Life changing decisions already? Part 1

Since Marc started school, we have been absolutely amazed by his ability to learn but aren't all parents. He had an excellent kindergarten teacher who had him reading in the first couple months of school. We hadn't pushed Marc at home. He went to kindergarten knowing the alphabet, letter sounds, and how to spell abut 10 words. Math was his real strength though. He was like a human calculator. Show him how to do something once, and he's got it. His teacher looped the class so Marc got another year with this outstanding educator. By January, the teacher was suggesting we have Marc skip 2nd grade. He let us know that Marc was well beyond the other students and that he had already taught him most of the first and second grade curriculums. He said he was having trouble keeping ahead of Marc with assignments.

At first we were unsure how to handle the request. We didn't really want our little boy growing up a year quicker and we didn't we want to do what's best for him. We did a lot of reading and found that acceleration does seem to be the best option for Marc. The teacher did more testing and confirmed that Marc is highly capable.

Unfortunately, we hit a great deal of resistance from the principal. The principal is one of those people who won't take a risk. He wants 100% assurance before he makes a change like this. He felt the testing the teacher gave was invalid because it could be coached. We got in contact with the county GT supervisor and a reading and math assessment were given. The reading assessment was subjective and showed Marc was reading independently at a 4th grade reading level. The math test they gave was the end of the year assessment for 3rd grade. It had a good deal of vocabulary Marc was unfamiliar with and a few concepts he had never seen. He scored a 16/26 on the assessment so the principal determined this showed he was not ready for 3rd grade. Now Marc is the kind of kid who could have aced that test if they'd shown him one time how to do each problem one time. The test wasn't an ability test, it was more of a final exam on content he hadn't seen.

Because of my new job, Marc will go to a new school next year. If this transition is to occur, we feel it would be in his best interest to happen now. That way he will skip a grade and start a new school all at once. He won't get as much attention for skipping and won't have to make new friends with the possibility of having to move up later in the year.

The GT supervisor understood our concerns, but without data and with the principal against it, his hands were tied. He suggested we get private educational/ ability testing which we did.

Now there is a great abundance of money and assistance for children in this country for special education services. They receive testing, individual education plans, special teachers, a greater ratio of teacher to student time, and funding for many programs and materials. Unfortunately, there is very very little for gifted students. If our child had a disability, the law would require educational tests be given at no cost to the parents, however, since his special needs are at the opposite end of the spectrum, he has no right to anything. Since our child's special needs are that's he's more capable than average, we have to pay $1200 for the testing he needs. Both situations involve kids who will not receive their appropriate and least restrictive education in a regular classroom. I in no way mean this to diminish the importance of special education, I am simply showing that there is a great discrepancy. I do however see a big problem as a society if we continue to devote so little of our educational resources to our students with the most potential.

So Marc was scheduled for educational testing. We were to meet with the Dr. once, then Marc was to meet with him for an interview. Following that Marc would have two sessions of testing. Finally we would get the results. We could then use this information to make a better choice about Marc's education and possibly use the results as ammunition if they showed what so many had already implied.


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