Archive for the telling it like it is Category

Weeks Five and Six

Posted in telling it like it is on September 26, 2009 by samsondoggie

I think that Powe is going to work out.

It was in the late afternoon, when pianos could be played, when Samson is sleeping, and when you are one and the sister and I am four and the other sister, and you are going to wear the pink dress because you are two and I am the big sister.  It was in between all of this and some of a few other things, that John let us know what is really going on down in Mr. D’s class.

“This school is so much harder than last year,” John announces from a spot next to the Continue reading


Third and Fourth Weeks

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , on September 17, 2009 by samsondoggie

John is settling into school. He skips along the court in the backyard when he gets home. He has friends.  He likes his teacher.  He likes having rules. He really likes having rules.

In the last two weeks, I feel like I have had my first opportunity to see some of the decisions that our teachers are trying to make.   On Monday evening this week, we went to an emergency meeting of the parents.  When we arrive, a group of parents are meeting with the principal, some administrative staff, and about 11 teachers.

The parents are here because they are upset.  Susie’s been following it more closely than I have, but I have a general sense of what this will be about. We are going to talk about curriculum.

This is where, as Susie would say, “the rubber hits the road.” People talk about equity and opportunity in society.  Well, this is where that occurs. This is a Title 1 school.   Tonight’s meeting is made up of people who are on that frontier.  These parents aren’t drawn from the mainstream of the school’s parents.  We all look alike, for example.  We all speak English.  I would bet that we all  Continue reading

New Week, Not the Same as the Old Week

Posted in telling it like it is with tags on September 4, 2009 by samsondoggie

It was just a fantastic weekend – a good ride on Sunday, all day with a beat up pickup and a load of compost on Saturday, and a concert in the mix, too.  But, all good things do come to an end.  Come Monday, it was time for school again.

Day One

John has a positive day.  “It was a nine on a scale of one to ten,” he tells me at dinner.  “No, it was a 9 point 1.”

Today’s special is science.  That is good, because John has been waiting for it since our visit 8 days ago during parent’s open house.  The science curriculum in North Carolina is designed by the state.  Teachers have no choice in how they teach it.  Today, though, John’s in luck, because the first Continue reading

Have Donut, Sit Down, Read

Posted in telling it like it is on August 28, 2009 by samsondoggie

John started public school this week, in Mr. Dodyk’s first grade class at E.K. Powe Elementary.

This is a bit of an experiment. Last year, we sent John to a private Montessori school. He had a kind and attentive teacher. He was able to learn some advanced math (cubes, square roots, division) and the geography of most of Africa and Asia.  Still, there were other things that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Why, for example, should a student be allowed to not do what he or she doesn’t want to do? Shouldn’t there be a place for following orders? Even if your child comes from a progressive middle class family?

Seriously, though, there is a lot of difference this year. I could tell when we got our first contact from DPS. It was a robocall – “Beinvenidos a Durham.” It went on to express how well we would like kindergarten.

Parents day seemed ok.  We enter the building and are immediately confronted by a crowded hallway.  All of the teachers are explaining things to the parents in Spanish. Susie and I realize that this is going to be different than Overton or Arrowhead.

Continue reading

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