As I have mentioned here before, my second oldest son Jordan who is 10 has a learning disability in reading. It is quite severe and for years I have fought with the school to get him tested and to get him the help he so desperately needs. The problem is, in the public school system, that is often easier said than done. For years I have gone into countless appointments at the school begging them to do more. Each time I have been reassured that they are implementing great measures to help him improve. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I truly felt like I failed my son though.
The Back Story
Jordan started displaying problems with learning in kindergarten. At the time, he was taken from one class and placed halfway through the year in the room of this new teacher who did not have control of the students. Every time I went in, there was no learning taking place, just running and screaming. He left kindergarten without even knowing his letters and I would not let them retain him. That summer, my mom and I worked hard to get him to were he needed to be for 1st grade.
In 1st grade he struggled more, but they would not agree to have him tested until the end of his 1st year in 2nd grade. Even though I had begged all through 1st and 2nd grade to have him tested, he was forced to repeat 2nd grade and halfway through his second year in 2nd grade the testing finally took place. It revealed that he did indeed have a learning disability and he was given an IEP plan that was supposed to put interventions into place to help him improve. These interventions apparently included being taken a few times a week for a small reading group with the ESE teacher. A good step, but not enough to help him improve when his teacher that year insisted that he could get good grades if he would just TRY. The problem is, he was trying. He was trying his best, but constantly being told at school that he wasn’t.
Where We Are Now
Jordan started 3rd grade this year and things looked better. He was placed into a class that had children who also were struggling and was with a teacher who actually understood that he had a disability. She would work with him one on one at times and in small groups and he was being taken to a reading group everyday. Still, his math teacher insisted he “wasn’t trying”. Where he had previously worked at grade level in math, he was falling behind because the entire curriculum was word problems! Towards the end of the year his reading teacher had a baby and was replaced with someone who once again said he was not trying and could pass if he TRIED. Now, we are faced with sending him to a summer reading camp, which they want to use as a loophole to pass him onto 4th grade even though they know he is not ready for it. Why? Because they don’t care. They care about their numbers, but not about him as a child.
I cannot let him be passed onto 4th grade when he is still at a 2nd grade reading level. When he was working below grade level all year long this year, how can I let him be passed on? Jordan is devastated. He knows what it would mean to go back and yet again watch a set of friends move onto the next grade while he is held back again. He knows what it is like to be the oldest kid in the class and to have his brother who is two years younger be in the same grade as him. I want nothing more than to say he can go to 4th grade, but I know that that would only cause more problems for hims academically when he can’t pass 3rd grade work yet. A one month reading camp isn’t going to change that.
As I watched tears roll down his cheeks yesterday I realized I had failed my son. I had failed to make the school do all they should have done. If they were doing what they are supposed to, he would be making more progress, instead of barely making it into a place where they could use a loophole to pass him to the next grade. We are considering homeschooling for next year to see if me working one on one with him can help him further improve, because quite frankly, I am tired of fighting with principals and teachers who just don’t care or don’t want to accept the severity of his problem.