If you leave to the school system, he will graduate knowing nothing.

    • 

      My son HATED school. Right from Kindergarten. Yet, he was an honour student every year through high school. We used to tease him that he got good marks because he was afraid he’d fail something and have to do an extra semester. Point is, he hated academics. He loved working with his hands. He can do anything mechanical, woodworking, running machinery. The kid has a high IQ and he’s smart. But he’s not doing brain surgery. He has a good job working with the roads department for the County, doing what he loves to do… driving trucks, digging holes, fixing machinery. As much as I would have loved for him to have an “Ivy League” education, he would have hated it. And we need guys (and girls) like him. Everyone has their forte. Let the kids have the freedom to figure it out without the pressure. So I don’t have a doctor or a lawyer for a son. So what? He’s happy.

  23. 

    I want to agree with this… about other people’s kids… but mine are so smart it scares me. They didn’t get it from me, by the way. But they got my art and passion and just the right amount of weirdness.

  24. 

    Oh dear…
    How can you so eloquently tackle subjects I intentionally avoid. Controversy. Scandal. Outrage. And you hit them all head on! I love it.
    First: I need a confession. Did you know who Lionel Messi was or did you just Google “best soccer player in the world?” And, then, why did you pick Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo?
    Second: The world is not created equal. And while I see the benefits of making sure that everyone has the chance to make something of themselves, to excel, to achieve greatness, I don’t think we need to pander to the lowest common denominator. No child left behind…? Doesn’t that mean with our limited time and resources in school that classes will be doing exactly that? Teach at the speed and difficulty level for the weakest link to ensure that everyone moves on. How is that fair? How is that giving every child a chance at greatness?
    I was a psychology major in college and was intent upon stepping into that field as a career at some point. However, after reviewing studies and taking part in a great number of them as well, I became disgusted with the whole industry. If they don’t understand something, they prescribe a pill. If the patients ask for something and it won’t hurt them, they prescribe a pill. They hold the DSM-IVR (or held, I don’t know if it has since been replaced with a new version) as an end all be all for diagnosis, but never stop to think if that diagnosis actually makes sense or is just convenient for everyone involved. Who’s best interest are we actually looking out for with all of this? The doctor’s so they can bolster their patient lists? The parents so they have an easy answer for why their child is “different?” The child so he has an excuse for his behaviors?
    (I’m being overly general, as there is a real need for a lot of the drugs/diagnosis/prescriptions out there, and since I never did pursue further degrees, it is safe to assume that I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.)
    Third: You are awesome!

    • 

      1. I asked Little Dude about soccer players. He. Knows. All.

      2. No Child Left Behind does NOT mean Every Parent Allowed To Exploit Public Resources To Make A Non-Academically Gifted Child Appear More So

      3. You’re awesome – and I also majored in Psychology. Hah!

      • 

        1. Little Due is now one of my favorite people.
        2. Makes sense to me.
        3. Great minds think alike, as they say. Though, “they” say far too much in my opinion, and I’ll make sure “they” are the first ones with their backs to the wall when the revolution comes. 😉

      • 

        Little Dude adores you, too. He loved the Little Prince decimating your sock drawer.

        He feels badly siding with Rara for DC, but he loves her too.

        His blog post? Pretty awesome. Gotta put that up before Friday.

      • 

        Can’t wait to read it. Are you going to post it to SamaraSpeaks and I’ll reblog it to the Kingdom? Or, did you want to email it to me and I’ll post it directly in the Kingdom as a Guest Post?

      • 

        I just emailed Rara – I don’t know, because it IS for Team DC.
        I thought I’d post it here. I’m not sure after that.

      • 

        Makes sense to me. (Though, while I am parading around my Go Team Marvel comments, the game itself is impartial and so it wouldn’t be a conflict to post a DC supporting article to the Kingdom – especially this week when silliness reins.) Whatever you all want to do is a-okay with me. I’ll probably re-blog it anyway. 😉

  25. 

    Exploitation versus utilization. I think as we get older, we get better (hopefully) at reading people when they explain their child’s situation and what has been done to remedy their problems. There’s a very disingenuous feel from of people who are doing it for their own ego versus actually being concerned for their child’s education. Your Ivy League grad is window shopping for an excuse. You know it; I know it. However, the cynical Gen X side of me says he can get Ivy League status if she still has the money and connections there.

    It somewhat reminds me of the day I broke down, when I found out I couldn’t afford to go to Miami University at Oxford. Nothing made me feel more broke as a joke, when I couldn’t even afford a middle-tier institution. Especially when I knew I was selling myself short.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen some newly minted high school graduates who can’t figure out percentages. That puts my ass in a pucker, because even with a calculator, percentages are extremely common in the workplace. I want to return them back to their high school and say, “these people need to stay here until they figure out basic math. Period. I don’t care if they’re fifty by the time they get out.”

    • 

      OH MY FUCKING GOD!!

      PERCENTAGES!! One of my favorite bloggers, James Altucher, just blogged about percentages. It’s like, the only thing in math you really MUST know. How do you not know what, 15% of 100 is? That’s what high school kids are like today. They can’t even do percentages out of ONE HUNDRED. Per cent. It means, “per hundred.”

      Yes, your cynical Gen X side is probably right. There’s always a wing or a library that can use a donation at these Ivy League colleges.

      Thanks for speaking up, Nate. You don’t often do, so when you do, I listen.

  26. 

    Zoiks. So much to think about, and I’m impressed that you’re putting it out there (as always) for people to ruminate over.
    1. If I may dork it up here, Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences comes to mind. I see you hit on something like that above? I picture my kids as these little old-fashioned sound boards where you can dial up the bass, dial down the treble and so on. They are each this wicked combination of all those things, some more even across the “board” and some with more extremes. And it’s the one with extremes that seem dumb. But I hate that word, I’ll be honest. The kid who can’t find a pronoun probably has a great sense of negative space or an awesome three-point shot. So not dumb. The trick is having teachers and parents who can value the strengths and support the weaknesses.
    2. My son had (has? Ack!) gross motor weakness and delays as a toddler. At a certain point a new orthopedist just said he was awkward and for me to suck it. Which is fine. But all these other people had been saying I should have been doing more. Too much noise for a hard-working Mama, am I right? Sometimes the feedback is so mixed, it’s hard for parents to see through to when they’re doing enough. I feel for them, I do.
    3. As a teacher I knew kids who needed the extended time and kids whose parents just thought they did. In the end, extra time and extra everything isn’t going to help anyone.
    4. So maybe it’s the way our kids feel about themselves (which is why I hate the word dumb, you know?) that matters most. Maybe that they feel challenged but that things are possible, that they feel heard and understood but also understand that life is work.
    What do I know? My oldest is six. Wish me luck. Blog on, brave warrior.

    • 

      Thank you so much for that informed comment. You know your stuff.

      Gardner hit on 7, but there’s evidence there’s even more.

      And yes, I shouldn’t use the word dumb. I think I’m being harsh to prove a point – which is, don’t manipulate the system to jam YOUR idea of what you think your kid should be achieving.

      My kid ain’t never gonna be a great athlete. I work with him, but I’m not gonna JAM it down his throat.

      These parents who play with the system, deplete the resources for the kids who really need it – what’s the point? In the end, they’re just going to have to make it out in the real world. There’s no “extended time” in the real world.

      Making your child feel good about himself is the most important thing.

      It was missing in my childhood, and is the single strongest obstacle I face today.

      Thank you for your support. I so appreciate it.

  27. 

    Yes, my love. More. Of. This. I heart the serious side of your snark. 🙂

    Also, I can’t help but think of basketball games where both teams win, and softball teams where every kid is MVP. NO, THEY DIDN’T. NO, THEY AREN’T. This is ONLY teaching horrible life lessons, like how to not value your accomplishments because they were handed to you in the first place, and how trying really hard and winning isn’t any better than sitting in the outfield picking daisies.

    • 

      I just commented on this on Nicki Daniel’s blog.

      I don’t believe in this nonsense.

      My son tells me, Master Beems says the Tae Kwondo competitions are not to win. They’re just to have FUN.

      Really? Then just sit and spar in the dojo all day. Why compete?

  28. 

    Look at all of these comments. You’re blowing up.

  29. 

    The worst part is that it’s often difficult for schools to really provide these accommodations. They’re often cobbled together in the best way the teacher can. The money really isn’t there, it having been swallowed up by some sort of ridiculous, wheel-reinventing PD. Excellent post.

    • 

      Thank you so much for your support, and for understanding my frustration with the state of the educational system today.

      I just don’t know what to do about it anymore. I just don’t.

  30. 

    I taught 5th and then elem GATE. Yeah, the smarties.

    A blogger put out a very thoughtful response on this today:

    http://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/10/28/greatness-part-5-praise-smarts-and-the-myth-of-self-esteem/

    Navigator made a good point in the comments, how the praise we lavish on our kids is often projection. Wishful thinking on what WE hope them to be and what it would say about us.

  31. 

    What do I think? Meh….. Thank God your vote counts as much as the one of one of the dumb ones.
    I believe that your argument can flatly be summed up with a single word, “eugenics”.

    Good Luck with you endeavors.

    • 

      I appreciate your opinion. I respect those who see things differently.

      I’m just not sure how my opinion correlates to trying to create an Aryan race? Please explain.

      • 

        Hello Samara,

        I was not clear enough. My apologies for coming across a bit “confusing”.
        I believe that adding a few words will help better express my point.

        In my experience all that counts is greatness –nothing short of it. When a person realizes not to be that great, that his/her kids, parents, siblings, are not outstanding, then you know what the future will have in for you. This is what Eugenics ultimately aims to create. Eugenics; since it cannot be implemented, it is passed down as a form of “auto-label” that we chose to apply to ourselves. Hence, it is easy to buy in the dichotomy of being either a superstar, or, meh… just a plain nothing special.

        Most likely, a non great person –by society’s standards– will have a not so great job, a not so great life, a not so great family,, etc…. unless the very idea of what great means is twisted upside down.

        I perceive that the approach you used in your article is on an “achromatic” scale, presenting situations as black or white only. And i also believe that this is what “eugenics” wants. For instance, you reported the example of the lady who finds a different way to explain how her “seemingly challenged” son can be seen as worthy. I can think that she feels ashamed for something that happened to her and that she in the first place perceives it as a less than perfect outcome (since we are drilled early on in life with becoming the best, only the best matters, only the super hero is worth of praise). So being less than perfect is associated with shame, something to hide from others, because nothing that isn’t perfect is appreciated. And again i believe that to be so because the eugenicist agenda is well and alive and thriving. Also, it is not a sort of conspiracy theory, it may plainly be human nature. I explain it to myself this way, since it is human to find shortcuts, considering a situation in black-and-white terms will simplify reasoning and give us a practical way to look at it (we build a theoretical model, in essence, and call it practical).

        I do not believe that you are advocating for an Aryan race. I believe you are pointing out something you noticed. I understand that you prefer a pragmatic approach to life, and that you prefer to recognize that it is better being humble, and being as close to “reality” as possible. But why do you even need to do so?
        Can that be because thinking otherwise will only exacerbate the sufferance that may lye ahead when that dream job will not arrive, when that promotion will never happen, when that so much loved child will never make it to the Ivy league… because only the “best” will have it.

        I cannot avoid to point out another fact, and i have a question for you. Have you ever noticed that some people belong to the “best” despite being the exact opposite of what we are all indoctrinated to think of as the best? That meritocracy has been replaced with nepotism, and that people are accepted to certain schools in virtue of the fact that their grand parents first, their parents, and their friends were all belonging to that school despite them having less that exceptional grades (by the way that is also true for finding a good job unfortunately)?

        Again,

        Thank you very much for giving me the possibility to reply to you

        Regards,

  32. 

    I actually kind of disagree with your original premise but I do agree that exploitation like you mentioned is abhorrent.

    What I disagree with is the blanket statement of dumb or stupid. A big problem in today’s world isn’t intelligence, it’s the unwillingness for people to provide honest criticism. We want everyone to be a winner but if we don’t tell what people or kids or doing wrong then they won’t learn. Learning is the other side of the coin, everyone learns differently, so someone might not understand general teaching methods and be the kid that sits in the back of the class causing trouble. Intelligence is not a fixed aspect but can be increased by work and effort (which is also yet another problem, people are lazy, lol). It’s why if it were possible, everyone would be better off with a private tutor, someone who could analyze where a child was and how to best teach them concepts.

    I do agree with you though that parents shouldn’t call their kids smart or intelligent and I will add talented. Calling someone talented is a horrible insult, it removes any sense of work or effort from the equation and that is what is important. If your son wanted to get better in art, he could but it would take time and lots of practice and interest. If he isn’t interested though then pushing it won’t help. Instead we should encourage what kids are interested in.

    • 

      Brad, you really put a lot of time and effort into this comment. Let me digest.

      So, you don’t believe that to some degree, intelligence can be a fixed aspect? Are we all created equal in that regard?

      And my son – isn’t it true that some people just possess more natural ability in certain fields? Math and reading come very easily to him. Art does not. It doesn’t mean he shouldn’t pursue it. I know plenty of kids who are not naturally athletic, but they excel because they have heart for the game.

      • 

        Nope, nothing about humans is a fixed aspect. You should read the book Mindset, it certainly opened my eyes to this.

        Yup, people do have natural abilities in certain things, but often we find that the people who excel in life are the ones who put in the effort. Michael Jordan is always the go to example, he was cut from his High School Basketball team because he honestly wasn’t that good but he put in the time and effort and became one of the best.

        As humans we often look at where people are and never have seen where they come from or the long hours they work to get there. There is a reason practice exists. Teaching kids the importance of work and effort and that learning takes time is what’s important. It’s the whole instant gratification culture that we are in now, huge problem. 😦

        Also I should mention becoming the best in something requires sacrifice. I knew an amazing trumpet player and he practiced 2 to 4 hours a day. That’s a good portion of time that people might not be willing to sacrifice but when it came to how this guy interacted in the world, he was one of the best. He was confident, amazing attitude and an incredible worker. Everyone liked him. Cool guy. 🙂

      • 

        YOU, sir, are awesome. And I suck donkey balls for not coming to your blog.

        If it’s any consolation, I haven’t been to anyone’s including my own, in months. But I’m going to fix that.

      • 

        Oh, it’s okay. My blogging output lately has been very erratic and kind of crap. It’s mostly just updates about me going to the gym, diet and goals to keep me honest, lol.

  33. 

    I love how your brain works! (But you already know that) I have soooo many thoughts on this. First, performance in school does not indicate success in life. My husband sucked at school. He will be the first to tell you that the only reason he passed is because he could throw a ball really fast. But in the real world? He’s a rock star (not literally… sigh.) But he’s pretty damn brilliant. But the education system labeled him as stupid (that’s back when they used to be harsh and blunt).

    And with my son, he had some diagnosed (legit) learning issues, Auditory Processing Deficiency. If we hadn’t put him in intense tutoring he probably never would have learned to read proficiently. But luckily we could afford the crazy cost of all of the private tutoring and he is fine. He didn’t qualify for any help through the schools. Which was fine with us because it would not have been the help he really needed. Our schools are woefully behind the times on the best programs for kids with those types of issues.

    What always burned me up was all of the kids who fell through the cracks. The kids who’s parents couldn’t afford the twice a week tutoring and weekly speech therapy. If their kids were like my son and couldn’t afford the cost, their kids would be set up for failure in school. Money shouldn’t make the difference between my kid being ok and the next kid failing. Which then leads to self esteem issues and eventually behavioral issues. And the thought of well to do parents working the system? These are the same parents that do their kid’s science projects and write their papers for them and then call their college professors to complain about bad grades and then go on job interviews with their kids! AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

    • 

      Gretchen, that’s the next post I need to write. The kids who fall through the cracks because again, it’s all about the benjamins.

      In the summer, I go into some very low socioeconomic areas to tutor high school kids. For a very specific task, actually. But I end up having to teach them to read. What the HELL is that?

      And it’s the people exploiting the system who rob the funding for the kids, like your son, who should have legitimately qualified for extra help. Or at least, that’s what happens where I live. They run out of money. And the squeakiest wheels get the grease.

      Thanks for reading, girl. I love your face.

  34. 

    There are always those rabid parents who “work the system” as a full time job. By the time the kids get into high school the poor things don’t know how to fend for themselves. Oh the tales I hear from my 15 year old. Smart or dumb parents have to teach them how to use their own wings, well unless they want a 30 year old adult living who has no intentions of EVER moving out.

    Then again there is a large Special Education program at the high school. Those kids take a few classes with the other students (like PE and electives) – but they’re the ones who really need it.

    One day my brilliant daughter was telling her dad about all the things she wanted when she grew up. Just joking Dad said, “Then you’d better marry rich.” My daughter gave him a puzzled look and asked, “Who’s Rich?”

    We all have our own special talents – dumb or smart. Not every kid will have a 4.0. But a lot of kids with a 3.0 GPA end up being CEOs. You never know.

    Good post. Hope you don’t mind if I share this. Believe me, all the parents I know talk about this.

    • 

      Please, by all means, share! I know my style of writing can be a little intense – but that’s just to grab attention to what I think is an important issue.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read, comment, and reblog. I so appreciate it. xo

  35. 

    Reblogged this on West Coast Review and commented:
    If you have kids… just read this and think about it. I mean, really think about it. Great post and a blog you ought to follow.

  36. 

    My sister was super smart when it came to books and stuff, but common sense not so much. I think kids are all smart in their own way, but again, they aren’t all brilliant just because they do stuff you think is so charming and smart.

  37. 

    You have written words that are in my brain. Well done.

  38. 

    I can understand your frustration and see where you’re coming from. However, I guess I’d rather have kids in Special Ed or with an IEP that really don’t need it, rather than having kids who do need it fall through the cracks (which does still happen all the time). I think schools do the best they can, but if there’s a parent who knows how to “work the system” the school is right to not to deny special services to those kids. Obviously, those parents who would do that have their own special set of issues that they should receive help for too.

  39. 

    I used to work in an elementary school Principal’s office. It was in a semi-affluent northern Westchester suburb so, talk about accommodations!? – One mom was a school board member’s wife and basically had the RUN of the place (i.e. making demands from teachers which they HAD to accommodate & just coming & going as she pleased to bring her kid lunch from McDonald’s. WTF?) Other moms were just well-to-do and smart and knew how to, like you said – “Work the system”.

    I think people’s level of entitlement is just off the scales these days and our younger generations do not see the shitstorm coming as a result of this BS.

    • 

      THANK YOU!!
      FUCKING THANK YOU!!!
      YES!
      So, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This shit is UNREAL.
      Our kids are the future. And all they know how to do is get their lunch hand delivered to them from Mickey D’s. We. Are. Screwed.

  40. 

    I don’t know that we use the word dumb or stupid. We just say that is not your strength and you have to practice at it more. More because I think both those words are over used and often in a negative way. My daughter does have add and a touch of dsycalciulia (or however the hell you spell that, I can’t even say it)
    The problem is when parents make excuses for their kids. Yes my daughter has learning disabilities however she can learn and she will not by god use it as a crutch.
    She also goes to a montessori school. People are making a huge fuss over common core.. Um. Basically it is Montessori but the school system doesn’t want to say that out right. The kids have always had to explain how they got to the answer. They have always used multiple ways to teach a lesson.
    The sad thing is… in order for your child not to use a learning disability or just not being that smart as a crutch. The parent has to …um… how shall I say.. PARENT. My daughter hates that I enforce homework time and I add to her homework when I notice she is struggling with something.

  41. 

    I agree completely…. with that said, my son and I are both what is labeled ADHD, which is a bunch of shit if you ask me. I used to call it the “can’t go out and play and scream in the yard anymore disease”, because I felt if we didn’t smother our kids to be quiet, and play nice all day, they would have had an outlet for all that extra energy. Our brains run on high speed connections, to the point I cannot sleep at night because I can’t shut my damn brain off. My son was TOLD he was ADHD in kindergarten and the school DEMANDED he be put on Ridelin. Which is SPEED in its basic form. If I had known what it really was, and what it would do to him over time, I would have told them to go fuck themselves. Flash forward to age 12 or 13 and he starts doing meth because he is now addicted to speed. Go forward again, he’s 24 now, and addicted to meth and heroin. I hate myself and the school system for demanding I put him on drugs as a child, or they wouldn’t let him go to school. Now he’s destroyed his life, can’t shut his brain off, and living on the streets addicted!!! so there is the other side of your debate, not the side that people use the system, but how the system fucks us up!!!! IT NEEDS TO CHANGE, there is no doubt about it, but HOW???
    Some parents use it, others need it, and some, like me, tried to fight it, but lost. I could shoot them all, for forcing me to do that, and destroying his life. But I have to live with it, and so does he. So where do we go now? Our school system sucks, and we the people can’t seem to do a damn thing to change it!!! Makes me viciously angry… can you tell?? Not at you, at our stupid SYSTEM!!!! rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • 

      our system is so broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed. IT NEEDS TO BE TORN DOWN AND COMPLETELY REBUILT.

      My son has ADHD. He’s 11, and I haven’t medicated him yet. How dare a school make such a demand on you? We’re talking about the chemicals in people’s brains.

      I’m sorry you and your family have had to suffer. I’m so disgusted, I don’t even know what to say.

      • 

        it’s been just heartbreaking….but just try very hard not to let them do that to you!! If I could have home schooled him at the time, I would have, but I was a single mom and had to work, 2 jobs sometimes, and we didn’t have the home schooling like they do now. It kills me, I truly wish I could sue them or something, because I feel like it led to the ruining of his life. but it’s too late now, so just don’t let them ruin your son, and that will help me find peace…knowing they didn’t. good luck, and have you read any of the newer info on ADHD? where they say a simple diet change can bring about great results…google the studies they’ve been doing, and I’m sure you’ll see them, it’s like eliminating things from their diet can slow the hyperness, not sugar, but things like certain foods…just a suggestion, anything is better than giving your own child drugs!!! 🙂

      • 

        Yes, we actually followed something call The Feingold Diet for years. Now we do a modified version. It eliminates a lot of the food colors and preservatives and high fructose corn syrup that winds him up. We still follow a modified version of that.

        And as an alternative to meds, we do martial arts, a lot of sleep, a very structured schedule – lots of things that help an ADHD kid. I’ve held off on meds for 6 years now. Well, for 8 years – if you count that he was diagnosed at 3.

        I’m a single mom now too. And I’m drowning. How did you survive?

      • 

        It was tough… I worked 2 jobs most the time and found God! He has helped me sooo many times, I kid you not. I was homeless at one point, with my youngest son, and a friend stepped up and helped me by loaning me his old old rv, and then when he wanted it back a year later, I stumbled into a crappy trailer that was in forclosure, and managed by God’s grace to get it. I also found that getting high every day helped with the stress!!!! hehehe, but I quit for my latest job, but my sons are older now, so most the stress is gone…most anyway. I don’t know how you feel about God, but I’m not religious, don’t go to a church or anything, but I have found that when I need something, somehow it always comes through!!! I’m glad you removed the corn syrup, that’s a serious killer and I’m sure it’s bad for us all, and the martial arts is good to wear them out each day. I used to roller blade with my boys too, everyday it wasn’t raining, and it not only brought us very close, we got great exercise and had fun. We hiked a lot too. All things that are free…I truly think being in the outdoors and letting them run wild, is the best thing for them. We tend to keep them inside these days, neighbors complaining, etc., and that is the worst for an ADHD child. they need to run and play hard!!! good luck sweetie, and if dad’s not involved, find a nice guy to step in a be a big brother type, they need a man who cares…especially boys. Even as close as we were, they still need a man to talk to, do things with, and it gives you a much needed break! 🙂 take care!

  42. 

    Fascinating topic, Samara! In my area, big money actually means your child is less likely to be diagnosed with something. (Possibly elsewhere… I don’t know if the money is from a federal or state level resource) but anyway. As I was saying, people in poverty who have kids with learning disabilities get a government check to help their struggling child with learning disabilities, so as one would expect, many parents have their kids tested repeatedly as a means of getting that money. Is it intentional exploitation? I’m sure that MOST of these parents just tell themselves that IF a test comes back positive, then Johnny must be slow and a little extra money never hurt. The problem, then, is that Johnny will have an IEP written to, for example, allow his “math articulation to fully function”. Well, if he were genuinely incapable of learning to read, then it will be a true blessing to him that every math word problem also had both an audio and equation version available, because that would allow a few autistic people to go off and Rain Man their way into helping the government create defense tactics or something. Unfortunately for little Johnny, he is just getting a lot less reading practice and a lot less logic exercise than his peers, which will likely result in lower grades and will statistically increase the likelihood that his children are also tested for their capacity for learning again and again and again until, finally, the kid tests when he is either sick or tired enough to do poorly, or old enough to realize that failing this test means more money and possibly less effort.
    Also, our assimilation tactics are a joke. If your kid randomly starts playing with himself, but the teacher can’t do anything about it except guide him to the bathroom until he’s finished and then help him wash his hands, he should get a special classroom. That is a true story, I kid you not. My closet friend substitute teaches “on the side” because she was wise enough after her BA to get her Masters in running for the hills (information technology/ librarian-ing). Apparently this 7 year old child does this so often that the other kids in the room were able to instruct my friend on how the regular teacher usually handles it, because talking or moving his arm away weren’t working. Special. Classroom. NOW.

  43. 

    I am really fed up with all the bullshit going on with school systems these days & you know this, my friend. My son is ridiculously smart in a lot of areas but I can certainly admit he has challenges in others. As much as it hurts, I can certainly admit I worry about his future sometimes. On the flipside of that comment, he surprises me everyday.

    He definitely needs every service he gets through the schools. & The kids that don’t need it that get it – I think they are crowding and taking away from the kids that do. & Nine times out of ten it is the parents fault for demanding they need said service.
    I once heard a story from a therapist’s perspective about a mother who insisted her daughter needed occupational therapy because she didn’t know how to hold a spoon/fork correctly or feed herself independently. That same therapist went on to say this was absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, because the parent had never shown that child how to properly eat. So how the fuck was the kid supposed to know if she was never shown or taught?!
    I dunno.
    It’s a crazy subject, but you articulated this beautifully.

    • 

      Oh, J, it’s so nice to click and see you here! Just what I needed this evening.

      Yes, my son has also legitimately required services, but these other people who work the system deplete it for our kids. How dare they?

      Lazy parents. Unbelievable. So much of what people demand of the school can be done at home. But no one wants to put in the time. Why did they even have kids? Just to have them?

      I’m inside the education system and very aware of all the cracks in it. Don’t know if it will do anything, but this keyboard is my only weapon to fight, at the moment. So I’m going to write a whole series of posts exposing all the bullshit.

      Girl, I’m just getting STARTED.

      Love your face xoxo

      • 

        You’re one of the good ones. I know there are amazing people in the schools too – the hard workers, the therapists, my son’s teacher from last year. People like you are so needed.
        Whistleblow their asses wide open girl.

        I love your face more. *squeeze*

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