Demise of the public school





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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Demise of the public school
By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:29 pm: Edit

I give up. My D, a rising senior, received her school schedule in the mail. She had requested AP stat and AP US govt, along with other classes. Because classes were filled to capacity, they simply chose to give her a schedule with NO math. She went to school twice this week and stood with hordes of kids, waiting for her schedule to be changed. I spoke with the counselor this morning. The only way she can sorta get what she wants (and is required to have to graduate) is to take a course online or go to the local community college.

Meanwhile, she would be able to switch things around if only they didn't require that she have gym credits to graduate. She could, of course, waive the gym requirement if she were taking band or choir (THAT makes sense). But she cannot simply take the dance or yoga at a dance or yoga school.

She is planning to apply to fairly selective colleges and has a schedule that now has art and gym as two of her six classes. She will have to go through the hoops of getting qualified for running start in time to sign up for the course she needs at a community college before it fills up. Then, she will have 7 (instead of six) classes. Travel and time in the cc class will add at least 8 hrs to her weekly schedule and mean that she will have days where she is in class essentially from 7 am to 8:30 pm. The schedule will mean no time for winter play, and it wreaks havoc on the rest of everyone's schedules, as well.

And we haven't even started dealing with this office for help with college applications.
Shoot me now.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:39 pm: Edit

That sucks.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:41 pm: Edit

Do you live in Florida? My friend's daughter in Fla, had similar problems, some classes she needed were canceled, she's taking half her schedule at CC - maybe your daughter can drop classes at high school and do them during the day at CC? Can she drop art and take choir and have things work out? This is a bummer. At my husband's high school of 1800 students they have the opposite problem, about every other year they have so few students sign up for Chem II and/or Physics that they just don't offer it - 1800 students and they can't get up a physics class each year! That's why my kids go to private school, along with many other public school teachers' children!

By Familyguy24 (Familyguy24) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:46 pm: Edit

I know exactly what you mean. I've always had scheduling problems. Last year couldn't get AP Euro, ended up going without a history. This year couldn't get AP Calc AB, had to settle for AP stats. Also public schools such as mine have these dumb requirements such as a credit of fine arts, (which is making me have to take sculpting and myth and movies, two classes I have no interets in on top of a very rigorous academic scheduling), and of course gym. Lots of other dumb things, like IPS 9th grade which makes it so no one takes AP physics.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:47 pm: Edit

Oh dear. If she can accept to do math online (rather expensive, but would the school pay for it?) it would give her a far more flexible schedule.
Fwiw, my S is able to attend college classes a few minutes away from our home and his hs, but there were days last year that his last class ended at 9:30. And, as in the case of your D, the college classes were on top of the high school classes. It really limited his ability to participate in ECs.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:49 pm: Edit

Let's see...

Math is optional (though, not available)...but gym is mandatory??!??

Sounds like you should be writing to your local newspaper. That's ridiculous!

How about the superintendent? Your elected officials?

There has to be a way to get her into a math class. Don't give up. You said this is a problem for lots of other kids? Can you contact the State PTA President and ask for a meeting with ALL of the affected families?

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:53 pm: Edit

I sympathize with you.

My public school had a debacle in which they had only given the students two to three classes as opposed to the standard seven or eight. These botched schedules weren't fixed for months.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 06:16 pm: Edit

Lady,
can you - or your husband - create enough of a fuss so that admitting her to the math classes on an overload is less trouble than dealing with you? Meeting with the principal and the GC together might help. Provide - in writing - a list of the required courses at the most selective schools she is considering. Also provide - in writing - the anticipated schedule if she is forced to take the cc course.

By Clipper (Clipper) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 07:40 pm: Edit

I think I've mentioned this before concerning my oldest daughter not getting the classes she wanted as a senior when they had juniors in there. My d ended up in a stupid study hall instead of a real class. In hindsight I wished I had gone in to the principal and demanded that she, as a SENIOR, get the classes she wants and let the juniors wait another year.
Just my opinion.

By Simba (Simba) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:16 pm: Edit

Can she take AP Stat as a self-study? My S had similar problem and the school worked with us (few great pointers from these board). After week and a half, S says that self-study is not bad. He can manage it.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:24 pm: Edit

Thisoldlady and Simba:

Some students do indeed self-study AP Stats successfully. But for this case, it is important that the course be part of the schedule. If a student does it on his own, it will not appear on the transcript, and it will have to be done on top of other classes. If that is a concern, then self-studying AP Stats will not be a solution.

Simba:
It would be helpful to your S if a teacher were willing to sign off on your S's self-study program and assign him a grade that can be recorded on the transcript that will go out to colleges.

By Nemom (Nemom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:36 pm: Edit

I am reminded of my senior year (back when we rode dinosaurs to school). I was initially given Driver's Ed and "Driver's Ed Assistant", which given I was one of the few who didn't want to learn to drive yet was pretty silly. I also was assigned AP physics, but no calculus to go with it.
Anyway - maybe she could self study math then transfer into the appropriate class?
Best of luck

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:37 pm: Edit

Thank you all for your suggestions and commiseration. Although my daughter is applying to selective schools, she is not disciplined enough for self-study, i don't think. We are not the "make a stink" kind of people (i guess i've lost my ny roots). I really doubt it would make a difference. They simply can't accommodate everything, and she doesn't want to lose a couple of the classes she has that are only offered once per day. This is a large urban school in seattle. It has a mostly dichotomous population- the inner city kids and the kids deriving from the highly capable program. It really is two schools in one. It has been such a difficult place to run that it has eaten up and spit out something like 5 principals in 7 years. There's a new principal again this year.
I think the most viable option may be one presented above by cangel: scrap all the courses at the high school between first and fifth periods and take them at the cc nearby.
And yes, it is mind-boggling that among the graduation requirements are 4 semesters of PE, a fine arts class, and occ ed (home ec?, business law, etc), and that takes precedence over academic coursework.
I assume that the college application process provides a place to list classes being taken out of hs? Don't want them thinking she is intentionally filling her schedule with electives.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:41 pm: Edit

Thisoldlady:

As long as the GC explains her schedule, she'll do fine with the cc classes. In fact, they will look impressive.

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:49 pm: Edit

Thanks, Marite! I gotta start learning how to make the lemons into lemonade (that pessimism part of my ny upbringing i have NOT lost)

By Patr1ck (Patr1ck) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:54 pm: Edit

This is why some parents like mines decide to send us to private schools..

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:11 pm: Edit

when the state requires pe for graduation but only say 3 years of math, this is what happens.
This is from a pta newsletter I recieved today from the "best public school" in Seattle, if not Washington.
Note that students will be able to miss more than 12 classes and still pass the class if the teacher OKs it. Other schools it is an automatic F.
Also note that they are overenrolled by over 200 students, making it the biggest high school in Seattle unless for some reason people are moving into Seattle instead of out of it.
I was going to go to the school to see if I could get my daughters schedule changed but after hearing people that have been down there for 8+ hrs waiting without talking to anyone, I may not.

Here are the things we learned:

The district has determined that the attendance policy adopted last year
(12 absences= no credit) has to be rescinded. The number of absences is
arbitrary, and teachers are professionals with judgment that shouldn't be
trumped by that number. When student make up work in a negotiation with
teachers, this can supersede other circumstances. This retraction of the
policy happened after Franklin adopted Garfield's policy, some students
didn't get credit, and their parents sued. The case was settled, but with
this outcome.

There have been 1755 kids assigned to Garfield, while we're staffed for
only 1522. (Can't you just hear Ellen Mohl hollering?) There are still 80
kids without schedules.

By Simba (Simba) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:13 pm: Edit

Marite: Thanks for the suggestion. He will get grade (we made sure). It is in his schedule. Actually, he sits in the Stat Teacher's other math class. He does the same home work, quizzes and tests as the regular Stat class kids.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Hi This Old Lady (love that handle!); What I would do is have child take the gym class at a community college. Ask if the school would accept college credit for gym and this way child can schedule something he likes - like tennis- and sometime some classes are held on Saturdays. This is what we did once and it works great!

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity--
You have my sympathy on the problems at Garfield, but I'm with whoever decided the teacher should have some discretion on absences and grades. During his sophomore year, my DS missed 22 days of school--every single one of them for good reasons and none for illness (a week-long bio research trip, a robotics competition, etc.)--and his grades were excellent because his teachers cared more about his learning than about his physical location. The same year I had an excellent student develop severe mono at the end of May; she was out 18 days and would have flunked every single course under the attendance policy if the principal hadn't intervened. Instead she was allowed to take incompletes and made the work up over the summer. There has to be room for individual needs and teacher judgement.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:25 pm: Edit

Some years ago, our hs decided to pass a strict attendance policy to cut down on absenteism. More than a few absences and the student got an F for the courses missed. One girl was threatened with a failing grade for missing class. Until then, she had been an excellent student (she was accepted at Yale EA last fall). She had to wait until the end of the year to plead her case: she had had to attend four out-of-town funerals in a single semester, forcing her to go over the permitted number of absences. When she appealed, the school demanded that she produce the death certificates of the relatives whose funerals she had attended! That year, 120 appeals were lodged. All were approved. A colossal waste of time for every one concerned.

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:32 pm: Edit

not all public schools are like this! my school has a gym req but almost all students take it in 9th or during summer school, and counselors are always willing to switch things around to get you in the classes, at a small school it's harder to move things around though, but having no math, that's preposterous, that's a core class, even if it's past the requirement

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:34 pm: Edit

I think people on this site give public schools a bad reputation, but mine has given me incredible oppurtunities, and i'm thankful i attended it,

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:37 pm: Edit

Thisoldlady, does your principal have the authority to wave class requirements in lieu of others? I have heard of it happening in our district. Raise cain about getting her into that math class! I know it doesn't make you feel a bit better, but the same issues are going on in our district, and I feel your disgust with the system. I often feel like that is the standard solution handed out because it is easier for them.

By Moondogguy (Moondogguy) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:09 pm: Edit

I think you should just have your daughter take the math class at the local junior college and then take a reduced load in high school to compensate. If she is like many kids she will have more than enough credits to graduate high school anyway. I would think colleges would look positively at taking a college class and one less high school class versus just taking a full load of high school classes. My son has a similar, but slightly different, situation this year. His high school didn't have enough students taking Accounting 2 to warrant offering the class this year. Therefore, they arranged with another high school in our district with a similar situation to combine their students into a special section of the first year college accounting class at the local junior college. They will get college credit and the high school is paying for it. The college has a local extension just down the road from the high school. The college class starts just a little earlier than he normally would start at his high school, and afterward he will arrive at his high school just in time for the start of the second period. (He was given a close up assigned parking space so he can make it without having to rush.) In addition, seniors at his high school have the option of early dismissal allowing them to skip the last period. Today was the first day of school and he loved the shortened time at the high school today. (College class doesn't start until mid-September so he can both sleep in and leave school early at the moment.) Not a bad deal at all!

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:13 pm: Edit

( Mybad I had thought that they were unexcused absences, now I see that over 10 absences for any reason may be cause to lose credit. That I don't agree with, particulary if it is arranged in advance, otherwise they would have to cancel other classes field trips and no one could even get sick!
When I was working at her school last year, one of the things I did was call parents to let them know when their student wasn't in class. It is pretty hard to be successful when you aren't in school.
Several parents with students that were chronic skippers gave prefunctory excuses that were still parental permission.
It really upset me, cause these kids need somebody to care how they are doing, and if their parents don't care if they are in school, another adult is going to have a hard time making them think it is important.
I realize it is a fine line. We need to be flexible, however rules are also important and they lose importance if they are only enforced for students whose parents don't know who to contact at the school district. So perhaps if they put more thought into them in the first place?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 09:04 am: Edit

I wrote this post last night but the forum was disabled and would not let me post it. I saved it and here it is:

Thisoldlady...your post caught my attention as my own child has this problem this year as well (school starts tomorrow). Please advocate for your child as you have a VERY legitimate concern and it should be approached in a problem solving sort of way. It is not acceptable that your child not have math and so a solution must be found, and that is how I would approach the subject (let's work together to find a solution but NO math is unacceptable). Also, if it is done as independent study, it should be set up formally and supervised for a grade on a transcript (as Marite indicated).

My daughter did not get math in her schedule either for this coming year. We have a small high school (600 kids). She is up to AP Calculus this year. There is only ONE section of this course. In fact, for most of the Honors level courses, there often is just one class of it in any subject for the most part. Usually whoever is in the highest level of a subject often is also in the highest level (here, that mostly means Honors) in the other subjects, or in other words, the same kids. So, the school does make an effort to not schedule the Honors level core classes for a grade level at the same time as another subject at the highest level in the master course schedule. I do believe the master schedule is made up to take that into account. While my child is entering eleventh grade, she has accelerated in certain subjects beyond what is considered normal acceleration here, as she skipped in some grades for certain subjects. Anyway, she would be the only 11th grader taking Calculus due to that acceleration. The accelerated 12th graders take AP Calculus here. Anyway, the Calculus class (only one) is scheduled when the highest level 11th grade integrated English/History class (called American Studies Honors) is scheduled as normally those classes do not involve the same grade level kids. But for my daughter it does. Well, she must have English and History and must be in the most advanced class in those subjects as this is the right placement, no question and in fact, those subjects are her strength. But she has to take math! The only math for her is Calculus. She needs to continue in math for college! She is also graduating after this year.

Taking math at a college is not possible for her. We not only live quite far from colleges (rural area) but her EC schedule involves every afternoon and evening and those activities are important and cannot be given up at they directly relate to her college major (musical theater). Our school does have an Independent Study option in the curriculum or Program of Studies. In fact, both my girls have taken several indep. studies, including in math for various reasons in the past. My daughter spoke in the spring with the AP Calc teacher about this dilemma and he signed off her form to undertake an indep. study in Calculus that he would supervise. He would give her the daily assignments that the class would be given but she would not be in the class. She would be scheduling one period in her day to do her math and would sit in his classroom when he was teaching another math class. But when she went to the dept. head to have him sign off on this form, he was reluctant. In fact, he made a fuss about it. This was odd given that not only had this same child successfully done math indep. study for two years at this school, her sister did PreCal indep. study the previous year WITH this math dept. head as her supervisor (she sat in his office one period a day!). He gave my second child a hard time and did not want to sign the form even though the teacher (the one who teaches the Calc. class) who would supervise the Calc study agreed readily to take her on. The math dept. head thought this was too much work for the teacher (I hate when this excuse is given when they have a very willing teacher!). There was more to this story that connected to our GC who has always supported finding ways to meet kids' needs and sometimes advocating for indep. studies for kids when it was warranted, including my kids. I won't get into all that here. But anyway, the math dept. head wrote this long long comment on the form about all this and why he was not into it and did not formally approve it even though my daughter advocated for herself about how she had to have math and it is not her fault the schedule for her core subjects conflict and that she would be penalized basically for being accelerated. And the Calculus teacher was willing to boot. So, the GC went to advocate for my child with the math dept. head and got him to ok it with reservations on a sort of trial basis if it would be too much work for the teacher (like if my child asked for help!). So, it is in place for this year and believe me, we will not let it be cancelled out midyear if it comes to that. I hope it doesn't.

The fact is, we have indep. study as an option in our school and others have done it including my own daughter with this very dept. head. By the way, these indep. studies are for credit and they take all the exams, etc.,. but aren't sitting in the regular class. They also have the courses on their transcripts, though marked as indep. study and get graded.

This reminds me of the year that my older daughter could not get French in her schedule because it was scheduled during her math (she too, was accelerated more than the normal acceleration in math at our school so not with her own grade). The French department head was like, oh well, she just won't take French. That was not acceptable to us. In fact, as it turned out, later in high school, my daughter and her best friend skipped a year of French and became the two top French students eventually in the graduating class and did indep. study French 6 with a cooperative teacher this past year (senior year). But back to the year she could not get French, there was a willing English teacher (who the previous year also taught middle school French to my daughter's class) who my daughter and this other girl had had (they both were accelerated in math and French so had this schedule dilemma, along with one other girl) and this teacher was a native French speaker and did not want to see these top kids have no French. She also saw it as unacceptable. My daughter had had French since first grade and these kids were excellent at it (the other girl is going on to major in this in college now in fact). This teacher offered in her free period twice per week to take these three girls and teach them French 2 (this was for ninth grade) when these kids had free periods on the days they did not have their science labs. She wanted to do this for the kids! And wouldn't ya know, she too got flak from department heads for offering to do the indep. group study! I mean I don't get it...we have willing teachers who want to do it and administrators saying, we can't let them do any extra work even if they want to! Well, they did do it. In fact, they learned so much in this study group with this excellent teacher that the next year, they skipped French 3 and moved into French 4!

Anyway, as you can see, Indep. Study is a great option when you have willing teachers. At our school, while my kids have done several of these, at times, there have been administrators who have gotten in the way, which is very odd as our Program of Studies outlines this very option! We have had a Phys. Ed. dept. head give my kids amazing grief in not signing their indep. study in dance (another long story) even though it totally followed school policy just cause he had a big grudge against dance (even said so and he was against the dance program in our school), and my D had to have the principal sign off on her form as she was fine with it but the dept. head was not!

As you can see, we have had quite a history with this and this is not all (but I have bored ya enough)!

So, again, look into either CC or long distance online course (older D did that last year in math but we had to pay) or indep. study. In any case, talk with your GC about helping to find a solution to the dilemma. In my view, the school owes your child the core classes necessary for college. I am not saying to go in and be a pain (I know it is hard to go in) but if you are not going to advocate for you child, who will? This is very legitimate and can be done in a very cool and calm way. I did call our GC after my younger D had problems getting the math dept. head to sign her Calculus indep. study form and the GC went in to meet the math head and advocate for my D and get an agreement to give it a try at least.

As school begins tomorrow, I pray there are no problems this year. And this is one aspect I won't miss having to deal with when they are in college. And I am happy for my older D that tomorrow, she no longer has to go to high school with her sister, but can finally go where things I know will be much better!

Good luck to you and yours!

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 09:37 am: Edit

"Thisoldlady, does your principal have the authority to wave class requirements in lieu of others? I have heard of it happening in our district."

Where we live the principal has this authority and used it frequently in our case. But we had to advocate hard from day one. Susan has good advice on this. My husband used to always warn me never to go into a meeting with school officials unless I knew exactly what I wanted the result to be and to be very clear about my requests. When our kids did self-study the teachers were no more than nominal supervisors and weren't expected to put in yet more time on top of their already full day. We provided the materials/syllabus. Teacher rubberstamped a few research papers, etc.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 10:21 am: Edit

Is there any way out of the PE requirement? You say that band and choir are two ways that are options. Does choir fit into the schedule better than PE or band--like beginning band? I know that one of mine was exempt from the PE requirement because he was an all year athlete at a specific sport and trained independently out of school. But yoga was not considered an exemption though dance might have been. Ice skating, gymnastics, swimming were some outs from PE. You had to keep a log book to turn in every other week recording the time spent on the activity,but it was a way out. Another way out of the box is to take the PE in the summer and get that diploma later. Schools are letting kids "walk" across the stage for the grad ceremony without meeting graduation requirements and colleges are not going to withdraw their acceptances because of a PE course delayed so that a math course could be taken. You need to sit there and try to think out side of the box and come up with some viable plan.

I am not a fan of the public schools the way they are run most places. Some of my more enraged vents have been against the schools and teachers and staff. However, I will tell you that the problems can occur at the best private schools as well. My son was put in the incorrect math track at one well known private school, another could not come up with any ideas on how he could get 3 years of foreign language when we moved after his sophomore year and the language he had was not offered at his school causing a 2/2 split. There were options and I did work them out but the counselors were like a bunch of cows when confronted with the problem. He had 3 total changes of schedule in 8 weeks at that school because of incompetance and only then did they let me come in and straighten things out because they were too stupid to do so. And he had a double PE period senior year because he could not fit PE in junior year and they would not give him an exemption as his prior school did for his outside athletic activities which were more that his school time. He basically had a conflict for the second PE period and missed the maximum number of days to still get a "pass" in the class, and I think the gym teacher winked him through if he went over.

All of the posters have come up with some geat ideas. You will have to adapt them to your particular situation. I want to tell you that you are not alone, and it is not just your public school or for that matter the fact that you are in a public school. I am negotiating a bad situation at my S's school right now that I cannot go into detail about, but the school makes every list of great prep schools and I am paying $25K for the privilige of working out what I think should have been a no brainer situation. So you have a lot of company. We should all meet for a fireside chat and cozy evening when we get through this.

I will also add that just because they go to a top private college to the tune of $45K a year does not mean this situation is not going to rear its ugly head again. It is very easy to get locked out of classes or not be able to take a needed course at college as well. The skill of working out an innovative solution is one that will take all of us far in life as it will be needed for a while.

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit

"He had 3 total changes of schedule in 8 weeks at that school because of incompetance and only then did they let me come in and straighten things out because they were too stupid to do so."

LOL Jamimom. This is an important point IMHO. Frequently you can't just point out the problem; you have to also be able to give them a very specific solution that you yourself have figured out!

By Wifecamaromom (Wifecamaromom) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:18 pm: Edit

"...counselors were like a bunch of cows when confronted with the problem."

Thank you for the funniest thing ever said about counselors, Jamimom. Just have to chime in on the , "Take it at the community college" solution.My D went to pick up her junior schedule and there was no language on it,the "cows" mooed out their usual response of take it at Valley college. The community colleges in our area started last week and the class my junior D needs is from 10-11am. She needs to begin her two year journey of a language requirement. Odd, not required to graduate from high school, but try to apply to a college/university without it. LOL. Since we haven't got the time travel thing figured out, we're hoping to get her schedule figured out the first week of school. Luckily, D is fairly resourceful and does not take no for an answer. Sometimes I wish I'd researched the high schools in my area, not just the elementary school. I vented and feel better.

By Liek0806 (Liek0806) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:18 pm: Edit

Why not take the PE Class in Community College, that's what I did, at my public high school we are requiere 2 years of PE which is used for graduation requierements, and that takes away from a schedule that otherwise could have been used better. A parent can always demand things from a school, just go up to them and demand you have them put in a class,they will have to put them in the class you request, or you can complain, a school will most likely tell you it's impossible which isn't true, because that's what my mom was told but she had previously talk to the people from the school district and she told the school people that she already talk to them and if she wanted them to come down to fix the problem she didn't have a problem in calling them, and by this they made it possible.

I would really really recommend taking the pe class at community college just because you will save much more money then having to take the math class, because pe classes don't requiere expensive textbooks, and are fairly easy.

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:31 pm: Edit

This discussion saddens me because it is so common. What saddens me even more is that for many people in college, the situation does not change. Many cannot graduate in four years just because of difficulties aranging schedules.

I know that it's unfair, but this is exactly the time it helps to be very involved with the school. I spend a lot of time on school committees, working with the administration and teachers and coaches. I am also involved at a district level, and would feel no hesitation about calling the superintendent directly. This goes a long way in terms of settling conflicts like this, but I realize that not everyone can be in this position.

Fortunately, I never have to use the direct contacts. My son resolves these conflicts on his own. Every year, he is scheduled a free period (no class at all - is he supposed to just wander around the school?), and is missing a course he really wants. But the school people have the attitude of "Let's work this out" versus the prevalent "No!" attitude you might find in other schools.

I guess we're pretty lucky.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:23 pm: Edit

The original poster's D goes to one of the large public high schools in Seattle, and those schools have some issues that many smaller or suburban schools don't have. As Thisoldlady pointed out, a different principal every year, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The two-year PE requirement is a state-mandated rule, I believe. We also had trouble with this in our suburban Seattle-area high school, as so many kids try to get out of this requirement. Our principal got very strict about kids getting out of PE, and she wouldn't let you out for band or choir, either. One of my D's friends did PE as an online class, I think through BYU. Her history teacher supervised it for her. She had to keep exercise, running, and diet logs and read various articles on those subjects.

I think Running Start would be your best bet for math. (Even if it is too late to get into Running Start, you can still have her attend and pay for it yourself.) My D took an English class at our community college because she couldn't fit it into her schedule in junior year. It worked out really well for her, although it was in the summer so we had to pay for it. Both her high school and her college gave her credit for it.

By Simba (Simba) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:26 pm: Edit

Reflecting back on the title of the thread, I am not pleased. We have had pretty good luck with our schools (not always, but most of the time). As Digmedia says, the attitude has been to work things out.

And in many instances, you can't find fault with the schools either. Because certain required classes are on-level (GPA killer) classes, many play games. They postpone it as long as they can.

Our district recognizes that it doesn't help GPA, and to avoid conflicts with K-level and AP classes they do offer many of such classes as zero hour or in summer (kids and parents know that to graduate you have to have state mandated 3 semesters of PE, 2 semesters of fine arts and one semester of health). But, still some postpone it and postpone it. Many times it works out and some times it doesn't. That by no means is the 'Demise of the Public Schools'.

In our case because of involvement in the Band, the only handle that was available was the health. And we are going to use it !!

By Toblin (Toblin) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

Digmedia said:

"This discussion saddens me because it is so common. What saddens me even more is that for many people in college, the situation does not change. Many cannot graduate in four years just because of difficulties aranging schedules."

Right on the money Dig! That is why Rutgers has stopped giving four-year graduation rates. They now only release six-year stats. It's nothing more than a disguised tuition, R&B, and fees hike. Not to mention that it is also a colossal and unnecessary waste of time.

Taking longer than four years to graduate, (through no fault of the student), has put an additional and unexpected financial burden on several families we know.

By Blossom (Blossom) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 02:21 pm: Edit

Toblin, not to throw stones, but sometimes it is the students fault-- not in a bad way, but if a kid changes majors first semester jr year, it would be very hard to graduate on time unless the fields were closely related. Ditto for kids trying to double major in two popular fields, i.e. EE and Comp Sci, except at schools like MIT who encourage that specific combo.

I think it points up poor faculty and academic advising if a school has a low 4 year graduation rate more than anything else... lots of kids wander around for two years in a bit of a fog either taking stuff that sounds fun or large, intro, survey classes in a bunch of disparate fields without giving thought to how they're going to focus. Then, forced to declare a major, they end up in Comp. Lit or Anthropology without knowing enough about the discipline to see if they're going to like/want that major. Any wonder that a few months later they need to switch, and all of a sudden, are no longer on track to graduate???

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 02:21 pm: Edit

Jamimom wrote: "We should all meet for a fireside chat and cozy evening when we get through this."

Yes Jamimom! Wouldn't that be great? Often when my hubby complains about our school, I tell him that there are problems like this at all schools, even the so called best ones. And this thread is just one small indication but I have heard plenty over the years from all over. And you are right, it is not just public schools.

The poster who wrote that they felt lucky to not have problems working such issues out at their school....I have to say that our GC is the sort of person who thinks outside the box and always works to find individualized solutions. He is the very best. You can't imagine what our school community went through this past year when the principal tried to kick the GC out of the school after 24 years. The community went wild. There were hearings all year on the GC, not worth going into the hell he went through and he is staying (Thank God) and the principal has resigned. To me, his way of working to meet kids' needs and finding a way and advocating and so forth, is what education needs more of.

I agree with your thoughts about being active in your kids' school and so forth. We always have been in our kids' schools, though this was way more welcomed in the elementary school than the middle/high school here. In fact, I miss my weekly volunteering that our elem school so welcomed. My husband was on the school board at the elem school for years and has been on the district wide school board for years, too, though is not any longer. We support our schools in every way we can. And when we go in about legitimate concerns or to meet our kids' learning needs, we try to do so in a professional "working together" manner. This usually works well. But sadly, there have been a couple of teachers who have not acted professional when it comes to meeting with parents. I am always so cognizant of coming across as professional and teaming with the school, not being angry, etc....because I was a teacher myself. I think this is a good idea. But unfortunately in the instance of these few teachers, it was still horrible and those few people caused a lot of headache for us and the kids. Luckily they were the exception. But one person a year like that is more than I like to have to deal with or have my child be subjected to, even though there are lessons in life to gain from it. As my child is nearing the end of her first day back to school, I cross my fingers that there are no huge problems this year. The saving grace is that I know each teacher she has, as my other D had them all and they were fine folks so I am hopeful. We also have a new principal.

But I would love to meet for a drink with Jamimom and others to swap stories some day!
Susan

By Smalltownmom (Smalltownmom) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 05:04 pm: Edit

Small town public schools can be great, but sometimes I feel as if we've had to fight here for every scrap of college-bound education for our kids. Actually, that's not exactly accurate. If your kids are heading to a state school with minimum requirements, you've hit pig dirt. The school is well set up to accommodate that sort of student. Like a factory. If you have any aspirations past that, well, it's kind of the tall poppy syndrome -- you've stuck your head too high and the school officials would like to lop it off for you.

Our school offers some honors classes and four AP classes (Chem, Physics, Calculus, and English). They just began the English class a few years ago in response to the droves of kids leaving in their junior year to take more challenging English classes through Running Start at the nearby (45min. away) community college. But, get this -- the AP English class is a class that combines juniors and seniors (and a few sophomores). The teacher, who until recently taught fourth grade, is all new to AP. They make a lot of posters. The school let their French and German classes go three years ago -- no money, they said. (Those damn RS kids again, pulling all the state funds away.) The Spanish classes stop at Spanish 3.

So...Running Start. One thing to know about taking classes at a community college is that the classes don't translate across the board. That is, one year of high school English = two quarters of RS English. One of high school French = (only) one quarter of RS French. My D, for example, had an extremely full schedule with many ECs and sports, but balanced it all out by taking her heavy quarters during non-sports times. She did take more classes at the high school than she would have liked, just so that she could stay eligible for the honor roll. The HS dumped kids who were eligible for valedictorian, National Merit scholars, etc., because they'd taken one or two classes through RS (and so weren't as committed, they said, to their HS). So she took a full courseload + two RS classes. Hell for two quarters, but manageable for the third quarter. (She said she felt as if she were on vacation that winter quarter, since the HS classes weren't much to reckon with compared to the RS ones.) It's all a lot of B.S. and power struggles here. The school hates to lose money to Running Start, but also hates to acknowledge they need more challenging classes.

The thing to know is that, if your kids attend a school like this, they should include a short explanation with their college aps, explaining that they took the most challenging courseload available. Not everyone can afford private schools -- and, in fact, private day schools aren't even available where we live, so even if we did have the money, we'd lose our kids to boarding school -- and colleges value students who seek out creative alternatives. My older kids both found their way into Ivies, but they each clearly described in an addendum to their apps. the reasons behind why they chose Running Start classes over the high school's honors and AP classes.

As for the P.E. requirement -- been there. Go back and talk to the counsellors again. If you live in WA State, you can get the requirement waived if you are taking a college prep. courseload. You can also substitute an outside class if the number of hours match those of a HS P.E. class AND if an instructor is legit (e.g., not a relative) and will sign off on attendance. The State Office of Public Instruction will always answer your question re this and other problems, and they'll usually tell you how to approach your school, too.

Oh, good luck, and vote in November! As a country, we desperately need a better plan for schools so that this really doesn't become two countries with no hope for even the middle class.

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 07:18 pm: Edit

Good comments one and all.
I should clarify a few things here. We cannot get PE waived for a college prep load. Apparently, they have made the rules stricter ths year. Whether they are WA or district reqs, i don't know. But the gc was quite clear on the PE requ. As it turns out, it isn't even about PE anymore. Even with that period free, my D can't fill it with the course reqd. While it is POSSIBLE for one to to create (de novo) the required schedule, it is not practicable since that requires changing other students' schedules. Not going to happen.

Perhaps my title for this post was stronger than I intended it to be. However, that was my gut reaction to a system that doesn't accommodate the basics for its students and is so quick to suggest that in order to complete her hs education my daughter should self-study or go to college. The silly pe and occ ed reqs added fuel to the flame.

I am a strong supporter of public schools. i give my time and money. My D has had some fabulous teachers (and the all-time worst one!). I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel, but i will definitely not have my younger one go to this hs. While it is known as the gem of public schools in seattle for certain academic subjects (and a nationally acclaimed jazz band), the administrative red tape has been unbelievable. Last year they couldn't get the paperwork for the senior college apps sent on time- they were so overloaded.


There have been many parents over the year who tried to get rid of an awful french teacher. She;s still there. Parents have had to supply paper so that the kids could do their work. And then there was the series of lockdowns while they searched for bombs or gunmen. So, yea. It may not be the demise, but from where i sit it aint looking good.

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit

BTW When I say "supply paper" i mean supply copy paper so the teachers can xerox assignments to be distributed to the the students. So you don't have 5 kids trying to share one piece of paper.

By Simba (Simba) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 07:54 pm: Edit

Well it is either that or the teacher would have to spend her own money to buy copy paper.

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 08:51 pm: Edit

I guess that's my point. When the schools can't provide the most rudimentary necessities, then it looks like the system is in dire trouble.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Thisoldlady.....These stories are upsetting to say the least. I realize there are schedule issues everywhere. But what I like to see are true educators who would NOT be satisfied to see a kid not get math in their schedule. I don't think it should take a parent or student to raise this concern but the educators themselves should be concerned and want to find a way to solve this dilemma. It is NOT ok to not get math at school! That is why we love our GC so much. He is not one to say, "that can't be done!". He will risk this or that to make it happen. He is terrific. Unfortunately, the principal hated him and even frowned upon all these great things he did for every child (from all walks of life, from all ends of the spectrum, be it valedictorian, college bound, special needs, blue collar trade type students, anyone). I am grateful he is still there for my kids.

Today went fine for my D who I mentioned could not get a math class. While I said above she would be sitting in a different math class but doing her Calculus, I was wrong in that the Calculus teacher is actually free the period that my daughter scheduled herself to work on math. She will sit in his office and do the work independently. He told her that before she asks any questions, he had a book that shows how the problems were solved that she should refer to on her own and only ask if she still had a problem. Can't say what it will be like but she and her sister have done indep. study in the past many times and it always went well. I realize this is Calculus and might be harder to do on one's own but I think it should work out. My older one did second year Calculus via long distance via Johns Hopkins CTY this past year and did it entirely on her own without ever contacting her 'tutor'. Hopefully this is all going to work out this year as well. I cannot see this teacher dropping her as he seems committed and is very nice, even if the department head poo poo'd the teacher agreeing to let a kid do indep. study as if everyone was now going to ask to do one. That has never happened. Kids do indep. study for legitimate reasons and it is not like they say, can I have a one on one with a teacher instead of a class. It is a lot harder in many respects. The bothersome thing is that our school actually has it in its program guide to have indep. studies. Anyway, I think this is a good solution.

I also encourage you to look into long distance math courses via Johns Hopkins CTY. The problem is that they cost money. I did pay last year. This daughter now preferred the indep. study at school and I also would not be to happy to have to incur her math expense when I think the school is supposed to offer every kid math. But I thought I would mention the CTY math course as an option for your child.

Susan

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 12:35 am: Edit

Thanks, Susan, for the encouragement. Actually, the way things got changed involved my D getting the math class at school, but needing to get the AP government on the outside. We were going to have her take that class at the cc. But now that I think of it, the preferable course of action might be for her to get the math class online and take the govt at school. i can help her with the math. Might even be fun. (for me-not her :) ) We'll see... Not sure how soon we can get to see the GC again.

The online course seems to be administered thru the University of WA, and would be free (as would the cc course thru running start)- not that that would be an issue at this point.
Sounds like you have a great GC there. My guess is that the school is alot smaller, too!

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 02:13 am: Edit

Well wish us luck we are going Friday to try and change classes, my daughter has the opposite problem she has 6 academic classes and I am afraid it is too much for her. I am thinking of having her drop Spanish as I wasn't planning on her taking AP Spanish anyway, and I suspect that she has dyslexia which makes it difficult to learn foreign lang.
They didn't even give her PE at all which is confusing, she is on a sports team, but I dont beleive it is 90 hours per term which is required to get credit. So I am going to ask that she drop Spanish and take PE, hmm oh well at least she is on tranquilzers!

Im wondering if we are talking about the same school I have heard about the french teacher, but did you notice the drama teacher is now teaching LA?

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 08:30 am: Edit

I go to a public school, and not one that makes any type of competetive list, but let me tell you, I consider myself very lucky to go there, I have always been accomadated, and everyone is always working to make it so the students can take the classes they want. It breaks my heart how much people on cc hate public schools, becuase, for some of us, that's our only choice, everyone makes them out to be terrible places, but i would stay at my school if given the chance anyways becuase of the doors it has opened. We have a few people go to top colleges every year and a large number of people go out of state, I feel like this board finds delight in sharing bad stories of public schools,it makes me sad to think one day cc will be populated only be private school goers, because that's the road it's going down, all you can talk about are the problems public schools have caused without stopping to see all the great things they've achieved for their students, i go to one of the better public schools in my state (ohio) and all i ask is for you to remember no school is perfect, neither private nor public, remember that every school has people in it who aren't perfect, but trying to make the school the best it can be, thank you for reading my post

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 09:50 am: Edit

Thisoldlady, I am glad to read that a solution is in the works. The online math course seems like a very good option. You are lucky that it is free which was not the case for my senior last year. And yes, our high school is way smaller than yours as we live in a rural area. We have 600 kids in gr. 9-12 from six towns attending.

Celebrian, I know the original subject heading does sound like a "bash" of public schools but I think this was qualified later on. I know in my own posts, I tried to mention that for me, it is NOT about public schools and in fact, I think such problems might exist at any school, public or private. It is my view that in any school one attends, there will be positive aspects and some problems as well. While we could send our kids to a supposedly "better" school by either moving or sending our kids away to boarding school, neither options that I would want to take but in any case, I don't believe we would rid ourselves of negative experiences by switching schools. I think for the most part, my kids have had some very positive experiences in our school, and these outweigh the problems. But I would be remiss in saying we never had problems there cause we did.

I do get disappointed when I read various stories here (as well as my own) that are really not ok in any school and only hope that educators have an attitude of wanting to work out these issues, rather than offer roadblocks. As I said before, scheduling dilemmas arise that are hard to work out but I would like to think that the educators at the school will WANT to help the child work it out favorably. In other words, THEY should not be satisfied if, in this instance, the child could not get math. So, my point is not about public schools but rather, that in ANY school, the faculty and administration have the kids' best interests at heart and work to problem solve with the family (and see them as team players, not adversaries) in finding solutions to these issues. The school should not be working against the child's best interest. So, if a child is college bound, we should not be reading some of these stories of instances where the school was making it harder for the child to achieve such goals.

I hardly think CC is full of all private school kids and parents. There are a lot of us public school folk on here. I believe in public schools, so there is one here and I am sure many more on here. But even if I do believe in them, and even taught in them, I can still complain when I see a problem that is not right or not handled right. I would do the same even if my kid were in a private school. I can readily admit that problems in schools exist everywhere. Most of what goes on is very good but when it is not good, and we do care a great deal about our children, it can be very bothersome and in some instances, very troubling to the kids.

Susan

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:21 am: Edit

I agreew with the original poster, it's just it seemed like everyone continued to bash public schools as the topic continued, when I feel like this case should be explored in itself without corrollating this bad experience with all public schools

By Simba (Simba) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:22 am: Edit

Celebrian: Great. Treat yourself to a candy bar - on me

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:38 am: Edit

We have had a less than helpful experience with public schools, as I beleive many on these boards share. I don't think I "bash" all public schools but I will share my frustrations just as I share my frustrations with say the new voting system on other areas.
By sharing my frustration, I have gotten suggestions and support for dealing with problems, which enable me to go on and fight another day.
I don't believe that all who are in public education have everyones best interests at heart any more than I beleive in trickle down economics.
Just yesterday I heard a public school teacher refer to parents as "wackjobs" on a message board that was for parents of the school where he was teaching. What purpose does that fulfill?
This teacher also sabotaged parents efforts to continue successful programs that had orginally been led by the school and teachers but over the years they had lost interest and energy, but still used the program as a draw for the school. I agree that there must be good public schools, but I would like to hear more about them ,especially about good urban schools, but I don't necessarily give the school credit for a student who is attending college, that is likely the students doing despite the school.

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity, I am talking about Garfield- are you? If so, I'll have to go check out about the drama teacher's reassignment. The french teacher was such a loon that my daughter stopped french after sophomore yr. Mostly they watched movies- and not necessarilly french ones!


>>So, if a child is college bound, we should not be reading some of these stories of instances where the school was making it harder for the child to achieve such goals. >>

Soozievt, that's it in a nutshell. I had come to terms with the fact that my d would need to take a class at cc. Then I started to think about her schedule: The class, which she would have to take at night, is 2 1/2 hrs long- 2 nights per week. She has to get up at 6 am for school. usually, she comes home and takes a nap before starting on hw etc. Now she will have to go to school from 7 to 3, come home. decompress, rest, eat and do hw in 2 1/2hrs, and then go off for another 2 1/2 hrs of academic work? I can't imagine how she would be able to concentrate. And, realistically, this means she won't be doing hw two nights a week. Then add the applications on top of this?


I will try to convince d to go the route of an online course simply because it will afford a little more flexibility. She can do some of that work on weekends, etc,instead of having to put in 14 hrs of schoolwork in a day.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Celebrian, my kids are all in private schools, and I believe I gave some specific examples of how scheduling issues have arisen for them. It is not a public vs private school issue as far as I am concerned, though I do believe that the accessibility to someone to fix the problem is often more expedient in a private school and they may be more open to ideas for a solution outside of the box as they may not be stuck with state and accredidation rules that cannot be moved. The problem even exists in $45K+ colleges, which has given me a real burn at times.

But sometimes the public schools really do not think when they do the scheduling. With private schools it seems to be a more individual conflict in schedule issue. At one public highschool, some genius put both BC and AB Calculus in the same time slot as Orchestra. Well, that just about wiped out the strings, and any fool should have known that. I have seen numerous examples of this sort of thing. But the private schools seem to be just as much at loss when an individual falls between the cracks. I am facing this issue right now with my kids and am not happy about it at all.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Thisoldlady:

My S had two classes last year that began at 7:30 and ended at 9:30. Fortunately, there was no commuting time, as we live close by. He generally got up at 6:45 to be at school by 8 (I insisted that he have breakfast and he wanted to make his own lunch). Luckily, the two college classes handed out homework on a weekly basis, so he could do it over the weekend. His high school classes did not generate a lot of homework, so he was okay on that front even though he ended up taking 9 classes instead of 7. He's also currently writing college application essays, so I think he'll be all right when school starts after Labor Day.

If your child is motivated enough to take the course online, it does provide greater flexibility. Make sure that someone at the high school signs off on it so that it can appear on the transcript.

By Thisoldlady (Thisoldlady) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:14 pm: Edit

Thanks, marite. Do you know how an online course is viewed by an admission office?

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:15 pm: Edit

sigh
well we just returned from our trip to Garfield. I have been so spoiled. My older daughter attended ( SAAS a private school) classes were never a problem. She had 7 classes including two arts classes every semester, other than that they really didn't have electives.
Public school is so much hassle. Many teachers haven't been hired yet apparently, although I beleive transferring her out of a class isn't a problem, to transfer in to anything that would be appropriate that period won't work as she either already is scheduled for that subject or the class is overenrolled already. Tsut( wife) had told me stories about parents camping out all night in front of teachers doorways to get the class they wanted I guess I should have listened for instructions!

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:20 pm: Edit

EPGY (from Stanford) is the best-known of online courses. Johns Hopkins CTY makes use of EPGY but uses its own tutors and is equally well-known. Both are pricey. Texas 137 has recommended UT's online courses as being less expensive. I also understand that Northwestern's Center for Talent Development offers AP courses (and other math courses).

Admission committees ought to be familiar with all of these online courses. They are all well-regarded.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:20 pm: Edit

Please don't misunderstand me - I have the greatest respect for public schools, and when I was in DD's private high school guidance office yeaterday, there was a big stack of schedule changes - scheduling conflicts happen everywhere.
We chose private because of things like arbitrarily cancelling basic science classes. At DD's school, AP physics might be cancelled for lack of interest, but never regular physics as well.
Probably the most rigorous education available in our area is in the public schools - there is one IB program in town and a residential math and science high school - there are several reasons why we did not go that route for our children, but quality of those 2 programs was not one of them.
Jamimom,as usual, as the right of it, I think, private schools are more flexible, and ours is large enough to not be completely dominated by a small group of parents, which is a downside to privates around here

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit

Well my ( older) daughter is taking an online course this summmer through NSCC. She is doing so to lighten her senior year a tad @ Reed college. Reed is fine with it as it is not one that they offer, and actually her profs thought it sounded great.
THey are giving her distribution credit for it.
For a online class hosted by UW, I don't think it will be any problem.
Incidentally, cause my daughter has LD/ADD, I was concerned about her performance in an online class, however she has done very well and enjoyed it. while she did need to go to an internet cafe a time or two to view online videos since we only have dial-up, the school shouldn't have that problem.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:30 pm: Edit

I believe there are different prices for schools vs. individuals. If there are enough kids in the school needing the same course, it may make sense for the school to buy the course and let the students take it via computers at school. If it's going to be on an individual basis, the student just has to subscribe and work at home if it's more convenient.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 03:39 pm: Edit

While all of you are charged with emotion and frustration over this mess,have your student write out an essay as to why she is going outside the system for those courses. It will make a nice base for an essay and she can edit it as needed. Also you can write about the experience as part of what you give the school counselor when he writes his ref for your student; that she has enough pluck and incentive to take the courses outside of the school.

It is difficult to say how colleges view courses taken outside of the curriculum. They like to say that they feel it shows that the student is motivated to think outside the box and seek academic challenges. But it is a slight disadvantage when they peruse the transcript,particularly in the heat of the the admissions crunch. It is easy to miss the extra courses, and it does take an effort to assess them. It is wise to take an known quanitity in online courses for that reason. I know many adcoms who really do not like lots of community college courses and I have seen homeschooled kids do poorly when much of their junior/senior year courses are comprised of those.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit

Goodness, we seem to be the lucky ones at this point. We moved out of a first ring suburb due to concerns about the school system. My son is now a senior in his suburban/rural public school, has all good - excellent teachers, small class sizes in his AP courses, and is at that blessed state of affairs where he working in collaboration with teachers and guidance staff: chem lab aid, freshman mentor, etc. Our only problem with the school was a not so good piece of advice on the number of years of a foreign language, but that seems to be relatively small potatoes. All scheduling problems have been worked out.

My son's GC sends most kids to in-state schools, but is enjoying the chance to look at some other ones she is completely unfamiliar with for my son.

Of course, the sad thing is that we did have to move. But there are public schools that offer a fine education and an atmosphere of harmony and collaboration.


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