Can they make the meeting any dryer?

Last night I sat through another “freshman” parent meeting. I can honestly tell you that it does not get any better the second time around. How can I say this? I have now done it two times and it was not any better the second time around. In fact, I do believe that it was worse the second time around.

Personally, I think that they should make the meeting a pep-rally for parents. Come on, make us excited about sending our kids to your high school.

What surprised me is that the meeting was so small. It involved a break out for three different high schools and the meeting barely filled the cafeteria for the junior high school? That tells me that parents are either in denial or the meeting was not very well attended. My guess is that it was a little bit of both.

Kyle told me the meeting was exactly what they were told at school – word for word. Fantastic! They were told to bring their information packet with them to the meeting because they would need it. We dutifully followed the directions he was given and we showed up a few minutes before 6:30pm. We parked out behind the school. I was expecting to not be able to find a spot and be forced to park on the street and hike into the school thus why I went out behind the school. Alas there were plenty of parking spots in the back lot so I just parked out back and walked around the school. The meeting was in the cafeteria and it was a short distance to the cafeteria.

Now we tried to open one of those many cafeteria doors. Do you think any of those parents already in the cafeteria bothered to get off their behind and actually open the doors? Of course not. Not a one. It is cold outside by the way and drizzling. Not a single soul bothered to move. I am not impressed. It is a door, someone is on the other side of it, get up and open it. There. I said what I was thinking last night but did not let on to my almost 14 year old son. I just told him to walk around to the front door. I know what he was thinking though.

Anyway, we found a nice “comfortable” cafeteria table perch at the back of the cafeteria and prepared to be “informed” about all things high school. I was trying to keep any open mind. It has been 3 years since I have been in one of these meetings. Things have changed. I know that the state has issued new graduation requirements and I was hoping to hear about those, etc. I was trying to keep an open mind. Then the mindless drivel started to come out of their mouths.

Oh my goodness. I am not two. I know how to read a piece of paper. The worst of it? I also know how to prepare a Power Point presentation that is actually legible and informative. I am looking at these Power Point slides from the back of the room which are illegible at best and I can literally feel my brain cells start to implode.

I am glad that Kyle brought his information packet or whatever it was because well I needed something to refer to because I could not follow along on the Power Point slides. Wow! They took the practically illegible pieces of paper – I wear bifocals by the way – and slapped them on the Power Point slide and expected us to be able to read them from across the cafeteria. I am not sure who had that brilliant idea but they need to find a new line of work because Visual Communications is not working out for them.

Here is what I do not like about what I could figure out from the “education” plan they want my child to pick this week and the graduation requirements they have set up – trade school education without calling it a trade school. It does not scream anything less than that. Now I am sure it has some high points, but right now I am thinking go blow some eggs and give my child back Algebra II as a requirement.

Now I am looking at what the State of Texas requires to graduate and I just shake my head. Kyle is already 2-3 credits into his graduation requirements and he has not started high school yet. Go Kyle! We have to double check which classes he actually has listed on his report card to verify the actual number. This is not necessarily a bad thing as far as requirements are concerned. The problem? Most colleges require more than the absolute minimum to graduate. How do you make up the difference? Some how you have to make it up. Well the school district has taken the stance that they will just require those things and give them an “advanced” stamp on their diploma if they complete those requirements. They call it something else but it is what it is. Essentially you complete Algebra II and a few other courses to get it. You complete 26 credits instead of the state’s required 22.

The “endorsement” comes in at 26 credits. That’s the “trade school” bit that they just are not calling trade school training. I like to cut through the crap and just call things like they are. When you take my kid and train them up in a “law” field, you are giving them a “trade school” education training. You are training them in a trade. Do not give me a line of crap. I am not sending my kid to a charter school, by the way so they cannot even use that line of crap either.

I am going to cut straight to where it hurts most. Statistics were years ago, and I would actually have to go look them up again to give you hard proof of them but it was several years ago, that 60% of all Texas High School graduates required remedial Math or English once they entered College. That is 60% people! That is more than half of people graduating high school needed less than College Algebra or Composition and Rhetoric I. The basic prerequisite to most other college courses on campus. That means that they could not pass those classes if they were put into them. That essentially meant that these students were bombing college placement exams right out of high school. Truly sad.

See, this is not a new problem, this has been going on for years. So how do they solve it? They continue to lower the bar so that more kids can pass the exams. They are not any smarter, they simply appear that way. They still cannot pass College Algebra when they get there. You can ask my little sister. She took it 5 times. She has finally mastered it. She can officially check that off her bucket list. Go Jennifer!

Alas I digress, I started about this “freshman” meeting and got onto a tangent about how I swear the teachers are dumber than the average nearly 14 year old. I think the smartest person in the room was Kyle who sat there patiently waiting for them to stop talking. He sat on his iPod playing Flappy Birds by the way. I did not have the heart to stop him. How could I? There was nothing intelligent coming out of this meeting.

I will be honest with you, I have no clue as to how my child will be better suited for the world or “college-ready” performing in a STEM endorsed education than he would doing the exact same curriculum via the IB program. Looking at the list, it is the same list. Well it is the same list scaled way back in some areas. The biggest difference? He’s going to get the college credits to go with it in IB and instead of being tricked into a “trade school” education (that really is not that) he might actually have some useful and intense education behind in. There are no “Principles of…” courses in IB it is full on college level immersion.

In the end it is Kyle’s decision. He gets to make it. He has decided he wants to do a STEM based education. I am perfectly happy with that. He has decided he does not want to do Physics like his brother. I am perfectly happy with that. He wants to do Computer Science. I am perfectly happy with that. He can do that in IB. In IB he will spend less time wasting time. That is my preference. I actually would be lying if I said I was not leaning with that as my preference, but it is Kyle’s choice in the end because Kyle has to do the work. He has to make that conscious choice to do the work and it will be rigorous. He has to do what will be best for him.

Regardless of that, he has to register with his home school (Klein High School) until they decide if he even makes it into the IB program. They have to apply to be in IB. There is an application process and interview process. They have to be accepted. Kyle has not started his application yet. He has make his final decision one way or the other.

Needless to say I was not at all impressed with their high school information night. Not at all. Now to go find the information about the endorsements on the state and district websites.

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