Many months ago I wrote an article that caused a huge rift in my family; many responses from Rag readers to the point that we needed to shut down the article because of the intensity of the comments from the readers. Because I do not want to rekindle that discussion again, I am asking my daughter to read this article over before I sent it on to be published.
The first article spoke of a granddaughter of mine, age 15, that was going to be retained in her high school for not completing her assignments in any of her classes. As an educator myself, I was appalled to think that in today’s society a young student would be forced to repeat all the classes of a particular grade because work was not turned in. To make matters worse, my field of expertise was teaching teachers how to “Individualize the Curriculum” and how to teach to the needs of the student. I felt that this was not being done in the case of my granddaughter.
What I did not take into consideration was the agony of my daughter and her husband in trying to make the best decision for their child. They had done a great deal of research on retention, and felt that the best move was for their daughter to repeat the 9th grade. I, on the other hand, had read nothing that would indicate this was a good move and, in fact, did my thesis on “Retention of Students” where-in only one child had been successful in a retention situation, and he was a kindergartner retained for social reasons. However, I do acknowledge that my research was 45 years ago and did not include Charter Schools.
My daughter was very angry at me for writing the article and felt that when she needed my support I did not give her any. Which, unfortunately, is true. I do not remember if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas time that we – she and I – felt that it would be best if I didn’t join them for the festivities of the holiday because she did not feel very friendly towards me. Our relationship is still strained, but I am hopeful that in the near future the stress will ease.
So why am I writing this article now?
Because I have to admit – not an easy thing to do for me – that my daughter and her husband were right about their daughter.
She is doing wonderfully in school this year in the grade that she is repeating. Her homework is coming in on time; she has won accolades for a Greek Drama that she wrote; she has been recognized by others as having a tremendous talent in the writing and directing fields; she is doing beautifully in math and science; and, best of all, she has been accepted by her peers as someone they want to be friends with. With the semester over and a new one beginning, she is carrying almost a 4.0 average.
It hasn’t been easy for her and her parents. They hired a tutor to work with her during the summer so that she could catch up to those things she neglected last year. The tutor taught her how to section out the work that needed to be done and gave her many ideas of how to complete it. (It should be noted that when the tutor went on vacation she did not come back and this threw my granddaughter off for a while. But she persevered and everything is current at this time.) I am so proud of her.
And a tremendous bonus for her: About one year ago their family dog passed away at the age of 18. Some of the family members wanted another dog, but one of the “decision makers” did not. Recently, my granddaughter again asked to have a dog, because a friend of hers had a new litter of puppies and they were giving away the dogs. My granddaughter was told that if she turned in all the work that was still outstanding and cleaned up her room, she could have one of the puppies. Today, March 14, the puppy came to live with them. Again, I have the crow cooking; just don’t know what seasoning to put on it.