Counseling With Counselors, part II

This morning, I received the following email from a counselor colleague:

_____ is currently getting an “F” in your _____ class ____ period. She feels she will not be able to get her percentage up enough to pass, and therefore has signed up for AIS Eng. 4, second semester. Would you please allow her to use class time to work on her course? She has a full-time job and any time she could use to work on the AIS class would help her a great deal! Please have a discussion with her about it and thanks!

This was my instant response:

_____, _____ “feels” like she isn’t going to pass, so you want her to stay sitting in my class but doing what she wants for the AIS you’ve gone ahead and signed her up for instead?

I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. What kind of message does that send? What precedent does it establish? Why didn’t either of you consult me before deciding that she couldn’t pass? Did she tell you that she came in to get make up work at the end of third quarter and resolved to pass the class then, but has failed to follow up on that?

With this plan, we’d be giving her our blessing to stop doing work for class whenever she wants, or altogether! What’s the point of her being here, then? What does that do to the expectations for everyone else in the class? A student enrolled in my class will be expected to work on my class. If you want her to do AIS work during that period instead, you need to withdraw her from my class and let her work in your office. Even then, I’d want this run by an administrator.

If neither of those options is acceptable, then let’s bring this to _____ to work out. Really, _____, this strikes me as incredibly irresponsible.

He quickly replied with some more details of the student’s hardships, and a statement that he would tell her to work in my class but use the Independent Study as a back up.  I was still upset and wanted to write back that such counseling to her was hardly the affirmation of high standards that we should be communicating, but I think I’ll let this one go.  I don’t want to permanently estrange myself from a good coworker, nor do I think further argument would change anything. 

But I still think this is a great illustration of the institutionalized mindset too many in education have that low standards are a small price to pay for squeezing out better grade and graduation statistics.  Sad.

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2 comments on “Counseling With Counselors, part II

  1. I’m sad that not more people have responded to your post. Several years ago (OK 4) My son brought home a progress report in Science with a D- grade to given in several weeks. I was upset that he wasn’t doing better. We talked about the issue and found out that he wasn’t getting some support he needed for his disablity. So I went to the High School at 7:30AM to visit with the teacher. I was told I needed an appointment. I said that I was a parent and needed no appointment before or after the regular school hours. I asked the teacher about this bad grade and my concerns. The teacher responce was but Mr. Davis your son is passing. I was floored and said so. He responded again that there were 10 students failing his cource in that one class and we were lucky he was passing. I asked why he wasn’t concerned and he said he didn’t have the time or means to be concerned. I then asked why my son was not given the support for his disablity and the teacher wasn’t aware of needs. The school didn’t inform the teachers as that my violate some confidential data. Anyway we only found 1 teacher that cared and no administrators that would work with us. Not saying teachers are bad but in this case it was a real issue. In fact we were told by the school that we may have to sue them to get the needed help. I have again and again observed the same issues you posted about. I worked with the YM in my ward and I’m always amazed at the good grades they make but simple reading and writing is a real problem to most. You never really stated what were your solutions to some of your points. What are some other than making the kids work because the problem it starts a lot earlier somewhere in their schooling.

  2. Mex, as I don’t know you, your son, or the others involved, I can’t really offer useful feedback. I have learned to be very wary of people asking for special treatment because of their kid’s “disability.” Your concern may well be totally valid, but if so, you would be the rare exception. Schools are inundated every day by parents who swear up and down that their kid needs tons of personalized lower standards.

    The school may well have been out of line in their treatment of you, but again playing devil’s advocate, schools are like an ER, and if ten kids come and your child is the relatively healthiest of the bunch, he’ll get the last and least care. I don’t really agree with that–I think we pander too much to the most disadvantaged to the detriment of the average kids–but that’s the way the system is.

    Ultimately, though, in answer to ending question, I’ve suggested in another popular post that the best solution to all of our problems is a return to our religions. You’re already talking about active kids, it seems, so all I can suggest at this point is drawing nearer God as much as we all can throughout our lives and trusting Him.

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