You hear about parents fighting to get their kid's school to push their child to the next grade all the time. So what do you call a mom who is fighting to force her son's school to hold him back? A good parent.
At least Rose Colon sounds like a pretty darn good one to me. Her 11-year-old son Cristian failed his state exams last year, and he still struggles to read. But teachers at his New York City School pushed him into sixth grade this year anyway. It doesn't take a whole lot of common sense to guess he'll just continue to struggle with the more difficult work. Unless someone cares enough to stop the social promotion, this little boy will become a statistic.
It takes a good parent to face the biggest fear of all -- that our kids aren't "good enough" at something. It takes an even better one to not just face it, but fight it. Acknowledging our kids are bad at something is hard, but telling other people is even harder.
Unfortunately, we've put such a stigma on a kid "failing" a school year. Just the word "failing" sounds so defeatist. What parent wants to think their kid failed? But like learning to eat with utensils or learning to use the potty, sometimes school takes longer for some kids than others. It's not failing to recognize that our kid is one of those learners.
There's an irony that this story cropped up in the Daily News the day after a story written by American Teacher of the Year Ron Clark spread like wildfire across my friends' Facebook walls. Clark, who runs a celebrated academy for educators, wrote a piece for CNN that's supposed to tell every parent what their kids' teacher wishes they knew. High on his list is a request that parents "please quit with all the excuses."
I hear him. I'm more than a little tired of the parents who play the "it's all the teacher's fault" game. Sure it is. And you never tried to get one over on the teacher when you were a kid either. Uh huh.
Unfortunately, sometimes the good parents who have dropped the excuses in favor of just getting their kids educated face the other problem with education: a screwed up system that will push through failing kids. I wish Rose Colon luck. She's doing the right thing -- even if it is the hardest.
Would you fight for your kid's right to fail a grade?
Image via mecredis/Flickr