For the first time ever, we're not last in our rankings for education anymore!!! We're second to last. Woohoo! Break out the champagne, we're better than South Dakota. Put that in your meth pipe and smoke it, South Dakota.
So as per usual, more grim news for our state regarding our schools, which is depressing. It's especially depressing when you are involved in the process and you see kids failing. And everyone wants to blame someone for it.
Our school isn't doing well. I think it's very likely that our principal is going to lose his job at our school after this year. It's very likely we're going to get a new principal in next year to "shake things up", so we are all worried about that. I can tell you this much, having been in this for four years now, you can only do so much with what you are given.
When they rezoned our school 5 years ago and gave us the lowest 30 percent of test takers from the neighboring schools, our test scores plummeted. Nothing changed at our school..... same teachers, same principal..... except we changed the demographic and socioeconomic status of the children going to our school and that changed our ranking. Our principal got dealt a bad hand and now he's suffering for it and people keep telling me how badly things are going for him and I keep thinking, "It's not his fault!"
He didn't do anything wrong! He got kids that are severely poor, don't speak English, have very unstable and unpredictable home lives, never come to school, don't have food, live in abusive and neglectful situations, etc., etc. Some of the kids that go to my school are just surviving. Literally. Just surviving day to day.
And the only way I know to help those children is to throw money at the problem. We need full day kindergarten. We need free preschool. We need tutors. They could put a new principal in our school every year and we'd still have the same problems because we don't have any money to fix the problems. We can't make people be better parents. We can't make dumb people stop having children. It simply costs more to educate this portion of the population, which comprises a very large portion of our society here, and Nevada is unwilling to invest in its children. We just simply won't do it.
So how are my kids doing? How are my kids surviving a mediocre public school, in the second worst school system in the nation?
We just got our Common Core Standard's test results the other week.
Amanda is ranking in the 92nd percentile in the nation for her reading scores.
Gregory is in the 75th percentile in the nation. As you can see, he started the year out low, only Meeting Expectations. I started tutoring him and he's doing really well. When I say I "started tutoring him", I mean I physically pin him down and force him, against will, to read aloud to me every night for 30 minutes. That vigilance has paid off.
Sarah is in the 90th percentile in the nation for reading.
I'm not sure why they didn't give a ranking for Austin, but as you can see, he's the triangle, the district is the diamond, and the square is the school, so he's way above the benchmark.
Over the years, some of the best advice I've ever gotten, which I refused to listen to, was from a bunch of Mormon ladies at a birthday party four years ago. We were all sitting around and I was lamenting about sending my kids to school, when one of them said to me, "In my experience, you can't worry about what the other children are doing, or how they are doing. You have to worry about your own children, and your own children are going to do fine wherever they are, because you are their parent and you are going to make sure they are doing fine."
At the time, I remember thinking, "But......but.....but....I'm FREAKING OUT."
But you know what? She was right. That lady was right. Because my kids are doing fine. Against all the odds, they are doing great. They love school. They are happy at school. I think they are getting a good education. I really do. Do I think all the kids are getting a good education at my school? No. Do I worry about the other kids? Well, yeah, I do because nobody has invented a personality transplant yet, so I can't change that about myself.
But my kids are doing well and sometimes I just need to hang on to that and let it go. I can't change the whole world. I can't change the state. I can change the course of my children's lives and so can you, no matter where you go to school. YOU make the difference.