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Children getting overlooked for differentiation - Page 2

post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by anoldermother View Post
I'm sympathetic to what I take to be your underlying concern here: that you have to push for your kids and thus be seen as obnoxious, a braggart, etc.

I think it's a tiny bit insensitive of the parents posting in response to you not to answer at the level of this concern. It is unfortunate that some of us have to advocate on behalf of our advanced, quiet, teacher-pleasing students, to make sure they are challenged.
It seems passive-aggressive to me, to be honest. Even the way you have stated this here. You want what other parents want-- an adequate education for your child-- but then you are alluding that these parents are "obnoxious, braggarts."

I don't mean to be insensitive, I just don't want to wallow in this attitude.

Yes, it is sad that you have to ask for more reading for your polite child. But the other side of the coin is sitting through IEP meetings, having labels such as "emotionally disturbed" tossed out, going to therapists outside of school to prove to the school that there is nothing clinically wrong with your child--they are just different and yes gifted means more then high-achieving in a lot of situations--, appearing like your child has some serious mental/emotional problem that you are either causing or ignoring because you kids *does not* act like that outside of school, and so you don't know what is going on. That sometimes gifted kids are emotionally intense, and you don't need to give them medication or send them home from school. They just need appropriate learning environments.

So when a parent says, "oh, it is so hard, I have to ask the teacher for extra work for my child," I just want to say gird up thy loins! Sure, if wishes were horses we all would ride. But you have a choice--you can either partner with the teacher to see that your child's needs are met, or you can not.

Because being really, truly, pushy, obnoxious, etc. is *not* going to get your child what they need. But communicating your child's needs, partnering with the teacher and school, yes, that may get your child what they need.

I don't want to be insensitive, but rather light a fire under the OP. Don't accept apathy. Please, don't accept it!
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
Maybe "pushy" needs to be defined. From my perspective, a "pushy" parent is one gunning for opportunities and accomodations that their child doesn't need nor qualifies for.
agreed. I also think that pushy parents are ones who don't listen to what the teacher or staff have to say. They go in with both guns loaded, ready for a fight. They assume confrontation.
post #23 of 47
I think parent of gifted kids are often accused of being pushy - which might have "pushed" some posters buttons.

If we can put the concept of "pushy" aside I don't think what the OP is saying is entirely wrong.

I have a neighbour child - non gifted - who is struggling with the work. Her parents should advocate for her, but do not, and she is falling through the cracks IMNSHO. The school has bigger issues - so is dropping the ball on this as well.

Now if this were my child, there is no way I would allow this to happen. This child is sufferring because her parents and school are not stepping up to ball. It is not fair.

Alas, there is a lot of unfairness in the world. Part of your job is to do the best you can by your kids, do not fail to advocate because you annoyed with the system.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post

So when a parent says, "oh, it is so hard, I have to ask the teacher for extra work for my child," I just want to say gird up thy loins! Sure, if wishes were horses we all would ride. But you have a choice--you can either partner with the teacher to see that your child's needs are met, or you can not.

Because being really, truly, pushy, obnoxious, etc. is *not* going to get your child what they need. But communicating your child's needs, partnering with the teacher and school, yes, that may get your child what they need.

I don't want to be insensitive, but rather light a fire under the OP. Don't accept apathy. Please, don't accept it!


Bolding mine.

I had an IEP meeting for my DD yesterday. It went really well. While we certainly held the meeting for my DD, I was struck as I left that going through this process may help more than my DD. The learning specialist had been researching gifted children (this is a board with very, very few identified children ) and seemed to be genuinely excited to help meet the needs of gifted students. Communicating your childs needs may be good for the class/school as a whole.

Part of asking for differentiation affects more than just your child. It is not a selfish or a "look at me" move.

Edited to add: I just read your update. If there really is some sort of pushy/competitive get your child into the top tier ASAP thing going on - that is not good. If your kids are genuinely gifted, they probably are not losing out much by not being in the top tier, anyway. If a top tier serves 25% of the population it is still not enough for most gifted kids. Ex: most kids have mice on their spelling list, top tier has mouse, but your kid can spell magnesium.
post #25 of 47
I totally agree with the others regarding what is a pushy parents!!!

but this really bothers me-

Quote:
So I inquired a bit more at the school about how the kids get chosen for differentiation and it's all based on 'parent' recommendation pretty much.
---REALLY? that is a bit odd--if you can't or won't talk to the teacher I would address this with the VP or head principle -- it's just disturbing that "parents" recommends and they are put in-WOW!! doesn't fly at most schools that way

I really wouldn't wait either- I would have moved a long time ago on this but as you get more into the year I can see that the school may not wish to make another move.

as all have said, you need to step up and be a parent in your child's best interest and not keep sitting back

how has this not come up during the parent/teacher meetings in the past?
post #26 of 47
Some of you are not reading my post very carefully. There is nothing "passive-aggressive" about what I wrote. I simply stated the truth, that when you advocate for your child, no matter how tactfully, and no matter how deservedly, there are certain other parents and administrators and educators who will deem you a pain in the butt. So if you are not by nature an assertive person, you may feel anxious making the effort. And you may wonder, as the OP does, why your child is not getting the benefit of differentiation when other children are without feeling comfortable finding out the answers. And you may resent the school system and make generalizations about its methods, even if this is not productive.

This is supposed to be a forum for supporting the parental anxiety that results when we contemplate how best to educate our gifted children. But when the OP expressed this anxiety, a bunch of posters reprimanded her without looking at the underlying anxieties, which I think is insensitive.

Of course, it's possible that I projected my anxieties. But I nowhere said that parents are "pushy" when they advocate. I am addressing a general cultural perception and not my own opinion of parental involvement. Sorry if that was unclear.
post #27 of 47
I think you have a valid concern, OP, but you put people off with your language.

Culturally, there's a lot of hostility out there towards intellectualism and especially towards my-child-is-more-specialism. Really, it just about kills me to have to go in and advocate for my kid. I think if she had a learning or physical disability, it would be different, but I feel like a self-satisfied pushy chump saying "DD is bored and this work is too easy," especially since the school has not always been positive or reponsive. It IS hard, especially when people all around you (in my case) are saying "Oh, who cares...she's 6...let it go."

In an ideal world, yes, every child's needs would be noticed and met without parents needing to advocate. I totally agree.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
talk to the teachers, but I'm more polite and never demanding. I guess I assumed that a teacher would know that a child wasn't being challenged if all their work was nearly flawless. I know that's what I would assume if I were a teacher.
I'd like to challenge your assumptions about teaching a bit. Perhaps understanding how teachers can see things will help you. A teacher can't assume because the work is flawless, the child isn't being challenged. They can't see the effort being put in. I can assure you as an educator that there are students I teach whose work is flawless because they memorized the rules without understanding them or spent 3 times as much time on it as the student sitting next to them. If it takes a student three times as long to complete the task, they are probably quite challenged. How can I tell that student from the ones who get it quickly and easily? Without talking to the student (or parent, I teach college, so I don't talk to the parents), I cannot tell.

In addition, sometimes students who make mistakes reveal, in their mistakes, a sophistication of thinking that I couldn't uncover if they were flawless. It's clear from the mistakes (I'm sorry, I can't come up with any examples right now) that they understand the concepts and are trying to apply them to new and different situations. That sort of student is, in my opinion, much brighter than the student who can rotely apply the concepts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
My kids are very apathetic these days, don't like school and I'm sure they would thrive with more challenge, but I'm going to have to be a little more intimidating in order to get them this.
A thought and a question: If your children are apathetic and checking out, it's time to get in there and advocate for them. This is a huge problem, IMO.

Question: Why is advocating for your child being 'intimidating'? This is what I said about dd to her teacher: "I'm concerned because dd is expressing frustration at being bored at school. I'm staring to see some of it in her behaviors at home. Unlike her brother (this teacher had had her brother before), dd thrives on being challenged, and will rise to meet the challenges. How do you think that we can address this?"

My conversation with ds' teacher last year went "I'm concerned because ds is getting frustrated any time he has to work to do something. I'm also concerned because the books he's bringing home from school are far below what I know he can read. At home, he's been reading... (I listed a few examples) But my real concern is the lack of challenge. Ds seems to think that if he has to spend more than 5 minutes on his homework, it's too hard. I need him to learn that it's OK to work on something and that being challenged doesn't mean he can't do it. How can we help him and challenge him?"

Is that intimidating? Pushy? I was direct, but very very polite. I didn't tell them how to do their job, I merely stated my concern and asked for their help in solving it. I find that approach works really really well. If you engage the teachers in helping to solve a common problem, they are often willing to help.

Now, it's entirely possible that the school that you're in (from your description, I'm imagining a East Coast suburban school in a rich district with lots of professional parents) that my little spiels would have done no good. If that's the case, then you need to:
-List the behaviors you see with your children concerning school work that demonstrate that they get it
-List the behaviors (including things they've said) that concern you (apathy)
-State clearly that you want help in resolving the behaviors that concern you and that you think that differentiation is the solution.
-If they push back and say "but that class is full...." simply restate: My kids need differentiation because the work they're doing now is too easy. It's beginning to negatively affect how they view school. How can we get them there? If you can't help me, who else can you point me to?

Many others have made the great point that you do need to advocate for your child. In a perfect world, we'd have classes of 15 students per one and the teacher would have time to really get to know each of the students and tailor the curriculum to them. But like world peace, that seems to be a long way off in the public school system.

In the meantime, it's up to us to advocate for our children, even when it's hard to do so. I'm an educator, and I don't like to do it. I understand that. But think of it this way: your kids need you to demonstrate that you are interested in their schooling and that you're willing to go to bat for them. Parental involvement at school is one of the big predictors of student success. (Note I didn't say 'achievement', I said success, there's a difference.)

I'm also wondering if this is really the right school for your family. I hear a lot of resentment and anger toward the other parents at this school. Is there another schooling option for your kids that would meet your family values better?
post #29 of 47
Quote:
In addition, sometimes students who make mistakes reveal, in their mistakes, a sophistication of thinking that I couldn't uncover if they were flawless. It's clear from the mistakes (I'm sorry, I can't come up with any examples right now) that they understand the concepts and are trying to apply them to new and different situations. That sort of student is, in my opinion, much brighter than the student who can rotely apply the concepts.
This is sort of off topic but I totally agree. I was helping out a 5th grade teacher a few years back and she shared how interesting it was that certain questions were routinely missed by gifted kids and how she loved reading their answers every year (and the lively debate that would follow when she passed the tests back.) They would over think, assume more complexity than was there, jump to connections that weren't exactly incorrect but not the appropriate answer to the current level of study, ect. These were questions that were rarely missed by her average students.
post #30 of 47
As parents, we know are our children better than a teacher ever will (although teachers often get to see a side of our kids that we don't). As a parent, I advocate for my child, but that is very different from being "pushy". I have regular conversations with the teacher in person or by email. We discuss behavior, challenges, and areas where DS excels. Learning in school is a partnership in various combinations: teacher-student, teacher-parent, and parent-student. You seemed to have forgotten the 2nd one.

DS was a reluctant reader and wasn't testing well in K or early 1st. But I knew from my observations he was on the verge of a break through. So I discussed it with the teacher and she made the decision with my agreement to bump him up a reading group to see if that would jump start him. It did! His reading took off like a rocket. But without us having a conversation about it, things would probably not have changed. I also listen to my DS and when he says something is too hard or too easy, I challenge him to think about ways he might ask the teacher for an adjustment to what he is doing. That way he gets involved in the conversation and learns to advocate for himself.

So open up a conversation. A good way to do that is to volunteer in the classroom. Teachers always need an extra set of hands and then you can get to know the teacher better without feeling like you are just charging in and demanding something for your children.
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
So I inquired a bit more at the school about how the kids get chosen for differentiation and it's all based on 'parent' recommendation pretty much. So you can call this 'communication' or a 'partnership' or whatever buzzword is currently in vogue, but the fact of the matter is that you have to be pretty pushy to get this extra challenge for your kids. The spots fill up quickly and then the teachers are very reluctant to add kids after that.
A few of the moms I know personally who get their kids in these differentiated groups are very type A (unlike me) and are at the school very frequently complaining and going to the principle/vice-principle when they don't get exactly what they want. I think the teachers are afraid of these people. I talk to the teachers, but I'm more polite and never demanding. I guess I assumed that a teacher would know that a child wasn't being challenged if all their work was nearly flawless. I know that's what I would assume if I were a teacher.
My kids are very apathetic these days, don't like school and I'm sure they would thrive with more challenge, but I'm going to have to be a little more intimidating in order to get them this. I know for a fact after talking to the other moms that their kids need much more help at home to understand the material. I don't want my kids to have more work, just work that is more mentally stimulating, but maybe that's too much to ask from a public school.
My kids have always told me that school is easy or that the other kids don't seem to understand much or talk like babies, but I have always told them they they are never to say any of that at school because people will think they are bragging. Maybe I should have just let them brag like most kids do.
If this is how the school actually operates, then you need to find a different school. This is not a healthy environment if the teachers are "afraid" of puhy parents. School should be about a team approach to figuring out what is best and most appropriate for each student.
post #32 of 47
Thread Starter 
Maybe it is just the area in which I live and maybe you have to experience it to understand, but some of these mothers live at the school. They have no outside job, no younger children and they are at the school all the time finding volunteer activities to do so they can 'communicate' with the teacher. It is an environment which promotes an unhealthy style of parenting and if you don't do it too then you are thought of as being unwilling to communicate with the teacher (I do talk to the teacher BTW, just not everyday). So yes, as another poster mentioned, maybe this school just isn't a good fit.

As far as getting high marks as a sign that a child isn't being challenged, there are other signs as well...Being the the first or one of the first to finish work, having other kids cheating off of my kids, etc. I think the teachers are seriously just unwilling to do much about it unless you flat out tell them and get the principle in on it. I will do that if it is necessary, but am I the only one here who thinks this whole system is incredibly flawed? Meanwhile, none of this differentiation is based on actual merit so really like another poster wrote, how challenging could it possibly be.

Also, as far as gifted kids getting certain questions wrong, you also have smart kids who know when a question doesn't make complete logical sense, but they still know the answer the teacher will expect and so they put that down. My children will tell me that kind of stuff, but not the teacher, another reason why they might get overlooked.
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
They have no outside job, no younger children and they are at the school all the time finding volunteer activities to do so they can 'communicate' with the teacher. It is an environment which promotes an unhealthy style of parenting ...
Not sure what I'm missing here. Stay-at-home parents who are very involved as supporters of the school make for an unhealthy style of parenting? Clearly we're on different wavelengths.

Miranda
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Not sure what I'm missing here. Stay-at-home parents who are very involved as supporters of the school make for an unhealthy style of parenting? Clearly we're on different wavelengths.

Miranda
I agree. There are parents at our school who are there every day. I'm so thankful for them and all that they do! I don't feel threatened, or that they somehow detract from how my students interact with their teacher.

What they are doing is supporting the whole school, and everyone benefits from this.

Again, it isn't a competition. Everyone does what they can. I do what I can, and if that is less then another parent, I am thankful for that parent filling in where I can't.

Now there are many studies that actually state that parent nomination for gifted services are more accurate then teacher nominations, because teachers miss the underachievers, or the kids who are too polite to speak up/act out when under-challenged.


It is absolutely critical that parents then communicate for these students.
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post



I had an IEP meeting for my DD yesterday. It went really well. While we certainly held the meeting for my DD, I was struck as I left that going through this process may help more than my DD. The learning specialist had been researching gifted children (this is a board with very, very few identified children ) and seemed to be genuinely excited to help meet the needs of gifted students. Communicating your childs needs may be good for the class/school as a whole.

Part of asking for differentiation affects more than just your child. It is not a selfish or a "look at me" move.

Edited to add: I just read your update. If there really is some sort of pushy/competitive get your child into the top tier ASAP thing going on - that is not good. If your kids are genuinely gifted, they probably are not losing out much by not being in the top tier, anyway. If a top tier serves 25% of the population it is still not enough for most gifted kids. Ex: most kids have mice on their spelling list, top tier has mouse, but your kid can spell magnesium.
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post #36 of 47
Quote:
none of this differentiation is based on actual merit
without MERIT----that's a issue IMO

if that is the case why would you want your child in the program?

when you have done meetings (assuming you have) why haven't you asked about placing in the program/group?
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
Now if I tell the teacher and push for my child to be more challenged I'm sure the teacher would gladly abide, but why do I always have to do this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
(I do talk to the teacher BTW, just not everyday).
I don't understand. Have you talked to the teacher or not?

I'm one of the parents who is at the school a lot, volunteers, talks to the teachers about how my kids are doing, etc. I feel grateful that I have these opportunities. So few SAHPs are left once all the kids are school age, and it makes it easy for the staff and nicer for the kids when we volunteer.

It's very healthy.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Maybe it is just the area in which I live and maybe you have to experience it to understand, but some of these mothers live at the school. They have no outside job, no younger children and they are at the school all the time finding volunteer activities to do so they can 'communicate' with the teacher. It is an environment which promotes an unhealthy style of parenting and if you don't do it too then you are thought of as being unwilling to communicate with the teacher (I do talk to the teacher BTW, just not everyday). So yes, as another poster mentioned, maybe this school just isn't a good fit.
Why exactly are you so hostile towards these parents? Personally, I did live at my DD's elementary school. I did work part-time and had a little one. Yes, I volunteered extra because I knew my DD was a complicated case and I wanted to help. You know what I did? I tutored below level students most. I did some work with high-level readers in the early grades. I ran a strategy game club open to all. I also made countless copies for teachers my children would never have. I never talked to teachers about my own children unless they called me into a formal conference wanting ideas how to further accomodate my kids. The moms that volunteered the most were NOT the ones pushing for unreasonable accomodations for unqualified kids. It was more the parents who DIDN'T volunteer, who really didn't know what was going on in class, who didn't have a good understanding, who bought into the notion that their children were the smartest on campus without having any real experience with the other kids, ect. I have come across some obnoxious parents but they are few and they rarely actually get what they want. It sounds to me you just want to blame them for your kids not getting what you want instead of stepping up and doing something yourself.

Are you really so sure the kids in the high groups are less capable than your own? Do you know this from actually working with them or just what your kids say? The perspectives of 1st and 3rd grade students can be scewed and can be heavily influenced by what they think will make their parents proud. If your children are moderately gifted as you say, then they most certainly are not alone in class. There is also a good chance that there will be higher levels of giftedness present as well. Plus, if you feel the higher level groups are worthless, why even be upset that your children aren't in them?
post #39 of 47
I would stop thinking about the other parents and their kids. How other parents interact with teachers and advocate for their children should have no bearing on what you do for yours.

If you have concerns about your child's education, as a parent it is your responsibility to address them. And as for why you should have to (instead of the teacher picking up on the issues him or herself)...well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It always has.

And in all honesty, unless you are in the classroom yourself, you don't know what the other students are capable of.

I know it's hard. I've had to talk to teachers and administrators and have sometimes felt like "that mom." But, when push comes to shove, you do what you have to do for your kids.

Communicate with the teacher. Schedule a meeting. One step at a time.

Best wishes!
post #40 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Not sure what I'm missing here. Stay-at-home parents who are very involved as supporters of the school make for an unhealthy style of parenting? Clearly we're on different wavelengths.

Miranda
Yes, there is a point where it goes from healthy interest to unhealthy controlling obsession. There are a good number of mothers like this at the school, but there are also a good number of mothers who have a healthy level of interest in our children and none of us like the atmosphere that is created by the former. They act like they own the school and really do very little to improve it...They are supposed to be busy with volunteer work, but mostly you'll catch them gossiping about teachers, students, etc. They all claim to have profoundly gifted kids of course according to some test somewhere and sometimes the kids are embarrassed by the fact that mom is always around. I do think the faculty gets worn down by these women due to sheer persistence. I do see their kids quite frequently as they are in the same social group as mine and I would know if they are profoundly gifted and they aren't. Often times they have a bully style personality that they get from mom. I do think that the school ultimately needs to put their foot down with regard to this 'helicopter' parenting, but being the first to voice this will ruffle feathers..I know for a fact that many other moms feel as I do, but just don't want to do anything about it.
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