Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Bit of a Ramble...

So I went tonight to the KIPP meeting after all. I wasn't going to go. I was going to give myself the night off. I was going to spend the time with my Riley, while Sylvia's still away on her field trip. We were going to have a quiet evening at home.

Wouldn't you know, Riley said she wanted to go. My 7-year-old daughter wanted to spend her evening in a Board meeting. I've corrupted my child!

So we went. I did learn some things. But, unfortunately, not many of them were encouraging. I'm Chicken Little. I'm screaming at the top of my lungs that the sky is falling, and while they listen (and don't laugh), I don't feel like they hear me.

I just made one more effort, one more attempt. I wrote a 1,240-word email. And somehow that's not enough. Once that was done, all I wanted to do was blog. No wonder my 7-year-old is corrupted; I'm seriously disturbed.

I haven't eaten dinner these last 2 nights. I've been in meetings, and when I get home, my appetite has been thoroughly drained. I'm tired, but I can't sleep.

Tonight, I'm having some wine to go w/ my whine. I may have to qualify this as a BUI post.

So here's my main concern. Because screw it, I'm putting it out there.

I have no confidence in the woman who has been hired to replace our Principal. I don't feel like she gives a crap about our concerns. She's treated the teachers poorly. As of tonight, 2 of them still don't know if they have a job next year! As of tonight, 9 out of 18 teachers will not be returning next year. After tomorrow, that number could rise to 10. I personally know only 2 teachers that are returning next year, and only one of them will be my daughter's. I think.

I don't know what the changes will be in the curriculum. I've heard that some subjects will be combined, but when my daughter's in school for nearly 10 hours a day, I don't see the need. Nor do I know what she will be doing in the times she used to take certain classes.

Probably the most uncomfortable (and yet, oddly, the most fun) moment of our meeting last night was when I kicked the new Principal out of the room. It took fifteen grueling minutes to get her out, but eventually she caved. Because I wasn't going to. She hadn't been invited, and I had some things to say about her.

There is something desperately wrong when a teacher is found crying in the bathroom by one of the parents. There is something wrong when the Principal and at least 4 teachers turn in their resignation. Particularly when 3 of those people relocated to take their positions.

And tonight, I figured out the heart of it. Money. Money, money, money. They chose money over our personnel.

And as I wrote my 1,240-word email, I sobbed. Not just teared up a little. I wept. I wept as I wrote about the teachers and Principal my family will miss deeply. I wept as I finally learned what I was fighting against. I wept as I realized that this dream-come-true year is coming to an end. My anger has lost its enthusiasm.

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop fighting. I have one more plan up my sleeve. One more plan that I really, really don't want to use. Because I'm as scared of that possible outcome as I am about the inevitability of what's currently happening. I've already gone to the Board, and I anxiously await their decision. I have not told them my final plan, nor that I have one. I need to talk to a few more people before I let loose on that one. Right now, however, if nothing I've done so far changes anything, I don't see any choice. Well, I suppose I have one. To just accept it. But I can't. Not just yet.

I didn't want to not like, trust, or have faith in this woman. I would love to just be able to say that as much as I'll miss those that are leaving, I can open my heart to the new. But I just can't. She's not just young and inexperienced, she's immature. She visibly tenses when you don't agree with her. She loves to say one minute that she's in charge, and the next, take names. She buries herself in her note pad while she shakes her head. Her face gets red. She sighs audibly, impatiently when she has to answer the same question more than once. She ignores calls and emails from teachers trying to find out if they have a job. She doesn't respect that I'm there, saying what I'm saying, doing what I'm doing, because I want the best for my daughters. She takes personally what is a job to her, and a personal issue for me. She can't tell us what discipline policy she'll enact.

A teacher tonight said that she's so afraid that she's wasted this last year of her life. I fear losing this last year. I fear not feeling like a valued member of this Team & Family. I fear that Sylvia won't stay the exceptional student and person she's become this year. I fear that the disappointment and frustration will suck the confidence and love of learning right out of her. I fear that I will break my promise to Riley that she'll go to KIPP when she's in 5th grade. I fear that we'll miss the opportunity that the whole condo situation has given us to leave LAUSD and move to a better district. But I also think that the KIPP standard is worth giving another year.

This whole thing changes everything. I don't know what to do, where to go from here. I can see all my options, but none of them come with a guaranty.

Okay, I'm not sure how many words has been, but it's enough for now. For now, I want to step back into Denial for a good 7 hours. Now, sorry Kori, but I'm ready to escape from these questions into a mindless television show.


Anonymous said...

Honey...I hope you're feeling better this morning. I hope you were able to escape into some trashy show and not think about the KIPP drama and disappointments for a while.

Thinking of you and wishing you were joining me in Vegas tomorrow!!


Anonymous said...

Darlin, I'm so sorry that things have gone this way. It's always about money, isn't it?

I'm sorry that you got stuck with t principal who is clearly not up to the job.

Here's to hoping that you were able to escape into mindlessness for a while last night.

Anonymous said...

Oy! I'm not sure I really know what to say, other than I really admire you for what you're doing. :-)

Kori said...

You escape into TV, I escape into a book: same thing, and also necessary. I don't know what to tell you either, except that you daily inspire me to be a better person, a stronger fighter.

hugabug1 said...

I love that you are so involved in your daughter's education. The distance you're willing to go to make sure it's the best possible says a lot about the kind of person you are. Most parents in your situation would gripe and whine and complain about it and ultimately do nothing, whether from laziness or from assuming nothing can be done. I love that you are "jumping in where you are" and fighting for what you believe in. I hope you can get more people to listen and help you.

Jen said...

Oh, April, sadly I can so relate to this.

Different issues, and it's not entirely a personnel matter, but our state just changed the graduation requirements and it's wreaking havoc with my son's creative, wonderful school, which is fast turning into a "teaching to the test" kind of school.

I hope that you got some escapism last night. I had a bad day in terms of C's school today, and plan to escape into "So You Think You can Dance" tonight.


Anonymous said...

Oh April, I hope you are having a better day today. Your kids are incredibly lucky that they have you for an advocate.

" I'm Chicken Little. I'm screaming at the top of my lungs that the sky is falling, and while they listen (and don't laugh), I don't feel like they hear me."

I think you must work in my office.

KG said...

I, too, hope today is better for you, honey. *hugs*

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Wow, that's some heavy stuff, but good for you for being firm and staking your ground. My daughter's school is going through some very disturbing changes right now too so I know exactly where you're coming from. Hang in the Arpil... and don't stop fighting the good fight!

Single Working Mommy said...

I hope today was better.

Ugh, that new principal sounds like a piece of work.

Don't worry about the future so much--read Kori's post (you probably already did!). Try to take it one day at a time. Do all that you can, when you want, how you want, and then call it a day. Take a break. And then start it all over the next day.

As someone wise once said to me, "In six months, this will all be a memory."

MarĂ­a said...

I'm sorry. As said everyone else, I hope today was a better day. :)

Anonymous said...

I hear ya!
I have struggled too with our public schools and their lack of support for teachers. Our funding keeps getting slashed and our teachers are strained. It's ridiculous.

OHmommy said...

Dude... so sorry. Seriously sorry.

janey jay said...

Hugs. Just hugs.

Your passion and concern and, above every thing else, your action, is so admirable. While my education system battles are of a different variety (the weird, ever-changing world of Exceptional Education), I have never had to deal with such obstacles. You are an inspiration.

Tara R. said...

I really do feel your pain and frustration. There is little worse than an administrator who doesn't seem to care about the students or school. I hope your last resort works and that there are no negative reprecussion to you or Sylvia.

LunaNik said...

You did not seriously kick the principal out of the meeting?!? Hahaha! Wait to go, April!

As for this all boiling down to money, money, money...

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that it has to come down to money at all, let alone when education is concerned.

I hope it all works out. ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

Sad fact of the matter is that most schools public, private and charter are going through the exact same thing, my friend who taught private school quit her job because she was frustrated with the politics, and turns out she probably would have been laid off like 1/3 of the teachers anyway due to money issues. Ed and I have decided not to move to the town he works in because the school system in that town is one step away from being taken over by the state because of a million dollar deficit in the school budget alone (an incompetent mayor doesn't help either) and while we could afford one child in private school we want at least one more and I can't in good conscience say to that second child - sorry your education doesn't matter since you were born second. Teacher's countrywide live everyday knowing they might get their termination notice and that when they do it will be next to impossible to find another full-time position. As you know - somehow, somewhere, we gave up on our children and are now telling them they have to fight for an education.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

I'm so sorry to hear that happened at your kids school. I hate that it always seems about money even in my school district.
Give them heck and do what ever you need to do.