Monday, January 11, 2010

No Child Left Behind Law - Left Child Behind in Kentucky

My husband apologized for last week. He said that he was just frustrated the bills and all. He knows that I can't go back to work but it’s a heavy load knowing that we still struggle. But he accepted that he knows that right now I can't do much. He was counting on the school program coming to our help at least a little. You see the law "No Child Left Behind" is now failing in Kentucky. Jason was accepted that he had a disability. Well ok they said he potentially had a disability. Two of them in fact. What a joke.

They were going to test him for a language disability and a social disability. So they told me that he could go for eight weeks but I would have to drive him in. He would miss the lunchtime with the other kids as well. They told me that after the eight weeks that most likely he would be accepted into the program itself. They told me that Kentucky had been accepting 2 times as many children with disabilities into the program than any other state.

Well ok we figured we would try it out. I would drive Jason to school at 12:45 p.m. and then he would come back home at 2:30 p.m. Ken and I both decided that it was a start and we would work it out. But that small amount of time wasn't worth it to us for me to drive back and forth. So we decided that it would be easier for me to just volunteer in Faith's class and then come home with him.

So we did the eight weeks like they requested. Then I get the call to come in to talk about the next step. I’m so excited. I’m thinking ok if Jason goes the full 4 hours that preschool. I will be able to work some. To say I was excited is not even close to what I was.

So I go to school to talk with the preschool coordinator, the teacher, and the speech teacher. They tell me that Jason should continue in the program another 8 weeks. Ok I’m excited. I think something is finally going to work out. Then they proceed to tell me that Jason will have to be evaluated by the speech therapist as well as the school psychologist to find out about his social disabilities. Well ok I know what his social issue is. He has a social issue because he was in foster care.

Then they drop the other shoe… They need me to continue to drive him in and out. He needs to see the school psychologist. He will be testing with the speech therapist as well. Now let me tell you I know they mentioned it before that he wouldn’t be evaluated yet but… Hearing that he just spent 8 weeks with this preschool teacher and that she can’t make this evaluation already makes me wonder what they did. As I am leaving, I walk by the child psychologist. I knew it was him because the preschool teacher told me so. This guy looks about 24 if that.

Jason’s class had a school program that day as well. We ate lunch with the class. They had a little skit and sang some songs. The interesting part was as I sat there and saw this class sing. My little Jason did not sing at all. I was quite shocked. You see there is nothing he likes more than to sing and play his drums or some other musical instrument. The boy has rhythm. He loves music. When we got there, they had already put out the placemats and set the tables up. Jason didn’t make one while he was in class. We were sitting the farthest out. Two kids approached Jason but he clung to me like no tomorrow.

Now I’ve had two shocks for the day but next come to the parent teacher conferences. Faith did wonderfully. She loves school and she excels in Math. Way to go baby! She doesn’t really like to ask for help or draw attention to herself. I’ll be working on her with that stuff.

Ok so Ken and I go to see Jason’s preschool teacher. She tells us that Jason has only connected with her. He has not connected to any of the kids. And he does not like music nor does he talk in the room. Ok as we are sitting there he and Faith are talking non stop. He’s picking up musical instruments to play. Hello??? Do you get it?

Once we are home, we start talking about all the fun that I had today. With all the things that I had observed and we realized that Jason was Left Behind. Faith didn’t have to go through all of this stuff when she went. She was accepted because she came through another program. Jason was turned down the first year I took him in. And now this wonderful experience.

We decided that Jason was not going to continue with the program. Now originally I had signed the paperwork for him to attend in that meeting. So I wasn’t sure how that was going to work other than we can’t be forced to do so. We decided that we would keep Jason home. That he didn’t need to go to a child psychologist that might not have the skills to handle his specific situation. I mean come on. How much experience does a 24 year old (oops I think he is) have with children from foster care?

Since then, we have told the teacher that he was not coming back. Ken got a call from the teacher asking about Jason again. Teacher pretty much said that Jason would not improve if he wasn’t in the classroom. Then I got a call from the speech therapist same directions basically. Next I got a call from the psychologist - same direction of the conversation. Finally I got a call from the lady running the preschool program. She wants me to come in and sign off of him going. And that he won’t improve if he is not in the program. By now I have had enough.

To me what they are now looking at is the fact that they have now lost funding for their program. He counted as money whether he was there full time or not. He counted in their budget. No child – no money. Isn’t that a shame?? Now to sign off on him getting help. Guess what?? That would mean that when he does start kindergarten this coming year that they wouldn’t look at his speech disability. I don’t think so. I know better than signing off on his disability. He has a speech issue. They will deal with it. I will fight for his speech problems. But I truthfully believe that by joining a Mom’s Club and taking him to the mall as well to play with other kids. I am giving him the same thing that they gave him but more.

I honestly believe that the social time on the bus and the lunch time is when the kids would have connected to him. I believe that without that time no time was going to help him. Kids treat you different if there is something different. He was treated different by the school system. They treated him different. He reacted to being treated different.

Kentucky, for shame, you left a child behind.



June Freaking Cleaver said...

Please don't give up on your son!

I found this link for preschools in KY. I do believe that if your son has disabilities, IDEA should be in place for him. They have to provide services (and maybe even transportation).

My son and I lived in Ky for two years, I was able to get him a decent education, and we worked with several agencies and very caring people.

Try this link:

Send me an email at kimrsch (at) yahoo dot com if you need to vent. I've been down this road already - you may need the help of an education attorney/advocate to ensure that your son gets what he needs/deserves/is legally entitled to.

Amy said...

wow that is not good at all.

Andrea said...

This makes me furious. It is quite obvious he is functioning better at home where he feels "safe" and "secure" than he was at pre-school. I better get off my soapbox before I say something ugly.
I am sorry Jake and you guys have endured the last 8 weeks. He needs to be where he is loved and he will grow and do fine.

Blessings, andrea

kys said...

Hmmmm. Every school is different so I can't speak for your child specifically but I do know that many of the children I've worked with have benefitted immensely from attending preschool.

The Moms Groups and play dates are a great way to get out and socialize but preschool really helps these kiddos before they go to kindergarten.

I don't know about your district but in the schools here kindergarten is so different from the way it was when I was a child. They expect kids to come in with so many skills that it's hard for them to catch up.

Also, in many schools you can bring your child in just for speech therapy even if you chose for them not to attend preschool. (I'm pretty sure. Not certain as I don't work in the KY schools.)

I'm not judging or telling you what to do. Your his mom and I know you will do what's best. I'm just sort of thinking as I type and hoping maybe a compromise will be a good solution for you all.

Keep us updated.


CountessLaurie said...

Good for you for recognizing their shortfalls and taking the appropriate actions.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

Jules said...

Hang in there. He needs you to stay strong through his struggles.

Tater Tot Mom said...

So sorry that you are going through this all! Our son has speech disabilities as well and we were lucky enough to get help through our school district. I hope that everything works out and I'm sure it will because he's got an awesome advocate in you! Keep them on their toes girl!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear that, Tami. Shame on Kentucky! "Cottage By The Sea" said...

You are doing the right thing keeping Jason home for now. You can give him way more of what he needs at his age, at home. I adopted a special needs child who is now a teenager. He has been in a different school almost every year since starting school at age 6. He only just now got an IEP which should have been in place 7 years ago. We finally had to hire an advocate to help us get through the mire which is, the system. A comment section will not do my thoughts justice - just know that he needs you at home now and from that base, get him all the help you can. He will be more self confident and ready for school when he is older. Then you can continue to advocate your heart out. You know much more what is right for your child. You know him better than anybody else. Nobody will advocate for him like you will. Also, remember at every step you take, especially as you get advise from the school personnel, they ALWAYS have the alternative motive of $$$ and keeping their programs working - if they are "working" or not.