BEYOND MIS-EDUCATION (available at Amazon.com, or use contact form below to order direct from author and/or to schedule a consultation - 1st 15 minutes free)
by Donna Shannon,
Author, Education Advocate,
Former Homeschool Teacher and
Public School Substitute Teacher
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here are based on personal experience and research. No responsibility is assumed for how the information provided is used. Seek legal advice for further guidance.
"Implicit bias" in public schools is very real, starting as early as kindergarten. It not only hurts Black and Brown students, but also the very highly gifted when their need for a much higher-level challenge is simply resented and ignored. This can, and too often does, result in intellectual neglect (mis-education) and emotional abuse (excessive punishments, and ostracism due to having little or nothing in common with classmates).
A very precocious Black child begins reading in English and Spanish at 2 years old and has a very early interest in science. He tests into The College of William & Mary's gifted program at age 4. He's excited to start 1st grade at the big public school, but public schools confine him to "age-appropriate" classes. He's endlessly bored learning little or nothing from lessons on things he had mastered years earlier, punished for not paying attention to those lessons, and ostracized because he had virtually nothing in common with his classmates. Public schools say it's an ADD (ADHD) problem; one school suggests putting him in Special Education. This child who loves learning only learns to hate public school and wants to drop out. Without an advocating parent, what chance does he have in what is for him a hostile school environment?
Parental advocacy, and possible permanent removal from the public school system. Thanks to homeschooling, this student started college at 14 and ultimately earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with Magna Cum Laude honors. Instead of possibly languishing on the streets or in prison, he is gainfully employed and is also pursuing entrepreneurship.
CAN YOU ADVOCATE FOR YOUR CHILD?
YES, YOU CAN!! Whether your child is "gifted" or not, if you know s/he likes learning but hates school more every day, there is a reason, and you need to know what the reason is. Your child needs you in his corner, paying attention and being involved. Before you calmly and politely start meeting with the teacher(s), at a minimum you need to be familiar with:
Your State's Public Education Requirements and Responsibilities
A little research can give you an idea of what public schools should be doing with/for your child and how they should be doing it.
The ADHD Diagnosis
There is no medical test for ADHD, yet the ADHD statistics in public schools are staggering. Maybe we are too quick to get our children diagnosed and put on toxic chemicals like Ritalin based on the subjective opinions of teachers, and doctors who seem very quick to follow teachers' leads.
Age-Appropriate Class Placement
Age-appropriate classes move much too slowly for the highly or profoundly gifted child, who's too often forced to endure being made to feel like something is wrong with him for not needing age-appropriate lessons. Anger and frustration increases daily.
The School-to-Prison Pipeline
It is real. Teachers' "Implicit bias" disproportionately steers certain students into Special Education, which can lead into the pipeline to prison. The government's own statistics on who's not getting into gifted programs, who is being more harshly disciplined, who is dropping out, and who is ending up in prison, "implicit bias" would seem to be a causal factor, if not the main causal factor.
YOU MIGHT BE YOUR CHILD'S ONLY HOPE
FOR A MEANINGFUL EDUCATION
Black male children as well as highly and profoundly gifted children are the most underserved and educationally suppressed students in public schools, starting in early elementary school. Schools aren't much interested in thinking outside the box to meet the needs of a measly few uniquely able children.
When all else fails, homeschooling is not the only solution, but it is an increasingly popular one, and it can't do worse than a public school that is denying your child appropriate learning opportunities, destroying his self-confidence, and denying him opportunities to socialize with children of similar abilities and interests.
If you have room in your budget, private school could be a good option, but be careful - it can be hard to find one that can truly serve a highly or profoundly gifted child. Private schools have their own boxes they prefer not to think outside of.
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BEYOND MIS-EDUCATION - The Book
Beyond Mis-Education shows how one divorced, financially challenged parent stood up to public schools and ultimately resorted to homeschooling, setting her gifted child free to thrive as the intellectual eagle he truly was. The story is true; that parent was me. My son deserved so much better than public schools ever gave him, and I did all I could to ensure that he had a chance to succeed.
The book also shares resources to help get you started with your online search for information. If public school drops the ball, YOU can pick it up and make sure your child's future is not destroyed by a disastrous public school experience.
Note: While some teachers are awful, some teachers are really wonderful. It's the luck of the draw, which type of teacher your child gets. You need to be involved enough to know which type your child has so you can either find ways to be supportive or take steps to remove your child from that class or school.
"Your book gave me strength."
~ Tion Langley, Parent
"Thank you my Sista for a truly necessary and inspiring work!"
~ Jack Burnett, ManUp! teacher
"Your book is badly needed by parents and the public in general who don't realize that public schools can and do mistreat and miseducate children for their own convenience and personal biases."
~ Richard Huntly, Author, Parent, Public Speaker
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