I live in a very competitive area. Although Northern Virginia is probably not as competitive as New York City, it might come close in some circles.
One of the Diva's friends is being groomed to go to Harvard. Her mom was quite concerned when her barely five year old daughter could not yet read.
Other mothers discuss the myriad of extra activities they attend to support their children. Some kids are involved in three or more activities a week in addition to their competitive private schools.
Kids, at young ages, are talking about feeling pressure; they are stressed out.
The school district here is fairly well established. Given the competitive environment in which it functions, it tries to establish and maintain rules and guidelines. It attempts to provide a solid education despite keeping an eye on test results. I have yet to hear anything about the school and bending rules due to politics or parental desires.
This is great. In such a competitive environment where 90% of the parents believe that there child is "gifted" and where politics reins supreme, there is an institution that is willing to stick to its guns.
Thus, I was a bit taken aback to hear, from a parent last week, that three students were admitted into the gifted program (which is where the high performers are educated) without the proper qualifications.
What? The district is loosening its standards?
Having been around these three students, this parent and others do not see how they could have received the test scores necessary for placement in the program.
Ah... so the parents truly don't know what the test scores were nor do they have access to the administrative process. They are, in fact, judging these children based on what they believe to be "gifted" rather than accepting that intelligence is quite elusive at times.
I found this to be appalling.
Each 2cd grade student in the district is given to tests. The scores on those tests make the child eligible for consideration for the gifted program. It is, in fact, one of the more fair systems of entry into a gifted program that I have experienced. Each child has a chance - even those who do not speak English.
A teacher explained to me last spring that she is never sure who will be admitted and who will not. She has seen the most successful child in the class do poorly on the test while a child with less class participation and achievement will ace it. A teacher can't always tell.
Apparently these parents think they can.
They also think that these parents played politics in order to get their children into the program.
Listening to these parents comments I felt demoralized. I truly want to believe that the district is adhering to their own rules and guidelines. I felt like I was living in another place and time - people complaining about someone moving into the area and destroying the property values.
Which leaves me wondering - why would a parent set his or her child up to potentially fail? Is reputation or being able to say "my child..." that much more important than the child's success?
Have parents lost sight of what it is to be a child?