My son’s locked up. If you remember from an earlier post, Jimmy is my “son” and now he’s behind bars. Drugs - it’s a long story. His mother called me crying on Monday about it and gave me all of the details. He’s also been expelled from school because the drugs were found on his person upon entering the school building.
When I heard the news, I was very sad. I felt like once again, I had failed. Is there just no way to help these kids? Is there no bringing them out of poverty and helping them attain some kind of goal, even if it’s only gainful employment doing something menial.
I always thought that the high school I worked for last year was a complete and utter joke. We were a special education school (no “regular” kids went to our school) and yet our kids were on block scheduling. Our school could have offered a trade or given the students some real skills, instead we decided to hand away diplomas that meant nothing. Please bear with my tangential writing tonight.
Block scheduling is a way for kids to earn high school credits quickly. For our school, it meant that they could earn double the high school credits given in a normal school year. So, in approximately 18 weeks a student could earn a full high school credit. It would be as though they had gone to school for the entire year.
There are many problems with block scheduling for special needs students. In a traditional high school, the students may be able to keep up with the work and actually understand and grasp the content of the material in 18 weeks. What happened in our school was, essentially we were graduating kids who couldn’t read.
Now this looks great to the powers that run the DC Public School District. Someone who works for the central office might look at the high school and remark: “Look at this special education school, they’re graduating kids! It’s a miracle. Call the presses, call Rhee! We’re revolutionizing education.” It’s a goddamn hoax and it’s all a sham.
I’m all over the place tonight. I’m sorry, I’m aware of this. Maybe it’s Jimmy or maybe it’s just the realization that I’m not superwoman, and I can’t fix every problem that each of my students has. Sometimes, I think that I just need to work harder and then things would be different. I guess you can only lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.